Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Land, Air, and Sea

If you think a screaming infant and two incredibly indulged children screaming sitting on either side of you can start your trip off wrong. Think again. All it takes is a day at sea on the winner of the 2000 America's Cup in New Zealand. All your troubles will sail away across the ocean while you are trying to keep your point against the wind! Seems like it can't get better than this.

Monday, February 11, 2013

10 Myths About Graphic Design

Graphic Design is Easy
One of the biggest misconceptions about graphic design is that it is easy to be a graphic designer. But in reality, graphic design is just the same as other jobs that require experience, knowledge and dedication. In fact, we haven't just trained in Photoshop. We also must be proficient in Illustrator, In Design, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Bridge, Word and Pages, Excel and Numbers, Power Point and Keynote, and keep track of our books in Quick Books as well!  And for those of us that work in these medias we must also know, Dreamweaver, Flash, Word Press, Templates from many sources, Lightroom, Elements, I Movie, After Effects, Constant Contact or other email blast programs.

Then we have to make sure we know how to link all that together to send something to press, or upload, or make it small enough to send!

We must be able to design packaging to billboards, logos to web sites.  We must be creative, while tasking our brains to take in constantly changing software, coding, and specs. We must also be able to trouble shoot our computers, because we ask them for the world when it comes to computing. Our processors must be fast, and our software must be updated, and if we are not fighting the cloud, we better have tons of storage!

Graphic Designers Charge too Much
As much as we want it to be true, graphic designers are not getting rich quick. Most often we are the first people to be cut from the budget, and our job is given to the receptionist because she knows "Word".

Our software isn't a $100 or $500 dollars, add on a zero and to every dreaded update also. Our computers were purchased with running all that software in mind, and cost much more than the average computer that I.T. sticks on every desk in the office.

Generally every project takes more time than expected, and we will always work until the client is pleased. Be assured in our business, the client that offers "on going work" for reduced hourly rates, will move on after the first project.

If you are hiring a full time graphic designer, we probably love what we do, love the creative process, have picked a career that may not make us part of the 1%, but we do like to eat and need electricity and shelter to keep the computer from shorting out.

Graphic Designers Are Mind Readers
As a graphic designer, we'd like the ability to mind read, but alas, coding took up that last bit of space up there, and it is not possible. A good graphic designer that has not worked with you in the past will have a list of questions, that may seem irrelevant, and/or repetitive, but are of great importance to providing you with a design that is close to your vision.  Each little tidbit of information is a clue to better understanding your needs.

Vague and indecipherable directions, in a quick email can become a time vampire for both client and designer. We may sit and try to understand it, or leave it and come back to it, hoping some understanding will come after lunch! But when it doesn't and we've spent valuable, un-billable time, we must reply - Subject: Little Help Please!

Take some time to get all your thoughts out, send examples of things that may have sparked your interest, or that you don't like, and spell check if you are sending from an "auto correcting" device, as "I need a log for a receipt.", may send me to the wood mill looking for little logs.

The Customer is Always Right
Here's a touchy subject! A designer needs your input ie: Myth #8. And then eventually, it is in your best interest to let the designer have some creative freedom to give you his or her best work. Graphic designers make use of styles and techniques to create a design and apply what we have learned over the years to make a good and effective design for each project. Be assured that we want every piece to be portfolio worthy! We are always putting our best foot forward. 

Often 20 of your friends have 20 different opinions, and it's best to go with your gut reaction to the designs presented. In fact, you may want to treat your design projects like "baby names" and present them to the world after your project is finished. You may have heard the following proverb, "Too many cooks, spoil the broth."? It can be very true in our business.

Designers Rule
Let’s add up Myth #8 (Great, focused input from a client) + Myth #7 (Giving the designer some room to be creative) and what you will get is several great design ideas!! Not 56 designs that end up getting trashed!  Design is a collaborative process between the designer and the client to achieve the desired output. So the designer is not the ruler, but it’s in our best interest to use one!

Graphic Designers Are Magicians
With the help of computers, designers can execute their work faster and with more efficiency, but asking for a designer to do a design or fix a design in just a matter of hours is a fallacy. No good design comes from rushed work. Designers carefully make plans and research before starting a design project. We think about the process and the method that should be employed in the production and are simultaneously creating your original artwork!

Education Stops After Graduation
One of the keys to staying current is ongoing training. There are a lot of videos on line, but up-to-date training of the latest software versions are generally done in a seminar, as well as books, and magazines. And as quick as we learn it, it changes!!

Born Creative 
I do believe people are born with talent, or inherit it. But, I also believe that it can be nurtured in a child. Exposure to the right influences and environments can really develop a love of taking create risks in life.  Artists and designers or creatives, if you will, are forward or out of the box thinkers. I don't really know what the "box" is or what's in it, but I don't want it in my studio or house.

Sometimes the best designs are ones that those 20 best friends are telling you to shy away from. Great design is never copied, great design comes out of nowhere and sweeps you off your feet!

Design Is Only Done On The Computer 
It may seem old fashioned, but never undervalue creating rough sketches on paper. Many mini mock-ups can be done rapidly in sketch form. Many designers still utilize this form of quick sketching to get ideas flowing. Although, it is rare to present "final sketches" to a client anymore, it might be great to ask the designer to see these before they take them to the computer.

The computer and Adobe, has been great for our industry, but it also has turned every potential mock-up into final artwork.  (Designers know that even though a mock-up is done on the computer, it is not final art, but to the lay person, it may looks like it!)

Anyone Can Be A Graphic Designer 
Clients are doing more and more on their own and there are many resources available on line to help you build your own web site, or to grab a stock logo, not to mention free fonts, and so many tools a mere google search away.

Being a graphic designer is a lifestyle. Creatives are creative because they have an eye for trends, have been trained in the best design practices, and are up to date with technology. We do extensive study and research, have experience with what works and what doesn't, and we can put that to work for our clients.

A person or company is always better suited to running their company and hiring an expert to get their design project done right the first time. So even though you might be tempted to "do it yourself", you will probably make more money building your business, in the time it took to pick the perfect "theme" that 4,000 of your best friends have already picked. Give a graphic designer a chance to bid your job, and build an identity that can carry over from your business cards to your blog.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pantone's color of the year announcement usually comes with psycho-sociological musings from experts about how the new hue is "encouraging and uplifting" (Honeysuckle in 2011), or evocative of "hope and reassurance" (Mimosa in 2009), or suggestive of "a touch of exoticism" that's just right for the times (Tigerlily in 2004). This year, we'll just say it plainly: Pantone's color of the year for 2013 is Emerald.
It's green.
Just how influential will Pantone's annual choice turn out to be? Hard to say. Color forecasters, manufacturers and store buyers do put some stock in the selection, if anything because the announcement has become something of a marketing juggernaut unto itself.
The Pantone press release issued Wednesday night cited an emerald-hued Pantone-Sephora beauty collection to be released in the spring, as well as spring fashion collections by Tracy Reese, Nanette Lepore and Marimekko that use Emerald as part of their palettes.
But in the color-of-the-year derby, the paint company Sherwin-Williams named a midcentury-tinged blue called Aloe -- "a hint of mint and lots of moxie" -- as its top hue for 2013.
Not to be outdone, Benjamin Moore has named Lemon Sorbet as its color of year for 2013, a "whispery tint" that is "evocative of the [economic] uptick."
L.A. craft maven Cathy Callahan said she has been using teal and turquoise in her work and has been thinking about adding mint, "as it's supposed to be the 'it' color for spring," she said. "So I'm not on board yet with Emerald, but I guess I'll have to give it a thought." 
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