Take time to notice something.

I think this can go back to the old simple saying of "stop and smell the roses."

Most of us can lead some pretty hectic lives. Work, family, commuting, friends, hobbies and the countless things that can go on within each of these areas and combinations of said variables. That in of itself can produce some crazy moments in our lives. Often these moments end up more like spans of time, much to are chagrin.

So while we hop between these different variables we already have little time to smell the roses already. We are doing something unprecedented in human history. We are able to fill these spaces...these pauses in our day with more stuff. All thanks to technology, more specifically the mobile device.

Let me say this. This blog is not a "Technology is ruining us and making us worse people. Smash your iphone immediately and go live out in a forest and be one with nature" type of articles. I love technology and it is amazing. It often gets hated on and falsely blamed for things that are simply out if its control or even more simply. It is the future...and people are scared of a future that is different then their present.

We are constantly inundating ourselves with more stuff. These small pauses in our lives are being filled with surfing the web, connecting, sharing etc etc. Now this is all good and bad. Again...maybe this is the wave of the future. Maybe people are evolving and peoples brains 50 yrs in the future are different then ours currently.

But as of now. I do believe these breaks in life are very important. I am convinced that these pauses are when we have our best moments. We tend to notice things a lot better when our attention is not somewhere else. Maybe it is a book idea, new painting perspective, an improvement to a system, invention, music etc. It is funny, how often do we have some kind of great idea or perceived great idea while we are taking a nice hot shower. Why? Because we are having a break! Our mind gets to wonder and take advantage of having nothing to do.

We should try our best to not fill all the pauses in our day. You never know when your first or next big idea will come to you. It would be a shame if you missed out because you were trying to fill a boredom gap in the day.

Stop and smell the roses...enjoy the pauses and notice something.

Sometimes the idea sucks.

An area that I find creatives struggling with is the topic of good or bad.

Just for example sake, let us look at creating a brand, writing a story or creating a piece of music. That way we have a breadth of "creatives" to talk to since we have all been there...no matter what you do creatively. Knowing if what you are doing is good or not.

My best piece of advice is to make it public, publish it, show it on the internet...exhibits etc. No one gets to decided what is good or bad. People/consumers...aka the market, gets to decided what is a good/bad idea.

You could create the most beautiful piece of art, music, what you think is awesome logo or creative writing piece. But if no one else likes it...is it actually good?

This is where we start to dance around the bigger question of...are some creations inherently good regardless of what people think. Yes and no.

Just the same...just because a lot of people likes something does not mean it is good.

"But you just said..blah,blah,blahblah."

I know, it is a bit of both.

I do believe that certain creations...stuff that is truly unique, things that changed the way culture does/sees things...something paradigm shifting. Those have inherent qualities for whatever reason that will forever make it good and very hard to slip through the cracks of the market. Mozart's music, The Mona Lisa, Evard Munch, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Socrates, Dickens, Picasso, Einstein etc. These people have created unique things, ideas, positions, art that never existed before them.

"So just because it never existed before and now it does means it is good?"

No, of course not. But those same people also had the market on their side. Not only did they make something new but that new thing was wanted/needed.

This is why I say we do not get to determine what is good and bad. It is up to everyone else to let us know if sucks or not.

So we must make our work public and get as much feed back as possible. That way we can determine if the idea/thesis sucks.

The hardest part about this is patience.  Sometimes the timing is poor and the market doesn't like it or need it now but maybe they do in 5,10,20 yrs. Sometimes it takes awhile to get enough eyes on it. So waiting, learning and understanding feedback is very important.

Now some amazing stuff will slip through the cracks. Shit happens and the chance you are next ground breaking artist,musician etc is slim to none (sorry).

The hardest part for many of us is simply putting our stuff out there in as many spots as we can and getting feedback to know if we can hack it. This is all up to you and what you do. Learning how to feel things out etc.

Keep making awesome stuff, keeping publishing and let the market decide what is good.

 

Why is tomorrow better than today?

The topic of seizing the day, of taking advantage of the hear and now, to be about the current moment, to do whatever it is you want to do. Is a topic in business and life in general that is beaten to death. Clouded with fake motivation, inspiration and a crap facade of spontaneous wannabes that leads to wheel spinning.

Now I am not going to say there is no merit to this thesis. That would just be silly. There is tons of truth to be learned from concept of "doing" and a lot of people could benefit from hearing a message like this.

Often a lot of us get in a rut, stuck in some kind of grind. Every now and then we get an idea. Maybe it can improve your job, start a business, write a book, a piece of music/art, a non profit organization, a trend, a app etc etc. You know...those ideas you get in the shower while you are thinking about how life has lead you to this current moment in time.

Often these ideas are gone as quickly as we are finished drying off from our shower. But why? Now, I get that not all ideas should not be acted upon. With a little research and know how, we can find out which ideas just should be scrapped.

This is where the action of doing is so important. For a litany of reason we as people do not like to "do" of our own accord. We like to listen to someone else tell us what to do and leave it at that.

So by all means. If you are able to, take full advantage of that idea. Grab it by the horns and do something with it. The important part to take away here is...do it till you succeed or fail. Don't just do it and stop or constantly put it on the back-burner. Do it and do it till you can say, "Well that was a shit,ok or amazing idea." That way you can bury it forever or grow it into something amazing.

Here lies the constant battle we do with ourselves and our lives. Is this idea good? What would so-and-so think about this? What if I fail? What if i succeed? What if I never finish? Can I afford it? Do I need help? The list seems endless. We are often our own worse enemies and shoot down ourselves before the plan gets a chance to start. Audit yourself and be real about what you can and cannot do in order to figure out the best plan of attack.

You cannot change what you have done and the future is not promise. All we have is the here and now.

Just enough is more.

Everyone has heard the old say, "Less is more.". There are some amazing truths and things to take away from that statement. Not just as creatives but as people in general.

Now as much as I tend to lean in agreement with that statement. Since there is a beauty, a refinement and elegance of designs that are simple. Showing ultimate refinement and control over computational elements. Apple being a quintessential example of how simplicity and restraint is used boldly and elegantly at the same time to communicate effectively. That thesis is pervasive in everything they create.

After reading an essay by the great Milton Glaser. He is quoted as saying, "Just enough is more." He understands that not every solution out there requires the bare minimum of elements. There seems to be a misunderstanding that just because something is"busy" it does not mean that it cannot show refinement, elegance or restraint.

Sometimes you need to open the flood gates open more. The voice and the message is what is important, what is trying to be ultimately communicated. Communication is not always clear, it is often noisy, cluttered and disorganized. Rough around the edges...often having a hand crafted appeal that makes communication so individual. (Why I think hand lettering and styles as such are growing in popularity.)

It only makes sense that some people will have different voices and in need of having to say their message differently. People often have a hard time disseminating aesthetics elements from gestalt principles. For example, lets look at a grunge or punk band. Aesthetically speaking, they will look as such. Loud typography, tons of texture, clashing colors/patterns...this type of look often doesn't please the vast majority of people (which is good). It is lacking the restraint and refinement of Apple. Often times, these aesthetics are still well designed, great organization, hierarchy of computational elements and communicates very effectively. But....what if they still broke those base guides?

Then maybe that message isn't for you. I believe it is very ok to understand who you are trying to talk to and communicate with them how they like to be. It is expected as such in marketing 101 kind of way.

After all, who decides what is good and bad design? We create and build something that fits the need. They public/consumer gets to decide what is good regardless of "our good tastes."

Use enough elements to say what you have to say, not the minimum amount...just enough.

Perfectionism is killing you.

I always thought that with my creative projects that I was a "perfectionist". That everything had to be just right in order for me to call the project finished. Embracing it as some kind of quirky creative character flaw that seems to follow most people in this community.

As I started growing in my understanding of self, I found out that this perfectionism was killing my growth and was simply an excuse to not ever finish work and start more.

Perfectionism is fear.

I will draw this example to show you what I mean. Let us take a fine art piece I begin working on. I start getting to the fine tuning end of the project, the final details so to speak. I used to not be able to stop picking at it and call it "done". Tons of creative artists never "finish" projects. When you call a project finished, that means that it is open to review...open to criticism. Most of our egos are pretty fragile and we like to keep it as safe as possible.

By not ever finishing anything and when we run into criticism, we can simply say, "Well it isnt finished yet...." This protects our ego's from the stones of opinion that get tossed at our work. Work that often we pour differentiated levels of ourselves into. The ol' blood, sweat and tears.

We want to take this thing that we have created and protect it...protecting ourselves from the reality of what other people think.

This inability to deal with 3rd part influences or criticism keeps our growth at bay, from truly tapping into something great that we have to offer our community.

It is our duty to finish our work, whatever it may be. Mark it and label it as finished, that way we can send it off into the world for further review. Maybe everyone hates it but then again..what if they don't? Often times, the success is more daunting than the failure, since failure is often expected and success isn't.

Finishing work lets you get started on more and repeat the cycle. Increasing your chance of finding something that is worth doing, something that matters.

Stop making it perfect and finish it.

Creative services taboo topics and a thank you.

The secret is knowing your worth.

Something that always seemed to be a taboo topic in anything creative was the topic of business/money. I grew up around artist, mostly fine artists and a lot of my influences come from that community. It is all too common to hear about people "selling out"...you know...god forbid you get a job and pay your bills or put yourself in a better position for the future.

For some reason, you can only get paid for your art if people want to collect it/buy it.

But as soon as you collect a paycheck...that is frowned upon.

Now we have to make a living somehow and I can understand to a point about "selling out". But we have to take another look at this. Especially for those of us who work more with businesses, companies, organizations and people outside of our community.

Never in my entire career as an "artist/designer" was I ever taught about the business of design. It was one of those things I had to learn on my own. In college I did not have to take one business class nor was I pushed to take any. It was always about my studio time and humanities etc. God forbid I learn how to earn a living.

So after school I was flying by the seat of my pants. Trying to work on establishing my career. I started getting some work and I had no idea how to price my work. Fine art or design. The hardest part was finding out my worth. Charge too much or too little and you can not get a job, just the same...you do not want to charge too little and try to scrape together a million clients to pay the bills.

Now I started to slowly to put things together and make something of myself through much trial and error.

I found a resource that I wish I had found in college. I stumbled across a youtube channel called "The futur" @thefuturishere

their youtube channel

Created by:

These guys break down the business of design and creative services. Learned some new tricks and tips myself. I cannot thank these guys enough for what they do and the value they are bringing to the taboo topic of money.

Anyone who is in school for creative services, wants to be or is...needs to give some of their videos a look. You wont regret it.

Learning how to make a living should not be kept a secret and TheFutur is paving the way and dropping knowledge bombs the entire way.

How can I help you?

A question that not enough working people (especially in business) sincerely ask. With no intention of getting something out of the ask. Purely asking because you are trying to help someone, to care about someone else rather than getting something for yourself.

You can often just feel it or hear the intention of the question when it is asked out of kindness versus any other reason...most of the reasons are rooted in reciprocating or making a sale etc. One of my biggest pet peeves is walking into a store and someone asking me this question. Most companies force their employees to say it. You cannot hide genuine kindness. The fakeness or sale at the end of the conversation slithers its way past their teeth and rolls off the tongue and just simmers in my ears. I HATE it.

Designers are often in a pretty awesome position because when people come to you for work or in general...they already are in need of something. But what about others, when is the last time that you asked across the aisle to maybe someone who cannot afford your services and is struggle with solutions if they need help? The bottom line and power of the dollar is what drives us into just worrying about ourselves.

It is amazing to see that when we start to care about each other, things just get better...the bottom line included. People are drawn to it. We want someone...hell, we need someone to care about us. We are social creatures and we spend about a third of our lives at work around other people. So to be around others who are not faking it who are genuine in their intent is an amazing thing.

When we patronize other companies just how much better would everyone's experience be if we could care about one another. Not because you are a customer or employee...but because you are another human and so are they.

How can I help you?

 

Self improvement is a life long journey that requires daily labor.

Every creative person has some kind of process they go through when they start doing a project. Some are super organized others are utter chaos. Most of us seem to fall in the middle somewhere when it comes to the process.

One thing that would help me become a better designer is organizing my chaos better and having a more direct plan of attack. Documenting how I got to where I ended up and my reasoning as to why I made certain decisions along the way. It is helpful to document this for future employers, clients or even just self criticism in hopes of self refinement

I tend to start on paper, lots of sketches, wire-frames, ligatures or whatever it may be that I am working on. Lists, maybe some words, phrases etc that will be helpful in my development. I do tend to get distracted a little bit at this point. Using your hands to create allows for so many different looks, the possibilities are endless. So to go off on tangents and exploring looks that upon a stricter self criticism would prove to be pointless, can certainly be a better usage of your time. So make sure you audit yourself to know where you can be most and least productive at teach stage of development.

Just the same when I get to a computer...I try to be almost too thorough. Exploring typefaces that often have no business even being explored. Just to say I was thorough in my exploration. Again wasting time in favor of finding some pile of gold in a giant pile of garbage.

When I finally have a typeface or look decided this is where I really start to make some moves. I find that I can make different ligatures, spacing, angles, cuts etc etc to quickly develop a mark or layout into something that by this part only needs refinement.

So somewhere from the beginning to the middle is in need of refinement. I tend to get a bit scattered brained in my direction, the scope is a bit too wide. If I could become a bit more organized in my process, I could do better and faster work.

between each of these steps I tend to just toss my process out. Old sketches, or major breakthrough. I will delete the beginning stuff simply because it does not look good in favor of the finished product that looks great. Which ultimately ignores how you got there. Sometimes the process is the most important part.

Self audit yourself and process. To each their own but knowing your strengths and weaknesses is great insight. It is not wise to recognize character flaws and issues and just ignore them...or worse...except them simply as what makes you unique.

Self improvement is a life long journey that requires daily labor.

 

Where is your audiences attention.

If there is one thing I have learned from working with teams of people throughout different companies is that there tends to be a some kind of disconnect between the marketing team and the desired audience that said company wants (granted that is their job to solve that gap.)

I find that the first people to pick up on this are the designers. Why, I am not too sure. Maybe understanding the subtleties of the story being told gives them a better insight into why the company is not getting the attention they want.

Also why I think that it is not unheard of for designers and marketers to jump between those two professions often. Some find they get one side or the other better.

A short story/example.

It was not a rare thing for me to work with a company that needed some work done on the aesthetic side of things and worked with the marketing team. Their audience was the early 20's to around 45yr old age group. Great, solid demographic to market to.

The very first thing they wanted to do was do a direct mail blast, some other printed publications and some direct email marketing campaigns.

What?!?! Blew my mind. Even though I would get paid regardless.

Anytime someone hands me a piece of paper, a brochure, information, card, or mails me something...and I did not ask for it. The first thing I do is toss it right in the trash.

I did not ask for this, I did not want it, you are selling me something or a service that I also do not want or have no need for.

Right in the trash with you.

Just the same with email campaigns. If I do not shop or use your service regularly, there is a maybe 5% chance I open it....maybeeeee 5%. That small chance I do....even a smaller chance of me clicking a link or following through on anything in the email.

Cut it out.

I fall into that demographic stated early. My attention is not on print media and good luck with email. My attention is on my phone and social media apps. That is where you have your best luck reaching me. Other then that, I do not want to marketed at.

It is like walking into a store and a sale rep coming right up to you asking you what you want, if you want to try anything and starts trying to sell me stuff.

The chance of me coming back to your store after that is low.

Understand where attention is and how to best use it.

So instead of that company wasting money on me redesigning print material, I helped them understand where their audiences attention is and helped to design digital ads for different platforms that would better reach who they want.

Design and tell your story where people are actually listening.

 

A web design/marketing trend that is insufferable.

Can we pleaseeeee stop having pop-ups as soon as you enter the website.

"Join our mailing list."

"Do you want *insert offer*"

"10% off all orders today!"

"Sign-up to see rest of article."

etc, etc etc,

The very first thing I look for when surfing the web and visiting sites, is that little X that closes that pop-up box.

I cannot be the only one. I often do not even read what it's saying, I go straight to closing it.

Stop advertising to me!! Please just stop.

I do not watch your commercials anymore, I do not read your print ads, I do not read that email (unless it is from a place I spend money at a lot), I do not read that banner ad...and no I don't click it. For the love of all that is holy, just stop tossing ads at my face.

If you use ads, pop-ups, sign up windows...the chance of you getting my email drops automatically to almost zero because I am so annoyed. Especially on mobile. The limited real-estate and the possibility to miss-tap the close X....super annoying.

I will drop your site like a bad habit and get that content/value somewhere else if you constantly ask me for info or try to sell me something etc.

The amount of times I just close my browser tab if I enter a site that has a splash page pop-up has got to be 80%.

Does this tactic work for getting emails? Even if you are getting emails...are they just peoples "spam" email that they never check? If they are legit emails...are they even opening them? The vast majority of users are turning into me, they are tired of being undauntedly marketed to.

So instead of constantly asking for shit, how about you provide me with a reason to give you my actual email or a reason to not just exit your site immediately.

Prove your worth to the consumer.

An issue I have with employers.

My younger designers who are still trying to make something of themselves in the professional arena are constantly running into the same problem, hell I had it myself out of school.

Lets say you want to get a job as a designer, start paying off school loans etc while maybe you work on your side freelancing etc.

You start going through design job postings and seeing what is out there. You are often met with the biggest frustration for many designers.

Employers will ask for a "graphic design" but that is NOT what they want.

After you are done reading the job description you find so much more. Employers want the following....or a combination of most of these....

  • A designer
  • Web/App developer
  • Print Production Manager
  • Art Director
  • Content Manager
  • Photographer
  • Illustrator
  • Project Manager
  • Writing Skills
  • Social Media Manager
  • 3D design capabilities
  • Videography and Editing
  • Some marketing skills
  • Flash or other animation
  • UX/UI
  • CAD Knowledge

This is NOT unusual. This is mostly the norm!

All while having 3-5 yrs experience and advanced software knowledge in just about every piece of software needed to fulfill any of these requirements.

And the compensation being that of someone with 1-2 yrs experience.

So imagine you are looking for a job as a electrician...but the job description is asking if you know how to do plumbing, wood work, project management, payroll, roofing, painting, drafting, cement pouring etc etc.

Get it?

Cut the shit.

If you want a designer, then hire a designer...not a developer...not an animator...not a videographer etc.

Some of these qualities listed, many people have entire careers dedicated solely to one of these things.

Now, some of you designers can do it all....that's amazing...you are not the norm and it is sad that it seems that is how things are shifting since very few professional settings want to pay salary money to hire multiple people. Instead they would rather hire one person who is just ok at a million different things.

Just imagine the quality of work done when you hired people that can do just a couple of those things...reallyyyyyyyy well.

Now, if you come by someone who can do it all and to your liking that is great. But compensate that person how they should be. That is so much to know especially right out of school. That is why younger designers have such a hard time getting jobs.

If you want to hire a designer....hire a designer.

A favorite designer of mine.

Massimo Vignelli is in my list of top 5 designers, easily.

Now, I know...that is like saying, basketball players have a lot to learn from Magic Johnson. Obviously they are great and recognized as such. But it would be a huge misstep to not acknowledge the influence that they have had on not just my development but on the entire craft itself.

When I was younger, still in high school. Like most designers, I did not understand the full implications of typography and how powerful it is. I readily skipped over it in favor of illustration every time. I watched a well known film "Helvetica" which gave a discussion of not just the specific typeset and its history. But also addressed designers who did and did not use it, their work and the importance of type in design.

The film (at the time) seemed a bit boring, was type really that important?

This was the start of need to learn all about type. I got into college and started my design studies and I did not know where to start learning about type. With the help and direction of some awesome professors I dove headfirst. Low and behold, in my first type class we watched the same film "Helvetica". It was that much more interesting at that point in my life. Such a great film and only gets better. (I may watched it probably 2 more times throughout my life.)

In that film Vignelli had a huge part in the narrative. He is considered to be THE best designer for Helvetica usage. His designs showed the entire breadth of creativity and type usage. Even though he considered only about maybe 5 types were worthy of any usage at all. And he seemed to mostly use 3.

The usage of white space, scale, color, type/layout.....was just amazing, groundbreaking and ultimately legendary.

He was able to communicate so many different things while showing such restraint all whilecreating some dynamic iconic designs.

I refer back to his work time and time again in order to better my own type setting skills. To try and learn from one of the very best is always a great way to learn.

If you are already very familiar with his work.....then go back to it...take notes...study it, if you somehow aren't....do the same.

Go near the fringes.

Whenever I start a new design or project I do my best to tackle it from every angle I can imagine that way I have many different looks to use in my development of the design.

Having many different points of references allows you to pick the best solution for the problem you trying to solve.

Now what do I mean by work with the fringes. It means taking the design principles you learned and pushing them to a limit that often you are not comfortable with. One of my favorite examples of this is scale.

Scale can be such a powerful tool when used properly in your ability to tell powerful, convincing and dynamic stories. Scale is the size of an element as it relates to its usual physical size. The ability to use the size of elements on a plane to dictate the narrative is a next level design skill. Everyone loves drama and what is more dramatic then large elements juxtaposed against small elements. But there must be a rhyme to the reason or else you are risking the loss of computational fluidity.

I always take the element I am using and make whatever is important really big....like uncomfortably big. Just to see where the fringe is. You would be surprised at how many times what you thought would be too big is actually in the viable realm of use.

Just the same when it comes to making elements small. Scale objects down till they seem too small. This is helping you define the usable spaces around and how you will tell your story.

From here on, you will find that it is a juggling act of scale comparisons. The bigger things are, the more dramatic they seem, almost like it is shouting at you. Just the same small things are often just a whisper and sometimes can be missed altogether.

This is not to say that something large cannot be soft but it is all about the relationship to other elements.

You will also start to see that compositions that often have all the elements roughly the same size are boring, unresolved and bothersome. Now, there are often exceptions of course, we must take into account the reason for the design in the first place. But generally speaking, scale is something that really brings it too life.

Be daring and create some drama.

A regret of mine.

One of my biggest regrets in my search for knowledge and growth in design is the lack of time spent doing work growing up and in college and not taking more internships.

The amount of time that I had to be able to work on my skills and crafts seems endless when compared to the amount of time that I have now. Hindsight...honestly it seems like it is all the time in the world way back when. Little responsibilities to my name and so many more extra hours in the day to spend time learning something, anything! Could have learned more coding, worked on my hand lettering.....and especially work more on my typesetting/layouts skills. Typesetting being one of those kills that no matter how good you get, you always feel like you have so much left to learn.

Also the lack of taking on more internships would have helped me immensely with garnering real world experience before I even entered the workforce. Being able to learn the real ins and outs of the business side of things and how it works with the creative side of things. Real life problems and how to solve them, how to interact with employees/bosses and management. Let alone all I could have learned in design from working professionals. Talk about pissing away opportunity.

There is much to learn and much to do yet. Take advantage of the resources that you have available. Especially if you are young, you have so much time. You can run well on little sleep, eat ramen to get you through....and put in the time.

If I could go back....the one thing I would change is putting in more work...more late nights and early days. Put in the work while you can!

Write more.

I think there is something amazing about someone who can write well. The way they can communicate exactly what they want to say, the choice of words....it is a true talent that often gets overlooked. Especially for those of us who are in the visual creative department.

First it is hard to find a dumb person who can write really well. They usually run hand in hand. That is not also to say that all smart people are good writers. But I would bet on the former as opposed to the later. So being able think and problem solve the issue of written communication makes you that much more valuable. At the end of the day, what are we as creatives? We are communicators and problem solvers. But instead of using sentences we use other visual means to solve the problem. So in my mind...it only makes sense that they would have a carry over from one to another.

Secondly, it is just an amazing skill to have. People pay big bucks if you can write well. Many of us are caught up in the kerning, tracking, white space....the photography, type setting and all the other things involved in putting together good designs. When it comes to communicating to others, especially clients....this is where we usually fall behind. It is tough to live just off your ability to design and have them speak for yourself. So it is important that we learn how to write so we can effectively convey what we have to say. At the very base of it, if you are missing out on this skill you simply leaving money on the table.

Advice for printing company shirts.

I have spent some years now working with designing apparel for screen printing, embroidery and sublimation. There is one constant trend that almost seems to refuse to die. So here it is...

Stop getting your companies phone number, web url or other info printed on your shirts.

First off,  no one is reading your shirt for important information. Lets say that you see a construction company working and they are doing great work. You need a company for a build and look to get in contact with them. How many of us go up to a worker and ask them to read their shirt so you can take down the number. Or creep on them while you try to make out the number or website.

Maybe you are sitting in a restaurant and you love their food and have an event coming up you want them to cater. Do you stare at the employees to try and make out the info on the shirt?

What is the one thing we all do. The first thing we grab...our cell phone. We see the name of that construction company or restaurant and we Google the companies name to find out more information about them. Whether we need a number, address, email website... anything. We head to Google for answers.

No one is getting answer from the shirt you are wearing.

So since it isn't providing value in information, those pieces of information on the shirt are now wasted ink and space. You could be using that space for a bad ass design or even to just make your company logo bigger nice and clean so people can read it easily when they go to Google you.  Stop wasting space, ink, design space and money on printing people don't use. 

 

Whitespace is your friend.

A lot of designers are constantly fighting the the urge to "fill the space". When composing a layout, poster etc. We try to use whitespace to help improve the composition to communicate as best as possible.

I look at whitespace like I look at a good type family. When they are used, a great type does not sit on top of the plane but it sits inside of the plane. Not sitting over or covering the space but inhabiting the  space and sharing it with the emptiness.

I scale that up to composition elements when applicable. When designing a layout I try to make sure the headers, body text etc simply do not just take up space over the plane. But these elements sit inside of the plane themselves, creating a relationship between elements and empty space.

These empty spaces are vital to the compositional flow of any look and learning how to use space to direct the eye is super important to any successful solution. Some designers and even clients get aggravated with too much or little white space because "There is to much blank space, you hardly did anything etc." Now maybe they are right...that is another issue altogether. But let us just say they are wrong. Whitespace that is used correctly can be hard to come by and makes a design stronger. So to get to the best solution which looks like minimum work sometimes requires massive amounts of work to get there. Simple does not always mean easy.

Taking time to learn how to dictate a viewers eye and command a composition is going to pay great dividends in the long run. Learn when a design is too busy or maybe when there is too much space. The constant battle of balance is what we are left with.

"Less is not always more, just enough is more." Milton Glaser.

Be organized.

This is a short and sweet tip for any designer out there.

Be more organized with your designs. 

Be able to use grids, proper alignments, rulers etc to properly compose whatever you are designing is of the utmost importance. We often rely too much on our eye to make these judgment calls. As good as some of our eyes are, being able to make pixel perfect decisions with grid lends itself to super well organized and balanced aesthetics. 

This is super important in typography. Learning how to properly set tools is the foundation for learning and applying all other gestalt theories. I am still working on my typesetting skills myself and when they progress my eye for everything else increases and I make better choices with composition.

Design is quickly becoming integral to UX/UI. They need to learn how to work hand in hand. A flashy webpage or a slick product does not mean a lot if the user experience or interface is terrible. So designing with the user in mind is of the utmost importance. 

I can get down with this.

The design community is subject to the cycle of trends just as much as any other community. I hate trends and think that they lower the creative ceiling. (At least being a slave to said trends).

One of my favorite things going around is custom lettering and attention to typography. It seems to be almost a fight against the many years ruled by the king Helvetica. Now do not misunderstand. I love Helvetica and use it a decent amount myself. But it is great to see a change coming to the current status quo.

Many hand lettering is done on paper, sketching out letters, inking and refining the lines. Then importing the finished letters/type into Illustrator and vectoring the logo making is crisp, clean and highly usable since it is now a vector. Now you have all the tools available to you in the digital realm to make changes and edits to further explore the mark you are creating. All while preserving the handmade look of the original drawing at the same time. 

This really speaks to my background. I grew up drawing and am pretty handy with a pencil and pen. So being able to combine these two worlds to create unique logos and types is really a dream come true.

To see larger companies start embracing this look and breaking from the blocky, sans serif type choices is refreshing.

I would love to see this not as a trend that is destined to die. But more like another tool to add to the toolbox. Offering another look and possibility when working on brainstorming sessions.