For pages 8-9, I introduce the character of the Mystical Dog King who holds in his hands, the potential of a green crayon. This is because I have found the topic of “It’s not easy being green” to be quite not-easy, and found free associating much easier. First, the dog character is something I came up with in the mid-nineties during colored pencil projects. He just popped up and said “Green is not easy, but I’m easy”. So I started there. The green crayon makes a cameo from page one…because it was easy. Mystery you say? A crown and some clouds with curtains. Yep. Mystery.
For pages 4-7, I decided I was going to compare and contrast graphite with charcoal. I’ve done a lot of graphite work over the years but never got a grasp of how to use charcoal in a way that approximated my graphite results. I’ve always wanted to sit down and do a piece in both mediums – one familiar and one not – and see what happened. The results are surprising!
Well I thought I had 45 days but now I have about 75 days! Looks like interest in the project was so overwhelming they had to extend in invitation and completion deadlines.
From an email I just got:
As the signup deadline started to approach and people started to receive their sketchbooks in the mail, we started getting two big requests: to let more people sign up and to give everyone more time to complete their sketchbooks. We’ve figured out a way to do some shuffling and have moved the first exhibition on The Sketchbook Project tour from December to January 29th. This will give everyone an entire month longer to complete their sketchbooks, moving the postmark date that they need to be sent in to us to January 4th.
Revised list of dates:
- November 1st – Date to sign up for the project (you did this already!)
- January 4th – Postmark date you need to send your sketchbook out by (keep in mind that the show is a couple weeks after that, so if shipping internationally, make sure they definitely get to us by then!)
- January 29th – The first show of the tour at Art House Gallery in Atlanta, GA
If you have an extra pencil and some spare time over the next 2 months, give it a spin! It cost a few bucks to join but it will be great fun working on artwork everyday. It’s a great discipline opportunity to blow some dust off of your creative window sills, and let some fresh ideas in.
Read more about the sketchbook project.
Art House Co-Op has started The Sketchbook Project: Library. Everyone who signs up gets a Moleskine sketch book to fill up any way they’d like. However, each Moleskine is barcoded and themed. I got mine yesterday, with the theme of “It’s not easy being green”. I immediately misunder-read this as “It ain’t easy being green.” So, my first sketch is wrong. But my second sketch makes good the bad with its own piece of art.
The entire project has to be completed and back to Art House Co-Op by December 1, 2009. From there, it will be on tour across the country with all the other completed sketchbooks.
David Airey has posted a breakthrough logo design tutorial revealing the fastest way to get the best logo design possible. Go take a gander and then wander back here.
Since his new logo is on the internet, I have a license to use it on my new limited edition product line in recognition of his achievementness with design. I now present to you 2 products, both designed with the same loving care with which David created his stunning tour-duh-force new logo.
The logo for “BonFX” (see the top-left corner of the website!) was recently selected for the third installation of “Brands of Interest” over at Dache. All of the logos are shown in black and white which reduces them to the same elemental level of design. The logos are all presented at roughly the same size and with the same white space. The article page is very fun to scan down because of how it’s presented. Take a look at the other great work on the site.
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In early 2008, a great question was posed on a midwest Adobe User’s Group list I belong to:
“A question just came up at the happy hour, and none of us know the answer. Standard resolutions in the web and print world are 72, 300 and 600. None of these are natural squares, which assuming a regular dot layout grid seems… well, confusing?”
I’m going to paste my reply as-is below. Several people found it quite useful but now it largely walled-up inside a Yahoo group archive. Since it’s a largely unedited stream-of-consciousness kind of post, I’d be glad to take questions about any and every aspect of what I’m now posting.
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Halfway through the comments on this post over at Just Creative Design, a common typo rears it’s head:
The typo is “chirdlike” which seems to be, but I’m not 100% sure, a typo for “childlike”. I don’t understand why this happens so much since “r” is not near “l” on the keyboard. Either way, I didn’t know what it meant the first time I came across it, thinking it was an eighth-grade vocab word I missed, or it was another one of those fancy internet memes like “pwn” or its past-tence version, “pwnd”.
Today for the first time, by following all the rules and working hard, and also by having a bit of luck owning an old domain (9 years) that has always been about freelance graphic design, we cracked the Google top 10 for the following searches simultaneously:
- “freelance graphic design”
- “freelance graphic designer”
- “freelance graphic designers”
- “freelance graphic design portfolio”
…and a few more, as well as a dozen or so font and typeface related searches.
We did this in 3 weeks.
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Want a reason to create some great new portfolio pieces, get some exposure for your freelance graphic design business and maybe win an award or get published? Now is your chance to work!
In lieu of pro-bono work, which is actually surprisingly tricky to give way while also getting a decent portfolio-worthy piece at the same time, responding to these calls to graphic designers for new work is a fantastic way to offload those unused logo design concepts or rejected brochure comps with a little touch up and make-ready. Like the land of misfit toys, you can make your old design work happy and proud to be yours once again by giving them a useful existence – and maybe some glory!
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A quick way to give customers fast complete access to a printable version of your business or products is to get a PDF version of your brochure on your website. Smart move! But you don’t want to put just any PDF brochure design on the web. If you want to communicate your services or products effectively using a PDF, it must be designed and optimized correctly. Here are some points to consider:
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Grab your beveled pica ruler, Letraset rub downs, and your favorite browser. We did some fresh research to discover what the best typography blogs are, according to the top graphic design blogs. We went through our own lists (see Related Posts below) of top graphic design blogs, some other lists, and tallied up all of their recommendations, comments, and anecdotal data to discover the 28 top typography blogs. We sorted the list from “most recommended” down to “regular recommended”.
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I check Google Analytics a lot to see how this or that article is tracking. I’m almost never interested in what happened yesterday, but rather what is happening today. In Google Analytics, you have to click through several screens and drop-down menus to get to todays data. Right now it takes 6 clicks and 4 screens to get at the data I want. That’s too much!
I’ve written a small jQuery plugin that makes it easy to see only todays stats. It takes you right to your domain stats with info delimited to today. Nice!
Ikea, as many of you know, changed their typeface for all catalog, in-store, and online presence to Verdana. Yes, Verdana. The outrage by graphic designers and others with an intuitive design sense let out an immediate cry of digust. An online petition was started. I just got around to signing it. It’s up to about 6300 right now.
Their corporate identity for decades has revolved around the usage of such classic fonts such as Futura and Century Schoolbook on which they based their own typefaces, Ikea Sans and Ikea Serif, respectively.
If you like timeless typography and good design, you need to head over to the petition website and sign it right away! Please don’t wait…
I can’t imagine, as much as I like dill salmon, swedish meatballs, cool cheap lamps, hanging canvass storage units, maple plywood bookcases, and hot pretzels on the way out, I just can’t imagine 3 hours of being confronted with a never-ending stream of Verdana in my face. I can’t do it…
Go over to Twitter to see what people’s heads look like if they were a warehouse:
- Visit Twitter and view / search for “#warehouse”
- Find an image, then go back Twitter at said link above.
- Twit something like: “If my head was a warehouse, it would look like this: [insert_your_link_here]“
UPDATE: Check out our brand new list: Top Graphic Design blogs for 2018. There are some perennial winners from the list below!
We scoured the web to find the names of top graphic designers and agencies who also ran blogs. We compared blog comments for mentions of other designers, blog rolls, etc., and came to a general-consensus list of what are considered the most visited blogs by the top graphic designers and graphic design agencies.
This list is not our opinion of the best graphic design blogs, but rather (we stress) the current consensus of what search results and blog chatter reveal them to be. Zero opinion factor
The length of the list was simply limited by time. If you are sure someone is missing, let me know and I’ll be glad to add it!
21 Top Graphic Design Blogs
- Aisle One
- Coudal Partners
- David Airey
- Design Observer
- Fuel Your Creativity
- Grain Edit
- I Love Typography
- Inspiration Bit
- Just Creative Design
- Logo Design Love
- Mark Boulton
- Outlaw Design Blog
- Presidia Creative
- Six Revisions
- Smashing Magazine
- Swiss Miss
- Vandelay Design
- Veer: Ideas: The Skinny
- You The Designer
Update 12-14-2009: It looks like Inspiration Bit has not published in many months.
Who is who these days in corporate identity design? We searched out this over the course of a few days, here and there, all over the web, from scratch. We searched for things like “famous graphic designers”, “top graphic design agencies”, etc., etc., and tallied up what many other sites had mentioned as their top inspiring portfolios. The list could have been 50 long, but these 15 came up over and over. Yes, there are so many other amazing designers and agencies out there specializing in corporate identity design, but this snippet represents a nice cross-section across the whole internets, which as you know is a series of tubes. Those tubes make it 1) easy to find these elite graphic designers and 2) easy to present to you for your consideration.
So, the common denominator all of these designers and firms is that they have famous clients, with which they focus on branding. Recognize any brands out there? And who did we miss? Please suggest and we’ll amend the post!
Yo, Font-Addict! Make sure to check out The Big Book of Font Combinations. Go grab a copy from Amazon or B&N and stare at all 350+ examples of informative font combinations for web and print. You know you want to!
- Tolleson Design
- End Communications
- Graphic Vertigo
- Chermayeff & Geismar
- Milton Glaser, Inc.
- Studio Dumbar
- Minale Tattersfield Design Strategy
- Distant Station Ltd.
Someone just sent me a link to Daryl Cagles comic section on MSNBC where he discusses and shows examples about how he creates his comic strips. He shows the artwork in various stages from rough sketch to final color.
This is very similar to how logo designers work. Daryl doesn’t show aborted and half-baked ideas, but rather starts with the final concept he is going to render. This is similar to when a logo designer commits to a concept and finishes the brainstorming process. From this point, Daryl lists the following steps:
- Messy rough sketching with no attempts to “look good”
- Finished line art on velum
- Scan into Photoshop and add color
The parallels to the logo design process are as follows:
- Brainstorming concepts with no attempt to “get it right”, until one concept is selected and refined
- Vector art construction, usually in black & white
- Addition of color in Illustrator, after contrasts and tonal values are worked out
Every cartoonist has their own style and method of brainstorming and producing final art. The same also applies to a logo designer. However, with all the variation in methods, these basic steps apply in general to. They reflect the essence of the creative process and not necessarily the specific mechanics. Hey, we all dance to a different tune, right?
So visit Daryl’s article today and enjoy the work of a master cartoonist!
Just a quick note: We have gotten round one of our new graphic and logo design portfolio up and running. Please stop by and take a look! More to come but that is enough for now. Getting a blog-based portfolio turned out to be quite a challenge. The days of 100% pure hand-coded HTML seem so quaint by contrast…
I have the good fortune of having owned “bonfx.com” for the last 10 years. It could be any domain name, but having had it for so long with the same subject matter is a benefit for SEO. It has always been a freelance graphic design website focused on my portfolio of web, print, and logo design work. It has never had a blog on it until last week.
As of right now, I only have about 15 articles, all authored in the last week. I got a hat tip from Jacob Cass over at Just Creative Design to check out the Hubspot Website Grader. I ran a report and I think – someone correct me if I’m wrong – I have reason to be pleased with where I’m at after one week of changing to a blog format. Of course I have a lot of work to do now, but it could be worse. See the report:
I have a score of 83, and a Page Rank of 4. All of my old content is still being indexed, like totally random stuff and like Flash demos installed in their own folder from my days as a hack Flash Developer, temporary junk like a folder of pictures from when I sold my Jeep (96 Jeep Cherokee 4×4 – what a vehicle!), old customer sub-domains, and temp folders for friends like “stuff” hanging off the root.
So what did I learn? First, I learned that the way to increase SEO and ranking is to be humble, true, and honest and write good content. There is so much bad information out there that tries to game the system, but it won’t work. I just read last night, I think it was Jacob Cass (not sure now) that there are hundreds of PhDs working at Google and the like. You are not smarter than them, and they know how to write algorithms that smoke out the impostors. Essentially, do what is good and right, and do it in a good and right way, and you will do well in ranking. Essentially, it seems to be a fact now (and certainly more so as search engines get even better) that search engines will bless hard honest work and not much else.
Part of my blogging will chronicle my work in regards to ranking. Click the link above to Website Grader for a detailed report (and then get your own) of the BonFX website, or read some interesting facts I need to act on immediately:
- My page title is way too long. It should be 70 characters or less and mine is 236
- My site description is also way too long. It should be no more than 150 characters, but I hit 160. I guess less is more for these first 2 points!
- 2 images are missing alt tags.
- My domain is going to expire in 4 months. I had no clue this could count against me, though the site is old! The farther the expire time is out in the future, the better search engines feel about the site.
- My Page Rank is 4. From what I gather, 4 is pretty good considering what has been going on on my site for the last 8 years (nothing!).
- I have a form! I guess having a form on the site counts towards looking alive to the search engines!
- I am looking to lock down some decent search engine rankings for 2 basic terms: freelance graphic design and logo design. It’s not clear if I have to pick one or the other and focus on it. For now, I’m not doing too badly (20-30 ranking) for having done nothing, essentially, in regards to “freelance graphic design” other than having had that in my title for eons. Notice I didn’t even rank for logo design, but I’m just starting that, like 5 days ago:
freelance graphic designer 1,401 30 freelance graphic design 1,775 30
- It looks like my site vocabulary is too high, being ranked as college undergraduate. It is suggested I lower it. It’s probably due to my predilection for run-on sentences. Why stop when you are having fun? Yes, I’ll work on that. If you want some long sentences, try reading German Biblical scholarly titles translated into English. There are some sentences that are close to a full page. Not good, not user-friendly.
- Overall, I got a score of 83.
- The last thing I learned is that there is an astonishing array of very powerful tools to help you analyze your site, and a wonderful cadre of friendly bloggers to help find the way.
As usual, thanks for reading! Please subscribe to my feed in the top right corner to keep tabs on my progress