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11Feb10

A very neat telephone design for futuristic home use.


Design by Ear

12Dec09

Design is not just visual, but auditory as well. Sound creates emotions and ties things together. Auditory elements range from music to voice-overs, which all have distinct purposes and reinforce visuals. When developing a visual with sound, there are factors that come into play: ambiance, coordination and timing.

Ambiance > This dictates the overall mood of the visual piece. If there is an intended change of feeling within the design, then a clear difference of sound will occur.

*The video above uses appropriate ambiance by using Christmas music in relevance to the holiday season. Also, the mood of the video accentuates joy and optimism.

Coordination > In producing a successful auditory/visual design, it has to be tight and organized. One cannot just slap a song on top of a visual and expect a good result.

*The photo slide show uses good voice-overs. When saying the stores (Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy), the pictures of the stores would appear one after another upon naming.

Timing > The attention span of this generation is quite short, and they can get bored quickly. In keeping the audience’s attention, faster cuts within a video piece are done, but it can be bad if over done.

*The cuts for each photo in the above video are spaced apart well. It gives the viewer just enough time to scan the photo and comprehend it.

Graphics and sounds can function independently, but when combined they create a stronger presence.


Map Impression

06Dec09

This map displays the various dining venues that are suggested for dating. When clicking on the restaurants/cafes one can view a picture of the location. This photo is probably the most persuasive factor that affects the person’s choice. Venues should choose wisely in order to draw customers. In the case of this map, I want to show the restaurants/cafes as best possible in representing the theme of the map (romantic dining).

The map also lets the user have a first person view of the surrounding area. I chose dining venues that seat indoor and outdoor for alternative settings. For instance, the Theater District in downtown New Brunswick has beautiful lights and surroundings (The Heldrich & The State Theater). Therefore, places such as Soho and Daryl’s have alternative settings (indoor/outdoor), which support the romantic theme.

In addition to considering the surrounding area, prices of menu items is another factor that plays a role. So, including the price range was essential. The venues are from both ends of the spectrum, the affordable end to the expensive end.

This map exhibits various prices, types of food and settings for a romantic evening.

One could say life is perfect with good food and good relationships.


T-Designs

29Nov09

T-shirts are the most common form of apparel used to display artwork. Designs vary from text to graphic styles. Creativity is one of the top elements in making a successful design. Along with thinking out of the box, simplicity is usually the safest and best way in designing, but complexity is acceptable and a strong effective tool.

The first step of t-shirt design is understanding the message one wants to convey. Then, developing the actual graphic ensues. There are no set guidelines for t-shirt design, because different manufacturers have unique representations, and rules establish depending on the concept.

As a designer, I follow these instructions:

> Color scheme: only use two contrasting colors. If one uses more than two colors, those colors have to be used minimally and on a small scale.

> Composition: play to the outline of a human torso by creative placement of graphics.

> Text: do not use too much text, utilize readable font and apply typeface features in respect to the meaning of the t-shirt.

> Graphics: be relevant, but if random then use some sort of transitional effect.

This example displays good composition, and positions graphics effectively to the shape of the torso. The colors are simple and contrasting. Complexity comes from the graphic layering of shapes. The amount of text is minimal and at readable size.

Visit threadless.com, a t-shirt design company, which has very creative designs.

In t-shirt design, remember that the shirt is not the canvas, but it is the body of the person wearing it.


Logo Design

28Nov09

Words, text and letters all play a vital part of design. This especially applies to logos, which represents an individual/company (client). Logos are visual definitions that provide the audience with qualities to remember about that client. The art of designing a logo is dependent on understanding the client’s purpose and personal preference.

My logo (above) strongly conveys professionalism with a touch of elegance. These traits are created via typeface choice, color scheme and design elements discussed in earlier posts.

The design of text not only conveys meaning, but is essential in the success of any content’s visual appeal. For example, the magazine spread below shows how powerful text can be visually. The title captivates the reader, as well as gives a little foreshadowing to what the article may be about.

There are two major types of logo design, textual and symbolic logos, that both serve the same purpose.

Textual > This type purely uses letters. One works with typefaces and plays around with subtle effects, which caters to the client’s qualities.

Symbolic > One can create a symbol as an alternate/secondary representation of the client. This is a beneficial type of design, because it expands a client’s branding. The negative part is that if the audience interprets the symbolism incorrectly, the client’s image is misjudged (which in most cases is bad).

For instance, Nike is a globally recognized sports brand. The title refers to a winged goddess of victory, both in battle and peaceful competition. In the branding case of Nike, it makes sense in reference to competitive sports. Nike also uses the symbolic swoosh that resembles a check mark. In our society, a check mark means approval or accuracy. It does not really have a relevant link to Nike’s message, but the company successfully created a separate symbolic definition. So, every time a person sees the swoosh, they think Nike.

A good logo design embraces simplicity, compatibility and uniqueness.

> Do not add too much to the design, it misconstrues representation.

> Make sure the logo is compatible with the company’s image.

> Add some complexity to the design, so it is exclusive.

The development of a logo requires a lot of thought process, which is the first step in designing it. After brainstorming and understanding the client’s image, one can execute the design efficiently.

Examples:


Design can be applied to almost everything, which we are physically surrounded by that range from architecture to fashion. One type of design that allows an individual to express their personality in another form other than themselves is interior design. How one arranges and decorates their habitat can accentuate their character.

Interior design itself is a complex category, but I would like to focus on design within the home. Dealing with interior decorating one has to understand space, lines, forming and color/texture.

Space > this is how one dictates the layout of the room, and what space is available to decorate. One can see space as a canvas for interior design.

Lines > using lines is necessary, as it invokes emotions. Vertical lines suggest formality, while horizontal lines give off peaceful feelings. Diagonals are seen as the attractive form of lines. They create edge and give a room its elegance, but do be careful in using diagonals. If overused, it can cause too much visual noise.

Form > how objects and decorations are arrange make up a room’s form. Lines are especially the producers of form. Form defines whether the focus of the room should be closed or open.

  • Closed Form: a living room is arranged in a particular manner that directs attention to the focus of a large television.
  • Open Form: a kitchen with many stainless steel appliances that moves the eye around the room.

Color/Texture: This part of interior design is the most dependent on the individual’s personal preference. Color schemes are very important in creating emotions. One has to be consistent with color in a room, and also create repetition in texture to bring out visual appeal. Smooth textures enhance formality, while rough textures are more casual.

This bedroom exhibits a closed focus form of design. It clearly directs the attention to the television. The majority of interaction is sitting on the bed and watching the television.

This living room displays an open focus form. Although there is two couches and one seat focused on the middle table, there is an open side that leads to another space, which could be a kitchen table (lower left).

Interior design is a simple yet intricate art form. It allows one to express their feelings/moods and personality in different ways.


How do we know what we can click on websites? Visual elements ranging from color changes to text effects are the pioneers in creating clickability. The amount of traffic on a Web site is dependent upon usage, and clickability promotes this concept. Not only does it provide navigation, but it develops curiosity. If a link or button is visually appealing, the user will most likely explore it.

Here are beneficial tools in optimizing navigation and clickability:

Mouseovers: This tool is quite self-explanatory, one just hovers the mouse icon over the link or button, which at that point an effect appears. (Change in color, weight, intensity, etc.)

Color scheme: In identifying what is clickable, one can switch the background color of the button/cell, or the color of the text itself. Also, if the design permits one can switch the color scheme of both, but one has to remember to be consistent.

[This page displays that on the above navigation bar. Give it a go!]

Textual weight: Adding boldness or italicizing text links also tells the user what is clickable.

Window previews: When mousing over a clickable item, a window will appear giving the user a preview of what that link leads to.

[This page also exhibits this feature under “myFavs” and “myLinks”.]

Miscellaneous: Other common tools include drop down menus, interchangeable mouse icons and opacity change. These can all be seen in the site example below.

Decorations: Less used effects that add clickable notions such as animations can be helpful depending on whether it is necessary.

Highlighting is ultimately what all these features are summoned by. Just remember not to go overkill on the effects, and keep consistency and repetition (CRAP).

This Web site, Spark Capital, uses a lot of clickability tools as previously discussed. Be sure to explore the site itself, and the portfolio websites that all have great clickability.

Spark

A modern and current trend is the use of lightbox, a JavaScript application, which clouds out the current webpage and opens up a smaller window holding the desired content. Checkout the samples provided on this Web site. This may not be a clickability effect in itself, but is a feature that pushes users to click on more content, because it is visually engaging.

Design is not just eye candy but serves functionality.




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