A comment on web/user experience design. Look at the loading gif on top, then the other. You see the difference, right? The top looks like it’s dynamically progressing; the bottom looks like a static image being rotated. Web designers — pick the right one (hint: the first) and NEVER USE THE OTHER ONE or I will find you.
Top: a sketch of mine for an annual report cover for one of our clients from late October of this year.
Bottom: The Mobile Book by Smashing Magazine, which contains “the most important things that you need to know as a designer, developer or mobile strategist for your websites.” Looks pretty rad and the design’s probably a long time in the making.
When this happens — a rare occurrence for me — it’s both inspiring and discouraging. Makes me realize that while I may have an OK design, I’m failing at matching the client’s mood, tone and/or culture. Perhaps I should worry less, considering this is a cover for a book and not an annual report. I feel a book cover can often get away with touching on a motif and letting the content speak for itself while an AR has to tell a story and really carry that motif.
Found an applicable quote today on LogoDesignLove:
“Tell yourself at every step in the design process that someone has undoubtedly already thought of this and what can you do to really set it apart. In design, and particularly logo design, the pessimistic axiom that “everything has already been done” is becoming more and more true, and it is only the virtuous designer who can continue to stand out in a sea of sameness.” — Mike Davidson
Some stuff I worked on during the latter part of this year. I had a lot of fun with Index Drums — I got to do some shirt comps and I did a few different concepts, but I really liked the face logo. These logos (except for 10x100) should be considered incomplete: they were presented as concepts and not as final pieces, but I haven’t made further refinements since first presenting them to the client (a forum member requesting design work, in this case).
Bargain Beaker: This was for a discount educational lab supply shop. The client wanted to show a stylized beaker and the above shape was the first thing that came to mind; beakers, however, are generally cylindrical and the above shape is technically an Erlenmeyer flask. I think this still gets the idea across. I don’t think the mark is distinctive enough to stand on its own, but there’s a friendly feeling here, which I tried to further communicate with the chubby, rounded font. ⚠ I think some of my designs lack a sense of character or tell a specific story. In this case, and in the case of many other projects here, I get a very small blurb of information — target audience, general feeling/result desired, that sort of thing — and work from there. Overall, I think this is suitable but far from a truly excellent specimen of graphic design. That’s why I’m putting these up!
10x100: This is the logo behind my geometric print project. It’s really just an extension of the 10x100 idea — pure abstraction through patterns, shapes and arbitrary concepts. I recall seeing some African textiles with a similar dot and reversal pattern and I thought it’d make a good mark for the project. ⚠ There’s no story to tell, no metaphor to latch onto. It’s an expression, much like the prints themselves. The more I look at it, the more I see a skull, and that’s fine by me.
Index Drums! The guy behind this is a cool cat and makes some rad drums. The diacritical dot in ” i ” is slightly skewed, a reference to the owner’s slightly crooked index digit. ⚠ I did play with that idea for at least one shirt design, but eventually abandoned exploiting it too much. If I designed around the angled dot, I felt the story would get lost. Guy wanted to incorporate pentagons if possible, a reference to his handcrafted drums, so I did the above face. Imagine sitting at the smaller shape and playing the larger drums in front of you. That’s the idea, anyway.
HPM: This was the first concept I had for Hyde Park Marketing, who eventually chose another concept, but I have an attachment to this one. It’s not complete, but trying to combine the letterforms to make H, P and M was a blast. ⚠ I can’t remember what I used as the base font, but I made some edits to make it relatively distinctive. The P needs some work, as well as the ligature action between the H and P. The M isn’t quite visible, either.
Derek Cookson: Another typographic idea that still needs some work. I was intrigued at the idea of representing the guy’s initials in this way, but the execution need some refining. If you see his initials in the mark, yay! ⚠ I should’ve fixed this up a bit before submitting. The shapes need some thinning out and the leading needs work. Recognizing these things is an important step, right?
Pub House: Guy requested some logo work for his friend’s startup pub. Apparently, the name and initial logo inspiration (I use that term lightly) were already in use from another bar. Yes, another place was called Public House and he wanted a logo done similar to their style, a sort of distressed and patriotic thing that felt like a mid-90s advertising spread more than anything. So the above was another solution, a little working man, a little class. ⚠ I’d do something different with the type and bring the sides of the red diamond in a bit.
CCK: A concept for Cloud City Kicks, a hip little shoeshop. It’s a city built on a cloud! ⚠ The space above the letters feels a little awkward to me, but it’s a simple fix. The center building’s apex is probably too sharp, now that I’m looking at this again. I’d probably do much smaller letters and wider letterspacing, too.
Augyr: An idea for a geolocation company named after the augur of old. A cross of a you-are-here pin with a satelitte.
Take a gander at these case studies — just a sampling of some of the cooler ones I’ve found around The Great Internet. I’m a big fan of taking a concept that’s seemingly far removed from the subject matter yet brings the audience to the front and center of a company. Like…chocolate and the Yellow Pages.
I met a pretty cool cat a few months ago at my Burning Man camp. After getting to know each other, he said he was looking for someone to refresh the logo for his startup marketing firm. I jumped at the opportunity and offered up about a dozen concepts.
From the initial batch, we narrowed it down to something with clean, green, tree imagery (they are Hyde Park, after all). After some minor tweaks, Hyde Park chose the concept in the last image.
So here’s a little project I started in late July. I’m setting out to design 100 simple, minimal and abstract geometric prints and selling ‘em on the Etsy internet superweb store.
They’re $25 each, including shipping in the US, and I’ll introduce a bulk/discount option very soon. If this looks like something you dig, please check out the store and do that liking thing on the book of faces.
Know Canada is a bold and brilliant campaign from Toronto-based Bruce Mau Design. US-based/fantastic radio show Studio360 gave BMD a design brief, asking to address the identity problem Canada faces in the US — hockey, maple leaves, the ubiquitous eh? — and to bring the brand into the 21st century.
The Bruce Mau solution removes the leaf from the Canadian flag and replaces it with resolutely Canadian (and American) icons. I dare you to find me something more American than Pamela Anderson, Alex Trebek and peanut butter.
And some pictures that move, accompanied by audio:
Truly awesome. The red bars are timeless and the always-changing visual keeps it fresh and engaging. Even alone, the red bars are solid, eye-catching and ready to tell a story. Simple and effective. The execution overall needs some tweaking to my eyes, but on the whole, I love it. I wish it could actually be implemented, but alas.