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Archive for the ‘Responses’ Category

Do What You Gotta Do To Do It Better.. or just.. Do It Better

11 Mar

Growing up you are taught there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.  School is supposed to teach you the right way.  So all through your education you are taught strict guidelines that you are required to follow and lessons that are ingrained into your brain.  Until you grow up, go to college, get a job, and realize that depending on what you decide to do with your life, a good deal of this information probably won’t help you.  I am a graphic designer.  The majority of what I use in my career I learned in college and everything I learned before then just got me to college.

Education is extremely important, but the world is changing and this needs to be taken into consideration.  I’m not saying there should be ‘texting 101′ classes, but the majority of us will find good use for a class that teaches you to simplify your writing using clear thoughts, or the dangers and benefits of creating an online presence.  The truth is a lot of what you would learn in these classes would go against what you may have learned in middle school.  Does that make it wrong?  Absolutely not, just different.  Would you have continued reading my Blog if my post began…

Growin up u are taught theres a right way n a wrong way 2 do things.

How about if I started with…

As students go through elementary school, middle school, and then high school, teachers educate the students that there is a correct way and an incorrect way to do things in life.

My guess is you probably wouldn’t have continued past either of these sentences.  There is a way to sound educated while still using a supposedly ‘informal’ and simpler style of writing that obviously has not been used in the above examples.  This is what is important in today’s society.  Blogs give everyone the ability to make their writing public.  Twitter and Facebook status’s force the writer to keep it short.   And the online world in general has created a whole new means for writing.

When creating your online presence, whether it is simply to search for jobs, network, or establish yourself and your business, you are going to need to write, and your writing will be what defines you.  You will need to have a simple, consistent online voice, something that I have recently come to understand much better.  As a freelance designer, I need to write proposals, estimates, invoices, descriptions, and consistently update my online presence through my blog, social networking sites, and my portfolio site.  All in addition to the cover letters and resumes that all professionals have to write at some point.  When I first began presenting myself online through my writing I struggled to see it as something people would want to read, so I often hid behind the graphics and the writing of others.  I would struggle writing my cover letters and resume feeling like I was inappropriately bragging by acknowledging my accomplishments.  I now understand the best ways to present myself to an online audience and which platforms will be the most useful to accomplish this.  I have become comfortable and confident with my online voice and proudly stand beside my writing rather than hiding behind the graphics that use to accompany it.

 
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Honing My Presence

07 Mar

I have hopefully already convinced you that you should hire a freelance designer to fulfill all of the design needs of your business rather than trying to create them yourself.  Now it is my job to provide you with the designer to do it.  Me!

So this week I took to the web and did my best to promote myself as a freelance designer in any new way I could come up with.  I first went through and added any related tags I could think of to previous blog posts in order to online presence more searchable.  I already have a LinkedIn profile so I created profiles on Elance and Creative Folks making myself more available  online for freelance design positions.  The sites are still taking some getting used to,  I found Elance a more cleanly designed and user friendly site, but both had their perks.  Creative Folks was similar to Facebook and gave you a bit more freedom on what you could include in your profile and search for in terms of jobs.  Elance only allowed you to add up to five skills, which you could then either self rate or test through a pre-made quiz.  At first I thought the quiz option was a helpful, unique idea, but I consider myself extremely experienced in After Effects and I only got a 70 on the 20 minute, timed, 40 question quiz.  This was actually still above average for the test; I think because half of the questions were worded oddly or about tools that you rarely use, but regardless I thought it was a neat feature.  The only thing that I was disappointed with about both of these sites was the difficulty for motion graphic artists, like myself, to upload reels or video files of our work.  It seemed like most of what was offered was all still image uploads.  There is still a lot of building and uploading that I need to do on these sites, and others to improve my online presence, but I think this week has definitely made a big leap in the right direction.

 
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Where Was the World Before..

07 Mar

Where was the world before google?  Today if you forget the words to a song, wonder why we change the clocks back, or try to figure out what other movies the actor you are watching was in, all you have to do is ‘google it’!  Yes, these are all random things I’ve googled in the past few days.

As a designer google is particularly helpful.  Often times you know what you want to make your design look like in your mind, but don’t know quite how to make that happen.  There are too many filters and effects, especially with plug-ins, you are bound to forget a few that may have helped.  There are also usually multiple ways to create the same look and by knowing them all you can choose the best, and fastest, way.  Easiest way to do this?  Google of course!  Simply google what you are trying to accomplish and there is almost always multiple blogs, YouTube videos, or tutorials that can help you do it.

There are also sites like Creative Cow and Lynda.com that are dedicated to creating tutorials that can take you from a newbie to a professional in the program of your choice.  Lynda.com, is very interactive.  Depending on your membership you can download files to follow along with the tutorials, quickly search by different categories, and easily see what tutorials you have completed.  If they do not have tutorials on the program you are searching for they are open to suggestions and may create a whole new section of tutorials based on your suggestion!

 
 

Proposal for Hiring a Graphic Designer

22 Feb

Nothing turns a consumer away faster than poor design.  Why risk losing a customer before they even have a chance to like your product?  By investing in a professional designer you have someone to help find a concept that will successfully promote your company and create a design that will stand out to consumers in a positive way.

Mister Fix It

Ask anyone.  Sitting through a commercial that you can tell didn’t hire a designer is torture.  It’s like a movie with bad acting, no matter how good the script may be no one wants to go see it.  Furniture and local car companies tend to be the biggest offenders in the commercial department.  If the customer cannot stand to look at your store on a TV screen why would they go see it in person?

Websites have made it even more important to hire a designer because online the consumer is in control.  Say they are looking for a dog training center in their area.  They Google dog training and four different websites pop up.  If there are broken links or errors in the site, the customer has trouble finding something, or if they just do not like the way your site looks, they are gone and on to the next company’s site with the click of a button.

The Solution

Websites allow you to keep track of the number of visitors you have to your site so progress based on a re-design can be tracked online as well as through an increase in sales.  If you want to re-design your website, or put out a new commercial, do it.  It will be worth it.  Just because you are hiring a designer does not mean you need to make a whole new place in your staff.  This is just what freelance designers are for.  A freelance designer is hired simply to complete a project, no matter how simple or complex your project ends up being.

I have been a freelance designer for eight years.  I have professional experience in motion graphics, typography, video editing, animation, print, and web design.  I have a Bachelors degree in Interactive Digital Design and have continued my education with a Masters in Interactive Communications.  I know design.  Whatever your design need may be I guarantee that I can take your project from concept to creation with an outcome that will make a difference in your company.

 
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Fastball Down the Middle- Time to Hit One Out of the Country

21 Feb
“Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.” -Albert Schweitzer

 

The Pitch: Quinnipiac students have already used their education in health, business, drama, education, and film to improve the quality of life for the people of Nicaragua.  Students from the ICM program would introduce a combination of technology and the arts, making a difference in a way that no other program could.

DSC_0780_JPGSummary: Everyone comes back from this trip humbled by seeing the world in a whole new light.  They leave behind skills, knowledge, and hope to a community who openly offers what little they have to students like they were their own family.  I am corroborating with students and teachers who have made this trip, as well as Erin Peck, director of programs for the Albert Schweitzer Institute, in order to find the best way to help the people of Nicaragua using the skills I have mastered through the Interactive Digital Design program and now through the Interactive Communications Masters program.  The Albert Schweitzer Institute is always looking for ways to get other programs involved in these trips.  My projects successes will open the door so the ICM program can join the number of other Quinnipiac programs already making annual trips with students.

Three years ago I designed a website for Quinnipiac’s “Alternative Spring Break Trip”.  I wanted to go with the school all four years in my Undergrad, but never had the chance.  Since then, I have made it my mission to travel to Nicaragua in my Masters and help the people in whatever way I can.  It amazes me that there is so much beauty and love in a country that is so poverty stricken.  Maybe even more than in our own country.  My team and I have brainstormed numerous project ideas from helping the local businesses become more tech savvy, to inspiring the children with art and design.  I am taking my time to research, discuss, and analyze all the options in order to come up with the project idea that will be most beneficial to the people.  This is a project that I am very passionate about and I intend to find a way within this program to make a difference in the lives of these people.

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The Meaning Behind the Madness

14 Feb

Design is thinking made visual.” - Saul Bass

This is one of my absolute favorite design quotes.  Saul Bass is a legend in the world of title design and motion graphics. “SAUL BASS (1920-1996) was not only one of the great graphic designers of the mid-20th century but the undisputed master of film title design thanks to his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.” (“Saul Bass / – Design/Designer Information.”).

In the early 1950s [he] directed the first abstract title sequence for the Otto Preminger film The Man with the Golden Arm; it showed the animated development of a crooked, serpentine arm and hand twisting around the names of the cast.  Influenced by the art of German expressionism, this unprecedented symbolic approach was used to indicate the raw, drug-related theme of the movie” (Heller).

But enough about Saul Bass, how can he help understand the design process?  He once said that young designers “are not privy to the process” and think that [design concepts] “really spring full-blown out of the head of some designer” (Marsack).  He is obviously a huge supporter of the process of design.  And his work shows that he has a very good understanding of it.

In this post I will be analyzing the title sequence for North by Northwest to look into Saul Bass’s own personal design process.  To give you an understanding of the film if you have not already seen it, “a hapless New York advertising executive [Roger Thornhill] is mistaken for a government agent [George Kaplan] by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive” (“North by Northwest (1959) – IMDb”).

Now on to the Designing

Screen shot 2011-02-17 at 6.36.00 PM

The film titles for North by Northwest by Saul Bass discretely foreshadow the film. The lines that come in to form the building come in sporadically and from all different directions. This reflects the chase that occurs throughout the movie and all the different directions that the characters go.

The outline’s then fade into a shot of a city building with the reflected chaotic street below that, as a result of the reflection, portrays cars going all different directions and into each other. The shots then cut to different shots of people moving around the city streets in a bustle. In these shots the camera never allows you to focus on one individual until the shot of Albert Hitchcock, which makes no one stand out and places everyone on the same level.  This links not only to the chaos of the chases but to the fact that anyone could have been mistaken as the character George Kaplan but Roger Thornhill just happened to call over the bell hop when he was calling George Kaplan’s name. The music also adds to the idea of the chase and the elements of suspense with a busy, up-tempo score.

The lines that created the building also seem to reflect the idea that things, and in the case of the movie, people, are not always what or who they seem. When the lines first come together and until it fades into the shot of the building, it is not obvious to the viewer that the lines are supposed to represent a city building. Also, there are thick rectangular lines that come in opposite the text, which has a look similar to that of an elevator. Although it seems to work visually with the scattered feel of the rest of the film title I do not really understand the significance in any other way.

The typography follows along the lines of the building in a sort of boxed, trapped in way that works well, but is occasionally hard to read as a result of the perspective that is created by the lines of the building. The perspective also creates the image of distance and adds the effect of 3D.  Also, the first and last letters in the title North by Northwest, the N and the T, are created with text that forms arrows in the directions of north and northwest. All of these design elements are simple yet subtle tells into the story which all come together to form a great introduction to the film.

So when designing keep in mind a quote by Adrian Shaughnessy ”the best design always looks effortless … but when it comes to it, we find it is much more difficult than we at first thought” (Shaughnessy).

Works Cited

Heller, Steven, and Teresa Fernandes. Becoming a Graphic Designer: a Guide to Careers in Design. Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

Marsack, Robyn. Essays on Design 1: AGI’s Designers of Influence. London: Booth-Clibborn, 1997. Print.

“Saul Bass / – Design/Designer Information.” Design Museum London. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://designmuseum.org/design/saul-bass>.

“Saul Bass.” Quotes on Design. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://quotesondesign.com/saul-bass/>.

Shaughnessy, Adrian. How to Be a Graphic Designer, without Losing Your Soul. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2005. Print.

“North by Northwest (1959) – IMDb.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053125/>.

 
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I’ll Tell You Why!

08 Feb

Practice safe design: Use a concept.” — Petrula Vrontikis

As a fresh mind right out of college I am not yet tainted by the frustrations of a design career.  I know only the simplicity of creating a design rather than the strain that conceiving a concept can create.  I am educated as a designer, as anyone can be, but I am learning every day through my experiences how to conceptualize the intended meaning behind a design.

When creating a graphic design project you can use all of the new techniques and pretty pictures you would like.   The design still will not work if it has no meaning behind it.  All the tools and tutorials available will give you the skills but they will not make you a designer.

So What Am I Doing?

My blog is primarily for myself and other designers, but it is not to teach other designers things that they do not know.  It is to look at the thought process behind my designs, as well as the designs of others, and analyze what is successful about it and what is not.  What does the typical viewer see when looking at the design compared to a designer?  Does the intended message come across? If so, how? If not, why not?

 
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Everyone’s Entitled to Their Own Opinions

07 Feb

“The moment you start to deny something is the moment you should start paying attention, because there is probably a truth you don’t want to acknowledge staring you in the face.” – Robert Kalm

The special effects and graphic design projects created by motion graphics professionals are amazing to watch.  It is incredible what an experienced designer can create with the right skills, tools, and concepts.  It takes years to understand design, a continuing effort to master the ever-changing programs, and possibly an eternity to come up with a successful idea.

I am a recent college graduate with only a Bachelors degree in Interactive Digital Design, a few years freelance, and practically no full-time experience as a designer.  I can easily be seen as inexperienced and thus my blog an unreliable read for other graphic designers.  My blog is aimed towards graphic designers because they will understand the steps I discuss.  There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into creating a design before anything begins to even take shape.  It is unlikely that those outside of the industry would connect with, or enjoy my blog which takes a look at this process.  The final projects created by graphic designers are intriguing to watch, but the steps taken to get to that final project are often confusing or boring to outsiders.

In the technology driven world we live in is it even worth paying for a graphic designer when do-it-yourself editing is so readily available?  How is 30 seconds worth of material or a single design equivalent to the hundreds of dollars a designer is paid to make it?  Especially when companies like Vistaprint are offering pre-designed products and companies like Flickr are making it so easy to edit your photos yourself.  Type what you want to create or the program you want to use to create it into Google and you are guaranteed to find a number of free tutorial videos on Youtube or Creative Cow.  With these tools you can easily follow the step-by-step instructions and create a project on your own.

It seems like there is no need to hiring a designer these days, and even less of a reason to hire an inexperienced designer such as myself.  Most career designers have more experience than me and would not need to read my blog when there are blogs available to read from much more experienced designers.  So why would you want read a blog about a field that these days almost anyone can do from someone who is relatively new to the field as well?

Well why not?!smiley-face

 
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Work? What Work?

23 Jan

“Do personal work, but do it for personal reasons” -Adrian Shaughnessy

For years I have had plans in my head for a few particular projects on my own that have just never had the chance Rubik_cubeto be put into action.  Since these plans started I have always regretted not having the chance to create them, thinking that these designs could be the sole project that puts me on the map in the design world.  And being easily found on the map is a good thing, particularly when you are struggling to find a job.  However, the discovery that I have come to find is that it is not the work that I have conceptualized and created on my own that interests clients, but the projects that show a clients brief and then the way I handled their plans and designed a unique answer to their problem.  The work that I create on my own may show my personal style and be fun to create, but I should not rush to create something and rest all of my future successes on the possibility of being acknowledged for one project that I create entirely on my own.

The Golden Ticket(s)

Although you probably will not become a world renowned designer from the acknowledgment of one design project it does not hurt to try!  By submitting work to design competitions you create the possibility of golden_ticketgetting noticed by someone that you may not have before and then by building a trustworthy relationship with other design professionals this possibility increases with the possibility of your work being viewed more frequently.  Design jobs are not looking at the grades you received  or the diploma you were given.  They are looking at the work you have produced, but the only way to get that work in front of the eyes that it needs to be in front of is by getting your work out there and making connections with the people that can get it there.

But I can do that too!

One of the struggles that I have come across in my search for a career and the creation of my portfolio site, which I did not realize was a struggle until recently, is the idea of keeping my specialized skills separate.  Creativity and design have been with me since a child and through college courses I have developed skills and work in a wide variety of areas.  In my mind, my initial thought is send bits and pieces of it all over and show them how versatile I am!  Right?  Wrong.  Everyone has a specialty and that is what should be focused on.  For me that focus is Motion Graphics and Video Editing.  That does not mean that I do not have skills in animation, print, web, photography, typography, and the works.  I do, but those skills need to remain separate, and in the shadows compared to the skills that I shine at and enjoy the most.

Conclusion

In the end you want to be able to get your name and your work out there as much as possible.  If a company is not hiring see if they will still interview with you and review your work.  Even if they are not hiring the professional critique and interview experience will be helpful.  Not to mention they may have a friend who is hiring and will like you so much they pass your name along, or a spot may open up in the future and they will remember your work. When you interview be sure you are showing the interviewer the work not yourself, and also be sure that you are able to first explain your work and talk confidently about it before presenting it.  In design your work represents you, so be sure you are being represented the way that you want.

 
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The Neverending Story

04 May

” Your portfolio is never really finished until you stop creating.  It’s merely a stage in your constant journey to better work and more satisfaction.” – Cynthia Baron

It is about that time!  Time to have a working portfolio that can represent me when I am present as well as when “thequotes,quote,inspiration,design,heart-ffe396a8836dead6c7ef0f4442c50e74_h portfolio must speak for” me.  I have made it through the planning, designing, and production stages of creating my portfolio, now all that is left is the cleaning and keep up work in order to keep my portfolio up to date and properly representing me.  The portfolio I have created so far consists of a website containing my reel as well as other examples of my work, my business card, letterhead, envelope, and resume, and a DVD of my reel within a hand made case.  I have tested everything as recommended and found that there are still a couple updates that I need to make, but that the majority of my portfolio is in working order.

“Belief Makes Things True”

As a designer you need to believe in your own work.  This does not mean brag and pitch yourself, it means be honest, be yourself, show interest and enthusiasm, and be proud of the work you have created.  Design is a passionate career choice, when it is something you love this passion comes through in your work.  If the client can see this clearly in the way you present your work this may even help you get hired for a job.  The most useful piece of interview information that I found pertaining to preparation and rehearsing for the interview is to have a “sequence”  planned for presenting your work this will allow you to be prepared but not memorized.  This will once again allow you to be professional but personable and proud of your work.