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Who’s the Next President?

This year’s election is making a lot of people nervous. Is America going to vote for an experienced politician lady or a bigoted businessman?

As we all know, on September 26th, 2016, the two candidates had a presidential debate. To me, the debate went well and cleared up a few things, even though plans from both candidates for certain issues seemed vague.

I can make an endless list of pros and cons, who I support, whose ideas are practical, who did what, and how irritated I was because of the interruptions and dodging questions, but the numbers and statistics are what people are more interested in.

So in case you were wondering, here are some numbers for you! 😉

According to “FiveThirtyEight” 2016 Election Forecast, candidate Hillary Clinton has 57.9 percent chance to win and candidate Donald Trump has 42.1 percent chance to win. The site was updated at 8 pm on Wednesday, September 28th.

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One thing to keep in mind is, a lot of young adults do not attend these polls. That means that these numbers can dramatically change. An interesting observation I made was that most states, supporting Hillary Clinton, are located in the East and West coast, whereas most of the central and southern states are Donald Trump’s supporters. And because the numbers are kind of close, it is very important for everyone to vote.

The next four years of our lives are directly effected by this election!

Sophistication isn’t Complicated, it’s Simple

Apple. Samsung. MacDonald’s. Nike. Subway. Google. Take a moment and think about these companies. Now do a quick Google search of them. Notice anything similar?

Did you notice that every single one of them has a logo that looks beyond simplistic? Ever notice how the most successful companies have simplest logos? That’s because, as humans, it is much easier to remember something simple than something outlandishly complicated.

Some people like to think that a design that’s complicated can look much better than one that is, for example, a single layer in Photoshop. While this can be true, it may look cool and fun, it is not something that will stick in the back of your head after your eyes drift away from it. In a sense, the simple logos are a much greater design choice than the more complicated “good” logos. Yet unbeknownst to many people, the difference between a “great” logo and a “good” logo can mean the difference between success and failure.

So next time you’re working on a design and want to make it look amazing5-nike by adding all these cool effects to it, remember this: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci.

Let It Go, Let It Go.

You just created the most gorgeous logo, and poured your heart and soul into the design. You can’t wait to show it to your client! For the past 3 weeks, you’ve worked tirelessly in creating something beautiful that your client will love. You send the logo to your client for one final critique, and wait patiently for a response.

2 hours later you see a new message in your inbox. You think, “Ahh! This is it!”

You open it excitedly, and it reads, “Hi __________, thank you so much for all of your hard work, but I think I’ve changed my mind. While the logo is lovely, I think I want to go in a different direction completely. How long do you think that will take?”

A little part of your creative soul is crushed as you re-read it in disbelief.

You think to yourself, “Are you serious?”

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Pleasing clients is never an easy task, and most of the time, it’s exhausting. As a graphic designer, you know how difficult it can be to convince your client why your design works. It’s not just about creating successful design elements, it’s about believing in your skills. The hardest thing I’ve had to learn as a new designer is to have confidence in my work. Confidence is what makes your client trust you.

That being said, not everyone will like your work, and you need to be ok with that. Because many of us start out as artists before transitioning into the design world, we tend to have an emotional connection/reaction to our work. In the design world, taking offense will only limit you. Being able to let things go will allow us to be a successful and effective designer.

“I paid for the art. It is mine.”

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This is a screenshot of a post on Tumblr. For all of you artists and designers, this is surely a way to start the day.

Imagine you put your heart and soul in creating a painting or design, and this person is paying a big sum of money for it. Then you goes on Tumblr and saw this on their blog. Would you sell them your art? Well, I admit that is a generic example, but still, hell no.

Unlike an apple, a piece of art always has copyright. The idea of “I paid for the art. It is mine” is nonsense, unless the artist actually sells them the copyright of the piece. In that case, the process has to be stated clearly and the price is much more expensive. Once the artist creates an art, they automatically own the copyright and it normally lasts even after their death. It is the most powerful and the only surefire way for an artist to protect their works, since it is upheld by the law. Copyright means that you, and only you, have the right to do many things to your works such as reproduce, copy, communicate, publish, perform, adapt, etc. Others need to ask for your permission to do any of these, even after they have brought the original work. Assuming that this person only paid for the physical artwork,  a painting for example, they have ownership of the physical painting, but they don’t have ownership of the image that the artist painted. Therefore, they can’t edit the signature on the image without permission or paying for the copyright. This ignorant and selfish action is an infringement on copyright, and the law will be knocking on their door before they know it.

I know art and law doesn’t really get along, but it is crucial to know how to protect yourself in the real world, where there are people, especially on the Internet, who claim your works – and maybe weeks you out into it – as theirs. Ownership of the original art and ownership of its copyright are two different concepts. Next time you hear the phrase “I paid for it. It is mine,” please confirm what exactly that person paid for.

 

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CHANGING YOUR MOOD IS AS EASY AS CHANGING YOUR CLOTHES

Do you know the impact of color on our mood?

 

Well, I didn’t until I researched the impact of color on consumers.

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In the past McDonald’s used red and yellow for their interior to invoke appetite even if you were not hungry and the same colors were also used to hurry the customer out of the store so it is open to the next customer.

 

In very recent years McDonald’s have redesigned their interior to be much calmer to keep people in there longer without creating the feeling of being rushed.yellow

 

You are thinking why is this important? … Every design is important to have the correct color to invoke the proper mood in a consumer.

 

In the past, if you have selected a color solely because it looks good should be history now. On your next project select the proper color to be more affective.

Here is a link to how to choose an effective color.

 

P.s. Next time you feel angry for no reason and you can’t figure out why…

Look at what color clothes you might be are wearing.

 

TRY LIMITING YOURSELF. I’M NOT JOKING.

Alright, let’s imagine on your first, or any project, the professor decides to let you run wild with an open topic. You nod your head, relax your eyebrows, blink once or twice, mumbling “Oh OK, cool” and maybe even let out a small smile across your lips. An open topic, a blank canvas, endless possibilities. Who doesn’t like that?

Crap.

What? Did you ears deceive you? Did you just hear that?

That would be me. I hate open topics. It’s like looking up at the clear sky. It’s just there, motionless, without any focus, figures or background. Because creativity without limit is just plain boring.

Should there be a restriction to our creativity then? Absolutely no, but there should be a restriction for our creativity. For students like you and me, that often comes from the professor limiting the topics: write about this moment, self-portrait only, pick between this and that only, report about this particular book… Personally I prefer those, not because they’re giving me directions, but because they’re giving me a challenge.

Instead of “anything goes”, you are now limited to just a self-portrait for homework. Before beginning, how about thinking of a way to twist that limit a bit? That must get your creative brain working harder than it does in the anything-is-fine scenario. For your self-portrait, how about shifting the emphasis from yourself to the background? Let it speak for you: where you are, why you are there, who or what is around and behind you, what are they doing… Those background visual cues can tell the audience more about you than your appearance in the middle of the canvas. Put on different backgrounds – a classroom versus a work office, a bar versus a winery – and voilà, you are changing the whole feeling of your self-portrait without changing yourself. That different approach comes first from the existence of the limit and then the creative effort. Without that limit in the beginning, it is much harder, at least for me, to come up with unique approaches to art.

From disliking limitations and restrictions in the past, now I have found an appreciation for them. They encourage my mind to work. Creativity is like a lemon: if you want lemon juice, you have to squeeze it; if you want to come up with unique ideas, try putting a limit on yourself, then asking questions. The restriction is there not to deny, but to challenge. You may win – congrats – or you may not, but give yourself credits for the fight.

Creativity is as wide as an ocean, and limitation gives it the depth. Open topics can be the chance for many people to open themselves countless different ideas. For me, it means narrowing the possibilities while exploring each of them with an open mind. Being resourceful is a good thing to have, but being resourceful without resources is even better.

 

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This Blog Post Is Art

One of my pet peeves is when someone looks at an artist’s piece and states matter of factly, “that is NOT art, my little brother could make that.” Part of me wants to yell, “SHUT UP, YOU KNOW NOTHING! WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING HERE” but most of the time I quietly ignore their ignorant comment on someone’s artwork.

Our society is constantly attempting to define what art “is,” and we have been for the last 100 years. The truth is, art can be anything from a blank white canvas on a wall to an exquisite piece painted by Van Gogh. For example, many people believe Jackson Pollock shouldn’t be considered a “great artist,” but I’m going to give you three reasons why that statement isn’t true.

    1. Pollock was the Jimmy Hendrix of painting. He threw out every rule about “how an artist should apply paint to a canvas” by using new techniques and ideas the world had never seen before.
    2. Pollock was responsible for creating the “all over” painting. Instead of constructing a clear foreground, middleground, and background on each canvas; he created a composition of forms trapping his viewer into a hypnosis, guiding their eyes in a calculated movement throughout the canvas.
    3. Jackson Pollock’s paintings focused on the act of perception. His drips are not random; every line, movement, and figure was deliberately constructed to evoke a certain feeling for the viewer. His artwork takes time to absorb and interpret to fully understand what was implied beneath the surface.Autumn Rhythm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next time you see a canvas hanging in a museum or gallery that you would normally brush past, spend at least ten minutes observing it. Try to figure out what the artist’s method was and why they went about creating it that way. Absorb it in slowly, then ask yourself “Is this art?” and I promise your previous answer will change.

-ZI

 

You Know What Grinds My Gear?

How most non-design professionals think graphic design is an easy-going job.  Whenever I introduce myself as a designer, the first thing you might hear is “Wow that’s cool, your job seems very chill,” and my profession automatically gets pigeon-holed as a lighthearted career.  As if all I do is play with paints and draw cute or abstract things. In some rare cases, I bump to clients or companies who expects me to work for dirt-cheap, as if the education and experience I earn are all handed down to me for free.

What people fail to realize is the path to becoming a great designer is just as hard as any other degree, like an engineer or mathematician. First of all, one has to examine the term graphic design. Graphic as in an imagery and Design as in something created with intended purpose.

In other times, I would hear people tell me “But my ten year old niece or nephew can use Photoshop as well, he drew me this…” – In which I mentally cut them off, and start thinking. I think, “Well.. that’s nice, and I’m sure s/he is in some sense, but just because someone knows how to use a wrench doesn’t make them a capable plumber.” It is such hoshposh to believe that anyone can just boot up Photoshop and starts pressing buttons and end up with a great design.

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Despite what some addlepated simpleton might believe. It takes years of self-education and knowledge to achieve a good understanding of design and a lifetime to master it. I did not choose to be a graphic designer just to be lumped in with ten years old whose hobby is to create kitsch imagery and Instagram photo filter “masterpieces.” Everything I do as a designer has a purpose and should be taken seriously, and not tarnished or taken for granted. My work involves psychology to understand the intended audience and how to imagine what others cannot and through tenacity deliver what is possible.

It’s really “amazing” how people will trust their car mechanic that’s getting paid at least $50 an hour for labor, but would only be willing to spend minimum wage or worst ask it for free and trust that someone to create their brand’s public image. But I digress, do yourself and your co-designers a favor. If you are a serious designer say no to cheap or free design, this not only devalues you as a designer but also devalues design as a career, it also makes your work feel unimportant regardless if it is the next big thing.

If you have the same experience share your story by posting a comment below.

Shhh! Now You May Speak

Image by Massimo VignelliGraphic Design is more than pushing pixels, drawing cute logos, or figuring out the best color combination to apply to your local pizzerias website–it’s much, much more than this.

As a graphic designer, my responsibility to my client is to mitigate the complexity of their brand and apply the fundamentals of design to execute an overall harmonious user experience. It’s a daunting role and one I do not to take lightly.

In a world of immediate access to Adobe Photoshop CC or the recent updated Instagram filters, the non­graphic designers out there believe that creating something that is on par with one of the all-time greats such as Saul Bass, Paul Rand, and most currently Stefan Sagmeister is as easy as pushing a button. It’s OK if you are unfamiliar of the aforementioned designers, below is a link to become more familiar of who and what they have accomplished in the graphic design realm.

Using convenient pseudo design tools and passing creative works as a valued product for dissemination is becoming a trend and tarnishing the credibility of classically trained graphic designers. Heartbreaking to know that this is occurring but more so the motivational fuel for me to educate my clients of their responsibility to recognize and appreciate good design.

Much like the all-time greats, one of two main skill sets a graphic designer must learn in order to be a successful problem solver is to listen and to ask, two simple things we take for granted. However, these two analog tools are the keystone to any successful campaign.

A graphic designer must learn to silence their inner creative long enough to hear and understand their client’s voice. What is it that their client is really saying and how can it be visually represented?

Secondly, asking questions will manifest the blueprint for the designer to begin their research–a
crucial tool that no app can replace. When it comes to asking questions I’m not referring to the trivial bits of the project but more so inquiries the client hasn’t even thought of. Here’s a simple question you can ask your client that will spawn hundreds maybe even thousands of additional questions; who are you?

Whenever I ask myself that question my inner creative shushes because I know what happens next.

Link to 20 Design Greats You Should Know

A Love-Hate Relationship

downloadAs a design student I often find myself grouped together with the “art kids”. On some level that is true, I paint, I draw, and I like making things with my hands. But those are my hobbies. I repeat, my hobbies. Just like a journalist can write science fiction in his free time but he doesn’t have to call himself an author.

I also find myself increasingly annoyed with explaining what I do as a graphic design student. The more I talk to people outside of my field, the more I realize that to most people there is no distinction between fine art and design. And the few that think there is a difference ask me if I could code. Or use Photoshop. Or make digital paintings. Or “Oh, is that like …fashion?”

Does anyone else find it gruesome to answer these questions over and over again?

Design needs to serve a purpose. There should be a reason for everything a designer does, and good designs need to be understood. In order to become a good designer, I find myself learning and using a wide variety of skills. Skills that many people would consider polar opposites of each other. Coding and drawing. Typography and 3d designs. Design can overlap with anything and everything, making it difficult for outsiders to pin point exactly what graphic design is.

And that is where the problem lies; design is everywhere and on everything, but yet it gets so little recognition from the mass public beyond “Oh, what a nice poster”. We as designers need to take initiative and make ourselves heard. Next time people ask you how design is different; take five minutes out of your day and explain it to them.

 

[click here for examples if you can’t come up with your own.]