Archive for July, 2012
Graphic designers and graphic design projects have one thing in common; both are in abundant supply. Graphic designers are always in the search for projects that are both lucrative and demanding enough to push their creative limits. The idea is to stay involved in new projects but to still keep oneself reachable and marketable to others at the same time.
Today’s we will uncover some secrets that will help make designers more marketable and ensure that new projects keep coming in.
Stay Active In Your Professional Network
One of the first things to consider is your current professional network. The number one benefit of maintaining an active professional network is that you are able to stay informed of any new development, trends and opportunities in the graphic design industry. It is great starting point to look for new work and to get valuable information about rewarding design projects. Stay active in your professional network whether it is on a community platform or a social media site. Engage in conversations; let people know you are there.
Let Everyone Know That You Know Your Stuff
Blogging is a great platform to establish yourself as a reputable professional. Many designers maintain an active graphic design blog where they share their professional work experience and offer practical advice. However, maintaining your blog shouldn’t be the only thing you do. Visit graphic design forums to get involved in discussions and help others. Establish yourself as a credible go-to person when it comes to design advice.
Showcase Your Design Work
In addition to sharing your experience and offering advice, show the viewers something they will never be able to resist, a glimpse of your actual work (provided it is allowed in your contract). Employers are particularly keen about seeing design drafts because it gives them a good idea of how capable you are and what kind of work you have done. Maintain an active online portfolio, either on a design website or your own blog. This is the best place for designers to show off their talent to thousands of potential employers instantly.
Utilize Social Media To Your Advantage
Social media has had a powerful impact on the success of graphic designers. A good designer is reachable through social media platforms like Facebook and Google+ and they are excellent platforms to take advantage of. Both allow users to include a banner on their personal page which designers can use to include some of their most artistic and appealing work. It helps give the page a designer’s touch and speaks volumes about your skills.
Advertize Yourself Smartly
In the end, that’s the main goal behind designers making themselves so reachable, to better advertize their services. There are many ways to go about that, both paid and unpaid. Guest posting on other design blogs is a great way to advertize yourself. Not only will it get you noticed in the design community, it gets you mentioned too. Write tutorials for your design community and actively participate in online discussions.
In case you haven’t noticed, the above tips are primarily geared towards establishing yourself as a reputable, professional graphic designer. These practices will make you the go-to source for graphic design and when you get to this point, new and exciting projects will start coming in.
The hard working designers look for design projects, the smart ones let design opportunities come to them.
July 27th, 2012
Logo designs are all about capturing the audience and impacting it in a positive way. This way you are remembered and chosen first over your competition. Obviously one nifty company logo alone will not have that impact. Your designs all have to be equally good to leave an everlasting impression on your customers.
Today’s post will focus solely on the impression your logo designs have. What do clients say about your logo? Is it creating a good first impression? They say that the first impression is the last impression; I believe this hold true regarding logos. It is imperative for companies to create an everlasting impression in order to establish themselves in the market. They have to get it right the first time around.
What Do YOU think about your Logo Design?
A great way of determining how your logo will be perceived by your customers is to become a critic yourself. During the initial design phase, carefully evaluate the sketches and record your feelings the moment you look at the logo. Some of these feelings will either be a gut reaction or just your subconscious kicking in. And even thought it may lack reasoning, it is still a very worthwhile feeling to consider in your calculations. The chances are that the way you feel about your design is the same way the viewers will. If you are not satisfied with the draft, make changes then and there.
Factors That Make a Logo Design Stand Out
A good logo design generally follows two conventional attributes:
Some of the most iconic logos today are very simple in their design. Take the GAP logo for example. They had a simple and straightforward design initially. They tried re-branding it with an altered version, only to see disastrous results which compelled them to go back to the original logo.
Noteworthy Examples of Logo Re-branding
To illustrate our point, below we will highlight some noteworthy examples of logos that underwent considerable change to capture their target audience.
The NFL Logo is a classic example of how keeping things simple can positively impact a logo. They kept the red, white and blue color theme the same in the new logo (on the right) to match the American flag. However, by reducing the number of stars to eight, they actually brought more meaning to the logo because now each star represents the 8 AFC and NFC divisions.
Toys R Us logo is yet another example of simplicity and creativity blending together. The company decided to drop the double quotes from the letter ‘R’ and placed a star in it to make the logo stand out more. The new logo was well received by the audience and it helped improve the company brand immensely.
A great example of adding a tag line to your logo, Red Lobster redesigned a really elegant logo for their business back in 2010. The move also came about as a result of the restaurants newly designed interiors and refreshed new menu; their customers loved the new logo for its simplicity.
Ask For Critiques
In any event, viewers are the ultimate judge of your logo and they will give you feedback. When unsure about a logo, one of the best things you can do is go for a beta testing. It’s something I like to do when creating logos. Show your final logo to a few potential users or people who buy the kind of stuff you offer and ask for their initial reaction. Do they trust the logo? Does it represent the right feel for the company? This usually helps.
Creating a good first impression with your logo designs is not always an easy task. However, by sticking to the basics and coming with a truly unique concept, your designs will come out on top.
July 22nd, 2012
When you are working with deadlines, it is crucial to have a time management system in place to ensure that work progresses smoothly. Yet sometimes, things get out of hand which results in poorly managed projects and frustration. For professionals that work primarily around deadlines, this is a disaster. This is familiar territory to many graphic designers. It is important for designers to work on their time management skills and put a solid system in place.
Here are a few proven tips that will help designers manage their work load and ensure that deadlines are met.
Keep a Daily Calendar – People generally look at calendars to record events. Designers should do the same when it comes to deadlines. Have a calendar nearby and mark important details about your projects on it and when it’s due. This will give you a good idea of what lies ahead and help you manage your projects accordingly.
Use a Smartphone… Smartly – If you own a Smartphone, chances are it comes with a daily planner. Use it. From a client meeting to feedback sessions, you should record it in your Smartphone. Some of the most successful graphic designers consult their planner on a daily basis. You have to be smart about utilizing your time throughout the day and Smartphones are crucial to achieving that.
Set up a Base Camp – Yes, you heard it right! Setup a base camp on your computer, which is a software that graphic designers can use to simplify management of their projects and to collaborate with other designers and clients. While using it, graphic designers can oversee multiple projects at a time and get a very good idea of their workload up ahead.
Organize & Categorize – This seems easier said than done. Sometimes in an effort to do things quickly we just copy paste or save files to our desktop, thinking that we will remove them later. This leads to a huge mess of files. Take some time out every week and clean up the mess! Organize files into folders and categorize them according to your needs. Keep separate old and new files, images, upcoming projects, client contacts etc. Trust me; you will thank yourself for this later!
Learn to Say No – Some designers often make the mistake of signing up for too many design projects at the same time. This might seem rewarding initially, but it’s actually a very bad practice. Too many projects can easily overwhelm any designer. Even though no one wants to let a good opportunity pass by, you have to be honest with yourself.
If you think that you will be unable to deliver a quality design in a quick amount of time, then you need to pass on that opportunity. Learn to say no, politely. It will save you time and more importantly, it will keep your reputation intact.
I hope that these time management skills will help improve your work ethic and make you more efficient. It surely will be noticed by your peers and clients and establish you as a credible, competent and objective driven graphic designer.
July 16th, 2012
Graphic design is an ever changing, ever evolving arena. Every year pushes the boundaries of creativity and imagination a few steps further. Some become trend setters and introduce new concepts to the world, while others fall into a design trap and end up learning the hard way.
Let’s go through some of these traps to help novice logo designers (and even experienced ones) in becoming safe practitioners of this art and avoid making graphic design mistakes. Designers become victims of these design traps as a result of too much experimentation and imagination, or the lack thereof. While logo designers are always encouraged to be creative and try new things, it should never be done at the cost of losing basic fundamentals.
Design Trap #1 – Redefining the Predefined
This translates to slightly editing a pre-existing logo, created by someone else, with a few unique touches and calling it your own. Some designers create derivative concepts and steal ideas in order to save time.
There are no short cuts in graphic design. The entire concept of creating something unique depends on the designer’s ability. Don’t be remembered for work that was already done by someone else.
Design Trap #2 – Using Graphic Symbols
This is one of the easiest traps to fall into. If you have used any graphic design software, you have come across graphic symbols. These are free tools that come with the design programs. While the software itself is licensed the symbols aren’t, which means that every symbol uses the same brushes. This leaves the window of trademark infringement wide open.
Bottom line – Create your own logo designs and symbols.
Design Trap #3 – Opting For Graphic Brushes
Just like symbols, graphic brushes are tools embedded in most modern day graphic design software. Unlike graphic symbols, logo designers can get away with using graphic brushes if they are applied carefully and are only used as a supporting element.
Never base your designs on these brushes, too many uses can lead to trademark infringement. A good logo designer should only rely on his/her creative instinct to come up with new concepts.
Design Trap #4 – Choosing RGB & CMYK Color Standards
Versatility is one attribute that clients will not hesitate to reward you for. Using RGB or CMYK color schemes, when at times seems like a good option, there limitations. If a client receives a design in RGB or CMYK and wants to change the medium of their design, they will run into issues. The client will either have the designer redo everything from scratch or be forced to pay someone to adjust it.
Using the Pantone color scheme will give the client flexibility to print their logo designs on any medium they see fit. Similarly sending in raster files is a big no-no. You should send your client vector files as these are easily scalable.
Design Trap #5 – Adding Special Effects
Some new logo designers think that adding special effects will make their logo look extra special; this is not the case. Special effects generally make a logo appear childish and cheap. Avoid these effects, unless specifically requested by the client.
If you want to establish yourself as a serious logo designer, you need to stop making these easily overlooked graphic design mistakes. Protect your reputation and don’t fall for a design trap!
Did we miss out on any design trap? Help us add to this list. Send us your feedback.
July 11th, 2012
A way for designers to keep up-to-date on the latest trends is to read graphic design books! Luckily, there are many affordable and quality design books to choose from.
Let’s highlight a few books that designers should get their hands on. Not only are they informative, they are also quite interesting. And best of all, they cost less than $25!
Author: Ellen Lupton & Jennifer Cole Phillips
Price: About $24
This book by Ellen Lupton is a great revisit to the basics that designers often overlook. Through visual representations, the writer encourages designers to abandon the cut and paste mentality and instead offer something unique. What I liked most about the book was the brief commentary that demonstrates design fundamentals. Both professionals and students can benefit from this book.
Author: Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith & Fred Gerantabee
Price: About $24
I just love some of the dummy guides! They are especially great for new designers and students. This one is a must-have for graphic designers who have are learning to use Adobe’s Creative Suite or are currently exploring its various individual programs. This book essentially contains essentially 8 books in one and reviews each program of Creative Suite individually. If you are a beginner with using Adobe Creative Suite then this is one book you do not want to miss out on!
Author: David Sherwin
Price: About $16
This book has the right inspiration for turning ideas into designs. Designers that want to experiment with new ideas and concepts to impress clients will find this book a great read. It is full of exercises that graphic designers can use as homework to broaden their skills.
The 80 challenges are essentially mini-design projects that are meant to challenge designers to think outside the box and to also give them a taste of real life design projects. Each exercise includes visual solutions from other designers, including their background experiences to further enhance the reader’s creative arsenal.
Author: Bryony Gomez-Palacio
Price: About $24
To get a better grasp of things, it is always better to get a good understanding of its history which is the objective of this book. Designers will find historical moments in graphic design arena and landmark projects in this book. They will also get to meet some of the gurus of the graphic design industry. There are over 2000 design projects mentioned in the book, thus there’s a lot to learn from!
The author has divided the book into four sections including: Principles (discusses graphic design ideas and concepts), Knowledge (lists resources, online and off, related to graphic design), Representatives (designers, graphic gurus) and Practice (illustrates practical, real life design examples).
Author: Debbie Millman
The author of this book, Debbie Millman has been in the design industry for over 25 years. How do successful graphic designers think? What skills do they have and how they acquired them? This book peaks inside some of the most creative minds in the business. It is filled with detailed interviews of prominent design gurus such as David Carson and Milton Glaser. They both share their thought process, design approaches, opinions and experiences. This is an invaluable guide for any designer.
Author: Adams Morioka
Price: Under $15
Not many books talk only about colors; most that do only devote a couple of chapters to it. Adams Morioka saw the need and put together an entire book on this very important subject. Graphic designers need to understand color concepts from the very beginning. Topics like color theory, color index, color mixing and color composition should be all too familiar to them. In this book, the reader gets a detailed account of all things related to color including the foundation concepts.
Author: Adam Judge
Flipping through the pages of this book, readers will find specific design principles shared by the author along with some common client issues that designers run into. For example, the book talks about client’s persistence on things they may not be familiar with it. This book will help to explain these types of situations, which is something all graphic designers can relate to.
There are a multitude of inexpensive design books and we could go on forever discussing them. No matter the book, the thing to take away is the practical experiences mentioned along with the in-depth technical explanation. These have broadened by mind and I am sure readers will feel the same way. Bottom line, you will be a better designer after reading these books.
July 5th, 2012
Creative Block is known to render one useless. It’s feared and dreaded by all creative individuals. Even graphic and logo designers are prone to this. While this block can last for days and sometimes even months, today we aim to show you how to make the best of it. If you are a graphic or logo designer suffering from a creative block, here are a few tips and tricks that can help you relieve stress and get your creative juices flowing again.
Check out our infographic below and learn to determine the causes so you can deal with your creative block more effectively.
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July 2nd, 2012