• From a Toddler’s Doodle to a Mother’s Work of Art

    On: October 2, 2014
    In: Design
    Views: 1024


    As artists, many of us were always doodling or drawing as kids. We’d create our works of art and then stump our parents as they tried to make out what it was we drew. Artist Ruth Oosterman has no problem seeing a masterpiece in her 2-year-old daughter’s work.

    Her daughter, Eve, workes in black ink pen and creates sketches that Ruth then uses as the foundation for her watercolor paintings. The transformations are amazing as mother and daughter work together.


    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40IffBm-GF4&w=420&h=315] Toddler02 Toddler03 Toddler05

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • See What You Want to See

    On: July 3, 2014
    In: Design
    Views: 1007

    As designers, we’re always looking for different ways to see things… we want to be the one that sees something differently and shows it to the world. In one of their recent ad campaigns for Jeep, Leo Burnett France did just that.

    In this campaign, Leo Burnett France created 3 optical illusions that can be seen when you turn the advertisement over. Now, this wasn’t just a cool optical illusion to include in the advertisement… it actually supported their entire concept.

    On their website, Leo Burnett France said, “When one is the happy owner of a Jeep, we know that at any time we can go where we want to, see what we want to see.” This idea is reinforced in the advertisements because the viewer is welcome to see whatever they want to see… a giraffe or a penguin; an elephant or a swan, etc.

    What do you see?

    Jeep05      Jeep06

    Jeep03      Jeep04

    Jeep01      Jeep02

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • Hunger Games Entices Fans with Stunning Posters

    On: June 26, 2014
    In: Design
    Views: 1557

    I promise I won’t geek out on you (well, not completely anyway), but when I saw these posters for the upcoming Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay Part 1, I knew I had to share them!

    If you follow the books and/or movies, you’ll know that at the end of Catching Fire, the Capitol is in a bit of trouble. With the people of the districts beginning to believe in Katniss and Peta, the Capitol must convince everyone that the way they run things is just fine… no need for change. As a lead-in to the next movie, a website and series of posters has been created to get the audince involved and help to hype up the movie.

    Well, I can honestly say that I’m a sucker. It totally worked on me! I checked out the website for the Capitol and it is really well done. In addition to their modern design of it, I love that the creators made the website as if the audience is one of the people from the districts… you can see President Snow in all his glory as well as sign up to watch “Capitol TV”. CLICK HERE TO SEE WEBSITE.

    More than the website, I was totally intrigued by the series of posters they released for the movie. Each one features a different district and an unsung “hero” from that district. For one, the photography is great–there is such detail, and each photo alone tells a story. The design of them is also something that I love. The series has a very simplistic design… featuring each district’s number, their symbol as well as a minimal amount of copy. If you look closely, the Capitol’s logo is also featured along with their motto, “Panem today. Panem tomorrow. Panem forever.” This touch makes the posters that much more real… drawing the viewer in as if they are living in this world with the Capitol and all of these districts.

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

    Panem07 Panem01 Panem02 Panem03 Panem04 Panem05 Panem06 Read More
  • The 10 Commandments of Typography

    On: April 24, 2014
    In: Design
    Views: 1341
    10 Commandments

    As designers, one of the main parts of our job is to pick out the perfect typefaces that will set the mood for our piece, get our message across effectively, appeal to the correct audience, among other thing. Often when I sit down to design something, I either don’t have a typeface in mind at all, or the one I have in mind ends up turning out nothing like what was in my head. This leads to the wasted minutes (sometimes hours) perusing through tons of typefaces trying to find the perfect one (or two). Here are 10 basic “commandments” that will help you narrow down your typeface exploration time!

    1. Know your font families: Geometric Sans, Humanist Sans, Old Style, Transitional, Modern and Slab Serif. All these years as a designer and I had NO idea there were this many families!

    2. Combine a Sans-Serif font with a Serif font. I do this often… if you find the right ones, they will compliment each other well!

    3. The opposite of #2… combine a Serif font with a Sans-Serif font.

    4. Don’t combine two fonts that are too similar. You need balance in your designs and choosing two fonts that are too similar won’t create enough contrast in your designs, throwing off your balance.

    5. Opposites attract. Choose two fonts that contrast nicely.

    6. Two is plenty! Most often, use only one or two fonts in your designs. Using more than that can make your design too hectic. (Though I will admit there is always exceptions!)

    7. Don’t ruin the mood. If you combine two different font moods, it will throw off the entire mood of your piece.

    8. Compliment. Though you want to avoid using similar fonts (see #4), it’s important to choose fonts with complimentary moods from similar times.

    9. Contrast is important! Using contrasting bold and thin fonts often create a unique look.

    10. Please avoid the following fonts at all costs: Comic Sans, Papyrus, Curlz, Viner, Kristen and Symbols.

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • Advertisers Celebrate April Fools

    On: April 7, 2014
    In: Design
    Views: 870

    I have been neglecting the design side of this blog for quite a while, but I am finally back! To get back into the swing of things, I thought I’d pick a fun topic to blog about—April Fools Day! Now, while I was busy pranking my friends this year, advertisers were also being quite mischievous. Here are some of my favorite brand hoaxes from this year…


    1. Mr. Dash



    2. Fruit of the Loom

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xw7iHjE2Gg]


    3. Moshi

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAM9-glUVIE&w=560&h=315]


    4. WestJet

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcbO3hl3_F0&w=560&h=315]


    5. American Beagle Outfitters

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdItDKWm59Q&w=560&h=315]


    6. HeliYUM

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tby91aTGF4&w=560&h=315]


    7. Dominos



    8. Chili’s



    9. Rosetta Stone



    10. Virgin Active

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpCJsjh1mls&w=560&h=315]


    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • 8 Tips for Photographing Your Design Work

    On: February 6, 2014
    In: Design
    Views: 993
    As a designer, I get tired of hearing that anyone can do what I do… all they need is a computer and bam! they’re a designer. I’m sure photographers often feel the same way… just because you have a camera doesn’t mean you’re a great photographer!

    Unfortunately, this is the sad truth. I love taking photos wherever I go (and I take tons of them too) but that doesn’t mean I take great photos. This is evident when I try to take photos of my design work – and let’s face it crappy photos of your work make your work look crappy!

    Though they won’t help us to become world famous photographers, here are 8 tips to help you photograph your print work in a more professional way:


    • Get the Lighting Right: Try photographing your work in a room that gets a lot of natural sunlight. If you need to ad extra light, use “daylight bulbs.” In addition, don’t be afraid to use more than one light or move your light around do create the perfect shadows.
    • Choose the Background: You may decide to get daring and use color backgrounds for your photos. If you do, make sure to choose colors to compliment not distract from your work. If all else fails, use white… it’s easy on the eye and less distracting than other colors.
    • Use a Tripod: Though this is a pretty simple tip, it’s also very important. You’re hand will never be as stead or reliable as a tripod to take sharp, crisp photos.
    • Pick the Perfect Position: If you wanted your pieces to be displayed flat, you would have just mocked them up in Photoshop. Use this opportunity to show your work in a different way… prop it up, view it from above or maybe at an angle.
    • Find Your Focus: To make your photos more dramatic, pick a certain part to focus on. Bring that item to the fromt and soften the background items (WARNING: Don’t soften too much… it defeats the purpose of showing off your work!).
    • Decide to Bleed (or Not): More than likely your first instinct will be to contain your entire piece of work in the photograph. This isn’t always the best choice though. Making your items bleed outside the photo can make for a more dramatic image – try coming in close with your camera rather than cropping later in Photoshop.
    • Repeat: Don’t be afraid to show more than one of the same item in your photograph. Repeating the same piece of work only intensifies the impact.
    • Less is More: Even if you’re photographing an entire campaign, don’t include too many pieces in one photograph. This will cause you to back up with your camera just to fit everything in and will make for a more busy, less impressive photo.

       Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • Worry No More of Web Safe Fonts

    On: January 8, 2014
    In: Design
    Views: 1407

    As a designer in an advertising agency, much of my design skills are focused on print advertisements. However, I am in the beginning stages of a website redesign―my first website since being out of school. That being said, my web knowledge is a bit rusty.

    As I began brainstorming for the site design and researching about web trends, I came across a bit of information that was VERY helpful. Though it was only 4 years ago when I was in school, I was taught about “web safe fonts” and how if I wanted to use anything more “fancy” I would have to use it as an image… which isn’t exactly helpful for users searching for your site or SEO.

    This bit of information that was so helpful to me was the concept of Google fonts. Now, if you are heavy into web designing then you’re probably thinking this is old news… that may be true, but I wanted to post this as a helpful tip for others (like me) who have been out of the web loop for a while.

    So, what is Google fonts?
    Google fonts is a directory of fonts released under open source licenses. (English translation: you are free to use these fonts on any commercial or non-commercial project.) It was created to allow developers to use high-quality fonts on their websites.

    How does it work?
    Rather than relying on fonts installed on the website user’s computer, these fonts are stored on Google’s servers. That means that when you use these fonts on your website, it accesses Google’s servers to display the font on the user’s screen (just as your website accesses your web server to display images on your site).

    To use these fonts:

    • Go to google.com/fonts
    • Choose the fonts you want to use and “Add to Collection”
    • Select “Use” and copy the link into your HTML
    • Add to the font by using CSS

    Can I download these fonts onto my computer?
    Yes, you can download these fonts using the “Download your Collection” button. This will allow you to design with these fonts in Photoshop (or the like) as you design your web pages.

    What browsers are Google fonts compatible with?   

    • Google Chrome: version 4.249.4+
    • Mozilla Firefox: version: 3.5+
    • Apple Safari: version 3.1+
    • Opera: version 10.5+
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer: version 6+

    Will Google fonts work on mobile devices?
    Google fonts work on most mobile operating systems, including Android 2.2+ and iOS 4.2+ (iPhone, iPad).

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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