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1 Inch Space on All Edges

We were critiquing student work a few days ago in my photography class. What I noticed between the student work I liked versus the ones I was not as fond of based off of first appearance was the way the work was presented. Student photographs, regardless of the actual subject in the photograph, looked much cleaner and pleasing to look at when they had left white margins or borders around the whole printed photograph.
In terms of design and other arts, this puts into aspect how you want your work to come off as the most appealing. Being aware of how you present your design will be especially helpful. I’ve realized that a white border around my photographs make them much more beautiful to look at even if they were excellent images without the borders. Presentation and display of your work is always important.

Here is a link to one of my favorite photographers on Instagram that posts images with these borders.


Free stuff for designers!

As a new or freelance graphic designer, building your resources is essential to making a more professional design result. Using the same default fonts will not set your work apart from other designers and may show a lack of experience. Luckily, there are emerging free resources for designers. For example, Unsplash offers high quality images that stray away from the generic stock photos and saves you time from rummaging through Google images. The professional images will transfer to your designs. Also, copyright can be tricky for typefaces so Google Fonts offers  free and open source fonts for commercial or personal work. Free Design Resources is another site that has a grab bag of free content including typefaces, demos, vectors, and templates. With any of these resources you can upgrade your design aesthetics and expand your design library.


Pixel Passports

As gaming systems become more powerful, graphics become more clear and realistic, and the gaming experience become more immersive and engaging like in Final Fantasy, Dark Souls, Horizon Zero Dawn and many more. You feel as though you’re in the video game world and this is how designer and illustrator, Anna Dittmer feels as she creates physical stamps from her favorite video game places. Her idea is based on Japanese memorial stamps that can be collected at historic sites or places of interest which makes a wonderful designed keepsake. Anna decided to bring both interests of her love for Japanese RPG video games and hand lettering in creating Pixel Passports.

Below are some of my favorite stamps Anna Dittmer created. They take me back to the video games I have played!

Industrial City Hamelin from Ni no Kuni- Wrath of the White Witch

Deling City from Final Fantasy VIII

Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 64

You can view more of her stamps on her website:


Learning My Type


Out of all the classes I have taken at George Mason, Typography has shaped me the most as a designer. It was there that I learned to pay very close attention to detail when designing. I credit this not only to the course, but also the teacher. During the first few classes, I thought my professor was crazy for knowing all the fine details that made fonts different. I went into that class thinking that all fonts were practically the same, but she was convinced that they looked nothing like each other. When a student dared to say that there was no difference between Comic Sans and other fonts, she laughed at him. Throughout the semester, she taught us everything we needed to know about designing with type. I began noticing the shapes and serifs of each font, and suddenly my professor didn’t seem so crazy after all. I learned that certain fonts are more appropriate for certain text than others. As soon as I got used to examining type, I began looking at my work in the same way as a whole. After finishing this course, I realized why it was a degree requirement for designers.

Starbucks Logo: Past and Present

We’ve all seen the green Starbucks logo on their white take-out cups. This recognizable icon has become part of our American culture. The brand has grown to symbolize our membership in the cool kids camp, those who can hang out with friends at Starbucks and afford the daily splurge on $5 caffé lattes.

When Starbucks started over 40 years ago, the company’s owner’s wanted a logo to reflect it’s seafaring history at its Seattle waterfront location. The original 1971 design was adopted from a woodcut based on ancient Greek mythology that featured a topless, two-tailed mermaid. The mermaid is holding her marine tails, one in each hand, up to her shoulders in what could be considered a provocative pose. Starbucks was deliberately trying to seduce its customers by associating the exotic nature of the logo to its coffee.

History of the Starbucks Logo Design


Apparently, some complained about the logo’s risqué design, which only became more of an issue once the logo was enlarged and put on delivery trucks. When Starbucks was sold in the mid-80s, the new owners revised the logo by lengthening the hair to cover the bare breasts. The design further evolved when Starbucks became a public corporation. Most of the arms were removed, leaving the suggestion of the tails. The newest logo, which features a smiling woman with long wavy hair, is really a family-friendly version of its original self. What do you think the next version will look like?


The bottom of my coffee mug from Seattle showing the original logo.



A Font for God

Can you imagine using a papyrus font for your designs? Probably not many. In the Avatar movie, that was the only time I saw this font being used. When you take a design class, most professors dislike or shy away from the Papyrus font. I can understand why. It kind of looks like it was designed for a word document. To me, it seems like the Papyrus font is the only artistic looking font in Word. However, creator of the Papyrus font, Chris Costello explains that his inspiration for creating it was from God.

 Chris was only 23 years old, in college while creating it. In the article “The Guy Who Created the Infamous Papyrus Font”, Chris explains that “I was kind of just struggling with some different life issues, I was studying the Bible, looking for God and this font came to mind, this idea of, thinking about the biblical times and Egypt and the Middle East.” How can an infamous font be used for anything? However, with Chris’s explanation of the Papyrus font, it adds a deeper meaning to it.

20 Designs That Defined the Modern World


I’d like to share an article “20 Designs that defined the modern world” by Stephen Bayley. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design.

  1. The bra (1910) – A masterpiece of packaging design
  2. Coca-Cola bottle (1915) – To create valuable commercial autonomy
  3. Ur-Leica camera (1923) – Technically exquisite
  4. Pavillon de l’Esprit Noureau (1925) – “Machine for living in”
  5. Duralex Picardie glass (1927) – The fashions of 18th-century drinking glasses
  6. London Tube map (1931) – One of the great public service initiatives of Britain in the 1930s
  7. CH24 chair (1949) – Inspired by old photographs of Danish merchants sitting in Ming dynasty chairs
  8. Rimowa suitcase (1950) – A world standard of luggage(featherlight and stable)
  9. Braun SK4 record player (1956) – Germany’s “economic miracle”
  10. Sputnik satellite (1957) – The great theatrical spectacle of the Cold War
  11. Austin FX4 taxi (1958) – A masterpiece of vehicle packaging
  12. Mini car (1959) – To have a transverse engine with the gearbox hidden in the sump
  13. Mini skirt (1960)
  14. Sgt. Pepper’ record sleeve (1967)
  15. Brompton bike (1979) – The first successful folding bike
  16. Sony Walkman (1981) – The personal theater of the imminent digital revolution
  17. Carlton room divider (1981) – The irreverent and irrational furniture
  18. FedEx logo (1994) – “Fed”(Futura Bold) and “Ex”(Univers 67), an arrow appeared as if by magic
  19. Laleggera chair (1996) – One of the very few recent efforts that will one day achieve classic status
  20. iPhone (2007) – To change the way we think and behave

While I see the 20 designs, I think that these designs made our life convenient and show me a historical stream from analog to digital age.

280 Characters?!

Either saying very little or saying a lot in a small amount of space has been Twitter’s reason for being since its creation. Since the limit on characters per tweet has been recently increased from 140 to 280, reactions were– unexpectedly, in my opinion– mixed. 140 characters forced users to confine their thoughts and opinions to a small space, which could have been an interesting linguistic challenge, or an exercise in cutting out unnecessary words. However, many people, myself included, merely lengthened their tweets into threads, responding to their tweets repeatedly in order to draw out their internet monologue.

I’d like to posit that 280 characters is a design improvement for Twitter. With longer tweets, users have more room to present their thoughts without losing them in . You lose the challenge of trying to say a lot in very little space, but users don’t have to jump through hoops (or at least, jump through fewer hoops) in order to read in full what someone has to say. A number of people (notably, writers) are up in arms about the expansion as a result of losing that challenge. Is it really a loss if nobody was really trying to confine their thoughts to 140 characters in the first place?


The Powerhouse Behind Starbucks’ Designs

With 26,696 locations worldwide, Starbucks is easily one of the most recognizable and powerful brands in the world. From Starbucks holiday cups to the excitement around “PSL” (pumpkin spice latte) season, Starbucks has become a part of our culture’s vernacular.

Every store has a similar format, with posters and advertisements matching the overall campaign design of that season. That means hundreds of advertisements, email blasts, and posters are getting designed every season. Being someone who travels a lot and has visited many different Starbucks locations around the world, I’m always amazed at the quality and consistency of Starbucks’ design collateral. Who’s in charge of Starbucks’ designs?

 An in-house agency.

Starbucks Global Creative handles literally every single promotion and product launch that Starbucks does globally, according to Jennifer Quotson, director of visual presentation. Given the company’s size, the studio team is always busy. With over 100 members, the Studio is divided into teams based on the designer’s proficiency with the teams collaborating across projects.

While many companies partner with outside agencies for branding for design and branding work, Starbucks is a great example of how successful and effective an in-house agency can be.

Augmented Reality! You don’t have a “Contact Card” yet?

Apple’s AR (augmented reality) headset is Apple’s next big investment, which has the potential to become a widely used product within this decade. In the past Google Glasses, came out with a similar idea that didn’t work for a couple key reasons. First being the design itself wasn’t something people wanted to be caught wearing. As Apple has done appealing minimalistic product designs, I don’t think they’ll have an issue in this aspect. The second was the price of the product. In a Bloomberg article, Apple hopes to make the price as accessible in the market, to be a successor of the IPhone.

‘Pokemon Go’ is an example of AR technology

What exactly is augmented reality versus VR (virtual reality)? Augmented reality modifies the real world, in the sense that it will provide you with information overlaid in your day-to-day life. It could very well be possible that we will have “Contact Cards” that tell people who we are. As with new technology, I can foresee legal and privacy issues that will arise. Still, I’m excited to see what AR will bring to the table!