Archive for Blog

Benefits of WordPress Websites

Blogon July 19th, 2012Comments Off on Benefits of WordPress Websites

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There are many different types of coding that can be used to create a webpage. Some take a lot of learning and to have a background in web to create. But others are more simple, which can become as basic as writing an email. WordPress is an open source blogging tool, which can become customized to create web pages, not just a blog website.

WordPress itself, is a website that hosts free blog pages that anyone can create. It also helps that there are plenty of WordPress websites templates to download for free or for a small fee on the internet by searching stock websites such as themeforest.com

WordPress was designed for blogging but can easily be customized for a website and not just blogging. With the amount of different theme styles out there one could easily be found to suite your need. From restaurant menus to portfolio web pages.

Once the website theme has been uploaded to your web server creating blog posts for your website can be as easy as writing an email. Complete with customizable colors, and photographs WordPress allows you to schedule your blog post for a future time and date if you didn’t want to post it at the time of writing.

Since WordPress doesn’t use Adobe Flash to create slideshows for their general main pages. That makes it more helpful for mobile devices, because they can be seen no matter what device that is used.

If you aren’t a very web savvy person, this is certainly a great starting point for a first website. To find some WordPress website themes for few great websites are Themeforest, WordPress’s own website with free themes, or Elegant Themes.

Benefits of File Backup and Time Machine

Blogon July 9th, 2012Comments Off on Benefits of File Backup and Time Machine

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The best file-saving thing you can do is backup your files, photos and artwork! Corrupted files can always lead to lost data. Usually once it’s gone then it’s gone forever, however that isn’t the case when you have Apple’s Time Machine™ installed on your computer. Time Machine™ can get back all your files in their entirety by creating a backup file of your entire computer every hour. That may seem excessive for those who aren’t on their computer constantly. Fortunately if you don’t want to use up all your hard drive space backing up every hour, you can download a program called “Time Machine Editor” to edit your preferences to be able to back up as little or as much as you want. I prefer to change my settings to allow it to be backed up once a day. During a time that I’m not using my computer much because at times it does slow down the computer when it is backing up a lot of changes. I do know some external hard drives do come with installed backup programs.
I have recently needed to do a complete system restore because of a hard drive failure on my Macbook Pro. Once I started up my new hard drive, my computer was so intelligent to ask me if I would like to restore. I promptly was able to tell it to use my Time Machine™ to restore.
It was an actually long process in restoring, but that also might be because I have a 500GB Time Machine™ I let it run for 24 hours for the restore but figured it may have frozen on the screen so I restarted my computer to find it looked exactly like before my hard drive failed. Even my background was the same!
In a real world experience I was very thrilled with how the restore ended up going and having a computer with all my settings the same, even with things that I wasn’t sure if it would restore, like internet favorites and all of my programs and passwords.
As Time Machine™ has a setting of what hard drives to backup and an on/off switch. Not sure how it could be any simpler after you set it up you don’t have to worry about your files again.
For the peace of mind that this automatic backup provides, nothing should get in your way of saving your files from data loss. If you own a Mac and haven’t used Time Machine™ yet, take advantage of this free program and purchase an extra hard drive (they really are so affordable now) to always have your digital life always with you.
If you were ever without Time Machine™ you would have a bit more work ahead of yourself to change all your settings back to your original. Time Machine™ is the best investment and life saver for all your files!

Elgart Wedding Logo

Blogon October 10th, 2011Comments Off on Elgart Wedding Logo

A client recently requested a logo for their upcoming wedding. Through many options and revisions, a great combination of three colors was selected. Complimented with a script typeface and hand-drawn heart accent.

One of the biggest challenges with this type of logo is the problem of having all letters flow into each other like a true script typeface would. That took a bit of kerning assistance. Especially when the typeface the client had chosen typeface that didn’t include an “S” that looked like a true enough “S” for them. That resulted in combining different typeface for the end result.

Above are the different versions of their logo, original, without the date and a grayscale version for those printers who cannot implement color printing.
The client is thrilled with the logo and will be using it for all of their many wedding elements besides invitations, such as napkins, projected floor display, gift tags and save-the-dates.

Logos with Hidden Images

Blogon October 3rd, 2011Comments Off on Logos with Hidden Images

Designers can be very creative people, that’s why they are the best type of people for creative logos with hidden icons. Hidden images in icons can be happy accidents or something specifically planned with the logo in mind. Check out the first one which is one of my favorites by Ronald J. Cala II.

See above for some famous logos and try to find their hidden icons. For other logos check out Logo Lounge for an extensive library of daily submitted logos from companies and amateurs.

A logo that may not have a very hidden element is the last logo, Facebook’s places logo. Within the square there are streets that look as though they create the number 4, that could be a dig at check-in site 4square.

Free Patterns

Blogon September 26th, 2011Comments Off on Free Patterns

I’m sharing some of my high quality textures and patterns for all to download and design with. Periodically I’ll be posting some freebies for all to share, so always check back.  This week is a variety of colored picnic patterns. All are in Adobe Illustrator CS3 format.

Download Picnic Pattern – Black

Download Picnic Pattern – Light Blue

Download Picnic Pattern – Orange

Download Picnic Pattern – Pink

Download Picnic Pattern – Purple

Lego Letterpress

Blogon September 19th, 2011Comments Off on Lego Letterpress

I came across this wonderful letterpress idea. I already love letterpress items, so when I found a few guys (Samuel Cox & Justin LaRosa) who created letterpress posters with pieces of Lego blocks I knew I had to share.

By using Lego pieces they arranged them to create images and words on paper. I favorite certainly is the “pixelroni pizza.” This is a wonderfully creative way to use found objects as means of creating art. Check out some of their wonderful work on here or purchase one of their prints from their website.

Best Stock Photography Sites

Blogon September 5th, 2011Comments Off on Best Stock Photography Sites

Not all stock photography sites are created equal, at least not in my opinion. Many stock photography sites can have thousands upon thousands of images for sale. It is best to know what type of artwork they have, because it could be the cheapest site per image but actually be terrible images with bad angles or lighting. Quality of images on a site doesn’t always equal great quality of images.
I have found this to be true with Stock Exchange, it is a free stock website but doesn’t nearly have the same quality of images that iStockPhotography (my favorite stock photo site, despite the high price rates.) does. Unfortunately it isn’t always a great site to use for professional commercial work, but could be a great resource for student work, who are on a budget and rather have high quality images for free. That leads me to my next website, Flickr has been brought to my attention because people who are just trying to share their images with others and friends may unknowingly upload full size images that people may “steal” and use for their own projects. There is the rare occasion where an account would upload images, patterns or textures for free download and non-copyrighted use. It just takes a bit more searching the different accounts to get the right one with free images. If you need a free image, it may be worth the time to search on Flickr

Now onto some true stock photography sites; I’ll start with the not so good. I’ve found that Dreamstime is a so-so website for good images, it seems to have too many amateur photos. As a quick search of “cat” brought it an image of a cat on the floor with household electrical wires in the background and a dresser that seems much less appealing than a white background photo would be. There’s formal photography and what seems to be people photographing with their small digital cameras with built in flash and submitting them. It is unfortunate that Dreamstime seems to have low standards for the image they care to sell. I feel that makes it harder for us as designers to easily search and find the good quality of image types we are looking for.
My recommendation for great stock photography websites are 1st rated iStockPhotography and then Shutterstock. iStockPhotography is a great resource for many reasons, they offer a free photo each week and a free vector image each month. For those on a budget they also offer the dollar bin. For only a few credits (perhaps you have some left over or not enough to buy a large image) use them up here. Where it often features textures, objects and great macro (close up) photography. I have always been able to find something useful in the dollar bin, and at less of a cost. I’ve found the range of images available on this site is very professional and well lit. This may be because of iStockPhotography’s high rejection rate of images, since they may only want the best for their website and clients. Because of these standards I feel iStockPhotography gives the best selection of images. Since I have joined their website, their rate have gone up but as far as I’m concerned it is still worth it because they have an amazing selection, from the vague to the specific mostly all can be found through iStockPhotography.
Coming in at a close 2nd place is Getty Images. Since beginning college, Getty Images has been the main stock website I used to gather my royalty free images, I have unfortunately used it less since other websites have popped up. But that was a great staple of my early graphic design education. They can also be a bit expensive for the type of image size you need to purchase, but just like iStockPhotography rates have increased.
One last site that I recommend is Shuttestock, I have browsed this site many times for client work and found them to be very similar in quality and amount of available photos as iStockPhotography. Their on demand image subscription can make the images as low as $10. So for a quick photo at minimal cost check out Shutterstock
As with a majority of stock websites now they don’t just offer photos, they also offer video clips, flash intros and audio clips. These can be great quick additions to a project or website without having to have the knowledge of creating it.
Hopefully if you haven’t heard of some of these stock websites, I have helped you discover them. If you have one of your own favorite stock photography websites you can share it in the comments section.

Creative Shopping Bags

Blogon August 29th, 2011Comments Off on Creative Shopping Bags

I came across these interesting shopping bags from Europe in am email I was sent. So I thought I would share them with you to enjoy. I feel as though Europe is less reserved than the U.S., so it is more acceptable to create a bag with a dead goose on it. Though this creative freedom does allow more attention to be created, hopefully in a good way.

Kean University Should Have Mandatory Design Internships

Blogon August 22nd, 2011Comments Off on Kean University Should Have Mandatory Design Internships

Secondary education I feel has become a general standard in many countries. It has its benefits of higher paying salary, more knowledge gained and hopefully the experience of how the real job world is before entering it.

I feel as though in the world of design some education can go a long way, even an internship can be more beneficial than actual schooling. I felt as though this was the case during my education at Kean University. I believe I learned many more valuable design aspects while interning at Habitat Visual Communications about how design and business is truly run.

Formally Kean’s design program was always a business class to show the non-design side of having a design or advertising agency. This was some great information that I had acquired only through my work at Habitat VC.

It is true that Kean did and possibly still does have an internship type class. A class that I did attend, but I felt that it didn’t hold up to providing a true graphic design job experience as working at an agency does. Never usually being able to meet with the client in person, as the professor would get the design brief and pass it along to the student I had always felt a certain disconnect in having this class act like a real job.

I do give great respect to Kean for creating such a class, but I felt that a required internship class outside the university would benefit students more as had been a requirement of graduation at County College of Morris’ design program. Made-up design projects by professors are not good replacements for the demand of real life design projects and clients. This is even truer when displaying your portfolio and the interviewer doesn’t care to see your work from school and only professional projects. It is always best to carry yourself as a design professional even if your are still a student, unless you are looking for a student type job (whatever that might be.)

You may never know true design work until you enter the workforce, which may be too far over your head when you get there. I always find that it is better to be prepared than to be surprised later at the lack of experience people may only see when you apply for a job or other professional position. Being an intern can even get you hired at the same company because they have become comfortable with your work and know your skill set. In my experience if I never had the chance to intern at Habitat I feel that I would still be behind in my experience would never had been able to build my resume around that experience. If you have a design or ad agency that you admire give them a call or email perhaps they will be in the need for an intern. You will never know unless you try the first internship I was awarded was from sending an email to the president. Always try before giving up for any job you want.

My school experience and listening to those professors say great things about large design agencies was mainly the biggest day dream they could think up for us students. Unless your work (which it might be) is well above the standard for a student right out of school it is unlikely that you will be able to attain a job position at any of the large agencies your professors talk about with such enthusiasm. It is great to set your sights high (I would encourage you to reach for the stars) but I don’t expect your first job to be you dream job especially during such an economic crisis that the United States has been having. It is becoming more and more acceptable to work up to your status job by hard work and design. In this world of competition, my suggestion is to build your resume as much as you can before becoming an official design professional after graduation. It will do wonders for your networking.

Food Styling Tips

Blogon August 15th, 2011Comments Off on Food Styling Tips

Beautiful photography comes in many different forms; one of the most detailed forms can be food photography. Unbeknown to most consumers most of the food products they see in advertisements or packages are not even edible. Some of the following tips are helpful to make your photography outstanding:
Use Fake Ice Cubes– Acrylic and plastic ice cubes work the best, these of course won’t melt while you are preparing your shot. Acrylic ice cubes can be used to provide glitter to your décor and shot, since they can’t be used for chilling the beverage. Plastic ice cubes have a gel in them that they can chill and freeze, they also won’t sink to the bottom of the glass.
Incorporate Glycerin– This thick liquid that can freeze into a gummy paste can be dissolved into water and alcohol. It can be used as spray water for a long lasting condensation look, they usually last for 15 minutes. It is also used for fruit for a great juicy, shining appearance.
Glue as Liquids– That great bowl of cereal isn’t full of milk, photographers fake this with glue, such as Elmer’s or any other white multi-purpose glue. By doing this it helps to keep the shot longer (always the name of the game.) The cereal won’t become soggy as fast no will it become discolored after time by any colored cereal. For more precision work, keeping flakes on a spoon the glue helps since acting as a glue and milk.
• For when you need a perfectly toasted piece of bread or English muffin, use a heat gun to toast it evenly by hand, not with a toaster which you can’t control. Also use a heat gun to slightly heat chocolate chips in a cookie but not so much that the cookies dough gets too warm as well that it loses it’s structure and falls apart.
• Pizza cheese that is stretchy and stringy like just out of the oven use the low fat kind instead of fresh it is much more pliable.
• To produce some localized steam without need to disrupt your food, use tampons that have been soaked in water and then heated in the microwave, bury or hide them behind the food for a just cooked look.
• You may need to fake a peach or apple leaf, so always have a ficus plant around.
• Corn Husker’s lotion keeps tortillas from cracking when rolled up, don’t forget it’s not edible.
• Keep makeup sponges on hand to prop up food or add extra height to a product. The same goes for wet paper towels to add a false bottom if you are short on a product.
• Use other food to fake a shot, whipped butter can be represented by using Cool Whip. Soap bubbles can be added to coffee as if just fresh brewed, of course you can no longer drink it.
• If you need a product to hold its place, try using Polident. For holding pie crust or anything else flaky in place coat it in Vaseline, just remember to not eat that either.
• Some great tools to have on hand to help with the plating and preparing process; tweezers, fine paint brushes, spray bottles, compressed air (to clear condensation) and melon ballers (for a perfect scoop.)

With many of these tips and useful products hopefully it adds to your photography portfolio. For some inspiration check out these great food photography inspirations above.