New Year Reflections

Close up of The Thinker

Image by marttj via Flickr

 

 

The New Year is coming this weekend, and it’s  time to reflect on goals for the next year.

 

 

 

Image via CrunchBase

With a little work experience under my belt, I know that I would like to know more about web design. Lynda.com has helped me tremendously in my learning of new software. School has taught me the elements of design and Lynda is teaching me how to use the tools.

 

 

Whole Foods image via flickr by David Shankbone

I am exploring the world of package design and looking for people and places who are as interested in it as I am. I slowly wander down the aisles of Whole Foods admiring the showcase of excellent packaging. Lovely Package is one of my favorite blogs to admire packaging as well as graphic-exchange.

 

 

 

Dallas Art Museum Image by uno1979 via Flickr

I’m not as connected with the Dallas Art Community as I would like and I have a goal to see more galleries ans shows. If you have any advice for breaking in to the art scene here, I’m all ears. Otherwise, you might see me soon, volunteering at the DMA.

Image via Flickr by /ltus

 

 

 

 

I wish you a Happy New Year!

Glittering Christmas Decor

Here is a cheaper way to make glittering Christmas Decorations. I simply found things in the yard, flattened them for a few days in a book (If you don’t then they might curl up in a few days), sprayed them with glue, and sprinkled glitter. I made them first to decorate the apartment but now I’m thinking they might end up on a Christmas card.

 

Flatten Leaves

Spray Glue. Make sure it's done outside or in a ventilated area.

Apply glitter

Should You Be Wary Of Trends?

I would like to start a discussion about following trends.

I was reading a chapter of AIGA Professional Practices in Graphic Design which was saying that the champions of design have signature styles and it is tragic that often companies want what is trendy and not what is truly artistic.

As a young designer it’s hard to not copy trends. Trends flood design annuals and competitions for us to see and get inspiration. Whether college taught me this or I just did it to pass, I tried to learn design by copying trends. I wanted to be versatile, so instead of focusing on my style, I learned several different ones. So here I am with several different styles in my portfolio, and trying to look like I understand the trends of the industry.

Image by Project M·A·R·C via Flickr

Trends seem to sell. In the last season of Project Runway, Gretchen won the competition partly because she had an eye on fashion trends. Companies seem to like trends and they hire designers; therefore, shouldn’t I be somewhat trendy?

Are trends really that bad? Perhaps they can kill our own creativity and voice. I came across Mitch Goldstein’s blog. He is getting his MFA at and writes, “Design should not be about regurgitating trends, having a cool studio, or being an AIGA member. Design should be about how the designer relates to the world around them, and how they translate that into interesting stuff.” His statement reminds me of my studio art roots. I believe that fine art should be an expression of the human experience in the world. By following trends, designers seem to lose their ingenuity.

Successful designers have a balance of understanding trends and having his or her own voice so they can sell and yet still be themselves. When you design, do you worry about good design or something original?

Self-Promotionals Could Only Be For Yourself.

 

Inside of Emergency Designer Card

After graduating college with my BFA in Graphic Design, I had a leave behind booklet for interviews and a self-promotional item that got me an A in the portfolio class. However since college, I haven’t really used either concept and after talking to a few seasoned graphic designers and employers, I will leave those projects in my portfolio. When I asked employers, “What would you do with a self-promotional item?” Several said, “Truthfully, I would throw it away. I have no place for it and if I did, I would forget it was there. It’s much easier for me to bookmark a website or resume.” Some of us are pack rats and won’t throw away something cool or inspirational, but others have no problem clearing out the unused objects. So as you hunt for a job, look for ways to get your name on the web and in emails.

 

My two favorite resources for the web are cargocollective.com (for easy creating of websites) and smashingmagazine.com (for web help and inspiration).

To see some my web portfolio go to dirtysinkdesign.com.To see other people’s creativity with portfolios try starting at webdesignledger.com

Lush

Bath bombs on display in a shop.

Image via Wikipedia

I first discovered Lush on a little street in Oxford, England.  The black bottles tell me it’s chic, while the small signs remind me of a garden centers, and the handwritten font makes me feel like someone made these soaps by hand.

While I thought I had found a small local shop, turns out it’s quite international. Check out lush.com and visit different countries’ sites. Each one reflects the culture. I find it interesting to see how Lush molds its identity to cultural context.

As far as Lush product, by far my favorite is the bath bombs. I recently tried the Twilight Bomb and enjoyed a silky purple bath with iridescent glitter.

Consider Paper

Paper is the mat and frame for your designs. Just like there is variety in paint finishes, there is variety in paper. Choose from mat to glossy, white to cream, 90 lb. to 180 lb, textured to smooth. Should you round the corners? Should you use recycled paper?

Metallic is great for replicating package surfaces. This picture is a student project designing a fictional special edition holiday line for Ugly Mug Coffee.

Try staining paper. The length of time in the tea affects the color.

Tea stains can give an aged, classic, or western look.

Textured paper in different colored tones.

Take a look at your favorite magazines or catalogs or store’s brochure. The paper they choose should reflect their brand and their message.  How many eco-friendly products aren’t printed on something recycled or at least look like they do?  How many cutting edge magazines don’t have a sheen to them? If they don’t, should they?

Pei Wei menu paper compared to Chipotle menu.

Whole Foods coupon book, Urban Outfitters catalog, and Dallas art news. Note the color saturation difference between papers, especially in the black.

New York University interest mail stands out with paper texture layering.

Scion promotional disguises itself in newsprint the size of an atlas.

Inside spread.

Local print shops can have expand your knowledge in paper. If they are knowledgeable, they understand how ink reacts to the paper which affects your design. They also can have a variety in paper as well as stores like Paper Source and Hobby Lobby.

Paper Companies can have the best sample books for not only indulging in the product but also in the design of presenting it. Check out French Paper Co. and Clampitt for ideas, products, and education.