Archive for April, 2012
As a general rule of thumb, a good graphic designer should ask as many logical questions as possible about a particular online design project. The more they know beforehand, the better off they will be in producing a concept that the client will appreciate.
The very first step is to seek answers by gathering information. An elegantly laid out design brief will take care of most of these questions. However, designers should always keep their creative trait active and inquire about subjects that may or may not be covered by the client in the project brief.
In this post, we will highlight the questions that designers should ask before entering a design project. The answers to these questions will determine the direction of your design, while broadening your knowledge arsenal.
1. Who Is the Target Audience?
Aside from design specs, having a thorough understanding of the target audience can help a designer greatly. It could give them an idea of what color schemes to utilize in their drafts (unless already specified by the client). A younger audience will respond to bright colors whereas, an older, more mature audience might be keen on sober color schemes. The target audience can greatly impact the style, content and theme of the online design contest. Therefore, it is extremely important to identify who the audience is.
2. What is the Message?
Graphic design is an art and every piece of art carries a specific message. It is absolutely imperative to know beforehand what that message should be. The message can be very simple and straight forward, from celebrating a milestone to creating a powerful brand image. The way the message is delivered is also important. Clients are likely to tell you what they want to communicate through their design. In case they haven’t, do contact them and ask about the message and feel the design should portray.
3. Are there any other Design Specifications?
Every design project will have a design brief, but sometimes it will not have everything you need and that’s normal. A good designer will take the initiative to ask questions based upon the information provided in the contest brief. For example: If it is a logo design project, a few important areas to inquire about would be:
- Background color to use.
- Color schemes for the logo.
- Tagline to go with the logo.
- Specific symbol or image to use.
- Symbols or images to avoid.
- Simple design or abstract?
- Are there any other special considerations?
4. What is the Client’s Competition?
If the client doesn’t mention their competition, there is no harm in asking about it. Looking at the competitive companies’ designs will give you an edge and help you understand the client’s business better. This way you will know what your client is up against and will be able to create a design that will stand apart from any competition.
5. Are there any Specific Instructions?
It is always helpful to get a sense of creative direction from the client themselves. Ask them about the features that they would like to see or how they want their design to be perceived. Some clients are keen on incorporating certain elements or attributes that symbolize their company, brand or product. Therefore, this particular information is extremely valuable.
If you are about to undertake a design project or are participating in an online design contest, the questions mentioned should get the ball rolling. Bottom line, you should be aware of these things when starting a project. If the design brief does not provide you this information, then ask your client. The more you know, the more likely you are to produce something dazzling that the anticipating client will surely appreciate.
April 30th, 2012
Logo designing seems to have taken over the political world! With Obama’s logo capturing the attention in the last elections, other political candidates of 2012 campaign appear to have decided to step up the game of their campaign. The logo design competitions begin!
Who said that only companies or businesses can use logos? Logo designs are a representation and an identity. They are a great way to gain public attention and appear to have gained a dynamic momentum at the political front. These can become a very strong factor in branding a candidate.
US Political Logo Designs – Main Factors
The standard colors used for the US political party logos are red, white and blue, which obviously represent the United States and the American flag, while creating the feeling of patriotism. Because of their importance, political logo designs have to be created while keeping in mind all the important rules of logo designing. A political logo can make or break the image of a political candidate!
While some candidates have since dropped out of the running for the presidential nomination, we still wanted to take a look at their logos. With this post, I am covering the current and past competitors of the 2012 presidential race.
Barack Obama’s Logo (D)
This logo tops my list because of its genius design. Designed by Chicago-based agency Sender LLC, it was the flagship symbol for Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. It is one of the most recognized and talked about political logos.
Simple and hopeful, the logo stands for “a new day.” The overall “O” image obviously stands for Obama. The inner, white semi-circle represents a rising sun over the plains (here in red and white). The red, white and blue in the design represent the American flag.
The same image is being reused for Obama’s 2012 campaign, only this time the ‘O’ stands in place of the zero in 2012. It continues to deliver the same hopeful message of change.
Ron Paul’s Logo Design (R)
Classy and simple, Ron Paul’s logo design puts the focus on the candidates name. The “A” in the logo stands for “America” and has the colors of the American flag. The use of Sherif font gives the logo a classic and elegant look.
Jon Huntsman’s Logo Design (R)
This logo stands apart from the rest of the political logos in this post with its unconventional use of black and its modern approach. Simple yet strong, the logo design has stirred up quite a controversy. Some criticize that it is ego-centric and it doesn’t represent patriotism, but rather stands out as a brand name. Many are even calling it a cologne logo lookalike. What do you think?
Herman Cain’s Logo (R)
This political logo has a positive appeal to it and does not seem to be too outlandish or ego-centric. The symbol of torch used in the logo represents openness, respect for the past and a hope for a brighter future. I believe it should have had an elegant font; currently, the symbol stands out more than the candidate’s name itself.
Michele Bachmann’s Logo (R)
Here’s another political logo design subjected to quite a few controversies. Many believe that this logo also pays tribute to a toothpaste squiggle (see one right in the middle?). While others say the red and white design causes confusion between Austria’s and America’s flags. Although the font is simple, the creative use of red and white color stripes fail to inspire.
Mitt Romney’s Logo Design (R)
Romney’s logo design focuses on the candidate’s last name, but doesn’t really seem to do justice to the ‘R.’ While the ‘R’ in the logo stands to create a sense of togetherness, the colors and style have been criticized to look like Aquafresh toothpaste’s squiggle rather than the American flag. It has also been said that the joined ‘EY’ at the end is a bit over dramatic.
Rick Santorum’s Logo (R)
The first thing you notice about this logo is the soaring eagle with the letter ‘O’ behind it, representing the shining sun. The eagle here is the symbol of courage and represents rising high, although some might think as of it as related to the Native Americans (but that is not the case). After all, the bald eagle is the most popular American symbol.
Tell us, what do you think of these political logos? Which of these do you think represent the candidates the best?
April 24th, 2012
Everyone loves free stuff. After all it’s free right? Well, sometimes these freebies can end up being extremely costly. Take graphic design for example. Logo designers can easily find dozens upon dozens of graphic design brushes and symbols on the internet absolutely free. They’re great. They’re fun. They make the creative process easy and save designers time. With so many advantages, it may seem like a no-brainer to use free graphic design symbols when designing professionally, right?
Wrong. In fact free graphic design symbols and brushes come with potentially career ending risks that many designers ignore, overlook or underestimate. And that is the risk of trademark infringement.
Don’t Design a Nightmare Scenario for Yourself
Trademark infringement. These are the two words that keep every graphic designer up at night. It is a scenario no designer wishes to be confronted with because even such a simple allegation can bring a designers career down tumbling.
Graphic Design Brushes – Limit Your Use
Free design brushes are NOT trademarked; meaning that anyone can use them in their designs. This is why graphic design brushes should be avoided. However, if needed, these should be used scarcely and only as a supporting element. Don’t heavily depend on them. Instead, only use them for giving slight touches or adding effects in a logo. Your overall design should be unique in every sense. Graphic design brushes can be used to provide the finishing touches (if you will) to further compliment your design.
Graphic Design Symbols – Avoid at All Cost
Brushes are one thing. Graphic design symbols are another. These should never be used. Period. Graphic design symbols come free with any licensed graphic software thereby creating a false impression among some designers that the symbols are licensed as well. This is not the case. Every graphic design software comes with the same free symbols by default. Using them is an open invitation to copyright infringement.
So What Should Logo Designers Do?
What you should be doing in the first place is to come up with your own designs, symbols and your own brushes. This will give your design drafts the one element every designer strives to achieve – uniqueness. Avoid free brushes and symbols all together. Using them can lead to a bad habit of taking short cuts and utilizing and manipulating existing design patterns to your advantage.
Graphic designers must always remember that there is no place for free symbols and brushes in professional graphic design. Designers are encouraged to browse samples, experiment with certain brushes and symbols and then come up with their own unique ones to compliment their work. Being unique is worth its weight in goal and should be second to none.
April 18th, 2012
As graphic designers we are always learning new techniques, increasing our knowledge and experimenting with tools to create original designs. While creativity and attention to detail is a significant quality of a graphic designer, there is no denying that good graphic design tools also play an important part in the success of a design.
Learning a new tool or software might appear daunting to many which is why today I have for you a collection of some very useful Adobe Illustrator Tutorials. These will not only help you learn new techniques easily but also provide you with useful tips that will come in handy the next time you design.
So without further ado, here are 20 Free Adobe Illustrator Tutorials.
1. Swirls and Flourishes
2. Vintage Art Deco Poster
3. 3D Tomato Illustration
4. Western Type Treatment
5. Vector Sponge Art Effect
6. Blue Print Style Text
7. Crazy Cool Logo
8. 3D Newspaper Text Effect
9. Colorful Abstract Wavy Ribbon
10. Tracing Photo
11. Vector 3D Lighting Text
12. 3D Graphs
13. Simple Organic Shapes
14. Swirl Mania
15. Soft Water Color Brushes
16. Creating a Ribbon
17. Draw an Ornate Bell
18. Create a Perfect Diamond
19. How to Create a Starfish
20. Abstract Background
Have you created a tutorial that you would like to show off? Do share it with us!
April 11th, 2012
There is a saying that if you want to be good at math, you’ve got to know your formulas. In that same context, if you want to succeed in graphic designing, you have got to know your colors. Colors are the buildings blocks of any artistic design and graphic designers must know how they work, what impact certain color schemes can have and which color combos should they use for various businesses and industries.
Being a good designer means you must be aware of color standards. These are color scales that are used for various printing and digital viewing purposes. They are known as the RGB, CMYK and Pantone color modes.
RGB – RED, GREEN, BLUE
RGB is the native color display mode of CRT monitors, LCD screens and plasma displays. Cameras and scanners also use the RGB mode. Website designs are designed in RGB. This color standard is best for designing website designs, digital images, blog templates and online brochures.
CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key
CMYK is a four color mode that is used especially for printout purposes. Whether it is a billboard poster, a greeting card or magazine print, all make use of CMYK colors. Black cannot be produced in RGB, and for printing, it is one of the most essential colors. The K in CMYK stands for KEY (black). This color standard is best for business cards, stationary designs, t-shirts and other marketing collateral.
PMS – Pantone Colors
Pantone colors are vibrant and solid, which makes them perfect for logo designing. In fact company policies of Logo Design Guru strongly stress that logo designers submit drafts only in Pantone color standard. This is mainly because Pantone offers true solid color which gives the flexibility to convert them into RGB or CMYK, as needed. This saves precious time and money. The best part is that colors will appear the same in print form as they do on screen.
We hope that now you have a much better understanding of colors standards. Knowing which color standard to use is one of the most fundamental steps that many graphic designers get wrong. The information mentioned above will prevent that from happening and ensure that you start every project on a positive step and in the right direction.
April 6th, 2012
Easter marks the end of Lent, the Holy Week, and concludes a period of thought, prayer and worship. Its message revolves around love and peace for family, friends, and all mankind. This religious event also brings with it lots of fun, joy and laughter in the form of colorful Easter eggs and those exciting Easter Egg hunts that children love so much.
In the spirit of Easter, today’s post will showcase 25 amazing logo designs that use the two images that have become absolutely synonymous with the Easter event – Egg and Rabbit.
Egg Symbol in Logo Design
The egg symbol is associated with Easter because of the famous Easter Egg Hunts that children absolutely love and look forward to. In logo design the ‘egg’ symbol represents freshness, newness, birth, revival and regeneration. Depending on the industry, the egg symbol can come to mean different things. Used in the food industry it can mean health while in the entertainment industry it can come to mean basic goodness or even used in terms of craziness or to show the goofy side like calling someone an ‘egg head’.
Rabbit Symbol in Logo Design
The idea of the Easter Bunny originated in the United States during the 18th century and from there it took on a life of its own. From Easter T-shirts to Easter coffee mugs, the rabbit is a central figure it any portrait, image or logo design.
Rabbit represents energy and speed as they are known to be fast runners. Many businesses like to use the rabbit symbol to show that their company is ‘quick’ in action taking, can ‘jump’ over obstacles and is capable of ‘multiplying’ profits for their clients. Some businesses in the clothes and kids industries also like to use the rabbit symbol which can mean anything from cute to soft, magical and feminine, depending on the use of the symbol and the colors employed.
I hope you enjoyed this post as well as the logo selections. Happy Easter to Everyone!
Image Courtesy: MycroBurst.com, LogoPond.com & LogoFaves.com
April 3rd, 2012