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Archive for February, 2011

Designer Facebooks

28 Feb

It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living.-Bob Burg

When you think of social networking Facebook is one of the first sites to come to mind.  It is great personal source for keeping in touch with acquaintances, and promotional source for companies and groups.  LinkedIn is also a trusted site that many use, but does not have a lot of design related content.  As a freelance designer looking to promote yourself and your work these may not be the best options for you.  Sites like CreativeFolks, Behance Network,  and Elance may be better suited for your needs.  These are creative professional specific social networking sites directly connecting those looking for work and the clients.

With these sites you create profiles that act as portfolios to easily display your work to potential clients.  A variety of design jobs are listed in multiple formats. These sites give you options like applying directly to posted positions using your portfolio, submitting proposals directly to clients, or offering bids on posed projects.  From there the client can decide who they wish to hire for the job.  These sites also offer competitions that can earn you money, publicity, and recognition in the design world.  Bottom line, in this tough economy jobs are all about networking. To use social networking to its fullest potential you need to use the sites that will best suite your needs, and these are the sites  I suggest.

 
 

Dealing It Out Through Facebook

28 Feb

If we get to 30K fans by New Year’s Eve – we are posting a free admission coupon valid all week 1/8 thru 1/13!-Chunky’s Cinema Pub

Facebook pages for companies are the newest trend, but many companies still have not figured out how to use these pages to their full potential.  Chunky’s is a company that has done it right.  If you want to get action on your Facebook page you need to keep people coming to it; new people and old friends.  To do this you need to give them a reason to keep coming back.  Chunky’s consistently updates their status’s and has used their Facebook page to launch a number of deals and promotions to those who are active on their Facebook page, and those who bring in new members.  They recently started a “Deal of the Month” program where they partner with other local companies to offer a monthly deal to the first (certain number) of customers.  The first deal they offered was a $72.50 value for only $40 available to the first 250 customers and sold out within the first day of being posted.  That sounds like a successful campaign to me!

Once I convince Quinnipiac to include the ICM program in their trips to Nicaragua my target audience will primarily be the students. Chunky’s has demonstrated that Facebook can be great for marketing and promotion.  With students as my target audience, whom Facebook was initially created for, it can be even more beneficial for promotional purposes.  I am still not completely sold on Twitter, but once I use Facebook to build up a support group for the program, I can use Twitter to update everyone on the progress.  This will be particularly beneficial to track my capstone project when I travel to Nicaragua with Quinnipiac to introduce what the students in the ICM program can do to help the people of Nicaragua.

 
 

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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Shaping Up To Be A Pretty Cool Design

21 Feb

“Good design, at least part of the time, includes the criterion of being direct in relation to the problem at hand – not obscure, trendy, or stylish. A new language, visual or verbal, must be couched in a language that is already understood.” -  Ivan Chermayeff

http://www.visualadvice.com/files/gimgs/8_milkpackaging.jpgAs a designer, it is sometimes difficult to face the fact that there is a distinct difference between what looks good and what is a good design, particularly when it comes to product design.  I found a site with 30 Bizarre and Creative Packaging Design Examples showing product designs with interesting and sometimes simple concepts that create an extremely unique look.  When you look into the description of  each of the designs there is a lot of thought put into the concept behind the design itself. The concept behind the design might not stand out on its own but will definitely get the consumer’s attention.  For example, the milk carton design to the left was designed to be the same dimension as a 2L milk carton while representing the products content as simple as possible through the word and image.  Another product design on the site was a dispenser for “Dino Gum” shaped like a dinosaur’s jaw echoing the thought that dinosaurs must have had strong teeth to go along with their strong bites.

The extremely creative designs that were displayed on this site were interesting to look at, and even more interesting to learn the inspiration behind the design.  Especially for new products, it is important to create a package design that will catch the consumers eye.  However, the designer must remember that once they have convinced the consumer to purchase the product through the look, the design needs to be easy to use so the consumer comes back to buy it again.

 
 

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.

DSC_0155_edited_JPG

 

 

 
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A Cover Letter That Says it All.. And More!

19 Feb

Here is a revised version of my cover letter taking in all the suggestions I was given.  Thanks for the input, keep it coming!

Dear Sir or Madam:

If you are looking for a designer who can take your projects from concept to creation with enthusiasm and skill then I am the designer for you.  I am positive that the (position) at (company) is a position at which I would excel.  I have eight years experience in designing and editing everything from photos, to videos and motion graphic projects.  Four of these years were spent earning my Bachelors Degree in Interactive Digital Design from Quinnipiac University where I am continuing my education with a Masters Degree in Interactive Communications.  Design is both a career and a passion for me.  I have professional experience in motion graphics and editing, and am continuously improving my skills in all areas.

I graduated college Magna Cum Laude and developed a strong work ethic by maintaining my GPA, working two jobs, and competing as a Division 1 college athlete.  All of my past coaches have selected me as a captain of my team; relying on me to lead and inspire.  As a result of this team experience I work well with others either as a leader or a member of the team, perform well under pressure, and can handle the pressure and responsibility of a leadership role or projects on my own.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I know that I will be a great asset to the company and I would love to meet with you to discuss a future within (company).  I have attached my resume and my portfolio site can be viewed at www.AestheticConceptions.com.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Alicia Chouinard

 

Inspiring World

14 Feb

“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” – Jamie Paolinetti

little_people_street_art_3Inspiration lives all around us. All we need to do is allow is to enter our lives.  When you pay attention to details and apply your imagination the simplest elements, like a dead bug on the sidewalk, become a brilliant concept.  I have found that the more I learn about design the closer I look at EVERYTHING around me.  In particular the works of other designers that I find inspiring.

Along with the “little people” hunter photo above.  I found a Valentines day  ’share the love’happy_valentines_day_street_art_love_1 image on the same site.  An extremely creative yet completely simple design that takes a concept ” take all the love you need” and puts it in literal form making it a cute, humorous and brilliant design!  Once again simple concept, simple design, great execution.  Looks easy, but it never is.  Keep your eyes open because the first step to a successful design concept is inspiration.  And inspiration is everywhere.

 
 

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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More Than Just a Pretty Design

13 Feb

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Creating a good design concept for a show open takes more than just a snap of the fingers.  The boss comes to you with the title of the show and occasionally a description of what kind of show it is. As a designer you need to just go with it.  For this “how to” we are going to assume the still logo is already created and all we need to design is the environment where the logo will live and the animation that will introduce the logo.

To begin, lay out all of the information you were given and all of the information if you can infer.  For example,the name of the show is “The Baseball Show“.  You can presume that the show is about baseball and thus the open must reference baseball in some way.  What takes the thought is hopefully not what you will be referencing, but how.  You want your reference to be simple rather than in your face.  Go crazy brainstorming baseball elements; the ball, bats, helmets, the field, bases, grass, anything you can think of that can be related to baseball.  Now how can you simplify these elements to create an entire unique environment based solely on baseball?

Break each element down.  What makes it unique to baseball?  The laces of the ball.  The wood of the bat.  The look of the helmet.  The shape of the field.  The fabric of the bases.  The patterns in the grass.  Start sketching things out, searching through images, playing with images on the computer; whatever is easiest for you to visualize the clutter of ideas you are coming up with and weed out what works and what does not.

Create a color palette.  Because we already have a logo this will be a bit simpler for us.  We know it will include red, white, black, silver, and any colors we add to the palette will have to compliment these colors.  One of the baseball elements we came up with was grass, which would most likely add the color green to our palette.  This would be a big mistake because of the HUGE Christmas association that the colors red and green together have.  However just because we want to use the grass element does not necessarily mean we have to use the color green.  This is where you need to play around and create a visual that will allow you to see more possibilities.  Put in the grass elements and adjust the colors.  You will know right away whether this will be a disaster idea or a stroke of genius.  In this case our color palette is already strong so we may want to come up with an environment that reflects these pre-determined colors.  Red grass? Duotone red/black grass?   We seem to be getting somewhere, but then the boss walks up behind you and tells you he wants a cleaner more metallic look to fit the metal logo.

Back to the drawing board.  What elements did we come up with that could be adjusted to have a metal look.  Bats, but then it would no longer reflect professional baseball where they use wood bats.  The bases but those would create a very simple shape that does not necessarily link back to baseball.  But using the shapes of the elements is a good idea.  This way you can insinuate baseball without putting a field in the background.  So what other shapes are unique to baseball?

Stare at the logo for another minute..

Screen shot 2011-02-13 at 9.05.28 PM

..unique to baseball.

Laces!  The sewn laces on a baseball could easily be adjusted to look metallic, would create a unique pattern that could be animated to create a background environment, AND would already be included in our color palette.

Then it is back to sketching and visualizing.  You now have your puzzle pieces that can be used to make a beautiful image, but you need to put all the pieces together for the image to be seen.  You need to look at the shape of your pieces and see how they fit together best to create the image you want to create.  If you are new to designing, and even if you have been in the business forever, the only way  to figure this out is trial and error.  Use the pieces you have, play with them, and eventually you will find something that works.

The final step to creating a successful design concept is to set a deadline.  Whether it is for a job, a class, or just a fun project on your own you need to set a time when it needs to be done.  If you do not do this you will stare at and adjust your pieces over and over again convincing yourself that something is not right.  So set a deadline, make your adjustments, get feedback from others who have not been staring at the same image for hours, and then finish your design.

Baseball Show Open Test 1_0068

It is not an easy process.  You will become frustrated at times, but when this happens walk away.  Then come back to your design and appreciate what you have created.

 

Unforgettable

13 Feb

The Superbowl is the one time a year when people actually look forward to the commercials.  As a designer, or a producer, your goal is to create a commercial that will stick in the viewers heads.  Not a very simple task considering everyone’s likes and dislikes are different.  It seems like the commercial that became the buzz of the town this year was the  Volkswagen Darth Vader Kid.  Everyone was talking about how cute and funny it was, including myself.  But was it really the most successful commercial?  Everyone remembered the commercial, but very few people actually remembered who the commercial was for.

A successful commercial concept not only makes the commercial memorable, but also the company.  Isn’t that the point of a commercial?  Get the consumers to know and love the company, not just the commercial.  This is why I found the Bud Light Product Placement commercial to be the most successful.  The concept was clever and humorous, like the Darth Vader Commercial, but there was no forgetting what company the commercial was for because their logo was everywhere!  That is what I call a successful commercial.