Lately, I’ve been interested in creating an infographic and started looking up information on the methodology. One very helpful and interesting site is Cool Infographics. These guys have an extensive portfolio along with great points on the architecture, purpose and aesthetics of great infographics.

Towards the bottom of this post, you can be treated to a very simple yet comprehensive explanation of what an infographic should be.

The biggest thing that caught my attention was the “7 essentials”:

  1. Follow the data
  2. cite your sources
  3. simplicity first
  4. think “data narrative”
  5. explore new ways to display
  6. strive for utility
  7. facilitate sharing

Web development mistakes | 456 Berea Street

It’s always important to keep up with best practices when it comes to web design. It’s a relatively young and constantly evolving design field.

One of the more important things to know is not only how to do things right, but how to keep from doing things the wrong way.

This website points out various pitfalls to avoid when working in web design.

Web development mistakes | 456 Berea Street.


Crowd Sourcing

There are a few websites out there(notably 99designs and designcrowd) that employ a method called crowd sourcing as a model to get businesses connected with a large pool of designers in order to get a rather large amount of designs for a relatively low cost.

The theory behind this method is that by pitting a large amount of designers against each other in competition, the business will be able to pick from a wide range of different designs and hone in on the best design. Also in theory, designers get the advantage of having the possibility of finding work in an otherwise highly competitive field. While the crowd sourcing method does provide these services as advertised, there are very deep pitfalls to consider whether you’re the client or designer in this equation.

Being the client of these crowd sourcing sites doesn’t initially present the disadvantages of this system. The way it works is that you pay a certain amount to submit a contest to the site, write a design brief and wait for the eager designers to start submitting their work to you practically overnight. The problem with this is that these designers only get to know you and your business(its philosophy, history, reason for being, etc.) is through a single page on a design brief. A design brief that has been made without the understanding/input of the professional that will be working with you(oh wait, they don’t work with you initially). The second thing to consider is the short time that you’re getting these designs in because of the designers clamoring for the winning bid. The shorter the time it took to get these designs to you, the less amount of time they spent on critically thinking about the direction and future success of your business. Because you are probably one of many projects that they need to crank out to play the numbers(and that’s what you end up being), hardly any real thought outside of “I bet they’ll think this looks cool enough to pick me” is given.

I feel that it’s in the best interest of new designers and those less informed of the concept of copyright to fully understand how copyright is transferred through this service. It must be well understood that by designing a logo, you are doing something that is very similar to writing a book, patenting a new invention, making a movie or making a work of art. It is similar in the sense that you are creating something unique and new to the world and therefore own the copyright to your own creation(and the right to determine who uses your creation and how it is used).  By binding yourself to the contracts of the crowd sourcing agencies, you are selling these rights without any hope of ever getting them back. In the(I’m sorry to say unlikely given the time and effort given) event that your design becomes a wild success for the business, you will get nothing more than the bragging rights(that is until they alter the logo because they now have the right to do so) and the payment from the crowd sourcing agency. Your highly cultivated and sought after experience, education and ability are worth far more than a few hundred bucks and bragging rights.

In the end, both parties that enter into this agreement with the crowd sourcing agencies end up losing much in the long run. Businesses get designs that are made by the designers with no vested interest in the long term success of the brand/identity that was created for the client. Looking back at this essay, I realize that there is a niche market that crowd sourcing is appropriate for: short term businesses/events without long term aspirations and designers who have time/money to spare and are only looking for a quick mental exercise.

Back from hiatus!

After a somewhat long period of time away from this blog, I’ve decided that I should get back to being more productive with my time again.  This is coming from a time right after a nice a long labor day weekend.  My batteries aren’t exactly completely charged up, but I’ll be able to manage.