Things I've Tagged ‘Design’

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#Branding, #Design

A Short Post About My Personal Brand

Update: 6/14/2010 Frankly this is one of those things I will probably continue to evolve over time.


For those that follow me and are familiar with the little icon I use as my personal branding for my design services (hello honey, I’ll be making dinner this evening), I’ve decided to make a little change. But not because I was unhappy with the little guy; I mostly made this decision because I felt it didn’t represent what I was about any longer. This is one of the most difficult processes in freelance design: branding yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to that icon, but that is pretty much the only brand equity it had, and so to keep it around just because I was used to it seemed like a bit of a mistake. The icon works very well as a personal brand in some circumstances. It has great proportions for many of my purposes, looks decent at different sizes in any color, and is pretty simple. But, the direction I’ve been heading in as a web designer has been a little more angular and clean, and the icon has become difficult to integrate into any other branding elements. I always had a tough time pairing typefaces with it or putting together a business card I was happy with.

Additionally, I’ve always felt it lacked a little substance. It seemed thin, and my attention to detail was not there when I first designed the icon. Basically, it’s time for me and my icon to move on. We’ve grown apart.

Developing a new icon for yourself is no small task, though. In some ways you get stuck in a rut with the old design. I certainly did. Many of my choices during the design process were based on the old design, or were an attempt to update without deviating too much from the established icon. It got downright frustrating. But then I had a breakthrough.


The old icon/logo, designed circa 2006.

I went through many, many iterations before I settled on this particular icon. It was very angular, maintaining the look of the double M only slightly, and used a custom M developed from the Univers typeface. It looked kind of cool, and was exactly what I was after, but looked a little weak at smaller sizes. It’s a damn shame, because it really was a nice little icon.

Since I needed something that worked better at smaller sizes, something that looked stronger overall, and still represented what I was after, I decided to choose a little beefier face to develop the icon from. Univers 75 Black was the ticket.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

The icon that finally made the cut is, in a lot of ways, exactly what I was picturing in my head when I decided to make the change. And it meets all the requirements I set for myself when I started designing it: it is crisp, simple, looks good in many different colors, and is very sharp at small sizes. Plus I feel like it is a better representation of me as a designer right now, and hopefully into the foreseeable future.

Since the previous icon lasted for as long as it did, I was a little reticent to make the change and go live; however, in time I think it will stand as a stronger icon overall. I also apologize for the post being longer than it was short.


#Design, #Goals, #Writing

Writing & Why I’m Probably Not Good At It

My only concern with my goal for this year, writing at least one piece for this blog every week, is that I don’t feel particularly creative in my writing. Now, I may be technically competent, and have enough knowledge of various subjects to pass muster in blog form, but when it comes to writing creatively, I’m egregiously lacking in the interesting department. My writing stinks unless you want a term paper.

And so the subject for this week is: strategies to help me improve my writing, or how to get better at creative pursuits. Which also happens to be the subject of one of my notes.

The Moleskine is a fantastic notebook, offering many varieties depending on your artistic needs.

As stated in that note, the strategy for me to employ is the classic “practice, practice, practice” technique successfully used by generations of people; in this case, I’ll use the stereotypical artists Moleskine notebook I carry around, and try to write a new bit of poetry every day in an effort to improve my creative process. What techniques will work best to create something new and fresh, and how will that help in my design work? I’m pretty excited about exploring this in 2010.

Which brings me around to the ol’ explanation of why I feel that I’m not good at writing to begin with. It is my lack of production that bothers me. It seems prior to the explosion in my personal time spent online, I could write fairly well, and fairly creatively, without the feeling of being hindered. Perhaps that view is simply in hindsight, rose-colored glasses and all, but my patience for some pursuits has dimmed considerably.

Wish me luck, can’t wait to post some of the results. In other news, keep an eye out for a progress meter I’m about to post.


#Design, #Photography, #Science Fiction

The Exploration of Space

I’m a big giant nerd for space exploration, and have been since I was a young kid. Something about exploring the unknown of space, the size of the universe, and the processes that set it all in motion have left me in awe.

That’s probably a big reason why I enjoy science fiction so much (I always loved Star Trek, so try not to flog me too hard for that). The imagined exploration of space and encounters with elements of the unknown, including that of life beyond our planet, is enough to keep me watching for hours.

Couldn’t tell you why I have those nerdy tendencies, but there you go. Now on to other things…

Ok, ok, football, great sport. Takes a all men going 110%, toughing it out in the trenches, 3 yards and a cloud of dust, going to war, turning the ball over less, scoring more points, etc, etc.

Seriously though, take the opportunity to explore this wonderful illustration of mankind’s exploration of the space.



#Advertising, #Design, #Truth

What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson




#Design, #Dollar Redesign Project, #Money

Dollar Redesign Project

I’m a big fan of money. I need it to continue financing this website and my lavish lifestyle of the poor and unnoticed; but I mostly need it to continue living in my home and paying for my education (which concluded some time ago).

One of money’s downfalls (not the love of it), quite frankly, has been it’s largely unchanged design; it looks fantastic, and purely American, but the Dollar Redesign Project has me interested in what else might be possible. The project itself is fictitious but seeks to pose the question, “what could our money look like if we moved in a drastically different direction?”

Design by Michael Tyznik
Design by Michael Tyznik

There are a lot of excellent designs on that site that more or less take cues from other world currencies; I must admit, though, that I’m a bit in love with our current designs, simply because we’ve chosen to ignore those trends. But I cannot stress enough how great it would be to see this kind of change in our currency. I’m a fan of unique and excellent design, and to see it in our money would be brilliant. I’m particularly fond of this design by Michael Tyznik.

Take a look at the Dollar Redesign Project and consider the thought experiment it poses. Are we not ready, with a bearish economy, for something positive like this? Something to take the edge off for a bit, something to give us a small bit of national pride? Three fingers of whiskey for the destitute in the form of freshly designed cash?