Archive for the 'Tips and Tricks' Category
Graphic design can be hectic and grueling, particularly for freelancers since they are usually involved in multiple design projects at once. Stress can become intense and could impact their creativity and their motivation as well. This can cause trouble for the designer. I’ve got a few tricks to help designers motivate themselves out of this trouble.
Step Away From Work
The first thing to do is to simply step back from what is causing your lack of motivation. In most cases, that thing is work. Of course, a vacation may not be affordable but if you can spare a day or two away to recharge can be effective. Take that time to do things you love, like a hobby or visit with friends. This can help to remove any negative energy and revitalize you.
Listen To Music
We all have thousands of songs on our Smartphones and computers, music is a great way to reduce stress, relax and boost motivation. If things get stressful, take a few minutes and crank up your favorite playlist. Or better yet, listen to upbeat music while working. Either will definitely give you an energy boost.
Visit a Gallery
Art galleries are great way to gain motivation and inspiration. Graphic designers are very artistic and sometimes revisiting old school art galleries will help you out of a rough patch. Check out any art exhibitions going on in your local area and visit them or attend art festivals. There is typically always something going on nearby.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy body helps maintain a healthy mind. This means eat healthy, participate in fun activities and get plenty of sleep. As a designer, I can’t stress the importance of sleep. If you are not getting plenty of rest (suggested 6-8 hours), you will not be able to perform at your best.
Read a Book
Those who enjoy reading find it very relaxing. Find a book that suits your taste. If you’re not sure what you’d like, visit a local book store and browse through the selection. You might even find something interesting that you could help you with your next design project.
Take a Vacation
It’s the same as stepping away from work, but this one lasts a little longer. If a long weekend isn’t enough for you, consider a longer vacation to completely take your mind of things. When you come back, you will be fully refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Finding motivation is not as hard as it might seem. As a general precaution, graphic designers should take a break after finishing a few projects. If you have extra time for yourself, by all means do it. It’s a good way to keep your brain fresh and thinking creatively.
November 4th, 2012
Every profession has its own set of rules and graphic design is no different. It is an ever evolving field, however the basics remain the same. We have stressed the importance of following a few essential rules time and time again. New designers (specifically) cannot do without these and avoiding basic rules can lead to an untimely death of your career.
Today we wish to imply the significance of these rules once again. New logo designers should consider these rules their 10 Commandments and live by them.
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October 24th, 2012
One question leaves even the most experienced designers puzzled, what font type is the right one? There are hundreds of font types today. New ones are evolving all the time and some traditional ones are still around, being referred to as the ‘go to’ fonts. But the question remains, what font type is the best for any logo or web design project? To answer this, let’s go over a few key points.
It’s All about Your Target Audience
What you want to express and how you want to express it will depend on the target audience. Who are they, where are they located, how old are they and what do they do for a living? Designers are typically given this information beforehand and it should be used wisely. Young audiences respond to bold and stylish fonts while an older audience would prefer a more professional look.
Understand the Content
Knowing what fonts to use requires analyzing and understanding the content itself. Content will contain the product or service being sold, along with additional information to entice customers. Designers need to know which is which in order to use appropriate fonts to highlight, emphasize and convey the message successfully.
Be Sure It’s Legible
After you’ve used a font, can you tell what it says? Look for certain elements such as the width of its strokes and novel type design elements to determine. Decorative fonts tend to have low legibility, whereas font types used in newspaper are more legible. A few ways to improve legibility is to ensure enough space between letters, the use of conventional fonts or those with a tall x-height.
Trust Your Gut Feeling
At times you will come across fonts that you will feel are the right ones, trust that. Gut feelings count for a lot in this field. However, designers should be smart about and make sure they can also justify their selection based on other aspects of the font such as visual appeal, legibility, white space and font height.
Choosing the best font type isn’t impossible. With a little bit of imagination and research, designers can finalize a few good options for their design project. There are so many different types of fonts available, not one designer can claim to have tried all of them. Designers end up refining their font selection, sticking with half a dozen good options and expanding when needed.
October 22nd, 2012
Being creative is a must-have attribute for any graphic designer that strives to survive in this field. It won’t matter how exceptional they are with graphic design tools if they lack the ability to be creative. Mediocre designs just won’t do in today’s competitive market!
Fortunately, through hard work and dedication creativity can be strengthened. There are some very useful and successful ways for designers to bolster their creativity, improve their thought process and get better prepared for challenging design prospects. Let’s lay down the road map to creativity.
Start Off with some Brainstorming
This is my personal favorite; it has brought me huge success over the years. I highly recommend it for all designers regardless of experience. Brainstorming is a way to gather ideas by racking your brain for ideas and imagining all different concepts. Writing down everything during your brainstorming session can help a lot when designing for a new project. Every detail, sketch, shape, — really whatever comes to mind, write it down. You now have a starting point and can eliminate the ideas you’re not too keen on.
Take a Break
Every designer can get burnt out. It tends to happen when you’re so involved with a design and you may start to lose your creative edge. This is particularly true for freelancers that are involved with multiple projects at once. I have experienced it myself. One of the best ways to avoid burning out is to take a break. But, this doesn’t mean to abandon all projects. If you are in between projects, a good strategy is to take a break to allow yourself some time to get re-inspired.
Create a Piece of Art
A different kind than usual, this time use an actual pencil and even a paint brush. Graphic design tools are definitely amazing, but sometimes going old school helps to dip into new creativity. Painting is a great way to relieve stress and to improve your artistic mindset.
Look at Other Designs for Inspiration
After brainstorming, I find this to be the next thing that helps my creativity. There are a ton of designs on the Internet and I am always amazed at some of the ideas I come across. Some are so good that I make a mental note to use them for inspiration in the future.
Analyzing your client’s competitors is another way to get new perspective into a certain field quickly. But this NEVER means that a designer should copy or create derivatives from others’ work. Use the designs as inspiration and always be original.
Get Some Rest
Sleep deprivation can impact your performance. Since graphic design projects take up a lot of brain power, sleep plays a pivotal role in a designer’s success and the ability to come up with unique designs. Eight hours of sleep is typically recommended.
As a child, most of us are creative. The idea is to remain as curious and creative throughout our lives. What makes a designer stand apart is their imagination and ability to see things some people cannot. There are no quick ways to becoming creative, but these points will steer you in the right direction.
October 15th, 2012
In my opinion, there are two types of designers in this world – trained and untrained. Those that have been trained are well equipped to handle challenges ahead and tasks at hand. In an effort to be fully prepared, web designers attend school and spend countless hours in design labs. That design diploma, along with a portfolio, is their key to seek new design opportunities.
While school teaches you the main foundations of your field, there are important skills that you can only learn from experience in the design field.
1. Difference between School & Design Projects
Web design schools do their best to give assignments that closely resemble the practical world. However, they tend to be a few steps behind. One reason is because the constant advances in technology and updates in design trends. This creates a big gap between a school project and a design project. Your grade depends on one, but your career depends on the other.
2. Become an Expert
There are thousands of web designers out there vying for the same job. Becoming an expert will distinguish and establish you as the go-to source in web design. If you have a certain talent, always be sure to highlight it. Master your craft in every aspect and market yourself to become a well-known expert in that niche.
3. Low Budget Equals Hands on Client
All companies have a budget they must follow, web design included. Professional designers agree that clients who have a higher budget for web design tend to allow more freedom during the design process. A company with a lower budget tends to be more hands on. They’ll probably analyze and critique the design process because of the limited budget. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work for clients on a low budget; you’ll have to work with smaller companies to build your portfolio. Take it step by step and work your way up.
4. The Design Project is the Client’s
Designers sometimes lose sight of this. Once a project is finished, clients are free to make changes which can alter or distort the overall look of the website. Those designers who tend to get frustrated with this, remember, that it is the client’s website after all. Give them advice, guide them and provide additional services but don’t get mad if they want things their way.
5. Keep the User in Mind
This is a big one. Web designers keep their client in mind when designing a website, but they should also consider the user. After all, user experience is what counts the most. The more comfortable users are with the website design and its navigation, the more likely they are to return to it. Develop a thorough understanding of the users’ needs and requirements.
These points are good ones, but do not confuse the message behind this post. It is not meant to discourage people from learning about web design, it’s meant to give an idea of the professional world that awaits designers after school. Don’t be intimidated; just understand how big this industry is. You can accomplish a lot, all you need to do is work harder and stick with the basics.
September 18th, 2012
Designing a logo or a website requires a great deal of depth, focus and creativity. The entire design process can be a complex and difficult task, demanding attention to every single detail. In a way, it can be compared to putty that craftsmen use to carefully shape an object of their choosing. One small mistake and the end-product can be ruined. The same is the case with graphic and web design, one bad decision can be the difference between a masterpiece and a design fail.
No matter how big or small a project is, it is easy to get side-tracked and end up creating something that was never needed in the first place. Today we’ll go over how to avoid bad design decisions. These are a few simple practices that have proven to make the overall design process smoother and easier.
Read the Brief Carefully
Oftentimes, the main reason a bad design happens is from not reading the creative brief carefully. A project’s creative brief is a detailed document that outlines all the requirements for the needed design. These requirements are set by the client, thus it must be carefully reviewed. Attention must be given to every word of this document as it outlines the dos and don’ts of the entire project. No client wants to hear the excuse “I didn’t read that…”
Don’t Guess, Ask Questions
Guessing will not get you far in this field. Anytime a part of the design project is unclear, contact the client right away. When it comes to graphic design, never leave anything to guessing. You’ll have a better chance of creating the design a client wants/needs by working the problem and asking questions. Don’t make it worse by guessing.
Submit Drafts & Discuss
Giving the client a draft of your work is a great way to offset a possible bad decision. If the client sees something they don’t like, they will point it out right away. This way, you’ll be able to take a different approach and alter your design strategy.
For logo design, be sure to submit a number of drafts with different color schemes and a different concepts. For web design, show your client the site templates you prepared and ask for their feedback. Make sure you ask your client to review the design drafts for you.
Research Before Starting a Project
The beauty of the graphic design field is that it gives designers the opportunity to work on different things at any given time. They are not bound to the same boring routine. Each project is something different and brings a different challenge; it’s like solving a new puzzle all over again.
With that being said, designers should carefully research the industry that they are getting working with. This includes a detailed competitor analysis in terms of how they went about their logo or web design. It can greatly help you in your project.
As some of you may have already noticed, a bad design decision is not triggered by a bad design strategy, but by wrong information. The more accurate and relevant information a designer has, the less likely he or she is to make a bad design decision. Be sure to always read the design brief over and over, keep dialogue open with the client and keep them up-to-date on all the latest design developments. This will assure you that the end design is something your client can’t live without.
September 11th, 2012
One of the primary goals of Logo Design Guru has been to ensure that all of our design contests go smoothly from beginning to end. To ensure a seamless process, our team has developed tools and features to benefit out project holders and designers! One such feature is the Star Rating System, implemented on all contests.
Star Rating System
Star ratings are the little stars you see in the bottom right corner of every design draft at a contest. These ratings are no different than ratings given by movie critics. Based on these ratings, audiences determine whether or not a movie is worth seeing. In the same context, star ratings are given by project holders at contests. These let designers know what the project holder thinks of their draft.
What do the stars mean?
As mentioned earlier, star ratings represent what the project holders think about design drafts. Here is a quick reference table that explains what the number of stars given means:
I wanted to highlight the importance of star ratings. They are not just a way for clients to express satisfaction, but they help motivate designers. They tell the designer whether or not they’re designing in the right direction. It helps them to realize what direction they need to take so that future drafts are better. This is why client feedback is so important.
Even since we implemented this tool across the board, we’ve seen the quality of designs improved by leaps and bound. The client satisfaction rate has also improved. I encourage all contest holders to provide feedback on each draft submitted to get the most designs at their contest.
August 27th, 2012