What is graphic design?

Creative graphic design - LoughboroughComing from a graphic design background, I can appreciate what is involved in graphic design. It is certainly not just about putting text and pretty pictures together on a blank canvas and it all falls into place.
Graphic design is an art with a goal at the end, the main goal is to effectively communicate your message using words and pictures. There are various career paths a graphic designer can follow, most opting for graphic design roles, website design or even Illustrators.

To be a good graphic designer takes time, experience and a good head for being creative.

So what are the fundamental elements of graphic design

1. SPACE – a very important aspect of design, the space between elements can make positive space or negative, these need to be considered n nay design piece.

2. PROXIMITY – Connecting elements on a piece together creates focal point in any design.

3. REPETITION – Bringing elements together in repetition creates a strong brand feel, it creates a rhythm to your piece.

4. CONTRAST – Use opposite colours on the colour chart to create a contrast in your design. We all understand the saying, opposites attract.

5. ALIGNMENT – Not ever piece needs to be centered, creating an order by aligning elements creates a connection.

6. BALANCE – Creating balance allows the design to be more structured. It refers to the distribution of weight in the design.

What are the tools required to do graphic design?

SOFTWARE – Adobe Creative suite is far the best professional software a designer needs, It has Illustrator, Indesign, Photoshop, enough to keep any designer happy.
SKETCH PAD - Some may say a tool of the old era, I find a sketch pad is a quick method to get ideas down before diving into to computer software straightaway.
COMPUTERS – Apple macs are the top piece of equipment any creative designer requires, macs have always been the favourite because of the OSX operating system. PC windows will provide just the tool if you prefer a windows environment.

A graphic designer can turn any brief into a digital masterpiece, brochures, stationary and visually stunning business logos will turn a businesses marketing dreams in a reality.

Why does your business need a Corporate Identity?

graphic design-corporate identityThis is a question I get asked on a weekly basis, I say weekly because Corporate ID are usually the requirement of a large business. Sorry this is false and any business that thinks they don’t require a basic corporate identity is misinformed.

The main concept for a corporate identity is to establish your businesses personality, similar to how our personalities differ a business is no different from us.

No business is the same, an identity gives you this personality, it tells businesses and customers what your company is about, your USP’s and your brand. If you currently don’t have a corporate identity, look at how you communications are visually. Step outside your box, look at the business from the outside. Is the marketing literature following a certain style or inconsistent. An identity will build this consistency, any one person or employee understands the identity, fonts, imagery and the visual layout concepts your brand wants to portray as it’s own personality.

How do you create a corporate ID?
A professional graphic designer can help you achieve a strong professional brand, a good designer would make your logo consistence in its use across communications, letterheads, stationery and brochures. You don’t need a 50 page brochure like big businesses, a small corporate ID can work just as well giving the information about the logo, fonts and overall business personality. Without a corporate identity your business could loose out to it’s competitors.

The important sections of a corporate ID?
To establish a good strong identity for you business follow these guides below.

Build the personality – First impressions count, whether it is a product or service your logo needs to be strong, professional and have it’s own style that customers or businesses can remember. A good logo/brand gives the business a professional look. Communications need to look pleasing and visually unique.

Customer loyalty – Being consistent is key building customer loyalty, customers develop a loyalty for businesses they can trust. Depending on the businesses it’s objectives, visions, principles and goals are all developed to produce a company to do business with.

Business rewards – A corporate identity improves repeat business, a  strong positive identity provides the consumers with a positive attitude towards the business encouraging repeated business and referrals.

Developing a good identity will stand it’s test in time, creating connections with your customer base, it really is the best investment a business can have big or small.

Hide your magento dev site

Magento eCommerceI have been building a rather large Magento site and once it had gone live’ to save any major problems with new plugin installs and modifications or working on a live site,  I set up a clone copy of the site. If your Magento is large then you don’t have to include all the products, for example mine has around 600 products to clone this into a dev area would take up quite a large chunk of drive space so shrink the products down in your dev area or import and delete a large chunk of products.

To hide your site you need to login to the admin backend and click on Configuration -> Design -> HTML Head and set the Default Robots option to ‘NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW’. This will block your dev site url from being indexed by Google bots and also avoids the dredded seo duplicate content problems. Hope this helps…

Great inspiration mags for graphic designers

I am always on the hunt for good solid graphic design magazines for inspiration, personally i prefer to hold a printed copy but there is no short of good reading material that is available online.

graphic design magazine layersNew graphic design magazine

Digital painting magazine    Graphic design - ICON HANDBOOK