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BRUSHSTROKE ART & DESIGN
9079 Saint Andrews Way
Mount Dora, Florida, 32757
betsy@brushstroke.com
407.761.7007

Just a few thoughts...

This is a interesting article published in LinkedIn (link below). As a seasoned designer of 30+ years in the business, just a few years ago, these companies would have hired one of the major advertising agencies to design their branding and the CEO would have understood the importance of hiring the best in the business. Not anymore. Today, most people think that they can either do it themselves because they have a "computer", or they have a nephew that is really good with "computers" or worse, go to the $99 logo online companies. I had a boss that said to me years ago "that and 25 cents will buy you a coffee."

The virus threat lists are staggering

A few years ago I would tell my clients it was very important to keep their sites up to date for SEO reasons. If a site didn't get updated on a regular basis, the search engines would stop indexing it and it would loose it's ranking. Now, I have to tell my clients to keep their sites updated because if they don't they are going to get hacked.

This has been the year of the hacker. Millions of sites have been hacked by different waves of viruses sent out with the sole purpose of killing your site. If someone had told me this would be of any concern to me 5 year ago I would have thought they had very vivid imaginations. But, now, it is a sad reality that anyone with an online presence is so aware of. If they are not, they are living in a fool's paradise. 

In the last few months some of my clients sites have been hacked. There was one hacker so bold that he left his calling card and where to find the virus file that he had planted in the site. Others are not so nice. 

Coding just got much harder

When I first started "designing" Websites back in 1994 no one could have convinced me that the future of the Web would look like it does today. We went from a gray background with black text on it to awful backgrounds, to frames, to gif animations (the whack the mole banners come to mind), to Flash animated sites that were beautiful to look at but hard to navigate, to the awful portals (who the heck thought of that as being a good ides?), to dynamic sites, to Content Management Systems, and now, the era of Google. I am calling it that because all the processes that I went through and all the coding I learned in the last 22 years was obsolete last year. Everything changed in a matter of months. With Google announcing that they would penalize sites that were not Mobile friendly, everyone worldwide had to comply. And comply we did. 

Prats Ventos Exhibit Poster Altos de Chavon

In 1982 I moved to Altos de Chavon, a then artist village in the south east coast of the Dominican Republic. The village was built in the image of a 16th century European village and was a hook by Gulf & Western's Costasur, the developer, to sell Luxury Real Estate.  The very rich want to be surrounded by art and culture and there was very little of that in a multimillion dollar new Real Estate-Golf Resort development which was hours away from any of the cultural centers in the island .

When I arrived to Altos, there were several art galleries, a few great restaurants, and countless high-end boutiques. Because the village was being run by non-artists, things were being done in a non-artist way. Formal invitations – the kind you send for a high class affair– were being mailed out to people that the administration deemed worthy of the boring, safe, exhibits that were going on in the village. I sent out the first one and no one came. I had to do something.

I was lucky enough to have been there when Aurelio Grisanty had his exhibit.  To promote it, he pulled beautiful silk-screened posters in brown wrapping paper... brilliant.  We had a silkscreen studio! Knowing this changed everything. We had tons of ink, a beautiful studio, and the guys with the know-how to do all the posters we wanted. The rest is history.

If there is a huge pet peeve of mine, it is Powerpoint or Keynote presentations. Back in 1993, I worked for a company in Huntsville, Alabama that did a lot of support work for Strategic Defense, such as engineering, graphic design, illustration, etc. I worked with a group that created power point presentations that Strategic Defense presented to Capitol Hill to raise funds for specific high security projects. I had a high security clearance to draw hummers. (Yeah, way before soccer moms had them). I drew hummers, missiles, airplanes, and warfare, with all sorts of equations and symbols, most of which I didn't understand. Had I been kidnapped and tortured for information, I wouldn't have been able to save myself since I couldn't give anything away.

These Powerpoint  presentations were usually about 300 slides, with illustrations, animations, and all sorts of information. There were so many Acronyms that we had a few pages in the front dedicated just for Acronym definitions. Once "finished" (they were never finished) we printed 30-40 copies. That is 300 slides times 30 or 40. We then spiral-bound and packaged them. These would then be flown with this certain Colonel, to Washington D.C. to present to Congress to get more money for the project we were working with. We were slaves of the Colonel who would have us making changes until the last minute before they flew to Washington, DC. Sometimes we worked for a week sleeping when we could. Some of my co-workers ended up flying to Washington with the Colonel so that he could make changes until the last minute. It was a crazy job.I drew the line there. No way I was flying to Washington. I finally could not stay in that job. I was exhausted and I never saw my family. sorry, government, my family comes first. A month after I quit, the project was scratched. Billions of dollars wasted on absolutely nothing. Yes, people, it is not welfare that is bringing us down.

The worse part I remember was how tacky and awful these presentations were. I imagined everyone in congress falling asleep about 5 minutes into the presentation. There really isn't anywhere that says that these things have to be so horrible. You could actually have nice presentation. Not done with Powerpoint, of course. And not by the secretaries. This is not their job!

I found the following quote in an article Mike Dunkan for the Wilmington Biz. It got me thinking and inspired me to write about the importantce of having good communication with your graphic designer and allowing him/her to spend the time achieving the best image for your company ...

 "Did you know that the Facebook Like button is seen over 22 billion times per day? That it’s the single most viewed design element ever created? And that the designer who led the project spent over 280 hours redesigning this innocuous little button over the course of months?" 280 hours. 

 

I came across this article at the Huffington Post (Click below to read) on working with graphic designers. And I thought it would be really nice to share it. It has some good tips. But, there are still more tips that I could add to the article to aid those wishing to work with a professional graphic designer.

Olive Garden's New Logo

My two cents...

After reading the company's Brand Renaissance PDF, I realize the massive undertaking that they are getting ready to do. If the logo was going to live on the present buildings' exteriors and interiors, it would never work. I would have to say... WRONG! But, in reading the document (page 26 of PDF doc) and looking at the projected spaces that the logo is going to live in and the new cuisine and approach, I believe it will be just fine. We are not talking The Russian Tea Room. This is mediocre American-Italian food. So, who cares?

I know the OG cuisine is not anything to write home about, but...

 

Working on my portfolio in the 1988

In the 80’s, when I was the exhibit designer for the Ringling Museum of Art, in Sarasota, FL., I fulfilled all the creative needs for exhibits and museum events. I not only designed and helped implement exhibits, but was also responsible for the catalogs, labels, brochures, banners, posters, signage, and invitations, as well as all marketing materials for the Museum events, such as the annual Renaissance Fair, and the Crafts Festival. And, finally,  items for sale in the museum shoppe, such as mugs, and shopping bags. The museum budget for exhibits and printing was just enormous. An exhibit could get a grant that included money for installation, catalogs, posters, signage, and invitations. We had to spend every cent, and we were happy to comply. These budgets also kept a whole array of other businesses afloat in the area.

My job as a designer in those days was more like an orchestra conductor. An exhibit could generate an incredible amount of design needs: catalogs, posters, banners, invitations, labels, ads, and signage. All had to be carefully crafted months ahead of the opening day in order to have enough production time. This was the era right when the Macintosh was starting to change the industry and everything was done manually with an xacto knife and rubber cement.