Design Drama

documenting the delicate dance of design

The Truth About Graphic Design November 17, 2008

I’m always amused at how people find my blog. I normally get a lot of “Michael Jackson + Bubbles” or “Jeff Koons + Prince + toy poodle + latex.”

“Tonight, I saw a search for “Truth About Graphic Design Industry” in the search list.

Heh.

You want the truth?

I’ll give you the truth.

THE BAD NEWS

(A) You won’t get rich. If you’re entering this profession thinking you’re going to be printing money, I suggest you seek other avenues of employment. There are months that I do well. Others, I could probably do better asking “do you want fries with that?” or working at the Gap.

(B) If you’re thinking “oh, I’ll get to meet famous people…” — ok, in Nashville, on occasion it could happen. I’ve met, I think, 3 people of note through my job — the coolest being this lady — a friend of a client. She was ultra amazing and a total English lady in every sense of the word. Oh, and she’s still beautiful. I have photos with her and she even indulged me with an autographed press photo for my brother, a huge James Bond fan. We had nice conversations while chain-smoking cigarettes as she regaled me with stories of her time in the movies, her rounds in Hollywood and her work on “Goldfinger.”

(C) “…oh, maybe I’ll get famous, like Michael Beirut, David Carson or Stefan Sagmeister…” — don’t count on it. Chip Kidd said it best: “famous designer is like famous electrician”

(D) If you’re going into this field and you have an ego — you better lose it quick. Sooner or later (sooner, rather than later) you will have to sell out. Get used to selling out. Once, a friend of mine asked me “do you love everything that you design?” — I laughed and said “No! But the checks cash the same.” With that said, always do your best and give your all. But, note, there will be limitations — like images you have to pull from the internet or someone’s low resolution vacation photo they want to incorporate into the project. In these cases, refer to the famous words of one Mr. Tim Gunn (“Project Runway”) and “…make it WORK!”

(E) Get used to wearing a lot of hats — especially if you’re a freelancer. I’ve done the freelance thing for almost 5 years. I am the receptionist, the cleaning lady, the accountant, bills payable & receivable, customer service, order fulfillment, production artist, creative director, liaison (between printer and designer), typesetter, photo retoucher, editor and copywriter, just to name a few.

(F) To be a great graphic designer, you must learn to handle criticism well. Would I like every project to be my own ideas and a masterpiece? Sure. But there are always the clients that have their own visions. And those visions are unique to the client – and many times the client has a completely different approach that is refreshing. Learn to listen. It’s not about the designer, after all. It’s about a happy client.

(G) The client is always right. Now, mind you if they want your Photoshop files, you should refer to this post — but most of the time, you need to listen to the direction of what the client is requesting artistically.

(H) Above all else, you will be suited to this field if you meet one requirement: sitting in front of a computer and sketch book, drawing, dreaming and creating — and the whole time you’re doing these things, it is NOT WORK. I adore what I do. Do I get insane at times? Absolutely. But I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have friends who have desk jobs pushing paper — and the grand majority of them hate it with a burning passion.

THE GOOD NEWS

(A) I contain so much excitement and passion for the field I am in. There is magic in my profession. I can’t think of any other gig where you could say to 50 people “give me this product at the end, you have to use photos A, B, and C and it has to meet requirement 1, 2, 3, and 4” — and in the end you could have 50 results that meet the specifications.

(B) This is probably my favorite characteristic about my colleagues: graphic designers are a very sharing and giving community. There have been times I’ve been assigned a type of project that I’d never done before and I’ve had questions as to how to tackle the job. In those cases, I called up another designer or two – I’ve even emailed designers I didn’t really know – to seek advice; the common thread is that everyone has always been happy to help and give me counsel. We’re a tight group — we’ve all been through the war, so to speak.

(C) A fantastic perk of my job is that every day is different. There is no way to get bored. Then there are all the things one can learn — in the past few months I’ve learned about a Creek Indian leader, Pioneers of Cardiac Surgery, and the Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center of Nashville. I am always being presented an opportunity to find out new things. I feel so incredibly blessed to make a living doing something I consider fun and exciting and engaging.

(D) Graphic Designers are some of the most fun people you will ever meet. I love every single, solitary designer friend of mine. And I meet new ones all the time. We’re a well rounded and diverse group. And we usually have really fun parties or at least the invite to one.

(E) You get to write off all your cool technology from the Apple store. The iPhone is worth the blood, sweat and tears, right?

So, if you can take the good with the (sometimes) bad, then I’d say you are suited for a career as a graphic designer.

Good luck… if you’re willing to hang in there through this economy, you’re in for a treat.

 

Summer Work 2008 July 11, 2008

I wrote in an earlier post about my summer endeavors — gardening and archiving photos. I do actually design for a living – I work for myself, by myself – and here’s my accounting of a few of the projects that have highlighted my summer of 2008.

CHIP GREENE PERFORMING SONGWRITER ADVERTISEMENT I have a really talented singer/songwriter friend here in Nashville, Chip Greene. I met Chip through another friend, Dave of Nashville Feed. In addition to being super talented in a musical fashion, Chip is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and he’s easy on the eyes as well. Chip called me one day to request my design services to create an ad for him to be published in Performing Songwriter Magazine. Chip performs often here in Nashville – as well, he’s recently completed show dates in Memphis at the Hi-Tone as well as New York City’s legendary Bitter End. Below, is the ad I created for Chip. And be sure to check out his website for music, show dates and all other musical goodness.

ADVENTURE SCIENCE CENTER – MEMBERSHIP BROCHURE We are very blessed here in Nashville to have The Adventure Science Center in our backyard. The fine folks over there contacted me to redesign their 2008 Membership Benefit Brochure to highlight the addition of the Sudekum Planetarium. The new planetarium is a huge coup for Nashville — the ASC website describes it better than I: At the center of the new Sudekum Planetarium is the GOTO Chiron optical star projector that fills the dome with more than 6.5 million stars (the previous star ball projected 2,500). This breathtakingly realistic night sky is combined with a Digistar 3, high-definition, full-dome system that projects images and animations of the wonders of the universe from horizon to horizon. No other planetarium in the country offers the seamless integration of these two technologies. The gently sloping seating and powerful 5.1 surround sound system give the visitors to the Sudekum a unique, immersive and exhilarating experience. If you have kids, or am just a full grown space-related geek like me, consider membership to the ASC. You can learn more at their website here. Meanwhile, below are images from the ASC’s new membership brochure I designed.

TENNESSEE ANIMAL RESOURCE CENTER – LOGOS The Tennessee Animal Resource Center is staffed by some really caring people who generously donate their time to the quality of life, rescue and adoption of our furry friends. From the TARC website: The Tennessee Animal Resource Center (The ARC) was established as a 501(c )3 nonprofit organization in 2006 by a group of women dedicated to ending the pain and suffering caused by the pet overpopulation problem. Coming from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds, this dedicated board has developed a unique model designed to assist and train animal welfare agencies while promoting and funding spay and neuter efforts across the State of Tennessee. The ladies at TARC contacted me to design some logos for their cause. These included the TARC logo itself and the logo for their 2008 Spay It Forward Conference. The ladies were a joy to work with and I admire them for their hard work and tenacity when it comes to the welfare of cats and dogs. Thanks to all of my wonderful clients, past and present, for making my working life so fullfilling! And, for more examples of work from my day gig, click over there to the right, on my sidebar — there is a link that says “My Art” and that will direct you to my website with more design from the past.

 

Is that a banana in your logo, or are you just glad to see me? April 29, 2008

Filed under: fonts,HA!,logo design,Uncategorized,what the ??? — Beth D @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

I read a lot of blogs on typography and logos and all sorts of graphic design stuff that would make the average human sleep longer than Rip Van Winkle.

So, I’m shuffling around the blogs recently and came across this gem:

The British Government Agency called “Office of Government Commerce” apparently had a designer that didn’t rotate the logo to see what things looked like from all sides.

I love the internet.

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HT: I Love Typography via The Ministry of Type

 

The Possibility of Falling in Love with Logo Design / Adobe Illustrator April 28, 2008

Like most designers I know, I have my own little beaten path of doing things. I love love love Photoshop and could work in it almost exclusively. But for logos, I force myself to use Illustrator because it’s the right way to do things.

In the past few months, I’ve had more logo work come across my desk than normal.
As I’ve stated before, I’m not the biggest fan of logos. Of course, like everything else, practice makes perfect. I’ve found, recently, as I blogged about a few posts back, that sketching logos by hand, away from the computer is the way to really let the mind play – to not rely on the fonts loaded on a computer to dictate the look of a logo

Honestly, I think the true reason I shudder at the thought of the design of logos is I’ve never really felt all that comfortable in Adobe Illustrator. I was one of those people that learned Aldus/Macromedia Freehand (I’m showing my age here, ack!) & Illustrator in college, but it was really on my own, even though I was paying money to be taught — which means I didn’t really learn it as well as I should.

And that’s the thing here: knowing Illustrator and KNOWING Illustrator are two different animals. I started a project for 3 logos this week and grudgingly opened Illustrator, because I’m a big believer that logos should be initiated as vector art.* Anyway, so, I bit the bullet and decided I wasn’t going to let my fear take over.

I didn’t know how to do this one thing I wanted to do and I started Googling. I stumbled across this website, Illustrator Techniques. Where has this been all my angst filled Illustrator life? This website is just what I needed at just the right time. And it’s actually more than I needed. Looking at the galleries and reading the tutorials are really amazing, because they are written from the standpoint of being kinder and gentler to the reader — they’re not written over my head. Just “here’s how you get from point A to point B to point C to point D. I love this site!

*I wish I had a dime for every time I had to work with someone’s shitty version of a logo pulled from the web, scanned poorly or designed as 72 dpi — I wouldn’t be working; I’d be sitting on a beach, cold Corona in hand.

 

Jim Parkinson April 23, 2008

I am a font fanatic. I haven’t counted recently, but I’d venture to guess that I have over 7,000 fonts sitting here on the hard drive. They seriously need to be organized, but that can take weeks. I find myself lost in organization of fonts – and then they’re organized and I think of a better way that I could place them in folders to find them quickly.

I spend a lot of time playing “identify the font” on the rare occasion I watch television. I do it when I drive down the road, look at magazines and the ads within — I guess I’m obsessed.

So this email just landed in my inbox. An interview with Jim Parkinson – you might not know the name, but you know his work – the logo for Rolling Stone magazine, Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus being two of the most famous.

Article & interview with JP here