9 06 2008

Hi. I’m Kendal, one of the designers here. Since this is a blog (which is short for “web log” ie. a diary, for the uninitiated) and I’m writing about pretty much whatever I want to, I’m going to drop the formal tone and just write freely. Today I’m thinking about the topic of inspiration. To me, there are a million-ba-jillion different sources of inspiration, and especially now with the wonders of the interweb these are even easier to tap into than before.

As a designer, I use the various sites I’ve found to be inspiring as a starting point in the maze of the design process (Sidenote–I just came up with that analogy of the starting point and maze, and it’s actually a pretty sweet one, points for me). Now here is where the analogy comes in to play for you, Mr/s. Client: The design process is most certainly a maze, one with many different endpoints, some good, many not-so-good. The longer one stays in the maze, and the more skilled at navigating s/he is, the better the chances are for coming out with a great solution. While the exact endpoint, or result of the creative process, can never be predicted with certainty, the starting point can be defined. In fact, the more clearly the starting point is defined, it becomes that much easier to reach a successful “exit” from the maze.

At this point I feel like what I’m saying might make sense to some people, and it definitely makes a ton of sense in my head, but I should probably give a real world example of what the heck I’m talking about. So here goes.

We’ve had clients come to us before saying, “do whatever, I have no clue what we want, we trust you guys to make it look nice.” At first, from a designer’s standpoint, you would think this is a dream situation, with total artistic license granted. Nope. More often than not it turns into one of the more hellish situations we brave designers encounter. This is because just about everyone has some design sensibilities about what they do and do not like. This can be limited to something as simple as colors, shapes, etc. or perhaps as specific as fonts or imagery. By not communicating this to us, it adds to the number of wrong turns we as designers must make before reaching the end of the maze. Conversely, when a client can come to us with examples of what they like, we get a good idea of where they’d like to end up and where we should start  in the design process.

So where am I going with all this? Well, I’ve dug into my secret vault full of helpful resources and included a few links that have some great stuff going on.

The first is AdAge’s design of the day, which is a print piece chosen for its creativity and overall aesthetic. The second link is to a page of great business card designs, showcasing how the most simple of projects can result in some absolutely astounding creativity. These sites are just two in the veritable sea of resources that exist not only on the web, but all around us in the “real” world. Even if, as a client, you come to us saying, “you know that new Mickey D.’s commercial? The one where they’re advertising that sandwich they totally ripped off from Chick-Fil-A? Well I really like the colors they had going on there, and the way they did the text was cool too,” that is a GREAT start compared to the “hands-off” approach. 

Enjoy the links!

The Importance of Color in Design

9 06 2008

With so many topics related to graphic design I was struggling to decide which one to discuss first, but then it hit me … color. Color is everywhere and conveys a message even if we don’t realize it. The idea of color is also one of the least understood concepts of design. In my years as a designer one question has continued to be asked of me: ‘Why did you choose these particular colors?’ And while the surface answer can be as simple as, ‘they just felt right,’ the fact is, an experienced designer knows which colors would be best suited for that particular target market beyond just having a hunch

Let’s start by taking a trip down memory lane. At one point in time we all had an elementary art class with a brief exposure to primary, secondary and tertiary colors, but for those of us who don’t remember what that means I’ll explain. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue, although depending on the industry those colors vary slightly. Secondary colors consist of mixing two primary colors together to create a new color (i.e yellow + blue = green), and tertiary colors are created by mixing one primary color with a secondary color. It is within these three color groups that designers base their understanding of color and their best use in each industry.

At this point however, you may be thinking, ‘How do I choose the right colors?’ Well, this is where an experienced graphic designer can step in and point you in the right direction. Experienced designers know that what works in one industry may not work in another, and by applying a few basic principals they can propel your business in the right direction.

Let’s say your business is an ice cream shop and your favorite colors are brown and black. Brown evokes a sense of strength and reliability, both of which are good business traits, but brown also can convey a sense of isolation and sadness, neither of which are good for a business, especially an ice cream shop (Sensation and Perception – The Color Brown)! The same goes for the color black. It’s widely recognized for stability, but also for mourning. Not many people would associate those colors with an ice cream shop, but the point is that more often than not, people have a hard time seeing past their own personal preferences in color, which can send the wrong message to their customers. Instead, a designer is able to choose the correct colors based on the particular market to create focus, clarity and confidence in your brand and your business.

When you are ready to make an IMPACT…Give us a call. 330.655.5522 or visit us at