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at journey’s end

December 17, 2009

treeAs of next week, this semester of school has ended. This blog project has been very eye-opening in relation to both design and communication. I’ve learned lots about blogging, getting hits, and establishing a clean design. This post may or may not be the final post, I haven’t quite decided yet, but I thought I’d use this post to reflect on all that I’ve covered so far, and look at a few new things to consider.

In the previous posts, I covered these topics: what is design, the Falkirk Wheel, web tutorials, exploring other design, websites, and where you can go if you wanna get involved in design professionally.

Over this past 4 months, give or take, I’ve been able to research and reference a lot of information that I hope gives a little bit of guidance for those who need a bit of help.

I’d like to end this set of entries with a few links to lots of design, tutorials and photo resources that you can use in your work online or off.

Click here for a huge list of tutorials. They’re great for both the basics of drawing/coloring as well as a ton of digital work too.

Click here for a great stock photo website. This is also a great stock photo site too. If you’re using stock photos non-professionally you can find lots here.

So that’s all I have for now, feel free to check back for more entries later. Happy designing!

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where to go if you like design?

December 2, 2009
Abstract Design

Abstract Design

Maybe you’re a high school student who loves art but doesn’t know how to get a career in the creative. Or perhaps you’re someone who wants to change or expand your existing career. If you aren’t one of the above, feel free to look for another blog to read.

If you are indeed looking for a fresh start, or at least a change in direction, you need to know where to look to further your education. Firstly, try checking out local universities and colleges in your general area. Do you they have the program you want, are you willing to travel to go to an institution that has your program.

What exactly do you want to do relating to art/design? Is it fine art? Design? What kind of design; there’s illustrative, graphic, motion, exhibit for starters. And the list goes on.

So the next step is to get your applications and build your portfolio.

So once you know what you want to do and where, all that’s left is to hand in your application and portfolio.

Here are a couple of websites regarding art/design schools that you can check out if you’re interested.

Click here for the Art Institutes website

The Art Institutes offer 4 different options with many locations in North America.

Click here for the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design

This website has links to 36 schools in the USA as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

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so…websites

November 16, 2009

 

how website design works

how website design works

We’re currently working on editing some css coding for a website, and in the future we’ll be creating the code. So while theres a lot to learn about xhtml, css, php, etc etc we as designers are focusing on the visual and graphic elements. And using those to create an identity for ourselves and our blog/website.

So what’s important when it comes to visual design in an online format?

Well one thing is impact. What does a person see the moment our webpage loads? How do they react on seeing our blog or homepage? Those are things that we must consider when creating and designing a webpage. If someone is flipping through blogs, we want them to see something on our page that will keep them there.

Your page has to be attractive. People react to appearance, so our designs have to be interesting and appealing. You can go for a classical feel. The tried, tested and true approach to web design that can be seen throughout web pages that use a well organized and standard approach. Or you can try something off-the-wall, using mood/image/colour/etc that conveys creativity and visual richness. That approach creates more of a mental response than the standard web design.

So how does your website measure up?

Does it grab the eye and make the user scan the page, or is the design a bit more classic? You can make either approach work for your page, depending largely on what kind of response you want to illicit.

click here for more on visual identity for your website

click here for some help on understanding web design

 

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other kinds of design

October 28, 2009

Interdimensional Gateway by elgarbo on Deviantart

So we’re all pretty familiar with graphic design and illustration, and even some motion design and typography. But what are some other types of design out there? Considering that the word design fills such a huge area of expertise, there are a lot of things that use design. Some other examples could be culinary design, or maybe fashion design. They follow similar principals of aesthetics and creativity. So while you may be a graphic designer by trade, why not try out other ways to be creative in your free time. Maybe you’ll learn something from it at the same time.

So… what are some ways that you can get your creative juices flowing? Here’s just a few ideas of things that you could try out in your free time. It’ll give you a wider skill set and hopefully inspire you to try out some other creative ideas.

Spend a couple of hours teaching yourself some skills. There are tons of tutorials out on the web (see previous post) that can help you learn pretty much any program you can find on your computer. You can find them for Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter and the list goes on and on.

This was mentioned above but you can cook or bake something. Spend a bit of extra time on the preparation and finishing touches on your food. Try a recipe you’ve never had time to try, or add a different spice to the mix. You may be surprised.

If you enjoy making art, break out the acrylics, oils, pencils, markers, crayons, pastels or your tool of choice and spend some time with that. Whether you’re drawing from life or making things up in your head, spend a bit of time polishing up your skills. Its also a great way to relax.

Learn how to use a tablet. If you’ve got a tablet, use it to make your own digital art or design. Tablets make things a whole lot easier but they do take a while to get used to. If you don’t have a tablet of your own, you can find them second-hand for a discounted price. Wacom tablets are always a good choice.

So the entire point of this is to get you to try new things. As people, as well as designers, we often get into a repetitious pattern of what we do. So try something new to add a little change to your life and your work.

Clicky here to get help with cooking :D

Clicky here for some handy painting tutorials.

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tutorials

October 14, 2009
Beauty and the Beast by Hamsterfly on Deviantart

Beauty and the Beast by Hamsterfly on Deviantart

The image above is a beautifully painted piece of art. Probably digital. Not everyone is capable of creating such an amazing picture. Now how does one become able to do such great art? Well they probably have a tablet (it helps) and they most likely used a program like Painter or Photoshop. The program we’re going to look at is Photoshop.

Photoshop is a huge program. It’s far more huge than Illustrator and InDesign and a lot more complex. It would take massive amounts of extra time in order to master Photoshop. So what do you do when you want to create a certain effect on your photo, or create a specific texture in your image?

Have some things you want to try out but don’t know where to start?

Check out some tutorials. Tutorials are usually user-created step-by-step instructions on how to achieve a certain result. Tutorials can be found throughout the web for almost any program. You can find them for video, image and audio software and as we are interested in, Photoshop. You can learn the basics of Photoshop or learn more advanced techniques. You can find them all over the web and even in design-related magazines.

One popular spot for posting and searching for tutorials is the ever-popular Deviantart. There are many other websites that host a multitude of Photoshop how-to that helps you add that extra flair to your pictures.

Check out Deviantart here

Click here for another great tutorial resource

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new designs for the future

October 1, 2009
Falkirk Wheel, Scotland

Falkirk Wheel, Scotland

As I was skimming through random blogs, one particular post caught my attention. I thought I’d give the contents of that post another look from a design standpoint. The thing that caught my eye was a boat lift. A one of a kind, rotating boat lift that is. It is located in Falkirk, Scotland and is used to connect the Forth and Clyde canal with the Union canal. Originally there was a 35m vertical difference between the two and it took 11 separate locks to connect the two locations. However with this new technology, boats can be transferred safely and easily. The system is based on Archimede’s principle of displacement.  The boat along with some of the water it floats in, is lifted on one side, while the other side takes in the same weight in water. That way there is no fear of tipping over or breaking.

The design of the boat lift is elegant yet remains functional. It is very sleek yet simple. The lift includes a futuristic-looking set of aqueducts that lead out onto the water and connect with the lift itself. The structure is clean, white, shiny and elegant looking, utilising then newest of technologies. It is currently the only rotating boat lift in the world and a huge step for related technologies. The lift uses wheels to turn the wheel and lift each side. There are also sets of interlocking cogs (for backup) if the wheels were ever to stick or slide due to friction. Tours are available, you just have to go to Scotland to see this clever piece of technology and design. Or you can browse the websites. Go check it out!

http://www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk/

http://www.falkirk-wheel.com/



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Introduction

September 10, 2009
Designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright

Designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright

What is design? What tells us what good design is? There’s so many things out there, in terms of media, clothing, graphics etc that appeals to a wide variety of people. I wanted to start out by asking about something that connects most people. Clothing. How do you choose what you want to wear? Do you follow the trends? Pick and choose? Or perhaps you choose what you like, regardless of current trends or fashion. The same applies to anything else, including design. What appeals to you most in design?

Take this picture for example. Most agree that this design and creation by Frank Lloyd Wright is a fantastic example of great design. But what really makes up good design. There are a few points I’d like to write about here. One thing I like to see in design is simplicity. This doesn’t mean boring, but reductive and basic. I also prefer clean lines, though I can appreciate design that is ‘gritty’ and/or emotional.

One definition of design is this. The purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details. But design has a lot more to it than that. Some argue that design without function cannot be called good design. It’s a good design if it looks good while improving on previous models. Chairs are a prime example of a household item that has undergone probably hundreds of revisions and changes. One website (listed below) lists design as being sustainable, accessible, functional, well-made, emotionally resonant, enduring, socially beneficial, beautiful, ergonomic and last of all, affordable. That’s a pretty tall order for a designer.

So what is your definition of design?

For a quick article on what good design is check out:

http://www.nytimes.com

For a few articles and essays on good design check out:

http://www.metropolismag.com