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The Case against Lorem Ipsum

As designers we are always looking to optimize our design process for efficiency and speed. Using Lorem Ipsum as placeholder text has become an accepted practice in design. However, the use of Lorem Ipsum forces us to abstract our design and get away from envision the final product that we are designing. This is especially important when designs mobile applications and focusing on user experience design. As designers we should remain focused on the real client experience and use ever method that we afforded to connect us to that real experience our users and clients will have. By using real world text we change our perception of what we are designing. A more accurate picture is painted by using real text in our work rather than Lorem Ipsum. The same can be said for placeholder images — these remove us from the design experience and continue to reinforce the idea that we are just designing a mock-up or render instead of a real client experience.

Drawing Tablets for Designers

Most digital artists have some kind of drawing tablet, like a Cintiq or an Intuos. Rather than using a normal mouse to create their work, the pen and tablet work together to replace it. The tablet’s drawing area is mapped to the computer monitor, so if the pen is in the center of the tablet, the cursor is in the center of the screen. As a result, it is much easier to create digital work since the drawing feels more natural to the artist. Tablets can range in both price and function. Cheaper ones are simply a glorified mouse, but the more expensive tablets have an entire screen.

Although these are marketed towards artists, designers can take advantage of them as well. For example, it is far easier to use Illustrator’s pen tool with an actual pen and creating clipping masks in Photoshop is far easier when you can select the exact pixel you want right away.

Color Palette Resources

Knowledge of color is an integral part of being a designer. Color is what gives our pieces emotion and feeling, and color has the power to communicate all types of messages in a design. We, as designers, must be wise with what types of color we choose to put into our work. However, when starting a project, where do we begin on the search for the perfect palette? And what if you are still figuring out how to best combine and use colors in a design piece?

Coolors is a site that displays randomized, pre-made color palettes, each at one time. These color palettes can be saved directly from the site onto your computer for later use. The palettes available through Coolors each possess a different feel; there’s something for every need!

Adobe Color (formerly known as Kuler) is another fantastic resource for color palettes. At the click of a button, you can conjure up a variety of different combinations at once, and you can scroll down endlessly to explore. However, if you’re looking to create your own custom palette, the site can guide you through the process. When swiping over a new hue, the palette circle has controlled bars that adjust to create harmony. You can create different types of color schemes, including analogous, triad, complementary, and more. When you complete your color palette, you can save and use it through Creative Cloud on Illustrator, InDesign, and/or Photoshop! You also have the option of publishing it for other designers to reference through Adobe Color’s Explore page.

Have you worked with Coolors or Adobe Color before? If so, how was your experience? Are there any other online or book-format color sources that you like to use? Let us know in the comments below!


George Mason and Desire Paths

Today on Reddit, someone posted a before and after picture of the picture of the Ohio State University’s quad. After planting the grass, students would walk across the field to get where they wanted instead of on the sidewalks around it. A more recent picture shows an overhead view of the quad today, and what was once dirt “desire paths” are now actual concrete sidewalks.

George Mason, on the other hand, treats these desire paths like the plague. They’re tucked in all across campus, and rather than pave over them and turn them into sidewalks, they’re blocked with barricades, ropes, and trees. However, that doesn’t fix the problem, people simply walk around.

There’s a subreddit entirely dedicated to these desire paths, and I’ve seen GMU’s campus posted multiple times. The comments section is always shocked that the university would rather have patches of dirt and be stubborn about the paths they want people to use instead of fixing the problem and paving over it.

Design Students’ Summer Break

With summer break fast approaching, graphic design students like me are trying to figure out productive ways to spend their time. Work for money? Work for experience? Summer classes?

I’ve spent the past few months doing everything I can to find an internship this summer. Finding a company that isn’t an MLM and will actually pay good money for your design work is tough. Luckily, graphic design is a field that’s in demand, so there are a lot of good options out there.

The other option for getting design experience during the summer break is freelance work, but that comes with its own slew of issues. There’s nothing worse than beginning to work with a client and getting excited for a project just for them to look at you with a face like the Surprised Pikachu Meme when you start to discuss cost.

With two weeks left in the semester, here’s hoping we figure something out soon!

For the hype

High-end designer companies have been known for come out with beautiful handbags, accessories, clothing, etc. Nowadays, it seems like people buy expensive products just for the hype instead of the product itself. They want to feel part of an exclusive group of people who can afford these products. I think these design companies know that their consumers will buy their products no matter what so they make ridiculous products just to see if it would sell. Designers like Gucci and Balenciaga have been notorious for this.

This picture if of a t-shirt attached to a button up that costs over $1000 from Balenciaga. I could easily make this outfit for $10 but it is being sold for a lot of money. Even though this outfit looks hideous, I have seen people buy this, crazy.

This is another example of a brand making ugly products is shoes that Gucci created. These Shoes are one of the ugliest shoes I have seen yet I have seen people guy them.

I believe we need to actually look at the products we are buying instead of just the brand. ­­

You Are Getting Swindled by Design

Life is full of wonderful promises and opportunity. Though, things don’t always turn out the way that we’d hope. The amount of falsehoods that occur day by day, is something that many had to learn the hard way. Deception happens everywhere, even in design. However, it seems like people are getting swindled by package design more than anything else. From packages that say that they are advertised for rock climbing but have “not suitable for rock climbing” in fine print, to products that seem like they offer more than they actually do, examples of deceptive design are everywhere. What always ground my gears growing up, is the amount of salt ridden air that makes up a bag of Lays chips. It is a borderline scam and has left me hungry for more on many occasions, though for the wrong reasons. The list of products that have deceptive designs, goes on. To read more, click here.

Released Too Early?

The long-anticipated galaxy fold is finally releasing this spring. It has been given away early to reviewers to mostly positive praise but there was some negative feedback. The Samsung Galaxy Fold has a couple of design flaws like the front screen being surrounded by massive bezels, and a notch on the inside screen. The biggest complaint is that the phone has a plastic screen with a crease and that the screen fails if the protective layer is removed. Many reviewers have mistaken the protective layer as an included screen protector and peeled it off. It is very clear that the design was rushed, and the tech just is not ready yet. Of course, this is a generation one foldable phone, but does that give it an excuse to have all those design flaws and cost two thousand dollars. Other foldable phones are releasing this year too like the Huawei Mate X. Lets see if the other foldable phones will suffer the same design flaws that Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has suffered.

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How Did I Always Get Stuck with This?

Over the past year, I somehow gotten stuck dealing with designing programs for an organization that I’m apart of. I made every single one, despite the efforts of giving the job to other people. However, it was a rewarding experience because I learned to better organize information and design it as attractively as possible.

Yesterday, GMU VSA (Vietnamese Student Association) had their annual Culture Show and I had the honor of designing the program. Despite the process being a long one, it was all worth it. We printed ~400 programs, and we gave out nearly every one of them (all hand stapled and folded). In the past, the programs never gotten much recognition as it was just booklets with barely any design. However, this year they had a designer (me) to make it. The positive feedback was nice to hear from the crowd when they received the programs.

My most rewarding moment was the end of November last year when I designed my first set of programs for VSA at our Semi Formal event. That year’s theme was Autumn Dusk, whatever that means, and I was assigned to create the programs. I struggled to design what the theme, but it was too open ended with no clear answer. Through trial and error, I finally settled on designing what I interpreted as Autumn Dusk. I was nervous while putting the programs with the centerpieces (which I also designed). After the event, I was told by the other officers that attendees kept asking who designed the programs and complimented it greatly, despite there were still mistakes. Maybe that’s why I kept getting assigned to design programs.

Despite me complaining constantly on making programs (so much so that it became a running joke in the organization), I genuinely do enjoy the process and I won’t mind making more.

Italian Product Design: Moka

Founded in 1921, Alessi is Italian design mainstay. Alessi has taken the iconic stove-top espresso maker, often called a moka, and creatively designed and redesigned it to perfection. Alessi plays to a multitude of aesthetic tastes, currently producing fourteen different models of stove-top coffee makers. Many Alessi espresso maker designs are inspired by architecture, like La Conica and La Cupola, and some models are more efficiency-focused like the 9090. The functional little machines go beyond purpose, they are works of visual art in themselves. The 9090 was the first Alessi item exhibited at the MOMA in NYC. When in a creative slump, looking to renowned Italian design can help break out. Alessi coffee maker product pages are thorough, including specs, history, sketches and designer information for each model. If you want more than just espresso makers, check out this list of other Italian product design factories.