Sunday, September 16, 2012

50 Resources for Dynamic Web Design

Primarily, I've been more of a print designer, and am finding myself diving into learning more and more about what makes web design so different. I like the fact that print is so tangible. You can hold the finished product in your hand, and don't need an internet connection to be able to experience it. Print can be a physical experience with large format banners and posters, or trade show booth designs. It's a physical thing in the end.

Web design can also be an experience. Depending on your technological involvement, your experience can be dramatically different, and that's one of the great things about web design. It's a little different for everyone. The constant updates to browsers and languages, and the constant flood of new, innovative  technology means a constantly evolving environment to present information on the web.

Adapt or die. Technology will weed out weakly presented information, and if you're not dynamic enough to keep up, you will be forgotten and be less effective as a web resource. has put together a great list of resources for dynamic web design that all designers should take a better look at.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Study on Color

I had the pleasure of being completely blown away by a recent episode from Radio Lab regarding the visual perception of colors. Not only was it figuratively eye-opening to the biological differences surrounding the perception and interpretation of colors, but it had a profound impact on my reality as I knew it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Search of Free Fonts and Typefaces

On more than one occasion, the need for a specific style font or typeface has surfaced, and encouraged me to go outside the Microsoft default library, in search of new and beautiful lettering.

Without being completely overwhelmed at the overly opinionated design substructure known as typography, the following are my personal favorite sites to find good, free font downloads for basic and professional uses:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Creating Creatures of Habit: More on Motivation

In an earlier post, I stressed the importance of keeping motivated in order to maintain creative productivity in life and career. One way to increase your efficiency in trying to be more productive is to create a routine, or good habits, to build your schedule around.

When you have programmed yourself into a good habit of a balanced lifestyle, it makes it easier to put yourself on "auto pilot" and go through your daily routine without much effort. This allows you time to zone-out on cruise control and have your mind in one place, while your hands may be doing dishes, or traveling for your next errand.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Diplomacy Within Design

In design, there is such a great emphasis put on having excellent communication that some may overlook. To be even more specific, communication between client and designer during production is obviously critical, but when you include elements of diplomacy into every meeting, it can significantly ease the flow of thoughts, ideas, and new direction based on facts. Diplomacy and open communication can prevent the designer from merely being utilized as an interface to software, and  instead cultivates trust and a strong working relationship. This will ultimately guide the client towards a final product that will benefit them in the long run due to proper use of an experienced designer.

Preventing oneself from becoming this "tool," became an investigation into design diplomacy. More often than I'd like to admit, a design project would go downhill fast due to lack of this communication in the early stages. This has actually been illustrated (within a disturbing degree of accuracy) by The Oatmeal in the comic: How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Respecting the Process: Behind the Magic Curtain

I've experienced a level of "unappreciation" for the design process that I believe stems from a lack of understanding from the client POV. All they see is us giving them something after asking for it, and they don't fully experience the time and effort that goes into it behind the curtain. It's a magic trick for them, and that's a good thing. It means we're doing our job right if they see us giving them something amazing. 

One of my favorite blogs for these frustrations is Clients From Hell.It's a collection of shortened client interactions from designers all over the world who experience trouble clients, and more often than not, the difficulty of getting paid for their work. For me, this blog serves as a beacon that I'm not alone in these struggles. It also acts as an outlet for letting off some steam, and enjoying the humor in other people's situations.

Friday, May 18, 2012

How NOT to Ruin Great Design

Working as a self-employed, or freelance designer, I feel like we often forget that we have the ability to fire clients. Too often have I experienced disrespectful requests for large amounts of effort with no intention to pay, or with a severely truncated cost estimate.

This video sums up the feelings that many of my fellow designers experience when faced with challenging scenarios. Not only is it entertaining, but the video itself is artfully created with humor and purpose.

Keep in mind, you make beautiful, useful things everyday, and that is something to smile about.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Inspiration VS Motivation

Having a career that relies on the constant flow of creative juices can take a toll. It can be very difficult to regulate when and how often new ideas come to you, and having writers block for any period of time can mean losing a great client opportunity.

During interviews, I've been asked, "Where do you go for inspiration?" What they're really asking is, "How easily are you able to find new ideas, and keep that creative flow?" It can be costly for an employer to take that risk with someone who is easily drained of those creative juices, but it's often very hard to gauge this.

What they should be more focused on is motivation instead of inspiration. You can have a thousand ideas, but no motivation to do any of them, and that is where the creative flow stops dead. Motivating yourself is something that requires a great deal of will-power and determination that comes from within and is completely self-sustaining.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Remlik's Gives Back Menu Branding

My favorite downtown Binghamton restaurant client, Remlik's Grille & Oyster Bar, recently launched a charity program that required additional branding for marketing the event.

The Remlik's Gives Back event consists of a three-course menu option at a fixed price, of which a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Humane Society. More information on the program is available on the Remlik's website, Facebook, and in this brief article from Press Connects.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Power Behind A Great Brand

This is one of my absolute favorite examples of powerful design. When I first came across Unevolved Brands, I was overcome with awe and excitement. To me, this was a perfect example of the power that designers have to make a life-long impression on the minds and lives of people. Graham Smith has taken some of the worlds most recognizable brands and simplified them into unified shapes with their most basic branding identifiers.

What really surprised me, was the fact that, even with these simplified logos in the form of colored circles, they were still VERY identifiable as specific companies and organizations.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Perceived Quality: Presentation vs Product

One of the most important lessons that I have learned as a designer is the very crucial emphasis on how you present your work to clients. At first, I was completely aghast at client feedback and reactions to what I gave them (which was exactly what they asked for), and how there were often huge gaps in communication that resulted in them trying to initiate a design by committee scenario.

If you don't create a firm base of trust and clear communication early in the design process, your client will have a difficult time accepting ideas and designs that you present, regardless of the logic and industry standards that back up those reasons for why you did a certain thing instead of something else.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Encoders & Avoiding the Robots

When I first started transitioning into web design from print layout, there were a lot of things that were obvious, and there were even more things that were so incredibly obtuse to the www. that I knew.

One such element of internet operations was the concept that "robots" were constantly searching sites and pages, harvesting information, and using them for "evil" (or how it was described to me at the time).

Aside from protecting yourself and your WhoIs data, the specific problem with including an email link on a page could get you a lot of unwanted attention/spam. For this, alternate methods were required, and off I searched for an encoder to keep my email safe. After consulting my constituents in the world of programming and back-end development, they had some strong opinions regarding best-use and applications of encoders.

Read more from Dan Benjamin and 5by5 Studios

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Binghamton Brewing Co. and Remlik's at Roberson Museum Annual Wine & Food Fest

One of my more recent pro-bono clients, Binghamton Brewing Company, successfully participated in the Roberson Museum Wine and Food Festival last Thursday, April 19.

View the Wine & Food Fest Photos
This annual event was held at the historic Roberson Museum and Science Center on Front Street in Binghamton, NY, and was a successfully sold out experience.

Over 30 local restaurants, breweries, bakeries, and wineries participated this year, and served as a significant fundraiser for the Museum and Science Center. Coverage of the event was provided by Bing Spot, the leading Binghamton social lifestyle guide, and FOX 40 news.

A Book Review: "Logo Design Love" by David Airey

Knowing that one of my absolute deepest passions regarding design is brand identity, a colleague recommended the book, "Logo Design Love" as a stellar resource for brand design tips and samples from one of the UK's most impressive designers, David Aiery.

There's just something fervently beautiful in the a long germination process of getting to intimately know a company, articulating their entirety into the most simple words and visuals, and creating one image that stands true as their unique definition in a world full of imitation. Such is the process of designing brands.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

On the Origin of Blogging for Design

danielle george: on the origin of blogging for designAs I find myself searching more and more for new resources, inspiration, and all-around art, I realized that one way to ensure my continuing education would benefit from a chronicle of my experiences in design.

In an attempt to articulate my findings, and to share them with others who may encounter the same obstacles or curiosities, I present this online ledger of my adventures in design.

I am also making an attempt to reach out to those who find themselves with lack of a creative atmosphere, and yearn to surround themselves with other creative minds. This is a very important thing to strive for if someone were to have plans to succeed in the industry, and this is my attempt at making something from nothing.

Stay hungry, stay curious, and be creative.