5 Interesting Arts to Decor your Home and Office

Some people might think that art is expensive or needs huge investment, especially when they see a neat office or a home filled with decors. Putting decorations on your home and office depends on creativity and imagination. Most of the time, it only requires being organized and having artistic ideas.

By simply looking around, you can discover that there is still a lot of space for art. Afterward, you can think of going to a décor shop or even make your own designs. These days, you can easily find a decor equipment store like Madison Art Shop, where you can buy all the things you need for decorating your area. Below are the most common interesting artwork for your home and office.

Painting

You can buy a painting made by famous artist, but that may hurt your wallet. You also purchase cheap paintings that can still amazing to the eyes. Another choice could be making your own painting. Paintings are expressions, and those who understand them focus on the color, tone, and their rhythm. They care for the smallest detail and the medium used in a certain painting. An abstract painting in an office can ease the pressure in work.

Drawings

Drawings can be from real-life objects or result of imagination. A simple but creative drawing can make office visitors smile and be relaxed. A drawing of a happy family that is hanged in the living room reminds family members of their bonding moments. Young children are attracted to colored drawings. In fact, you can let your children draw what he likes. Then, place it in a frame and your wall will now have a memorable moment of his childhood.

Collage or mosaic

A collage is an artwork that consists of various materials, including newspaper clippings, pictures, photographs, ribbons or other objects that are glued together to a piece of paper or canvas. The word “collage” was derived from “coller,” a French word for glue. A collage is different from a mosaic because the latter is more of a combination of cut photos or broken ceramics or tiles. Either of the two can be an eye-catching scene at home or inside your office. 

Sculpture

A sculpture can be in the form of wood, ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass. While this artwork is most of the time found in schools, parks, and historical places, you can also include one at home or in your office. But of course, you should consider the space, especially in homes with young children running around. In offices, a sculpture is usually placed in the lobby and for visitors’ view. You can easily find one in stores, or hire a professional sculptor for the job. 

Pots

Just like sculpture, pots can also make a wonderful home décor. You can also put one on the lobby of your office. While some would suggest that pots should only serve as planters, there are people who love to collect huge and antique pots. These kinds of pots can be expensive, but are also good investments. There are also small pots can be placed on an office table or study table at home. They can be used as pen holders or to simply add design to the surroundings.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Neil McIntosh

Article by Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson is the Sales Executive at Madison Art Shop. Madison Art Shop is online art supply company in USA and they are totally focused on giving the widest product selection of art at the most competitive prices.

Article publié pour la première fois le 14/06/2013

Books---Public-Domain-image-by-Pixabay

The Top 10 Layout Design Books for Christmas

With the opportunity of Christmas, I compiled several nice reading lists concerning various aspects of design. Mostly with books I have read and found interesting or i have marked to get in the near future. And I think that they have something to offer whether you are a junior designer or a grizzled award winning designer. Previous time we have seen the Top 10 Typography Books & Top 10 Logo Design Books for Christmas

Today we have the Top 10 list with books on layout design. Feel free to comment on the books you are familiar, and with your own suggestions!

1. Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Using Grids (Design Essentials)

Adhering to certain layout and grids standards and principles is important for any job from brochures, to annual reports, to posters, to websites, to publications. However, knowing how to bend the rules and make certain grids work for the job at hand takes skill.

This book outlines and demonstrates basic layout/grid guidelines and rules through 100 entries including choosing a typeface, striving for rhythm and balance with type, combining typefaces, using special characters and kerning and legibility. These essentials of grid design are critical to the success of any job.

2. Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design

Whether a marketing campaign or a museum exhibit, a video game or a complex control system, the design we see is the culmination of many concepts and practices brought together from a variety of disciplines. Because no one can be an expert on everything, designers have always had to scramble to find the information and know-how required to make a design work—until now.

Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated is a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary encyclopedia of design. Richly illustrated and easy to navigate, it pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the concepts applied in practice. From the “80/20” rule to chunking, from baby-face bias to Occam’s razor, and from self-similarity to storytelling, every major design concept is defined and illustrated for readers to expand their knowledge.

This landmark reference will become the standard for designers, engineers, architects, and students who seek to broaden and improve their design expertise.

3. Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual

This book is simply the most compact and lucid handbook available outlining the basic principles of layout, typography, color usage, and space.

Being a creative designer is often about coming up with unique design solutions. Unfortunately, when the basic rules of design are ignored in an effort to be distinctive, design becomes useless. In language, a departure from the rules is only appreciated as great literature if recognition of the rules underlies the text. Graphic design is a “visual language,” and brilliance is recognized in designers whose work seems to break all the rules, yet communicates its messages clearly.

This book is a fun and accessible handbook that presents the fundamentals of design in lists, tips, brief text, and examples. Chapters include Graphic Design: What It Is; What Are They and What Do They Do?; 20 Basic Rules of Good Design; Form and Space-The Basics; Color Fundamentals; Choosing and Using Type; The World of Imagery; Putting it All Together?Essential Layout Concepts; The Right Design Choices: 20 Reminders for Working Designers; and Breaking the Rules: When and Why to Challenge all the Rules of this Book.

4. Layout Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Building Pages in Graphic Design

An inspired resource for creating meaningful design, Layout Workbook is one of five volumes in Rockport’s series of practical and inspirational books that cover the fundamental areas of graphic design. In this edition, author Kristin Cullen tackles the often perplexing job of nailing down a layout that works. More than a collection of great examples, this book is a valuable resource for students, designers, and creative professionals who seek design understanding and inspiration. The book illuminates the broad category of layout, communicating specifically what it takes to design with excellence. It also addresses the how and why of the creative process. Cullen approaches layout with a series of step-by-step fundamental chapters addressing topics such as design function, inspiration, process, intuition, structure, organization, the interaction of visual elements, typography, and design analysis.

5. Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop

For designers working in every medium, layout is arguable the most basic, and most important, element. Effective layout is essential to communication and enables the end user to not only be drawn in with an innovative design but to digest information easily.
Making and Breaking the Grid is a comprehensive layout design workshop that assumes that in order to effectively break the rules of grid-based design, one must first understand those rules and see them applies to real-world projects.

Text reveals top designers’ work in process and rationale. Projects with similar characteristics are linked through a simple notational system that encourages exploration and comparison of structure ideas. Also included are historical overviews that summarize the development of layout concepts, both grid-based and non-grid based, in modern design practice.

6. The New Big Book of Layouts

The New Big Book of Layouts showcases the most creative layout ideas from around the world, all handpicked by two of the design world’s most innovative and authoritative figures: Katie Jain, co-founder of Hatch Design (selected by Graphis as one of the “Top 45 Branding Agencies in the World”) and Erin Mays, award-winning publication designer and founder of Em Dash LLC. In the tradition of David E. Carter’s acclaimed graphic design resources—The Big Book of Layouts, The Big Book of Logos, The Big Book of Design Ideas, and the Creativity series—comes an exciting collection of the latest and most visually engaging layout designs.

7. Best Practices for Graphic Designers, Grids and Page Layouts: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Applying Page Design Principles

This unique, go-to guide for designers fully details the essential layout and design skills needed to succeed in this competitive industry. With fun and practical application, it offers valuable insight into strategy and business when working in the real world with real clients, starting with basic information on layout principles before delving more deeply into theory and application on a project-by-project basis. Illustrated with real-world assignments and case studies, this guide offers a behind-the-scenes take on the entire process and steps necessary to go from concept to final outcome, including how to overcome challenges presented along the way.

8. Basics Design 02: Layout: Second Edition

This is an updated version of the popular first edition of this book, in which Ambrose and Harris introduce the fundamentals of layout within the field of graphic design. It provides a guide to the effective arrangement of text and image elements within a design scheme, which enables students to learn how to create powerful forms of visual communication in both print and electronic media.

9. Basics of Design: Layout & Typography for Beginners

This classic introduction to high-impact page design is now fully updated for a new generation of designers. Basics of Design: Layout and Typography for Beginners demystifies the design process with straightforward and complete explanations of the fundamental principles that create first-rate visual design. Readers learn essential design terminology and develop their knowledge and skills through visual examples and hands-on activities that reinforce page layout and typography concepts. Side-by-side critiques of before-and-after page layouts help readers understand how to apply design principles to their own efforts and point the way to excellence in design.

10 White Space is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually through Graphic, Web and Multimedia Design

Designing a brochure or web site without an art background? Step away from the computer and read this breezy introduction to visual communications first. Written for non-designers, White Space is Not Your Enemy is a practical graphic design and layout text introducing the concepts and practices necessary for producing effective visual communications across a variety of formats, from print to Web.

This beautifully illustrated, full-color book covers the basics to help you develop your eye and produce attractive work. Topics include:
The basics of effective design that communicates its intended message

  • Pre-design planning
  • 13 Layout Sins to avoid
  •  Basic typography
  • Working with color
  • Storyboarding for video, Web, and presentions
  • Information graphics
  • Mini Art School–all the basics in one chapter
  • Outputting your work

Hope you enjoyed our list! And feel free to help improve it with your comments and suggestions! See you next time!

Article publié pour la première fois le 26/11/2013

7048801715_565030b4df_z

Things to Think about when Designing a Mobile Web Site

Ready to increase consumer experience and want to optimize your website for mobile use? If so, there are some things to consider before developing a mobile-friendly site and some of these considerations are directly related to consumer demand.

1. Why Do You Need a Mobile Website?

Items to consider before making your website mobile-friendly

Image via Flickr IntelFreePress

People are no longer just accessing sites from a standard desktop. There are new convertible laptops, various tablets, and a plethora of smartphones. Many of these devices run on various platforms and if your site is not optimized for the different devices then you are going to lose business. Before you delve in and find a company or developer to make your website mobile-friendly, what are your goals behind going mobile? Goals will help you determine the features you need most.

Make a list of the most important reasons such as:

  • Do you want to offer the ability to sell and allow consumers to pay from their cell phones?
  • Is your goal to reach locals, nationwide or global?
  • Do you want to drive foot traffic into your retail establishment?
  • Do you plan on offering coupons, discounts or promotions to mobile users?
  • Are you advertising with QR codes in traditional ad mediums and are seeking more scans?
  • Is it your goal to teach, inform or offer a service?

Answering these questions will help you determine the best features to make your mobile site useful to consumers and to keep them coming back.

2. Ensure You Reach All Operating Systems

Because two out of every three people access the Internet every day on their mobile phones, it’s extremely important your site uses the right tools to ensure your mobile site is viewable and works on all operating systems such as iOS, Android, RIM and Windows phones.

Tools to build mobile websites include RWD or responsive web design that allows for optimal website viewing no matter the device—PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Another tool is CSS or cascading style sheets that offers consistent viewing on a variety of devices. HTML5 or hyper-text markup language makes mobile sites easy to see and use without installing plug-ins.

Make sure you choose a mobile developer that possesses knowledge on all these tools to aid you in building the best mobile website based on needs and goals.

3. Ease of Use and Reliability Are Essential

Since four out of every five mobile users make purchases from their smartphones and the average person spends approximately 13 hours searching and reviewing products on cell phones, your mobile site must be easy to use and possess reliable features.

Wireless connection provides PC, laptop and mobile phone service, also seek out websites that are mobile-friendly making access on-the-go easier and a pleasant experience.

Consider how your mobile site will load and what it will look like based on average Internet speeds.

4. Users Will Be Tapping, Not Clicking

Mobile websites must allow for tapping not clicking

Image via Flickr liewcf

Mashable reminds businesses looking to get a mobile site up and running to remember that people will be “tapping” on their smartphone screens and not “clicking” on a link or using the mouse to click on a shop here or buy now radio button.

This means bigger buttons for easy tapping and be sure to check all of them once your mobile site is live. 57 Percent of users will skip a mobile site with a poor design or one that doesn’t work.

Going mobile with your website is a must-do because today’s consumers don’t just desire these types of websites—they demand them. Making a list of goals and utilizing these tips will ensure your mobile site is a success.

Article by Dj Miller

DJ Miller is a graduate student at the University of Tampa. He is an avid gadget geek who spends most his time writing on anything tech related. In his spare time he likes to travel, play soccer, and watch movies. You can follow him on Twitter: @MillerHeWrote

Article publié pour la première fois le 21/05/2013

CC Attribution licensed project by Martin Oberhäuser

Targeting Your Audience Effectively with These Six Infographic Design Tips

Infographics have almost become a part of our lives. We can see infographics everywhere be it in the bus stop or in our offices and other places.  If you are still at lurch then let me make it clear. You must have seen giant animated images or a few words on the road or the stations or some pie charts or diagrams or bar graphs which mostly used by the experts while showing information related to finance or weather in various news or debates and quickly grab your attention.  Though these informative bars look quite boring still people find them attractive thanks to those colorful little buttons used in those charts and bars. These are called ‘Infographics’. Following are the few important tips that may help an infographic designer to design an effective infographic.

CC Attribution licensed project by Martin Oberhäuser

CC Attribution licensed project by Martin Oberhäuser – source

Be Simple: Many infographic designers tend to design infographics in complicated manner making the viewers confused. Infographics should be designed in such a way so that the people specially the laymen can understand the meaning otherwise it may appear boring to them. Designers designing infographics for general public face much difficulties than those who are designing for a specific group of viewers as they have fair idea about their viewers and the type of words or designs they have to use in their designs. Most of these types of inforgraphics are seen in various magazines which are categorized for the people belonging to different age groups.

Be Innovative:
Infographics facilitates the designers with the opportunity of sharing their messages and ideas using texts through various ways such as through advertisements or slogans. Apart from keeping it simple and user friendly the infographic designers also should also make their designs unique and innovative. They should try to update their designs by implementing latest ideas and thoughts. Apart from interesting images and fonts the designers should also try to incorporate some punch lines to make them more interesting if possible.

Be a storyteller: As a skilled infographic designer you should always present your infographic in the form of stories and you will be the story teller to your clients. The design should be so interesting so that the it force the people to go through the entire presentation.

Be colorful and vibrant: Color plays the role of one of the most important elements in designing a successful infographic. The correct application and mixing of colors can make an infographic the most interesting and a huge hit amongst the viewers. Using right colors is the basic of not only infographics but also all types of designing. It is suggested that the designers should always try to avoid the colors like shocking red and bright yellow which usually make the design lay out too clumsy and both these colors clashes with each other if they are used in the same design. Try to experiment with the colors and go to the most unconventional way possible. Always try to do something different such as if you like other designers want to apply some light colors as background colors then try to use anything that comes in the light shades apart from white. Because this color is used by most o all designers as the background color. You should always use the colors that perfectly combine the background and the text colors so that the reader can read the texts easily. Combinations like neon green font colors on black background should be avoided.

Do not use bar graphs: It is a very common perception that infographics contain lots of pie charts and bar graphs. In fact many companies want their infographics in that way. But showing bar graphs and pie charts not require infographics they can be shown through excel as well. As a designers it is your responsibility to decorate those bar graphs and chart and present them in the most attractive way possible.

Understand the information: As an infographic designer it is quite important for you to understand the information before start designing. Unless you have an idea of the design you will not be able to make your client understand your design.

Infographics are quite a popular concept these days. If you are an infographic designer then you can either work as a freelancer or with any reputed infographic design agency.

Article publié pour la première fois le 06/02/2013

By *嘟嘟嘟*

How To Create Winning Ecommerce Websites? 15 Best Tips From Experts!

Every website needs visitors and customers, but eCommerce websites are basically designed to serve the clients. Online shopping has been becoming a trend and eCommerce websites are in high demand these days. A perfectly designed eCommerce website experiences high conversion rate and brings the desired profit for a business. However not all the web designers understand how to make the eCommerce websites conversion-friendly.

Here is given a guide by web design Edinburgh experts to help the web designers in creating conversion-friendly, yielding eCommerce websites.

1. Who Are Your Prospects? Identify!

Having clear understanding of the target customers help in creating user-friendly design. Know the emotions that could trigger the users’ buying decision. Know their shopping behaviour and the things they prefer to see at an eCommerce website. At an eCommerce website, it’s important to provide the users with the desired information to get a favourable response in the form of a final deal.

2. How Should Be The Navigation? Simple!

For an eCommerce site, simple navigation plays the role. The site visitors should be directed with ease while moving from one to the other point. Facilitate the prospects in quickly browsing the product portfolio.

3. Product Images: High Resolution

Product images add to the glory of an eCommerce website so these images should be of high resolution. Presenting product images from different angle is another approach that helps the visitors in making some quick choices, hence promoting conversions.

4. Product Info: Details

Providing the users with the most useful information about the product is another trick to boost the conversions. Write a great product copy to appeal to the prospects and help them in making an easy decision of the deal. The product info should be winning.

5. Call To Action: Images

Gone are the days when buttons were used for call to action. Images have replaced the buttons, but these images should be persuasive to make more conversions possible.

6. Product Promotion: Videos

An interactive eCommerce website is a real appeal for the site visitors. Product videos add to the interactivity of a website and bring more site conversions. However, videos should be compelling and revealing more about the products or offers made at the website.

7. Shopping Cart: 24/7 visibility

The right place of shopping cart is the right corner of the users’ screens. Drop down menu is also good to be there on shopping cart to help the shoppers look at the products with great ease. The shopping cart should be made accessible to the shoppers all the times because they want the product information anytime they visit the website.

8. Shipping: Free

If possible, free shipping should be offered to the customers. It’s natural that shoppers love special discounts, so a stimulating factor for high conversion rates. Try to make the business model having free shipping option.

9. Distractions: Avoid

Distractions are the worst for shoppers, causing switching. Try to make the shoppers’ experience of the site smooth to facilitate conversions. Offer just the order information in the checkout process at the eCommerce website.

10. Landing Page: Present Featured Products

Not all the shoppers are intended to shop. Many site visitors come and decide to shop after looking at the products. To help such shoppers, provide a list of featured products on the landing pages.

11.  Special Discounts: Mention Clearly

Special offers need special place at a website, so display them prominently to be noticed by the site visitors. Try to improve your discounts to enhance the conversion rate because consumers prefer to shop at a website that offer discounted products.

12.  Contact Info: Display Properly

Websites having clearly displayed contact information experience more conversions. Try to make the contact information detailed so that the prospects could contact the way they prefer.

13.  Transaction Mode: Multiples Options

Don’t ask for credit card from every customer, because many will hesitate giving you the information, means losing a customer. There should be multiple payment options to facilitate the customers.

14.  Site Search: Advanced

Although site search is a good feature to be there at any website, but advanced search do the magic. It makes the shopping experience of the site customers lot easier. For eCommerce websites with larger list of products, advanced search is needed the most to please the prospects.

15.  Site Look: Follow Simplicity

eCommerce websites look complex, but should be made simple for the visitors. The products and the relevant information should be made easy to access. Stunning design is good, but extra use of designing elements will make it tough for the site visitors to focus what they are looking for at the site.

Building an eCommerce website could be a challenging task, but the tips given above offer great help even to a newbie web designer. Try to improve the shopability of eCommerce website that you are designing. Keep in mind that building an eCommerce website is a never-ending process, as updating goes on continuous basis.

Share your “tried and tested” tips to help the web designers designing winning eCommerce websites.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by *嘟嘟嘟*

Article publié pour la première fois le 21/06/2013

Designing Sites That Grandma Can Use

9 Tips for Better Website Design

In a previous article we discussed about the principles of effective visual communications. Those principles also apply in web design and are crucial in making the site appear visually appealing.

Aside the visual aesthetics, effective presentation of information, functionality and user friendliness are also factors that determine whether a site is good or bad.

Both standpoints should be considered equally. Making a site that presents information in an efficient way and is user-friendly would be pointless, if it looks ugly or doesn’t fit the client’s brand and image. On the other hand none will wait to see your nice graphics if they take too long to load, or have to go through a labyrinth of clicks to get to that page.

So with these two factors in mind let’s see some quick tips to help you build a better website.

1. Users don’t like getting tired. All your content should be well organized and easy to reach, be it a text block or a link to other pages etc. Your design shouldn’t be a hindrance between the information and the user but the conduit.

 2. Users don’t like to wait. Try to optimize your graphics loading times and your sites overall performance. That “nice” flash slider won’t do you any good if it takes too long to load. Your user will most probably be in another page by then.

 3. Your navigation should be easy to find on the page, and it must be usable. Users must be able to know where the currently are but also how they will reach their next destination. I see sometimes corporate pages with menus 3 & 4 levels deep containing more text in their navigation than in the body of the page itself, and I do wonder if anyone ever bothers navigating that menu.

 4. Each of the pages must look like belonging to the same site, changing style dramatically, in terms of layout, or colors or the navigation position etc. will confuse and make your users feel awkward.

 5. Take into account the basic principles of design. Even if you think that your web site looks gorgeous because your 4 year old daughter drawn the graphics, it might not be exactly what your clients or your audience is looking for. It never hurts to also take a second and more unbiased opinion too.

 6. Be aware of the emerging web technologies, CSS3 is definitely cool but might not work as well in older browsers.  Best practice is to use it in non-critical spots of the site. So even if it’s not supported in an older browser it won’t harm or make your design unusable. But if it does the user can experience the better effects.

 7. Try to make the site as much accessible as you can. Among your audience might be people with special needs or disabilities that you should take into account too. Web sites should be inclusive for everyone if possible.

8. Always remember that unless you made the site for your viewing pleasure or experimentation, it was created to serve an explicit purpose. Either to sell a product, or service, or showcase your work or distribute news etc., and to be appealing in a specific target audience. Make sure that your design do serve that purpose, and is appealing at that audience.

 9. In the end, design is all about the end user. Try to think and feel as your end user would. He is busy, he is overloaded with info, and he has aesthetics.

Hope you enjoyed and found useful this article!

What you think makes or breaks a web site?

Do you use the above approaches or have any additional tips to share? Looking forward to hear your opinions!

Article publié pour la première fois le 24/10/2013

logo-inspirations-4

Inspirational Logo Designs of the Week #4

Hello and welcome to our fresh logo inspiration series! I hope you will find most of this week’s logos interesting, refreshing and inspiring. And if you are not a designer i hope that they will draw your attention, and begin to appreciate the beauty and the work involved behind corporate design.

Hope you’d enjoyed this week’s logos! And if you want to see more, you can find all the designers at Behance!

See you next time!

(These Works are displayed here because they are licensed as Creative Commons – Attribution by their designers, and for the sole purpose of inspiring and promoting design)

Article publié pour la première fois le 15/10/2012

creative storage solutions

Creative Storage Solutions for your Office

Take a look at these helpful and innovative storage solutions, perfect for the office environment. We’ve combined practical advice with creative ideas to make your office an efficient, yet unique, workspace.

(Featured Image via creativehomeidea.com)

Corner Office

If your room layout permits it, a corner desk is the best way of maximising work and storage space. While the actual surface area of the desk will be bigger, thus giving you more space to work, having your workstation tucked in the corner will free up the rest of the space.

This is also the best option if you need lots of shelving within reach of your desk, as you have two full walls to play with. Take a look at the range of office desks, including space-saving corner options, online at Viking.

Having a large corner desk also means that you have more space to store things like filing cabinets underneath, which is also going to free up floor space. You can also find a full range of office storage solutions at Viking.

Mug Tree

Mug trees are a bit of a nineties staple when it comes to kitchen interior design and I can’t remember the last time I visited someone’s house where one was actually used to store mugs. These days, their most common use if hanging necklaces and bracelets – and what a fabulous use that is!

However, mug trees are also an effective office storage solution. Use one to hang your scissors and small metal buckets that can be filled with office supplies like paper clips.

Buckets

I’m a big fan of using buckets as storage in the office. This nickel-plated container, available online from IKEA, is actually designed to hold cutlery, but it’s perfect for storing pens and keeping your work surface free of clutter too.

Another kitchen staple, an old spice rack – with the jars cleaned out thoroughly! – is the perfect place for storing miscellaneous office items like papers clips, pins and rubber bands.

Wine Rack

If your job requires you to produce large, detailed drawings that need to be stored rolled up, then an old wine rack could be the perfect place for keeping them tucked away. A rack designed to hold six bottles could hold close to fifty medium-sized drawings and won’t take up much floor space in your office.

Mezzanine Floor

Okay, so this might not be in everybody’s budget, but constructing a mezzanine floor in your office effectively doubles the amount of useable space. Use the upper level as your workspace and the lower for storage, or vice versa, depending on what you find more convenient. An office space like this one, is relatively inexpensive to construct, but will add value to a residential or commercial property.

Article publié pour la première fois le 27/09/2013

The Value of Photography (Infographic)

The Value of Photography (Infographic)

The following is a survey carried out on the Value of Photography. With the abundance of photography now online from mobile phones/ digital cameras etc, the value of photography is somewhat hard to quantify. With this survey we simply want to establish a price range to help amateur and professional photographers value their photography, while at the same time not devaluing their work.

Hope you found this infographic useful and informative! If you want to know more about designing infographics, check out our past articles: 9 tips for designing awesome infographics & Choosing the right infographic for your business !

Article publié pour la première fois le 04/03/2013

Uris-Library-Stacks-by-eflon-on-Flickr

The important principles of visual communication

In last week’s article we had seen the important elements of visual communication. And you might want to read it before moving forward since i will be referring to it in several occasions.

Today we will discuss about the important principles we need to take into account in order to make our visual messages more effective. These principles are universal across the visual culture and applicable not only to design but also art & photography.

  • Focal Point
Heart By seyed mostafa zamani

Heart By seyed mostafa zamani

The most important thing in a visual layout is having a focal point. That’s the place where you want to guide your audience attention.

The most important rule about the focal point is to simply have one.

That sounds a bit obvious. But having none (or even more than one), will confuse your viewers. And they won’t know which information they need to process first, or where to focus their attention.

Think of the focal point as the beginning of a visual chain if you like.

 

  • Contrast
Uris Library Stacks by eflon on Flickr

Uris Library Stacks by eflon on Flickr

Lack of contrast will make a layout or composition boring and dull.

Creating contrast can be achieved by combining opposing elements, like light and dark values, empty with filled space, highly saturated colors with desaturated ones etc.

Examine the elements we discussed in the previous article and you will certainly can come up with several ways to achieve contrast using them.

However you do it, it will help your composition stand out.

  • Balance

Most non designers and new designers confuse the term balance with absolute symmetry.

Think of balance as visual weight in your composition, we need our layout to be visually balanced unless our purpose is to unsettle our viewers.

Demoiselle en OR by alpha du centaure on Flickr

Demoiselle en OR by alpha du centaure on Flickr

Balance can be symmetrical, asymmetrical or radial. In symmetrical balance each side of a bisected design, must be exact mirror of the other. This will make the design appear more conservative and traditional maybe too formal, and sometimes unimaginative and boring.

Asymmetrical balance is more visual appealing and interesting. Bisecting our design again we’ll find that sides are not mirroring each other anymore. So to achieve it we need to take into account the visual weight of our elements, and try to balance them out.

For example let’s take space we discussed in a previous article. Positive space tends to weight heavier in our eyes than negative space. Filling up everything with information in a layout will overwhelm and tire the viewer, so we need to balance things out by leaving plenty of negative space as well. In the case of text that translates to a bit more space between each line, at the start of a paragraph etc.

In radial balance the fulcrum lies in the center, and they are often associated with spiritual meanings.

  • Movement

We saw how essential the focal point is in order to grab our viewer’s attention. Now that we have it our next mission is to guide their eyes in our composition.

We can control the eye’s flow using lines, not necessarily visible ones. Lines can create movement, and depending on their style we can then communicate different visual messages.

Horizontal lines for example can define a flow from right to left or vice versa. Vertical lines can communicate inspirational upward motion, or downward movement. Diagonal tend to be more exciting and dynamic movement etc.

  • Rhythm
Ritmo by Cris Valencia

Ritmo by Cris Valencia

To achieve rhythm we are using repeating elements like patterns in our compositions. Either regular or irregular they will create some sort of movement.

For instance repeating a color or being consistent with some graphic elements, even by using the same fonts for specific things like for example the headlines, that will generate rhythm. Even this styled box every now and then on the post tries to generate rhythm.

Having rhythm will not only result in consistency across our composition. It will also help us to control the viewers’ eyes flow in our composition.

Perspective gives us the sense of depth. It’s a kind of movement if you like from the foreground to background elements of our composition. We can achieve it using the horizon line, relative sizes, linear movement and atmospheric value.

For example moving the horizon line closer to the bottom will give the sense that the distance is shorter. We perceive smaller objects to be more far than bigger ones etc.

  • Unity

Last but not least is unity. A good composition or layout must be consistent, and all its parts should be working together. To achieve this, the parts must be having visual links or relationship to each other, and also consistency in their rhythm.

The Count by Kevin Law

The Count by Kevin Law

If you enjoyed and found useful this article, feel free to comment and also don’t be shy to ask if you have any questions!

Article publié pour la première fois le 20/09/2013

Man-Tsun →Pure Tattoo!5

Pure Tatoo – Illustration project by Man-Tsun

Man Tsun is an illustrator & designer from Hong Kong. In this article we have some illustrations from his latest project “Pure Tattoo”.

As my wife is not allowing me to have a tattoo, now i am transforming my tattoo passion into an illustration.
This is an on-going tattoo series for my next exhibition.

~ Man Tsun

I hope you will enjoy them, and as always you can find more of the artist and his work at his Behance portfolio!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(These artworks are presented here because they are licensed as Creative Commons – Attribution works and for the sole purpose of promoting art and the artist’s work)

Article publié pour la première fois le 10/01/2014

Small Business Tools Behaving Badly (Infographic)

Small Business Tools Behaving Badly (Infographic)

From cave painting to the Facebook wall, man always relied on technology to make business and communication easier. But has it? Let’s find out in the following humoristic infographic about how our modern business tools behave badly!

Hope you found this infographic useful and informative! If you want to know more about designing infographics, check out our past articles: 9 tips for designing awesome infographics & Choosing the right infographic for your business !

Article publié pour la première fois le 30/12/2013

Chris-Piascik→Morgan-&-Milo

Creating more sustainable packaging systems

In a previous article I have suggested some ideas to consider for improving your package design in general. In this one I would like to introduce you to the complex world of sustainability as far as package design is concerned and suggest some ways to make your packaging more sustainable.

Did you know that our present methods of production, consumption and disposal are actually destroying globally our life support system?

Well you don’t have to take my word on it, you can always spend some time researching and contemplating on that.
If you design packaging or want to learn more about package design, you should be aware by now that packaging is not about the structural graphics only, but also of form and materials. You should fully be aware and understand that your choices of materials and material applications have impact and consequences to our natural habitat.

You might be thinking that packaging requires the coordination of numerous industries, but rather than worry and be alarmed by this complexity you should be happy because as the designer you have many ways to reduce the negative impacts of packaging in the environment. As a package designer you are the one who should be knowledgeable and advice your client about these matters.

Sustainability requires us to understand this world as the complex system it is, and interact accordingly.
Here are some things to consider:

Try to use higher percentages of post-consumer recycled content. This encourages the the efficiency and development of collection systems by creating more demand, and is already is significantly reducing energy consumption and deforestation.
Explore the tree-free alternatives such as fast growing plants and agricultural by-products. Plants like hemp, switch grass, kenaf and straw, grow quickly, they need less water and fewer chemicals. Also from a marketing standpoint they provide more innovative opportunities to create unique and more interesting lines of “paper”.

Use papers from certified pulp sources this ensures that everyone in the supply chain gets fair share of the profits. FSC provides this kind of certifications for any wood derived materials. They monitor the sustainability of timber growth and harvest, as well as indigenous peoples and workers rights.

Use less ink coverage. The more ink consumed in the process the more will be the post-industrial and post-consumer waste to recycle the package.

Approximately 20% of the Pantone colors contain especially harmful chemicals. For example metallic colors contain high levels of copper and zinc compounds while many reds contain barium. Fluorescent colors also have a high toxic load.
Investigate and request soy based, or other vegetable produced inks. Soy printing in terms of performance has a higher level of rub resistance thus resulting in less dot gain than petroleum based inks. Soy pigments are much more intense requiring less ink to achieve the same effect. They are more easily removed from paper making the De-inking part of the recycle process more efficient. Soy ink can be cleaned with water based solvents reducing further the VOC (volatile organic compounds) that cause air pollution. Last but not least soy waste is considered much less hazardous by government standards.

Finally design packages with recycling in mind. Plastics used in the package should be easily detached from it and also marked with the proper resin symbol. We’ll further discuss this in a future article!

That’s definitely not all, but will help you get started!

Hope you enjoyed the article! I am looking forward for your comments and opinions.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Chris Piascik on Behance

Article publié pour la première fois le 09/09/2013

The Death of Creativity

Why Are You Called a Failed Designer?

To mess up as a web designer is quite a simple task – there is a number of things you can do or not do to succeed in it. Want to know how? Read on.

  • You are trying to do it all: from creating such simple things as a website mockup or a logo to programming in backend languages and working with backend frameworks, as well as coding XHTML and CSS; you know how to develop raw JavaScript and you play around with JS libraries; you also produce content and do copywriting, and you are pretty good at SEM and SEO.Doing too many things as a web designer will most likely keep you from becoming an expert in either of these areas. It is impossible to stay up to date and remain on the cutting edge of every technology that is out there, know every coding language, be familiar with each concept. That is why it would be a good idea to define a field or two of your particular interests and focus all your efforts on them.
  • You are sure that ‘specs’ are unnecessary: some tend to think that specs should only be done by newbie-designers with very little or no experience, however, it is always safer to follow certain web standards when you are working on a project.Properly done specs may really ease your life, just like bad specs can very well hurt your designer’s career. Spend some time on specification documents development to make sure you’re improving your work.
  • You don’t network with other professionals: some IT people, web designers included, are not a talkative crowd who socialize easily. However that’s not the reason to avoid networking which can be and it usually is a very helpful way to gain new knowledge, get help from fellow workers and share your own experience. Following the blogs of certain world top programmers and joining corresponding discussions on professional forums will definitely help in this aspect. 
  • Your designs are not unique, and you couldn’t care less: a customer often orders a project with the words “I want something like this” and shows someone’s website with a design that is such a temptation to copy. Yet it is best to define what it is they like about the specified design and create something of your own to satisfy the client, without risking your whole career to infringe the copyright of another professional. Therefore you should really care about being unique in your work, otherwise you may end up in multiple fines and lawsuits which will eventually finish your career as a web designer sooner than you suspect.
  • You’re not a people person: not being able to communicate with a customer on a proper level may really hurt your career as a web designer.  After all every client wants a friendly companion to discuss their project with. You should also learn to handle difficult customers, authoritarian managers and annoying coworkers as well as ambiguous situations where only open communication can solve an issue. And remember to have a few things averted making excuses, complaining and slandering.
  • You encourage familiarity with customers: setting boundaries with your clients from the very beginning is an important part of being a successful designer. If you don’t do it, you will deal with a handful of issues such as frequent reviews from a client’s side, which in its turn may lead to tremendous loss of time. That is why a clear policy would be a good idea to show the customers that you’re a professional and there are limits that can not be overstepped. Such limitations are usually outlined in the contract.
  • You are way too self-satisfied: even though being a web designer usually means that you can do a whole lot of really cool stuff, that doesn’t mean you should become arrogant about that. As soon as you think that way about yourself, you stop making an effort of doing great work for your customers, your creativeness goes down and you risk at ending up at the bottom of your career. So, whenever you feel like you’re a guru designer, don’t forget to remind yourself that there is always space to grow further.
  • You often delay your deadlines: and you can always justify them. Not the best idea, however. All those personal tasks of yours – e-mails, articles, projects etc.  – should not be in the way of executing your core responsibilities on time. Keep your customers up to date, let them know what is going on with their projects, stay on top of the important tasks and you will be known as a responsible professional in your area.
  • You let your customers walk all over you: on the one hand, there is nothing wrong with being helpful for your customers at all times. But the bad thing is that some people would take advantage and their requests would become endless, either by asking for too much work to be done in a short period of time or by trying not to pay for what is supposed to be paid for. Don’t fall for any of it, respect yourself as an expert who deserves to be paid for whatever is done on time and according to the terms of the contract, and you will be respected in return.
  • You don’t have any dress code at work: and that’s fine as long as you care enough to put on a nice clean shirt when your client is in the office. By your professional appearance you show respect to the customer, and your business intentions. They will embrace it and see that you take their project seriously.

There is definitely more about being a bad designer, as well as about being a good one. Focus on all the right things, and feel free to share your thoughts – you are most welcome to comment on this article.

Featured image: Royalty free stock from sxc.hu

Article by Elena Bizina

Elena Bizina has come through an exciting path from teaching English to all age groups, toward IT Sales and Marketing. Now she is enjoying a part time writer’s job and a full time motherhood.  Elena particularly loves foreign languages and traveling and plans to carry on with these hobbies in the nearest future. She holds a position of a Copywriter at Zfort Group, an IT Outsourcing service provider.

Article publié pour la première fois le 01/03/2013