Category Archives: Inspiration

I’ve been working with a high school friend to develop a brand and website for his newest endeavor – to offer free online financial planning to lower-middle class people. He currently lives in Chicago as a financial planner. He had a good idea of what he was looking for. Colors, imagery and wording were some of things he had a good idea about. So I took his ideas along with new ideas I had come up with and created a few versions.

Sketching and ideating: I also wrote some keywords that I thought fit his service. ‘moving forward’ and transform finances were some of the more important ones and what I guided me to abstract the globe to two swooshes. Notice I used his some of his ideas at the top to build from.

Although I knew a globe would probably not be best, I created variations with it so he could see what the result would be. I feel it was important to not throw out his ideas because they are great building blocks for the final idea.

I then created an abstraction of the globe and wrapped it around the wording. Typefaces were switched also. The tagline was way too small here, and also the wrong wording.

I changed the typeface for ‘financial plan’ and nested ‘my free’. Tagline is still too small

Blue and orange have been adjusted and changed typefaces and the tagline is working much better here.

The final version! I’ve capitalized “My Free” and made the tagline larger and black.

I started thinking, “You know, I’ve done a massive amount of design/layout for Meadow Heights Church and a few other places like BSU at Truman State University… so why not get all of my best work together and see what I come up with.

So here ya go!

Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media DesignerI just received the book MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer by Hillman Curtis I skimmed through it and caught some insightful words:

A common mistake of designers is thinking of themselves only as visual communicators. We’re fortunate to speak the visual language fluently, but we also need to translate literal and thematic messages. In other words, we need to be bilingual. As a designer I need to listen and ask questions… …without (that), I’m as good as blind.

I’ve talked a lot lately about branding myself as a designer, so it was nice to hear what Hillman had to say about it. I came across the part where the author talks about designing his design firm’s website (hillmancurtis inc.) Hillman had some insightful words:

My thought was to design something bold and cutting-edge, so I studied the work of my peers: designers who I thought were doing new and exciting work. Still nothing was working. The designs I turned out fell flat, and every night I went home empty and depressed.

He goes on to say that his wife told him about a poetry conference she went to at which C.K. Williams said that when he’s creatively blocked, he falls in love with a master. He looks back to those who perfected their craft and takes cues from their mastery. For designers, that might be Paul Rand, Saul Bass and many others.

Who are you looking back to, that perfected their craft?

Here are a few of the blogs I follow that give me inspiration, knowledge and cool design resources.

  • Design View / Andy Rutledge
    This guy always has some great thoughts about web design and web standards. His personal portfolio is pretty amazing too!
  • CSS Newbie
    Very cool website that has some useful resources for web design, programming and CSS. This guy actually works in the IT Department where I’m interning – August Home.
  • Creative Curio
    This gal writes pretty interesting stuff about graphic design. If you are looking for web design info, you’re in the wrong place here, but there are great tutorials for the Adobe Suite.
  • Just Creative Design
    This dude is three years younger than I am but blogs about some pretty interesting stuff. His blog is similar to mine, in that we are both in college and blogging about our experience doing freelance work and about we are currently learning. He is a little different than I am, because he actively searches for freelance work, via his website, while I never search for work and yet it still finds me. He seems to have more of a business and a central website for his blog/website/portfolio, while I keep mine separate for various reasons. I should take some cues from his overal model though!
  • Seth’s Blog
    He isn’t a designer but is certainly relavant to designers. Seth blogs mostly about common sense business and marketing practices. His posts are eye-openers for me.
  • Tom’s MAD Blog
    Tom is an illustrator for MAD Magazine. He does some pretty cool caracatures and has great thoughts about the design process. He has some cool video tutorials on illustrating with a tablet and Photoshop.

Do you have a cool web design/graphic design blog you follow? Let me know about it.

elements-31I began reading “The Elements of Typographic Style” today. I read something profound, and interesting to a me as both a musician and designer.

Typography is to literature as musical performance is to composition: an essential act of interpretation, full of endless opportunities for insight or obtuseness.”

I watched the second episode of the new series of HGTV’s Design Star. I like watching these sort of shows that redesign rooms in your house, because it’s fun to see the overlap that interior design has with graphic design.

I caught the last few minutes of the season premiere and contestant Michael Stribling said something cool. He was asked what his design style was. He said, “Whatever my client wants” He got blank stares from the judges.

But isn’t that what it’s all about?

Meeting the client’s needs while at the same time creating something you are proud to put in your portfolio. That’s the number one difficulty when working with clients: giving the client what they want while making great design (because we all know that clients will go for bad design, if you let them).