Wikipedia describes graphic design as “…a creative process—most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form (i.e., printers, sign makers, etc.)—undertaken in order to convey a specific message (or messages) to a targeted audience”. That simple description fits, until you realize how much more graphic design influences our lives. Design surrounds us to the point that it’s often overlooked. The only place where you might not see graphic design would be on the final pitch to the summit of K2, but even in such a wild desolate landscape, there’s that Patagonia or North Face logo emblazoned on the front your climbing partner’s jacket. As Debbie Millman, brand consultant and president of Design Sterling Brands, states: “We use graphic design to pay our bills, to get married, we use graphic design to get divorced. We use graphic design in every single aspect of human life…”
Here at KRT, we use graphic design in all aspects of our marketing solutions for our clients – from simple online marketing to product logos to multi-page corporate brochures. The final design is a result of carefully understanding the message to be conveyed, and creatively communicating it to be informative and impactful.
This “PBS Off Book” presentation looks into the world of graphic design and how it affects the world around us. Let us know how we can help to make your message, services or products more impactful.
Being in the marketing/ad business, the team here at KRT is constantly having meetings and presentations – brain-storming sessions, production meetings, client pitches, strategy sessions – the list goes on. For external meetings, since some of our clients aren’t local, we rely a lot on phone conference services like GoToMeeting or Webex. For clients that have offices in other countries, these services become even more important. A conference call integrating multiple countries and U.S. time zones can sometimes be a logistical nightmare. I recently participated in a meeting that involved India, the Philippines, the Midwest and the West Coast (turned out the starting time for me was 5:00AM – ended up downing plenty of coffee that day).
If you’re mathematically challenged, there are plenty of apps and websites out there that can help calculate and display time zones to set up a meeting in different geographies. A recent Google search of “time zones” revealed the best one in my opinion, everytimezone.com. The site is well-designed, interactive, visually appealing and amazingly simple to use. You might even want to use it to see what’s the best time to contact a buddy or family member across the country or overseas.
Are there any useful, well-designed sites you use to help make daily life a little easier? Let us know.
Logos are everywhere. From the moment we wake-up to the time we turn off the lights to head off to bed, you‘ll probably be exposed to hundreds of brand logos throughout the day. One blogger recorded seeing 33 logos in the first 33 minutes after waking up: http://www.logodesignlove.com/33-logos-in-33-minutes Just sitting here at my desk, I counted 12 brands on various products. The competition for brand recognition is fierce! There are a lot of factors that can make one logo standout over another. A simple but unique design, free of noise and clutter, is usually the best solution. It also needs to convey what the brand is all about. Of course, trying to achieve those goals is difficult. The great American graphic designer Paul Rand once said: “Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated”.
I recently came across this cute video posted by logo designer Adam Ladd. He showed his five-year old daughter various brand marks to get her reaction and commentary. It’s surprising how many she correctly identified. Even from a young age, we begin to associate images with a company or product. It’s hard to say whether her reactions were a result of good design or product exposure – probably both. How many logos do you think you’re exposed to in one day? What makes one logo more memorable over another?
Years ago, while hanging out with a friend in San Francisco, we discussed a poorly designed poster behind the counter of a clothing store. We tried to figure out the three ugly typefaces used in the layout. Guess our critical conversation was a little too rowdy since a clerk walked over and asked us what we did for a living. We both blurted out “We’re graphic designers,” to which he angrily replied, “Well, everyone’s a designer, aren’t they!”
My friend gave him her business card from a well-known design firm, flipped him off and we were on our way. We assumed the poster was created by the guy.
These days, anyone can play designer if they’re willing to buy the software and learn to use it. Adobe CS5 Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), used by graphics professionals, will set you back $1,300. There’s even free bundled software like Microsoft Paint, used by a client of ours. Of course, the final product won’t guarantee whether you’ll win a Clio Award.
In fact, looking at the mass of 24/7 noise out there in print, web and other media, shows there’s a lot of bad-looking work being made. There might be that rare individual with innate talent to design awesome stuff, but on the whole, it takes years of training, experience and criticism, to deliver a truly great creative product. Even pros in the business can have off days and produce mediocre work.
Has the growing bombardment of visual stimulation all around us and the availability of computer tools, created a critical mass of bad design? This brings me to this video I came across awhile back. In it, a graphic designer, Aaron Draplin, tells the story about a sign and what’s happening to graphic design in this country. WARNING: He is passionate and uses some pretty strong language. So if you’re easily offended by F Bombs, DON’T WATCH.
Let us know what you think. Is there too much visual garbage out there?
As a side note, KRT is always looking for creative resources to add to our talent pool for possible projects. If you’re passionate about what you do, Contact Us, but please leave out the cursing…
Anyone that’s a creative in the graphics/advertising/design field for any length of time has probably run into the request by SOMEONE to “make the logo bigger.” That request, along with “make better use of the white space,” has caused many designers to blurt out endless obscenities or fall to the floor writhing in agony. The pain is akin to being forced to use Comic Sans for every layout – forever. It’s not that we creatives want to downsize a company’s logo to a nano speck on the page or have all the copy positioned in one tiny corner in 2pt. Helvetica for the hell of it. It’s that we used our creative and aesthetic judgement to make a well balanced clean design that communicates well, only to have it junked-up, messed-up, cluttered, off-balance, noisy, sucky, effed up… you get the idea. “Bigger” or “more marketing content” usually isn’t better.
A few years ago, a video popped up on YouTube that illustrates the point well. It’s a spoof about what would happen if Microsoft designed the packaging for the Apple iPod. Who knows, maybe someday the popular design trend will be to “make the logo smaller”… nah, that’ll never happen… will it?
Type is everywhere. In moving through our daily lives, we’re constantly being exposed to thousands of typefaces conveying messages, ideas, moods, and emotions. Here at KRT, whether we’re designing an ad for print or web, the selection of a particular typeface is an integral part of the creative process. In this short documentary by PBS Arts, six designers offer their insights as to why typography is important in their work.
With school graduations happening across the globe, we thought it would be fitting to post a video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement address. Jobs is known for his electrifying presentations of innovative Apple products. His inspiring speech urges graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks – including death itself.