image by Warren Brown
Designers can be a finicky bunch. We can spend hours poring over Pantone colour books or font catalogues to get the right look for our work. A lot of us still put in the time to make sure a website looks the way it was intended even in Internet Explorer 6 (a brower which is the bane of web designers’ working lives).
All that striving for perfection can drive a person nuts. For the last couple of years I’ve had a scrap of paper pinned up at my work station, with the following quote from John Updike: “Perfectionism is the enemy of creation.” I need to be regularly reminded of this point.
All the same, I’m going to share an experience which illustrates why it really pays to be thorough, especially when you’re dealing with a project that someone else (your client) will be spending a lot of money on. (more…)
image by alibree
I find checklists useful when I’m planning a new project on a big scale, and let’s face it: a lot of websites fall into the category of big projects!
I’ve compiled this checklist to assist anyone who’s planning to get a website for their business or professional activities. It helps to have the steps clearly outlined, because not every stage is necessarily an obvious one. (more…)
The crossover between line illustrations and patterns is a trend that’s been developing for a few years. It’s playful, and frequently naive in style. What’s especially interesting is how this style of illustration is successfully being applied across a broad range of design media, from murals and wallpaper to packaging, from t-shirt designs to the web.
This collection of “busy” or pattern-style illustrations takes in everything from major product campaigns to doodles. The beauty of this style is that it can be built up through many layers of digital graphics, or left as a simple line drawing, while retaining its charm and irreverence. Which pieces do you think are the most effective?
image by VoxEfx
When was the last time you saw a piece of design which really ‘clicked’: where, for whatever reason, you felt such a connection that a little photographic impression of it has been etched inside your brain ever since? Have you even realised it was happening? I recently discovered that those questions can (and in my case have) shed new light on the direction I’m taking in developing my design brand. (more…)
image by Chor Ip
Graphic design is a fast-moving industry, and one of the biggest trends in recent times has been the emergence of “try-before-you-buy”: crowd-sourcing companies and ready-made design retailers. These companies allow prospective buyers to view designs before paying any money, and the asking price is almost always low.
That’s very attractive to a particular type of business owner who wants to cut costs and will be satisfied with a design which is a step up from what they could create (with no design training) themselves. When a major player like iStockphoto starts selling logos it undoubtedly upsets the design community, but the reality is that iStockphoto is catering to a market which has emerged in recent years.
This has created a seismic shift in the design industry: where clients once used to shop around for a designer to meet their needs, now it’s the design they’re shopping for, if they choose. Or (as a friend recently described it), some people would simply prefer to browse than create. (more…)
image by Diana Lili M
I know nothing about Hungarian politics, but that doesn’t matter; I just love this photo and the story it tells. Someone tried to rip down this billboard poster of a political candidate, only the discover that the previous poster, concealed underneath, was another advertisement for the same person’s campaign! It shows great irony and I think it’s a marvellous way to introduce what I’ll be talking about here: the toughest conditions that your designs might face, and whether they’ll stand up to it.
Most of the time designers can work safe in the knowledge that their creations aren’t going to be ripped down or defaced. In fact the everyday concerns are usually far more mundane. Nonetheless there are some important things to consider when planning a design project, if you want the final product to be presented at its best, for as long as possible, and to effectively communicate its message. (more…)
image by nicolasnova
For a bit of fun I’ve put together a list of things that Graphic Design Isn’t, based on my own experiences and those of others. I hope this will be helpful for designers and clients alike.
Like many designers, I gain lots of inspiration (large volumes of it, in fact) by going online and looking at the work of others. There are plenty of websites set up to showcase design, but I’m finding that one of the nicest ways to come across great work is through twitter.
When I joined twitter, I imagined I would use it primarily to talk with people I already know: friends, and designers I’ve come to know via blogs. Then, I started visiting links tweeted (and retweeted) by others … and looking at the work of the people who follow me on twitter. I really enjoy discovering fantastic designers, artists and bloggers this way. Here are some of the people I’ve encountered (and whom I now follow) thanks to twitter: (more…)
Image by Alex Kehr
Good designers know how to make realistic deadlines and then stick to them. But there are times for every designer when an urgent job materialises and must be squeezed into the work schedule.
Some designers dread getting the phone call or email requesting work to be carried out at breakneck speed; others thrive on the adrenaline rush. Here are some ideas on how to manage the unexpected workload.
Osama bin Laden is a popular subject for graffiti artists: his image is highly recognisable and can be guaranteed to evoke a strong response. Coincidentally, those can also be desirable attributes for someone fronting a product promotion … but bin Laden on a wine label? In fact it’s a stencil image of bin Laden, with a ghetto blaster, used on a label for wine produced by Tasmania’s Moorilla winery. (more…)
Learning how to draw, from the basics to the finer points of illustration, is a popular activity which brings a lot of people online searching for as much information as they can find. A few months ago I wrote about some great drawing tutorial sites I had found, and that post continues to send a good flow of visitors to my site from search engines.
Much of my own work in recent months has been illustration, and I will be blogging more about illustration in graphic design in the near future. To begin, I’ve put together a broad range of resources to be found online about illustration; these are among the best I’ve found in recent months.
If you’ve been participating in the holiday season, it’s likely you’ve been part of the seasonal exchange of greeting cards. Most are traditional paper-based cards, although there are also plenty of e-cards landing in in-boxes at this time of year. That’s no surprise, as many of us are spending increasing amounts of time communicating via electronic means. But are electronic greeting cards an acceptable alternative to the paper-based variety? Would you consider sending them to business clients, friends and family?
Image by tanakawho
Let’s face it, there are times when designers and their clients don’t see eye to eye over a project. When all else fails a designer may comply with client requests which are at odds with their own professional judgment, simply to make the client happy. But is this an ideal solution in the long run?
Image by woodleywonderworks
Choosing the right colour scheme takes a combination of research, design know-how and inspiration. Whether you’re creating a website or a print publication with lots of white space, your choice of colours is an critical element to the overall design. It’s important to do this early in a design project, in order not to waste time later by altering colours. In this post I’m providing a guide to the questions I address when selecting a colour pallette to work with.