Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Graphic Design Poetry

Update! This post has been updated and now lives over at BonFX.com:


A few of these are now also available at http://cafepress.com/bonfx as t-shirts and mugs. Enjoy!


My son nabbed Edward Lear's "Complete Book of Nonsense" from the library not too long ago. It was one of my favorite books growing up. I wondered if it was possible to write limericks about Graphic Design, Adobe, user interfaces, etc. I post the results for your amusement and bemoanment:

There once was a UI Designer
Who thought a right-nav was more finer.
But users bemoaned
When they could not find "Home",
And simply restarted their browser.


There once was a client so wiley
He asked for every source filey.
He'd edit them twice
And say "Now they're nice!"
And we'd stare at him with a blank smiley


There once was a designer so immature
She had not yet heard of a ligature.
She'd kern "f" and "i"
And then make a sigh
While wishing for one nice clean character.


There was an "Adobe Updater"
Who's button said "Update me later".
Whenever we'd work,
It popped up like a jerk.
And so we are "Updater" haters!


A prominent button called "Home"
Caused UI elitists to foam.
"It should not be there!"
And they tore out their hair,
Then banged their heads on a big stone.


In Dreamweaver there was a bug,
But Adobe was silently smug.
"Pretend it's not there!"
Said support with no care,
And swept the bug under the rug!


There once was a graphic designer
Who could not draw a straight liner
Fresh out of school
She thought she was cool
And soon was a cook in a diner!


There once was a trendy typsetter
Who thought "less is more is more better"
I'll sit here and scratch
at my tiny soul patch
Until my design is one letter.


There once was a client so bozo
He thought he'd design his own logo.
He did it in raster,
And thought it was faster
Because bezier curves he did not know.


There once was client so lame
He flipped when he saw a wireframe
"The graphics are sparse,
And your firm is a farse!"
But we knew that this man did have no brain.


There once was a program called Freehand
It was the best tool in the whole land
But the software was sold
To Adobe the bold
And Freehand was soon no more at hand.


A designer with senses so fickle
He felt every unaligned pixel
"It's off by a bit!
What are you a twit?"
And for lunch he ate ought but sour pickles.


There once was a blogging designer
Who said "I will sooner retire!
I'll write blogs all day,
And sip my latte."
But soon found his finances goner.


A slicer called Image the Ready
Who's UI was certainly heady
Some said, "It's so easy"
But many got queasy
Until Fireworks made them steady.


A program called Photo the Shopper
Was loaded with menus and slopper
"Just raise the price
to make naughty nice"
But users soon proved this a flopper.


Adobe the Great was a giant
To whom all it's slaves was defiant:
"While charging more price,
I'll make things less nice!"
And to this day all are compliant!


There once was a program named Flash,
Who thought he could make lots of cash
"I'll make cool splash screens",
But this sickened his spleen.
And so Flash turned to applications.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ACRE - American Craft Retailers Expo: Logo Update

ACRE, the American Craft Retailer Expo, has has a logo refresh!

The old version had a "break the rules" interesting off-balance look to it. However, as the logo was rolled out into all kinds of print and web usage, it was not clear to those unfamiliar with the brand what ACRE was about. The type below the acronym was just a tad too small as it turns out. So, a slight tweak to the readability in this new version should alleviate those concerns.

ACRE just held their 2008 national expo in Las Vegas and are already planning next years show. ACRE, and it's parent company Wholesalecrafts.com, have been BonFX clients for a decade. Go ACRE!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Providence Graphic Design & Arts Meetup for April 2008

The next meeting I'm organizing is coming up April 21st, 2008, at Brewed Awakenings in Johnston, RI. Our "in the round" format works fantastic, with people contributing like crazy to the conversation. We move fast from subject to subject. This meeting will be no exception.
At the last meeting, we pursued a thread at one point about what peoples favorite apps or tips for doing this or that were. Obviously, it was very impassioned, with everyone chipping on what worked best. We decided to make this conversation the leading theme for the next meeting. 
So, it's truly a "bring your own" kind of situation. You can bring more than 3 if you want! The more the better. I can see this becoming a feature of every meeting, as each meeting will have different or new members.I think that the social networking aspect of getting good advice about this or that is priceless, which is why I think the topic took off so voraciously at the last meeting. I hope we keep the flames kindled and stoked for the April meeting. I bet we will!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

New business card "anti" design



I recently ran out of cards, and found myself scribbling my contact info on random bits of paper for people. Two kinds of "bits of paper" were most common: corners of sheets of note book paper, and receipts. I wanted to try one of these moderately priced 4/4 color printing places for business cards. So, I figured if I was going color, I might as well take advantage of it.

Trying to come up with a unique business card is not easy. I was imagining a 2 spot color card, but these never look good when done in process color. They end up looking like mottled color photocopies of real spot color business cards. This has always been my main hesitation with 4 color process over spot color process for images that aren't continuous tone.

So, I thought about how to take advantage of 4/1 color and do something different. I thought about the basic usage of business cards. Then I thought about the basic info on them. What do I usually scribble down when time and space on a scrap of paper are limited? I thought name and email, and sometimes the website.

When I thought of this, I saw in my mind the usual scrap I would write this on for people and thought - bingo! - that's what I'll do in 4 color for my new business card.

So, for now, my business card is a 4 color process scribble on a receipt, with a clean but crumpled logo paperclipped to the corner. Now the business card looks like what I've been giving people for the last month or two, but only much sturdier :)

The image consists of scanned receipts and scanned inked text and a scanned paper clip. The paper in the right corner and logo were created in Photoshop. All the elements were composited together in Photoshop at 300dpi. From nextdayflyers.com, this is not even 20 bucks for 100 cards, shipped UPS ground.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Providence Graphic Design & Arts Meetup: March 2008

The primary factor in good graphic design is communication. Designers and illustrators, even web developers, have to thoroughly understand the primary mission of a design based on a thorough understanding of the clients needs. Good communications is also the foundation of our new graphic design "meetup."

For the March 2008 meetup, I came up with the idea of primary colors together with communication amongst individuals being the foundation of solid design. We feed on each other, as in a loop. When everyone is communication, all the "colors" are possible from our "primary" contributions. We create better to the extent we communicate better.

On a related note, Veerle's Blog ran a poster contest recently. The goal was to communicate what graphic design is. There are some great entries. Take a look at the winners.

Our first meeting was a dynamic conversation that jumped from topic to topic with ease among a small group of professionals that had never met before. I thought this was great! We are hoping to replicate that in our March 2008 meeting.

Visit the Providence Graphic Design & Arts Meetup page to find out more about the March meeting.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Everything Events: New website and logo

The new Everything Events site has launched. A subtle floral theme underscores the organized simplicity that Everything Events wanted to convey in their brand. The logo work we did also reflects the same idea. It's always great to be able to design a new logo and new website in one project. It's easier to stay "in the groove" on a project like this and see all the components from brand down to the copy stay in focus.

For an interesting "before and after", see the previous post about playing with light and how it worked out in the final design.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Silly Ad for Providence Graphic Design & Arts Meetup

Here is an "ad", I'll call it, for the newly formed Providence Graphic Design & Arts Meetup. First off, you can see with a name like that, a decent acronym is nigh impossible ("pig dam"!). So maybe one of the first things we'll do as a group is get a better name so we can get a better acronym! I'm all for it. Bad acronym aside, one of the things I'm encouraging the group members to do is submit "ads" to help promote the site and themselves. Everyone who submits an ad will get it posted, which creates a link back to their website. The group gets promoted more, the groups webpage has more content (at meetup.com), and they get some extra search engine mojo for the deed.

Hmm...how about ProGDAS? Providence Graphic Design & Arts Society. Not much better....I know.

I wonder if anyone gets the, uh, "joke" in my ad. Only a graphic designer could. A digital photographer might.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Simple Elements for Logo Design

Here is a logo I designed for our sister company Bonneville Partners that focuses on partnering with clients to manage their websites using the Joomla CMS. The design concept for the bug was to integrate something about us into the motif of a calendar.

We wanted to convey to potential clients that their calendars, schedules, and content are important to us. Hence, the "B" on "their" calendar. When you think of updating your site for some event or timely news release, you think of us, your "partner".

So, we basically have 2 simple elements (3 if you are picky). A wavy rectangle (the calendar page) and the letter B. The rectangle could be seen as 2 different parts (the blue and the green). The lesson here is that in many cases, less is more. Some logos call for complexity, but the vast majority of small business logos are well served by simple clean design elements that fax and scale up and down well.

I Got Bit by the Web 2.0 Bug

I think I need anti-biotics after getting bit by the "wide, centered layout with gradients" bug that attacked thousands of designers last year. This is a site design for our sister company that focuses on content management using Joomla. Here we have my own take on the design trends of 2007. The site over at bonpartners.com launched in October.

Logo Tweak - Before and After

Many times clients come to me with logos in need of a little TLC. If a logo has passed into usage, it can be difficult to change because of the investment already made in printing or desigin other collateral. However, sometimes a logo design really does need a tweak before I will attempt to work with it, especially when a client is investing in a new round of collateral or web design. Sometimes a small tweak can go a long way, even if it's very subtle. See if you can figure out which is the before and after. Here we have 2 versions. While a new design was not an option, a subtle tweak was agreeable and warmly received. One just "feels more right"...

Logo Design Process Revealed

Well, at least it's my process that is revealed. Here is the final choice by Everything Events for there new brand. I'm also including the original round of logo choices. I present them in a random smattering in order to get quality initial feedback that doesn't reveal a bias by positioning on the presentation page.

Playing with Light, Lately

I've gotten a hold of a new design direction lately. I'm slow to get on board fads, but tend to incorporate long-lasting trends into my vocabulary eventually. Here are 2 ideas I'm working on where the effect of light on a simply design is a central design motif. I tried to bypass the web 2.0 look, but the playing-with-light nature of the web 2.0 look seems to be a keeper. There is definitely a trend towards more organic-looking lighting effects on otherwise simple designs.

Providence Graphic Design & Arts Meetup

Click here to check out
The Providence Graphic Design & Arts Meetup!

Surely, there are some graphic designers and illustrators with a few hours a month to spare for their colleagues...Let's give this meetup a whirl...