Sunday, November 15, 2009

Websites that you should bookmark

With the web being a information center of the world, you can find create resources to help you with design.
Below are some sites that can help any designer, the articles and newsletters are filled with useful information.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting back to basics.

There are a some basic rules to help keep consistency and competency of your piece. These are the basic guidelines that have been developed over several years. Here are a couple of the rules: for legibility keep your point size between 8pt. and 12pt., avoid using too many type sizes and weights. Use upper and lower case to make it easy for your viewers to read. Remember not to use font that are too similar, this will make it hard to build any contrast in your piece. Line length is important if you make it to short or to long it will disrupt the flow. These are just a few of the basic rules of typography, but rules are meant to be broken as well. I will touch on that for a later post.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Books for your library.

There are many books on design both print and web. Below are a list of reference books I suggest that will help you not only in design but in business:

Designers in Handcuffs - Pat Matson Knapp
Idea Revolution - Clare Warmke
Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color - Leatrice Eiseman
Experimental Typography - Rob Carter
Man and His Symbol - Carl Jung

Even though the last one is a psychology book I recommend it, because it helps you understand symbolism more. This relates to how color, imagery and type effect your audience.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ID for your company

Corporate identity is important to any company, it help make your audience recognize your company or product. These are guidelines that give your pieces a consistent look with color, type and imagery. As you develop your identity you have to think how the guidelines will be used in print and web. Here are a couple of helpful hints one pick font or fonts that have a large family, two when deciding on your secondary colors choose one lighter and darker the your primary color. Not only include what are your do's but also your don'ts and give visual examples. You can find many guideline for various companies on the web, just put "corporate identity guidelines pdf" in search engine.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Isolating objects in Photoshop

There are few ways to isolate objects in Photoshop, you can use the mask tool and the wand tool for instance. But the best way that I have found is using the pen tool. The advantages are that once you create the path and convert from a working path it will always be in your path palette. You won't have to retrace the object in the future if you need to make changes for color correction or other alterations to the object. You also can make it a clipping path, this will allow to place the image in layout programs creating a mask that only shows the object and not it surroundings. It's best to use the pen tool by zooming in on the image to 300%, start your path 3 pixels in from the edge of the object. Keep your anchor points to a minimum this will keep your path smooth, if you don't you run the risk of having a jagged path. The pen tool will save you time and energy for future projects.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Breaking FREE from design handcuffs!!!

We have all been situations were a client or supervisor has put the design handcuffs on you. Projects that seem so restricted that you can't be creative. There are ways around this, one create the piece the way they want then take a little extra time to do something more creative that you think fits the project your working on. Present both of them, I find that when a client or supervisor sees the more creative piece they pick that one. Another way is ad little flares of your influence into the design if you are using corporate identity guidelines. As time goes on add more of those little creative gestures to make the piece better. Even though the person may have something in mind it is up to you to make it better and you should be creative to do that however that maybe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sign Vs. Symbol

What is a sign? What is symbol? Both are very different in there purposes. Signs consist of a graphic that has universal meaning in any culture and geographic location. For example when you use the washroom and on the door it has graphic element of human shape. The head consisting of circle and the body rounded ends and long straight thick lines that make the shape of body. No matter what language the word "Men" is in a person will see the graphic element previously described and know it is the "Men's Washroom". Graphic elements of the sign utilize geometric shapes, and are designed to be used in a cohesive series. If your designing a series of signs that will have human shape if you use a circle for the head in your first one, you use a circle for head on all of them. Symbols on the other hand are not as universal, they can have different meanings and shapes. They are dictated by the cultures and geographic locations. One example is the star, stars have been used since ancient time and have represented gods, geographic location etc. The five pointed star on the American flag represents each of the 50 states, opposed to the six pointed star found on the flag of Israel. The six pointed star is associated with King David, Judaism and the State of Israel. Both stars are uniquely and stand apart from each other through their shape and color. Designers should always be aware of the use of symbols in their work.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Making your Art Pop!

Have you ever wanted to take a illustration done in Adobe Illustrator and try to give it a Pop Art look. It is very easy to do, open your Illustrator file and open it in Photoshop. Go into the Channels window and click on the Cyan channel. From the menu bar click on Filters go to Pixelate>Halftone. Change the Max Radius to 6 you can leave the default screen angle as is. Follow the same process for the Magenta and Yellow channels. When you are done you'll have a piece Roy Lichtenstein would be proud of.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Business cards the new art form.

In the past couple of the years business cards have become increasingly creative. Gone are the days of a fine off white linen paper with black raise lettering. The business cards of today are a endless canvases of fine art incorporating photography, illustrations, dye cuts and full of color. Type now moves across the card in leaps and bounds making your audience wanting more. Why use one side when you can say even more using the other side. Have fun with the creative make it the Mona Lisa of business cards, incorporate images if it's appropriate. Taste the rainbow visual for client who product has lot of color. Make a statement with your or your client's card that stands out from the rest.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Your name is everything!!!

Your name truly is everything that tells your audience who and what your company is about. Some people like to use their last name or a particular geographic landmark in their companies name. On the other hand their are those who are looking for a more unique name that stands out from the rest. I have worked with people who are starting small businesses and were looking for that name that stood out from their competition. One technique that I suggest in finding that name is to write 100 words that first come in your mind that describes or could describe your company. After you have written them down cut the list down to 50 that you feel are the best. Then dwindle the list to 20 words, take those 20 words and make combinations out of them. For a beer company you may have the words pale, sleepy, brewery, ale, eye, rambler and red on your list. The combinations you may come up with are Sleepy Eye Brewery, Red Rambler Brewery, Pale Rambler Ale, etc. If you can't justify the unique name, it can be harder to sell your company, product or service.

Friday, July 3, 2009

One click, two click, three click to many!!!

The flow of your website is important, the less clicks your viewer has to go through the better. Internet users like simplicity, if your audience has to go through several links they may lose interest. When developing a site for yourself or for client get all the information together. Figure how the information will flow on the website, creating a flow chart will help you give a visual. Start with the home page and branch out, as you are putting together step back and look to see what information can be combined. Remember less is more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

TYPE: More then just words

The typeface(s) you choose can make or break your design. To know what typeface(s) to pick you have to know your audience and what the message of the piece your creating. If you are looking for a more conservative and traditional look I suggest using Times New Roman, Garamond or Sabon. If your piece calls for a cleaner more modern look use Univers, Helvetica or Frutiger. For a high end sophisticated look there is Avante Garde, Bell Gothic or Bodoni. When you pick a typeface(s) like the ones I have suggest it's good to pick one to three typefaces that have varying weights and styles.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Natures gift to color.

In nature you can find many color combinatins that you can apply to your design. These combinations are easy to apply and give you a good base for your design. The following are examples combinations found in nature: Blue and White (Bluy Jay), Black and Yellow (Bumble Bee), Green and White (Hostas plant), Red and White (Tulips), Orang and Black (Tiger), Blue and Yellow (Angel Fish), Purple and Yellow(pansies).