Inspire others to inspire you.
Inspire others to inspire you.
Concordance is the most common rule that I'm aware of. But most importantly, balance and symmetry in the blocks of copy they create. When objectively defining type pairs, I think it's important to consider the type of content, space it's being seen in, and the message it's communicating. There is not a generic rule. And I'm confessing to a crime I repeatedly commit: I shot the serif.
A logo is the introduction, and the sign-off. Nothing more than familiarity, thereafter. It is the epistemological value most associated with a brand, and how the person has experienced the idea, product or service (ips) of a brand. I consider it to be the single-minded key thought an individual has about an ips. This is not the single-minded key thought an advertiser broadcasts to them, but the one they have after they've experienced the ips, for themselves. It's how a person sums up this experience in their mind, how they recall it, and how they gauge it against other experiences. This is what it eventually becomes. I'll add, like all introductions: A logo should be clear, terse, unique and respect the prospect or its own content. And like a good sign-off, know when it's time to go, and how to do it in a memorable way, without offending. If you're lucky, you're a company that teaches and informs, with selling only as an extension thereafter. In this case, a logo can take on emergent qualities that begin to resemble metaphors for people. It's at this stage that someone tries to infer or inject these metaphors into the logo. In my experience, this is a bad idea. Logos are often tasked with to much information in an effort to say everything a company thinks, does, or feels, but we know that's not how we make introductions to people in casual or candid settings. Someone notices us, we make eye contact, we've got 1 or 2 key things of note to say, and then we listen (or vice versa). A good logo is an identifier first and foremost. At best/worse, it's a contrast to what may already be out there. Having said this, and in an attempt to make this a cohesive thought: The impact of a logo is relative to the context it's experienced in.
I do not believe roles should always be adhered to, or rigid in executional aspects. Especially given that seasoned designers have learned a great deal more about design and have the ability to overalp, negating the need for other positions. A model should be defined and built around the team itself, and the objectives that need to be met in order for the work to be a success. There are a lot of hybrids these days, both as fulltime employees and contractors. And clients don't know how and unfortunately, some 'managers' couldn't effectively evaluate process and structure without someone have already defined one for them. Which is to say, when it's new, there is nothing to gauge it by. Be willing to be new. It's what clients are paying for. Roles typically depend on the size of the project, the amount of people that need to approve it, and how marginalized a team's abilities are in an effort to create a factory assembly line for design. There is a belief that a designer is simply a hand, while 10 people are the head. This is destructive, and usually hinders, if not squashes, new design patterns and techniques. A designer is a problem solver, first and foremost. If the information used to inform the design is constantly changing, then the design needs to be re-evaluated in contrast with the new information. Put another way, personal opinions have no place in the design process. I highly respect the roles people play, but I appreciate when they're given the ability to look at and participate in other aspects of the same problem. Ideas and solutions can come from anyone, but it's usually one or two writs that are responsible for creating it. And once we actually have something tangible to look at; experience—tangible, the real thinking begins. Stick to the facts and information, try not to infer or inject personal tastes into your branding and marketing. If you're going to fill the room with words, let a professional designer handle the pictures. And understand that a narrowed perspective is just that, narrowed. If you're working within the mass market, narrowed isn't always the best focus.
I was recently asked about my personal identity—if I have one; how often it's updated; the process behind it. The short, concise answer:My work is my identity. My rationale:The last thing I want a perspective client to think is: It's a nice style.While many designers capitalize on styles, I prefer to use design as a toolset for solving problems relative to their respective challenges, versus capitalizing on styles. I've never invested in my own identity as a brand or logo. I have a DBA that I use occasionally, but its been simplified to a lifeless mark. In a sense, in an attempt to appeal to all, its evolved by removing attributes—not adding. Styles are transparent as new design begets new design. As business and technological problems evolve, design and the communication arts must follow in order to remain contemporary. Thus, we have new styles emerge as a solution to a unique problem. And then homogenized by others in an attempt to solve a similar problem. Or a client themselves may assume it's infallible as a solution. For better or worse, old and new, abstract or literal, illustrative or computer generated—my work is my identity. My pitch:And most importantly; my clients don't need styles. They need unique and idiosyncratic solutions to their respective problems. If they've subscribed to style as a solution, we should reevaluate their problem(s) and give the problem more analytical thought. This does not include problems that require an existing market to learn about a new idea, product or service. In this case, it's normal to introduce an evolution on what's existing in an attempt to migrate slowly versus abruptly. Software and UI design may call this gradual engagement. Principally speaking, this is very similar. The truth:Having said the above, graphic design does employee a basic and remedial, all though fundmental, set of rules that all designers employ. This could be considered by some to be a style, but it's more or less the equivalent of stating; all architecture requires engineering, craftsman, and interior designers.People often lump artists, illustrators, designers, photographers, and graphic designers into one group. This creates a lot of confusion because, an artist can certainly have an identity based off of their unique styles or techniques. But the end-result of their work isn't always commercial application. And so, they cater to the surveyor whom may simply love their work as it is with no expectations for what 'it should' or 'could be.' Design is considered an art-form. There is one formula with endless results.
A client recently hired me to create a few options to an extremely dense web-based Saas app. This is a small design job, a lot of pixel pushing and color models. Sometimes fun, depending on the application's theme, if it has one. If it doesn't, I often pretend it does. Here are a few recently completed.Some of the design criteria was focused on leaving the grid the same size as it's current width and height. This meant pixel width and height were finite. Tight rows and narrow columns. A few of the options below—explore typefaces as well as color and contrast. Skywalker Stormtropper AT AT Walker Chewbacca Typical
It's not easy getting one of your pieces published. I was recently humbled by learning that I have four logos published in "I Heart Logos", Vol. 3. It's an amazing privilege being featured along side talented designers from around the world. Pick up a copy if you're around a bookstore. In this day and age, it's nice to have some analog memories.Check out I Heart Logos→ website for some amazing work by hundreds of talented designers.
Security and Authenticity will be the new commodityThe Web/Cloud is posed to resolve and de-throne the hucksters within this area of expertise. And Google has a few things brewing that could be really great for all of us, or really bad. On the other hand, as mobile content and desktop-client software ( or Saas ) continually provide opt-in features where users provide validated and quantifiable data about themselves, we may see extremely concise targeting with messaging and communication. Eventually leading to the end of any/all forms of disruptive or intrusive advertising. Interactive will survive, but I believe the definition of the word needs redefining. The technology that supports these mediums is not as ubiquitous as some would have everyone believe. This is not to say that everyone doesn't have access to the hardware that drives it but, rather understanding the software that controls it. Social marketing works because the message has moved from mouth-to-mouth, beyond the communications effort. It's either become a cultural element for some or a sad joke for others. And if this data isn't protected properly, or for some reason it is breached under the umbrella of a major brand, the medium will die all-together. Insert Announcer Voice Reputation Protectors! We'll encrypt your entire life. And sell you back your password, if you forget! (let's hope we don't allow this to happen) Device independenceMobile technology is/has closed a tiny gap between the dichotomy of web users; Searcher and Escapist. In doing so, people do not spend as much time in front of their computers, unless they're working or specifically tending to a few critical tasks. In a sense, they're there to get something done–use the machine as a tool. This gap will be widened again when retail and experiential spaces re-merge as a more engaging way for brands to communicate their ideas and services. You know, because we actually need to see, hear, touch, feel, and express ourselves in the tangible world. Technology will take its place by our waist side. Like most new things, once we've figured out the practicality of the new, we'll begin to reshape it to function more like ourselves versus dealing with the awkwardness of new. I'm not suggesting that the terminal(s) (TV or Computer/Set top box/device X) will lose its place in the home, I'm suggesting it's relegated to a passive experience again. Aging demographics, essentially a maturing person, will alter this a little. It's an X-Factor in my opinion. Brands will have true portals, but they'll be accessed no differently than one changes the channel on their television nowToday, branding can instantly be restructured based on a participant's contribution. Wether positive or negative, a brand can react to the sentiment. I realize that latency in correspondence and response times vary from brand to brand, but eventually (and I hope soon), brands will be operating their own portals. Social networks are obviously too rigid for brands to fully express there ideas, products or services. I've written about this a few times over the years. By nature of the advancement of the mobile space, people spend less time in front of the big screen and more time being mobile. That's the point of smart phones. Subsequently, we may find ourselves with passive media entertainment again, while everything we think about the entertainment or even how we react to it, will be sent to the cloud for aggregation and observation. 'The more free software we use, the less free we are.' Creepy. Anticipate and deliver through aggregation of sentimentAs technology and marketing converge; we slowly go from observation, participation and reciprocation through a permissions-based system to an almost eerily automated anticipate and delivery mechanism. Which would then make most of these anticipate and deliver mechanisms destructive to the greater whole of innovation and collaboration. Which then creates the need for: Value CentersWe've unsuccessfully moved from being noise junkies to noise producers. We need creative value centers. We are coming dangerously close to losing our ability to provide well-thought-out ideas. Let alone, long-term memory retention of the things we've created. Their respective failures and successes are instantly magnified and then consequently reduced to nothing, tossed out, and overwritten. As a rapid-prototyping creative democracy approaches, we forget before we've learned. The most precious of commodities; exchanging, implementation, advancement of ideas through fair and ubiquitous streams of information, can potentially hurt us without a creative value center of some sort... And as the micro-centralized thought/idea people collect, where or how, do we continue to provide unlimited access and information through a synchronized operating system (the internet) without charging people and creating the same depreciated socio-economical walls that exist offline now? The You; We; Me and I in social media will eventually lead to what it has always led to–Us.
Through an email recently, someone asked me what I thought about a campaign they we're presenting. They wanted to know what I felt about it. And If it needed 'more.'
To be honest, I didn't feel anything. Mainly because I was now propositioned to remove myself from the engagement, the experience. I was being asked to step back, and evaluate the work. The problem with this is, consumers don't do that, now do they. I Felt like responding back, "great! you ruined it for me, I can't be excited or inspired or motivated now." Of course, I do this everyday with my work. And all of us wonder how the work will be received by everyone who surveys it. Consumers included. Naturally, I want to sound intelligent now that I've been asked for my 'opinion.' Who wouldn't?
More–NEVER, less, LESS! Naturally this is, ( as any good-hearted, charming and good looking creative would say ) my response before I've evaluated the work. But then reality sets in. Prior experiences come to mind. I found myself asking: What was in the brief? What did the client say? What did their husband specifically request? Their niece? The girl in media who loves fashion advertising. What does the guy that swivels back and forth in his chair all the time, think? Did his CD like it? What was the single-minded thought? Where is this running?
I thought about all of this before I even looked at the work. Sad, isn't it? Bad training. Never even saw the idea–yet, I had all these concerns before the work even had a chance to amaze or disappoint me. It almost failed because I was more concerned with what everyone wanted it to do instead of what the work was actually going to do. Imagine what goes through the head of our clients. 'Creative process' is an oxymoron. Advertising talks to much. Art requires no explanation. The consumer is stuck in the middle.
Allow the concept to create new context. This in-turn creates relevancy. And offers the client a chance to be little more then what they think they are.
My response to the email; Looks good. I like. Funny.
Watch the video below or vist their site→ for more information.
It almost seems like the logical way to experience a movie.
I've been utilizing a lot of these types of models within the past 6 months, as I'm sure a lot of other designers are doing. Here a few of the models that have been introduced to the masses with little resistance and a low learning curve.
Dashboards : Top tiered navigational or user initiated functions located in a fixed or anchored position within the environment (memory retention)
Less iconography : Text based navigation elements while icons are reserved for second or third tier subsets of functions located within the main content (progression and regression within the environment forces elements to become smaller or larger based on the depth of the interactive experience)
Interstitials and pagination of content : While subtle elements were used for kinetics within interactive experiences that introduce new information are still popular, we're seeing more content presented in a linear format that is animated in an obvious and recognizable way. This has led to the more open-space design because more content can be served up with less clutter for the user
Device independence : A lot of designs are very neutral in design, development and function because companies have to rebuild and distribute apps across many different platforms. So you want a design that doesn't require a lot of development, production, and redesign for multiple devices. You want consistency and familiarity across every device
Bandwidth : Clean and subtle designs don't take up a lot of bandwidth
Someone can be talented at both, expert in both and innovator in both. The real talent comes in doing them at the same time, within the same project and timelines. The same can be said for that of a writer who understands the context of their story well enough to doodle their vision on paper. I design quickly and efficiently when I start from code. And it shows in the end result. It is often stark, linear and lacking of anything truly distinct upon initial inspection. I design with more empathy and articulate information differently when I work with visual information first in an attempt to tell a story or create an experience. This may include starting with pencil and paper before using a computer. I'm surprised daily, by those who are lucky enough to be successful at both.
Graphic designers generally have a concise message they want to communicate and might employee an illustrator to help create elements that solve the design problem. Keep in mind, unlike the design field, Illustration only implies a method or type of visual element–a representative style or technique. This varies from talent to talent. Design utilizes a set of standards generally established and considered to be a rule(s) for communicating clearly and effectively to a large set of narrowed perspectives. A designer may decided that an illustrator's style or technique will enhance or even solve the design/communication problem.
You can only evaluate work based on the work you've seen by others. This is were the challenge starts and ends. Art is nothing more than a contrast that either resonates with you or goes completely unnoticed by an equal to, or greater contrast. Two great words; Skeuomorph→ and Umwelt→. Our individual perceptions, in my opinion, lie somewhere between these two words. Ideas are greater than facts. The idea of contemporary art, is just that, an idea. It's art that happens in your specific lifetime and generally overlaps modern art as you get older, wiser and just generally experience more in your life. And while I myself tried explain it, art requires no explanation. Everything created that is not considered art, is an attempt to explain something.
Fonts are the tools or devices used to recreate, publish or show a typeface. So this post title should actually read, "Best typefaces for printed documents." A font is used to reproduce a typeface, digital or analog. ;)
Since the post title implies that I was going to suggest a list of best practices for typefaces for print, I'll simply say this;
Try not to use more than two typefaces within typesetting that requires large quantities of text and information. Structure is more important than design embellishment. Having said this, it's also important to note that type used as design embellishment does not need to follow the same rules as type used in typesetting. There is a distinct, but fine line between typesetting as a functional form of literature and typesetting as design and embellishment. In the end, be consistent and concise.
I think it is okay. We have enough critics as it is. ;)
I think most do not comment for fear that said marketer or creative agency may one day be their employer.
A rule (in my opinion) that I try to follow, as is the case with any critical critique of creative; if you have a complaint or issue with the work, be sure that your critique is part of a solution. Let it be well thought out, not impulsive and arbitrary. If you do not like it and can not formulate a reason why, it's best to not convolute the information used to shape the work. Ultimately, this undermines the talent and help of everyone involved.
I do not believe you can instantly teach design. I do not think a few workshops will help either. Not without repeated practical hands-on demonstrations (a class). Subjective thinking versus objective while ultimately dealing with an individual's ability to remove themselves from all other types of communication (what one has previously been exposed too) in order to objectively review the work being presented–that's buddha style.
In my experience, information gathering prior to beginning the project is extremely important. This also means involving all decision makers initially and early on. Everyone who believes they have a stake in the execution should be involved initially, not at the end. Predispositions can not be brow-beaten, reversed/opened up, within a budgeted timeline and deadline-driven project scope. You risk going upside down with your client and team, financially. You may also creatively bankrupt your team because of multiple iterations.
An important factor while reviewing work is in evaluating the information initially provided and used to create it. Half a question will yield half an answer. Half an opinion is not a whole solution. Work is created based on the truths used to inform it. If that information changes in midstream, the work may need to be re-evaluated as a whole. For example, the sentence; Mary had a little lamb, would not make much sense with the words rearranged like this; Had Mary lamb little a. While you the reader may understand what the sentence is trying to communicate, you can only do so because you already know the correct order of words in which the sentence should be written. Familiarity in this case, corrects the mistake cognitively.
If I were to present the common surveyor with a new sentence, never before seen or read, such as; Brick more round, the one world making time a we're., you'd clearly have an issue with how this reads and what it's trying to communicate. Understand that design works in the same way. It's difficult, almost self-destructive, when you think it's okay to simply move, change, revise, edit, modify, marry, merge, eliminate, add or blend–things within a design solution. You are affecting the greater whole of the work and the greater whole should be re-evaluated because of the change to a small sum. We're making the world more round, one brick at a time.
An arbitrary comment, supported by verbal affirmation does not automatically improve the visual problem. Think about that statement for moment. Verbal comments designed to fix a visual. Verbal automatically correcting visual. It's a problem, for sure. Facts can guide creative design, but under no circumstances should it dictate the design. Changing one word in a sentence can affect comprehension of the sentence. The same thing happens with design. We're not all designers because we've seen design. And we're not all writers because we've read books. But of course, we all have it within us to be one and honing these skills start with looking at design and reading more books.
A simple rule that I use when working with non-designers or clients that really don't gravitate towards visual comprehension is: show a visual competitive analysis. Present the work against a back drop of your competitors work. This is a very simple frame of reference that leverages the surveyors knowledge more effectively. You'll get simple responses that aren't over-convoluted diatribes meant to sound intelligent–an honest reaction versus someone trying to respond without being embarrassed. This also allows the designer to evaluate the surveyors responses in relationship to the larger context.
In this case, I can validate my shade of blue against something more tangible that you consider to be a true blue, instead of mixing thirteen different shades and waiting for you to point at one. Money and time are lost for both of us. With visual competitive analysis, we leverage your knowledge ( or inexperience ) against many iterations of work produced by other companies (what you've been exposed to already) while I avoid billing you for an endless loop of revisions. We narrow things down perceptually, based on what's existing in the market and what you want to do in order to stand out.
In saying this, lets also assume that people aren't arriving to the table with preconceived notions of what the work should be/look/function like. By doing so, it inherently becomes brow-beating again.
Design is subject to what has been done before, nothing more. You can only evaluate my work based one the work you've seen by others. This is were the challenge starts and ends. Creating something new means not having a deprecated system to gauge the work against. Even (what may be considered someone) poor design can work effectively if it remains consistent and true to it's purpose.
Today, branding can instantly be restructured based on a participant's contribution. Wether positive or negative, a brand can react to the sentiment. I realize that latency in correspondence and response times vary from brand to brand, but eventually (and I hope soon), brands will be operating their own portals. Social networks are obviously too rigid for brands to fully express there ideas, products or services. I've written about this a few times over the years. By nature of the advancement of the mobile space, people spend less time in front of the big screen and more time being mobile. That's the point of smart phones. Subsequently, we may find ourselves with passive media entertainment again, while everything we think about the entertainment or even how we react to it, will be sent to the cloud for aggregation and observation. Creepy. 'The more free software we use, the less free we are.'
Mobile technology is/has closed a small gap between the dichotomy of web users; Searcher and Escapist. In doing so, people do not spend as much time in front of their computers, unless they're working or specifically tending to a few critical tasks. In a sense, they're there to get something done–use the machine as a tool. This gap will be widened again when retail and experiential spaces re-merge as a more engaging way for brands to communicate their ideas and services. Technology will take its place by our waist side. Like most new things, once we've figured out the practicality of the new, we'll begin to reshape it to function more like ourselves versus dealing with the awkwardness of new. I'm not suggesting that the terminal (TV or Computer/Set top box) will lose its place in the home.
Another thing to consider regarding technology as it applies to branding is that the learning curve associated with previous generations, will be almost non-existent in the coming years. I do not mean to say people will not need to learn new things, but they will certainly be less resistant to the act of learning something new. In most cases, it is almost unnoticeable for most power users today. People will most certainly be comfortable typing a message, installing a new update, modifying some HTML themselves and generally just comfortable with new software and hardware upgrades. The learning curve associated with the challenges of the technology industry 20 years ago will seem archaic. People are trusting technology and hardware as it becomes a part of our daily lives. New systems or methods of communicating a message, idea, product or service will either be remarkably new, mundane and unnoticeable or discreet and automatic. And if this becomes true, security might be the new commodity after transparency.→
As the technology and marketing converge; we slowly go from observation, participation and reciprocation through a permissions-based system to an almost eerily automated anticipate and delivery mechanism. Which would then make most of these anticipate and deliver mechanisms destructive to the greater whole of innovation and collaboration.→
An example could be;
RunKeeper→ has been tracking my runs for a few months, maybe even years. Throughout my membership on the site, I've posted a few updates regarding purchases of new shoes. RunKeeper has figured out that, on average, I get a new pair of shoes every 3-5 months. Saucony→ has (hypothetically) been a partner or sponsor on RunKeeper. Saucony sees an opportunity to serve me an ad, link, email or in-window pop-in (some interactive mechanism) for a new pair of shoes.
Anticipate and deliver through aggregation of sentiment. It's very close.