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Erickson Stock: Your One Stop Shop for All Your Stock Photo Needs

I know, I know. Didn’t I just write a post about staying away from cheesy stock photos? Yes, I did. Erickson Stock, however, has the perfect balance of both cheesy and actually usable stock photos that it may just be our solution. The photos on Erickson Stock may not be free, but you really do get what you pay for. Every photo is taken by renowned assignment photographer Jim Erickson, and his skills shine through in each photograph. Though there are typical “cheesy stock photos” available on this site, there are also ones that look very professional and could probably pass, if used appropriately, as having been taken for whichever project you’re working on. Another plus of this site is its inclusion of a motion section. As you might have guessed, the motion section includes videos available for licensing. Each video is shot in HD and includes B-roll.  So say NO to cheesy stock photography, but maybe say yes to Erickson Stock.


With global warming upon us, and an increase in sustainable living people are more conscious of the things harming our planet and what we can do about it. Plastics are a huge problem across out planet. And not just plastics water bottles and containers that we see. Micro plasticsare a huge problem for marine life. Graphic designers have their part in advertising and making all things environmentally friendly look appealing to the public so that we, as a society, want to and are drawn towards making a difference. Designers overall have a big role that need to be filled and need to team up in order to do so. While many designers are already on board we need everyone across all fields to take this seriously in order for something to be done about it. The problem has become so large that it is hard to even imagine much less how we can tackle it. For starters we need to stop producing products that are the cause of the problem. Next we need to do something with the plastics that are already contaminating our planet, recycling and repurposing. But before we repurpose it we need to push forward on the technology that we have, especially for making polyester, recycled or not. The origin of micro plastics is coming from the fabric, shedding every time you wash it and ending right back into the ocean with all the other plastics. We need innovative designers, engineers, and the general public to be aware and interested in creating ways to collect this plastic and micro plastic as well as ways to repurpose it into something that will not further harm the environment.

Design for CDs

In the age where everything are available in digital version from books, musics, illustrations, it’s still nice to hold tangible physical copies of CD package for collection. Many CD covers are designed usually to reflect its content, the concept of the album, or single,  or the feels of the album. It is the cover that make the first impression, and while the songs inside are the main product, a good covers can attract attention and could make someone listen to an artist they have never listened to. Some covers are artistically wonderfully while others seems to fall short of its mark.

Lorde’s Melodrama (2017) was created by Sam McKinniss, an abstract painter from Brooklyn. With his bold saturated colors and rough brush strokes, he definitely portrayed “melodrama.” It also accurately portrayed the style of music in the album where Lorde changed from her minimalist sounds from her early works to more dynamic electropop.

Both famous and “infamous,” Taylor Swift came back with new album Reputation (2017) with the overall theme commenting on how she is seen as two-faced by many people. Her styling reflected the darker image by ditching the good girl look from 1989’s era and going for darker make ups, with ripped outfit. The newspaper print in New York Times style cover the background, representing the  gossip that media printed about her that Taylor is a not-so-innocent as she appeared. The literal visual representation unfortunately came across as cheesy and trying too hard to shake off her old image that it have inspired many meme parodies on social media. However, the cover definitely match the subject matter of the album where many of her songs take a more serious vibe from her previous release.

Rachael Ray: The Truth

In honor of wiring my design review on Rachael Ray cookware, I thought I would share some of my findings and understandings with ya’ll. In my research, not only did I find out that her cookware bites, but its unsafe now as well. Customers are reporting that the so called “non-stick” effect is clearly ineffective.  There are hundreds of complaints about the product and this has got me speechless.  The non-stick interior is known to not even last a couple days.  The interior flakes and comes off on your food, only if it didn’t burn or get stuck to he pan first. Other people have stated how if they drop their cookware, it bends and leaves huge dents.  Also, people have stated that the pretty colors on the exterior of the pots and pans, comes off just by hand washing with soap and water, coming off on their towels as they dry. What drives me up a wall about this issues more than anything, is that people only buy her cookware because it has her name on it, so it must be good right?  So many companies out their like to put famous peoples name on crappy products with the knowledge that it will still sell.  People still buy UGG’s even though they  pretty much skin the sheep alive.   So why shouldn’t they buy cookware from Rachael Ray because it has her name on it? In her show, she doesn’t even cook and entire meal.  Rachael already has a finished product of her example recipe hidden in the oven. I know a lot of cooking shows do this.  But why advertise something that doesn’t walk the talk?

P.S. My Brother works for QVC and has met her on numerous occasions and says she has never made her own food and is rude to everyone.

See examples below.

Inside of the pan burnt.

Color on the exterior is complexity worn off. It is supposed to be orange like the handles.

Go out and Get Inspired.

Designers sometimes suffer a lack of inspiration, and it’s perfectly normal. When lacking inspiration designers tend to look at art galleries and other design work. However, that is not the best method if you want to create something new and different. Looking at other design work might seem like the best option, we might get inspired by what we see but there’s a small faded line that our inspiration might turn into imitation. If you are trying to stand out and do something that hasn’t been done before, you need to widen the range of where your inspiration comes from. Instead of looking at other designers work, try going outside; as much as I enjoy being indoors, I’m not necessarily inspired by my couch. Go outside and take a look at the buildings. Fascinating architecture can get your gears rolling. Try taking a walk and looking at the natural world; it is filled with textures, patterns, colors, and so much more. There are many things that you can inspired from, so try it out, being outdoors might surprise you.





Sustainable Graphic Design

Almost every design student has uttered the phrase, “this is such a waste of paper.”

If you’ve caught yourself saying this and are actually concerned for the environment, there are actually many ways to practice sustainable graphic design!

  1. Reduce your carbon footprint
    • Use energy efficient machines (computers, printers, etc.)
    • Turn off and unplug your computers and tablets when you aren’t using them
  2. Printing doesn’t have to be a nightmare
    • There are several more eco-friendly types of printing processes, such as waterless offset printing (which eliminates water in the process) or letterpress printing (conserves energy and is compatible with almost all types of sustainable paper)
    • Use recycled paper or paper made from materials other than trees
    • Use low-VOC or VOC-free inks, like soy inks
  3. Eliminate waste
    • Talk with your clients and put some thought into your materials and packaging
    • Only print what is absolutely necessary (how many copies do you really need to see, professor?)
    • Don’t through away scraps, use them for other projects!

This is just a short list of the kinds of changes you can make to have more eco-friendly design practices.

Apple’s New, Samey iPad

Surprise, surprise — Apple released another new product.

Wait, don’t scroll past yet! It’s a new iPad, and unlike the string of increasingly bank-breaking iPhones, this one has legs to stand on that warrants a closer look. What’s remarkable about this new iPad is how…unremarkable it is.

I don’t mean that as a slight. Apple didn’t introduce many new features to this iPad, but instead consolidated the best features of other iPads. It has enough processing power to support demanding mobile games like PUBG and Fortnite; it now supports the Apple Pencil, a feature that was one exclusive to the iPad Pro line of tablets; and it is in the same, lightweight, familiar shell and packaging that viewers have come to expect from iPad. Most importantly, Apple is selling the 2018 iPad for $329, making it the cheapest tablet of this calibre on the market.

Tim Cook has said that this tablet is supposed to be geared towards educators, and that many of the features are specifically tailored to benefit students. (Personally, I’m planning on picking it up in a few paychecks — the allure of doodling on a digital screen is far too strong.) This iPad has drawn ire from critics, however, as it doesn’t take and innovate any of these given features; instead, this tablet combines all the best features of previous models to create something more utilitarian. Compare this to the newest iPhones, which are adding new features like face recognition and animation that are dismissed as frivolous or threatening to security.

What do you all think? In this case, is functionality more important than innovation?

How does Pantone get away with charging so much for swatches?

A whole value system has been created that says that the precise shade of a colour is critical in determining the visual identity of a brand. You have a bunch of designers and a bunch of marketing people who have developed the ability to spot even the tiniest shade difference to the color they use on their logo, it can takes up hours and hours of working days, yet it is a very hard thing to get correct, that’s why the Pantone Set is recommended to be used. Pantone inks are mixed specially by the printer, so the colour comes out consistent each and every time. The sets are used most often with logos to keep brand continuity, however they can be used for many different things. They also come in matte and shiny colours. Companies can even trademark certain Pantones so no other company can use them. There are other color books available such as Focoltone and Trumatch, however Pantone is the industry standard and most commercial printers carry the Pantone inks .The set itself is very expensive, but not outrageously expensive since it takes money and time to produce an accurate color reference system. And the value for designers is far greater than the price tag. So yes, you’re supposed to be paying for the assurance that the color on the swatch is what will be printed, but it doesn’t guarantee it either unless you’re printing on exactly the same material. So if you like my professor said “Ask a Pantone Set for christmas, or birthday!!! You’ll not regret”.

Embrace the Suck


It happens to every designer; you have an idea and you are excited to work on it but, it’s just not working out. “This is terrible” or “this looks like garbage” or “What am I even doing anymore” are just some thoughts that run through your head.

With every project there is a starting point and at that starting point it will always suck. The important part is to work through the suck, give that idea a chance, and if it is not looking right just step away from the computer and come back to it. It’s a daunting task to allow a solution to work itself out. Sure, I have had my fair sure of crying, melt down, anxiety attacks when a project or piece isn’t or working out or is terrible ugly.

The key is breathe and maybe approach the same idea but in a different way. There is no instant gratification in art or design, and my first design teacher always spoke the wise words “Embrace the suck.”

Preserving Physical Interactions

How many times have you purposely chosen to email an individual in a professional environment, rather than talking to them on the phone or in person?

Designers that grew up with the internet are choosing to communicate with their clients entirely through emails. Unfortunately, using this communication method leaves messages open to interpretation and hinders the creativity process. Even a minor misunderstanding can cause drastic implications to the design project. When discussing color with the client, for example, your idea of dark blue could be completely different from the client’s idea. This is why designers need to express their ideas verbally whenever possible, since it is the easiest way to exchange ideas. The quality of the end product ultimately depends on how well the designer was able to communicate with their client.

Make sure you keep this in mind when you are working with your next client. Instead of communicating with them through email, schedule to meet them in person periodically. If you do not know how to schedule a meeting make sure you read David Elbe’s article, “5 ways to effectively schedule a meeting with a client.”