July 2010

brantford comedy festival…

the design campaign for the Brantford Comedy Festival is in the books… had a great time working with Jamie Stephens… everything came together very smoothly and everyone involved was very happy with the results… looking forward to the festival!

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no name…

on the subject of the No Name branding… I was really impressed with Loblaws for re-releasing the original look and feel of their packaging for the 30th anniversay of the No Name brand… there is something about the starkness of the packaging that has a very strange and inexplicable appeal… beyond the obvious black copy on an open field of yellow there is something almost gritty and Orwellian about a two litre bottle of pop that just says “cola”… it’s the identical product that Coke puts out but for all of the branding incarnations that the major labels roll out they place a distant second when it comes to the strange attraction I have to something bright, stark, minimal & ultra-simplified… i’ve told my wife on numerous occasions I’d like to do a complete grocery shop with nothing but yellow labels in the cart and then shoot it…. why not a line of shirts? bright yellow with the word “shirt” halfway up and slightly to the left… I’d wear it… patent pending 😉

brandchannel.com did a good article on the subject… they got a great quote from a Loblaws official on the subject… “refocusing on a no-frills value brand at a time when the economy is in freefall is obviously prudent.”

here’s the whole article

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advice for a rookie designer…

it can be tough to break into the graphic design business… I’ve had a few people ask me “what’s the best way to get started?” I’m not sure the method I suggest is the best but it worked for me and I’ve been in the business for over fourteen years… here is what I e-mailed out a few nights ago…

the first thing your friend should do is focus on getting a portfolio together… if she’s having a hard time finding someone to hire her have her make up company names, bands, organizations etc and do designs for them… this is how I got my start… I had 10 “fake” designs, (they’ll always look better because you have the final say in the art direction) I started shopping them around and eventually started to get real orders… over time i removed the fake designs and replaced them with real ones…

tell her to go to every business networking event she can find, meet as many people as possible, volunteer her services to charities, get involved in events where newspapers / tv will be present.

tell her to always try and be as original as possible, don’t get stuck in a creative rut where everything starts to look the same… explore design communities in other countries online to see what’s hot in other parts of the world… portugal, hungary, russia and japan always have something cool on the go

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now becomes then…

Typography in the 1990’s by Ellen Lupton

How quickly “now” becomes “then.” A few weeks ago, I was looking for examples of experimental typography to show to my MFA students at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). I pulled a book off the shelf called Typography Now Two: Implosion, edited by Rick Poynor in 1996. Twelve years later, Typography Now has become a fascinating piece of history, showing us what ambitious, forward-reaching design looked like at a time when the web was just finding its legs, print was digging in its heels, and digital tools had revolutionized our work flow.

Although some of the material in Typography Now Two reeks of grunge mannerisms and digital-effects mania, much of it still looks totally alive. This work was striving to define what was new for its time, and for many pieces, the freshness stamp has yet to expire… read the article

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principles of design…

In design, balance is best understood when compared to the physical world. Think of a physical object, such as a glass of water. When the glass is tipped or off balance, it falls over and spills. To keep a scale in balance it must have equal weight on both sides. Note that the weight does not have to be made up of identical objects. Similarly, if an object placed on a page fails to fulfill our “visual equilibrium” the design will appear off balance. When a design has balance, all of the elements appear grounded. This can be achieved through symmetry or asymmetry. read full article

(courtesy of www.graphic-design-info.com)

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your suppliers are a gold mine…

great article by Mark Dollan, Founder/CEO of Creative Briefcase

When it comes to building a referral network, many business owners look to networking groups, the local chamber of commerce, referrals from current clients, online networking sites, and their own industry associations. But one area that is often overlooked is your current supplier base. With a little effort and some pre-planning, you can turn your vendors into a gold mine of referrals that generates a flurry of sales. Here are a few of the ways you can go about building solid referral partners from your current vendors…


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well said sharron, well said…

“Designing a masterpiece graphically is the art of combining text and graphics to communicate an effective message. It is primarily used in the design of logos, brochures, newsletters, posters, signs, and other type of visual communication. Graphic design is the use of words and images to pass on information or to create a certain visual effect. This art form is sometimes referred to as commercial art because of its application to advertising and its vital contribution to business function.

Graphic design practice embraces a range of cognitive skills, aesthetics and crafts, including typography, visual arts and page layout. Graphic designers have a unique ability to sell a product or idea through effective visual communications, and are asked to perform the difficult task of being creative every single day.”

– Sharron Nixon


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