Author Archive: Ruth Hernandez

Is Print Design a Dying Art?

With the emergence of digital advertising, the web and web-based design has reached a whole new frontier. Collaterals for advertising campaigns now have the capability to reach a much broader audience in a much shorter time span. So with this new digital revolution, where does that leave print?

ad campaignUnderstanding Paper and Ink

Everything included in an ad campaign has had a designer working on it. Print design is a subset of graphic design that is purposely made for printing. The output varies by medium and by purpose. The most basic examples are the well-established printed posters and billboard ads. There are also marketing collaterals like business cards, letterheads, envelopes, and resumes, and branding materials for product labels and packaging. Designers need to understand their medium, their audience, and their message to create a successful, memorable design.

Print Design in the Digital Age

With each new hashtag, mail blast, viral marketing campaign and social media outlet, it cements the effectivity of online advertising. Marketing teams focus more on social media campaigns than printed ads. Posters and banners can be optimized for the web. Company letters framed by letterheads are sent through email. The future draws that much closer, shiny and chrome in all its technological glory. What use is there for print and paper in this shiny new world?

Truth be told, the print design market is no longer as strong as it used to be. With the continuing shift to digital, designers had to compensate to stay afloat. Printed design skills had to be supplemented with some skill in web design. It wasn’t enough to simply complete a magazine spread. It may also have to be optimized for online viewing. Print ads had a web-based counterpart. Printed marketing collaterals may need an accompanying website. It is not just print anymore.

online advertising
Print vs. Web

The main reason online advertising–and by extension web design–has become so popular is because of its ease and sheer scope. The global social media agency WeAreSocial reports that as of early 2015, there are around 3.010 billion active internet users worldwide, a 525 million user increase from last year’s report. This is in conjunction with wireless technology becoming more available and devices becoming more user-friendly. With the aid of mobile, the number of people who go online will keep on growing, and WeAreSocial predicts that by mid to late 2016, digital penetration will go beyond 50% of the world’s population. Companies would be fools not to take advantage of those facts.

It is much faster and cheaper to reach an audience online than doing it through print. Marketing campaigns also allow their audience to get more involved, by the use of hashtags and word-of-mouth.

Another, much more technical advantage web has over print design is color management. Computer monitors use the RGB, or Red-Green-Blue color model to display colors. They take a certain amount from each color and mix them together to make the colors people see onscreen. Print media, on the other hand, makes use of the CMYK, or Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black color model, which cannot match some colors created by the RGB model. They also cannot take advantage of the backlighting properties of screens, so, as a result, the colors appear duller. That is why designers have to compensate for color depending on what mediums will be used.

With those being said, understand that print isn’t rendered completely useless. One of the advantages print has is its longevity, both physically and mentally. While digital ads do have the ability to be long-runners, they can also disappear at the slightest provocation. So while digital advertisements may reach a huge audience, they have to clamor for attention alongside dozens and dozens of other ads and content. Just because an ad reaches more people, it does not automatically mean that it has made its mark on them.

Printed designs like magazine advertisements leave a more lasting impression because the readers’ attention is more fixated and linear. Also, according to the 2013 Trust In Advertising study by Nielsen Holdings N.V., despite the continuing reign of word-of-mouth advertising, the audience still find it easier to trust printed advertisements compared to their online counterparts.

Finding that “Golden” Ratio

There will be no shortage of studies supporting print or online advertising over the other. The reality is while printed advertisements are becoming less and less of a priority, that hasn’t halted their effectiveness at all. After all, companies wouldn’t invest in printed ad campaigns if print was dying.

The key is finding ways for online campaigns to support printed campaigns and vice-versa. It is a matter of handpicking the best qualities of both to create a good synergy.

The Design and Detail of Famous Album Covers

Music and art are often one and the same. The expressiveness and importance of getting their point across are just some of the countless similarities they share and designers understand that similarity well. The importance of a good album cover equates to the importance of the music itself because a good cover will stir the interest of the target audience. This is the ever-important ‘hook’ that gets albums off the shelves.

album art

In some ways, album art is a message in itself. Understanding this is a necessity for designers to create a happy medium between music and art, artist and listener. In truth, album covers are counted as graphic design works as much as other mediums are because they follow the same concepts during the design process. This article will revolve around various graphic design concepts and techniques and their use in famous album covers.

Typography

When it comes to design, words and text are never just that. How the words look conveys a message just as much as the words themselves. The Wikipedia definition of typography states that it is “the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed”.

Further reading into that would take one down into the literal fine-print; into other concepts of how the typography works together, negative space within text, etcetera.

Famous albums that make use of this concept are The Clash’s London Calling, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks.

The Never Mind the Bollocks album’s claim to fame was its infamy in its choice of language. However, what’s interesting about the cover, aside from the slang, is the typography used by the designers for the album name. While the Sex Pistols’ name is printed in the grungy, cut-and-pasted magazine lettering they are known for; the offending phrase is printed in blocky, almost formal letters.

Imagery

Naturally, album covers rely heavily on images to generate interest. Classic examples of these are the waterborne baby on Nirvana’s Nevermind, The Beatles’ Abbey Road crossing, and the banana on The Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Designed by Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground cover features a simply printed banana, with the intriguing words ‘Peel back and see’ printed alongside it. Following the instructions and peeling back the thin acetate sticker would reveal the flesh-colored inside of the banana behind it. There isn’t much to explain about that. It is now one of the most famous bananas, with original album covers fetching prices up to $500.

Contrast

While it is important for elements of design to work harmoniously together, it is just as important for them to stand out, both against each other and among other designs.

The Clash’s London Calling album

Take a look at The Clash’s London Calling album. While the cover is primarily dedicated to preserving the image of bassist Paul Simonon in the act of smashing his bass guitar, the image of the surrounding text is just as crucial to the iconography of the album. The type is bold, punchy and attention-grabbing while, in contrast the image is gritty and in monochrome. It is an odd inversion to the usual ‘image first, text later’ approach most would think to take for albums, but together, they work.

Another good example of contrast in album design would be Queen’s Queen II.

Iconography

Icons are any graphics or symbols that become representative of a concept. In the case of albums, they can go on to become definitive of an artist. Such is the case with one of the most famous album covers, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

It began with a simple wish to have something different for a cover. The band was bored of photos and wanted something different, and smarter. The result was an almost perfect representation of diversity, cleanliness of sound and ambition. What was based on a textbook illustration has evolved to arguably become the most famous album cover ever.

Other examples of iconography would be Green Day’s American Idiot, Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, and David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane.

Conclusion

It is impossible for any of the albums mentioned above to be exclusive to one concept. Graphic design is not about exclusivity. So while these albums are considered the best of the best or the most famous, there will always be room for improvement. Excellent album cover designs have come out during the past decade. As music artists continue to grow in expression, so does design. As is true of everything in this age, possibilities are limitless.

Is it Time to Update your Logo Design just Like What Google Did?

Google, specifically the brand’s new logo, may be considered as one of the trending topics in the graphic design industry today. Looking back a few weeks before, Google surprised the world by launching its updated logo, which instantly became a huge buzz in the industry. Many approved of the changes, but others say that they like the old Google better.

Regardless of what people think of these changes, this update from Google also led to one more thing. Many businesses now wonder whether it is also time for them to change and update their logo design.

Should You?

You’ll know if it is time to update your logo if it does not evoke the right emotions anymore and is no longer on par with the competition. It is also best to redesign your logo if you are starting to lose valuable business or respect. However, these are not the only signs a business must look for to determine whether redesigning the logo is already needed.

Update your Logo Design

Some instances that may require logo update may also include:

Your First Designed Logo was Only an Afterthought

This would be a likely case if you had plenty of things to take care of when you were just starting your business. As a result, your focus was not fully placed on designing the logo, which is the reason why it is highly recommended to give your logo a fresh look. However, although an update is recommended, it does not mean that you have to change the logo completely. At times, and if the case requires, even a simple change in the font would be enough to revitalize the logo.

Unprofessional Looking Logo

An unprofessional logo can mean having dated symbolism, overused fonts, and clip art. All of these, although these may be considered as not that bad, can greatly affect how customers perceive your business. If these elements are not changed, these may become the reason for them to stop taking your brand seriously.

It’s Been Years Since You Last Updated the Logo

Have you noticed how Starbucks’ logo has changed in the last decades? The changes that happened in Starbucks logo just show how essential it is for businesses to update their logos regularly after a specific period has passed. The purpose of this justifies two reasons. First, it is one way for the brand’s image to be further improved and give the business a new look.

Second, it is a basic fact that new design trends come each year, making it necessary to keep up with these to stay on the edge of the competition.

Designing the logo
Your Logo has Designed Flaws

Designing the logo is a task that should be handled by professionals. Choosing to do so otherwise puts your logo at risk of having design flaws like fonts that don’t match or low resolution. The final output may have looked acceptable. However, you must remember that there are certain principles that are followed in the creation of these designs to ensure best results in the end. Not creating the design based on these principles may not show the effects immediately, but it will certainly be costly for the business.

What to do if your Logo Needs to be Updated Already

• Have a Roadmap

This is when you have to review the creative brief of your original logo and determine the aspects that you think needs to be changed. Your goals will need to be established again. If there are any things you wish to add, this is the time when they can be incorporated in line with the goals.

• Remember the Key: Emotion

When upgrading, it is likely that your initial focus is on creating a cool design, something that your audience will instantly notice and appreciate. Although successful and impactful logos always feature cool looks, there is one more design element that makes them powerful – the emotion. Create a new design that easily connects with the audience.

Integrating Designs Trends Predicted to Flourish in 2016 into your Rebranded Logo

If you are planning to update your logo, it would help not to forget integrating the new design trends expected to bloom in the next year. Some trends to look out for include the principle about dual coloring. Those logos in simple gray or white typographic are expected. Integrating dual coloring in your logo will help consumers read and remember its contents.

Then there is the trend about script and typography. The integration of this trend will help companies in reinforcing their brand message by giving their fonts a more personalized and unique script style. The hand lettering and calligraphy trend is already blooming in the fashion industry. By 2016, it is expected that its usage will spread to branding and designing logos. Choosing to apply this trend in redesigning your logo will help show and emphasize your brand’s creativity and professionalism.

Revitalizing the brand by a logo update is a vital part of any business cycle. It is a simple way for businesses to prevent their logos from getting out of date and prevent the potential impact it can bring. Still, the logo redesigning can be as critical as the initial logo design process. It may bring either approval from your audience or dissatisfaction. So for success to be guaranteed, it is a must to conduct a market research and establish a sound branding strategy first before proceeding with the project.

Making an Effective Marketing Campaign Out of Using Stock Photos

Photos have always played an important role in marketing for these help in communicating a business or product’s value to the audience. In fact, in a survey conducted, it showed that more individuals are looking at brands’ timeline cover photos and less time looking at advertisements and wall posts in Facebook; hence, if it is about making an effective marketing campaign, the use of photos will always have a way of helping a business prosper.

Presently, businesses have two options when it comes to using photos in creating marketing campaigns. The first option entails the use of professional photography, the more expensive one between the two choices. The second option uses stock photos that are cheaper, but still very effective alternatives.

stock

However, there are some issues associated with the latter option. As said in a post published several years back, these photos do not kill campaigns. However, campaigns that use them may just receive that same fate. Experts even say that stock photography is awful.

The good part is, you can still get the results you are after from your marketing campaign by taking advantage of stock photography. You just simply need to know what to do, and most importantly, know how to choose well.

Choosing Must Always Start and Come with a Plan

The plan will serve as the guideline that you can use for the entire campaign, especially if you expect new photographs to be added in the later part. To make the plan and establish the guidelines, you need to determine things like:
• Specific style of images you are after
• Photography or illustrations?
• Imagery – metaphorical or literal?
• Models – customers or team, or other people?
• Horizontal, vertical or square?

These are just some of the factors that you need to consider before starting with the stock photo search. By determining the answer to all these, you prevent yourself from simply picking the first photo that matches the keyword you entered.

Picking Relevant Photographs

Keep in mind that you are after photographs that would enhance your marketing material; hence, always consider the message your campaign is meant to convey to the audience during the selection process. Otherwise, you are only giving your audience a nice picture they can look at instead of letting them focus on the message you want to convey to them.

Quality is Always a Priority

It is true that photos go a long way in communicating a business or product’s value to the audience. However, this will only be possible if the audience notices the image and what it conveys first and not its poor quality. If it is the other way around, it would mean lost potential business for you.

You want your audience to notice your photos and the message that they convey at the first glance. For that to happen, your imagery must be attractive and high quality. By quality, it means that the images must also be crisp and clear, in focus and have the ideal resolution based on the application.

The Stock Photo You Must Use Should Have a Purpose and Speak for Itself

In a campaign, you don’t just fill a space. Instead, you fill a space with a material that has a purpose and something that communicates your message effectively. Therefore, when selecting a stock photo to use in your marketing campaign, pick one that supports your message and can effectively convey it to you. This is one way for you to connect with your audience, and you don’t want to miss such opportunity.

stock 2

Something that is Memorable

Remember the basic rule when creating a logo design – making one that is memorable? The same applies when picking your stock campaign imagery. You want something that can easily connect with your audience and bring a reaction from them. One way you can do that is by using a photo that connects with them emotionally.

Photographs to Avoid when Picking Stock Images

The Rule about Overused or Cliché Photos

One problem with stock photos is that they are too generic, which is also the reason many don’t prefer using them in making campaigns. However, you can still make an effective marketing campaign using these photos as long as you know what you need to do. In this case, you need to make your research. By research, it means taking the time to find out the images that your competitors are using and taking note of them.

This will allow you to determine which ones to do away with once you start your search. More importantly, you can think of a way to represent the same product in a well-thought of and unique way.

Current Trends Says No to 3D Images

Again, remember one of the rules in logo design about keeping things simple. The same must also be applied when choosing stock photographs intended for marketing campaigns. It may seem cool to use 3D images complete with the shadow and gradient effects, but this trend is all in the past.

Stock photos, when chosen properly, can bring great results to your campaign. If you want to create an effective marketing campaign using these materials, make sure to use images that relate and connect to your audience. For the most basic tip, never use images that came from Google Images unless you understand the implications and are prepared to face the consequences.

Know About Graphic Designing And Web Designing

graphic-design

Most of the people often get confused between the web designing and graphic designing. This situation can be compared with the twins who have both similarities and differences between them. Usually, the graphic designing will include billboards, books, newspaper layouts, magazines, advertisements, movie posters, brochures, newspaper advertisements, CD labels & booklets, corporate identity logos and so on.All the graphic designers will be having the idea about the color themes and image look as it will make their work the best. Graphic designing is one of the attractive methods used many multimedia industries. This is a technology that is used mostly on the internet as all the websites will be using this graphic designing concept.

Web designing will require some HTML knowledge. In fact, the difference between the graphic designer and web designers is being reduced in recent days as the basic for both the works in nearly same. In order to make a website successful, it is necessary to have a right balance between the content and the web design. Having a wonderful appearance that is provided by a graphic designer alone will not make a website successful, and a good solution for this problem will be using a web designer.

read also Steps To Choose The Right Web Design Firm