Archive: Nov 2016

  1. 7 Graphic Design Trends for 2017

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    As 2016 comes to a close, 2017 offers graphic designers new options and choices when it comes to what trends to adopt. Whilst many of 2016’s graphic design trends are still as popular as ever, there are a few new ones making their way into the forefront of designer’s minds. Here are 7 design trends to make sure to look out for in 2017.

    Modern-retro

    image-1-retro-modern
    Modern-retro has, by its very definition, been around for a while. Modern flare added to retro typefaces and colour pallets makes for an interesting fusion of new and old. 2016 saw the modern-retro design rising through the ranks of popularity and finding its way onto packaging, web design and company logos everywhere. The Modern-retro style’s popularity will almost definitely continue and we haven’t seen the last of it yet.

    Responsive Logos

    image-2-responsive-logos
    Responsive logos have been designed to keep up with the ever-expanding selection of formats and scales available to users. Scaling down for mobile phones doesn’t just mean making things smaller, a good logo will respond to its environment and still be functional. Responsive logos are simple and malleable. With more smart devices with different forms available every day, the responsive logo can only continue to become more relevant in 2017.

    Cinemagraphs

    image-3-cinemagraph
    Cinemagraphs are still photographs where a single, minor movement is made. The image will usually come in the form of a GIF. Cinemagraphs are an incredibly simple and effective answer to one of modern marketing’s biggest problems: time. Marketing supposedly has to work faster to grab our attentions, and cinemagraphs do just this. With more and more competition between marketers and screen real estate, expect to see cinemagraphs coming to screens near you in 2017.

    Minimalism

    image-4-minimalism
    Tracing its roots back to the early part of the 20th century and, for some, even further, minimalism is as popular today as it ever was. Minimalism’s focus on simplicity and functionality has led to is adoption in many brands and design trends. Apple has opted for this “Less is more” idea, along with Google who embodied it within ‘material design’. Intentional white space means more breathability and reduced focal points. With its popularity only increasing, it looks like minimalism is here to stay for 2017.

    Illustrated (Hand drawn) images

    image-5-illustrated
    Illustrated images are great for adding a clearly human element to graphic design. More recently, Illustrations have tended to be simple and evoke a kind of childish and nostalgic feeling. They can be used in a huge range of situations, but are becoming increasingly popular as a way of explaining and illustrating more complex problems or instructions. 2017 will likely find itself littered with these types of design as their ‘sketching’, ‘independent’ quality becomes more and more popular amongst consumers.

    Modular layouts

    image-6-modular
    Modular layouts function to break up a text and put it into manageable chuncks. Instead of using a long block of text, graphic designers have found that making the information more manageable makes more people want to interact with it. Not only does modular design function as a great management tool, it can also look really professional when done well. Expect more minimalist designs in 2017, with possible influences from other trends on this list.

    Bold photography and sleek text

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    This one is pretty much a staple in the world of graphic design at the moment. The mix of bold and sleek text with images which captivate the viewer, make for a design trend which exudes class and style. The text and photography tend to work together to create some great contrasts and brilliant borders.

    Last year, Time reported on a study by Microsoft which suggested that audience attention spans have shortened as a result of a more digital lifestyle (http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/). It would appear that the future (if not already the present) of graphic design is heading towards a focus on making information as accessible as quickly and as easily as possible. However, different styles suit different brands and attract different people. Trends are a great way to see popularity, but make sure that it fits with the brand before applying it. Check out http://yellowcreative.co.uk to see some great examples of styles others are using now.

  2. Understanding the basics of colour theory

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    You might think that your co-workers or your projects or your meeting schedule determines your mood at work. While those are all contributing factors, there’s something else at play, too: colour. The colours and colour combinations in your work space, and in your home, have an underlying power to energise, to promote creativity, to encourage calmness.

    That’s because colour is bound by rules. Some of those rules you probably learned a long time ago in elementary school. That’s because the rules are easy enough to decipher if you have a color wheel. To learn what those rules are and how they influence you, check out the basics in this graphic.

    colour-theory

  3. Design tools you should try

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    The article suggests 8 design tools that every graphic designer should be familiar with and try out in their projects.

    The job of a designer requires constant learning and analysis of new trends, capabilities and tools. When you are involved in designing digital products, you should always look for ways not just to ease the process of wire-framing, designing and prototyping, but also provide a better and more efficient service to your clients.

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    The variety of available and emerging design tools makes designers more confused than ever. It will be hard, if not impossible, for you to try them all, and hard for us to say which one is the best and right for you.

    We’ve picked these 8 design tools to limit your choice and recommend only those we found to be the most efficient and helpful:

     

    Experience Design CC

    image03It is also known as Project Comet and is aimed at making UX designers more productive. It fills the gaps that designers had while working with Photoshop and Illustrator. This Adobe tool allows changes to be made in a mockup and automatically adjust them to all screen sizes. It’s possible to quickly change between the artboards in the design and prototype mode. Once the changes have been made in the design mode, they will also be shown in the prototype mode. One more useful feature is the “repeat grid tool” that enables designers to choose an element and repeat it as many times as necessary.
     

    Atomic

    image02This tool is widely used for creating prototypes on any device and then viewing it on other devices. You can conveniently design a prototype in your browser, either on a PC, Mac or iPad and then continue working on it from a different device. It also enables real-time sharing across the devices. In the era of freelancers and digital nomads, this tool is highly-effective for designers who prefer to travel or work remotely.

    Smart Tags

    image07Designers have to work with huge piles of photos, especially if they design for different devices. Adobe has released a new service that uses image recognition software to create keywords for your images. There are 100,000 tags available in the system and they help to manage and navigate the images effortlessly, no matter how many of them you have. The tool is particularly useful for designers and marketers who need to work with huge amounts of graphic content.  

    Ceros

    image05This tool is mostly intended for marketers and designers who create eBooks, infographics, banners, magazines, etc. It enables those working with text and graphics to use them in the most efficient way. Those who usually create these marketing materials in Photoshop or Illustrator, will adore how much easier it is to work with text elements here.

    10,000ft Insights

    image08This tool has been built to rid designers of the mess associated with the piles of sketching files, e-mails, handwritten notes, not to mention materials from their teammates. This tool can be used on desktops and tablets and enables you to arrange all the separate pieces of information together. You can divide all your content into separate Pinterest-like boards and add other files, links and notes to them.

    Adobe Color CC

    image00Apart from the well-known Illustrator and Photoshop, Adobe has developed a number of useful widgets for designers. Adobe Color CC, which was previously known as Kuler, enables designers to generate colour palettes and store them for further use in their design projects. It is even possible to save the palette in the cloud.

    FontBook

    image01An indispensable part of a design job is working with fonts, experimenting with font families and styles. The built-in font tools are not always convenient. As an alternative, FontBook helps designers to easily manage all the fonts in the system and look for new ones from the web.

    OpenBrand

    image04Is a highly useful tool for creating impressive design mockups for projects. Its most convenient feature is that it is built-in to Illustrator or Photoshop and you can thus easily access your files without leaving your software.

    It’s impressive to observe how thinking about design seeps into every aspect of product development. Due to such an enormous selection of design tools, it has now become possible to design while traveling, eliminate some routine tasks and leave more space for creativity.

    Found something you are in to? The design tools we’ve selected for this article are either free or go with different pricing options. The final decision on the choice of a suitable tool should only be made after in-depth testing.  

    Have anything to add to the list of must-use design tools? Then share your thoughts in the comments.

  4. Working from home? Practical tips for creating your workspace

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    Working from home as a freelance graphic designer is a great option. No traffic jams, no broken coffee machines, no waste-of-time meetings. But, you must get your space organized and separated from the rest of the house. You need to think work and creativity and not be looking at those unwashed dishes from last night’s dinner.

    Here are some practical tips for creating the perfect workspace.

    1. Allocate a separate space for work

    If you are lucky enough to have a whole room to use as an office that is the perfect solution. If not, clear space in an existing room and try to separate it off with room dividers, large pot plants or a bookcase. Clear this area of any furniture, clutter, kids toys, hubby’s tools and other items that you would not find in a real office.

    2. Buy comfortable and functional furniture

    Get yourself a comfortable desk and chair. You don’t need an executive style desk! Look for something small with drawers and a shelf at the back for storage. A proper chair is a must-have. As we all know, sitting for hours can damage your health, especially if you are using a rickety old kitchen chair. Mount shelving for storing files and books and the coffee machine or invest in a small closet. Mount a whiteboard for work ideas and then splash out on a great poster or ornament that inspires you. If you have space, a comfortable lounge chair with a luxurious throw will be perfect for your brainstorming and time-out sessions.

    3. Set up your desk

    As a graphic designer your laptop, printer, mobile phone and backup devices are the most important items you need. Having plug points set up where you can easily reach them is a must. Don’t grovel on the floor for wires! Use cables tidies and docking stations to keep all the techno gadgets neat and tangle-free. If you don’t enjoy overhead lighting or don’t have a great source of natural light, install a modern lamp with different settings that can be adjusted to suit your mood.

    4. File papers neatly and smartly

    As much as this is an online world, you will probably still need to file papers and documents. Mark your files clearly and store them alphabetically. The ones that are used most often can be kept close to your desk, eliminating the need to keep getting up. Create a marketing file with samples of work and customer reviews and have it ready to grab-and-go when a potential client calls. Don’t mix work and personal documents, keep your personal files separate or even in another room if possible.

    5. Keep your equipment serviced and up to date

    There is nothing worse than settling down to few hours work and finding that the printer doesn’t print or the laptop has been whacked by the latest virus. You are on your own, there is no support team waiting downstairs for your call. Backup your data regularly and test that the backups are usable. If possible use Cloud Storage where data is off-site and always safe. Have a reliable internet service provider and find a hardware supplier close by in case of emergency. Don’t forget to keep a supply of extra ink cartridges in your drawer.

    6. Network online or in person

    Working from home can be awesome but can also be lonely. In this digital age, networking online is easy. Allocate time for that but don’t get caught up playing on Facebook all day. Getting out now and then is a must, especially if you don’t visit clients in person. Attend seminars, take a course or visit a business expo. Make sure they are work related, dropping into the local coffee shop is not a good idea!

    Get your laptop and papers off the couch and spend some time setting up a home office with an ambiance that will enchant and inspire you.