Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Currently: Home Icons

Icon preview
I am busy working on a personal project that is making me improve my illustration skills. I am looking forward to the finished project (which will be more colorful.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Next Generation

The other day an email came into my inbox from a freshman at the local university. They had questions about my studies, my career, and why I wanted to be a desire. It is about passion. Telling this student reminded me about why I wanted to be where I am.

How do you spend your time? Email, Adobe Creative Suite, Doodling, managing printers, preparing files for flash, web, and print,  and dealing with clients and publications.

A typical day? Checking my email and take care of projects based on urgency and deadlines.

How did you choose this career? When I first entered school I was undecided and took basic courses required for every student, but I had taken an intro to design course and it changed my college career completely. In this class I created books, digital patterns and illustrations, and I was able to realize that I had been doing "graphic design" activities my whole life. I used to layout, illustrate, and work with color on my Christmas Letter to Santa, I developed my own websites in high school, and I always carried a sketch book with me. It is more than a career; I am passionate about what I do.

 What are your favorite thing to do?  I find I am always looking for the new project or a challenge, something that helps me stretch my creative muscles. When I have a project I haven't worked on before or a new client, that creates something for me to learn. You are never done learning in this career, because it is person-based. People likes, dislikes and how they interact with brands or products changes with internet, social media, and personal growth. I like working on logos because it can combine some of my favorite skills: iconography and typography. I am able to put a lot of work and creativity behind each logo.

"Family Dinner" by Me  |  An original screenprint
Choosing a career in college can be based on a lot of things, and most likely you will change your mind. But if you choose a career that you have passion for it will be easier to go to work everyday, even when you don't bring hope as much "bacon" as you would like.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Best Days are Ahead of Me

It is easy for me to look at past projects, and sometimes current projects and wish I had done better and known more. Overcoming this negative attitude takes effort, but I find that knowing that I recognize this failure and need for improvement enables me to know that my best days in work and personal life are ahead of me. And that is encouraging.

So those school projects that I look back and cringe, let me know how far I have come and where I can go is really up to me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

JCP Goes Bold

You may have noticed JCPenny's new logo and their new approach to retail, beginning February 1. I think this is a wise new direction for this American brand. The logo definitely to speaks to American roots, but in a more modern way. (Clearly an improvement from the last logo redo).  This time was a complete brand transformation for JCPenny, and took more time to plot this brand out.

The look is clean and simple and so is their price strategy. Which is what I appreciate. Everyday low price with monthly specials. You don't have to worry about waiting for a sale. Just buy it if you like it. This new look has been classified as the "apple" look, and we will have to see if this works out as well as it has for Apple. At first I was taken back from this bold look (it literally all seemed set in bold or heavy type and strokes), but when the different brand elements are used with the photography I find myself falling in love with this new brand. It feels right and approachable. A brand is well done when all the pieces correlate in harmony like this.

It will be exciting to see how consumers respond to this new method of retail shopping. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kitchen Adventures

Life has been busy with work, home, family, and puppy prep; but I have been making an effort to be more adventurous in my cooking (and budget friendly). I have not taken the time to photograph all my kitchen adventurous. Pinterest has enabled me to explore more recipes and be more daring with food because of the mouth watering photos provided for every recipe.

New foods can also mean epic disasters such as: two failed attempts at orange rolls that are just bread rocks stuck in an orange hard candy goo, pretzel dogs that exploded in my kitchen, and pizza rolls that the dough remained hard and flat. One very important lesson: let yeast bubble—no matter how long it takes. If yeast does not bubble, it does not activate. Your dough will be hard rocks with no flavor.

I have risen from the ashes with some tasty second time pizza rolls that are a perfect appetizer, and the pretzel dogs were tasty even if they left a mess that took 2 hours to clean up.  The sauce for these dogs is delicious I would have it for any mustard dipping sauce. 

Cooking like life can leave you feeling flat and overdone, but we can scrap the bad and try again. Sometimes it takes a night of self pity for my failures, but taking time to myself I can recollect and get my mojo back.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Inspired by Charles and Ray Eames

Recently I watched Eames: The Architect and The Painter, and I remembered my schoolgirl joy of Charles and Ray Eames. (What designer is not!). They were the creative and designer couple to emulate and inspire. They fed and built upon each other to a better self. The perfect form of a relationship. Being the most well-known design duo has only come about with their large body of work (with many design employees that supported them with talented work).

They were only able to reach so much talented work by researching the needs of the people who would use their products and by trusting their natural gut reaction. The bigger companies gave them the ability to use more experimentation and implementation.

"I don't stop to think if I can. I just go as far as I can" - Ray Eames

Each partner brought their own special skills to the project. She was brilliant about color, layout, composition...everything about aesthetic. He was this inquiring brain that wanted to know about people, details, and ideas. Together they had a wonderful skill-set that created beautiful furniture, movies, and so many wonderful things for inspiration. It is said it was more than just working and living together. It was deeper. They relied on one another. Each was essential to a part of the work; they were one.

Their continual curiosity kept them fueled for their work. more than the products and films they created, I have been inspired by their work ethic and their method for approaching a problem.There is so much more work, ideas, and development that has been put into each piece which is why an Eames Chair is still an iconic furniture piece you use today. Everything they developed was not without every detail being analyzed to perfection.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Birds, Birds, Everywhere

I have been thinking about my college years lately—my roots in design. My first assignment in Visual Communication was to create 400 bird symbols in about 36 hours, which seemed like an overwhelming about of work. And it was. It was training to kick our skills into high gear. 400 doesn't sound so overwhelming as it did then. Most logos take more than 400 sketches to find out, which is truly the right one (even if it was the first sketch.)

Bird icons are everywhere: from airlines to restaurants to clothing to organizations. The most popular bird symbol seems to be the Eagle (at least in American Design). Our national bird is an Eagle and has become a secondary symbol of the United States. Companies that incorporate Americana into their brand tend to include flags, the colors, or this majestic bird. Even with this singular animal there are a large variety of ways to translate birds to paper, businesses, and products.

I am tempted to reopen this product and examine how I would do this project all over again, and what would be my results—but maybe with a different animal.

I don't think I am over the birds project yet

 Some of these birds are famous while others can be found: 1, 2, 3, 4

Monday, February 13, 2012

Raspberry Whipped Cream

I may not celebrate Valentine's Day, but if you want a sweet treat for yourself or your significant other: make your favorite hot chocolate and top it with raspberry whipped cream. You can use your favorite mix or find some great homemade recipes.

Raspberry Whipped Cream
Heavy Whipping Cream
Raspberry Jello

Whip the cold cream on high speed with an electric mixer. Whip til fluffy and can stand on its own. Then add sugar and jello in equal parts. 1 tsp at a time.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bento Lunch

I have only consumed one bento lunch in my lifetime. It was in Japan, everything was pickled and most of it was gross. But homemade bento boxes can look tasty and adorable. Bento boxes have boomed into a new form of art with wonderfully designed lunches in the shapes of animals or well known characters. These lunches couldn't be cuter. Making lunch friendly can help children make good choices, and might make it easier for grown-ups to give up fast food and switch to homemade lunches. If I wanted to take an extra half hour to hour in the morning to make my lunch I would totally make myself one of these happy lunches: 

View some cute lunches in this book from amazon

 "So cute, I could just eat you up!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can't Seem to Make Up Their Mind

It is not uncommon to quote a project , meet with the clients to understand their needs, and then continue a develop a design based on the needs they thought they. Clients often change their minds. when you have a client that is changing their mind too often it is time to have the talk.

It is time to meet face-to-face again and discuss what their needs are now, and why they have changed from the first discussion. Was it because you just weren't listening to their needs or do they just not know what they want. At this point it is a good idea to listen, and then help take your client down the right path. Clients who are unsure of what they want may need more hand holding and education to be pointed down the best design path. If you help guide them and give clear examples and reasons for each part of the design the client will feel more comfortable with you and with your designs.

By no means should you belittle or demean the client for being unsure. Helping to either explain design terms or taking them on a step-by-step explanation for why your design looks or functions the way that it does. Design has purpose, so there should be a reasoning behind everything you brought to the design. Some clients need you to share this incite to help convince them that this is the right choice. 

Plus it gives you an opportunity to show off all the work you put into meeting their needs.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Student Method

Picture #24

When I was looking for a job (almost 2 years ago) I heard over and over again that they wanted more experience and that projects in the "real world" did not have the lengthy deadlines that school has. The work place is fast pace and quick turn-around. The work environment could benefit from a little bit of The Student Method. Yes, clients are still going to what that brochure done yesterday, but the additional effort to understand your client and your client's consumers will greatly benefit your work output. Slowing down your research and development process can lead to quicker implementation and a better presentation to the client.

When we began projects in school we began with RESEARCH, no physical design at all. Based on that research we would develop a creative brief that would use synonyms, audience description, creative stories that help describe the brand as it is currently and what it hopes to be. Talking with your client and their customers can help you know what each side is looking for.

Only after this research had been completed were we allowed to move into design and layouts. We were limited to just hand rendering in the initial step to allow for quick layout changes and ideas to flow from our hands. Then once our sketches were approved we could move to the next stage of computer mockups. From mockups these digital pieces began to evolve into completed projects (that were often printed and hand cut and bound). Printing is its own nasty experience, and can still be today. With advancement in technology the ability to have your printout look just like your monitor (and vice versa) is next to impossible.

 Research never stopped and was always continually progressively in each part of the project. With the fast paced environment is difficult to take the time and find out the needs and wants of client as well as their consumer. Design ideas  take time to develop and mature, so for our best work taking time to slow down and do it right will give us the best results.

(You can only have 2)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Design Morsel's New Look

I have a new look for DesignMorsels. There are important steps to consider when you are re-styling your blog:

1) Color Palette: I recommend staring with a color palette because it can really help you create a mood for your blog. You can either make a color palette based on what you feel is right or I like to find imagery that I gravitate towards and choose colors that appeal to me. As you look through imagery and create palettes it becomes very easy to see what colors you keep going back too.

2) Imagery Board: If you didn't use imagery to help define your colors, you can use imagery to help define what your blog will look like from the header to the photos that you include in your posts.

3) Layout: Pay attention to layout. Make sure everything is user friendly. The more  intuitive the navigation the more likely you visitor will stay longer. Layout also ties in keeping things consistent. Headers, links, and navigation should stay consistent throughout the site. This can occasionally be a challenge if your host site like blogger or wordPress is having server issues. You should also keep things easy to read without lots of background noise distracting from your posts.

4) Content: Content is last on my list, but it is clearly the most important. If you don't have content that people want to read/look at what's the point? Admittedly, I do not have a large reader ship, but if something I say or create can inspire one other person than my blog has fulfilled its goal. Make sure to write about things you are passionate about. It makes writing more fun and less of a second job.

What do you think of my new look?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cookie Monster

Mamba Jamba was designed by Meg Eaton who received her B.A. in Communications Design from Syracuse University. She has lots of great designs on her website to check out.

TK Food Wheat cookies by victor branding
Mrs Fields were by HartungKemp or Ideas that Kick. They are the brilliant minds behind Bear River Valley cereal packaging, as well as caribou coffee, and even some Target packaging.

Eat Pastry is a raw and vegan cookie dough that you can bake or it is also same to eat right off the shelf.

Simple Cornish cookies: the packing was create to exude luxury while staying local. All the imagery is local coastal scenes by photographer Charles Roff.

Many of these modern designed cookie packaging come with unique cookie flavors for the modern palette. Manufactures and entrepreneurs are trying to find their place in the market and using design to achieve results in a crowded market.