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Why Designing isn't about Photoshop

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Why Designing isn't about Photoshop

When it comes to discussing design, there’s a common misconception amongst non-designers about what being a designer involves “Oh, you’re a graphic designer? You must be good at photoshop then, yes?

Yes, indeed, using photoshop is part of a job of a designer. However, it is not as simple as being a photoshop expert.

You see, Photoshop is just one of the software tools that can be used. And like every tool, it has a specific purpose.

So let’s introduce you to my everyday tools: Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. These are the main software tools I use.

You might not know it, but Photoshop is an image-treatment software. We use it as a tool to modify elements of an image such as its colours, lighting, shadows, contrast, and so on. What you can do to a picture is almost endless with Photoshop (if you’re really good at it). It enables you to transform a picture from A to B and it can also be used to create a digital collage, draw, or cut out an image from its background.

Illustrator - as its name indicates - is used to creating illustration. It’s a drawing software but not any kind of drawings - vector drawings. Long story short; it uses Bezier Curves which are mathematical equations. What it allows us to do (and this is why it is such an interesting software) is draw with maths. This means that you can basically expand or reduce the size of your drawings at ANY level. The quality will never be compromised. While you can draw in photoshop too, the image will be created of pixels, which means enlarging it up to a certain point lowers the quality of the image and that’s why logos or icons are drawn in illustrator. (This is also why you might here a designer cry every time someone else says they've designed a logo in Photoshop!)

Drawing with Illustrator looks like this:

Now Indesign is a very specialist tool; it’s the software we use to lay out a composition. It is made to support heavy text and text editing.Posters, brochures, magazines, books, flyers… You name it, they will be created in Indesign. It allows us to works with grids if we want to.

But what is designing and what does it entail?

Well, being an art director and graphic designer doesn’t only mean handling the execution and using these software tools to create the end product. It’s so much more than that.

First of all, before starting any project, a detailed brief must be written to identify the concept and the direction in which the project is heading. This is followed by a phase of research to understand, acknowledge, and create definitions and hypothesis about the project. This leads to sketches that will evolve into a number of options. Then there are further developments and alterations which result in the first proper design propositions.

In other words, there is a strategic and consultative stage that plays a significant role in any design project.

Bringing our ideas to life - whether it’s a drawing or a digital sketch - is a result of a creative process. Ultimately, it’s solving a problem through design. The end product is the third and final part of my job - this is the technical part.

This is basically how it works:

design process.png

See the tools are coming into the very end production of designing and this is why you can be a Photoshop expert and not necessarily be a designer at all. This isn’t because you know the tool that you can think and resolve a problem through a creative process.

Hopefully, that has given you some insight about the creative and design process and into what you can expect from working with Bonjour Lucie and other Brand and Design specialists.

Before hiring a designer or a design agency, we highly recommend you to do some research and ask them questions about their process: are they here to solve your problem(s) or simply sell you an amazing looking design?

If you have further questions or want to find out more, get in touch!


Thank you for reading!

We hope this will help you understanding more our work! If you have further questions, please comment and we’ll do our best to come back with an answer that helps you! If you found this article interesting, please share it with your friends and people you know that might be interested in learning more about the subject!

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Fundamentals of Composition Part 2

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Fundamentals of Composition Part 2

And we are back on tracks for the part 2 of our Fundamentals of composition!

In our first part (article here), we've been through: 

1 - Unity & Harmony: Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Repetition

2 - Balance: Symmetry, Asymmetry

3 - Hierarchy & Path: Visual and Intellectual journey

4 - Scales & Proportions (+ Golden Rule)

 

And this week we'll define the following: 

5 - Dominance & Emphasis

6 - Order + Unity + Movement + Harmony = The rhythm

7 - Unity & Variety: Contrast

8 - Background & Shape: In & Out / Full & Empty

 

So let's get started!

 

5. Dominance and Emphasis

Highlight: Breaking the visual hierarchy using form to emphasise

Colour: To distinguish between elements in a series of similar forms

Size: Elements of different sizes focus viewer attention accordingly

 

6. Order + Unity + Movement + Harmony = The rhythm

We can perceive the rhythm simultaneously in three different senses. First hear it, second see it and thirdly feel it in our muscles”,
Paul Klee.

Rhythm plays a living link between all parts of the composition. It is at once a principle of order, diversity and unity or harmony.

The rhythm is inevitable: It makes it possible to subdivide time and space.

It works on time or landmarks perceived consciously or not according as they will be more or less emphasised. The rhythm facilitates the reading: it organises the meeting with the composition. It defines and qualifies a temporality.

The rhythmic effect can be ensured by the distribution of light and dark spots as well as by colour, formal elements, or effects of matter. 

rythme3.jpg
 

The rhythm is all the more attractive as it offers possible developments and gives a sense of infinity to the composition.

 

The cold is therefore a major principle.

A grid can be considered as a rhythmic frame: a frame that is chosen to mark with more or less insistence according to the final perception sought.    

 

7. Unity and Variety: Contrast

Contrast is a principle of deviation which can go as far as contraries; it can both unite and separate. When the deviations are fully balanced and mastered, you can speak of unity and coherence as a contrasting couple. Two opposing plastic elements can offer unity by their complementarity. This is the case of couples such as black and white, red and green, the circle and the square ...

 

Contrasts make it possible to emphasise the identity of each actor, to reveal, to order, to amplify the visual impact, to hold the attention, to make the composition expressive.

 

The concept of contrast applies as much to the shape (geometry, scale), directions (horizontal, vertical, oblique), colours (hot and cold, light and dark etc.), textures (rough or smooth, matte or glossy, etc.).

8. Background and Shape: In and Out / Full and Empty

The white background often acts as an empty space from which the image emerges - this empty space being "presented for perception but not for composition" (Norman Bryson).

The background can be perceived as a concrete surface of silence, an indeterminate in which form can appear. It offers the possibility of the presence of things. Form is definitely defined only by its opposition to the bottom. This opposition between form and background is at the basis of the "Gestalt Theory”.

The greater the contrast between the background and the form, the more distinctive and mutually reinforcing these elements are. In a composition, the "empty" or almost "empty" parts are as important as the solid parts where patterns abound. The white background often provides the vital space around the form; an area of rest, meditation as in a musical page, the abstract space of all possible.

Background-Shape2.jpg

Thank you for reading!

We hope this will help you for your next piece of communication! If you have further questions, please comment and we’ll do our best to come back with an answer that helps you! If you found this article interesting, please share it with your friends and people you know that might be interested to learn more about the subject!

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Fundamentals of (almost any) Composition - PART 1

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Fundamentals of (almost any) Composition - PART 1

 

It’s not always easy to understand how graphic design works. You might spot a nice poster or a brochure and instantly be thinking “whoa yes, that’s it, that works”, whether consciously or unconsciously. However, when it comes to designing something or combining several elements of information together (also known as creating a composition) for yourself, it can be a struggle. This tends to be due to the fact that what may have worked elsewhere, doesn’t appear to be working for you and your brand. This often leads to frustration because you are not sure exactly what it is that isn’t working. 

We want to help you with this by providing you with the key points and rules to be considered when creating a composition - whether it’s a flyer, poster, catalogue, brochure, newsletter, website page, or something different. Moreover, we’ll explain what these points actually mean and why they are important.

But first: What is composition? 

"Composition is the art of discovering and representing unity in variety" - Plato ( An idea that Paul Klee developed with his students at the Bauhaus)

Composition in graphic design is the selection and the organisation of the diverse elements of the subject; it’s the “art” of linking in a relevant way, the chosen elements of the project.

For a composition to work, it has to be relevant, coherent and easy to read. To do so, there are several design rules that should be applied when creating this relevant and coherent content:

Part 1
1 - Unity + Harmony: Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Repetition
2 - Balance: Symmetry, Asymmetry
3 - Hierarchy + Path: Visual and Intellectual journey
4 - Scales + Proportions (+ Golden Rule)

Part 2
5 - Dominance + Emphasis
6 - Order + Unity + Movement + Harmony = The rhythm
7 - Unity + Variety: Contrast
8 - Background + Shape: In + Out / Full + Empty

 

1. Unity and Harmony: Proximity, Similarity, Continuation, Repetition

When it comes to composition, the term “harmony” refers to achieving a visual balance in the field of application. 

"Harmony is the relationship that accords the different parts of a complex whole in such a way that this meeting forms a coherent, happy, satisfying whole for the mind and the senses", Etienne Souriceau, professor of aesthetics at the Sorbonne University, Paris.

Proximity: A sense of the distance between elements
Similarity: The ability to be repeated with other elements
Continuation: A sense of having an extended line or pattern
Repetition: An element that can be copied numerous times

2. Balance: Symmetry, Asymmetry

Symmetry - Elements on either side of the axis are arranged similarly.

Asymmetry created by the proportion of the mass in space.

Elements differ on each side but are still in visual equilibrium.

3. Hierarchy and Path: A Visual and Intellectual journey

The composition is essential to control the progression of reading for the reader, it should not distract the attention of the reader but help to focus on the path to understand the subject. The composition should not take the lead on the subject but should serve the subject.

4. Scales and Proportions

Size: Elements of different sizes in relationships with each other
Ratio: Elements related to each other in a ratio appear together in visual harmony
Division: Elements create focal points that automatically give a sense of the relationship


Thank you for reading!

We hope this will help you for your next piece of communication - Part 2 is coming very soon!

If you have further questions please comment (we finally figured out how to activate our comment section - no comment about that! - feel free to use it, we'd love to here your thoughts about the content!) and we’ll do our best to come back with an answer that helps you! If you found this article interesting, please share it with your friends and/or people you know that might be interested to learn more about the subject!

COMING OUT NEXT WEEK

We will go into detail about what graphic design is
and what the different disciplines include!
Stay tuned!

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Branding vs. Identity Explained

Branding vs. Identity Explained

 

Today we want to talk vocabulary and in particular, the difference between
branding and visual identity.

 

We often get people coming to us and telling us that they “need branding” but when we delve deeper, we find out that they actually mean “visual identity”. In design, the term branding is often used to talk about all the elements that have to do with creating an identity. And even though it can be used to reference anything like logos or colour palettes, it is in fact not branding that is required.  

So what is the difference between branding and visual identity?

Branding is the set of quality, ideas and attributes that define your company/brand. It's the positioning and the messaging you send to your audience. Branding is the promise that you deliver through the communications your customers/user/audience have with your company, service or product. Branding is not objective - it's to do with feelings, philosophy, and that gut feelings that customers get when they think of you. Branding is a personality. It’s the who you are as a brand.

As summarised nicely by Marty Neumeier, The brand gap: "A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company".

The identity or visual identity is what’s visual to represent your brand. It’s a trademarked logo, symbol, monogram, emblem, or other graphical element. It's a visual expression of the brand through the symbolism, typography, colour and layout. When we talk about a brand we don’t talk about identity - we’re saying “who we are”. When we talk about an identity, it's the graphics - logo, colours, typos etc.

_________________
 

Now, what do we mean by Brand Guidelines and why are they important?

The Brand Guidelines is a document that, as it is named, is a guide about both the branding and the identity. It's the guide for the whole usage of the brand and how it should be communicated to its audience. To sum up: it’s a guide for both the branding and the visual identity of a company/brand.

It includes themes such as:
-the brand's history, personality and vision
-the brand's messaging or mission statement
-usage of the logo: how to use the logo, what you are allowed to do with it, and what you are not
-colour palette(s), typographic palette and how to use them
-image style: sample of type of pictures used by the brand vs what to not use
-basic layout samples (letterheads, business cards...)

Brand guidelines should be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid enough to keep your brand easily recognisable. Consistency is key, especially if you need the brand to extend across multiple media platforms.


Thanks for reading!

We hope this has helped you better understand what is what? If you have further questions please comment and we’ll do our best to come back with an answer that helps you!
Feel free to share this articles with you friends and/or people you know that might be interested to learn more about the subject!

COMING UP NEXT WEEK:
We will introduce the first article of a serie of "Fundamentals",
Next week: Fundamentals of (almost any) Composition - Part 1
Stay Tuned!