Personal Design Project: Business Card Redesign

A goal of mine is to be more conscious of the design I see around me, to study the choices made and to decide if and how I would do it differently. Here is a business card I was given:

And here is my one-hour redesign:

I couldn’t find the same image they had used, but I tried to keep to the same theme with what I found in the public domain. I can’t decide if I like the border or not. Perhaps not. It’s funny how different it looks here on my blog interface compared to in Illustrator. If I were going to have these printed, I would definitely do several iterations and test prints first.

Ups and Downs

Two months since I last posted! This does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. How does one finally face a task that has been put off for so long that it becomes something to avoid altogether?

I question whether “task” is the right word for posting to this blog. Sadly, it has become a task, because honestly, I see no benefit to doing it —except for occasionally looking through my past projects and having that moment of —hey, I did accomplish a few things!

What I would love for this blog to be is a place where I am communicating with someone (or several someones) and that a dialogue begins; where I can hopefully inspire or motivate someone out there, and where perhaps knowing that someone put a tiny bit of effort and time into looking at this will give me a little extra motivation for posting more.

But for now, I will just keep plugging on —sharing this with the vastness of outer space and hoping to hear signs of life from beyond!

At work, I am often given the task of creating some page headers for online courses. After a while, they mostly all look the same —a pretty picture and the title of the course. This time around, I’ve been trying to push it to be a little more interesting and creative. Also, I’m studying to take the ACA test for Adobe Illustrator. ACA=Adobe Certified Associate. It’s a goal to work towards —and I’m learning a lot of little tricks I didn’t realize were there in Illustrator. Yay!

Somewhat typical:

Typical Course Header

Experimenting with clipping masks:

Slightly less typical header

Experimenting with opacity masks:

Less typical course header

My favorite, made in Photoshop:

The header I like best

Notice the inconsistency of the I vs 1? Yeah, I don’t know which one they want. It bugs me, too!

Hours of writing

Okay, “hours” might be an exaggeration, but seriously. Have you ever written and re-written something, trying to make it look really good, but definitely hand-written? I thought I’d throw together a little quote poster. I saw one in a book I was given recently: Fifty Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen and Caroline Roberts. It was by artist/illustrator Robert Massin. It intrigued me. (I started searching for it online so I could share, but it’s not coming up immediately and I don’t have the time to keep looking right now.) Anyway, I wrote the text over and over and over and was never satisfied. In fact, I gave up and then tried again days later, er… today that would be. So finally, in frustration, I just wrote and scribbled and wrote and scribbled. Not sure if it’s a look I’ll go for in the future, but it certainly is a breath of fresh air after what I’d been aiming for.

Shirt Stamping Method

Since I’ve only ever posted pictures of my finished stamped shirts, I thought perhaps this time I’d get a few photos as I worked on the latest one. The process is simple: sketch out and then carve the stamp, roll out some fabric ink, and have at it. Well, okay, on this project I also made a makeshift paper stencil for the shirt.

Bumper Sticker Typography

This past week a friend said she’d like to print up some bumper stickers to hand out to friends. I volunteered to design it. Turns out, it was good typography practice. I had several different versions, but there was a clear winner in the end. Before designing my own, I never gave much thought to bumper sticker design. Now I’ll be able to appreciate their good design as well as their messages.

Typography graphic

I’ve been watching Graphic Design Tips & Tricks by John McWade on lynda.com. It’s pretty cool to hear him talk about what works and what doesn’t and why. Inspired by his video on just using typography, I made this for my daughter whose show choir, Amplitude, was going to their first competition this past weekend.

I printed it on card stock and stuck the postcard-sized message along with a personal note inside her shoe so she’d get it just before they performed. It looked so good, neither of my daughters guessed that I was the designer. They thought I just happened to find the perfect postcard in the store for the occasion!

Design Practice

For a little practice, I decided to design a new book cover for my all-time favorite book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Here’s what I came up with, after many ideas that quickly became too busy and complicated.

To be honest, I just changed it again after seeing how it looked on my blog. I’ve found that it’s very helpful to see it in different sizes and contexts.

More photo interpretation

I’m playing around a little more with interpreting the photos I’ve taken. It’s an interesting exercise in letting go of what you envisioned and just going with what you discover along the way. In art classes they always warned us away from working from photos, but I think there are some good things to learn from them.

This needs more work, but I have a goal of posting each Sunday night, so I will go with less than perfect tonight.

Black and White – back to basics

Sadly I’ve been neglecting my Wacom tablet. Part of the problem, I think, is that I was so jazzed about all the things Photoshop could do.

What is it that reminded me that limits are good? I believe it was Learning By Heart again. (Corita Kent and Jan Steward) A hundred ideas is just about as bad as no ideas at all. At least, this is true for me.

So, here I am, returning to some basics, working with the simplest of lines and shapes in black and white.

bw_expression-01

bw_expression-02

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