Monday, December 31

2007 in Review


The year started out strong with the addition of a new client and reappearance of another. The new client has turned out to not only be a steady client but a great one as well. It's hard to tell when deciding to take on a new client, but this relationship was meant to be. I've had the opportunity to do a huge amount of work with them over the entire year ranging from advertising and trade show booth graphics to a complete web redesign and overhaul of their collateral materials. We're heading into the new year as strong as ever and I look forward to what it holds for us.

During the work done for them, I also completed a brochure for a developer for a new building going up in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. They wanted something different than the normal glossy multi-page booklet. We ended up with a tall thin folder and insert cards. The design took on a decidedly modern flair with warm rich earthy colors. A fun project and I'm quite pleased with the results.

Other design notes include several logos designs, one of which made it onto a cake.

I can't show you one of my favorites yet as it hasn't made it's debut to the public. It's a gorgeous design and a collaborative effort with another designer who also happens to be my best friend - bonus for me. Additionally, we worked on several other projects together - some through her company, some personally. My favorite happens to be a series of bug illustrations. While simple, I had a ton of fun creating them.
On the illustration front, a relationship with a greeting card company has begun. The agreement with them is too young to tell about any results, but I'm hopeful for the upcoming year. SURTEX was successful to a degree. While I didn't make any business deals this year, I think the basis has been laid for some solid contacts. And, if it hadn't been for taking part in SURTEX, I never would have struck up a conversation with the greeting card co. SURTEX is on the docket for the upcoming year as well.

At the end of the year, another new client came on board with a line of skincare and mineral makeup needing branding, advertising and collateral. It's another not-yet-made-public client so I can't share any more than that, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing where it goes. It does appear, though, that I have my work cut out for me.

Spring brought with it a new class for me - Intro to Digital. I was unsure of the class at first. Could I really teach/lecture for 3 hours at a pop? As it turns out, I could and loved it. *insert students' groans here* My other two class were great as always. I couldn't have had better students. Same goes for Fall semester. This marked 2 new classes for me - Digital II and Advertising I. Both were a bit daunting at first, but turned out to be quite enjoyable, by far one of my most pleasurable semesters since I began teaching here 5 years ago (has it really been that long?)

Perhaps the biggest change in my career as an educator was getting hired on as full time tenure track. A big relief and huge happiness came with the announcement. Along with the promotion came more responsibility (as does with any new position) which included the role of co-chair for the Art Education and Crafts Department's Design Thinking conference. The experience, while exhausting, was great and I couldn't have asked for better people to work with for my first go at something like this.

In other Education news, I'm proud to say one of my students won an honorable mention in the AIGA FLUX competition for a poster he did while in my Vis. Trans class. Bravo!

One new digital SLR camera, one new MacBook Pro (can I profess my love for a computer?), acquisition of Adobe CS3, loss of my beloved Sasha (German Shepherd dog), loss of my little Gimley (ferrret), subsequent gain of two new rambunctious one year old German Shepherd puppies - Odin and Freya you can see them here and here), two new tattoos, first full year out on the new motorcycle, first year I actually had the entire summer off (if you don't count the freelance work), and second year for completing NaNoWrimo (hit the goal, but novel is still in the works).

Not a bad year.

Friday, December 21

Please Please Kern

As a graphic design professor and freelance professional I come across so many things that make my skin crawl. Comic Sans, Papyrus, the use of Powerpoint to create a brochure, embedding a file in Illustrator instead of linking, creating a magazine spread entirely in Photoshop at 72dpi (type and all), but the thing that gets my goat most is poor kerning. Why?

It's about the details. If a student or design professional kerns it means they care. They care about detail, they care about doing a good job for their client or professor and they acknowledge that design is not just about "making things look pretty." It's about increasing the legibility and readability of the piece you are designing because ultimately another person will have to understand what you are presenting to them. Ultimately it needs to be functional. It may seem like a simple little thing and that one can "read it just fine" when the headline is not kerned. But doesn't it make it even easier to read when you do? Doesn't it look "prettier" when you do?

So there it is—out in the open—my biggest pet peeve. For the love of all things holy, please kern.

Unless of course you've used Comic Sans or Papyrus. In that case, please just drop my class.