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Design Thoughts is a series of articles covering topics of use and interest regarding graphic design and business. These articles are sent out from time to time in the Miele-Fleury Graphics emailer of the same title:  Design Thoughts.


By Any Other Name

Of course Shakespeare got there first with “what’s in a name?” And as it turns out — despite Juliet’s lament — a LOT! As a designer, I deal with company, product, and service names every day, and must say that I do not envy those who are facing this challenge as the second quarter of the 21st century approaches.

On Business Cards

Business cards are kind of like belly buttons — everybody’s got one. But UNLIKE belly buttons, they’re not extraneous or immaterial, and if you don’t have one, you need one!

Trends and Trendiness

I’ve always been mindful that — at the end of the day — everything is a trend. No work of art, no design, no human-made and manufactured object can help but emerge from its prevailing cultural milieu.

Font Psychology

As a designer, I have been working with typography for years, and “font psychology” has been a factor in my work since long before this particular phrase became popular to describe it. Since the very beginning, typefaces (to me) have always had personalities — “voices” if you like.

On the Value of Play

In my article “On the Creative Process,” I left aside one deep component of creativity because this aspect of creativity — i.e., play — is worthy as a topic unto itself. Play is at the heart of the creative process. And at risk of stating the obvious: creativity is at the heart of design.

Turning to Text — The Value of Good Copy

You’ve heard the phrase “it can turn on a dime.” When it comes to writing copy, “it can turn on a word.” Ergo, it makes sense to have respect for good writing. The heart of graphic design is in combining words and images in the most effective and impactful ways possible. Good writing is at least half of that equation.

Every Once in a While: Gestalt

Every once in a while, I think about the word “Gestalt.” The rest of the time, I’m busy applying its principles…

Featured Project — Millbury National Bank Presentation Folder with Step Sheets

The Millbury National Bank, with a long and distinguished history of serving its community, was looking for a printed marketing piece that would organize and unify the essential information about its full range of service offerings to potential customers for both personal and commercial banking.

On Contrast

For visual designers, there are two basic kinds of contrast:  Contrast in color, and contrast in composition. When I design for you, I bring my knowledge of and experience with contrast into the picture (pun intended).

Anatomy of a Project: Six Essential Steps

A project (as a noun) is defined as “an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim.” So for me as a designer for print as well as the web, a project can be anything from a single business card to a fully-featured website.

Print Lives

Print will always be with us. Despite all the assertions that print is “out” in the face of digital media, its decreasing frequency is not a matter of a supposed decline but rather of re-positioning. There is a place for print. Its place simply has changed. At the same time that print’s percentage in the media mix is shrinking, it is growing in value.

What Makes a Good Logo: Eight Basic Principles

Why would a designer “tip her hand” with advice for creating good logo art? Not to encourage the DIY-ers out there, but rather to shed some light on the process. I see logos every day that are not the greatest. There are a number of reasons for this. If you look around at the logos you see every day, especially the “big guys,” you’ll recognize that they’re operating from these eight basic principles.

On The Creative Process

Quadrillions of bits have been spilled on the subject of the creative process, and it plays a major role in the work of every graphic designer. As a designer, or “creative mercenary,” the two most important aspects of the service I provide are creativity and implementation. Essentially: ideation followed by execution.

On White Space

Let’s explore the notion of “white space,” aka “negative space.” The phrases are used interchangeably. First, we need to be clear that “negative space” is not negative in the sense of its being “bad” in any way.

On Working with a Graphic Designer

Whether you’ve ever worked with a graphic designer before or not, as a business owner, the idea of trying to communicate with a designer can be intimidating if not downright puzzling.

Influence of the Fine Arts on Graphic Design

Art historians explore and analyze the influences of times and cultures upon artists, sculptors, and architects. Such influences of individual artists or artistic “schools,” “movements,” or “styles” upon their contemporaries and on those who come after them loom large in this arena.

A Few Words About Copyright

Everyone needs to understand that copyright is an important consideration. Particularly today, with the widespread dissemination of imagery and text via the Internet, you need to be more aware of copyright than ever before.

Compositional Balance

Artists, designers, and all those who work in the world of things visual are well versed in the principles of compositional balance. After all, it’s our “stock in trade.” Without an understanding of compositional balance, not a single design could be achieved. Well, not a good one, anyway.

Looking at Colors / Color 101

Even the colors that we casually label as “black” or “white” have a color cast to them if you look closely. There are MANY different shades of white and black, some warmer, some cooler. And — popular book titles notwithstanding — there are at least 50 shades of gray.

Your Flyer, Your Friend

In the United States, the typical, basic flyer is a single, one- or two-sided letterhead size sheet of paper. Flyers have a long history, dating back to the very beginnings of the print industry, and we are all familiar with these printed pages that we see everywhere as either decoration or litter, depending on one’s point of view.

Brand — A Crucial Business Decision

EVERY business HAS a brand. As a business, the only decision you need to make is how much you want to participate in the inception and life of your brand. Many business owners are unaware that their single most valuable asset is most likely not their inventory, or their list of services, or even their location, but their brand.

Tradeshows — I know. Keep Reading Anyway.

There’s been some buzz that trade shows are a thing of the past. That’s not altogether true. My advice: Take a look around and learn what shows are upcoming in your industry and geographical area. Then decide for yourself

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