Branding

I work at a shop that does signage and branding as well as graphic design. That influence has led me to think that there’s a better way to embrace my name as a brand. You’ll notice that there’s a new profile picture and banner across my social media and web presence.

Let me know what you think. I’m open to feedback. My idea was to have it be bold and still have color as an accent. So I narrowed it down to black and two shades of green. If I ever need it in black and white I will likely have a single white stripe where the dark green is and the lighter shade will be black. That maintains the stripe effect while simplifying for one-color applications if needed. The M would be recognizeable on its own, which is a big plus!

Take it easy and remember to smile!

Credit Where Due

I had an epiphany today. I was working on a job at work and started doing corrections to make the result polished when I noticed that some of the details were rather ugly ok a logo. The designer had clearly used Image Trace in Illustrator. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, but I did a better job in less than 10 minutes. I think that extra 5-8 minutes I spent on it are the difference between good and great. 10 minutes is the equivalent of $0.16 under my own pay scale. The business is not losing money by taking the time to do the job right. Even if no one would have noticed the curves and bobbles of the Image Trace, you don’t want to give the the opportunity to either.

I guess all of the above depends on the complexity of the work to be done. Maybe I’d use Image Trace for a photo or complex logo and only fix the bare minimum if it was going to take, say, an hour, or $10, of my time. I have had to use Image Trace for a photo simply because the original wasn’t big enough for me to use. Usually, however, I make it look like it’s a bit pixelated anyway so it looks like a raster, what most people expect from a digital photo. 

I try to avoid Image Trace on the whole unless I’m looking to clean up or stylize something. For example, I have a drawing in pen or pencil. I want the lines to be black and crisp and the whites to be transparent. Image Trace is perfect for that! You can set it so that you only have black and white and then play with the threshold and minimum area size in order to clean up some lines or make sure some fainter ones are traced properly. It’s a good idea to expand an Image Trace before editing it. Expanding the result allows for editing individual points. I’ve also used the Path > Simplify option to further clean up needlessly complex results. It’s an art in itself. 

Take it easy and remember to smile. 

Image

deejay.photo


This design showcases the entertainment and event planning part of Ronnie’s business. The brief mentioned that the client wanted to see a design with foil in it, so I made my cards using the 877C Pantone swatch. Of course, the client could choose to have his cards foil stamped, which is more expensive. Either way, I included a mockup of the card so the client could see where the foil/metallic ink would go. The black area is what will be silver in the final design. The client also wanted the card to be two-sided so I put his contact information on the back. Since the logo was already a camera, I thought I’d stay away from photography related iconography. 

I chose to make this card tall instead of wide to emphasize the spotlight on the camera logo, which will be silver. It also affords the logo some much needed space. The client provided a logo, but I thought the lettering, especially the small lettering under the deejay.photo, would be too small when it came to print. I did a test print on my home printer and it bled fiercely. I know that professional printers would have much better detail in their prints, but why run the risk? I beefed up the typography while maintaining the weight proportions of the original.

Holding Two Jobs

Anyone who has had to work two jobs knows it’s unpleasant unless it’s 2 strictly part time jobs. I, of course, don’t fall into that category. I don’t even get paid time off since I’m an independent contractor and self-employed. There’s a real freedom to that. 

There’s also the problem that I don’t make nearly as much as I used to in a corporate job. I’m not complaining here. It is what it is. Having to be full time is a time-sink that doesn’t, yet, pay enough for the long run. I think that will get better soon. I also think I need to stop crashing at the end of the day and do design work! I feel awful about it. No more! Starting next week I take it seriously. I start treating my own freelancing as a second job that needs part-time dedication, at least 10 hours per week. 

This is it! Do or die! There is no try, only do! Where’s that from? Anyway, I’m still determined to get myself established in the freelancing world. I’ve been submitting proposals, at least one every couple of days. I can show that I’m actively trying. What I need to do is still look up a contest or two in the meantime to work on. That gets me practice even if I never win. 

Red. Yellow. Green. GO!

Take it easy and remember to smile. 

Design and Other Conundrenigmas

I want to be good at design. But am I good at design? It’s an odd question. Design has no right or wrong. A designer follows the whims of the client even when they want something ugly. We designers solve visual problems, but we generally don’t decide what gets the stamp of approval in the eye of a client. A better question: do I provide work that clients want.

I’ve pleased a few clients and I’m eager to please more. Sometimes I doubt that I can, but I’m not giving up! Have a degree! Despite recent history I have a good work ethic!

I interviewed for a job on July 11, 2017. I was nervous because I have to take the job if they want me. I have to try. It would mean less time for freelancing too. But if I turn them down I lose my unemployment benefits. That’s my biggest worry. That I’m too short or not strong enough for the job but I have to do it anyway. I’m afraid of what having a full time job will mean for me. I have to to try. I have to repeat that to myself.

So what to do? I’d love to learn more about how a print-shop makes car decals and logo products. This job would teach me a lot about how files are formatted and sent to the printer. In turn, that would give me a perspective on doing graphic design work and what’s going on in the world of large-scale work. I have to try.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

South Nashville Mosquito Control Logo
Image

First Logo Job!

This logo is copyright to Justin Mason.

I was hired to make this a week and a half ago. Work started on Monday and I delivered the final files last night.

I learned something new: Acrobat Pro can edit text, but only if it’s on a flat line. It couldn’t edit the curved text in my design! I ended up downloading a program called Inkscape and making an SVG that could be edited with free software. I think under other circumstances a PDF or JPG can be edited in whatever software you like. However, the letting in this logo was hard to select if you don’t have Photoshop of GIMP chops. I felt it was a good use of my unpaid time to figure out how to send clients works that are editable by anyone. I don’t believe in trapping my client into coming back to me for simple color changes. I probably wouldn’t charge them for that anyway and just call it part of good service!

I came in way under budget and time for this job. Maybe that sounds stupid. I’d rather it take a little longer for happy clients. I want them to have the best I can do! This logo was done in 5.5 out of 10 hours. The client was laid back and really liked my initial sketch.

SQUISHED

SQUISHED sketch idea submitted with my proposal.

I think this sketch closed the deal. Ever since I have tried to give simple sketches. I think clients appreciate seeing how I think and having a visual reference rather than only words. Sometimes ideas are best conveyed with images. Now that I have a real job under my belt I feel beter sending out a lot of proposals. Most of them go unread I’m sure. It only takes one or 2 a week to start the ball rolling though!