Archive for the ‘design’ Tag

A man who letter spaces lower-case letters will steal your sheep?!

I had a random conversation with my wife last night concerning a few issues on the new business cards I had ordered for the company. I mentioned to her how an art director once lent me a book on typography that stated :

a man who letter spaces lower-case letters will steal your sheep

Needless to say that on those business cards I letter spaced the hell out of my lowercase words. I have always used this technique, and have always found it clean, modern, and easy to read.

She then proceeded to ask me

Is that something you want you company to be remembered for?

After much consideration I had arrived at my answer….Why the heck not?!

My conclusion was quite simple. Typography has always been around, and despite what most designers will think (I’ll probably get slammed for this..) I don’t think any person, or group of people, created it; nor had they set any type of standards for typography.

The way I see design is different than most. I wasn’t taught by some over-the-hill professor with a glass eye who created Helvetica and why they are a man among men. Some lady who creates greeting cards for Hallmark didn’t teach me the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts. No, I learned to design off gut instinct, despite how many “design rules” I break. The hell with rules. If good designers followed rules 24-7 then there would be no separation in style, each piece would replicate one another. After all when it comes to design, anything you can think of, has already been done…Right?!

To me, web design is all about conveying information to the users in the most direct, clean and usable manner. At the same time you must capture the feel of the company you are designing for, and its purpose. As long as you abide by those “rules” then your good to go!

Explore, Create, Inspire. Its fun to break rules. And sometimes the best designs are created by those who know nothing about design standards.. Who sets those anyways?! AIGA


Return on Investment + Measurable Goals + Design = Headache

I haven’t been around much as of late. Not for lack of interest or commitment, but more so for lack of time and energy.

I have been carrying quite a design load around with me lately, in light of recent events this isn’t a bad thing. But, It feels really good when you are able to kick something out while being rushed that not only the client loves, but you are fond of as well. So you can imagine how hard it is to swallow concerning comments after satisfying not only the client but yourself. Especially when it comes from a colleague.
I fully understand why ROI is important not only from an analytic and client standpoint, but from a sales tool and case study point of view as well.

Basically, conversation have been going back and forth concerning our creative processes and over all design recently. It seems the concern is that designers worry more about colors, images, design flow, interface, and overall user experience thus, putting return on investment and measurable goals on the back burner.

This concerns me, as the absolute first question that I ask the client during our meeting is

what MEASURABLE GOAL do you want your website to accomplish?

from there I can start laying things out in my head, make changes to the scope where applicable, and overall start working out how to get a user from point a. (the homepage) to point b. (the web-owner’s measurable goal ie. checkout, donation form, event listing, etc.). It could be as simple as adding a prominent “donate now” button to the navi that will show up on every page, or as intricate as testing design flow on multiple users and what it is that they are looking for.

At this point i believe it is out of my hands and I have fully attacked ROI head on and made design related choices that will help benefit the clients roi, and help them reach their “measurable goals”. Is there something that I’m missing? There might just be.

I suppose that’s the question. What more can we do as interface architects to push the roi process post scope.

There’s a time and a place…

In the past, employment was always just that, employment. Sometimes less, but nothing more. Sure my jobs meant a lot to me, and I always did the best I could. But they weren’t my career. They were a paycheck, a storage facility for my dreams. Now that I am finally at the point where I am doing what I have always wanted to, I face completely different obstacles. Instead of watching the clock, waiting for the second I get to come home and live life forgetting all about work, and what needed to be done in future days. Its the exact opposite. I look forward to each new day, and the chance to be working on something new, experiencing un-charted waters, learning in this challenging field.

This may seem fine and dandy, but my question is this:

When you reach the ultimate career goal and find yourself doing what you have always dreamed of doing, how do you disconnect?

So many days I leave work only to began the daunting drive home where all I can think about is how to handle a project, what better CSS techniques could have been implemented, what research I need to do, the easiest way to handle embedded font tweens in actionscript, and so fourth. Then I get home, and instead of spending valuable with my wife, friends, and family, I’m stuck thinking about the next day or work.

I guess this post is less of a blog and more of a venting of frustration. I need to find that niche because being in “work mode” 99% of the time is in no way playing a positive role in my personal life. I’m in desperate need of any type of comments any of you out there can share on how you handle letting go once you leave the office.

Everyone’s an artist…even Fishermen.

In the past few months I, alongside my colleagues and associates have been trying to find a way to not necessarily speed up the creative process of our operation, but make it more precise and accurate. So many times I have spent 20+ hours on designs for clients based off of their intents, and ideas of what they want their site to look at only to be shot right down. I take each instance as a learning experience but there must be a better way to handle these situations…

Pre-Design?! Is there such a word? Would it even be worth it if there was?!

A few days ago I came across an article that talked about “Mood Boards” and the positive impact they may have in a secondary design meeting with a client. Basically, you just create a simplistic design containing all the fundementals, and core elements such as fonts, colors, and logos. Then you present this to the client alongside your inspiration for each element, and gauge a reaction as well as make design changes there, before carrying on to the actual design. At first I automatically ruled the option out. It’s not worth the time. I’ll spend hours creating these board(s) for the client only to get shot down again and again taking more valuable time from the actual design itself putting me in almost the same predicament as before. In addition, I came to the realization that clients could care less about “design flow”, “typography”, and “hierarchy”. They want to see something flashy, they like to use the rancid term “make it pop”. You can design a site for…lets just say a financial institution… and they wont like it until there are bright flashing pinks and cyans, and flash animations with a batch of bunnies flying out of a horses womb. My fear is presenting mood boards to the clients and getting that bone-crunching blank stare followed by a comment similar to “so what am I supposed to do with this?”. BAM! ten hours wasted… back to square one. At that point it becomes a rush job to stay under budget with the outcome being a half-assed site designed around some crappy logo the client did in Microsoft paint twelve years ago.

In retrospect, I think a lot more clients out there think of themselves as designers, which in no way am I against. But, when it comes to a point where you have to go to another company or contract because your project requires much more than you can provide, leave it to the experts.

I actually think I’m going to stop there, the more I think about this option, the more I don’t like it. The point of this blog entry was to sort my thoughts out on the matter, and possibly get some feedback. Stunningly I think I just decided it would be more work that profit.

Streamline is such a dirty word…

Rustic Map Filter?!

In the past few months I have drifted further and further away from the blogosphere and just about any other social media out there as well (with the exception of twitter). As it did much good in my life, it still always felt as if something was lacking. I needed an outlet, a way to express myself and my need for inspiration on a day to day basis. Alas here it is. I will be posting about random thoughts, useful design / development insights, funny expieriences, and all in all a day in the life of me. Prepare to be unfufilled…

On a side note: anything said here in no way represents the feelings or aspects of my current employer.