Chip Kidd: Book Designer Extraordinaire

Recently, I came across two Ted Talks (videos above) featuring Chip Kidd who is a well-known and very talented book designer from New York City. While I find many Ted Talks to be fascinating, Kidd’s speeches about book design and what inspires him, caught my attention. And not just because books and design are my life and not just because he has my absolute dream job, but because the creative concepts and inspiration that Kidd discusses regarding book design can easily carry over into other types of design as well.

In the first video titled “Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions–in design and life,” Kidd discusses what inspires him as he designs different books. Some from vastly different genres like mystery and fiction to comedy and memoirs. He describes the success he’s had from designs that were the very first try and some that succeeded only by trial and error. He shows how he gains inspiration from his everyday life and the constantly moving city around him.

During his second talk titled “The Hilarious Art of Book Design,” he brings the hilarity by mentioning some very funny moments that he’s encountered with authors that he has design for. Kidd also gives some experienced advice, “A designer needs to be an interpreter and a translator of the content.” This brings up my point that I mentioned earlier that the concepts and strategies of book design can be used in other design too. With whatever you are designing, in order to be successful, you have to take into account what the content is that you are designing as well as for whom you are designing for. Kidd states that, “A book designers responsibility is three-fold: to the reader, to the publisher, and most of all to the author.”

Twitter

I first joined Twitter in the summer of 2012. And like most of my social media use I ended up becoming more of a spectator than an active participant. Meaning I never really posted anything myself, but I enjoyed seeing what others posted. I immediately started following my favorite actors and comedians who each kept me entertained. But sadly my interest in Twitter declined and after two years I stopped visiting the site all together.

So the question is, what made my interested dissipate after being so enthralled daily for two years? After some thought I think one of the main reasons is that the fast-paced lifestyle of twitter just didn’t fit into my own lifestyle anymore. I found myself too busy in the everyday schedule of my life to set aside time to keep up with everything happening with all the people I follow on Twitter. After following a certain amount of people and like the David Carr article said about Twitter being a “friction free” all you can post site, the missed and unread tweets start building up and building up. This became frustrating to me, that I was missing things and it started to stress me out, thus Twitter was swept under my rug and forgotten about.

The things I miss most about using Twitter are the news updates that can be easily received from all the various news networks that I followed. I first learned about major incidents like the Boston Marathon bombing and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, on Twitter. With both of those situations the news networks were able to, through Twitter, update the public on the minute by minute status of each incident. And I think this is all possible because Twitter is so “friction free.” Unlike most social media where it’s looked upon negatively, Twitter sort of has that green-light that allows users to post as much as they want without being bothered by grumpy people complaining. However, I could be wrong in that last statement, Twitter might have grumpy people too.

The Adobe Tutorials

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Oh Adobe, Adobe, wherefore art thou tutorials?

You guessed it! Today, I want to talk about tutorials, but not just any tutorials, Adobe design software tutorials. Now if you didn’t already know, let me catch you up by telling you that Adobe design software are basically the Holy Grail of design software. I’m talking about the ever so well known and sometimes hated Photoshop, as well as others like Illustrator, Indesign, Lightroom, etc.

And though they can be confusing and many times frightening to you when first introduced to their magic. Once you start exploring them and using them they will become your best friends. But, how do we begin the adventure of learning and loving Adobe software? Well other than just freely exploring the design products tutorials, or tuts as many call them, were and still are my saving grace. And out of all the tutorials I have viewed my absolute favorites come from a website called TastyTuts.

Whether you are searching for something specific to learn or just want to learn something new this is the website to go to first. You can view the videos on their site or if you so wish they also post their videos on their Youtube channel.

Goodbye Brands on Facebook.

While I was reading the assigned article “Why Fans Un-Friend Your Brand On Facebook” by Ann Marie Kerwin, I had a realization that this brand un-friending is something that is definitely happening in my own social media life. Now that I think about it, I have recently banished certain brands from my Facebook feed. The reasons are many, but here are a few that were also mentioned in the article: material being posted too constantly and overall blandness of material. And the brands that I haven’t yet un-friended I find myself ignoring and scrolling over their posts as if they don’t even exist.

But here’s the catch! If the brand tends to post more visually appealing photos (not really videos due to the commercial-like annoyance) I am more likely to pause on the post than I would lets say if they just used a text-based post.

Here’s what I think I would do were I to have a brand page on Facebook.

First, I would reevaluate who my audience is on the site and make completely sure that what I am posted and how I am posted my content is directly correlated to the interests and needs of my audience. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and start at the beginning.

Secondly, if I see that my content is failing to correlate with my audience’s needs and interests I need to do research and perhaps reach out to some of my audience and ask what it is they want to see from my brand. Give them a choice in what they are spending their time on.

And thirdly, I want to make sure that my content has variety. If you post the same content constantly, you will lose the interest of your audience. Come up with ideas on how to best interact with your audience and what will keep their interest. Variety keeps it fresh.

Anyway those are just a few ideas I had for how to keep and grow your Facebook audience.

The Power of Video Storytelling

Storytelling via video is increasingly becoming a popular and successful way for for-profit and non-profit companies to connect with their audience. Charity: water’s video “Rachel’s Gift” is a great example of taking a story and using video to tell it. Though there are many ways to tell a story whether it be through audio, photographs, and words, video is able to encompass all of these. Which is why I think video can be so much more versatile than any other media form. It is because of this popularity that  video is now a feature on many major social media sites. Some sites like Vine revolve solely around video storytelling. Most companies have caught on to the success that video offers and have benefited from the power of video storytelling.

The lesson I learned most from reading about Charity: water’s success with “Rachel’s Gift” is what Jamie Pent said about creating a video. She says her biggest lesson learned is that though you can strategically plan out a video all you want you might end up with footage that just doesn’t directly correlate with what is on your checklist. Unplanned footage can in the end be what gives the story being told life. Along those lines of diverting from the plan is also being open to different perspectives because those too can be what makes a story real.

A Plethora of Resumes

Happy Saturday!

Today I’d like to talk about one of my favorite things to design: resumes. At my job I have the privilege of reviewing many resumes. Whether it’s for hiring purposes or editing those of my fellow coworkers, resumes surround me every day. And I’ve read in multiple places that the average time a hiring manager spends viewing a resume is only 6 seconds. After some thought, I agree with that assessment because after reading through piles of resumes that all look alike, hiring managers start narrowing down their search, now they look for specific things, usually very simple things, such as: school alma mater and the name of your last company you were employed at. These specific things are usually insignificant compared to your skills and experience (which should always be on your resume).

So how do we get these hiring managers to notice us out of perhaps maybe hundreds of applicants? We have a better resume design. I am more likely to pause and actually read through a resume that is more visually appealing and custom designed, than one that looks like all the others. With a custom designed resume, you keep all your skills and experience on the page, but you are also showing anyone hiring you that you care enough to spend time to ensure you are noticed. You are showing them that you are creative. And let me just say it: you are a breath or fresh air.

Here are a few of my favorite sources for resume design

Original Resume Design: Though there main purpose is to sell you a       resume design, I like to get design inspiration ideas from all the cool templates they feature.

Can Beautiful Design Make Your Resume Stand Out?: This is a great article that discusses the benefits of custom designing your resume. It also features some before and after photos of resumes.

Print vs. Web

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This is helpful infographic from Brandi Hussey who has a color and creative business blog called BrandiGirlBlog. I’ve used this infographic from the beginning of my design craze. It’s a great reference tool when you are unsure or just can’t remember what colors, resolutions, dimensions, and file types to use when working with design for print and/or web.

Many designers can make the mistake of expecting what looks great printed to look equally as great on the web. And vise versa. They can both be a completely different experience. The infographic features the basics needed to know in order to choose the best options for either print or web.

Greetings Blog World!

IMG_2145This is my very first ever blog post! As I am still learning the in and outs of creating/running a blog and I’ve yet to create an “about me” page, let me tell you all a little about myself. First, my name is Melissa. I am a 21-year-old from Albuquerque, NM and currently a Strategic Communications major, which involves quite a bit of graphic design. About two years ago I started working for the U.S. Forest Service in their technology unit. A large part of my job is designing and writing documents for the agency.log post! As I am still learning the in and outs of creating/running a blog and I’ve yet to create an “about me” page, let me tell you all a little about myself.

I enjoy all aspects of design from the strategy it involves to just the overall look of an excellent design. What I want this blog to be is somewhere I can post things that have inspired and helped me on my design adventure, whether it be a single design work or a tutorial/how to. Though my posts may fall under the graphic design category I will also be posting anything that has a visual design aspect, because as a designer inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. I will have a weekly post about a design that has inspired me each week called: “Weekly Dose of Design

Anyway, I am excited to share and experience it all with you! I hope that you will enjoy and maybe even learn something from my design craziness.