• Typography at its Finest

    On: June 6, 2013
    In: Design
    Views: 1142

    I’m always looking for creative inspiration. It may sound cliche, but I’m always looking for that way to think “outside of the box,” to think of something in a different way. As I was scouring my brain (and the web) for interesting topics to blog about this week, I ran across these amazing images that did just that!

    I’m honestly not sure if this is a specific type of design or just someone having fun, but I love the way that this artist took typography to a whole new level. In each one of these designs, the artist used the word as the inspiration and illustrated it through typography. Enjoy!



    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • Infographics – A Whole Other World of Design

    On: May 23, 2013
    In: Design
    Views: 977

    By definition, inforgraphics are “graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.” English please! Basically, infographics are ways to explain complex topics in a visual way. These graphics allow the intended target to understand the information quickly and easily.

    At one time or another, we have ALL (including the non designer audience) created some sort of inforgraphic… maybe it was the pie chart in math class or the venn diagram we drew in elementary school to compare and contrast things. If it’s so easy that an elementary student can do it, then why is it such a large part of the design world? Where’s the art in it? The truth is, anyone can create an infographic, but figuring out how to create them in a way that’s informative AND creative is the real art.

    After scouring the web, I found all kinds of infographics… some simple and some more complex. I also found a wide range of topics – both serious and goofy. From the examples below, you can see that there are no set rules to infographics, as long as you are getting the information across to the viewer quickly and clearly.


    One that most of us have seen before… a subway system map.

    InfoGraphic02    InfoGraphic03

    Some infographics help consumers.


    Others get impactful messages across.

    news illustrated 121201 GStyle outline


    And some are just for fun!

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • Print-Ready Files for Happy Designers (Part 2)

    On: May 16, 2013
    In: Design
    Views: 920

    Last week I enlightened you with 5 helpful tips for successful print-ready files. As promised, I’ve returned with Part 2 of this topic, so without further ado, here are 5 more tips for preparing your print-ready files.

    6. SIZE MATTERS! (Print Size, That Is)
    Be sure to always create your files at the actual size you want them printed. Also, make sure you have the appropriate resolution, for most print jobs (e.g. brochures, business cards and flyers) 300dpi is acceptable. If you fail to build your files at actual size, you will most definitely run into issues during printing. Just think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to create a poster at business card size and expect it to print out perfectly crisp when the printer enlarges it to poster size, right? *Please note that large scale printing (e.g. bus benches and billboards) follow different rules for file size… but that’s a topic for another day!

    This is a design basic! RGB is used for on-screen, such as websites and eblasts. CMYK is used for print, such as posters and flyers, just to name a few. That being said, always convert your files to CMYK before printing – even if you can’t see any change on screen, it can make a world of difference when printed.

    8. GET A PROOF
    For multi-page documents, such as programs or books, it’s helpful to provide your printer with a proof. That way they can ensure that all pages are in the correct position and things are aligned the way you want them. In addition to giving your printer a proof, also request a color proof from your printer. This will allow you to fix any color issues before they run the whole job and you’re stuck with something that isn’t right.

    9. BLEED
    No, I’m not talking about actual blood, I’m talking about the bleeds on your document. Be sure to ALWAYS include bleeds on your document… I have found that a 1/8” (or .125”) bleed works fine.

    I have found that the key to successful printing projects is to get to know your printer. Most printers are more than willing to work with you to get your projects printed to your satifaction. Don’t be afraid to ask question, tour the print facility or voice your opinion when your project just isn’t printing right. If your printer doesn’t seem to be offering you any help, don’t be afraid to try a new printer!

    Hopefully some or all of these tips will help you create successful print-ready files. Good luck and happy printing!
    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • Print-Ready Files for Happy Designers (Part 1)

    On: May 9, 2013
    In: Design
    Views: 1017

    You know that feeling you get when you finally finish a project and send it off to the printer? It’s a pretty great feeling, right? How about that feeling you get when the printer calls you saying there’s something wrong with your file or when your project has been delivered and the client calls you ranting that there’s a typo in your design?!
    I know, I know… that totally killed your happy feeling!

    Well, here are a few tips to get you on the right track to print-ready files and successful outcomes!

    Contact your printer ahead of time and figure out how long they will need to print your project. Count back from your due date and create deadlines for yourself… remember
    to add a bit of cushion just in case something goes wrong.

    Unless you design every piece with Times New Roman or Arial, you can’t expect your printer to have every font that you’ve used in your design. To avoid font defaulting once your file gets to the printer, remember to embed your fonts into your file.

    Nothing is more important than proofing your documents… I mean you wouldn’t want
    to have your client’s name or website misspelled, right? Even if you’ve proofed your document 100 times, I recommend having someone else proof it (even if they aren’t
    a designer) — sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference!

    Be sure to double check your image proportions, dimensions and resolution. Please don’t be one of those designers that stretches an image out of proportion so it looks super squished or super stretched! en if the actual size of your image is correct, the resolution may be too low – creating ugly pixelated images in what could have been
    a beautifully designed piece.

    It may just be because I have obsessive compulsive tendencies, but I find this tip
    to be extremely important! Paying attention to the small details and keeping things consistent is key to a great design. Make sure that margins are consistent on
    multi-page documents, punctuation is the same throughout, spelling is consistent
    (for example, in my job I have to fix many inconsistencies between BolchalkFReY, BolchalkFrey and Bolchalk Frey… it may not seem super important, but it is), etc.

    Hopefully these few tips will help you get started on creating great print-ready files,
    but stay tuned next week for more tips for successful files that make happy designers!

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • Helpful Tips for Successful Business Cards

    On: May 2, 2013
    In: Design
    Views: 860

    My mom always told me, “A first impression is a lasting impression.” Your business card is often the first impression you give of your work as a designer… so why not make it a great one?!

    Here are a few tips to make sure you put your best card forward when you’re networking or meeting new clients:

    • Design for the Space
    A business card is 3.5” x 2”, so keep your information to a minimum. This is not the place to write a novel! I understand that you may think your life story is important, but more than likely the people you’re handing out your cards to only want your contact info. (which is the most important). On the flip side, make sure to include ALL of your contact info. – don’t forget to include items such as social media links.

    • Font Frenzy
    As is true for all design projects, don’t use too many fonts. If you choose to use more than one font, try mixing a serif and sans-serif font as this will give you variation without getting
    too chaotic.

    • Is That Logo Low-Res?!
    Please, please, please make sure that you are using hi-res images or vector art for your business cards! Seeing anything with a low-res image drives me nuts, but having one as part of your first impression would be a nightmare!

    • Keep it Simple
    Avoid using busy images or crazy color combos that could distract the viewer from the card’s information. The main objective of a business card is to get your contact information out there, so if people can’t read it then you have failed. Don’t get me wrong, you want to make sure that your card is visually impactful, but make sure your visual doesn’t overshadow the card’s purpose.

    • Keep it With You
    Having your business cards on you at all times is key. What would you do if you met the client of your dreams and didn’t have your business card on you? Write your website on a napkin? An old receipt? I think you get the point – keep a hefty stock of your business cards with you as you never know who you might come in contact with.

    If you already have business cards, check and make sure they follow these few rules. If designing your business cards is a project on your to-do list, keep these tips in mind!

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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  • The 5 Types of Design Clients

    On: April 18, 2013
    In: Design
    Views: 812

    Ok, it’s time to be honest. We don’t absolutely love all of our clients… we work with them on a daily basis, but some of them DRIVE US NUTS! Before we start accusing our clients for being difficult to work with, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves why certain clients are the way they are and what we can do on our end to make the experience of working with them a more pleasant one.

    Clients can be classified into 5 main groups:


    How to Identify Them: Usually first-timers when it comes to hiring professional designers.

    How to Deal With Them: Be firm and clear on your intensions and your process.
    Oftentimes it helps these types of clients if you give them instructions and/or a visual –
    give them a timeline so they know when payments are due and when things are
    expected of them.


    How to Identify Them: They love the phrase “Can’t you just…” and always want
    things NOW!

    How to Deal With Them: Give these types of clients a breakdown of everything
    they want done and the stages involved in getting it to the end result. Also, be
    sure to agree on pricing based on the work involved. This will show them that
    everything isn’t as simple as the snap of your fingers and you can avoid conflict
    when it comes to invoicing.


    How to Identify Them: They’re new to the advertising world and have BIG dreams.

    How to Deal With Them: Ask this type of client questions to help sift through the realistic
    and unrealistic goals. If they still have overly ambitious goals, suggest a “Phase 2”.
    Oftentimes clients will see that Phase 2 isn’t necessary because you included the
    necessities in Phase 1.


    How to Identify Them: They know what they want and just need it done.

    How to Deal With Them: We love these clients! They often come prepared with logos,
    content, ect. but will still need something from you – confirmation. Be sure to confirm
    with these types of clients that you understand their requests, what you plan to do
    and by when.


    How to Identify Them: They’re the ones you haven’t heard from in a while.

    How to Deal With Them: These clients are gung-ho at the beginning, but their
    excitement soon fizzles out. If you can’t get a response from your client on projects,
    try setting dates for deadlines and explain what the repercussions are if these
    deadlines aren’t met. If you still aren’t getting results, you may just have to let
    the project die.

    I’m sure you were able to classify some of your clients into each of those categories. I was definitely able to think of a few! Hopefully now though you can apply some of these tips when working with your clients for a more stress-free experience.

    For more information on this topic, please CLICK HERE for the original article.

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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