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Gaining Perspective

3 Dec

From our discussion of printing in class I gained a greater perspective on my boss’ career path. My boss for my internship, David Wolfskehl, began his career in the quick printing industry, becoming the second largest quick printer in New Jersey before moving on to accounting and entrepreneurship. I didn’t really understand what the on demand printing industry entailed until our class Tuesday. I also didn’t realize the complicated process that goes into recycling paper. It was interesting to hear Professor Taylor almost discouraging recycling because of the large number of chemicals that go into it. Though we clearly just scratched the surface of the printing industry with our discussion in class, I feel that I have a greater perspective on printing and recycling because of it.

Race for the Cure

2 Dec

A New Frontier for Design

19 Nov

The Internet is something that we all use daily. It has forever transformed the journalism industry and has created a new frontier for design. Website design is a trendy field in the graphic design industry and thus websites have some unique and diverse layouts. Here are four websites that I find both visually appealing and successful.

Abstract Mall is an online clothing shop for alternative and extreme sports attire. It goes beyond the typical brands of Hurley, Quiksilver and Billabong which can be found in any mall across America. Instead, Abstract Mall focuses on niche brands which have shunned the corporate world to remain true to their alternative roots.

Abstract Mall has one of the cleanest website designs I have ever seen. As a viewer, your eye is instantly drawn to the feature image, which scrolls to show different clothing items and brands. This image is the only color element on the page, giving it significant weight in the design. There is a clear visual hierarchy with the clothing product image dominating the layout while smaller drop-down menus provide the text content near the bottom of the design.

I like the usage of drop down menus to avoid cluttering this elegantly simple design with too much text; however, I wish Abstract Mall had made its name more visible on the website homepage rather than simply featuring it in the scrolling graphic.

Waterlife is a website showcase for the documentary film of the same name. The film focuses on the story of the last great supply of fresh drinking water on Earth, The Great Lakes. This website offers its audience a wonderful preview of the breathtaking cinematography and rich storytelling found in the film.

The true genius of the Waterlife’s site cannot be captured in a simple screenshot. Sure the layout is visually stimulating and the typeface selection creates a strong visual hierarchy, but that is just the surface of this website’s design. The beauty of this site is found in its fluid navigation that mimics the gentle motion of a lake. This type of strong visual and verbal linkage is something difficult to create on the web. Perhaps that is why Waterlife’s website was named one of the Top 10 Best Flash Websites of 2010.

Knockaround is a sunglass brand that began as a side project for aspiring artist Adam Moyer. Moyer set out to create a down-to-earth sunglass line with classically designed shades at affordable prices. Through Facebook marketing and word of mouth Moyer’s brand has expanded to include 3 sunglass styles in a variety of colors as well as belts and t-shirts. Needless to say Moyer’s sunglasses have become his art.

Knockaround’s website is similar to that of Abstract Mall. It begins with a clean white background and overlays text and photos. Knockaround has improved on my critique of Abstract Mall, prominently featuring its name on the homepage. This is done is a way that does not detract from the scrolling product-shot image below, aiding the strong visual hierarchy. If I could change one thing on this website I would contain the content on one frame. As evident from my screenshot, Knockaround’s website is scrollable; therefore, you must scroll down in order to see the full design. As a viewer I hate having to scroll to see valuable information on a website and in general I just choose not to. Consequently, Knockaround’s viewers are not getting the full website experience because of this design flaw.

MarcEcko is a well-known fashion designer. His life’s work, from fashion to art to gaming are all contained in this extremely successful website. MarcEcko.com is a wonderful example of using the vast possibilities of Flash to accurately reflect the entirety of a consumer brand within a website. Even visitors unfamiliar with the Ecko brand will feel they understand the art and philosophy it symbolizes within a few minutes of touring the site.

The sheer volume of content that is crammed into this site while still remaining clear and intriguing is a testament to the powerful design. I like how Ecko has encapsulated his brand, using boxes to represent each arena in which he designs and also each segment of his website. This, along with the different box sizes and usage of spot color creates a strong visual hierarchy. If I could change one thing from this site I would simply make the top banner remain constant rather than transforming into a drop-down menu. This drop-down menu seems to detract from the artistry that fills the rest of the design, overlaying a text heavy drop box above the strong visual layout.

Endorsement: An Advertising Trade Publication

16 Nov

The Typography of Hip-Hop

16 Nov

The typography employed in this layout is illustrative of the message of this magazine spread. The futuristic typography clearly coincides with the new school hip-hop movement that this article references, creating a linkage between the visual typography and the verbal article. The lines between the headline, deckhead and byline create a strong visual hierachy despite the typographical repetition.

Unlike the headline, deckhead and byline, the body text employs a different typeface. In keeping with the futuristic theme, the art director chose a  similar, though slightly more reader-friendly, sans serif font for the bulk of the article. This selection adds to the strong typographical gestalt as well and the visual and verbal linkage intiated by the headline typography. This first spread would capture the attention of any reader because of its strong text gestalt and visual and verbal linkage as well as its visual hieracy established through the usage of color in this layout.

Designing For the Eye: A Definition of Color Categories

5 Nov

Spot Color

This Time Magazine cover uses red, one of the most dominant visual colors, as a spot color, tying together the visual and the magazine outline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duotone

This EJOM Magazine cover uses a duotone of brown to highlight the midtones of this stunning photograph. This is most evident in small box which is spotlighted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analogous Colors

This issue of Print, a design magazine, is illustrative of the usage of analogous colors as it incorporates several shades of purple and blue to create a pleasing and eye-catching color arrangement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complementary Colors

This cover of Natural Solutions Magazine incorporates the complementary colors of orange and blue. This well know contrast capitalizes on the different “temperatures” of these colors to create a visual hierarchy in the design, with the blue items receding and the orange items jumping to the front of the page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triadic Harmony

Dolce & Gabbana uses the triadic harmony of the colors blue violet, red orange and yellow green, to create this strongly cohesive advertisement.

A Brand Experience with Allen Adamson

31 Oct

Allen Adamson, a Syracuse graduate and managing director at Landor New York, returned to Syracuse last week to speak on the topic of Building Powerful Brands.

In his lecture, Adamson differentiated the terms brand and branding, calling a company’s brand what it stands for and a company’s branding how it signals that sentiment to the public. In order to succeed in today’s competitive market, companies need both of these aspects to be firing on all cylinders.

A company’s brand is based on four major aspects: differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge. To achieve these brand facets Adamson stressed the idea of a brand story. Companies must create a difference that matters and make a brand promise that is both achievable and linked to a meaningful purpose.

Branding institutes this theoretical brand story and reveals it to the public. A company must be able to prove or execute its story by achieving goals or reaching what Adamson calls “proof points. ” These “proof points” are signals of a successful brand and in the best brands they are interwoven into the overall experience of the brand story.

This experience is quintessential of today’s top brands. In our increasingly digital world, Adamson focuses on the idea of a cohesive branding force. All of a company’s employees must be on the same page and truly understand and embody what the company stands for. Still, he warns young marketers and advertisers who have grown up in this digital age to not underestimate the power of word of mouth.

Just like in design, sometimes the simplest methods are the most effective.