Design adventures are for everyone

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With my years of working with a variety of clients I’ve put together a short list of things to keep in mind before diving into a project. Especially when it deals with design. They mostly stem from personal experiences so do take it with a pinch of salt.

“I want my logo bigger… or what is white space?”
Some of us do love living the BIG life. Some love it more than others. And while big sometimes can be awesome (especially some parking space at the office building) slapping a big logo on every single piece of your branding, is barely the solution. Think of all that wonderful white space like the air we breathe. Without it life would be so suffocating.

Be adventurous with colour.
Pink isn’t the only way to show off your adventurous side. Experimenting with a wider range of colour harmonies for your design will give it that extra spunk. A lot of logos already use the usual combinations of blue and red. Go ahead, be adventurous. I’ve had the most stubborn clients warm up to colours around the pink family. The same goes with designing a poster or a brochure.

Here is an interesting article on the overuse of orange-blue contrasts in movie posters.

A double rainbow colour explosion
Now that you’ve become a colour explorer, don’t forget that using colour sparingly is the key. Rainbows are awesome and double rainbows even more fantastic. But when it comes to your brand or design too many colours in your palette can be difficult to recall or for your audience to remember. Two colours are the best to stick with. There are a few exceptions. The new Instagram logo – while many detested it outright – with its gradient colour scheme still has great recall value. This is one of the rare moments but hey… go ahead and prove me wrong.

What the Font?
We all love them ‘free’ fonts don’t we? As the Dutch saying goes: “Never look a gifted horse in the mouth” (yes go ahead, Google what it actually means). But sometimes applying a well-designed font to your artwork is well worth the 10, 20 or 50 bucks they cost. Remember that a person has really put it a lot of hard work towards making that fonts look and feel perfect. Yes, we all know your safest refuge to look for free fonts (I won’t name them here but you know which website I’m talking about).

Look for fonts that have been designed keeping language support in mind. This is especially helpful when working on multilingual projects. You do not want to be ramming your head on your desk trying to design those extra Russian or Spanish characters/glyphs which would fit with the rest of the font design. When theres a lot of text involved, you wouldn’t want to go there.

There are some great websites out there like www.fonts.com which has regular deals on entire font families. For all you script lovers www.creativemarket.com also boasts of a huge resource of script/handwritten fonts.

Stock is like the walking dead… but a cure does exist

Stock is like the walking dead. But a cure does exist.
You need to spice up your website! Let’s be honest the best filler you could have between all that text is an image. Or you have to have an advertisement to help promote or sell a product. An image is the best way to convey your idea, right? A stock image. A free googled image to be more precise.

Yes! Yes, I haven’t forgotten about that (free) gifted horse. But the only way you are going to stand out is if you are truly different. Say for example you need to design an article about the school system. The most obvious thing one does is add a picture of a classroom or a playground. This is so obvious and lacks imagination.

Go Local!!
Why not commission a local illustrator? There are plenty of illustrators in your city. Trust me google the word illustrator and the name of your city. You can build up a fantastic new working relationship while supporting someone locally. Maybe negotiate a friendly price for the use of the illustration/image say for over a period of a year and for a set number of media. If you’re looking for that international touch to your project you could also look them up on www.behance.net.

Still not convinced with going with illustrations for your brand? Then at least look up alternative stock image websites. ‘Death to the Stock Photo’ is one of the few unique alternative stock websites out there. Try out the non-obvious ones and save yourself an embarrassing experience of having painfully uninspired imagery on your website.

With approaching design problems, I can only signoff by saying “Adventures are the best way to learn”.