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Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

Finally done editing my video

I am officially never going into video editing. There is so much that I could say to critique this video (it feels like two parts, it’s unoriginal, it doesn’t have any real point), which makes it so difficult to turn into class tomorrow. I have spent about 16 hours on these two minutes of film, and even now I think it’s crap. Part of the problem is that I scrapped my original storyboard idea (with good reason), so I filmed without purpose, leaving me with some unusable scraps of film. Lesson learned: have a concept before shooting!

Anyways, no super heros, crying kids, corniness, and a soundtrack. Here goes:



Final Individual Prints

After changing a few things, I finalized my project. I chose not to print a calendar on the back because I thought it cheapened my project. I did, however, remove the more graphic pornography (see old November), lined up the text for the months, added dates in front of the overlapping models, and rearranged some quotes so that they didn’t push their boundaries on the models’ figures.

Please note that these images are grainy and a little off-color because I had to convert them to .jpegs to post them on wordpress :(. Without further ado, month by month:

Another idea…

愛, the character pictured above, is the chinese word for love. In my own personal relationship, we say “我爱你” as opposed to “I love you” a lot, mostly because of my own interests.

“愛” is also pronounced “ai,” just like the letter and word “I.” I could create sentences starting with I/愛 and finish them in English (or in Chinese, but I doubt that the class would appreciate it that much).

Finally, I feel like 愛 can be manipulated to look like a woman in a dress. It could be subtly inserted into an image, or be the centerpiece.

Keepin’ on keepin’ on.

The (Top 10 of the) Top 50 Online Design Magazines

Design You Trust, a digital imaging magazine that I’ve been subscribed to for a while, recently pointed to Cruzine’s Top 50 Design Magazines. I had no idea that there were so many design magazines out there, so I decided to take a quick peek. I ended up looking at 10 of the top 50, clicking on the website that seemed most appealing to me solely based on their homepage.

1. Creative Nerds

Creative Nerds

Design Resources and Tutorials

Creative Nerds is exactly what it sounds like. This is a site run by an open source community of designers; that means that you might qualify to write for them! Based in Britain, the magazine divides up their posts into articles, tutorials, inspirational pieces, news, and freebies. I found their latest article on Smart Creative Logo Designs Which Contain Secret Symbolisms to be quite appealing.

2. Cats Who Code



Cats Who Code is a site built for “those who create and maintain websites : web developers, web designers, webmasters, and so on.” In other words, if you don’t know a bit of CSS, PHP, or HTML, or if these acronyms mean nothing to you, then neither will this website. From beginner  (how to code an HTML email) to expert (CSS3 typography techniques), Cats Who Code has a bit of something for everyone even vaguely interested.

Fuel Your Creativity

Let it catch on FIYAH

Let it catch on FIYAH

Fuel Your Creativity is a blog meant to inspire artists. Mostly designed for freelance artists, Fuel Your Creativity writes specifically for architects, artists, creative firms, fashion designers, graphic designers, illustrators, industrial designers, interior designers, and photographers. Though the website could use a little work (uh, where’s is “Home?” OH FOUND IT!) the articles are pretty straightforward and can apply to a wide audience. Check out their latest feature on Erik Johansson’s photo manipulations.

4. Web Designer Wall

A Wall of Ideas

A Wall of Ideas

Nick La, the owner of Web Designer Wall, barely has time to breathe. Not only does he maintain this frequented idea board, but he also runs N.Design Studio and Best Web Gallery. Primarily working as a web design website, La comments on current trends (does Flash still suck?), current people (ZURB!) and even current job opportunities for web designers. Not too bad for one guy!

5. Blog.Spoon Graphics



What drew me to this website above all the others was that it’s so freaking pretty. Maintained by creative designer Chris Spooner, Blog.Spoon Graphics takes a magnified look at Illustrator and Photoshop features. Chock full of free brushes, vector graphics, and icons, this website is ideal for just breaking into design or professionals seeking tutorials for specific Illustrator and Photoshop features.

6. Vandelay Design

Andale! Andale!

Andale! Andale!

Vandelay is a graphics design firm based in central Pennsylvania, and was the original owner of Design They specialize in church websites.

7. Knowtebook



Though Sebastian Scheuer owns the bovine themed web developer e-zine, his contributors take up a mass majority of Knowtebook‘s content. As an insanely disorganized website, its articles are surprisingly simple and easy to understand, down to some simple bullet points to summarize the short articles (check out Why and How to Keep Users on a Website). If you plan on using this website to grow your own blog or grab some freebies, plan on using the search bar (if you can find it).

8. The Design Cubicle

Think Inside the Box

Think Inside the Box

Brian Hoff isn’t the typical graphic designer. The website he writes, The Design Cubicle, encourages discussion in the contemporary issues of graphic design (is there a problem with free fonts?) and educates his readers while showing off his portfolio and pointing his readers to off-site simple how-tos (though they tend to be a little wacky, like how to properly apply for a design job).

9. Design Meltdown 2010

Feel the burn

Feel the burn

Patrick McNeil is frequently mistaken as a “a designer because of his blog… his book series The Web Designer’s Idea Book or his monthly column in .net Magazine; but really he is more of a developer then anything.” Despite his self-identified developerness, Design Meltdown 2010 begs to differ. The blog acts as an encyclopedia of past articles surrounding everything design from design styles to 404 pages. The only criticism that I would have is that there is SO much information that you should really go to this blog with a purpose, or else you’ll get lost.

10. Astuteo

Not just a studio

Not just a studio

Astuteo is a design firm based in Madison, Wisconsin, that offers a free advice blog. Again, the blog is not insanely easy to navigate, and it has unfortunately not been updated since 2009, but their articles’ advice has timeless meaning (read How to Stop Worrying and Love Your Job). Scroll through, but realize that the unupdated blog has a limited number of articles.

On Graphic Design

Stefan Sagmeister is graphic design’s Johnny Depp as the strange rockstar of the industry. Boasting diverse clients like the Talking Heads, Rolling Stone, and Time Warner, he is consistently granted the opportunity to immerse himself in original and sometimes strange work. I, personally, like it.

Not too long ago, Sagmeister participated in two TED TALKS. In 2004, he spoke on “happy design,” that is, how certain projects made him feel as an artist, and how it impacted the work. Here, he explores “moments of real happiness.”

Sagmeister on Happiness

In the first half of his speech, he compares the difference between “the visualization of happiness” and “happiness.” In doing so, Sagmeister carefully leads his audience to the complex relationship between happiness, as an ideal, and design.

Unfortunately, when Sagmeister presented how to engage happiness in his designs, he noted that it was difficult to be “authentic” and avoid being “sarcastic.” He moves on to address the more demanding issue: campaigns that made him, the viewer, happy.

The subtlety in what makes Sagmeister happy speaks true to graphic design. He pulls at the drudgery of riding the Metro, the simplicity of watching the clouds, and advertisements seen around New York City. In essence, what makes Sagmeister happy, and what I suspect makes other viewers happy as well, is taking common knowledge and adding something special, a certain “flare” if you will.

In design, I suspect that the flare that Sagmeister calls attention to is what makes him so effective as a designer. It is within the minute details to everyday objects and concepts that bring his artwork to a new level. Positive images, colors, intention, and style in everything from typography to location helps the viewer experience satisfaction and happiness.

In moving from his favorite projects to his own, Sagmeister takes the time to list what makes him happy while working on his projects. I took them as words of advice from a master:

  • Think about ideas and content freely––with the deadline far away
  • Working without interruption on a single project
  • Using a wide variety of tools and techniques
  • Traveling to new places
  • Working on projects that matter to me
  • Having things come back from the printer well done

On most levels I agree with him in and out of working with visual media. I like to do my work early so that a deadline doesn’t stifle me into “just get it done” versus taking the time to enjoy the work. More than anything, I enjoy working on projects that matter to me, which I think is something that is more of application of attitude than anything else. However, what Sagmeister fails to mention in this list is immersing yourself into work. Sometimes I get so concentrated that I don’t notice that hours have passed and I haven’t eaten. That is why I––and I suspect other designers as well––enjoy crafting our art so much.

Sagmeister closes his talk with his life lesson “having guts always works out for me.” Yes, Sagmeister, take leaps of faith. Tie toilet paper to trees and participate in TED TALKS. Those “guts” are what makes you different from the rest of the crowd; without individuality or the willingness to be different, no one will think that you are special.

Sagmeister on What He Has Learned

More recently, in September of 2008, Sagmeister gave another TED TALK. He expanded on his life lessons and how he turned his personal life into his personal portfolio. For example, he took the lesson “Everybody thinks they are right,” inflated some blackand white monkeys, and attached each word to a different monkey. In another scenario, he picked a fashion street and, with several thousand hangers, wrote out the words, “Worrying solves nothing.”

In essence, Sagmeister starts with an idea, a phrase that is important to him, and then breathed life into it with imagery. With everything, place and medium had significance, and impacted the viewer in a different way. In graphic design, or rather in all art, it is necessary to pick words and tools with distinct meaning, or else the entire thesis of the piece falls through.

More importantly, Sagmeister has found what has inspired him: his life lessons. His talk begs the question, from where should I, as a designer, gather my motivation?

Marian Bantjes on Intricate Beauty by Design

Stefen Sagmeister notes that Marian Bantjes is “one of the most innovative typographers working today,” and he isn’t off base. Bantjes sometimes strange and always intriguing work begs the question, “how can she have such vision?”

“The appeal of what I do is why I do it,” Bantjes explains. People enjoy her work because they see that spark in her design and it resonates with them. She focuses on work that is “mutually beneficial to herself and a client.” Wow. Harping back to Sagmeister’s words of advice, work that is important to oneself seems to be so inspirational that it improves the quality of one’s work. Bantjes argues that the work should ultimately be personal—if ego is not involved, then the audience won’t be either.

Sagmeister says happiness, Bantjes says ego, I say that they are the same thing. In order to feel good, you must feel good about yourself. Improving yourself makes you feel good. Both ideas really are one overarching absolute in graphic design and in art itself. The amount of involvement, passion, and personal interest in a project increases the effectiveness of the final result.

Bantjes also plays with the idea of “wonder in design.” She plays with awe and image in her patterns and templates, ultimately intertwining the two. Art and information, she argues, is one of the more impactful underused tools in adult literature.

I would love to be able to tap into that creativity, that symbiosis of design and idea, that Bantjes hints at. But isn’t that why I’m learning digital design?

As someone who is also studying creative writing, what particularly appealed to me was Bantjes’ use of prose. Her valentine was beautifully written and crafted, perfected with the right font (or handwriting—I honestly couldn’t tell). Again, the marriage of literature and visual art astounds me.

Finally, when preparing whether or not to accept a commission for a piece, Bantjes asks, “Who is it for? What does it say? What does it do?” In answering these questions, Bantjes connects the piece to herself, her ego, and decides whether or not it satisfies her. I think that these inquiries are necessary to address the beginning of any design, art or not, to ensure that it is fully effective.

“Inspiration is cross-pollinating.”

Bantjes closes her speech calling for her work to inspire others, that the reason that she does what she does is to inspire ideas in others. That is why design is so important—that is why, I think, we all do it.

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