Words

Experts repeatedly say ‘content is key’ and whether you are a web designer or a graphic designer you must give importance to words in your design. Content is an important factor in any design and adds a greater value. Words have the ability to include critical thinking along with creative thinking of web designers and graphic designers. For any web and graphic design to get exposure and compel action, the written content has to match the tone of the design.

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The Quality of Words

The quality of words defines the success of website and graphic design. The words in your designs have the power to keep people engaged.

As a web designer, you have to understand the requirements of your website visitors. Having high quality content will allow you to create the best website experience which will ultimately help you drive traffic, increase conversion, and increase sales on the website.

As a graphic designer, pairing high quality words or content with appealing design will improve the quality of your graphics as well and an intellectual value in your graphic design.

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Using Words to Understand Design Better

Designers are creative people and sometimes their creativity goes beyond the understanding of a layman. Words will act as a guide to explain your designs in a much better way. Both web and graphic designers have to maintain the balance of creativity along with the help of content.

With well written content on a website it can solve the struggle of visitors not being able to find what they are looking for and will improve the websites navigation. Content helps your visitors to have a clear idea about the products and services that are available to them. If your designs are not easy to understand you will lose their attention quickly.

Graphic designers create strong designs to establish brand identity, but at the same time designs should communicate the message of the brand. Using words along with creative design elements will make the design more clear and comprehensive.

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Using Words to Increase Recall Value

With web design or graphic design, words add greater value to the design. Simple yet effective words can be used to fill the gaps. In the case of both website design and graphic design, words are used to express the visuals.

When you visit a website with extraordinary written content you will definitely remember it for a long time. If the visitor is not in the mindset to buy and just searching for the best option to buy later, your content’s recall value will count. Visitors will come back to your website later to purchase what they were looking for earlier.

Creative content will help create graphics with better recall value. There is always a chance that a design without words will make your audience scroll down their feed without stopping. However, the same design could also grab their attention if it is used with effective wording.

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SEO Friendly Website

It is important to add SEO friendly content on your website. A great website design and well written content are not very useful if no one can find it on the internet. This is why it is vital for all your content to be SEO friendly to increase your website traffic. With the use of effective and well researched keywords, you can easily boost your website rankings.

You have to understand the fact that design alone won’t help to increase website conversion.

You can use blogs with SEO friendly content along with eye catching graphics to increase traffic. You can also optimize graphics and images with platforms like WordPress by simply adding SEO optimized keywords in the caption which will help attract more traffic to your website.

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Place Your Content Effectively

Placement of the content in any design is as important as the placement of design elements. You should ensure that the content fits the space provided by the designers. For instance, overuse of written words may allow the viewers to lose interest. Additionally, for printable design materials, effective content placement helps reduce the total number of pages which reduces the printing cost.

Make sure that the design and content are balanced equally. The right placement will lessen the chances of cluttered visuals and the design loosing its attraction. The website design should also have a specific space for content placement to enhance the website experience. The same applies to graphic design, if there is an excessive use of words it can shadow the creativity of the design.

In conclusion, words combined with creative design are the most effective tools of communication. Web design or graphic design alone can’t win the battle of attention.

You have to use the right words along with effective design elements, doing so will improve your chances of conversion and communication.

Paula Scher

Paula Scher was born in 1948 in Virginia and grew up in Philadelphia and Washington DC. During High School she embraced Art, stating that it was “the first place where I felt like I actually belonged” and she became a publicity chairman for her school, designing posters and pamphlets for school dances and events. She continued her interest in the arts and took night classes at Corcoran College of Art + Design. Her mother wasn’t supportive of her interest in the arts and insisted she should obtain a certificate in teaching so she would have something to fall back on, but Paula would go on to prove her mother wrong.

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In the Beginning

Paula attended college in1966 with the intent to become a painter, but admitted that she couldn’t really draw so she decided to experiment with both metal working and print work. She went on feeling like she wasn’t good at anything, but then she discovered she had an natural liking for graphic design in her junior year. She went on to graduate in 1970 and against her mother’s advice and moved to New York City, where she was employed to design the insides of children’s books. Paula would go on to become an incredible designer, with her work winning dozens of awards and being featured in numerous museums including the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Her Career

Paula’s first major role in New York was with CBS Records in 1972. She joined CBS as part of the publicity team and wasn’t involved with the design of album covers, which is what she wanted to do. She then left CBS a year later and joined Atlantic Records where she worked for a year designing various album covers and promotional materials.When Paula was 25 she decided to return to CBS Records to become their new Art Director for the East Coast. For the next decade, Paula Scher would design almost 150 record covers each year and countless more ads and posters. All of her album covers used imagery from popular culture in an effort to engage with the audience and make them more inclined to buy the record.

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In 1982 she grew tired of the music industry and left it to form her own design agency with an old friend, Terry Koppel, who at the time was a magazine designer. Together Paula and Terry began producing brand identities, product packaging and book covers. Unfortunately with the Gulf War in 1990 and the recession it ended Scher and Koppel’s agency.

Soon after Woody Pirtle, a partner at Pentagram invited Paula out for coffee and asked if she would be interested in joining. She decided to join in 1991, and has stayed there ever since. Since joining she has designed identities such as; Citibank and Microsoft, exhibitions for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and editorial designs for Metropolis.

In 1998, Paula was tasked with creating an identity for the multi-billion dollar company, Citi. Paula designed the logo during an initial client meeting. The concept only took only a few seconds to sketch and was on a napkin. Pentagram was concerned that their clients would not pay for something that only took several seconds to design, but they did. Paula’s ability to design such an iconic identity on a napkin in a few seconds was from her abundance of experience that she had gained through her career.

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Other Work

Some of Paula’s lesser known work includes commissioned graphics for public buildings. Paula herself refers to these large-scale designs as ‘environmental graphics’, transforming blank space with the use of vivid colors and unique typography.

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Recently she was commissioned by the PAVE Academy Charter School, to turn their range of motivational and inspirational messages into environmental graphics. Paula worked closely with the architects for the build, creating dimensional signage and bold super-graphics. The unique identity for the school has helped freshen the existing brand, and to create a memorable learning experience for students and teachers alike.

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Alongside her professional work, Paula also works on a range of fine art pieces in her free time. She spends most of this time creating incredibly detailed maps by hand. Her father, Marvin Scher was involved with cartography, which is the science or practice of drawing maps. She spends a great amount of time adding tiny details to each map. The work forces her to have patience, which she says she lacks in her day job at Pentagram. Paula finds that both art and design compliment each other perfectly.

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“Design happens quickly on a computer and the painting is laborious. Design is social. Painting is isolating. Design has a purpose. Art has no purpose. I can’t imagine one without the other.”

– Paula Scher

Paula Scher is a perfect combination of both art and design which creates a perfect blend of the two. Her work spans many fields, and has certainly influenced many designers in creating their own work.

Futurism

In the ever-changing world of art; through the rejection and destruction of older forms of culture come new concepts, perspectives, ideals, and ideas that become formed. The Futuristic art movement is one of these formations. Futurism was a 20th-century movement that excluded the traditional styles and the desire for modernity. This movement was a celebration of technology, power, and modern life and was an attempt to demonstrate the beauty of the machine, speed, violence, and change.

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Futurism and Fascism

Futurism was closely related to the larger social and political crisis in Italy, both before and during the war. It played a significant role in the dissemination and support of the central values and ideology from which proto-fascist sentiments were constructed. Mussolini adopted many ideas and influences of Marinetti’s innovations in his performances and public speeches. Nationalism, militarism, irrational violence, and a general aestheticization of violence appeared in both the Futurists and Fascists propaganda. The narrative form of a Manifesto has been used before by the artists, but the members of Futurism used it as a political weapon. The founder of Futurism Marinetti was a political figure himself and before the end of the war Marinetti founded the Futurist Political Party. This placed the entire Futurism movement at the forefront of the support for Mussolini and the idea of a unified Italy.

Important Art and Artist of Futurism

The City Rises (1910)

Artist: Umberto Boccioni

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This painting depicts the construction of Milan’s new electrical power plant. In the center of the frame, a large red horse surges forward, as three men, their muscles straining, try to guide and control it. In the background other horses and workers can be seen. The blurred central figures of the men and horse, depicted in vibrant primary colors, become the focal point of the frenzied movement that surrounds them, suggesting change is born from chaos and that everyone, including the viewer, is caught up in the transformation.

Funeral of the Anarchist Galli (1910-11)

Artist: Carlo Carrà

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This painting commemorates the funeral of Galli, an anarchist killed during strike action. Hundreds, including women and children, attended his funeral procession, which was led by a cohort of anarchists. The painting captures the moment that police mounted on horseback attacked the procession.

Dancer at Pigalle (1912)

Artist: Gino Severini

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The dancer, depicted in the middle of the painting is composed of a dynamic intersection of lines and swirling fabric. Four beams of stage lighting focus inwards on her, highlighting her as the center of the image whilst, in contrast, her rapid, rotational movements radiate out in concentric circles to the edges of the pictorial plane. Each of these circular layers contains fragmentary images of musicians, instruments, viewers, and shapes evoking musical notes, capturing an essence of the space in which she performs.

Città Nuova (New City) (1914)

Artist: Antonio Sant’Elia

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This image is part of Sant’Elia’s design for a new city and this reflects the architect’s ideas of modernity.

He expressed these in The Manifesto of Futurist Architecture in 1914, writing that “We must invent and rebuild our Futurist city like an immense and tumultuous shipyard, active, mobile, and everywhere dynamic, and the Futurist house like a gigantic machine”.

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.

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.

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 accomplished, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.