Is there a difference between Art and Design?

Absolutely. The trick is in the definition. A number of artists and designers and bloggers have piped up over the course of many years to offer their opinions, and especially recently over the internet, so it’s easy to find what the prevailing thoughts are. And it’s been quite a debate. Let me distill the high points for you. The Artist … Continue reading

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The Left-Brained Designer

I’m sure you’ve heard about “Right-Brain” vs. “Left-Brain” thinking and learning. Most folks are dominant with one side or the other, but no one is totally left-brain or totally right-brained. Those who are right-brain dominant tend to focus on images and patterns, are intuitive, and are more likely to free-associate to make connections or lists. Those who are left-brain dominant … Continue reading

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Web Design: Graphic Designers or Web Developers?

What does the job title “Graphic Designer” mean to you? Does it mean an artist who designs the layout, images, colors, and typography in an advertisement or other business collateral? Yes, but are we referring to print pieces only, or do we include electronically viewed pieces? Before the emergence of the internet, the definition of “Graphic Designer” was a lot … Continue reading

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Attention-Getting Folding Patterns for Business Collateral

Standing out from the crowd is a great way to get noticed. I often work with small businesses, many of whom start out their marketing efforts by producing traditional tri-fold brochures. Those who are game to try something different have an advantage, for if they offer a different style, they may create a “user experience” that is memorable enough for … Continue reading

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Graphic Designer or Decorator?

I have a friend who is an Interior Designer. She has mentioned her frustration with people who call her an Interior Decorator. Many people don’t know the difference. After all, don’t both labels have to do with such things as paint, lighting, furniture and the like? Well, yes. But there IS a difference. A decorator is someone who decorates. And … Continue reading

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File Properties Data is Important

Today’s article is more of a tip than an opinion piece or a product review. I often create documents in Word, Publisher, InDesign, Photoshop, etc. But I also use a feature of those programs that many folks don’t think much about. I make sure to identify myself as the creator of that document. That’s important, because many of these documents … Continue reading

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SMART Goals vs. Dream Big

This is the time of year when many people are asked to set New Year’s Resolutions for the coming year. Many more do a more specific job by setting Goals for the year. I’m no different, but I use a system that I first learned about when I was a member of Toastmasters International several years ago. This system has … Continue reading

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The Ethics of Using Pictures Off the Web

When I was growing up, I did a lot of research using the family set of encyclopedias on the bookshelf. These days we are just as likely to do our research online. It’s not hard at all to find written information about your topic, but what if you also want to see a picture? For that, many folks go to … Continue reading

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The Value of Mastermind Groups

I belong to a “Mastermind Group.” What is that, you ask? A Mastermind Group is basically an informal association of several persons who commit to helping or supporting each other in reaching their goals. Some groups are quite large and quite formal; mine consists of two other freelance graphic designers besides myself who otherwise tend to work alone. But size … Continue reading

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Business Card Readability

Remember the days when a business card was just black letters on white cardstock? It carried contact information that consisted of a person’s name, title, company name, address, and phone number. And that was it. Over time, additional information was added, such as a logo and a fax number. As time went on and we entered the Technology Age, we … Continue reading

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Hiding Your Light Under a Bushel

What’s the title mean? I first heard that phrase in Sunday School. It means don’t be bashful about your skills and talents, but display them to the world. How does that apply to my message today? Many professionals have more than one particular business skill or service they offer their customers, often several. But the main ones are the ones … Continue reading

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Why Hire a Professional Graphic Designer?

Believe it or not, it’s more cost-effective in the long run. Professionals work more skillfully and generally faster than do-it-yourselfers. They make far fewer mistakes, saving you time and money. They use high-end feature-rich professional software packages and resources, and are trained in their use, rather than cheaper or low-end resources. The results always look better, and in the case … Continue reading

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Top Eight Ways To Get The Most From Your Designer

Are you giving your graphic designer the background information they need for projects? At the first meeting with your graphic designer, you should come prepared to answer some basic questions. When you come prepared, you streamline the process for the designer, and get better (and faster) results because there is a fuller understanding of you, your company, your product, and … Continue reading

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Simplicity in Design

Recently I took a vacation trip abroad. While I was sitting on a tour bus, I noticed the street signs and the advertising around me on billboards and the sides of trucks. And I was struck by the logos I saw. They weren’t much different from the logos I see everyday in the U.S. — they were colorful and creative. … Continue reading

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Making Color Work for You

What’s your favorite color? If you’re like the majority of responders to a recent color survey, you probably answered “blue.” For some, that means your clothing, car, room décor, and all sorts of everyday items are chosen because they are blue, or whatever you said was your favorite color. How about your advertising? Web site? Other marketing materials? Those things … Continue reading

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“Spheres of Influence” at BNI

Graphic Designers, even freelance ones, rarely work in isolation. They collaborate with other professionals to complete a project. Whereas designers provide concept and design, others on the team may guide production or distribution, for example. I belong to a chapter of Business Network International (BNI), billed as the largest referral organization in the world. Members pass along referrals to other … Continue reading

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Marketing Budgets and Templates

In these days of economic squeeze, companies are looking for ways to cut costs. Marketing budgets might seem like a target for budget-cutting, but if they are cut too much, a company’s message – and the bottom line – may weaken, precisely at a time when it’s imperative to keep strong. Desktop publishing and presentational software packages have come a … Continue reading

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Finding (and Sharing) My Passion

One of the newsletters I subscribe to had an article the other day about finding your passion. It was part of a larger topic often discussed among freelancers regarding finding your own unique niche, setting yourself apart from the competition. Freelance Graphic Designers distinguish themselves by specializing according to format, industry, or business demographics. Some court small business owners, while … Continue reading

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PC or Mac?

Which is better? That’s a question that has been bandied about ever since the early desktop personal computers became available. The wisdom back then was that for “computing tasks” a PC was best, but for graphic design, an Apple Mac was best. The Theatre department where I taught had Apples. In the time since each platform was presented to the … Continue reading

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Good Design Transcends Formats

I used to teach design. At the University level. I taught about the principles and elements of design, such as Line, Shape, Size, Color, Texture, and also Balance, Symmetry, Contrast, and Harmony. But here’s the thing: my design work was in the discipline of theatrical costumes. Yes, that’s right, I was a theatrical costume designer before I went into graphic … Continue reading

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