With my business clients I touch base fairly often, but when it comes to custom art and design sales - you may create something special and release it and off it goes to live it's new life with it's new family, never to be seen again. Last week I had the most wonderful surprise from a customer come through. It made my day seeing an email from an old familiar name with a happy report that the custom designed jacket I painted for her is still holding up and looking great these many years later. These are the moments that make your day and make you feel like it's all worth it. Her project was such a fun one!
If you have a website then you've probably thought about design quite a bit. What does design contribute, though?
Design Creates OrderThe heart of design is the creation of order. Intentional design lets us organize things in an elegant and planned manner. Creative Design observes from multiple perspectives and considers all options, no matter how wild, before settling on the best scenario. Your designer should listen to your challenges and goals, consider the emotions you want to evoke, and offer a framework that's intuitive. Good design is easy to digest, intuitive to understand, and engaging.
Design Makes Things EasierDesign isn't about having the coolest or prettiest site on the web but about making things easier. What good is a page that dazzles the first time you visit but doesn't give you what you came for? Lay the ground work for clear and relevant information and then add in the appropriate level of fun for your target audience. Your end result might be cool and pretty, but only if cool and pretty also result in something engaging and helpful to you or your users. Imagine how you'd feel if Microsoft decided that Excel needed animated widgets and multi-colored pizazz on every tab. It would be in your way. The same consideration should be given to web design.
Design is IntentionalDesign that solves problems and meets goals doesn't happen by accident. It's an intentional process that requires careful planning and empathy for your audience. Make sure your web designer takes time to learn what you need rather than simply offering you the latest trend. Each client has different goals. The age, needs, technological savvy, and abilities of your audience will drive your design right along with your brand guidelines.
I degraded my logo down to the simplest form in order to create the favicon for this site - that's the tiny icon you see in the address bar at the top of the browser window and the image that shows next to the link when someone saves a bookmark to my site. The logo itself I've been using for years now, and I don't remember exactly when I came up with it. Most than likely it was around 1999 when the first incarnation of this site was born. The concept behind it was to come up with a logo that would look good as a signature on art and design work without detracting or distracting from the designs themselves while still retaining a strong individual branding. I also wanted something that would be universal and carry over for all mediums of distribution. It needed to be able to reproduce very large, very small, on screen, and in print with no loss of clarity and regardless of print process used or digital display settings. I settled on Japanese hanko stamps as my inspiration for their elegant and timeless simplicity, and because I have always loved their look and the sort of minimalistic presence they have. I also liked the fact that they were used not only to sign art, but also to sign legal documents as representation. It just seemed to fit what I was trying to represent. I went through a long font selection process until I settled on something that had an Asian feel but remained ambiguous enough for me to work with. The end result is more art than font, as I ended up deviating considerably away from the font's original shape in order to create a balanced presentation of the word "IgnisArt." The end result has served me well thus far. It's modular, so I can peel away the text portion and use it in the "square" form when that shape is more appropriate. I also have a vertical orientation with the logo above and text below, as well as the horizontal orientation used currently on this site. It's monochrome, so I never run into gradient reproduction issues and it can always be adapted to other color palettes by switching the black out for another color. That brings us to the inspiration for this talk about logos. I've been squinting at my favicon for days now, while it caused an itch at the back of my mind and I've finally solved it. It's terribly irritating when something lurks just at the edge of your thoughts and you know if you could just get hold of the edge you could drag it out to be examined, but it eludes you. At last I have it. Thank goodness! The degraded version of my logo looks like a stylized kokoro, to me at least. It's missing the other dot, but now I know why it was pulling at my brain. At least I don't have to be alarmed now that I know what it reminded me of, as it isn't anything bad. Kokoro is actually rather a nice thing for it to resemble, I think.