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.

image.png

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.

DSC_2030.JPG

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!

 

Advertisements

Constructivism

Constructivism is an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia beginning in 1913 by Vladimir Tatlin. The movement was in favor of art as a practice for social purposes. Constructivism had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th century, influencing major trends such as the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements. Its influence was widespread, with major effects upon architecture, sculpture, graphic design, industrial design, theatre, film, dance, fashion and music.

Main Ideas of Constructivism

– Constructivists replaced art’s traditional concern with composition with a focus on construction. Objects were to be created not to express beauty, or the artist’s outlook, or to represent the world, but to carry out a fundamental analysis of the materials and forms of art.

– Constructivist art often aimed to demonstrate how materials behaved, for instance, what different properties had materials such as wood, glass, and metal. The form of the artwork would be dictated by its materials .

– Constructivism art is a symbol of the modern era. The International movement influenced by the Russian avant-garde movement focused on the idea of art as an object and used new materials to highlight advances in technology and industry.

Vladimir Tatlin

Vladimir Tatlin is often hailed as the father of Constructivism. He had collaborated on the preceding Cubo-Futurist movement. His interests changed during a visit to Paris in 1913, where he saw a series of wooden reliefs by Picasso. Tatlin appreciated that the reliefs were not carved or modeled in a traditional manner but composed in an entirely different way, and put together from pre-formed elements. On his return to Russia, Tatlin began to experiment with the possibilities of three-dimensional relief, by using new types of material and exploring their potential.

woodenrelief

Pablo Picasso Mandolin and Clarinet 1913

In 1919, Tatlin had achieved some prominence as a representative of different paths for the Russian avant-garde. At “0.10, the Last Futurist Exhibition of Painting”, Tatlin unveiled his Corner Counter-reliefs. The latter were suspended in air across a corner of the room, instead of being attached to the flat surface of a wall, and their abstract forms defied the traditional idea that relief should depict a figure or an event. Instead, the Reliefs allowed the viewer to focus on the types of materials used, and how forms were arranged in relation to each other.

cornerrelief

Vladimir Tatlin Corner Counter-relief 

It wasn’t until Tatlin exhibited his model for the Monument for the Third International that Constructivism was truly born. More commonly known as Tatlin’s Tower, the unusual spiral-shaped building was designed as a government office building. It was planned to rise higher than the Eiffel Tower, this triumphant commemoration of the Russian Revolution was to be modern, functional and dynamic. The project proved an inspiration to the artist’s contemporaries, who quickly came together to debate its consequences, and hence Constructivism came to life.

tatlinstowe

Vladimir Tatlin – Model for the Monument to the Third International.

The Revolution of Constructivism

What stood at the root of the period was a desire to express the experience of modern life. Similarly to the Italian Futurism, the focus was on the demonstration of dynamism and the creativity was seen as a tool for re-invention. Developing after the World War I, Russian constructivism pushed towards the art that would serve social change and inspire people to rebuild the society in a Utopian model. Concerned with the use of ‘real materials in real space’, the movement used art as a tool for the common good, much in line with the Communist principles of the new Russian regime. The art in service of the revolution needed to be bold and stripped of any emotions. This way of thinking was greatly diffrent from the standpoint of the Suprematism, which was using abstraction to break free of the expectations and limitations of the physical world and to connect with something more pure or spiritual.

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.

White-Space.jpg

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.
pass

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.

whitespace

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. 

Outdated

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. 

Redesigning Your Website

Nowadays, it’s extremely important for any business to have a nice looking and easy to use responsive website. Many people, while doing their research, check your company’s online presence along with your competitors before they contact you. Your company website is an essential element that users base their first impression on. iI done right, your website can be your 24/7 salesperson.

redesign

Outdated or Un-appealing

Companies go through a website redesign process for different reasons, but the main one is because it is an old looking site. You will not believe how many companies still have websites that look like they were done decades ago. Even people with no experience in web design can tell they’re outdated. This can hurt your business, especially if users are choosing between several competitors. Consumers will most likely go with a company that has a nice looking and easy to use website because it provides the assurance that the company is growing and on top of the latest trends and technologies.

Responsive

Not Mobile Friendly or Responsive

It was easy for companies to maintain their desktop-only sites several years ago when people didn’t use their mobile devices to shop, order food, do research and connect with their friends. Now more than 17% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices and 1 out of 4 internet users only access the internet on a mobile device. So, if your site isn’t responsive yet the chance you’re losing leads and maybe even customers are high. By incorporating responsive design into your website, you’ll be able to reach a larger audience.

Having a responsive website design means that your website has been built so that the structure, content, and images of the website all appear the same on any device. This means that customers will be able to easily use your website no matter the device they are using.

navigation

A website has about four seconds to make an impression before users hit the back button. When visitors reach your website, they want to quickly find the information they are looking for without too much digging. If it is too difficult for users to navigate through the different pages on your site, they will quickly become frustrated and turn to other sources for what they are trying to find. Ask yourself these questions when looking at your website:

  • Can you quickly sum up your core services?
  • Can you find the information you’re looking for?
  • Can you easily tell where you are on the site and see where you want to go next?
  • When you’re on a service or product page, is there a clear call to action to take you to the next step?

If you find yourself getting lost on your site and it takes you more than a few seconds to find the information you’re looking for, a redesign is probably in order.

Redesigning your website is a major task. It doesn’t matter if you do it yourself or hire a freelancer or agency to do it for you. A redesign not only involves time but also, an allocated budget.

Just remember, a well-designed website is one of the most effective marketing tools you have – make the most of it by keeping it fresh, up-to-date, and easy to use.

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.