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Getting To The Basics

A lot of times we over complicate things; I’ve noticed that when we talk to children we try and explain things in the simplest terms. In certain situations, it would be helpful to look at certain things as a child would. I hadn’t heard the term “graphic design” until I was in college and I strongly believe that we should expose children to as many different things as possible so that they can find their true passions. I personally changed my major 3 times before pursuing the degree but if I had been exposed to more, maybe I wouldn’t have been so indecisive. Children are like little sponges that are eager to soak up all that life has to offer.

 

Here’s a link to a designer’s own personal interaction with explaining design to four and five year olds: https://www.aiga.org/how-to-explain-graphic-design

You Don’t Need To Be An Artist

Starting off as a graphic designer can seem daunting when seeing examples of exemplary works by professionals. You will likely see many causes of graphic design mixed with illustrations that are done by drawers. You might be discouraged in your efforts to be a designer because you don’t know how to draw or even draw to that level of professionalism. You may even begin to think you might not be able to excel in the design field as much as someone who can draw. The wonderful answer is that isn’t inherently true at all. With applications, such as the Adobe Suite, most of the design process can be done with a mouse and with your brain. No need for a drawing tablet or fancy illustration software. There are also thousands of graphic design tutorials online completely free and done by professionals to help anyone improve.

 

Graphic designer is above all the manipulation of visual elements for commercial means. If you have an eye for design, and understand the layers of visual communication you can establish yourself in the graphic design field. So don’t be discouraged if you can’t draw a perfect circle on the first try. Try to broaden your skill sets while you’re still learning so have more to fill your portfolio; like web design. Show what you can bring to the table as a professional graphic designer. Drawing isn’t an ultimatum for being successful.

Gifts for Graphic Designers!

It’s officially Christmas season! Whether you’re shopping for a graphic designer in your life or just looking for fun and creative gifts, here’s a list of my top five favorite design-inspired gifts.

  1. The Slate 2.0 Lapdesk: Whether you’re working from your bed or the couch, Slate’s laptop desk protects your laptop from heat and even has a dock that fits most phones and tablets!
  2. The 1,000 Colors Puzzle by Clemens Habicht: It’s the ultimate test to see how well you know the CMYK gamut—it’s a 1,000 piece puzzle with exactly 1,000 colors! Rather than being a visual guessing game, it’s a fun way to challenge your color intuition.
  3. The Lindlund Ruler: This ruler was literally designed with designers in mind, with print and digital measurements. Picas, pixels, inches, and centimeters all on one rulers means better flow between your design’s ideation on paper to its execution on your computer.
  4. Letter Pressed Cookie Cutters: These cookie cutters are a must-have for any typography lover! They’re a fun way to bring your love for design into the kitchen.
  5. CMYK Playing Cards: Suits have been swapped for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black cleverly designed using different opacities of ink. Whether you’re a card game fan or not, these cards are beautiful!

Happy shopping!

Honeycomb’s Big No No No

We grow up with recognizable brands with a sense of nostalgia for their designs and advertisements. Rebrands are inevitable but might leave a bad taste in your mouth if you don’t like the design. As a graphic design major, it has become easier for me to let go of some of my favorite food brand designs. In the end the taste of the food isn’t dictated by the cover of the box right? Wrong.

 

One of my favorite cereal brands has always been Honeycomb (1965). I loved how different it was from most cereal growing up with its catchy jingle. Its taste was iconic to me with its puffy texture and its selling point of being bigger in size than other brands. Here is a classic commercial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM-AhRDzg0U

Since attending college, I haven’t been able to have Honeycomb in a long time and I thought I’d try it again during Thanksgiving break. However, I saw that Honeycomb had a complete rebrand done to the box and logo. How far this rebrand was taken I wasn’t sure. The design didn’t have the warmth the previous one had. Looking back at other previous designs Honeycomb went through, it seems they were trying to recapture the aesthetics of one of those older logos. While I didn’t particularly like it, that didn’t matter to me as long as the cereal tasted good.

 

I took a bite of one piece and was disappointed. They not only changed their image but the entire cereal. No longer did it have that puff, or dry powder of flavor. Instead the cereal was glazed with an artificial flavoring and in smaller sizes. This isn’t the first time Post has changed the formula has been negatively received. Yet again, they completely changed what made Honeycomb standout. It was almost as if they used Honeycomb’s rebrand to try to appeal to more modern consumers, that will grow up with this new flavor, forgetting the previous one. After all this is what happened to the generation of kids before me. In my eyes, this rebrand was a distraction to the greater change in the product. Change in a design can be welcoming if its an improvement. However, this kind of change in the product is enough to make me decide to not purchase Honeycomb anytime soon.

Two previous designs. Then the current one:


 

Starting Up Your Design Portfolio

As several design students are approaching their last semester at school, some of us have not created a design portfolio yet. Portfolios can make or break a job opportunity, so it’s important to execute it well. Your portfolio is your place to shine and show your possible future employer what you’re capable of. Here are some tips if you don’t know how to get started with your design portfolio!

  1. Work on your brand

Do you have a brand identity? If not, start creating your logo now and define a style that will unify your resume, portfolio, website, and business card. If you created your brand identity years ago, check and see if it can use an update. Like many businesses, rebranding yourself every so often can be a good thing.

  1. Showcase your best work

Look through all your projects from school, freelancing, or leisure time. Pick out the best work from different areas of design: branding, web/mobile app, editorial, illustration, etc. Pick from the areas and themes that best suit the job you are applying for. If creating a pdf, pick only a few projects to showcase or pick one extensive project that includes your process: research, sketches, and finals. If creating a portfolio website, feel free to pick as many projects as you want (just don’t go overboard!)

  1. Ask for a second opinion

Always ask a pair of fresh eyes, preferably a mentor, professor, or design peer, to review your portfolio for critique. Getting feedback on your design is great if you want to improve your portfolio. When you’ve been working on your portfolio for hours, someone else will always catch mistakes you don’t!

Sprite Cranberry Returns with a Holiday Jingle

It’s the thirst, thirstiest time of the year
I have just one query
Wanna Sprite Cranberry?
The answer is clear
It’s the thirst, thirstiest time of the year
Sprite! Let’s go!

Sprite Cranberry returns as the holidays approach with the same packaging design from previous years but a new twist in their advertisement. Sprite creates a jingle from “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for a more festive feel in their product. I first heard the song on the radio and now that I did some research on it, it’s also a animated tv commercial featuring LeBron James and DRAM singing the song. The commercial is 30 seconds long and contains caricature style. I thought this was a clever idea to get consumers to purchase the limited edition product. You can watch the ad shown below. The jingle definitely sticks in your head just as any Christmas song which will remind consumers on purchasing a Sprite Cranberry.

Ugly Fonts Have a Place in Design Too

I’ve heard graphic designers say many times that Comic Sans needs to simply just go away. For the most part, designers do not like this font! If you say the words, Comic Sans in conversation, you can visually watch their facial expressions start to cringe. But why do designers seem to have such distaste for this font?

According to Tim Hartford, author of Messy: How to Be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World, ugly fonts, such as Comic Sans can actually be useful in helping you understand what your reading.

Hartford uses reverse psychology to demonstrate the fact that because Comic Sans is ugly and harder to read, it actually causes the reader to focus longer on the type, which indicates that the reader is paying attention while trying to understand the writing. This theory is supported by a Princeton University study that had schoolteachers reformat some of their handouts in ugly fonts such as Haettenschweiler and Comic Sans. Apparently, the students receiving papers with ugly fonts did better on their exams across a variety of subjects compared to the kids who received papers with nicer fonts such as, Helvetica and Times New Roman. These nicer fonts are easier to read, so, therefore, students have a tendency to simply glance over the writing, rather than, concentrate on the print.

I agree, Comic Sans is ugly and looks childish, but maybe it shouldn’t be tossed out with the bathwater just yet, as it could play a useful role in helping kids achieve higher grades in school.

Design Blogging

I’ve grown to learn that writing a consistently effective blog specifically about design is challenging. Although I’ve always heard that there is no true right way or wrong way to blog, the problem I have come across this term is how to come up with good topics. In my experience one of the biggest factors to blogging is coming up with great content. However, content worthy of sharing with others doesn’t always come to mind so easily. It’s challenging to come up with content, especially if you are writing blogs on a daily or weekly schedule.

 

Some things that I have read about successful blogging are to blog about your personal process. Perhaps one or more of your readers want to start their own design blog, and your thoughts and ideas can help. Readers like to hear about how you complete your work. So an inside look at your blog design process can be helpful. Show them a detailed look at your behind the scenes creation process. You can share tips with your readers on how they can achieve a level of success, perhaps you can even write a blog on how you got started blogging. Lastly, create a list of things you wish someone had told you when you first started blogging. These are all critical steps to success that any new design blogger can learn from.

 

How to Start a Successful Blog in 2017

Good Habits When Working

Long hours seem to be the norm for many Americans in the workforce. And although these jobs come with many benefits, they can come at the cost of your physical health. For example, sitting within a cubicle for long hours can lead to bad posture if you don’t realign yourself every so often.

Getting up to stretch and move around every hour or so can help improve circulation and keep the body from feeling stiff. People are even going a step further than this and using standing desks, so that they burn calories while they work, and they don’t have to get up every hour or so to fight the effects of atrophy. I personally do yoga to stay flexible and coordinated. Yoga also helps me calm down mentally, relieving stress and calming my nerves.

Although it’s enticing to go to the coffee machine, too much caffein will slow you down in the long run. If you’re feeling drowsy try drinking a glass of cold water and walking around for a bit to stimulate your brain, and put you back into focus.

One thing I’ve been focusing more on with my work habits is scheduling events and due dates accurately. If I have my dates set with the information that I need, I’ll know what’s due when and decrease my chances of missing an assignment. Scheduling doesn’t take long to do and gives something importance, causing you to remember it. Just like taking notes while reading a book, putting it in writing gives it significance and, therefore, memorable.

Stay consistent with your good habits, too! Slipping eventually happens with the passing of time. Just remind yourself of the benefits of these and you’ll never take them for granted. 

3 Reasons to be Happy as a Designer

It’s Thanksgiving and there is a lot to be thankful about.

Whether you are just now starting off as a student, or already have an existing career in the field, there are plenty of reasons to be happy as a graphic designer!

1. You get paid for being creative.

While design is a procedural discipline, it also gives you endless opportunities to be actively creative.

2. You’ll never stop learning.

Your work will continue to improve and evolve. Like Paula Scher once said, “it’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”

3. Every day is different.

A graphic design career can take you to places you never thought possible; you will be facing new creative challenges constantly and encountering many wonderful opportunities for yourself and with other creatives.

With good design always in demand, you have the power to make a positive difference in the world through your work. Additionally, you learn to become business minded and get to see people interact with your work physically and emotionally.

Ultimately, as a graphic designer, you’ll change the way you see the world and gain new inspiration every single day. Now, how amazing is that?