Friday, December 4, 2009

Colorless Packaging

Colorless eco friendly packaging has been proposed by Ryan Harc, member of the Behance Network. The idea is that by not spraying color onto the can, we would be reducing air and water pollution. Rather than painting the can, the logo would simply pop out of the can in a convex manner. This process would also reduce energy and effort in the recycling process. When cans arrive at the recycling plant, they must be stripped of their toxic color which takes a lot of energy that could be saved by going colorless.

This is a really cool idea but I'm not sure the huge manufacturers would go for something like this. Coca-Cola really relies on its being red to be identified. When I see a red can, the first thing I think is Coca-Cola. I do think that if manufacturers really just gave this a try, it could work eventually. However it would take a good amount of time for consumers to adjust to the change.

I also like that this project brings the focus off of the color and onto the actual logo design of each soda manufacturer. This would really be a nice test for those logos that rely so much on color. Logos should always work in black and white first before color is brought into the mix, so I think consumers would buy according more to the design of the logo if this proposal were to go into effect.

San Francisco Architecture

This beautiful structure was designed by architects LSarc. The residence is located on Laidley Street in San Fancisco and was completed in 2002. This home really offers everything anyone could want. From inside the home, one can see great views of the city. In contrast to the city views, the rear of the house includes a Japanese inspired garden, bringing serenity into the modern structure in the heart of San Francisco.

I think it is really great that while one can get great views of downtown, there is also a private deck that features a nice private hot tub area. From this deck you can look into the house and really see the beautiful interior.

As you can see in the first image, the architects really took advantage of the limited space to build on and went vertical. Doing this really utilized the space well and allowed for a beautifully designed, modern home.


This is a really cool project that was done by two Brooklyn artists and two artists from Belfast. Basically the idea was that the book would travel between the four artists for 36 weeks straight. When each artist received the book, he created a spread in response to the spread preceding it.

Every Wednesday, one artist would receive the book. The artist had five days to complete the spread. This cycle went on from June 2, 2003 to February 2, 2004. By the time the book was completed it had travelled over sixty thousand miles.

The coolest part about this project is that there was no communication between the artists aside from the actual spreads that were created. The book was exhibited in Belfast. When visiting the exhibition, guests could check out each spread in chronological order, isolated from each other as well as the physical book.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Really Cool Portfolio Site

Oskar Krawczyk is a UX and Front-end designer and this is his portfolio site. The simplicity and subtle details found on this site are very impressive. The background is a nice paper texture with some grunge aspect to it. The grunge factor really makes the paper pop off the page. I love the nice line drawing self portrait and how it is used in part with the navigation. When you roll over the different buttons a speak bubble pops up, which adds really effective interaction.

When you navigate to Oskar's portfolio, a nice box pops up that displays slides of his work. The user can click the arrows to slide through the portfolio samples. A great feature of this portfolio is the way the slides fall into place. Rather than simply sliding into place in the display box, the images actually bounce into place, creating a visually interesting experience.

Amazing Installation Art by Ran Hwang

Ran Hwang is a Korean artist who creates larger than life installations of birds and cherry blossom trees. Each and every red dot is made up of a pin and a button. No adhesives are used, so the button can slide up and down the pin.

The amount of work that goes into each of Ran's installations is nothing short of amazing. She is passionate about her artwork and relates the installations to the existence of human beings. She relates the mobility of the buttons to the human tendency to be irresolute. She also says that she choses to use buttons because they are common and ordinary just like the existence of human life.

Ran finds peace in creating these large installations and finds that she discovers significance of existence in hammering the thousands of pins into the wall.

I think that it is so inspiring to see someone who is so incredibly passionate about her work. Knowing that the artist really put their heart and soul into their creations really makes the actual art inspiring to me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Subtle Details in Web Design

I found a great article on the web design ledger called Subtle Details: Taking Web Designs to Another Level.

I often stumble upon beautifully designed websites and cannot pinpoint what exactly makes the design so magnificent. This article gives some really great examples of subtle details that significantly improve the webpage design.

The first point is "Pixel Perfect Line Work." By using a simple 1 px line along the top of a navigation bar the designer is creating an illusion of depth. When a lighter color line is used against a darker background the illusion is created. However, it is important to make this color change a very subtle one as to not overpower the effect.

The next idea is to use "Shadows with Restraint." Shadows also create a nice illusion of depth in a 2 dimensional medium. Subtlety is also key in this technique. The darkness of a shadow should correspond the the background color. For example, when shadowing a white navigation bar against a white background, you would not want to do a dark, overpowering shadow.

The third pointer is to use "Simple Gradients." A nice way to use gradients to enhance web design is to incorporate them into buttons. Using a simple and very subtle gradient on a button creates a nice pop up effect. The buttons look almost like really buttons that are in a 3 dimensional space. Again, overdoing the gradient by using 2 colors with a large difference of shade will cause the gradient to lose its effect.

Specialization vs. Generalization

This article discusses the issue of specialization vs. generalization in terms of freelancing. Although it was written by a freelance writer, I think the same issues arise with freelance designing.

The main question at hand is "do you need to specialize to succeed as a freelancer?" There is really no correct answer, but I found the question to be extremely relevant to my questions as a designer who is close to graduating. As I begin to plan for my future after graduation, I have been faced with several questions. Do I go to grad school or go straight into a career? If I do go to grad school, what do I study? Because I am interested in so many different aspects of design, these questions are so difficult for me to answer.

Basically, this article goes on to say that most freelancers will at some point specialize and at another, generalize. Laura Spencer, the author of this article, points out that over time, the demand for any given specialty will change. This means that in order for specializing freelancers to succeed, they must be willing to change their specialty.

I think that as a designer it is important to be familiar with many different areas of design (including things that design is incorporated into such as programing) to be successful. Once you find a few specific areas that really interest you, specialize in them and become great at them. You can always look to other specialists for help in those areas that are not of interest or understanding to you.