Monday, April 24, 2006

abstractAroma: article 1.0 update

I'm currently working on the first of three articles that are focused on designers who branch out and start their own product line. The first article has some inspirational comments and observations from two very talented designers who are a great combination of funky and philosophical!

Who's gettin' interviewed? Come on, it's not going to be that easy...check back soon!

Friday, April 07, 2006

abstractAroma: what's brewing for the weeks ahead!

In looking back, there's been a lot to talk about. Whether it be an interesting piece for your coffee table or a great outlet for your creativity, abstractLatte has brought it to the surface so that everyone has an opportunity to learn and grow. Well, I'm happy to say that there's not only more to come but I'm branching out with some new topics that are sure to provide new insights into the creative world.

I'm currently working on two articles that explore the minds of creatives and their amazing ideas. The first article will focus on a selection of designers that have taken their skills and started their own product lines. These are designers with their own successful careers in the industry so finding out what inspired them, and why, will be on the top of my list! The second article will focus on the alternative uses of blogs. Blogs are commonly thought of as convenient ways to share your thoughts and day to day activities. However, there's other uses for this great resource that have been growing over the years that have brought creativity and creatives together in a common virtual space.

These articles are still in the works so check back soon for a behind the scenes look at creatives, blogs, and the products they reveal.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

featured artist 04.06: Sanna Kaiser

This month's featured artist is someone who captured my attention with subtle detail and an almost "less is more" mentality. And I have to admit that as a graphic designer, I really like the website! You can view the artist's work at

process, process, PROCESS!

A big problem these days is the computer. I know that sounds strange but I don't mean it in the manner that you think. The computer is an amazing design production tool, it saves us time and energy and puts more production power in our hands. However, some graphic design students and actual graphic designers have adopted a habit of running to the computer to start experimenting with various ideas. There is no sketching, no idea-generating systems, no research...just a lot of mouse work in their favorite software package. This is the result of no process and without a process, the designer is left to wander in and out of various passing ideas and thoughts. That leads to a weak end best.

Graphic design is a process that ultimately allows the designer to be creative and create unique, appropriate, and successful work. That process begins with ideas and research, period. Occasionally, a designer will encounter unique circumstances that force him/her to work quickly and with an abbreviated process. That's fine, as long as you're experienced enough to have an established process that is used consistently. But, when a designer starts on the computer and begins to "play around with type" or "fiddle with shape tools in Photoshop", they are refusing to develop strong ideas and a strong concept. That's what the sketchbook is for, to make sense out of all the ideas going through their head and to sketch out rough ideas to work out the rough spots.

Why am I making such a big deal out of this, aside from the fact that process is such an important part of design and a design education? Because I see work displayed by so called "designers" that has no concept or is obviously lacking process. Because I've seen students in the first year of actual graphic design BFA classes run to the computer at the beginning of a project. Because I've seen both students and designers told that something is working when it's not. Because some designers think that the computer replaces the sketchbook. How is this mis-information/education corrected?

As a graphic designer critiquing a student or designer's work:

-don't provide feedback until background information and sketches are provided, explain why that's necessary
-relate weaknesses in the design to the design process and how the process can solve those problems

-emphasize the sketchbook over the computer
-be honest...polite, but honest

This is such an important aspect of graphic design education and practice. Regardless of whether these bad habits and mis-information are a result of a poor education program or a poor self-study routine, the bad habits and mis-information need to be corrected for the sake of the student, the graphic designer, and the industry.

Monday, April 03, 2006

PhotoFortnight theme 18: Transport

Feel free to go mainstream or really stretch your imagination but either way, keep your eyes open because you might only have a few moments to focus! We're looking for photographs that deal with a topic that plays such a huge role in modern society, a topic that could be approached from either a positive or negative perspective. The submission deadline is April 15th so grab your cameras before this theme takes off!