Designer Truths

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I read a great article posted on istockphoto, which unfortunately has been relocated/removed since. But the article describes, in soft and funny quips, their take on what it means to be a designer. I laughed, out loud, for several seconds at the author’s musings. Here’ s a summary of their findings, as well as my personal assessment on each point.

Graphic Designers:

  1. Spend the majority of time in
    A: Our Own World or B: Lala Land.I would catagorize this as a certain TRUTH.(We) have the courage and desire, to be everywhere simultaneously!. For clients, this is a bonus because we can take you or your audience to places you and they haven’t imagined yet.
  2. We see green. TRUTH. (We care for the environment relentlessly.)In certain sectors, paper is still our lifeblood. We love this planet and I’ve not yet met another designer that isn’t voraciously protective of it.
  3. Finding the right image for a project is like finding a million dollars. FALSE. Finding the perfect image for a project is like finding a trillion dollars. And, if we can’t find it, we will create it.
  4. We have the attention of a goldfish…OH! Sorry, I lost my place…oh yes, the attention of a goldfish. (Apologies for that over-used and tired clichéd time-stop.) If we do, in fact, have more on our mind, it is spaced evenly between “command-z” aka “undo,” and “I need a bigger monitor;” or “Bacon,” (in my case, Veggie Thai Rolls). SEMI-TRUTH.I admit that when I work hours-on-end on the same project, I do check the “before” and “after,” constantly analyzing which works best. And, yes, ingest a roll or two, in the process.
  5. We’ve trained our brains to think rectangularly. NOTSOMUCH. Granted, many of us do, but I would surmise that these days, at least half of us (obviously and especially, package designers) think in 3D — and rectangularly, squarely, cylindrically, etc.
  6. We pray for a “Unicorn Deathmatch.” NO COMMENT. I’m climbing off of the Unicorn wagon right now.
  7. We see the world in fonts. TRUTH. Admittedly, my ego grins just a bit when I see the font, “Anastasia” — albeit mostly on diner menus or marquees….and yes, I audibly cringe with too much papyrus or comic sans out in the world. At the same time lauding those designers that create their own fonts.
  8. Our schedule is like a that of a night club. TRUTH. Which is one reason we work well internationally. Actually, most of us are ever-accommodating. That, or perfectionists, usually one of the two.

 

For all that we designers are, we love what we do and most of us do it well. 

I’ve made a lot of comments on behalf of designers everywhere. If you are a designer (or a member of the general audience) and have more to say, or share, please do! 

 

 

Website design or development?

There has been a misconception about the difference between website design and website development. If you need print design, talk to me. If you need copywriting and copy-editing, talk to me. If you need photography, talk to me. I am a creative director and we all collaborate from the same point-of-view.

However, if you need web development, allow me to introduce you to….

I’ve been a print designer since 1999. Like many designers, I had to choose between graphic design or web design during my college years. I chose graphic design: to understand spatial and color juxtaposition, to implement creative thoughts and ideas and to offer visual solutions to challenges many aren’t yet aware of. Like others at the time, my mantra was, “do one thing, and do it well.”

My processes are design, but just because we’re using the same medium, that doesn’t mean I’m the best candidate for your website development too. (That said, templates available today (2018) have the power to change that scenario.)

Website design is still part of the design process. Let me pose this question: If you are a mechanic and change oil on a Lexus, it’s believed that you also know how to change oil on an Aston Martin…different subject matter but still basically the same action.

However, just because you know how to change the oil on two different cars, that doesn’t mean we should ask you to build either car.

Website development is similar to the building. It is mostly architectural and understanding where things belong. Think “mainframe.”

So, the developer and designer will want to collaborate during the development process so make sure the sheepskin seats the designer wants can be used universally in Astons (they can’t by the way).

As you probably know, there are thousands of website template themes available now. (This website is based on a wordpress template — albeit with several customizations.)

If you are in the market for a website and choose to use a template, please heed my warnings.

  1. Read the fine print. You may be able to use a web site template, but if you want to change it, make sure you have the rights to do so. Often times there are levels of ownership and each level comes with it’s own price.
  2. Understand that just because it’s a template that doesn’t mean it’s a simple “drag and drop” method. If it is, and you want customization (which I deeply suggest) hire a developer, anyway. When I decided to update my website, which used to be based on simple html technology, I chose a WordPress template. I definitely wanted customization so I dug in and found a few functionality widgets and went to town on it. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of a long, long torrid relationship with WordPress info sites and videos. After one month of phone calls to and with my web site host and the template’s author and getting nowhere, I thankfully found an expert. WordPress websites are fantastic ways to make sure you have the necessary functionality like optimization, CMS and making sure your site works on mobile phones and other smart devices.)
  3. Know that there are some limitations to owning the site as well. Ask a lot of questions.

In a perfect world, you, the consumer, will hire a web developer and a web designer, like me, to beautifully marry form and function, as it should be.  🙂  Good Luck!

 

 

 

What does typography do for you?

Typography is defined as:

The art or process of setting and arranging types and printing from them.

The style and appearance of printed matter. So you’re an “out-of-the-box thinker?” Learn to look beyond the shape, design and juxtaposition of typography on a page.

Typography and font usage is so much more than just that.

Find the order in creativity.

Here’s some information (certainly not a comprehensive view) on typography/typesetting and some common grammatical mistakes you’ll want to look for in your company’s designed materials and particularly in publication design (magazines, articles, annual reports).
  • When you have columns of information, consider using serifed fonts. (Times New Roman, Garamond, Palatino are some examples of serifed fonts.) These are the fonts that carry ascenders and descenders or little squiggles darting from the tops and bottoms of letters. The reason is that the serifs provide a break in the white spaces between the lines of text, AKA “leading.” If you insist on using sans-serif fonts (fonts without squiggles) like Arial, Verdana, Georgia, for publication design make sure there is extra leading space so the readers’ eyes are given time to adjust from line to line.
  • Keep your columns to 12-14 words or about 45 characters in width. This will also prevent “tired eyes.” If a reader’s eyes have to work too hard to get to the end of a line of text, they are more likely to stop reading.
  • Break your text and columns up using block quotes.
    — again to prevent tired eyes.Enlarge the fonts and put it between columns to add visual interest.
  • Hyphens, En Dashes and Em Dashes
    Hyphens are typically used when indicating a phone number. Ex: 847-991-2766.

    • En dashes (half the length of an Em dash) are typically used to separate dates.
    • Em dashes are the length of an “m” and are used when expressing a quick change of thought.
      Ex: Em dashes are frequently used to indicate a change of thought — or the addition of a new thought — like this.
  • Elipses
    Elipses indicate missing text. Ex: It was an incredibly interesting story…and when ending a sentence, an extra period should be used….

These are only a few of the many, many type-setting rules to follow in creating excellent publication design. If your designer implements these and creates interesting page design, I guarantee the odds of your articles being read — and shared — will drastically increase. A designer with both left and right-brained talents will make all the difference; and if your designer isn’t familiar with these notes, I encourage you to find an editor who is.