Infographics

Infographics have evolved in recent years to become a means of mass communication; they are designed to reach a wider audience by simplifying complex subjects and arranging it in an easy to digest format, unlike other types of visualizations. Because of its simplicity and a compelling storytelling, it has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and we can see infographics being shared all over the internet and social media.

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What is an Infographic?

An infographic is a visual representation of information and data. It takes a large amount of information in text or numerical form and then condenses it by combining elements of text, images, charts, and diagrams. It is an effective tool to present data and explain complex issues in a way that can quickly lead to insight and better understanding.

History of Infographics

Although infographics have only recently gained widespread popularity online, they have actually existed since the 17th century.

The Commercial and Political Atlas, published in 1786 by William Playfair, was the first example of modern infographics.

In 1983, a data visualization expert named Edward Tufte wrote a series of books about infographics. He also offered lectures and hands-on workshops on the subject.

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At the dawn of the 21st century, infographics transitioned into a digital format. With so many historic examples, Tufte’s teachings, and the emergence of the Internet, infographics seamlessly transitioned online.

It was around 2010 that they became what we know today – digital graphics designed to present complex information, usually posted on blogs or within articles on websites,  sometimes spreading virally.

Types of Infographics

Infographics come in various forms. They are categorized based on purpose, types of objects used and the flow of information. Not all infographics will strictly fall into a specific category. Most infographics will have elements of multiple types. The type of infographic that will be most appropriate in a given situation will depend on the objective of the data visualization.

Statistical infographic 

A statistical infographic puts the focus on your data. The layout and visuals will help you tell the story behind your data.

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Informational infographic

A informational infographic template is ideal for if you want to clearly communicate a new or specialized concept, or to give an overview of a topic.

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Timeline infographic 

A timeline infographic is an effective way to visualize the history of something, or to highlight important dates, or to give an overview of events.

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A process infographic is ideal for providing a summary or overview of the steps in a process.

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Comparison infographic

A comparison infographic is for when you want to compare options in an unbiased way, or you want to make one option seem better.

When to use an Infographic

  • Illustrating data: You can take data from surveys and make it more interesting than your average chart.
  • Simplifying a complex subject: If you’ve got a rather complex concept, and need a way to break it down quickly and easily, infographics are the way to go.
  • Making comparisons: Infographics are great at showing when two things are incredibly similar or different.
  • Awareness: Whether it’s related to business, politics or any other area, you can quickly raise awareness of a brand or cause with an infographic.

Infographics will continue to be used frequently by businesses, educators and the media, but there’s a good chance they’ll evolve like our technology does. Possibly in the future we may start seeing more interactive, as well as 3D immersive ones incorporated into virtual reality experiences.

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Paul Rand

Peretz Rosenbaum (born August 15, 1914, in Brooklyn, NY) would later change his name to Paul Rand and become one of the most famous and influential graphic designers in history. He is best known for his logo design and corporate branding, creating timeless icons such as the IBM and ABC television logos. He was one of the first American commercial artists to embrace and practice the Swiss Style of graphic design.

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Early Life

On August 15, 1914, in Brooklyn, New York, Rand was born as Peretz Rosenbaum and was raised in a strict Orthodox Jewish home. Orthodox Jewish law forbids the creation of images that can be worshiped as idols, but already at a young age, Rand copied pictures of the models shown on advertising displays in his father’s grocery store, and violated the rules. His father frequently warned him that art was no way to make a living, so he decided to enroll him at Manhattan’s Harren High School. While Paul was studying there, his father agreed to let his son attend night classes at the Pratt Institute. Paul attended several art schools, such as The New School for Design, the Art Students League, and Yale University in Connecticut. Even with his rich academic career in arts, Rand developed his graphic sense through self-education.

Career

Rand began his career as a part-time stock image creator for a syndicate. Soon his class assignments and part-time job rendered him to assemble a distinguished portfolio. His work was highly influenced by Sachplakat, the German advertising style and Gustav Jensen’s works. During this time he also decided to camouflage his Jewish origin by shortening and modernizing his name Peretz Rosenbaum as Paul Rand.

Rand went and made a name for himself as an editorial designer, doing work for magazines such as Esquire and Direction. He even worked for free in some cases in turn for creative freedom, and as a result, his style became known in the design community.

Rand’s popularity really grew as an art director for the William H. Weintraub          agency in New York, where he worked from 1941 through 1954. There, he partnered  with copywriter Bill Bernbach and together they created a model for the writer-  designer relationship.

During the 1950s and ’60s, as American corporations were turning to graphic designers to create contemporary trademarks and consistent graphic standards, Rand became a prominent advocate of such visual-identity systems.

Rand’s career spanned seven decades, and in that time his graphic designs, teaching, and ideas broadly influenced several generations of American designers.

Rand’s Signature Style

Rand was part of a movement in the 1940’s and 50’s, in which American designers were coming up with original styles. He was a major figure in this change that had a focus on freeform layouts that were much less structured than prominent European design.

Rand used collage, photography, artwork and unique use of type to engage his audience. When viewing a Rand ad, a viewer is challenged to think, interact, and interpret it. Using clever, fun, unconventional, and risky approaches to the use of shapes, space, and contrast, Rand created a unique user experience.

It was perhaps put most simply and accurately when Rand was featured in one of Apple’s classic ads that stated, “Think Different,” and that’s exactly what he did. Today,  he is known as one of the founding members of the ‘Swiss Style’ of graphic design.

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Rand’s Work

Though best known for the corporate logos he designed in the ’50s and ’60s, it was his earlier work in magazine design and layout that first earned him international acclaim. The reputation Rand so quickly established for himself continued to grow over the years. He produced many extraordinary designs in the ’80s and ’90s. Here are a few of the most well known designs:

In the late 1930s he created covers for a series of design magazines, including Apparel Arts, Direction and AD.

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In the mid-1950s, Rand revolutionized book-cover design using abstraction, dramatic color combinations and his own distinct, thread-thin script.

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He designed many logos, among them the ones for Westinghouse, ABC and United Parcel Services in the 1960s, IMB in 1972, Cummins Engine in 1979 and for Steve Jobs’ Next      in 1986.

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Paul Rand died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 82. At this time, he was living and working in Norwalk, Connecticut. Much of his later years were spent writing his memoirs. Paul Rand will remain one of the most famous graphic designers in the world and his work and advice for approaching graphic design will live on to inspire designers.

History of Vehicle Graphics

In the last decade, vehicle graphics have transformed from an activity normally utilized by businesses with fleet trucks to a popular option for consumers and their cars, trucks, and SUVs. Companies have been using graphics to advertise on their vehicles for more than a century, and the first known examples of automotive advertising occurred around the turn of the last century.

How it All Started

In February of 1900, Milton Hershey became the first to use an automobile to advertise by painting his Lancaster, PA Hershey brand on a vehicle. Later, more embellished designs like Kolb’s Red Label Bread came to surface, incorporating different type faces and imagery. Originally, the only choice was to use paint, but soon something more durable, flexible, and with more design options hit the scene. Paint reigned supreme in the graphics world, and kept its exclusive place for over 50 years. But by the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s a new material began to emerge on the scene and changed the world of graphics forever: vinyl chloride.

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Vinyl for Advertising

At first, only large clients like the U.S. Air Force could afford to use self-adhesive vinyl graphics, but by the 1980’s vinyl production costs and die-cutting technology became affordable enough for small businesses to be able to letter their vehicles without paint.

By the early 1990’s, colorful die-cut vinyl had become the primary method of marking vehicles with lettering and logos for big businesses, while paint remained the choice for customizers and enthusiasts.

In the late 1990’s, new technologies emerged that allowed printing vinyl with a wide format electrostatic printer, but like die-cut vinyl before it, only the largest companies could afford to use it and its capabilities were extremely limited in design, color and image quality.

As the 21st century arrived, an advance in technology happened that not only made it possible for startups to purchase the equipment necessary to print on large format vinyl, but also to make the designs more striking than ever. With piezoelectric inkjet printers, large format graphic design software and computers that could handle over a gigabyte of data, the vinyl wrap was invented.

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Today, vehicle wrapping can be seen everywhere! The industry continues to innovate with better products, strategic printing and installation practices, and more sophisticated designs. If you’re interested in an advertising vehicle wrap for your business, contact Graphic Communications today!

 

White Space

A strong design requires careful attention to both what’s there and what isn’t there. White space is important because it tells our brains which elements in the design are the most important. It helps us process these elements, both on their own and as part of the overall image.

What is White Space?

White space refers to the space left in between elements of your design. It is also often referred to as negative space. It is essential for a balanced and harmonious layout and without it your design would look cluttered and overcrowded. While the term used is white space, it does not necessarily mean it is white. The space may be any color or texture that represents the negative space in your design.

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Types of White Space

Passive White Space
This is the white space that occurs naturally, such as the area between words on a line or the space surrounding a logo or graphic element.
Active White Space
 This is the space left blank intentionally for better layout or structure. Active white space is often asymmetrical, which makes the design look more dynamic and active.
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Why is White Space Important?

Improves readability and comprehension

When text and images on the page are cluttered and overcrowded, it can make your design quite difficult to read and comprehend. Adding white space allows the reader or viewer to focus on the key message or design in front of them. This applies to both text and design elements. White space allows the reader to easily read and understand what they are viewing.

Highlights a key message or design element

White space is a creative and powerful way of drawing the reader or viewer to a particular element of the design. It is also a powerful way to create a certain mood or look in a design piece. It can create focus and highlight design elements by offering visual cues to which elements belong together and which are separate.

Increases visual appeal

White space creates focus, balance and reinforces quality and professionalism. It is visually appealing and creates a clean, relaxing visual effect.

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The general rule of thumb is less is more. Don’t overcrowd your design in an attempt to push your marketing message through. Strategic and thoughtful use of white space is important and will offer a more professional representation of your brand.

Rebranding

Like anything in life, brands evolve with the times as their target audience changes or they have grown to offer new services. When first starting a company it can be difficult to know exactly who your future customers will be. You learn as you go along so your brand must evolve to meet your customer’s expectations.FortyTwo

When is it Time to Rebrand?

The decision to rebrand is usually made when a company feels that their brand does not match the company that they have become. Whether it is because you are no longer reaching your target market or because your brand has become dated. 

To reach a new audience

Your current brand may not be attracting the customers or clients you want. 

Values have changed

If your brand values and overall philosophy have changed leading you to take a different direction with your company, your brand should reflect these values. 

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If it’s been decades since you have updated your brand’s identity it may be time to determine what changes can modernize your look. These changes can be minor to major.

Refresh or Total Rebrand?

If you’ve decided that the company would benefit from rebranding, it’s time to determine the scale of this effort.

A Refresh

This is a lighter and more targeted effort. A simple refresh makes sense if a specific element of the brand could use a more contemporary take, as in the logo or product packaging look dated; or if there have been developments to the business, as in new products have been released.google-logos-1998-2015-020915

Google’s logo has gone through several refreshes throughout the years, all of which are relatively minimal. 

Total Rebrand 

This is a wide-reaching and high-effort brand overhaul. If a critical part of the business has changed—for instance you’re pursuing a completely new market, targeting a different demographic, selling a new core product, or are undergoing a merger/acquisition then it might make sense to do a total rebrand.doritos

Doritos newest logo gives a more action-oriented vibe. They have been promoting themselves as ‘bold’ and this logo reflects that sentiment. 

Rebranding Process

Define

Determine if a rebranding is needed and identify the specific reasons. 

Develop

Devise a plan to rebrand. Once you’ve identified the reason for the rebrand, you need to come up with an outline of how to achieve your goal. Include projected costs and a timeline indicating important targets.

Design

Visualize the Future. Developing the design includes testing for quality and functionality of the logo, font, and icons. They are developed inconjunction with the brand statement, story, and tagline in mind. This may take some time spent positioning all the elements of the design and tweaking it to perfection. 

Deliver

Implement the brand changes. Transition your brand to the new logo, product, etc. in accordance with your established plan. Update your business cards, letterhead, website and social media profiles as needed.

Rebranding is a big decision. The decision should be made with as much care as you took when you started your company.  Though your customers are changing, they still crave the comfort of familiarity. By mindfully taking advantage of your years of experience and paying close attention to your target market, you can navigate your business into the future. 

Digital Art

Digital art can be regarded as original, creative work developed on a digital computer and created and/or presented by some form of digital technology. The term digital art extends to a wide variety of works and ways of working. Digital art can be generated completely by a computer, derived from a previously existing source, or exist as an image. Digital art is developed by using digital hardware tools such as, a mouse, a graphics tablet, or a projector and software such as, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and FinalCutPro. From a technical standpoint the term digital art might also be used to describe artwork accomplished using traditional media as in paint, wood, metal and or processes as in painting, printmaking, sculpture which are then scanned, photographed, or videotaped to make a digital replica. However it is accomplised, the term digital art is most accurately applied to artwork that has been created through computing technologies.

Traditional vs. Digital Art

Traditional Art

The term ‘traditional arts’ refers to fine arts that use the old methods for creating artwork, such as pens, brushes, clay and other tools. Although traditional arts have different techniques than digital arts, the different forms of art are still related to each other by the same concept. There are two elements that all traditional artworks have in common: It can be touched — it’s made of physical materials and It’s “one of a kind”— it can’t be copied without creating it all over again.

Digital Art

In the digital environment we don’t have wood, charcoal, or paint. Everything is the same — just in a combination of 0’s and 1’s translated to a visual form on the screen. These 0’s and 1’s can simulate any medium you can imagine. Allthough digital art is not bound by the rules of traditional art, it often simulates it to give the user something familiar and to make the whole process more intuitive for the artist. Early digital painting programs were based on coloring the pixels with a mouse, but today they offer much more. The digital paint blends naturally and can be mixed and is usually applied with a special stylus on a graphics tablet.

The History Of Digital Art

“The Era of the Pioneers” (1956 to 1986)

In this time frame are many of the earliest known experimenters in digital art. Many of these investigators were not artists by training, but engineers and scientists. It is certain that their collective visual explorations were essential to what was an emerging medium literally outside of the attention of the general public. At this point in the development of digital art the experimental writing of computer programs was central to most of the work produced during this era, as “off the shelf” software simply did not exist. Computer displays were monochromatic and computer-based printing technologies were nearly non-existent.

“The Paint Box Era” (1986 to 1996)

It is in this era of digital art that commercial software became available to the general public. The release of these applications did not create an immediate flood of graphics programs into the market, but there was a slow and steady development of consumer software that had never before been available to the non-programming public. These early commercial applications attracted artists to the field of computing who were not trained primarily as programmers or engineers. It was these “early adopting” visual artists who had the vision and the experimental fortitude to create electronic works that could be accomplished without deep programming knowledge. It is during this era that the “paint program” made its first appearance bringing with it the introduction of the pixel to visual artists. Additionally, this is a time when the first affordable computers were introduced into the market. An example of this was the Apple II computer (sold in 1976 for $1300.00 US) developed by Steve jobs and Steve Wozniak is considered by many researchers to be the first true personal computer brought to the general marketplace. Finally, this era also saw the introduction of devices such as the scanner and the mouse. In this time frame the computer became part of society throughout much of the world. The personal computer, the software, and some useful and interesting devices were now in the hands of artists.

“The Era of Multimedia” (1996 to today)

Within this era digital artists were moving deeply into new forms of imaging through the GUI (graphical user interface). The application “Photoshop” came into being in the early 1990’s and photography has never been the same. Along with the general public, artists also entered the exciting new space offered by the Internet, and interactive art, and the countless options offered by other commercialized forms of digital media became a significant focus for many creative investigations. During this period digital art became more and more of a common area of study in academic art programs, in museums, and into the public consciousness. In the early 21st century it is clear that the great expansion of computer gaming, online art forms, digital media, digital photography and videography, web design, and virtual worlds have opened the public and media consciousness in various ways and forms. Digital art in its many forms is now available to anyone with an Internet connection, and has in this way become nearly present everywhere.

How Has Digital Art Revolutionized Art?

In the 21st century digital technology has become a powerful force in nearly every part of life, from art to science, to communication, to entertainment, and to navigation. The impact of various digital tools and techniques has also spread to the art world internationally as well. Within this technological revolution, digital art has become a necessary part of some institutional and educational environments. In art culture, work made through digital means has had a dramatic impact over the last 15-20 years and will continue to make an impact for years to come.

Minimalism

Minimalism is one of the most influential styles used today — from design, architecture, music, and literature. Minimalism is not about the absence of design, but it is about stripping down the design and only using the fewest elements to create the maximum effect. “Less is more” as said by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe — a key figure in this movement, is the main principle used for minimalism.

The Elements of Minimalism

Minimalism is about the return to the basics of contrast, space, organization, color, dominant visual, and typography.

Contrast: Black and white schemes are popular because they contain a lot of contrast between elements. But any high-level contrast works. Use elements with opposing forces — such as large and small text or images, or open space and a single element, or other colors with plenty of contrast.

Space: Minimalism is built on space, and while you don’t have to include massive amounts of white space, element breathability is a must. Each piece in the design must have room to stand on its own in the design.

Organization: Go back to some of the roots of minimalism and use lines and rectangles. A grid will keep you organized and your design feeling harmonious.

Color: Contrast and color are usually mentioned together in minimalist design, but are separate visuals. Color can create contrast, and it is an important part of the planning process. Rather than the two to four colors from a traditional color scheme, try to stick to a single hue in a light and/or dark framework.

Dominant visual: Dominance links directly to contrast. Dominant visuals include an image, block of text or element with surprising color.

Typography: The common usage in most minimalist frameworks is sans serif typography. Go with a typeface that has clean lines and simple strokes. If you are using type as the dominant element, consider a typeface with more personality for contrast.

Who and What Influenced Minimalism?

You can find elements of minimalism in design, art and architecture in almost any time period. The style has an almost timelessness to it that makes designers keep coming back. The roots of minimalism as we know it today can be traced to three key periods.

The first is the De Stijl movement, which began in the Netherlands in the early 1900s. De Stijl, Dutch for “The Style,” is characterized by horizontal and vertical lines and flat planes of primary colors. De Stijl was popularized by painters, sculptors, architects and graphic designers.

Second is German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He is credited with the saying, “Less is more.” His post World War I designs show his minimalist approach, using modern materials like steel and glass plates to create minimal structural framework, allowing for lots of open space.

The third influence is traditional Japanese design. The simplicity of their designs came from idea of only having what is essential. Anything not needed was seen as a distraction and was omitted. Their architecture, interior design and clothing all reflected the principals behind minimalism.

Minimalism in Modern Design

Minimalism has penetrated virtually every corner of life and is apparent all around us — from the sleek design of the smart phone we use, to the cars we drive, to the internet and websites we use, and to visual designs we see and interact with every day.