Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Which comes first?

My friend Dana complained, "What the heck is that font that all the massage therapists and chiropractors use?"

"Papyrus?" I asked.

"YES! Oh! It is such a poor choice for a logo! And it's awful on a sign: the stroke is so thin and ragged. But do you know what I hate more? Is when a sign maker just uses any old font and then two months later the business owner realizes they need a logo, and I get called in, and then they have a design that might or might not fit their signage!"

It's true that a fair proportion of folks opening a storefront don't have a logo or a designer. They know they need a sign, but they don't know they need consistent branding even more. In my experience perhaps half of the business owners are trying to launch before they have their logo and collateral.

Depending upon the expected clientèle, a start-up business opening a brick and mortar should budget between $2k and $10k for design. An excellent designer will create a cohesive, consistent, communicative brand with a logo, colors, collateral templates, and usage guidelines, so the business owner can get signs, business cards, webpages, and print collateral.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Appropriate Photoshop

Photoshop is certainly one of the most mis-used apps in the designer's toolbox. Spend anytime at Photoshop Disasters and you know what I mean. But in the hands of an expert (like me! ...blush...) it can take parts of several images and combine them to really send a strong, cohesive message.

On this shoot, we really only got one good pic of the father/son team, so my task was to use it but with a better story going on in the background. The lighting was in my favor; strong overcast made for easy to blend shadows. Assembling the background from three different shots, cloning out the external hardware on the building, increasing the legibility of the school's title, and beautifying the van all came together to make a great finished piece.

Oh yeah, and simple stuff like rotating the hue of the vest so it's the correct, "corporate" color, adding logos, that stuff is child's play.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Logo for Sensory Revolution

Whew, what fun this was! If ever I felt upstaged by a client's knowledge of communicating with symbols, this was it. I found it completely delightful to work with such a high vibration. I haven't felt that amount of good stress since my first real designer job, twenty years ago!

The client was great. We worked well and fast, met her deadline, and made her happy. She'd been living with this project for over a year, and finally decided to hire someone to help her get to the finish line. Three days and dozens of interactions later, we were done!

As evidence of my nervousness in the early stages of the project, I'm sharing with you this terrible set of introductory sketches:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Website re-design in the wings

I'm imagining a new web design for Pixel Rangers. I really want to break the information up into smaller chunks. The idea of being part of a small business launch support team is quite powerful, but I've not done a good job of capitalizing on this.

I'm experimenting with a chalk-board sort of look for the imagery. I want something that speaks to the specific goals of start-ups, the place of invention and potentialities. I think a sketch-based image set would communicate this.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tolerants, working around the problem

My business coach wants me to keep clearing out those things that I put up with, that I tolerate.

My version of Word, for example, doesn't do the sub-menu thing. For example, I can't insert a picture using the menu. So I insert a picture from the drawing toolbar.

I just had to make a page break. Yep, can't do it from the menu. But I can write the word "break" and then do a find and replace with the special characters (it's a "^m" if you don't already know).

If I used Word more, I'd certainly take the time to re-install it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A stack of logos

Logos! When I custom design a logo, I slip between the roles of coach and designer. "Why are you in business?" I'll ask my client. "What makes you passionate about what you do? What makes you unique? What do your clients expect of you?" I help my clients understand that a great logo is designed for their clients. A logo is the initial aha! connection between them and their best customers.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another stack of logos

These logos are more or less square, while those above are more or less rectangular. Many of these logos use color. I certainly have a "style," but not as much as some designers. I work very hard to create the imagery and visual communication that works best for my client. I'm very aware that what works great for someone who is intuitive doesn't work for someone who is more concrete.