Typography Revisit

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I am revisiting some typography project I did in my second year of college. The two projects are my “Menu” and my “Conference”. I wanted to extend my Menu, and fix a few things on my Conference. I thought it was going to be easy fixing them, I thought wrong.

The easiest one was my Conference. I knew some of the things that I did wrong with my type, like setting rules for my type and not keeping it consistent, and not setting tabs properly. I thought this was all I was going to fix. After I kept looking at it I realized I should do more. So I kept working on it and I have now limited the colour palette from blue, green, grey, white and orange to excluding orange. I fixed everything, brochure, front cover, website, and banner. This was not the plan. But I’m so much happier with this project now that I have spent more time with it.

My Menu on the other hand, has been SUPER lovely to work with. I thought I could just fix up the brandmark I created and extend my design to other items the restaurant would use. I started with fixing the brandmark. I have been struggling with the branding and I have made multiple different versions and nothing looks right. From struggling with this part so much I decided on sticking with something for now, and going back later. I have extended this branding that I’m not a fan of to coasters, a reservations book cover, and a business card. I’m going to also apply it to a uniform for the chefs and the waiters. I have been waiting to apply it because my creativity has been drying up from the brandmark I have made.

I need to get some fresh perspective. This week I have plans to get new eyes on what I have been doing. I hope this will help.

For all my readers out their I would like to know about how you get out of creative block? Or how you find new perspective so I can try some new ways. Please comment below.

Illustration Revist.

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I originally did a project working with another year in my program, and I didn’t feel happy with it. I thought I could do a lot better. So I decided I would fix it to go into my portfolio. It was an info-graphic that I made, that wasn’t exactly an info-graphic. I had made more of a poster with information in an illustration. So my challenge this time was to redo the project using the content and information I found and make an info-graphic.

As I started my ideation phase once again for this project I found I was back at the same place I was before. I was really suck on how to make this an info-graphic. I had a lot of statistics that didn’t exactly fit together. So I couldn’t take those and put them into an info-graphic because it wouldn’t make sense. The one thing I did have that was information that worked together was my “best and worst” area that was more of a secondary element last time. So I figured this is where I would start.

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 3.25.23 PMMy ideas started slowly and then I got stuck. I thought of symbols that make you think about money. Coins, and bills came to mind. Then I tried to think about different types of graphs that I know would turn my information into an info-graphic. I thought about Pie charts, pictograph, and bar graphs. I thought I could do a bar graph with coins piling up. But realized that might not be a great idea. Then the idea of the line inside of a line graph was a bit inspiring.

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This brings me to where I am right now. I’m still questioning my ideas but I figured I should start working and see where it goes. I will probably end up changing my mind once again, but I figured I should try out my ideas first and see how it goes.

Do you have any ideas for me?

Holiday Fever Already?

I’m already buying wrapping paper and oohhhing and ayyying at Christmas decorations. I’m already finding it hard not to buy things for others, just because. I can’t wait to rip into that paper and tape, and get to work wrapping all my gifts I’ll be putting under the tree for my family.

I find it possibly a bit ridiculous on how much time and money we spend on finding the perfect gift for someone. I know its only the beginning of November and I’m already in that daze. Why do we ALWAYS find it necessary to look and find something that is ‘perfect’ for someone, when in reality their just going to be opening a bunch of other ‘perfect’ gifts from other people as well.

We have become obsessed with putting a price tag on Christmas. Although it has always come with a price tag why are we always founding over a number? In this article that I found it says that us Canadians will be having a ‘frugal Christmas’. I had to look this up to find out what it meant and it said careful, prudent, stingy, and thrifty. This wording makes me believe others need this price tag to make the day worth while.

Yes people can and should be careful with their spending (as I am reminded by my mother every year). But that isn’t what Christmas is about. Yes, once upon a time all I cared about was getting toys. But Christmas memories fade and I don’t remember exactly what I got, in fact now, I forget what I get pretty quickly. For me it’s about seeing my family, spending time with them, playing in the snow (yes I am an adult), baking with my mom, and staying up late and watching christmas movies with my family. It has always kept a special place in my heart to know that, this one time of year I will see my family, maybe not everyone in my extended family but I at least get to see some of them.

That is what Christmas is about for me.

Survival in College

Everyone has their own experiences, and their own opinions about college. Today I would like to share my experiences with you. I’m in my last year of college (out of three), and sometimes it seems like the days drag on and others seem to fly by. Everyone has his or her own struggles.

When I first moved into residence for school, no one told me anything to expect or anything I should do. Theirs a lot of people who have told me after my first year in college that I should get to know the people I live with. I’ll let you know I’ve kept pretty quite and I have done just fine. I have a few friends from residence, but mostly friends from my program.

I was told to go to class. Of course you would go to class right? ALOT of people don’t, you miss a lot when you miss a class. Remember to go, not only because you’re now paying for your education, but also because you should enjoy it, to a certain degree. Don’t forget to use the college services. Almost everyone who pays tuition pays into these services; and they are there to help you.

The last thing I’m going to mention today, that I didn’t think was something I really needed to but I read it from this website. It is number 25 BE PREPARED TO FEEL OVERWHELMED. This has to be one of the most important things that I thought was common knowledge. You NEED to get a good night sleep at some point to refuel. You NEED to figure out an organization system that helps you get things handed in on time. You will most likely have to deal with a lot of stuff in your life all happening at once. This is a something that cannot be ignored because as I’m writing this today, after being in my third year, I still struggle with this.

I could go on all day about things you need to survive college, but those are my top 3. I hope I helped someone with my words of wisdom, and if I missed something or if you have any questions don’t be afraid to add a comment down below. Thank you all so much!

Time Management

Every morning I wake up and think “what do I have to do today?”. Every now and then I get to say nothing. Sometimes I don’t have to look at the calendar, my planner, or even my sticky notes that are all over the place to know what has to get finished in my day.

As you can probably tell I’m the type of person that is always rushing around, needing to finish something, or tries to get ahead. Although I am a very organized person and know I think of things well in advance, my planning never seems to work. I talk to someone too long, or I go out with friends when I should have finished something for school.

I found my problem is that I only manage and plan my homework that needs to get done for that day, then for the week. I plan around when I work, and try not to do homework on days I work; but here I am writing this at 9:30am on Sunday (blog post is due Monday by 9:30) and I work today at 2pm. So as you can see my organizational system is flawed.

I recently have been trying to get my management system to be better but it doesn’t seem to be looking any better. So I went and found someone to help me. I found this article called, How to Manage Time with 10 Tips That Work. Now these writers seem to have it figured out. They tell us to plan for everything. To plan for interruptions, for conversations that will take forever, and to plan a time to check your e-mail (hopefully not just before you go to bed).

As a student trying to make it as a designer, and wants to be business management material, this is a skill set that I do have, but needs improvement. I believe everyone always has improvement for something somewhere. I now have found one thing, and I will be working on it.

Reflections for this semester!

At the beginning of this semester; that is soon coming to a close, I had almost every professor telling our class to find a way to get our names out there, into the world. They told us we should find a way to get ‘know’ before we graduate from third year. I thought of blogging and that it might be fun. I used to write in a journal and thought it could be almost the same idea. So I thought why not?

My only thought about posting and publishing my blog was “People are actually going to read this, wow”. From thinking this I got a little scared that I’d offend someone or that I would be terrible at writing them. But you never know until you try.

I believe blogging has helped me with many things. It has helped me with my writing, engagement with the public, and most of all development of my online profile. The most valuable thing that I took from blogging is that your can’t be scared to share your opinion on a topic, even if others don’t see it your way, you have a chance to show your opinion matters. My most challenging part of blogging was grammar and spelling. I have never been good at writing and it doesn’t come easy for me. But if I just sit down and get to it, I can do it.

I would like to keep blogging to keep up my writing skills and online profile, but I wont keep this blog. From learning how to code this year I’d like to code and make my own and create a website with my portfolio on it as well.

It has been a blast and I will write one more blog to share my website that I will be putting up around September sometime with my works, and my thoughts. Thank you everyone for taking time and reading what I have to say. Will keep in touch!

HeadStart Panel from RGD

Tonight while poking around the web I found myself on the RGD website. Lately in school it has been getting very full with work and I have been trying to get out ideas and sometimes they come easy and others I have to spend a while on. From these experiences I went to their video section and saw this video it is a HeadStart Panel called “How creative people arrive at ideas”.

When I saw this video it was very appealing from school but also because I wanted to attend this event but wasn’t able to go. So I was very happy to watch this segment of the event. I have always been very interested in how people who are designers work with shorter deadlines and how they manage with their process.

What I found from watching the video was most people do their brainstorming and ideation sections of design work very similar. How I am being taught in school right now is the actual way most designers do it (can you imagine that, something useful from school!). Vince Galante said “the part nobody really sees is having a mindset where your constantly thinking, and your constantly making yourself open to wild thoughts; that maybe carefree. Nothing comes from nothing.” I thought that was great to hear because I’m always hearing from my professors that we need to keep everything keep everything in a sketchbook, never throw anything out. This really picked at my mind because I’m always sketching too many ideas for one project and think ‘am I ever going to use this again’. Now I’m thinking I just might.

I found listening to this video was great because even if I knew some of this stuff it was awesome to hear from working designers and knowing this is what they stick to, and this is how they do things was worthwhile. I hope to start attending these conferences and I hope to do them more next year. 

Never Stop Learning

Lately in school there’s a lot of talk of design companies and placements (especially the third years). Our teachers have been telling us to make contacts, and start trying to get out there, do research on places you might want to work in the future or for placement. I thought it would be a good idea to talk to someone about their experiences, thoughts and advice.

I looked at some places in Ottawa and came across Accurate. I looked at their website and their works and was blown away by how much stuff I’ve seen that they do. So I sent them an e-mail. They were very fast at e-mailing me back and had no problem with helping me out.

I got in contact with Marc Landry (Partner & CFO/CAO), who was unfortunately unavailable. I then got to speak to Caroline (Caro) Breau (Director of Operations) who was more then happy to help me out, but thought that Doug Jackson (Creative Director & RGD), was the right person to speak to about designing.

Mr.Jackson told me a lot of great advice about how he got into the business. He told me, “I had to knock on a lot of doors before someone took a shot. Don’t down play the importance of hard work. I had to do a lot of work on my own in the early days to prove myself and build my portfolio. Also, when I got into the profession I had to demonstrate that I wanted to lead in order to become a leader. That takes work too. No one ever succeeds in life without a measure of extra effort. That’s how you stand out.

The other thing I always did was try to be different all the time. Being unpredictable as a designer shows your adaptability to employers and clients. Coming up with the next big idea helps you constantly grow. Pushing out of your comfort level constantly pushes you to learn something you didn’t know before. When you leave school you should be ready to start to learn. I’ve been in the industry for close to 30 years and I learn something new and push myself to adapt everyday.”

As a student that’s building my portfolio now I wanted to know what people or companies (like Accurate) are looking for. He told me, “Creativity, and talent. I’m also looking for people that have demonstrated thinking and a range of styles. Designers that are new to the industry do not have a body of work or the experience to say they have a style. Also, limiting oneself to a particular style limits their employability to agencies that share their style. A portfolio full of work based solely on a student’s personal interests such as fashion or skateboards doesn’t show me they can work on corporate work or other retail. Designers need to be flexible and adapt their thinking to the client’s needs. They cannot force their interests or styles on a client that doesn’t share their taste. Not only that, it limits the number of clients they can do work for. Those that stand out from their class are typically the ones that followed the brief well but looked to try styles that were away from the crowd.” I found this SUPER helpful. When our professors give us the choice of picking our topic most people go to something they are interested in. I will definitely be keeping this in mind for the next one.

Finally, my last piece of information I would like to share with you is, as usual, what piece of advice would you give someone going into the business?

He said ”Never stop learning. School has given you the skills to step into the work world ready to operate a computer and understanding of design principles. You will encounter many challenges with technology that school could never touch in a short span. You will encounter many clients that will force you to adapt and grow. And, you will work with many people that have vast experiences, good and bad. Draw on them and learn like a sponge and you will succeed.”

I am so happy to have had the chance to speak to the people at Accurate, got to know the type of people they are, and Mr.Jackson’s experiences, thoughts and advice. I found this information SUPER helpful as a student, and hope that you can take as much inspiration away from Mr.Jackson’s advice as I have. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to be a sponge.

Accessibility Research Project

For the past 3 weeks in my Design Layout class we’ve been doing a project on fixing accessibility problems within our school. We were to get into groups of 4 and only Empathize, and define the problem. After this was done we had to share our findings and problem with our class and a few lucky guests. My group picked fixing the labels in the cafeteria.

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Now, the cafeteria does have good information, but not a lot of people were able to find this information. This was the big problem for us. So we researched regulations we had to follow with making of the labels, we interviewed the operations manager of the cafeteria, and did surveys and polls of students and staff members of the college. We wanted to know how many people had allergies and to what, what type of dietary needs they had, any accessibility issues, and generally what they wanted to know about their food.

We ended up finding out that quite a few people have allergies, dietary concerns, accessibility issues and really do want to know what is in their food. So at the beginning of this week we had to start individually deciding on how to solve the problem. I decided to go with making a simple system on the packages so it is minimal, and you can still see the food, and easy for people to understand. Also, I’ll be designing an app for your phone so you can plan your meal and get all the information, even the stuff you cannot always put on a label.

This was a project with a short deadline with a lot of work to do. Due to it being so short, I am SO happy to say that I had a great group. Our group made a contract, added an additional day that we would have a meeting, look at work, and see where we were and assigned homework to each other. I was pretty surprised to see that our group got everything done on time and we were there for each other through the whole process without and problems.

In conclusion, I believe this is going to be a great project, with a few hard parts but its nothing I can’t fix. So I would like to leave you with a question, what are things you would like to see on a label or an app? 

Logo Design

Lately I have found myself in unfamiliar territory. I find it very refreshing and pretty awesome. Its not the usual poster designs I’ve become accustom to. I’ve been thinking about logos.

There are so many important things about logos. They hold the essence and values of the company within a very (usually) small picture, emblem, word or font. I find that all the design of the logo carries so much meaning for such a small element.

Lately in design and history, you can see that the logo has become very simple. This brings me to very important question “How does so little design, say so much”.  I found this website www.creativeblog.com with 3 different articles that I thought were pretty great. Classical music branding finds harmony between traditional and modern, The biggest logo redesigns of 2014 so far, and The definitive guide to logo design: 50 pro tips.

The first one “Classical music branding finds harmony between traditional and modern” shows a beautiful redesign or an older company.  The colours are beautiful and the custom font just works so well to create the values of the company.

The second one “The biggest logo redesigns of 2014 so far” caught me off guard. I had no idea that bigger companies had changed their logos already this year. When I saw Black and Deckers new logo I couldn’t believe they got rid of the hexagon and aren’t exactly sticking with there bright orange, it now looks more like an orange-red colour.blackdecker

The third one “The definitive guide to logo design: 50 pro tips” made me want to send the link to my branding teacher. My favourite tip has to be number three “Keep all your sketches”. It is VERY true what they say there to never throw them out because you can always go back to the first ideas and there always good for something.

From the articles that I read, and from the information I’ve been getting in my Branding class, I’m starting to see how complicated the thought process is, and how much work goes into just one logo. Where usually people don’t pay to much attention to it. But when you go through them all you wont believe what you actually remember and process.

I’d like to leave you with a question to get you all thinking as I have about logo design (and would provide me with some good information). What makes a great logo design? And why?