What is a graphic designer? What are you going to do with one anyhow, and where do you put them?
First of all, you could probably use a graphic designer in your business without even realising it. Anything related to your business that is printed or published online is going to reflect how your business works, how you do business and the personality of your business. Mess that up and you are sending the wrong message. Loud and clear.
A graphic designer will make sure your brand – that is, what people say about you and how people perceive what you do – is consistent. When people view your materials, read your tweets, browse your brochure or click through your website, they are building an image in their head of what your business is like. You want that to be right. You need to appear professional, competent and trustworthy. A graphic designer will make sure that everything you do looks right and looks right without speed bumps or pitfalls to undermine all the hard work.
What are you going to do with one?
Well, you will actually be doing more of what you should be doing anyhow! If it’s your business, you will be taking care of business rather than worry about technical and practical aspects of marketing materials. If you’re an employee, you will be concentrating on what you were hired to do instead of taking on additional tasks – even if your boss thinks you are saving them money. Do what you know, do what you love.
And where do you put them?
Leave them right where they are!
It’s easy to use a graphic designer from time to time, as and when they are needed, so if they work from home they are saving you money (salary, office space, equipment) but are still on call to help your business look great.
Graphic designers are problem solvers. Do you have these problems?
- too few customers
- customers get lost
- people can’t read instructions
- too few people at events
- people don’t understand what you do
- people think you are out of business
- customers phone up with the strangest questions
If these sound like odd things for a visual professional to take on, consider how a logo can make people think of a business, or how a well written and designed brochure can bring people to your door. It’s not just about having a great product or service. People need to hear about it too.
The real question is, why wouldn’t you hire a graphic designer?
As a musician, I understand how hard it is to get noticed. That’s why I’m now offering promotional materials made just for musicians.
Spend your time practising and writing, not tinkering with design.
- PRESS KITS – essential when approaching record labels or looking for gigs. Available in print and electronic (EPK) formats. Full colour, A5 (folded), includes photos, CD and contact details
- POSTERS – designed and printed
- ALBUM COVERS – so people can judge the music by the cover. Because they will.
- WEBSITES – single-page sites that you can manage and grow yourself
- SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS – all the graphics you need for Facebook, Google+, Reverbnation, Soundcloud, etc.
- VIDEO – concept or live action, shot and edited to fit your budget
- AD DESIGN – banner or sidebar ads in any format
Designed for you and tailored to your music.
If you’re a musician, promoter or anyone involved in the music industry, call me. I’ll make you look as good as you sound!
Everyone needs ideas. What kind of curtain would look best in the hallway? Where shall we go on holiday? What shall I write today? They are all problems with an infinite number of solutions that can be solved in a short period of time if we know how to get ideas.
Brilliant! Google is the answer at number one in every How To list. It’s obvious isn’t it? If you don’t have something or know something, go to Google. When looking for ideas, a great place to start is Google Images. Enter a search term in the white box that you know and love then click Images. You will then be bombarded with billions of images that are related to what you want. Actually, you’ll get images that are on the same page as the search term you entered and may or may not be actually related to your term. To me this seems more like an overload of other people’s ideas that may or may not answer your problem. Are you getting ideas, or just millions of pictures? This can work if you are looking for ideas for something that you don’t normally get involved with and wouldn’t know, for example, a finial from a fibre fill. (Answers on a postcard). But for truly original answers, look elsewhere.
2. The Library
Before Google, there were big buildings filled with books. Organised rather (in)conveniently with a numerical system named after Melvil Dewey that bore no resemblance to any other system and is therefore rather counter-intuitive, libraries were fabulous places to spend hours of precious time browsing. Without a search box in the corner of every page, you did have to read an awful lot to find anything that might be useful. I have learned new skills using just libraries and can’t really share too much in the way of disparaging rhetoric to describe them, but did always find them rather disorganised. As institutions, they still have their uses. Time sensitive idea generating is not one of them.
3. Wait for Inspiration
Inspiration for ideas will come. Eventually. If you have the time, it can be great to let your subconscious do the work for you and alert you when something useful is available. The lightbulb over your head may or may not light up when you are ready to take notes and ensure the idea isn’t lost. This I find to be the biggest hindrance to waiting for ideas. Besides, you don’t have time to wait. You need an idea and you need it now. Time is wasting!
4. Always Have Ideas.
What if you always had ideas ready? Whenever you need an idea, you can automatically just pluck one out of the air, or pick it up off the ground, and you have a fully functioning, usable solution. Grab a few, try them out and you have everything taken care of.
I’m not talking about keeping a log of ideas that you can sort through to solve any problem. What I actually mean is being able to generate ideas regularly – so many ideas, that it would feel as if you could have an idea at any time, for any reason.
It would be like having a garden of ideas. An orchard with fruit ready for the picking – year-round!
The way to do this is to cultivate and feed your imagination, almost constantly. Always thinking. Always problem solving and always being inspired.
When you are sitting down to watch TV at night, skip the soap operas, sitcoms, reality TV and frivolous junk that seems to just pad out the space in-between ads or commercials and instead opt for viewing that promotes thinking. Avoid anything that is predictable or cosy. As soon as you see a seen that makes you think “I knew they were going to do that” skip the channel and be more decisive in what you watch. DVDs and Netflix give you more control.
If TV or films aren’t your thing, be just as attentive to what you read, or the plays you go to see. If you want to live a life that generates ideas, make sure you are always being inspired. Playing music, listening to music and going to concerts provoke more brain activity than passively consuming media.
Getting ideas is no secret when you are getting lots of ideas by living a life that cultivates and grows ideas.
How do you like to regularly generate ideas? Email me or comment below.
Really, I don’t.
My office walls are white and off-white (closer to grey) with a feature wall in orange. Yes, bright, bold orange. But orange isn’t my favourite colour.
I also have a mug on my desk – the one I usually use for my regular caffeine dosage. It is also orange (Pantone 1505 to be precise). As are my clock, scissors, several pencils and my guitar amp (made, appropriately enough, by Orange).
Rather embarrassingly, I have even done work for a few clients whose logo and visual identity were already predominantly orange.
But I still maintain that my favourite colour is not orange, because I don’t believe in favourite colours.
Oh Come On, Everyone Has a Favourite Colour
As a designer, it is important to remain objective. Colours evoke emotions that convey a lasting impression and it would be a huge error on my behalf to let my own bias get in the way of good design. Being aware of the fact that I may lean towards orange means that I can safely avoid orange in logo design, brochures and websites.
Orange has its place and certain things can be orange. But not everything.
I wouldn’t drive an orange car. An orange computer monitor would be too distracting. Orange glasses frames wouldn’t look good on me. Eating off orange plates would also be far too disconcerting. English Springer Spaniels, beef burgers, Abbot Ale and Marmite can stay exactly as they are.
The Right Type
Having favourites creates a bias that clouds judgement. An orange logo isn’t for everyone and would certainly give the wrong impression if it were used for certain businesses (imagine a funeral home with bright, fruit-coloured signage).
In the same way, fonts create an immediate impression and have to be chosen carefully. I know that I have a handful of well performing typefaces that can become easy choices for just about anything, but it only takes time and careful consideration to get past those few greatest hits to find a face that possesses the exact style that’s needed.
Looking beyond the obvious, the easy and the first idea that pops in your head is the basis of creating something eye catching, original and fitting.
So tell me – am I the only one who doesn’t believe in favourite colours?
Cornerstone Engineering (Saskatchewan, Canada) provides upstream oil and gas project management services to land owners wishing to drill a well and/or use hydraulic fracturing. They provide everything required, from licensing, contracting services, land preparation, drawing up of blueprints to completing the project.
To provide these services, Cornerstone would need to portray itself as experts in a volatile climate, capable of risk management and complex project management, acting in a position of very high responsibility and capable of returning a high reward for their clients. They would have to appear to have a knowledge of technical, legal and other industry-related liabilities.
In designing the logo, I aimed to make it appear to be professional, clean, solid, trustworthy and related to other industries of similar levels of responsibility. It had to fit in to the Saskatchewan Oil Industry yet stand out apart from the competition so as to be unique and identifiable.
After a few rounds of revisions, I presented Cornerstone with a set of logos in different formats and sizes to make it easy to use.