Category Archives: Design Concept/Ideas

It’s been almost 6 years since I originally launched StephenEmlund.com. This October, I redesigned my website for the first time ever. I have been surprised how well my website has held up to all the design trends in the last 6 years. Of course, it’s because I made the website very minimalistic. Although orange was so 2005.

This was 2005

Orange was sooo in!

In 2005, orange was sooo in! I featured printmaking on my site back in the day. Just for fun, I've uploaded the whole website as it was in 2005. Click the screenshot above to view it live!

This was 2008 ↓

Website launched in 2006

in 2008, I tweaked the color from orange to teal and added a sweet autograph! I also implemented the new 'border-radius' that only worked in certain browsers. This website was used for my senior portfolio in Visual Communication.

This is today ↓

Launched October 2010

Launched October 2010. Kept the same teal, but added live feed from blog and a sweet jQuery slider.

Dynamic portfolio page

Dynamic portfolio page - the left navigation dynamically loads all the projects that relate. Click the screenshot above to see the portfolio page.

I've known Kristina for probably 5 years and it was a pleasure to design her wedding invitations!

The script typeface is called 'Buttermilk' and I purchased it from a great illustrator/type designer named Jessica Hische.

The swirls were customized from an original set of 'swirls' I had. The secondary typeface used for body copy is Baskerville Old Face. It seemed to go well with the elegance of Buttermilk

Design is not about innovation. Design is about communication. Innovation in design is usually a wonderful byproduct or direct result of a particular need. Design that seeks to foremost be innovative will commonly fall apart under its own stylistic girth.

Jason Santa Maria

Leafing through an old magazine, I noticed a small ad about a design course by mail. The headline read, “Art for pleasure and profit!” I have never found a better definition to describe my profession. Of course, at times it is more the pleasure and less the profit, at times the contrary. But if one of the components were missing, design wouldn’t exist.

—Carlo Angelini

Definitely agree. The French phrase ‘l’art pour l’art’ which means ‘art for art’s sake’ does not apply to design. To design for design’s sake is really to not create design at all. Design is created for a specific audience with a specific goal in mind. Without an audience or goal, design is no longer design, but just art. Art doesn’t have to communicate to a specific audience like design does.

Your thoughts?

I ran across this documentary on Hulu about a  month ago. Lemonade tells the story of laid-off folks (mostly in advertising and creative fields) who are taking full advantage of all their extra free time. They are pursuing their true passions and finding so much joy in it. You might say that they are making lemonade out of lemons they’ve been handed in life.

Now it’s your turn!

What’s your lemonade story? Comment and share!

A few months ago, when Creative Improv was in it’s infancy, the Parallax View project came our way at just the right time. I had wanted to work on this project since high school. I knew Ben & Seth in high school and thought it would be cool to do a website for them back then (before they were Parallax view).  I believe we even talked about me doing the website. I also received an email two years ago from the band asking if I would do some work – Sadly it got lost in my email and I never read it.

This time, everything seemed to work out. With Michael’s and my experience designing and marketing for the Church, this was a perfect project for us. Check out the Parallax View Band website that we launched a few weeks ago! Michael’s initial design ideas, sketches, endless creative direction, keeping me on task, writing skills and client relations is and always will be priceless to Creative Improv’s design process. This and every other project I’ve worked on with him always turns out a zillion times better because of what he brings to the table!

Check out our design process for this project. Interested in Creative Improv?? then become a fan on facebook or check us out on our official website.

dfadfasdf

The first step in this project was to sketch out logo ideas.

We ended up deciding on this logo because it was the most memorable at a very small and very large scale.

We ended up deciding on this logo because it was the most memorable at a very small and large scale.

The website sketches came next, incorporating the logo's colors and style. This first sketch used a left narrow column and the header was a bit more crowded than what we ended up going with.

The website sketches came next, incorporating the logo's colors and style (for these, incorporation of color was in my head 🙂 ). This first sketch used a left narrow column and the header was a bit more crowded than what we ended up going with. These black/white pencil sketches help decide on layout without the distraction of color to give a false sense of completeness.

This sketch was the base for the final website, though still a bit different in the final implementation. We used the divine proportion to decide how wide each column should be. I know, how ironic, since this is a Christian band. :-)

This sketch was the base for the final website, though still a bit different in the final implementation. We used the divine proportion to decide how wide each column should be. I know, how ironic, since this is a Christian band. 🙂

The final website: featuring content from various social media and a brand new blog for the band to keep in touch with their fans. The most dynamic aspect is the MySpace Music Player, the Flickr feed and YouTube feed.

The final website: featuring content from various social media and a brand new blog for the band to keep in touch with their fans. The most dynamic aspect is the MySpace Music Player, the Flickr feed and YouTube feed. Check it out now!

The CD was one of the funnest parts of this project. I've only designed one other CD in my life, unless you count the fake CD for portfolio purposes. The typography, textures, photos and illustrations just came together nicely. It did take some thinking to get the hierarchy just right between the title and logo for the cover.

The CD was one of the funnest parts of this project. I've only designed one other CD in my life (for Truman's Jazz Ensemble, which I performed with as well). The typography, textures, photos and illustrations just came together nicely. It did take some thinking to get the hierarchy just right between the title and logo for the cover.

The Poster was the very last piece to complete. It matched the website header nicely.

The poster was the very last piece to complete. It matched the website header nicely.

Brand New Sketchbook

I got my ‘mystery product’ from Brand New today. It is a miniature sketchbook to continue sketching logos. I, along with the folks at Brand New believe strongly that great design starts with a sketch. The edges of each page contain a quote from various designers who contributed to this blog post on June 11, 2009.

I’m honored to be included in this, even if it is just a small sketchbook. Thanks Armin!

Oh yeah, Brand New has redesigned their website today! Check it out.

I got an email today from someone named Armin Vit. I was hovering over ‘mark as spam’ until I read the subject line.

Brand New Mystery Product

Now, for some reason this caught my attention as not being exactly spam (don’t ask me why). So I opened it.

If I have contacted you it means that we have included your quote (in our mystery product).

I almost forgot that a few weeks ago I contributed to a discussion on Brand New’s website. The discussion simply asked ‘Why do you sketch logos?’ and can be found here.

This is what I said:

I sketch on paper rather than the computer because when I use a computer to generate ideas, even the bad comps look good since they are in a polished, clean state. I get a false-sense of completeness when I jump to the computer too quickly. Sketching your ideas on paper removes any false sense that that particular idea is good simply because it’s kerned nicely.

They have created a ‘mystery product’ which includes a select 16-24 folks’ comments on why they sketch logos. I was chosen out of the more than 200 contributers.

The email also said that they are sending me a compliment ‘mystery product’. My guess is that it’s a small book or a poster of some sort. I’ll post a picture of the mystery product when I receive it!

I recently had a conversation with a good friend about design styles. The question was posed to me…

That begs the question….is it better to develop your own “style” that you become recognized by, or have an arsenal of styles to draw from to please your clients?  Both have valid arguments…

That’s a tough question.

I think a designer should provide the client with the best ‘solution’ for their particular design problem. That solution should transcend any particular ‘popular design trend’ but could have elements of various design trends and styles. I think designers come up with their own style from looking at great work and remembering what they felt was effective. The design solution should ultimately be the best one that reaches a particular target audience. So, really what a client ‘likes’ doesn’t matter so much as what reaches their target audience. Hopefully the client has their target audience in mind and there is no problem pleasing the client and reaching the target audience at the same time. That is part of the job of a designer: to educate folks about the design process.
 
There’s also an argument that says designers should show more than one solution for a design problem when presenting ideas to a client. I’ve read a lot that this just confuses the client and puts them in the role of ‘art director’. Really they should be advising and reminding us who their target audience is and answer all questions in terms of whether their target audience will respond to it. That’s why design ‘styles’ and ‘trends’ really aren’t the point.  It is true that everything does somehow fit into a particular style or trend but that is the nature of design and how we group things in our minds. Maybe a particular design style should be defined by what reaches a particular audience at this particular day, month or year. Therefore, when that design style changes it really is a reflection that what is reaching a particular audience has changed.

sgalogo

Logo for the Student Government Association at ATSU – This is to be used on their brand new website that I posted a few weeks ago. Will be in WordPress – should be come out nicely!
iconnect_ad
iconnect – a website that connects the ATSU community through various social networking all in one place. I can’t wait for this to launch – The URL has been blurred out since it’s not live yet. This is a magazine ad that will be in Still Magazine soon.

finaidvideo

Financial Aid videos for ATSU – the most extensive use of web videos at ATSU to date – I think… Again I can’t share the URL since it’s only for a select set of users. The previous and next buttons use jQuery to ‘slide’ to the next video. An example is here.

weekdesign

So I decided not to include the other 10 million design projects I worked on this week – so I collaged them into a small space.  This week included an iconnect magazine ad, blackcat billboard ideas, newspaper ad for meadow heights, SGA logo, iconnect subpage design, creative improv subpages, financial aid video slideshow, blackcat illustrator recreation and a bunch of programming.

I’m.

Exhausted.