Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category

Designing a Logo

Posted: July 2, 2012 in Graphic Design

I haven’t had a blog topic for a month now and since I had an inspiration from the photos that I took this weekend for this logo that I designed.

A few months ago I designed a logo for a friend that was starting his new company, a small engine repair shop. I had to bring my lawnmower in for a tune-up last weekend and this weekend I picked it up, so I had brought my camera with me to take photos of the sign that was made for his business with the logo I designed. I must say that the sign looks great and even my friend says that his clients have given him compliments on how the logo turned out. At the bottom are the photos of the building with the sign and my logo design.

Here are a few things to consider when designing a logo.

A logo should: 1. Attract attention  2. Be unique and distinguishable
  3. Reflect company ideals  4. Show authenticity and professionalism

Color can make or break a design so it is vital that you know what the colors mean and what they can communicate.

• Red evokes aggressiveness, passion, strength and vitality
• Pink evokes femininity, innocence, softness and health.
• Orange evokes fun, cheeriness and warm exuberance.
• Yellow evokes positivity, sunshine and cowardice.
• Green evokes tranquility, health and freshness.
• Blue evokes authority, dignity, security and faithfulness.
• Purple evokes sophistication, spirituality, costliness, royalty and mystery.
• Brown evokes utility, earthiness, woodsy and subtle richness.
• White evokes purity, truthfulness, being contemporary and refined.
• Gray evokes somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality.
• Black evokes seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness and being classic.

Infographics is a visual representation of information. Designers often use it to explain complex things in a simple way. For many years infographics could be found in magazines, brochures and other printed materials, but now it’s becoming a part of the digital world.

By infographics we mean maps, diagrams, schemes and other methods of data visualization. Actually, almost any combination of text and graphics could work well, and a successful infographics is the one that makes things clear and easy to understand.

If you think that your website could benefit from infographics, but you need some inspiration before you get started, here are some awesome examples of how infographics make websites more effective and user-friendy: http://www.coolinfographics.com/links/

It takes time and efforts to create infographics that are not confusing, but well organized and informative. So we believe that the more sources of inspiration you have, the better. Here is one that I created, since we all use these terms on a daily use. Click on the graphic to see the enlarged version.

SLANG Through Three Decades
What people say on a Daily Basis!

frustration.

frustration. (Photo credit: nicole.pierce.photography ♥)

Yeah, how about if you change that color to green and make the logo bigger, oh and I don’t like the photo of the girl or the background could you use something else? And could you have it ready by tomorrow?” Sounds familiar? We’ve all heard this kind of speech.    OH THE FRUSTRATION! Lots of time spent trying to achieve a perfect balanced composition and all the elements are in place and you are satisfied with the work, and it looks great BUT the client doesn’t get any of your ideas and he/she insists on making tons and tons of changes until you end up with a mock up of the original idea and you die a little inside.

The But Client
This is the type of client that will always praise your work, put you in a good mood and immediately after that starting with the criticizing. He/she clearly doesn’t like what he/she sees but has learned in the self help book that it’s better to highlight the pros before the cons BUT what this type of client doesn’t know is that this tactic is actually very annoying.

What’s So Difficult About Your Job Client
This is the type of client that thinks he/she can do your job much better than you and acts like he/she doesn’t need you. Their standards are usually too high and often he/she doesn’t even know what they want. Maybe he/she has some basic knowledge or is a frustrated artist. He/she also makes sure you know and appreciate his or hers artistic skills because their self esteem needs to get some extra points.

You Do Something I’ll Tell You If I Like It Client
This is a very common type of client. He doesn’t know what he wants. He gives you no indications but when you show him a version he suddenly knows what he/she doesn’t want and he/she is ready to critique everything.

I Know What I Want And It’s Awful Client
This is the type of client that comes from the very beginning with examples of others people work (the examples look dreadful). And he/she often wants you to copy them or create something very similar to that. He/she is of course often very reluctant to any new ideas.

The Tight Deadline Client
He/she always makes you work under pressure giving you a very close deadline. He/she comes in the last moment all agitated and frustrated demanding an absolute priority for the project.

The Other People Decide For Me Client
It’s the kind of client who likes your proposal when he/she first sees it, just to call you later on to tell you that …he/she has thought about it…and well, it’s too… The advantage is that this type of client is easy to convince that your version is what he/she is looking for. But the disadvantage is that after he or she leaves your office he or she goes home again.

The Needy Client
This client will take all your time, send you tons of e-mails, call you for hours on the weekends and whenever. He or she is under the impression that if he or she hired you, he or she owns all your time and is entitled to disturb you for any small thing.

The Indecisive Client
Make you do lots of changes and then change them again, just to decide in the end that your first version was the better one. He/she is never satisfied and just because he or she likes something today doesn’t mean that he or she can’t hate it tomorrow.

The Always Looking For A Deal Client
He or she will always require a discount, minimizing the value of your work. Also this type of client requires you work for a smaller fee promising that this will lead to more work in the future. This is just the type of collaboration you are going to regret sooner or later.

The One That Doesn’t Pay Client
This is actually the worst case scenario, when you find out that all your hard work was for FREE. That’s the reason that led to contracts being invented and you always have to take good safety measures to make sure that this doesn’t happen again in the immediate future.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Typography:This is how you apply and produce your text to appear with a final result that complements your images and design of the total media material, whether it is for print, web or mobile.

S long serif et sans serif

S long serif et sans serif (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dealing with typography, here are some of the common rules to abide by.

Rule # 1- Don’t use all the fonts in one document.

Most designers have his or her own accumulation of fonts, which he or she applies to each design project. Apart from the fonts in the software program being used, virtually all designers possess their own lists that are expanded to the already existing list. And since because of the availability of so many fonts, one perhaps may be lured to use as a lot of, if not all of the fonts that he or she has. Remember that simple is to a greater extent more attractive than confusion and disarray. Once you begin employing a lot of different fonts in a document, the content becomes lost in the clutter. Additionally, too many fonts can distract the reader from the real aim of the design to get a message across. All the same, this does not mean that you have got to be boring and tiresome by adhering to the established “two-font rule”, which says that you had to accept one font for headings and a different one for text. So where’s the creativeness in that? Make sure to have a reason why you prefer to deviate from the rule and decide to employ fonts.

Rule # 2- “Serif fonts are easier on the eyes than Sans Serif.”

SANS-SERIFS MOURNFUL LETTER

SANS-SERIFS MOURNFUL LETTER (Photo credit: Nick Sherman)

Sans serif type is frequently applied for headings and short numbers of text. All fonts can be made clear with a good design. With sans serif though it calls for further leading than serif type, it can present your documents with a very modernistic appearance, and is the most popular body text.

Rule # 3- Positioning two spaces after a period is a no-no.

In the past when typewriters were the thing for writers, two spaces after a period was the rule to show the close of a sentence. The onset of technology, have fonts making characters of their own, with different widths, that placing two spaces after a period is no longer needed. Occasionally, this rule could produce a quite irritating defect that makes a stop instead of helping you pinpoint the close of every sentence.

Rule # 4- Don’t use all capital letters.
One person said that while employing all capitals in the text, there are no ascenders or descenders. The two are what makes it easy to distinguish the anatomy of a word. “The anatomy of just about every word converts to a rectangle, and it’s tougher to read.” This does not mean that you can’t use capital letters. Short words or headings do appear attractive in all caps. Sans serif also acts better entirely in caps.

 
Rule # 5- Don’t center large amounts of text.
The eyes move from left to right while reading. They quickly glance over one line, then move from the right side of the page back to the left side of the page. Once the text is centered, it makes it more difficult for the eyes to find where the next text starts over again on the left side of the page, and makes it easy for the reader to skim down the lines of text. The most effective method is still to save centering to headings that do not go further than several lines deep.

Using proper typography methods can greatly enhance the look of any printed piece, web site or mobile application.

Enhanced by Zemanta

We’ve all heard it before, the person who claims to be a graphic designer because they know Photoshop. Or how about the small business owner who creates his own website to save on costs. Maybe you know someone who printed their own business cards off a graphic design template they downloaded online. Anybody who wishes to call themselves a graphic designer these days can, they just have to buy a computer, the latest Adobe Creative Suite and give themselves the title. Does that mean they are a good graphic designer? Without any training, probably not. It doesn’t mean they can’t be good over time, but graphic design is an art form that communicates an idea or a thought with visual clarity. It is a skill. A hard skill to master. Sure, it’s a skill that can be learned.

These Common Mistakes Should Be Avoided

Too Much Stuff – Poor design is usually cluttered design. Good graphic design communicates in a clear manner, and when there is so much stuff on the paper (or screen for websites) then the message gets lost. It’s one of the most common mistakes, to keep piling on elements to the design that aren’t necessary. One of the best tips I ever got was to strip away everything that isn’t necessary to the message and that is usually the most effective design.

Bad Type – Graphic design is so much more than just pretty pictures. One of the most important, if not the most important, piece of graphic design is typography. A huge mistake graphic designers make is poor font choices and poor type layout. Typography is not just picking a nice font either. It’s the relationship of the characters to each other, to the design piece, and to the message. The shape of the font, the size of the type, the color, all these things fall under the typography category and make or break your design. Study up on typography and try not to use too many different fonts in one design. One or two fonts is usually plenty, (sometimes three). I try to keep them clean and in relation to the design.

Effects – Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and QuarkXPress all have preset effects in the program. Some are nice, some are not so nice. Using a bunch of them together usually results in a disaster. There is a time and place for drop shadows, and even glows, but most of the other effects look pretty cheesy.

Trendy – The best graphic design transcends time. Take a look at the work of Paul Rand, http://www.paul-rand.com, his designs from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s still look great today. Trendy design for the sake of trendiness is not good design. Unless you require a trend in your graphic design try to communicate with good design principles and your own creativity instead.

While working with these common mistakes in mind you’ll be able to further enhance your graphic design skills.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Graphic design is a field that is quickly changing, both creatively and technically, and while it is easy to get caught up in learning new technical skills, it is just as important to focus improving and pushing the limits of our creativity.

Here are a few tips, exercises and practices that have helped me continue learning, strengthen creativity and become an all around better designer.

Become a collector
Each time you see a design that inspires you, collect it, bring it home and file it away. I have hundreds of brochures, posters and other collateral that I have collected over the years that is stacked away in folders and boxes that I can quickly access, a great source of inspiration when needed.

Buy books
Having an extensive book collection is always essential to learning. I try buying a new book at least every 2-3 weeks that range from inspirational, educational and technical topics.

Read design-related blogs
I can’t stress enough how much information I have learned by reading other great designers blogs. The web is an invaluable resource of information, take advantage of it and actually use it!

Start a design blog
Having started my blog only a month ago, I have found it to be extremely useful and educational for myself. It has made me more aware of the design community and more analytical of my own work.

Join and be active in the design community
As a designer, joining the online design community is a must. Not only does it keep you up-to-date in the design world, but is also great for feedback and critique.

Network with other designers
I always try to search out the designers that have more experience and talent than I do. I know – it’s hard to admit someone else is better than you, but networking with people of higher skill levels will push you to work harder and learn more.

Take lots of photos
Pictures of building designs, textures, shapes of shadows on walls, etc. Basically anything that interests me from a design stand point.

Create fake projects
Whenever I find myself with free time I create fake projects. Create a fake brand for a company. Design a logo, stationary, brochure, website. It’s good to do this once in awhile because it keeps design fun and let’s your creativity run wild without limitations. It’s often easy to get caught in a rut when clients start dictating and your work no longer becomes “yours”.

Redo your old designs
I know what it feels like to look at your early days of design and think “Oh my! What was I thinking?! I need to get rid of that immediately”, but it is important to keep that work. It will help you see if you’re moving forward and improving your skills. Instead of throwing away or deleting old projects, try reworking them.

Take classes
Many local colleges allow you to register for classes without enrolling full-time. It will not only teach you some new things technically, but also put you back in a classroom of your peers.

Learn something new
Whenever I am in a creative slump I try something new or do something completely unrelated to design. Getting your mind off things and into something new, usually has a funny way of working itself back around.

Grab a sketchbook
Helps you work through ideas quickly and without limitations of design software. Has made a HUGE difference in my designs.

Enhanced by Zemanta
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 12:  The  'Swoosh' logo...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Logo design is rapidly becoming an underrated process. We live in a very entrepreneurial age and it seems that everyone you meet is starting his or her own business. All of these business owners know they need a logo and very few of them can afford one.

Enter the quick fix. All one has to do is run a Google Search and become overrun with options for logo design services. Fifty bucks for a logo! Twenty-four hour turn around time! It’s a smorgasbord of symbols. How’s a new business to go wrong among such abundance?

It’s easy to assume that we’re looking at a buyer’s market here and that one logo design company is as good as the next. It doesn’t help that many new business owners (and many established business owners, for that matter) just don’t fully understand the design process. It’s all just pretty pictures, right? Well, yes and no.

We buy paintings for their aesthetic value, but graphic design has so much more work to do than just look good. Graphic design is about communication. It’s about conveying a message to your clients. And this communication all begins with your company’s logo. A logo just isn’t something you slap on your business card and call it good. Used properly, your logo is the very heart of your company’s identity. This one little graphic carries the weight of your brand and connects you and your products to your customers. It’s a big job and, frankly, some quick $50.00 piece of clip art just isn’t up to the task. This is something these quick-fix logo design shops will never understand.

Some companies approach the development of their logo with the same mindset they take in looking for a long-distance service. It’s a necessary evil, so might as well find the cheapest option available and get it over with quick. It really doesn’t help that many of these quick designs are substandard and wholly ineffective. This only reinforces the notion that logos aren’t really deserving of all the hype. Logos wind up losing their value through misuse or poor design.

On the other end of the scale are businesses that see a highly successful brand, such as Nike, and want that for their business. They become jaded when their logo doesn’t generate the same instant recognition as Nike’s swoosh, little realizing all of the millions of dollars Nike has spent to make sure you recognize their logo.

Caught in the middle is the design agency that suffers from either a lack of expectation or over-inflated expectations. So let’s clear one thing up about the process: No ad agency in the world can promise to design the equivalent of a Nike Swoosh for your business. If one does make this claim to you, put on your Nikes and run. Fast. The best we can do is work to come up with a design that reflects the personality of your business, a design that is a solid foundation around which to build your brand. This isn’t a process that can be done overnight. It isn’t a process that can be done dirt-cheap. And this isn’t a process that should be tackled by anyone less than a professional.

When it comes to the marketing of your business, your logo is the most important investment you will make. Properly conceived and executed, it will serve as the anchor that makes everything from your business cards to your advertisements coherent, consistent, easier and, most importantly, effective. A good logo design and its effective use isn’t going to be cheap, but it doesn’t have to break your bank, either. Many companies will still insist on going the quick fix route. I don’t begrudge them. I only wish them the best of luck and offer the best piece of advice I know in such a situation: You get what you pay for.

Enhanced by Zemanta