Today we have my good friend, Brad Woodard, representing his birth state, West Virginia, and it’s capital, Charleston. Here’s what he said:
“After moving from West Virginia when I was only 3, my family and I would return every summer to visit my grandparents who lived right outside…
The much anticipated desktop calendar by Studio On Fire is finally available for sale! With the help of talented illustrators to contribute art, the letter-pressed calendar is ful of a humorous representations of a positive apocalypse in 2012. For only $30 you can get this set for your own desk here.
Contributors to the calendar’s art:
Studio On Fire
Everything you would ever want to know about the ampersand, all in one graphic. I created this piece a while back at Column Five Media, and I never realized it was released to the web. So today is my first time actually seeing this graphic on the web. I was happy to see it was passed along to many sites, so if you have already seen this, sorry, it is still going up. Hope you enjoy it!
Back when I was in college taking design classes, I had an instructor who always told me, “Own your work.” It was something he told me when I was acting defensive and finding excuses about my work, as I was being critiqued. He was trying to tell me to take pride in my work and accept critique. Even if my design had blatant problems, it is still my work and I need to own up to the fact that they are my mistakes.
I often have to repeat this quote to myself to remind me to own up to my work. It is easy for me to compare my work to other designers, and I see where my work becomes a little too influenced by other’s work. Own your style, and own up to your mistakes so you can correct them.
Prints of this simple reminder can be purchased at my shop at: society6.com
The Depictionist recently posted an article about how design is helping this man, who can’t afford running for president in Mali. Yeah Samake is a graduate of Brigham Young University and has a strong following in his hometown. In effort to avoid gaining funding dishonestly, unlike many of his fellow runners, he has found the help of Cole Neilsen is designing everything for his campaign. It is refreshing to see how a designer really can help make the world a better. There is so much we can accomplish as designers, we just need to decide how we are going to do it. Read the article here, it is worth it.
You know how there are those blogs that you follow daily because the content is just so unique everyday? That is Visual News. If you aren’t already following the blog, check it out and you will get hooked. The majority of the posts fall under categories such as, artist spotlight, infographics, motion, visual bits, and news. And the best part is, they just had a beautiful redesign of the site! Go check it out!
Last week I was watching a TED conference video about the life of Ray and Charles Eames, when I fell in love with their home all over again.
The Eames constructed the home for the Case Study House Program in the Arts and Architecture magazine in 1949. Basically the program was to design and build modernist homes using modern materials and a well-known architect. In the Eames’ case, they designed the home themselves. But as they designed the home, they didn’t just design it to look avante garde, modernist. They wanted a home that was both functional for their family lifestyle and work life. Ray and Charles had the mentality that their work life in design should be fused together with their family life; not separated. The Mondrianesque home was more than the typical minimalistic examples of modern architecture, it was functional and comfortable to live in. It was a family home that also housed their ongoing design projects. They set the standard for designers being able to balance family and work life. It wasn’t a separation between the two, but a unity that made design a way of life.
I thought I shares what book I am reading because it is that good. ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ is a guide to analyzing the objects we use everyday. Donald A. Norman, the author, brings an intelligent and thought provoking approach, that forces one to be critical of interaction with everyday objects. His intellectual background comes from his Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Also, he earned his Masters and Doctorate in Psychology.
So he may not be a graphic designer, but his approach to critical thinking and problem solving is something all designers can learn from, and try to incorporate.
Check out the book! I recommend it to anyone, designer or not.
Have you ever wanted a radio show on design? Well look no further. 99% Invisble is “a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” Roman Mars, the producer, does a wonderful job of finding and portraying instances in life where problems are solved through design. Each short radio segment is wonderfully compelling, as it is done in a documentary style. Go and check it out!
Before you say anything, Charley Harper counts as a designer. Yes, he was considered an illustrator, but you can’t deny that he is incredibly design-savvy as well. He would break down, say an animal, into shapes and find all the relationships he could between each. Then he would make the animal pose in carefully designed ways to make it look alive. Not to mention he would add very subtle textures to give the piece depth.
I don’t think there was much resistance to the way I simplified things. I think everybody understood that. Some people liked it and others didn’t care for it. There’s some who want to count all the feathers in the wings and then others who never think about counting the feathers, like me. -Charley Harper
He called his work “minimal realism.” I believe he called it that because when he illustrated very specific species of animal, in his minimalist style, you still knew exactly what kind of animal he was depicting. He was the master of minimalist illustration, and now the inspiration for many designer’s and illustrator’s work today. I myself am not excluded from that group. I frequently look back at his work when I draw icons or illustrate anything in a design. Take a look at some of his work and take good notes!
Now that you have heard my rant about my favorite illustrator, here are some facts about his life, along with a glimpse at his work:
- He was born in 1922 and died just recently in 2007.
- Some of his best known work was for the National Park Service, Cincinnati Zoo, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, and for illustrating the entire Golden Book of Biology.
- Won the first Stephen H. Wilder Traveling Scholarship at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
DKNG is the design and illustration studio of Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman. For a long time I have been looking to their work as a source of inspiration and, I will admit, a bit of jealousy. You may know them for their beautiful, screen printed music posters. But their work isn’t just beautiful, it is layered with wit. Each time you look at their work, you will find a new detail. Their work never ceases to amaze, with the amount of detail and care that go into each project.
Dan was kind enough to answer a few questions on some of his own design philosophies, and gave some advice to designers who are thinking about starting their own design business.
Q: What did you do to get your work and name out to the public? How did you land projects with bigger clients like HBO and ABC Family?
A: It all sprouted from our first client, the West Hollywood music venue “Troubadour”. We over heard that they were looking for poster artists so we submitted some designs to them for upcoming shows as a pitch. They dug our work and from there we continued to create posters for their shows. They paid for the printing, we designed for free. It was a win win situation since what came out of it was dozens of portfolio pieces that sparked the interest of other clients.
ABC Family and HBO took a little extra work to land. Nathan was working for television and offered our posters as props in the set design of some shows (Veronica Mars and Greek).
Our relationship with HBO stemmed from entering a poster contest for the series “Flight of the Conchords”. Our poster submission won the contest and from there FOTC asked us to create 3 additional posters for their live tour.
Q: What advice would you give designers who want to go out and start their own design business?
A: Portfolio first. Don’t start any business just because you have the tools and/or talent. You need finished product to prove your worth. I believe that most great business organically creates itself based off of one’s passion for their work. Don’t be afraid to work for free if it means it will lead to a stellar portfolio piece. You really have to love what you do in order for it to love you back.
Q: What are some of the pros and cons of opening your own design business?
A: One of the obvious cons is that you aren’t guaranteed a pay day and to strive for that kind of consistency takes a lot of work and sometimes taking on some frustrating clients/projects. You may end up working 14 hour days 6 days in a row at times. Everything comes in waves too. When no work is around, try to enjoy your free time because the next week could be chaotic.
In the beginning everything is harder. But once you get your groove down and your portfolio grows you will begin to have the luxury of saying no to potential clients and only take on jobs that you know you will truly enjoy.
The pros of this business are that you are your own boss. You can create your own schedule and go out of town whenever you like (as long as you have the time for it). You are making money doing what you love, which is one of the most sought after positions in the business world. It takes a lot of patience, respect, determination, confidence, work ethic… the list goes on, but it’s worth it.
Q: What is your goal as a designer?
A: To inspire. I want to consistently learn and discover new things in design and I want my work to constantly be re-inventing itself. I don’t want my to develop a style and be pigeon holed into only making design that all look the same. I want my work to always have a strong and specific connection to the client and I want all future clients to be confident that a design from our firm will be custom made and unique to them.
Here are a few samples of their work, but take a look at their portfolio here: DKNG Studios
If you are a designer, architect, illustrator, type designer, product designer, or an interior designer, then you should know about Alvin Lustig. I kind of think of him as this unsung hero that many designers don’t know about. You can read all about him at the website alvinlustig.com. So I am just going to share with you my opinions about him and blurbs about his life.
- Inducted into the Art Director’s Club hall of fame in 1986
- Student of Frank Lloyd Wright
- Died at age 40 of diabetes complications in 1955. In the final years of his life he started to go blind, yet he kept designing, even memorizing the Pantone color codes for when he went completely blind.
- He designed practically everything! He even designed a helicopter! (You could compare him to Charles and Ray Eames)
- Master of Modernism. He had a very intellectual approach to solving problems in design, which is why his work seems very Bauhaus.
- Designed everything because he felt good design would benefit the world.
I could go on forever about the guy, but I will let you look him up further now that he is on your radar. But I will show you some of his work too. Thanks!