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The Importance of Design When “Yes” Isn’t Enough

If I asked you to name the best examples of strong branding, I’m sure the first place your mind goes to isn’t college acceptance packets. Interestingly enough, however, if you take a look back at your acceptance packets, a lot of them will have really strong visual and verbal identities. Why is this? Shouldn’t a yes be enough? According to Brigid Lawler, dean of admissions at Marlboro College, “The admittance packet is supposed to be representative of the institution’s personality.” Visually stimulating or not, the packet is a person’s first glance into what it feels like to be a student at that institution—a dull packet translates into a dull personality. And who wants to go a dull school?

Now more than ever, companies from every industry—not just universities—are realizing the importance of good design and branding. Design choices impact many of our own thoughts, from something as simple as to how we perceive a company’s value to even the important decisions, like how we feel about potential colleges. Do you have any examples of how strong design and branding has influenced you?

Stay Out of Treble

One of the most beloved music symbols of all time is the treble clef—so prevalent that even the most musically illiterate can recognize it as a musical icon. As a result of this popularity, it is easily misused by artists and designers in their work.

At the beginning of recorded music, the staff was written as a single line with arbitrary dots around it, indicating the general direction that the melody was meant to take. As writing music became more complicated, more lines were added to the staff. To indicate the key, composers wrote a letter name around the corresponding note’s line on the staff. This was the birth of the treble clef: the letter “G” around the second line of the treble clef staff.

When all music was copied by hand, no two scribes wrote the letter the same way, and it evolved into an elaborate version of G. Herein lies a common mistake in thinking the treble clef can be used as an S instead.

Meant to be “Sonatina” (noun; a simple or short sonata), this logo reads instead as “Gonatina”, completely destroying it’s meaning

It is important to understand the icons one uses when designing; especially for symbols so often seen that many don’t even think about their meaning anymore. Ask more questions, make fewer assumptions.

For the Greener Goods

Graphic design work permeates our day to day life, in numerous ways. Whether it is through digital platforms or physical material, the growing demand for design remains.

As designers we are taught a lineage of valuable knowledge to contribute to the commercial needs; yet there is one thing that I believe, more designers should embrace. This is, environmental-conscious design.

When I came to the topic of “green graphic design” I found a book with that exact title. In the book, they get designers in the mindset of sustainable design for positive change. Another website source, discussed the better choices designers can make when printing and choosing paper. There seems to be many sources on the web about green design, which spark a little hope that it will be fully integrated into the practice one day.

One could argue that these changes we can make as designers are rather small and ineffective, but I refute this with one of my favorite movie quotes: “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” So in closing, I share this topic to get you thinking about green design, and I highly encourage you to check out the linked sources if you’re interested.

Does Graphic Design Help The Church?

I’m a graphic designer who is a Christian and I want create designs for God. In the article, “Does Graphic Design Help The Church?”, by Bill Segroves, he explains how design can impact a church. Segroves was a former Hip-Hop MC and a comic book artist before designing for the church. In fact, his first comic book illustration called “Wolf-spider”, was a recreation of his favorite childhood superhero, Spiderman. After reading this article, not only was I inspired by the ways to make designs for God, but my faith in God had also increased as well.

Segroves explains 3 ways how design can impact the church.

  1. Design exists because it communicates. By using design for the church, it can communicate with the person who can convey the message quickly and is drawn to it visually.
  2. Stories told in metaphors. Just like Jesus uses a word picture to describe his teaching, the church can also design an image to convey a complicated message.
  3. Creating is worship. Segroves says “when an artist is given an opportunity to create a brand or logo for the church, it’s also like given them an opportunity to worship.”

Now Auditioning Designers


Now Auditioning Designers

Today, I will be auditioning for the roll of graphic designer. I will start by tackling your concept while wowing you with my choice of color palette. Later, I  also hope to impress you with my design layout that I created within just a few days! This is how it can feel when applying for a virtual design job.

As my sophomore year came to an end, I began considering internship options. I surfed the web for design positions on job sites and eventually stumbled upon virtual graphic design internships. The idea of designing for clients from the comforts of my home felt like the perfect job. I applied for as many virtual internships as I was qualified for. After much waiting, I began receiving messages saying the company needed a “sample project” from me to decide if I was hirable. Understanding this, I submitted what felt like a play audition to the companies and patiently waited for my callback.

More requests like these came in, and I began to wonder if every design job would require this same process. If so, I will make sure to bring my sparklers and tap shoes to my next audition

This is one of my design sample projects I did for a company.

Letrs: The Better Typekit

Have you been downloading fonts from online sources like Font Squirrel, DaFont, or using Adobe’s Typekit? Either choices can be a real hassle to use sometimes. When downloading fonts from free online websites, you risk downloading poor quality versions or not obtaining legitimate typefaces. Adobe Typekit works great, right? Not until you can’t find the typeface you’re looking for because Typekit has a limited library.

Don’t worry, I have the answer to fix your font problems! There’s an application called Letrs that allows you to choose from a variety of typefaces to use online and offline. There is a growing collection of 2,400 fonts that are verified. Downloads are quick, instantly usable, compatible on Mac and PC, and can be shared with others. It is a great application for design students, as it allows you to use thousands of high quality typefaces for a monthly fee of $25. Letrs is the better cloud service for fonts.

Logo Magic

As a graphic design student, I often ask myself, “How can something so simple be so complex?” This summer, I was working for a local magazine company. One morning, my boss asked me to design a logo for a new magazine feature. I had never officially designed a logo, but my impression was that this would be a straightforward task.

After sketching and brainstorming ideas, I got right to work. After about two hours of barely blinking at my computer screen, my boss came to check on me. I had practically finished two logo designs when I learned I had too much text and way too many graphics. “A logo has to be simple,” my boss instructed. I took his advice but my logo was still complex when he returned. He commented “It’s okay, not everyone’s a logo designer. We could just hire one.”

It was that day that I realized how hard it was to simplify design. I felt as though the magic behind successful logo design was going over my head.  Logos today say so much by doing so little, and I take inspiration from them to this day. I won’t be defeated by logo design magic.

These are just a few well-known and simple logos that exist today.

Back to Basics — Start With Line!


The visual elements of color, shape, line, texture, pattern, and form, are the most basic qualities perceived by the senses. But, if you want to improve your design, look at line! As a photographer, I initially concentrate my composition on the most fundamental element first—line! Line provides the skeletal structure for all other elements because without line the other elements just wouldn’t exist.

Line can be blatant or implied. Consider the joyful wedding photo. Notice how the leading lines of the brides’ gaze create an implied line, which connects to the grooms’ gaze, then down to the brides’ foot (probably to avoid colliding with her!) These lines form a triangle shape that helps viewers stay engaged in the image. A horizontal line, following the compositional rule of thirds, separates the foreground from the background and also creates a sense of stability. An angular line conjures feelings of strength (think mountain range.) Notice how the curvilinear lines (“S” curves) of the body shapes suggest the emotional energy of rhythmic movement. Can’t you feel the excitement of their dance? Start your project with line and use it to suggest emotion in your design!


Playing Around

Utilizing a medium for everything it has to offer is essential to setting yourself apart from others. The post “The Art of Shaving,” written by jgoldma5, the artist pictured using colored pencil shavings to make art. This is innovative thinking that many have come to value in this day and age.

Using a product in an unintended manner creates a whole new dimension to work through within the medium. A new set of possibilities in an already endless abyss.

People who think outside of the box come up with the cutting-edge. They create the newest products and most successful advertisements. They engage the viewer in a way they hadn’t been engaged before. This is crucial to first impressions, and first impressions are crucial to design and advertising: You only get one chance.

The Art of Shaving

3 Ways to Stay Motivated as a Graphic Designer











It’s no secret that it can be easy to feel pressured, drained, and overwhelmed as an active designer. However, by following three, miniscule steps, you can kick-start your motivation and creative energy levels in no time.

1. Find Your Work Flow

Do you consider yourself to be more creative as the sun rises? Or are you more likely to accomplish the most in the evening? Establishing your productivity cycle will give you more comfort and confidence to clear your mind and face your tasks with fresh eyes.

2. Set Goals

One of the best ways to approach a project head-on is to declutter your mind. While it is tempting to envelop yourself with social media and miscellaneous tasks, you can defeat these distractions by breaking down your goals (the more specific, the better).

3. Use Your Tools

Renew your originality with a mind map and push self-criticism aside. Surround yourself with creatives and explore the outdoors. Try typing your ideas on smartphone apps like Evernote, and search through inspiration-gathering websites, like Pinterest.

It’s all about taking baby steps and concentrating on one task at a time with confidence. By following these three simple steps, you can rock your next designs with solid motivation—full speed ahead!