Thursday, September 15, 2011

Inspirational Logo Designs

Whenever you hit a creative block, or, just need some good old fashion inspiration... research until that brilliant idea comes to life. Brian Hoff, owner of The Design Crucible blog, has an amazing blog with 33 logo design resource sites.

Barcamp: Designed by Bill Kenney

Catch 5: Designed by Mike Erickson

Century Farm: Designed by Bruce Yelaska

CFO Cycling Team: Designed by Nadir Balcikli

Foxystats: Designed by James Waldner

Spartan Golf Club: Designed by Richard Fonteneau

Iron Duck Clothing: Designed by Josiah Jost

Petpublisher: Designed by Phar Fetched Designs 
Pick: Designed by Daniel Evans'

William Sonoma: Designed by Steven Noble

Telezoo Designed by: Redkroft™

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Designing Image Galleries

One of the most sought after design element in a web site is an image gallery. Their are many ways to execute an image gallery, such as: Widgets, Lightbox, Flash, JQuery, CSS or JS. The best solution for you will depend on your level of skill, and of course the design of your site.

You can create image gallery's with Adobe Bridge. It is not the most sophisticated way to do it, however, it is very simple and will get the job done. In order to use the Bridge Gallery, select the Output Workspace from the top of the Bridge Window. You will then be able to customize it with built in gallery templates (most of which are flash, however their are a couple of html options). All you have to do is add the photos and Bridge Gallery will do all the coding for you.

The Adobe Exchange has a few galleries you can import as widgets. You can customize your widget directly in the exchange and then save the preset to import into Dreamweaver. Very easy and very user friendly. You can customize your imported gallery with CSS applied to the div tags. This will allow your gallery to be cohesive with your site layout.

When is an image gallery appropriate? When you have a showcase of photography. You can also use it for portfolio items. Just remember, if you want your gallery to work on blackberry's, ipads and iphones, you will need to use a non Flash gallery, as they do not support Flash.

Image Gallery Solutions on the web:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Designing With Dreamweaver Widgets

Using the Adobe Widget Browser is a great tool for adding functionality to your site, especially if you are more of a designer and less of a coder. The Adobe Exchange is becoming more popular, therefore more varieties of widgets have become available.

A great example of a widget you can add to your site is the JQuery widget for 360 Degree Image Rotation by Olivier de Broqueville.

Dreamweaver has become a powerful web design program. I suggest all Dreamweaver users to explore the exchange for ideas on content you might otherwise be intimidated to add. And, if you create one of your own, feel free to share. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keyboard Shortcuts For Designers (mac)

As designers we learn the keyboard shortcuts we need to be faster and more efficient, but what are some "need-to-know" shortcuts? Layers Magazine has a great informational article regarding handy shortcuts: mastering keyboard shortcuts


  • command z : undo a recent task
  • command a: select all
  • command s: saves your work
  • command q: quit an app
  • command w: close a window
  • command o: open a file
  • f: in most apps this is full screen view
  • command/alt/tab: switch between apps
  • space bar: in adobe apps gives us a hand tool to change the area in the screen
  • right click: most apps use this to access options for tools

Monday, March 7, 2011

Is print design on its way out?

With the technological advances in the handheld world, designing for print may seam like it's heading down a road to obsolete. Rest assured though, as long as the world sells products for us to use in our everyday lives, there will always be the need for print work. Companies will always advertise, logos will always be crucial, and the preference of many to keep things technologically simple will keep us in business. As graphic designers, it is our job to advance with technology. New things are always a challenge, but hard work always pays off. Proactive learning leads to new and more exciting ventures, and, more business for you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creating A Sophisticated Portfolio

Whether your portfolio is print, web, photography or illustration, all portfolios have one thing in common.... they encompass our skills, experience and creativity.

A good number to start with is 15-20. You want it to be versatile and sophisticated. There is no need to throw every little project in there. The best way to decide what should stay and what should go is to place them all next to each other. If one does not measure up to the others, then maybe you should reconsider its inclusion.

Always put your three best pieces as follows: the first being viewed, the last, and one in the middle. The idea is to wow them from start to finish. There is nothing wrong with showing work from college, as long as it competes well with your other pieces, by all means hold onto it.

Just because you were paid to do it, does not mean it is good enough for your showcase. We all take on jobs we are not proud of in the end, this could be a result from client dictation or to serious time constraints. Either way, more isn't alway better. Keep a strong body of work and do not let a few bad pieces ruin it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Graphic Design Rates

When establishing a rate, some things to keep in mind: client budget, the value of your time, your experience and the skill level required to complete the project.

If the client has a specific budget, then try to work within it. If they are asking too much from you, then explain that your skills require more than they are offering, and that the "said work" will be additional to the budget discussed. Usually we can come to an agreement by being open minded, flexible and confident. 

Some clients will attempt to take advantage of prices by haggling with you. Something to keep in mind, even though it is a product, it is also a unique idea, created by you, the designer. Being upfront with people helps establish the tone of your worth. Let them know you can be flexible to a certain extent. 

Everyone has their own idea of value, but try not to sell yourself short. Emphasize upfront your skills and experience. I find it helpful to create prices based on a per project basis, vs. an hourly fee. However, if you are freelancing for a local firm, or company, they will most likely pay per hr.

Two key things to keep in mind: Do not underestimate yourself, and, do not take on more than you can handle.

There are plenty of online resources available for creating contracts. is very helpful: Here is a great article by Jacci Howard Bear

Friday, February 11, 2011

Concept Developing

We all need inspiration for our ideas. I often sketch concepts on paper while researching for a project. Some people find it easier to jump right onto the computer, however, limiting yourself to the tools of technology can hinder the creative process. Having an idea before you start the project can save you and your client a lot of time and money. Creating involves creativity, and without ideas you will find yourself with mediocre work that makes no sense. Having a theme is a good place to start. Writing down words associated with the style and theme you are looking for can broaden your ideas. It is better to go too far than not to have gone far enough.

Whenever I hit a creative road block, I look to my peers. Some great sites to check out to fuel your ideas:,,,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Color As Meaning

Often times Designers are faced with a color theory challenge. We tend to either over use or under use color in our work. Color should be used to enhance your design, not distract or deter.

When first creating comps, try to create them in black and white. This will assure that you are not relying on purely color to attract your consumer. The composition should be the most important part of your design, from start to finish.

When adding color, try to use colors the client has adapted through use of their identity. This will assure a cohesive family of design.