What can designers learn from painters?

Graphic design is more about organization.  Painting is usually more about expression.  A balance of organization and expression in art and design leads to successful outcomes.

Edge quality in painting is a big deal.

It’s one of those things that separate the good from the best.  The edge quality in graphic design is often hard edge due to the nature of the tools.  Photographic images incorporated into your layout as a design element can totally transform your work from an austere crisp graphic to something that is more expressive and appealing. This will keep your audience looking at your message longer.

All lines are not created equal.

Good line quality is important because it can support the visual communication of an idea from a poster or website. Painters use tools that immediately allow them more expression in contrast to a designer who usually works digitally and spends a lot of the time with hard edge picture boxes.  It may not be appropriate for every project but when possible, experimenting with line quality can dramatically impact the quality of your designs.

Pictured left to right: Chinese Reader for Beginners, With Exercises in Writing and Speaking James C. Nute, Arthur P. Lites, Stanford, California, 1942.  Lines, M Plus M Incorporated, New York, New York, 1991 and Endangered (series of six posters)
Sommese Design, State College, Pennsylvania, 1993.

What’s a compositional shape anyway?

At at the most rudimentary level, designers begin a layout by thinking in very graphic terms about the content, including proportion and compositional shapes.  How creative one can be with their compositional shapes and proportions depends on their ability to see and comprehend proportions. Many times when a design is lacking that special sauce, an adjustment to proportions is all that is needed.

For designs with character that stand out from the cookie cutter template solutions proliferating our visual field, think line quality, edge quality and keep up your drawing. For additional design resources visit the AIGA Archives.

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The current state of flash in an HTML 5 future


Currently Flash does not work on Mac iOS which includes iPhones and iPads. Adobe’s solution is its Flash Media Server, which allows your video to be ‘pushed’ through their server technology and work on any device including AIR, Android, and iOS devices with live and on-demand streaming.  You can use a host like Influxis.com or purchase Adobe’s Flash Media Server for $995.00 – $45K depending on your needs. But here’s the conundrum:  Adobe has stopped its support of Flash on mobile devices, and plans to focus on tools that will more easily allow for content creation across platforms.

In contrast, HTML 5 only works on 50% of the current browsers and can take about three times as long to debug.  It’s getting there, but it’s not quite ready yet in comparison to 99% of browsers supporting Flash.  To read more statistics check out the “Flash or HTML 5” post at Periscopic.

It’s been recommended by Jay Yearly of Media Tech Connection that “developers shouldn’t bank their entire skill set on learning only one technology language, regardless of how widely used it is”

What about your next project? The answer lies with your target market.  Designers must base this decision on their audience and take a look at browsers by market share, potential audience, interactive features, SEO, development time, and testing along with additional considerations such as planning for your target market’s current and future technology for approximately two years out.