Need to Sharpen Design Skills? Been getting stuck-in-a-rut of late; maybe tied down with a long grinding project that just never seems to finish? Need a fresh injection of something new and random to spend a few hours on?
"These practice design prompts are intended to challenge you to think outside the box."
Head on over to the Sharpen Design Generator, and flick through a serious of Graphic Design related challenges: or side-project, exercises, self initiated tutorials, call it what you will.
Once you have completed one or more of the challenges, then you can send them a copy of your work, and/or Buy Them a Beer!
Put it in your Design Portfolio
If you actually end up designing something pretty special, then there's no reason why you can't put this in your design portfolio.
I have a mixture of client, and self initiated, logo and brand identity design projects in my Logo Portfolio.
Your design portfolio is ultimately about showing what you are capable of, not just about how many 'real' clients who have worked for.
Sharpen Design: Random Graphic Design Challenge Generator
I've always been under no illusion, that freelance contracts are mostly worthless when it comes down to having to enforce it, as it costs money to hire legal help in order to do so.
A lot of freelance designers, simply can't afford to go down that route.
However, what the freelance contract does provide is a clear set of: rules, guidelines, specifics, and overall expectations, that help both client and designer agree on what exactly is being agreed upon.
A freelance contract, for the most part, is like a glorified Check-List; simply helps manage those expectations during the course of a project.
It helps keep both designer and client honest, and helps prevents those, "you said this, and you promised that" scenarios, that without a contract are hard to argue against.
Bonsai Freelance Contracts
My life has been so much easier since using Bonsai freelance contracts, and I can't really ever see a time when I'd now not use one.
With a few PayPal cases that I've have to deal with in the past, being able to show PayPal the contract that the client signed, has inevitably saved my bacon.
So, even though I'd likely never be able to legally enforce a contract (I know many other freelancer designers in similar situation), having a contract simply reduces overall anxiety, as it feels like a nice safety blanket, or reserve parachute.
It's there if you need it…
The Freelance Contract - A Free Design Contract Service by And Co
As well as Bonsai offering freelance contracts, there is also another offering from And Co.
The Freelance Contract is super easy, and very customisable , so it'll be something that I will try in the near future.
It also has some features that Bonsai doesn't yet have, and these are features I'd like Bonsai to implement.
It's free, so no real reason to not give it a try.
Having come from the traditional side of commercial printing, whilst serving out my apprenticeship, I found this simple demonstration of 4 colour CMYK printing to be pretty useful.
If you've not had the opportunity to work in a printers, or watch a 4 colour printing press at work, it's not always so clear as to how the CMYK process of layering each ink: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
This simple GIF: larger version at this link: http://i.imgur.com/DrLJmHf.gifv really does do a great job of showing how each progressive layer of CMYK builds up to the final CYMK composite.
Demonstration of 4 Colour CMYK Printing with Acrylic Slides
I've saved an individual frame, as each acrylic slide is about to be put down, in the images below, starting with Black (often referred to as the letter 'K').
Cyan Acrylic Slide
Magenta Acrylic Slide
Yellow Acrylic Slide
Black Acrylic Slide
Composite of all CMKY Acrylic Slides
Simple demonstration, using Coloured Pencils, showing 4 types of Color Blindness: Tritanopia, Protanopia, Deuteranomelia & Total Colour Blindness.
I've not taken an awful lot of notice when it comes to Color Blindness, even though there are many Color Blindness examples and documents etc.
I found this particular visual example, of demonstrating the various types of Colour Blindness: Tritanopia, Protanopia, Deuteranomelia and Total Colour Blindness, to be quite effective at grabbing my attention for once.
My simple, yet creative, brain likes pretty coloured pencils; for once I've found myself acknowledging what a challenge and utter frustration it must be to suffer from any form of Color Blindness, particularly full colour blindness.
Color Blindness Awarness: Colour (color) blindness (colour vision deficiency, or CVD) affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world. In Britain this means that there are approximately 2.7 million colour blind people (about 4.5% of the entire population), most of whom are male.
Color Blindness Demonstration - Full Version Graphic
4 Types of Color Blindness
Tritanopia (less than 1% of males and females)
Protano (1% of males, 0.01% of females):
Protanopia is a severe type of color vision deficiency caused by the complete absence of red retinal photoreceptors.
Protans have difficulties distinguishing between blue and green colors and also between red and green colors. It is a form of dichromatism in which the subject can only perceive light wavelengths from 400 to 650 nm, instead of the usual 700 nm.
Pure reds cannot be seen, instead appearing black; purple colors cannot be distinguished from blues; more orange-tinted reds may appear as very dim yellows, and all orange–yellow–green shades of too long a wavelength to stimulate the blue receptors appear as a similar yellow hue.
It is hereditary, sex-linked, and present in 1% of males.
Deuteranopia (1% of males):
Deuteranopia is a type of color vision deficiency where the green photoreceptors are absent.
It affects hue discrimination in the same way as protanopia, but without the dimming effect. Like protanopia, it is hereditary, sex-linked, and found in about 1% of the male population
Defined as the inability to see color. Although the term may refer to acquired disorders such as cerebral achromatopsia also known as color agnosia, it typically refers to congenital color vision disorders (i.e. more frequently rod monochromacy and less frequently cone monochromacy).
In cerebral achromatopsia, a person cannot perceive colors even though the eyes are capable of distinguishing them. Some sources do not consider these to be true color blindness, because the failure is of perception, not of vision. They are forms of visual agnosia.
Monochromacy is the condition of possessing only a single channel for conveying information about color. Monochromats possess a complete inability to distinguish any colors and perceive only variations in brightness. It occurs in two primary forms:
"Mere color unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways." — Oscar Wilde
The Psychology of Color Chart and Their associated Moods in PMS Colours Designed by Carey Jolliffe
There is no doubt that the application of colour for logo design, and any other type of graphic design, is hugely important.
The wrong choice can completely ruin an otherwise great logo, and in some cases, a good colour palette can lift an otherwise 'ok' logo design.
Colour theory isn't always easy to apply, and it does involve getting deep into human emotions, if you want to be able to deliver the right message in your designs.
The following text is taken from the The Psychology of Color Chart, featured above. This color chart was designed by, Carey Jolliffe.
If used effectively, colour theory is one of the most powerful tools a graphic and logo design can wield.
Colours are a form of non-verbal communication that can speak volumes in a fraction of a second.
Colours can instantly set a mood, convey an emotion, invoked a physiological reaction, or inspire people to take action.
When we harness the colour emotion to help tell a client's story, it can have a powerful effect.
Below is a list of PMS Colours, and their associated moods.
The Importance of Colour by Stephen Wildfish; a fun and quirky visual exploration of how colour can be interpreted, or misinterpreted.
Affecting how we might interpret certain visual elements, either rightly, or somewhat inappropriately.
The Boob one is the best, obviously, as I'm a guy. I have no shame…
Freelance Graphic Designers: How do you Find New Work and Clients?
Thought I'd poll all you freelance graphic designers, logo and web designers out there, and see how you all collectively find yourself new clients, or how clients find you.
I've opened up Comments below, so please take a moment to share your various strategies.
Hopefully you'll like to share any methods that you employ in your quest to make yourself findable to potential clients, such as:
Google Search, Blogging, Social Media, External Portfolios, Paid Freelance Directories & Showcases, Paid Ad platforms like AdWords and Facebook Ad's, Local Press Advertising and Marketing.
How do you help potential clients find your design studio, how do you help yourself be found amongst the ever increasing number of freelance designers and design studios?
My Basic Strategy
I for one mostly have bene able to rely on Google, through many years of blogging. It seems the majority of my client clients still find me via Google Search.
Some new leads come from word-of-mouth, recommendations and the occasional repeat client.
I do dabble with the occasional Paid FaceBook Ad campaign, but that's mostly to just help overall awareness; Sowing the seeds so-to-speak.
There's no doubt that over the last few years, it's become dramatically harder to find new clients just due to the sheer scope of competition.
There are many any new freelance logo and graphic designers arriving to compere for work each day, not to mention the heavy competition from crowdsourcing sites like 99Designs and Crowdspring.
If you're of a generous and helpful disposition, then it'd be great to hear how you look for, and get new clients.
I do love poking around all the various color palettes, and colour swatch libraries currently available online.
I frequently visit such established colour palette websites as ColourLovers for inspiration for new logo design, and other graphic design projects.
Color Lisa is a tasty variation of existing color palette and swatch libraries, based on painted masterpieces of the worlds greatest artists, for us Graphic Designers.
The Color Lisa website is simple enough to get around; there's only one long page listing the artists from A-Z. Click M in the top list of letters from A-Z, and you'll jump down to Monet, for example.
THE DREAM by Pablo Picasso
RAINBOW by Bille Apple
Color Lisa is a curated list of color palettes based on masterpieces of the worlds greatest artists. Each palette was painstakingly created by color obsessed designers, artists, museum curators, and masters of color theory. Palettes are constantly being added to help keep your designs colorful and fresh.
Color Lisa was made by Ryan McGuire, an artist, photographer, designer, and lover of color. Fun fact about Ryan: he drives a bright green (HEX #A5C955) and orange (HEX #E9AF42) 1971 VW Beetle he turned into a dinosaur. Questions, guest curator requests, and praise :) can be sent to [email protected].
uiGradients: Modern Dual-tone Colour Gradients for Designers & Developers by Indrashish Ghosh
I've had this lovely website bookmarked for a few weeks now, after initially tweeting it; it's been in my 'to blog' list until now. Christmas is all but here, and I wanted to post something colourful and useful.
— Graham 'Logo' Smith (@thelogosmith) November 29, 2015
If you struggle to come up with pleasing gradients for your designs, then uiGradients is worth bookmarking. It'll allow you to select from a healthy library of colour gradients from which to bring your web designs to life.
You can also 'Get the CSS Code' (as below), which makes it super easy to make your website look really pretty:
background: #7b4397; /* fallback for old browsers */ background: -webkit-linear-gradient(to left, #7b4397 , #dc2430); /* Chrome 10-25, Safari 5.1-6 */ background: linear-gradient(to left, #7b4397 , #dc2430); /* W3C, IE 10+/ Edge, Firefox 16+, Chrome 26+, Opera 12+, Safari 7+ */
If you're the sort of person that likes to give as well as take, then you can also 'Add your Gradient', for instant Karma points:
Adding a gradient is easy. All gradients are read from a
gradients.jsonfile which is available in this project's repo. Simply add your gradient details to it and submit a pull request
The Foundation Collection of 75 Fonts from Monotype for £33
Fonts from Monotype: Are you a budding new graphic designer, or even a more seasoned designer? Looking for some solid and dependable fonts from which to build you typeface collection?
For just £33, instead of £330, you'll get a heap of 75 well known fonts to solidify your type library, including but not limited to: Avenir Next, Clarendon BT, Neue Haas Unica, DID Next Slab, Trade Gothic Next, Stemple Garamond and Unit Slab OT etc.
I really would recommend buying these fonts from Monotype if you're looking to some serious graphic designing, as a lot of these will certainly come in useful.
Good graphic design isn't just about using the latest new font; it's about using the font that is best for the job. In many cases: these established fonts are used to good effect, and they'll see you good for years to come.
© 2006-2016 All Rights Reserved
The Logo Smith: Logo & Brand Identity Design Studio, with 25 Years Experience,
in Cahoots with, The PR Room - Public Relations Agency: Tech, IoT & Smarthome PR Services.
Graham Smith: 10 Badgers Copse, Seaford, East Sussex, England.
Tel: +44 (0) 7816 527 462 - Email: [email protected]