Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Website Design

Think back to a time probably not so long ago for most of you, looking up something on your favorite search provider. You see a link you like and click on it, but when you get to the webpage it is full of ads, and has none of the information you hoping to find there. At some point in our lives this has happened to all of us. Below are some tips to help you avoid having to go through this experience again.
First, you must have an accurate idea of what you are looking for in the website. For me I determine if a website is "worth my time" by the content of the webpage (whether it is accurate or not), the layout (if there are lots of ads or few ads), and the ease of use (if what I am looking for is easy to find and easy to understand). 5 tips I follow when surfing the web are, when looking up things for school, I always go to the advanced setting in the search provider and only allow sites with the .edu or .org. This dramatically reduces the amount of useless websites you come across and you can be sure that the information you are receiving from the website is accurate. Second, I am always on the lookout for websites that might get a virus on my computer, and I am especially careful to not click on links to unknown places. Also I look at the layout of the webpage. If it is neat and organized, it is easier to find the information I am looking for, and makes me more likely to come back to that website. The information should be short but useful so you only find what you are looking for. I also like unique concepts or information presented in different ways. I also like a website that has diagrams and picture for what people usually explain in words, or they find interesting and fun ways to present information. This keeping web browsing from being boring and dull. I also like colorful websites. They try to make their site unique which makes you feel less like you reading the same information over and over again.
Some websites that I feel really present what I am looking for in a website are
Each of these websites presents their information in a unique succinct way. Their pages are visually appealing and you know what the page is about right away. These websites are what I would consider well designed and easy to view and use. They are all that I look for in a great website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Typography Reflection

Of the images I created in our lesson of designing with type this was my favorite picture. It was created from the font Baskerville and solved the problem of scale. This was my favorite because it not only successfully utilized the concepts of contrast, figure/ground, and balance but it turned out so unique. I like the way it took ordinary type and created an image out of them. The white on black not only made the image crisp and neat but was part of the design as well and contributed to the picture even on its own. I also like how the text is the image but also the background especially seen in the "A". The white and black balance each other out and the scale also balances out the design. The touching of forms of the letters into the blank space of the previous letters is a design element in its own right. Also the "A" does not completely fit into the screen and it is therefore cut off  utilizing the design principle cropping of forms. Overall this piece has a visual appeal as well as a design appeal. While it does not really invoke thought or emotion it is unique and structured. It was my favorite image to create because as I was thinking about what I could do for the prompt, and playing around with different letters and designs running through my head, this one came to me and I instantly liked it. It was not difficult to create but was one of the best designs I did.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Daniel Nelson

While searching for an interesting topic to write on I came across a graphic designer named Daniel Nelson. It started out as a random search on the internet for interesting photography, but suddenly I came across an intriguing photo of hands making up a peace sign. I clicked on the picture and I was taken to a site full of fabulous photographs by Daniel. Below is a sample of some of my favorite pieces.


Daniel Nelson is a designer as well as a web developer from Sweden, and along with these pictures, he has created the graphic design blog From Up North. This has become a very popular blog and has gotten a lot of attention from the graphic design community. Some of the work in the blog is shown below.


I chose these pictures because they were not just simple pictures, but had very interesting designs and colors that made them stand out. Such as in the first picture, he took a regular drop of water and manipulated the photo to look as if you were peering into another world in that one drop of water. He created art in something as common as water. The next photo takes a picture of a man and overlays another picture almost as if to say this is what this man is made of. The third photo gives and interesting view of land and water, which is also prevalent in the last photo of the tree in water. The sunset set in the picture has vibrant colors  as well as in the third picture with the natural colors of the land that invoke emotion in the viewer. These pieces of art are fabulous, and Daniel is a truly talented designer, and in my opinion, one of the best.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I favorite font of mine would have to be the font comic sans. This font is a casual script typeface modeled on fonts used in American comic books for several decades. Sans is short for sans-serif. The modern Comic Sans was designed by Vincent Connare and released in 1994 by Microsoft Corporation. He began work on Comic Sans in October 1994. Connare had already created a number of child-oriented fonts for various applications, so when he saw a beta version of Microsoft Bob that used Times New Roman in the word balloons of cartoon characters, he decided to create a new face based on the lettering style of comic books he had in his office, specifically The Dark Knight Returns  and Watchmen. He completed the face too late for inclusion in MS Bob, but the programmers of Microsoft 3D Movie Maker, which also used cartoon guides and speech bubbles, began to use it. The typeface later shipped with the Windows 95 Plus! Pack. It then became a standard font for the OEM version of Windows 95. Finally, the font became one of the default fonts for Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Internet Explorer. The font is also used in Microsoft Comic Chat, which was released in 1996 with Internet Explorer 3.0.

This font is one of my favorites because I like how it is not such a straight crisp font but utilizes curves. It almost looks like it could be someone’s handwriting which I really like. Whenever I don’t have to write a document for school I use this font because the style of it really appeals to me and it is really easy to read. I like it for casual documents because it sets the tone for the writing before I have to say anything. It is a refreshing break from the strict fonts we are only allowed to use for school documents like Times New Roman which sometimes is too straight and professional. This cannot always be used for other documents because it would set the wrong tone. I have always liked coms sans loose, relaxed look and can be viewed throughout this document because it is actually all written in comic sans.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Here's a list of some interesting facts and stories I found and compiled regarding font types. 
 Helvetica was designed in 1957 by Max Meidinger. This deliberately anonymous typeface is one of the world's most commonly used fonts, with variations created for both Latin and non-Latin characters. Its solid, upright forms are tempered by surprising curves in the lowercase a and the uppercase R. Helvetica has a generous x-height and is available in numerous weights and styles. It was called Neue Haas Grotesk before getting its current name, Helvetica, in the early 60s, which is the Latin word for "Switzerland."
Frutiger designed by Adrian Frutiger took 7 years to develop and even after 40 years, continues to be one of linotype's best selling fonts. 
Futura is the font used on the plaque left on the moon by Apollo 11 astronauts.
Courier - This typeface was designed by Howard Kettler in 1955 and was commissioned by IBM in the 1950s for use in its typewriters. Kettler originally named the font “Messenger,” but then revised the title to “Courier” to give the font more dignity, prestige and stability.
Stymie Extra Bold is used for headlines in the New York Times and sometimes in its Sunday magazine.
Verdana was designed by Matthew Carter to be used and read on screen. Carter co-founded Bitstream Inc. in 1981, one of the first digital type foundries, where he worked for ten years. Designed with an eye for both function and aesthetics, Verdana's characters have a large x-height and are widely spaced to ensure that letters don't run together. The font was first released when shipped with Microsoft's Internet Explorer in 1996.
Scala was designed by the Dutch typographer Martin Majoor beginning around 1990. This thoroughly contemporary typeface has geometric serifs and rational, almost modular forms, yet its humanistic design reflects the calligraphic origins of type, as seen in the lowercase a. Majoor sought to create a font suitable for laser printing. A skilled book designer, he designed the serif and sans-serif versions of this face to work together. Majoor followed Scala with Seria, another contemporary classic.
Gill Sans was created by the English designer Eric Gill in 1928. Its forms are more humanistic, less geometric, than its German contemporary Futura. Note how the lowercase a relates to the a in Garamond (in contrast to the circular a of Futura). Additionally, Gill Sans is recognized by its flared capital R and the closed descender of the lowercase g. Gills Sans has been called Britain's Helvetica; it remains today an overwhelmingly popular typeface across the United Kingdom.
If a font is any less than 4 pixels high it becomes unreadable.
It is believed that the letter "a" is the first letter of the alphabet because it came from the symbol that represents the phoenicians' chief livestock the ox.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I like this poster because instead of just writing the word coexistence, they chose to make their poster stand out be replacing some of the letters with pictures. This made the poster more eye catching and it conveyed a different meaning. First you have the word, but when you look at the letters you see the moon and a star, the jewish star, and a cross. Be looking at this you can infer this poster does not just wish for the people to live peacefully together but they specifically want people of different religions to get along. Just by changing a few elements of the design the artist conveyed a completely different and more powerful meaning. The text is what portrays the meaning of the picture and without it the viewer would be lost, but the images give specific meaning to the message.  The relationship between the image in the back and the words is that the dark sky provides a contrast for the picture elements to stand out more and that the image of the "heavens" means we can find unity in whatever we might believe. The vastness of the sky implies there is room for whatever one's beliefs are. I like the way the artist portrayed so many meanings in this simple picture but also left the meaning up for interpretation as well. When looking at the picture, your own experiences provide a different meaning to what you can see.

This image was also a favorite of mine because the text is the image. The words form the picture and give it its meaning. At first glance we see the hands holding up the peace sign. But when you look closer you see that making up the hand are words shaped to form and image. You can see the word trust makes up all the words. It is repeated over and over. You can infer that trust makes up peace. In order to have peace we must trust each other. The artist conveys this message be having peace made up of the word trust rather than the other way around.  The small decisions the artist make determine how the viewer will interpret their work. In this piece the artist used text not as an added element to a picture but as the picture, which I really liked. It made their piece interesting by their use of unconventional design elements.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Graphic Designers

One of the first graphic designers I came upon in my research was a man called David Carson. Each website I looked at concerning his work, praised his creativity and his ingenuity. He was born on September 8, 1954 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Carson's first actual contact with graphic design was made in 1980 at the U of A on a two week graphics course, taught by Jackson Boelts. He attended San Diego State University as well as Oregon College of Commercial Art. Later on in 1983, Carson was teaching high school Sociology in del mar California when he went to Switzerland, where he attended a three-week workshop in graphic design as part of his degree. This is where he met his first great influence, who also happened to be the teacher of this course, Hans-Rudolf Lutz.
Later in the 1990s he directed a couple magazine's where is work first became known. It was his magazine Ray Gun that made David renown in graphic design. It is said this work features "distortions or mixes of 'vernacular' typefaces and fractured imagery, rendering them almost illegible". He is also credited with "changing the public face of graphic design". His work features unconventional designs and non-mainstream techniques. He helped change the work other graphic designers produced through the example of his own work, especially in his magazines.
Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Carson_%28graphic_designer%29

Another graphic designer I found was Rob Janoff. In 1977, Janoff worked for Regis McKenna as an art director and was tasked to design the logo for Apple Comupter, creating an apple with a bite out of it. It is said that the bite taken out of the apple was to make sure the apple was not confused for another fruit, but this is still just speculation. The real reason for the colorful stripes was that the Apple II was the first computer that provide us to see colorful images on monitor.  Also, it was an attempt to attract attention to everyone, especially to young people. He also created ads and printed materials for Apple. Later he did design work for both IBM and Intel. According to Rob Janoff, simplicity and readability in design are key factors for being successful.
His work is some of the most well known graphic designs ever. Around the world his work is some of the most recognizable, especially his apple logo. Because of Apple's rise to popularity his work also gained popularity. The simplicity of the design, but also the sleekness of it helped make it such a genius design. Its message is conveyed in one simple picture, but that picture has become more influential then any other. He was my favorite graphic designer that I researched because I have seen his work, so he seems more real to me. Also I really liked his design, which made him much more of a favorite to me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Balance in Graphic Design

Balance places elements on the page so that text and graphic elements are evenly distributed. In layouts with an even balance the graphics don't overpower the text and the page doesn't seem to tilt to one side or the other. Balance in graphic design can be achieved by adjusting the visual weight of each element, both in terms of scale, color, contrast, etc.


Symmetrical balance is seen in perfectly centered compositions or those with mirror images, like the image pictured on the right as well as below. In a design with only two elements they would be almost identical or have nearly the same visual mass. Symmetrical pages don't have to have the exact same text or images on each half, it's more about the overall look and feel. Each half would have about the same amount of text or the same number and size of images, or everything is aligned down the middle.

Asymmetrical design is typically off-center or created with an odd or mismatched number of disparate elements. This asymmetry can be viewed through the example on the right as well as below. When the left and right sides of the design are unequal it is said to have asymmetrical balance. But asymmetrical does not necessarily mean unbalanced. A print document may also be asymmetrical in other ways. A folded piece with distinctly uneven panels has asymmetrical folds. The shape of a diecut or the shape of a package where the left and right or top and  bottom are not mirror images is
asymmetrical as well.