Not too long back, California Dingo Media was approached by STEM Box Cars, an educational organization specializing in STEM education, to create a packaging illustration and logo design that ties-in with their unique hands-on activities and targets an educational demographic. This excellent organization seeks to begin children on their journey to become Globally Competent by exposing them to engaging and cognitively appropriate STEM activities that are perceived through a children’s narrative promoting literacy skills as well as embracing diversity.
Quite a mouth-full, huh? In other words, they help children excel at Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) by putting them in a children’s narrative which also helps them read and learn about their surroundings. Pretty neat, huh?
The founders came to California Dingo Media seeking particular goals to achieve when developing their imagery; it must reach the proper demographic, encompass the founders’ individuality, and represent the hands-on activities included in each product box purchased by consumers.
Let’s sit down with the founders of STEM Box Cars and have them share their experience working with California Dingo Media in accomplishing these set graphic design goals.
I’ve always struggled with the Golden Spiral in graphic design. I always felt I never really understood it, but yet, I knew it was a powerful beast. I worked and worked on understanding it, getting lectured by my instructor over and over on using it more and then one day… it clicked. I got it. It’s all about finding the sweet spot for a design. Lead that eye and get it where it needs to go and make the eye enjoy the ride. I’m Disneyland for the graphic design world essentially. My job is to make sure you enjoy looking at the material provided before you so you don’t turn away… AND make sure you know about the company behind the material and what they offer.
The Golden Spiral is a perfect machine which is utilized by God himself in everyday life. As I understand it, it was derived by humans looking at nature and wondering to themselves “why is that so adorable”. And lo, the Golden Spiral, Golden Circle, and Golden Ratio were born. Golden meaning it’s pretty darn cool.
I’m by no means an expert on this topic, but there are many out there that are and can explain the math behind it much better that I ever could. One place is here. Essentially, its about thirds. Everything looks great when there is tension. Just look at your relationship. Relationships wouldn’t be fun without a little tension. Now, I’m not talking about burning down a house tension, I’m talking about tit for tat tension. Tension is something humans desire and the Golden Spiral delivers. It’s not an even numbered type of thing.. it’s a odd type of thing. Literally.
The Golden Spiral, Circle and Ratio all play off of the thirds (1/3). For instance, when you take a picture, you should always use wide screen AND put your subject to the right or left… never in the middle.. if you want to look like a pro. Why? Our eye desires it! WE WANT TENSION. This is why soap operas have been around for way too long. TENSION.
I recently worked on creating a poster for a friend of mine who is making a movie. He already had the idea of what he wanted for the poster and laid it out. It was up to me to not just take his approach and make it look professional, but to make sure the eye is drawn. Welcome: Golden Spiral.
The idea is to lead the eye to the title of the movie (or whatever your desired landing place is) while giving the viewer a Disneyland ride toward it. As you can see below you are naturally drawn to start at the top left as this is where we begin to read. Your eye is then brought down around the characters of the movie and centered into the title. Job done.
This could easily be mistaken for hierarchy design, which is based on the Golden Ratio, but in this case it was all Spiral. Oh, Spiral is gorgeous, isn’t she?
Go! Do some design stuff using Golden Spiral or look for it in nature. It’s there in your local park. Just look. It’s fun.
Quite a while back California Dingo Media was approached by pharmaceutical software company Cypress Software to provide creative direction on their marketing materials by defining their unique business model using custom imagery and crafted design. It started initially with just a request for some adverts and business cards, but quickly the marketing needs of Cypress Software began to grow and they called on California Dingo Media to fill the gap frequently.
Cypress Software is now a regular client that periodically calls up my office with new ideas and marketing approaches in which California Dingo Media gladly provides creative direction and design. I thought it was time to sit down with co-owner and implementation director, Ron Collins, to share his experience working with California Dingo Media and ask him why Cypress Software continues to use me for their creative direction and design needs.
Many businesses can’t afford to hire a creative director and put them on staff. With California Dingo Media there is no need to. I am an independent creative director that gets you the results your company needs while visually defining your brand identity and awareness. I do this all without costing you payroll and benefits.
Cypress Software was a rather new startup company when they approached me to provide a limited amount of creative direction. This collaboration has been paying off for their company and they see the value in approaching California Dingo Media when a creative need arises. Perhaps California Dingo Media could help provide creative direction for your company or organization?
What makes a good logo design? ADOBE seems to know.
I’ve always struggled to create the perfect logo design for someone. I can spot and totally appreciate a great logo, but to create one myself? Logo design can almost become a science in effective visuals when done correctly. Adobe just happened to have a pretty excellent article on their site which discusses some things that make a logo a good logo. I learned a little from it, perhaps you can too. Check it out.
“Ensure the logo works in multiple environments.The best logos are memorable, but they also have to function and work in a variety of modern environments and across digital platforms, communication channels, and physical objects. Great logos resize easily and can be reproduced across a variety of different contexts — they should be scalable, responsive (for mobile-first design), and identifiable across a variety of sizes, shapes, dimensions, and applications.
Find the sweet spot of complexity. Color or black and white? Detailed or simplistic? Abstract or literal? The best logos can be reduced to one or two colors and resized easily. If it can’t, chances are it’s too complicated and not likely to be legible or memorable. While it’s not a rule that logos should be produced in one color, it can be indicative of whether or not it is at the right level of visual complexity. One way to test the utility of a logo is to envision how it would reproduce stitched on a ball cap. If it would work well there, it is probably simple enough for most any application.
Watch trends, but aim for timeless.The “flat” design and minimalist approach may be hot now, but in a decade, logos in multiple colors with extra detail may be on trend. Design trends are seen through a moving window — timeless logos stand out visually by differentiating themselves from what has already been done in the past. Use sites such as Behance.net to get a handle on current design trends, but also pay attention to the great timeless logos to visualize how designs can adjust to the flavor of the day and stand the test of time.”
They mentioned Adobe Capture in the article and for those of you who are not familiar it is a very effective tool when looking for color schemes, brushes, patterns and more and stores it for use in your projects using Adobe software. For more information on that very handy tool, go here.
As a requirement for my job as graphic designer extraordinaire at AIMS Education Foundation, I am to participate in continuing education. It’s a great way to sharpen the skills and know-how and also to do something a little different. I am never asked or push myself to do any real art… you know, the kind you can put up in your house. When I get home from work, if I’m not slaving on someone else’s stuff, I’m working on my music or fixing the house that lacks any art on the walls. The latter tends to be the case more often than not. Not because our house sucks, but because I am Type A when it comes to my house. So, these classes are a great opportunity for me to do something I otherwise would probably not do… create some good old fashion artsty fartsy.
There was a particular assignment in which I was quite pleased with my efforts, so much so, that my wife and I decided to put them up on our walls. I have to recreate it to do so (or pay exorbitant amounts of money to have someone print it for me), so as of right now they are not on the walls.
It was a series of 4 pieces that were to tackle particular elements in art. I won’t go into all that uppity uppity with you, but the great thing about it was we were allowed to use any subject matter. I chose a cat and ball. The can be used to create tension with each other and they also go together like … well, a cat and ball. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the series.
At any rate, I wanted to share. So here ya go.
By the way, I am happy to announce that I did quite well in the class.. A+. So my efforts were well worth it.