Experience = design confidence x10

Recently we had an opportunity in Graphic Design III to do two real projects for REAL living and breathing (yep… they had a pulse) clients.  What an experience for both myself as an instructor and 14 year design veteran, and the students involved in the project. We’ll hear more from them later.

Project 1, was a financial advisor with an amazing way of helping his clients. Wanting to help them to give as well as grow their funds, he is driven to the clients by his faith… and his wanting to help them in every part of their financial life.  It’s amazing that businesses still can run this way, right?

His firm is called Marshall Financial Planning. And he luckily had an idea of his wants/needs before hand. His tag line, is GROW. PROTECT. GIVE.

The project started off with a bang with good thumbnail work (though I always can see more… a-hem!) and conceptual ideas by the students  as well as interactive time with the client in a round table discussion before and at various stages of the project. The students actually presented several ideas each and we walked through the painstaking presentation board setup such as creating pockets for easy access so the client could remove mocked up business cards and see how they would feel in his hands. {Note from the instructor: graphic design is an interactive process, to be touched, held, and emotionally engaged}.

This project went smoothly, only a few things that I hope the students have learned. While I always discuss, and encourage them, I also demand that they go above and beyond expectations. To be honest, in this area we need a little more work. They are designers and should give the client the “wow I would have never thought of that” moment.  I had them also very involved with the estimating process. There is no small task in the overall process of creating for a client.

At this point I think they’ll agree that experience is truly the best teacher. I created this for myself as I was going through classes, and I am excited to guide opportunities like this in the Belhaven Graphic Design program.  I have attached the latest of the chosen logos for Marshall Financial Planning.

This logo below, is designed by Andrew White. I think you will find the concept clear and Marshall Financial will find success for their clients as they teach them to GROW. PROTECT. GIVE.          Stay tuned for Project 2 of this series.

Marshall Financial

Home for the holidays

The holidays are great times.

They can be times of reflection as we travel and head back to old stomping grounds. They are exciting as we think of the scents and colors of the season. But most importantly they are an individual experience.

Many times in class we will discuss design and concepts, and reaching within our own creativity to pull out fresh ideas, but what does that mean to us really?

Well, my take on this is that Design inspiration is EVERYWHERE and you never know where it will strike. Traveling is one of the best ways to re-ignite that spirit because we get out of our own routine and into a fresh set of circumstances.

As you travel this holiday, turn your senses on to patterns, color, and textures of the seasons, whether it be a combination of color in Uncle Paul’s shirt, or the gorgeous colors inspired by nature on our overflowing plates at our holiday meal.

So come back to class with a renewed sense of design, and a new palette too, because the beets you toss, might be an amazing color next to the sweet potato mash in a new design layout {see my headline color combo}.

Oh… and most importantly, give thanks for your talents, your vision and the people that support you in your design endeavors. Safe travels to all.

Give Your Creative Gifts in some way, shape or form this holiday.

The always inspiring holiday season always excites me. Take a look at some of these color combinations and the texture in some of these very simple ideas.

Also look at the staging of their photos.

(I see nice execution for your portfolio)

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With the rush of all the class projects and heavy thinking to make sure we have concept behind our artwork, the constructive criticism weighing heavy on us as we hand in our end of the semester projects, it is fun to work on projects “For Design’s Sake”

The holidays give us lots of visual stimulation, but how many of the cards and notes and gifts we receive truly are well designed??

I often have clients that request holiday cards, and this is a time to let go, and enjoy the creativity that comes along with the real meaning for the season.

After all, the holidays are about giving and sharing, and what better way to give than to share  our God given creative talents as part of a gift to others as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  This holiday, make something, anything and share it with others, you might just save a penny or two as well. 🙂

Fly on the wall: Graphic Design I, and we’re already branding fools………..

So what exactly is it we are doing in our graphic design classes this semester… some want to know:

In Graphic Design I, we just completed an assignment to brand a fictional shoe store concept. Students chose and completed a container for the shoes, a logo, a business card, and a bag to carry the product away.

Branding is a concept that is usually foreign to new design students, but I think you have to start right away, thinking about function of your mark(logo) and whether the vision you have will work throughout a certain length of time.  This project created a lot of excitement, and I’ll have photos to post pretty soon.

Some of the  ideas were:

Notable, an upscale women’s shoe store which utilized the fabrics and tones of women’s business clothing fabric to help create it’s environment and palette.

Golden Idol, a store that carried island flip flops, materials were raw and imagery and visuals were taken from the forest of an island to give it a unique environment.

Ditto, a children’s shoe store, where the logo was a whimsical set of chairs in bright color and different sizes, and the box, had a handle to be functional for their mini clients to carry their new pair of shoes away.

The Refinery, an upscale men’s shoe store, inspired by aEuropean environment, and utilizing that imagery of the countryside and a store front of a small village upscale shop within  the brand elements.

ahhhhhhhh……. The Designers Toolbox, filled once again with valuable info. Live it. Learn it. Visit it OFTEN.

Headlines to brochures, Headlines to editorial spreads, Headlines to Web pages, and more… Headlines can become more than just the biggest piece of text on the page. The way you set the type can become a defining element of your layout or even the entire campaign. Here are different headline styles you may want to explore or build upon in your next design.


So one my my favorite sites, is called Designers Toolbox

I am linking you to a great page about Headlines and thinking about headlines within your layout…

Bookmark  this site to help you tweak your graphic design skills

Headlines From Designer’s Toolbox