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Why is a Graphic Designer Never Satisfied?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Why is a Graphic Designer Never Satisfied?

After a conversation with Amanda from Truly Ace Design on our post ‘eightyone design christmas card designs‘ (you can see the full conversation here) I started wondering if graphic designers are ever satisfied? In this blog post I look at the design industry and how it may be the cause of our endless search for satisfaction, how online networking and commenting encourages us to re-think our designs and how our eternal pursuit of perfection could just be a mere personal trait of a graphic designer. (more…)

Why does everyone think they are a graphic designer?

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I am probably right in saying that not many people would tell a mechanic how to fix your car, or lecture an electrician how to re-wire your house, so why does everyone think they can tell a graphic designer how to design? Friends and family all constantly give me creative advice and critique my work, which I don’t mind at all, but sometimes I do have to grind my teeth and say the classic “That’s a great idea, but perhaps not quite right for this project” line.

Don’t get me wrong I have no problem taking criticism, especially from my clients as I will never understand their markets as well as they do, so creative collaboration and co-operation is fine in that respect. I also fully appreciate that as humans we are all creative beings in our own right and each have an individual sense of style. However I can’t help but think that graphic design as an industry is one that everyone thinks they could dip their toe into if they wished, therefore devaluing the whole industry. So, why do a lot of people think they could be a graphic designer and have the right to hand over golden nuggets of creative advice? Possibly for the following reasons… (more…)

How many Website Design companies??!

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Now I am not normally one to pass judgement on other people and other companies, but today I received a flyer through my letterbox from a startup website design company based in my area. Whenever I see a new company in our industry the first thing I do is log on to their website and have a look at their design portfolio and list of clients. 

Whilst their website was nothing hideous, it did feature the usual cliched stock images of women using laptops (I am not sure why they are always using laptops? Do women not use desktop computers?). Alarm bells rang when the rather small portfolio included a website which showcased the musical talents of someone by the same name as the director of the web design company. It was then that I thought ‘Oh no, another one’.

We seem to be overrun (in the South Devon area at least) by hundreds of people claiming to be web designers and graphic designers who offer their services at ridiculous prices and who offer such a wide range of services they could never be a specialist. 

Similarly, I came across a website advertising the services of a Torquay based web design company which also sent alarm bells ringing when I read their list of services as follows: (more…)

When is it the right time to re-design your website?

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

After reading David Aireys blog post ‘Why are designers never 100% satisfied?’ we got thinking about our own online presence and whether it was still saying and doing what we wanted it to. The current version of the Eightyone Design website is now about 18 months old and I wonder whether it is time for a rethink.

The branding and visual style of the site is still in keeping with our offline branding (stationary, business cards, etc) so we are not thinking about re-branding, but a lot has changed over the last 18 months so when it is time for a website re-design?

When we designed and built the flash based Eightyone Design website, its purpose was to be a very simple, basic site that would showcase some of our portfolio. We wanted to keep it simple so opted to have four sections to the site:

  • Home Page – with a brief overview of who we were and what we did.
  • News Page – to feature small news stories.
  • Portfolio Page – a simple image viewer showcasing some of our portfolio.
  • Contact Us Page – for our contact details and a email contact form.

We chose to build the above sections into a small and simple flash based website so we were able to animate and add some depth to the simple content. The only exception was the news page which used php to pull an RSS feed onto a html page in order for google to better rank the content. (more…)

How easy is it for a graphic designer to brand themselves?

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

I don’t know about you, but it took us what seemed like decades to decide upon our name, logo and branding. We went through rigorous brain storming and research trying to iron out what we liked, what our market would like and what would stand out against the crowd.

Our main problem was that we wanted something that was a little crazy and ‘off the wall’ that would make us stand out from the crowd. We thought that having no client restraints would be great as we could do all the crazy design things we had always wanted to. However, we knew that this wouldn’t quite work with our potential clients due to our location as quirky branding may put off our target market (which consisted of mainly small to medium sized local businesses). Once we thought this through we had a much better idea of our market place (our potential clients and competitors) and how we could slot into that, so we started at the beginning (as it’s a very good place to start) with our name. (more…)