Tag Archives: design

Research Treasures


I am in the middle of working on Illuminated Text dropcaps for my zine project. I’m loving the whole process of this project… gazillions of thumbnails… roughs more than I imagined I would ever do – all by hand… and I haven’t even hit the computer yet! Eight weeks into the project and I still am not on the computer. That is a first for me.

In the beginning, I loathed the whole idea of “by hand.” It sounded archaic, time consuming and laborious. However, I’ve discovered that it’s taking me back to my roots. It is giving me the opportunity to feel the paper with my fingers, watch the graphite spread across the surface, listen to the gel ink roll out of my pens. It is taking me back to the heart of why I chose into this career path – the opportunity to express myself artistically in all that I create.

In looking for inspiration on my Illuminated Text, I was perusing some blogs on wordpress and discovered there is a “freshly pressed” category for design. Hours later, I realized I hadn’t done a stitch of homework, but I surely do love all the stuff I discovered out there. One of the treasures I discovered was this beautiful company and their incredible products. I thought I would share it here as a way to show that design truly IS everywhere.

Monstrum’s Awesome Playgrounds

And I am inspired!

Steps to Arrive at a Great Design

“One does not simply arrive at a great design, it is developed through hard work.”

Described bellow is the process (though simplified) one must take to arrive at a great design. I am using the examples of 25 year old French designer & typographer, Claire Coullon to show & help explain the process.


Take the time to concept out different approaches to the design problem. In Claire’s case below, she “developed three variations that looked at different extremes between relatively restrained sans serif types and more decorative brush scripts.” This process allows one to focus on the many different solutions to a problem, rather than focusing on the first solution that came to mind. This also points out the vastly important need to have an effective brainstorming session, either with yourself or with other creatives.

Revisions & Adjustments

Now is the time to focus on the solutions that are working the best. These solutions should be the most effective answer to the posed design problem. Claire, “narrowed the logo down to two versions…” I have found at this point, refining your ideas down to the top 2 allows you to shift the focus from different answers, to making those answers better & more effective.

Notice the difference from Claire’s roughs above, to her tight roughs below. She has taken the time to specify what is working and what’s not working. This allows her to see the best & worst of both concepts and refine those into a finished logo.

Final Logo

Notice that Claire’s design was not finished after the tight roughs, it was still refined and tweaked to make it better. By utilizing this simple process of 1.) Development 2.) Revisions & Adjustments 3.) Final Logo a design can arrive at a great design with confidence that the solution presented is the best answer to the design problem. There are many solutions to design problems, however if we learn how others solve problems and use their methods in our design process, we to can help our clients in the best possible way. We can help them not only receive a great design, but we can help them receive an effective design. Design is not simply about creating beautiful things, but about solving our client’s design problems.

See more of Claire’s work on both her portfolio & dribbble page.

The Oldest Form of Advertising

This is NOT how it’s done


Newspaper ads, despite being the oldest form of print advertising, are still an effective way to reach a large audience. However, you need to make sure it is the right audience! Unlike the Internet which has a young demographic, the majority of newspaper readers are usually those aged 45+. Even so, you can get the best results out of your ads by requesting that they run in the sections of the newspaper which most closely relate to your target audience.

Since newspapers are divided into columns, your ads will be sized according to a predetermined formula: a certain number of columns wide and a certain number of inches long. By doing a little bit of research, you can find out the typical ad sizes for your local newspapers based on column width. It is best that you design your ad to fit correctly within the provided parameters in order to avoid any resizing issues during post-production.

Here are some tips you can keep in mind while designing your newspaper ad:

  • Use the bottom section of your ad as a coupon to provide an added incentive for readers to visit your location. Use the coupon to track the response rate of your ads–you’ll know how good your ads are by the number of people using the coupon.
  • Add a URL to your print ad to drive people to your website. There, you can tell and sell them more and provide a printable coupon.
  • Give your sales rep all the information they might need well ahead of deadline so you can get a proof sheet to check all the facts before it goes to print.
  • When it comes to proofing, check your phone number, your URL, any percentages off, brand names, and every other detail. Get another pair of eyes to check for mistakes, too.