Thursday, September 10, 2009

My brochure

So today, my friend Keith told me that he was researching brochure designs and he recognized one of the pieces as one of mine. As a relative newcomer to the design world, it was a shock to see my design being showcased to help inspire others. Check out the posting by clicking here. My design is the green brochure (used as the thumbnail on the main page too!)
In design-pedia's words:
I’ve always been a big fan of brochure design because I think its one of the hardest mediums to design for. Brochures are often relatively small in size and packed with lots of information. This makes it very hard for a designer because you need to make the brochure eye-catching and easy to read, but still work in all the important information. Hopefully this brochure design inspiration post will help you when you are stuck on a challenging brochure project.
You can see my entire project (shameless portfolio plug here) by clicking here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today on the Interwebs: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY

Happy Birthday to the writer of Today on the Interwebs aka TOTI.

Carol taught me how to use InDesign when we had to design newsletters for work. (Turns out we could just use ms word and still not get fired) Anyway, I always liked the idea of celebrating the eve of blogs while at the same time celebrating the end of print and TOTI gave me the perfect opportunity to do just that. We live in a world where by the time we watch the evening news, we've already read all the details online - with websites like TOTI we don't even have to surf the internet anymore, for Carol has read the entire internets, and she's kindly agreed to share whatever is new on the interwebs daily. It is one of the few blogs you can follow and count on finding something new and/or interesting and/or old but/still interesting . TOTI is most consistent blog out there. Impressive. In conclusion, TOTI is a website of contrast.

All the articles/copy taken from TOTI, except for "A Lesson on Placeholders" "What should I get from In N Out?" and "Secret Comic: REVEALED"

If you want to read the articles, download the PDF here.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Safety and Bleed

For those of you who always wanted to know about pre-print production but were afraid to ask. It is ridiculously informative, and even better - it's catchy.

Also, the best part is the title/chorus "Safety and Bleed" - sounds like a cool band name. DIBS!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Movie posters are like country songs. While there are a lot of bad ones, there are always a few great ones that catch your attention.

Most recently, Crew Creative's posters for the Half Blood Prince have caught my attention, these two I saw (very appropriately) in SF's BART station:

"Hr Poe And T Ha Bood Pn"

"H P tt H -Bloo Ince"

At first, I was just mildly entertained by the occlusion of the title of the movie. It wasn't until I got home thyat thought about this choice and how brave and bold it was. To me, these posters are basically saying:
  1. You know what this movie is.
  2. We won't even say when it's coming out. You already know.
  3. See you when it comes out.
While this design may at first seem "risky" one must distinguish between readability (able to be read easily) and legibility (able to be deciphered/understood).

Is it readable? No.

Is it legible? Yes.

Most movies or products for that matter don't have strong enough brand identity to pull a poster like this off, so kudos to the Crew Creative Ad Agency for taking full advantage of this fact and providing a great customer experience: the feeling that you're in-the-loop for "getting" the poster.

The only issue I have with this poster is the fact that they are not minding the gap. These posters are just asking for kids to imitate this pose. And what's even worse is that these posters are placed IN the station where you wait for trains.

**Even MORE design geekiness below**

Take a look at this other HP poster:

The poster is very dynamic despite the subject being completely centered. This is achieved by:
  1. Breaking the grid: by tilting the title
  2. Creating depth: though back lighting and by occluding the title
  3. Composition: bleeding elements off the page to create visual interest (see below image)
  4. (only if you're bullsh***ing in a concept design class) you could say that the epic-ness of the movie is too big to contain in the poster.

"Har tter -Bloo Ince" coming to a theatre near you!

In conclusion, a strong identity + great poster design = I'll see you in theatres (yes, theatREs) July 15th even though it doesn't say on the posters... because you already knew.


PS - a quick look at Crew Creative's website reveals that they are behind some of my most recent favorite movie posters, let's see if you can picture the posters in your head without me actually showing you.

The Hangover

40 Year Old Virgin (Probably my favorite movie poster ever. Ever.)

Yes Man (Didn't even see it but loved the poster)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (As well as the teaser posters)

Good Luck Chuck (People were lining up at comic-con last year just to get this poster.)

PPS - If you want a good country song, take a listen to Lyle Lovett's "If I had a Boat"

PPPS - If you don't understand why I'm even talking about country songs read the beginning of this post.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Modified Finn Bounce

(Words by Christina. Graphics by Justin.)

I used to avoid flash at all costs, but the FinnBounce piqued my interest in flash photography. This simple homemade device, designed by Petteri Sulonen, allows the built in pop-up flash on digital SLRs to be bounced, effectively deflecting light from the lens. This eliminates the harsh shadows characteristic of most built-in flashes and instead results in a more natural looking, evenly lit subject.

But does it work? Short answer: Yes!

Impressed by the before/after shots posted by the creator, Justin and I wanted to test the FinnBounce out for ourselves.

We gathered the household materials (cardstock and foil) and followed the 9-step directions to construct our very own FinnBounce. Preliminary tests revealed impressive results. However, it was apparent that the design was not meant to fit our particular camera, the Canon Rebel XSi. We decided to tweak the design to allow for a more consistently secure use of the FinnBounce. Ultimately, we found the following model to be most successful for the XSi:

Compared to the original FinnBounce, our modified FinnBounce incorporates a flap that runs over the hot shoe and slides behind the rubber viewfinder cover.

We made two versions of our modified FinnBounce: 1) white (without foil) and 2) foil. The former acts as a diffuser-bounce combo, while the latter is better-suited for bounce only. Both significantly reduce dark shadows and overexposure compared to shots taken without the FinnBounce.

Check out some test photos (click to enlarge):

Try it out for yourself! Download a free template of our modified FinnBounce here.

Bottom line: The FinnBounce is a simple, cost efficient (read: free) way to explore flash photography.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vacation Photos

The past few weeks I've been out visiting my relatives in Arizona and hosting other relatives here in San Francisco - the best part/worst part about visiting/hosting guests is that you get/have to go tourist traps. I was lucky enough to go to Sedona, AZ for my first time and I was blown away by how beautiful and quiet a place it could be even though it was filled with tourists.

Shortly after my AZ trip, I took my cousins to the Golden Gate Bridge on the best possible day - a day without a cloud in the sky! My cousin asked me "Is SF always this nice?" to which I replied: "I wish."

Above are the two panoramic pictures I took with my Canon A630. I was very pleased by how CS4 photo-stitched them together so well - I only had to tweak the clipping masks and levels slightly to make it look continuous. I edited the Sedona picture first and wanted to capture the vibrance of the area so I had fun with the saturation and levels. For the SF picture I went for the more "historic" look... Yeah, I know sepia-style can be a little cheesy, but at least I didn't fade it and make it look like an old photo... Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Powergirl T-Shirt

For those of you who don't know powergirl:

I was inspired to design a simple t-shirt for all those Powergirl fans who never had the means to express their love for their favorite superheroine after seeing a deviation by my comic hero Adam Hughes. Enjoy!


Oh, and if you're going to the con, you'll wanna buy it here ASAP:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Other Hidden Logos

Check out THIS article to see awesome subliminal "gifts" in popular logos today. My favorite logo as a kid was the "Sun Microsystems" logo and I'm glad it made the cut. After reading this article, I have a new respect for the Goodwill logo.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Do it Yourself: Mario Coin Box

Here's something I whipped up for fun this week, a little Mario Coin Box Piggybank.

Click HERE to download the PDF.

Basically you just need to cut around the colors, and the dotted lines are places you will want to fold down. The orange lines on the right side are where you should cut from right to left until the first question mark box (that's to preserve the color bleed.)

If you actually want to use it as a piggy bank, consider printing on heavier stock, and actually cutting the hole out in the top to put your coins in.

Until next time,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: 1000 Type Treatments

"1000 Type Treatments: From script to serif, letterforms used to perfection" distributed by Rockport is my most recent addition to my inspiration library. This is one of the rare occasions where quality and quantity are both very high. Just thumbing through this book in the store I got more than a few "I wish I had come up with that" moments - which means it's strong design (and also means I wish I had come up with that). The reason I bought it, however, was not to make me feel sorry for myself - but to ask myself the question: "Why is this a strong design?"

The strength of this book is in its focus. This isn't "1000 good designs" or "1000 cool things" this is "1000 Type Treatments"? There is no confusion as to what Rockport thought was the strongest aspect of these designs. This focus helps me answer my question "Why is this a strong design?" with more than just "good typography." Reading this book we know that this is good typography, but what is it about the typography that makes this strong? For me, I tend to look at the relation of the type with other elements of the design as well as other type and copy. I find that color is something that I tend to underestimate in my own design, but one of the top things I notice in strong design. Hand rendered type is another element that automatically adds personality. A good design book makes you say "I wish I had come up with that" - a great design book helps you come up with a good idea.

Until next time,

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek: Attack of the Lens Flare

After watching the newest Star Trek (Which was hugely entertaining) there was only one major flaw about the movie that stood out: The Lens Flare

When taking image manipulation at the Art Institute, one of the biggest "no-no's" was using the Lens Flare. Sure, it looks pretty cool, but if used poorly it looks ridiculous - too much is distracting, and from the wrong angle is just... well, wrong.

I understand that the future is "bright" but when you fill a screen with reflected light, it can get a little distracting. Like effective design, a film should have a clear message - when you opt for pure aesthetics or style, you risk losing the message. The lens flare in the movie was not too terrible, and actually made some of the scenes work better (especially the shots of the ships in space). Overall, the movie was great and would've been even better had there not been people shining flashlights into the camera for the whole movie.

Live long and prosper,

PS - kudos to the star trek crew for using all natural lens flare rather than CG.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Logo of the day: FedEx

Take a look at the logo above. The FedEx logo is a logo that always makes me smile. Not because of the business of parcel delivery (which is great in itself) but because of the cleverness of the logo.

At first glance, it looks like a simple, strong type treatment, but between the "E" and the "x" resides what we learned in corporate communications as the "gift." Look again, do you see the arrow? This is not an accident, and the symbol of the arrow communicates dynamic movement - a subliminal message of motion. The hidden arrow always makes me do a double take, and it is this second look (where I find the arrow) that makes me smile. Finding the arrow is like being in a secret club (a pretty nerdy graphic design club) and it is this attention to detail that makes the FedEx logo the logo of the day.

Stay tuned!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mac n Cheese Expert

This guy is obsessed. After watching this video, so am I. I love seeing all the different boxes, and all the terrible design that comes with it. By far my favorite boxes of mac and cheese are the Canadian one and the Dharma Initiative one.

Perhaps in a later post I'll design my ultimate mac and cheese box.

Crisostomo out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Welcome to my design blog!

Hello! I have decided to create my first ever "design blog" - in which I will do one or more of the following:

- discuss existing designs (typography, packaging, identity)
- showcase original designs (works in progress, fun projects)
- blog about other blogs that inspire me creatively.

Because the third point is the reason I decided to create a blog, I feel it apt to plug their sites here, on my first-ever-design-blog-post!

Ironic Sans:
This blog is amazing - every post makes me say "I wish I had come up with that!" and that is a very good thing. I like the way his mind works, and on this blog you can definitely see it working.

Veerle's blog 2.0

This blog has great illustrator tutorials and cool reviews to boot! Awesome. Also - it made me want a Cintiq. *sigh*

Heather Ink

This blog is what finally pushed me over the edge to start a blog of my own. On this blog there is great graphic design, tutorials, and yes, Patent Illustration. (My favorite kind of illustration... after reading Patently Ridiculous Check it out!

Well, I think we're off to a good start. My goal is to get inspired to the point where I can inspire others. I'm saying inspire a lot. Inspire.

This was fun, and until nextime,
Crisostomo out.