Creativity in a corporate environment

Camellia Varieties

This article was published in the How’s Online Newsletter today, I think it’s right on, what do you think?

Are Creative Professionals Praise Addicts?
Furniture designer and artist Harry Bertoia said, “The urge for good design is the same as the urge to go on living.” That kind of personal connection to one’s work makes it challenging to maintain high morale on any design team. Unlike jobs in technical fields that have right and wrong answers, creative work is subjective. Teams are given an outline, specs or themes and expected to deliver something that has never been created before – and loved by the client or upper management. As part of a design team, it is important to remember that praise goes a long way, but what else can make the difference between low morale and perpetual enthusiasm?
The staff at The Creative Group put together some common pitfalls that supervisors make that could impact just that. Below is a excerpt. The full article can be found on HOWDesign.com.

1) They Assume Employees are Lucky to Have a Job.
While many people today may feel fortunate to have a stable position, keep in mind that your most talented employees always have options.

2) Innovation is Not Fostered in Creative Culture.
Encourage staff to approach you with innovative concepts; if you can’t implement them, explain why, and let the team know you value their input. Remember that if employee suggestions are dismissed without any real discussion, staff will stop presenting them.

3) Letting a Lack of Recognition Trickle Down.
Recognition often becomes endangered during busy times because employees are so focused on their design work. If you’re feeling under-appreciated, don’t make your team feel the same way.

Bad morale in a creative environment is not good for the company or the brands. Keeping in mind how creatives think is key to keeping them excited and passionate.

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Beautiful Florals-Flowering Artichoke

Croppod Floral 2 copy Floral Side Cropped Beautiful Flowering Artichoke

I recently ran across this flower in a neighbors yard, it is absolutely beautiful — and very exotic looking. I had never seen anything like it. I just had to shoot some close-ups to further analyze it. Have you ever grown one of these? Is it grown from seed? Is it an annual or perennial? I have a lot to learn about this beauty. The purple is extremely vibrant! Mother nature creates another beautiful floral.

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Remembering Lilly – Vintage Pattern Design!

Lilly Pulitzer Fabric

Lilly Pulitzer Fabric

Yesterday we lost a wonderful designer. Lilly Pulitzer was known for her colorful prints and shift dresses. Here vintage patterns are fabulous. Today the Lilly Pulitzer patterns can be found on coffee mugs, notebooks and home decor and more. The story of how she started it all, is fascinating! You can read it here on the Lilly Pulitzer website.

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Fonts Flash Sale-Today Only-75% OFF

Typewitter Font

Typewitter Font

Purchase six styles of the ITC American Typewriter Family for only $39! Normally $157, on April 2nd until 8pm (EDT) be one of the first 350 customers to purchase and you’ll receive the Light, Light Italic, Medium, Medium Italic, Bold, and Bold Italic styles of the ITC American Typewriter family at the deeply discounted price of only $39. The link for this product is: Fonts.com

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Beautiful Callery Pear Tree

All the Callery Pear Trees are in bloom here in Southern California. The trees fill with white flowers before the leaves come back in early Spring. They don’t produce pears, but small seed like fruit for the birds to eat. Commonly used in landscape design here, they are often planted in lines along the streets, creating a beautiful scene at this time of year.

 

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A Very Creative Email Newsletter!

 

If you don’t subscribe to fonts.com‘s email newsletters, you’re missing out on a great treat. It’s great to see what’s new in fonts and what’s selling, but the design and creative writing of the newsletter is really wonderful. Check it out here.

 

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Choose a color palette!

Color Inspiration

Color InspirationThe nature photo can inspire multiple color palettes. This one has multiple neutrals, but there are infinite possibilities with a photo like this. Tomorrow, I’ll post another selection from this image. I took the photo in a hotel garden on the Central Coast of California.

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List of Stock Photography Sites

Gladioli, ©2012 debiSeltzer, www.szstudiodesign.com

Gladioli, ©2012 debiSeltzer, www.szstudiodesign.com

I know we spend hours and hours searching for just the right image for our project, and sometimes, it’s still not quite right, yet you don’t have a budget for a professional photographer. Here’s a list of some of the most popular stock photography sites:

VintageMedStock.com, granger.com, shutterstock.com, stockimages.snapfish.com, fotolia.com, photospin.com, thinkstock.com, bigstock.com, blendimages.com, veer.com, istockphoto.com, superstock.com

 

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A child of the 70’s

70s Font

70s Font

Funkydori is a throwback to the 70’s, like the artist who created this font, I too and a child of the 70’s. This font comes with a large collection — 213 alternates, 13 discretionary ligatures and 38 ornaments allowing for a wide variety of looks. Titling Alternates switches the design to an unconnected script making it extremely flexible. Funkydori can be purchased at my fonts. Laura Worthington is the designer.

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Keeping Track of Time

SZ Studio Time Sheet

SZ Studio Time Sheet

If you’re a designer, whether you’re a web or print designer or even a web coder, you probably get paid by the hour and you realize how important it is to keep good time sheets. Here’s a sample of the one I created. It has 3 sections per day to track your time in and out of a project. I staple it to the front of my job jacked for each job I’m working on. For larger projects, I just keep stapling copies to the top of each other as they fill up. There’s also space for expense notes, such as stock photography purchased, prints made and domain/hosting services purchased. Then, when it comes time to bill the job, I have all the information I need in 1 place.

Being organized is such a huge part of what we do — anything that helps push the project along, efficiently, is a good thing.

For a FREE, generic version of my time sheet in a pdf format:

Generic Time Sheets

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Another Beautiful Publication Design!

A beatiful magazine

A beatiful magazine

I’m a magazine freak! I love them, I constantly have a pile of new ones near my bed and my desk. There’s nothing better than opening up a brand new magazine, I just love the smell of the ink and the brand new untouched paper. When I saw the new issue of Real Simple Weddings, I thought it may be the most beautiful magazine I’d ever opened. The photography is absolutely gorgeous, the layout is well — of course it’s beautiful, it’s Real Simple! But what surprised me the most was the fact that it was printed on a beautiful, ultra smooth buff colored paper. The images are designed with white in the frames. The white on the buff is stunning. If you haven’t seen this issue, I suggest you stop by a new stand ASAP and take a look at it. You won’t be disappointed!

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Color Matching

Pantone Plus Series

Pantone talks about why and how they came up with the Plus Series. It’s all about color.

Pantone Plus Series

Designers were asking for more options in the Pantone Library. If you’ve ever tried to match a screen color in print, you know how difficult and most times impossible it is. This doesn’t solve those problems, but it does give you more options to choose from when picking/matching colors and may enable you to get a little bit closer to the screen version of a color. Did you know colors are infinite? We can never have enough color!

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Yaaay! Mad Men is back!

Mad Men Fashion

Mad Men Fashion Late 60'sMad Men Fashion

They’re well into the 60’s now. The art direction on this show is amazing. From the wall paper to the dresses, it’s all so authentic, I just love it. Last night Don Draper’s new wife wore the most amazing dress. Here’s a shot of it. Janie Bryant, the costume designer spoke about it on the amc website. It’s a vintage dress, they remade the sleeves in chiffon because they had deteriorated, the chiffon is accordion pleated but you can’t tell on tv or in the images. It was beautifully fitted and just gorgeous on Megan. I adjusted the brightness in the images below to show more of the lines in the dress. It’s a classic! A perfect cocktail dress!

 

 

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On Trend?


I recently received an invitation designed in the most interesting font. When I researched it, I found that it was set in Bernhard Fashion. This font was designed in 1929 and has very distinct characters. It was used in it’s original style. It’s a font I’ve had for many years, but I don’t recall ever using it.

1920's Fashion

With the success of “The Artist” at the Oscars last night and the invitation, I’m wondering if the roaring 20’s style is back in fashion?

 

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Rex Ray’s Beautiful Work

A Quote from Rex:
“I was getting so frustrated with having so many hands in my work,” he says. “You mentally internalize that criticism. When you’re an artist, you become your own worst enemy in that sense. I really wanted to just get back to basics and indulge in simple creativity.”

Rex-Ray-s-Joyous-Collages-Come-to-the-Home w=300]

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2011 Fall Color Trends

Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Fall 2011 Color Palette

As reported to Pantone, fashion designers take a painterly approach this season. They’re combining brights with staple neutrals. Rich coffee will continue to be a staple as well as quarry, a medium gray. Deep teal is paired up with cedar and honeysuckle is used as an accent color with neutrals.

When designers were asked what colors they would add to their palette here’s what they said: sea glass green, a rust color, a grayed down mustard yellow, and a sparkly gray.

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Where to Buy or Sell Fine Art

Here is a list of sites that sell fine art either as prints or originals. I especially like Zatista.com. They have a wide range of styles, the art is all original and it’s easy to save your selections and come back to it to choose what you like. The prices are set by the artist and the site takes a 30% commission. This sounds high to me, but I’m not sure what a brick & mortar gallery would get on commission.

20×200.com

aceditions.com

artoftheprint.com

artstar.com

circuitgallery.com

exhibitiona.com

eyestorm.com

society6.com

theworkingproof.com

tinyshowcase.com

zatista.com

This list was compiled by Readers Digest. For more details on each site go to:

The Best Places to Buy Art Online

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Vintage Illustration of New Orleans

My mom found this in my grandparents old house. It was the top of a calendar. There was not date on it, but judging from the car, the illustration may have been done in the 30’s? The colors are very intense, just as they are here. Beautiful!

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A master designer passes on.

Doyald Young had a fifty year career as designer and teacher at Art Center College of Design. He was well known for his lettering and logotype designs. He was known as a good listener, patient teacher and self-proclaimed perfectionist. Doyald was a legend in the world of typography and he wrote the 3 books featured above. For more information on his life and his work, here’s the NY Times article and visit his website.

There’s also a free documentary on his life at Linda.com.

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Beautiful Illustration

Beautiful historical illustration

Beautiful historical illustration

This is a print I bought at a thrift store. It’s dated 1909, it was used for a Sunkist ad. The skin tones are especially beautiful. The texture looks so soft, it may have been created with pastels. The flowers, her dress and the background look more like watercolor. I don’t know about her hair, maybe the artist used a combination of  both.

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This weather’s for the ducks!

Pair of Mallards
Female and Male Mallard
Female and Male Mallard

This beautiful pair of French (Mallard) Ducks, spent the day in our backyard again today. They drank and swam in the pool, ate bugs out of the flower bed and just hung out for the day. The female is brown and of course the male is more beautiful with his green head.

It’s cold and rainy today in Southern California, perfect for ducks.

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The psychology of color!

psychology of color, pink

psychology of color, pink

Did you know that a certain shade of pink causes a short term decrease in aggression? Pink is the most calming of all colors — many jail cells are pink, studies show that the color pink drains energy. Think of pink as the color of romance, love, and gentle feelings, to be in the pink is to be soothed.

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New Gap Logo

I think the Gap’s clothing line evolved and it’s logo didn’t. I remember when they first opened, they sold a Collegiate style, kind of east coast yuppie clothing, khakis, white or plaid shirts with v-neck sweaters. Now their clothing style is hip and cool. The logo never reflected those transitions so when you try to make that transition now, it’s a very big change. That’s what people are reacting to. I think you could bring the original logo up to date without such a drastic change. I would like to see a version of the sans serif inside the original blue box, but thicker and brought out to the edges. I’d also try the same technique in the original font.

From a production point of view, the new logo will be difficult to apply as 1 color, it also looks like the blue square has a transition of color, this could be a problem in reproduction of some materials.

In defense of the design firm who did the redesign. I know that sometimes it’s impossible to sway the client into the right design. They can, in may cases make a bad decision or influence the designer to create what they want, which is not necessarily what’s best for the brand and marketing of the product.

What do you think?

For more info.

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An interesting Marketing Story

Dr. Charles Browne Fleet created ChapStick in 1889. His early ads read “People who go out for recreation in July will become sunburned, more or less. They will please remember that ChapStick is the quickest and best remedy for it.” He was a gifted chemist, but never would have made on Madison Avenue.

Twenty-three years later, he sold his recipe for $5, to local business man John Morton. Morton and his wife spent 7 years mixing the product in their home kitchen and  turned ChapStick into the successful brand it is today, generating $110 million a year.

Frank Wright Jr., designed the ChapStick logo, still in use, for a fee of $15.

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What the font?

Have you ever seen a font in print and wanted to use it, but couldn’t figure out what it was. Well there are 2 places you can go for identification. You can upload a .jpg to myfonts.com or you can answer a series of questions at identifont. Even though myfonts.com asks for you to keep space between the characters, I’ve used their system for script fonts, it gets pretty close and gives you multiple fonts to compare.

Overall a good tool to use. Not like the old days of thumbing through thousands of pages of fonts to compare serifs and weights.

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Great Photoshop Shortcut!

Photoshop Shortcut

ShortcutsPS

This shortcut will create a new layer, combining all of the visible layers below. You can then make the original layers invisible and resave the file as a .psd. This way you only have 1 file with all the layers for editing, and 1 combined for placement without creating multiple files, thus saving you time and hard drive space. Thank you Creative Techs.

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Coming Together

ComingTogetherSOTA, The Society of Typographic Aficianados, has announced the release of a new font called “Coming Together”. This font is made up of over 400 glyphs, mostly ampersands to represent coming together to help one another. The font was designed by a group of type designers, graphic designers and illustrators from around the world. All proceeds from the sale of it will go to “Doctors without Borders” to benefit the people of Haiti.

The font is being sold for $20US and can be purchased: Veer, Ascender Fonts, My Fonts, and The Font Shop.

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Best Selling Fonts

 

According to fonts.com and fontshop.com the following fonts were best sellers in 2009:

Arial •  ITC Franklin Gothic • Benton Sans • FF Meta • FF Din • Eurostile •  Gill Sans • DIN Next • Avenir • Futura • Frutiger • Helvetica • Interstate • Akzidenz Grotesk • Univers • Trade Gothic • the Sans • Neo • SoHo •  ITC Avant Garde Gothic • Rotis • Zapfino • Optima • Estillo • Helvetica Neue • Estilo Script • Waza™ • Olicana Smooth OT • Louisiana • Metroscript OT

There are many more classic fonts than I would have imagined.

If you haven’t visited fontshop.com lately, you have to check out their new tool: type navigator, it helps you figure out what type you need by the specific characteristics of a font. You choose the size of the serif, the general shape, proportions, weight and more, of the characters you want and it matches your choices up with all of the fonts within close match of those characteristics. It’s just another way to search for a font when you’re not sure what you’re looking for, or if you know what you want it to look like, but have no idea what the name of it is.

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Color Trend 2010

According to Pantone® and the global authority on color, the 2010 color of the year is Turquoise. It represents an escape to a tropical paradise. And who couldn’t use that after 2009!
soothing • inviting • luminous • wellbeing • water • sky • healing • pleasant

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Beautiful Print Sample

If you haven’t seen the new promotional piece from Neenah Paper called “Love Linen” you’re missing out on a beautifully designed piece as well as the experience of touching the amazing tactile quality of linen. The design guys have chosen an appealing palette which showcases the vibrancy of the paper along with some sophisticated typography. This would make a good addition to your paper library.

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What is Graphic Design?

A communicator: A designer uses type, imagery, symbols and color to organize ideas into a clear, concise, unified message. Designers provide this service for businesses and organizations to communicate to their audience and cause a response.

Quote by Paul Rand, Graphic Designer, from his book Design, Form, Chaos, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1993: “To understand the meaning of design is …to understand the part form and content play…and to realize that design is also commentary, opinion, a point of view, and social responsibility. To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit; it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps to even amuse.”

“Design is both a verb and a noun. It is the beginning as well as the end, the process and product of imagination.”

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