Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Designs: Flyers

I've been commissioned by some local promotion companies to do flyers for them. Here are some of the finished products.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

HTML Email from Mailchimp

Mailchimp has a really nice write up about how to design for mass HTML email templates.

See it here.


I've never actually tried hand written calligraphy. It seems to take a lot of patience and some guidance to make it happen. I tend to like to push around pixels more than I like to push a pen around these days. However, given the right tools and situation I would give it a try.

This site has viewers vote on what letter form they find more appealing. I personally find myself drawn to the hand written letters more that the digital ones. The digital ones remind me of when I studied typography and looked at a lot of the 90s fonts made by Emigre and the like. Which to be compared to Emigre, isn't such a bad thing.

Here is the site I am referring to.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Adblock or "Why I am a hypocrite."

I love Adblock. If you don't know what AdBlock is, it's basically an add on that you download to your browser of choice (I prefer Chrome. Download Adblock for Chrome here. Also, if you aren't using Chrome as a browser it is pretty rad, get that here.) and it will block most banner, sidebar and pop up ads that you will encounter as you browse teh internetz. The only time that I have had issues with Adblock is when I am using a streaming video site like Hulu. Hulu's in video ads do not play well with Adblock, so you need to turn it off if you want to watch those streaming videos.

Honestly, it is now super odd to use someone else's computer, or even my phone and see all the ads that pop up. Even when I am streaming video on the Xbox, the ads baffle me. It's been a long time since I have seen the sidebar ads on Facebook, which I am thankful for. Not only are their algorithms for their product placement wacky and annoying, bu they are downright invasive.  So, I block them. Which makes me happy.

With all the advertising garbage happening in social media, I have decided to try and purge some of the excess. I'm even going as far as deleting my FB page due to their use of my information for advertising. They sell your information, and no matter what your privacy settings are, in your terms and conditions you have agreed for them to do that. You can't get around it, they own your information. Ick.

But, even in doing all these measures to purge excess advertising, I struggle with the notion that it is essential in my life. Why? Well, I'm a graphic designer and one of the biggest sectors for graphic design is advertising. One of the main jobs for a graphic designer is the proliferation of the idea that "this" product is desirable. It is my job to try to convince you that you need something you do not, or that the product you have is obsolete, or that this service will make you happy, etc, etc.

Granted not all products are bad. i am a strong proponent of shopping local, growing sustainably, promoting self expression, healthy living, you know, all that socialist hippie bullshit. But, I need to pay the bills just like any other American. This makes it really hard to justify my choice in occupation. I am trained to make things look desirable, and a lot of those things are not necessary, but they are prolific and the most available jobs right now.

As someone who has never been very brand loyal, I am hard to employ because I believe that we should have options and that maybe, even the product I am selling, should be weighed against other options. I suppose that comes off as passive, not willing to back up any brands, but I don't truly believe any one product is the best for everyone.

So, my struggle is this: How do I continue to be a graphic designer (which I really enjoy doing!) and not feel like I "sold my soul" to some sort of product I don't believe in?

I know there are jobs out there that promote the things that I care about, they just aren't very plentiful.

So, I wait and take the small jobs that i do enjoy working on, even if they are sporadic at best until I can reconcile how to use my design skills in the future.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Indecisive Designer

I have a problem. Everytime someone asks me what my favorite color, food, design style, music is, my answer is always a blank stare and something along the lines of, "Right now? Well..."

Am I afraid to commit to things? Yeah, sometimes. Do I enjoy lots of different things? Most definitely. Does this make me a terrible person to go shopping with? You bet it does. But it has also effect my design process as well. One week I will be in love with patterned backgrounds, the next, I love minimalism. This is both a curse and an attribute. Its a curse because I constantly want to change my personal website. I just recently launched my website www.achehorn.com. It's cute, but it never felt quite right. So I dug around, bookmarked a ton of sites I loves and realized that all the stuff I am digging right now is SUPER minimal. Doh!

So, I took a look at my site and decided to do an overhaul of the feeling. Cleaner, easier to navigate AND mobile friendly. So, I did a redesign (which I am hoping to launch in a week or so, WITH responsive design. 

This is something that I battle with constantly. Maybe it is the perfectionist in me, but I have found with the exercises that I have been doing over the past week or so, being indecisive has made my design better. It's made me test out possibilities that I may not have explored previously. Made me dig deeper into my image research and how things function.

While it can be frustrating at times for me to come up with a solution, I get the feeling that I am really developing my process to be more efficient. Which is a relief.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Intersection: Art and Science

I feel like, when you are younger and in school, there is this type of separation of church and state between the disciplines of art and science. These two disciplines cannot live in the same space, and they are fully unrelated to each other. At least that is what I got from it. Science was empirical practical, sterile, while art remained emotional, chaotic and fluid. Granted, these two disciplines do have those qualities, but they are not exclusive to themselves. I know this was just a naive sensibility that I had at the time. However, there seems to be this absence of acknowledgement that one would not be able to exist with out the other.

I love looking at the intersections of art and science and the science of art. Psychology/sociology/anthropology could be construed as the study of human artforms and behaviors. Where as geometry/biology/physics can be seen as a more empirical art. The equation is the paint, where the answer is the solution. The solution being how viscous a medium is, or the way light hits certain elements.

As a graphic designer, science is essential to my image making. Just take a look at this Wikipedia page on B├ęzier Curves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A9zier_curve). Granted I didn't read most of it, but I love the break down of how the curve functions and the calculations it takes to get there. I'm particularly enamored with this image:

There are also the use of pendulums to create spirograph like images, where the weight, angle and type of contraption being used determines the end piece. Which are then displayed as art.

Drawingmachine by Eske Rex from Core77 on Vimeo.

Here is a good article on one of those drawing machines.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Link Dump

I've been pretty busy getting some projects underway. Most of them are int eh fast turn around arena, so that leaves little time for musing on creativity or writing long rambling posts about toast. So, in the mean time I leave you with a few of my favorite or newly discovered sites.

Here are some sites that have come to interest recently due to the work that I have been doing.

Factory North
Design Firm

Gig Posters
Collection of Gig Posters from the US and more

Web tutorials for CSS3 and other HTML/CSS needs

Lost Type Fondry
Name your price for some beautifully designed fonts