Creative. Colorful. Experienced. Skilled. Knowledgable. Fun. Interesting. Passionate. These are all words that aptly describe UX designer, Arun Pattnaik. Visit his website, ArunPattnaik.com, and you can read his personal story of becoming a UX design superhero. In his own words, he shows “the world remarkable things never seen before.”
Overstretched? Not really. His vision is to make an impact on the world through his entrepreneurial efforts. This passion for helping others is what truly makes him a “superhero.”
The portfolio section of Arun’s website.
Hailing from New Dehli, India, Arun has worked with InstaPress, SlideShare, PicTiger and some more startups. He also worked with the world’s youngest CEO, Suhas Gopinath, who founded Globals Inc. In the past he has co-founded Oravel & Bidray (which is now owned by DealDash). Arun currently advices startups on user experience & design apart from doing freelance UX design projects, which means that his time is very limited at the moment – another superhero move, as he somehow still found time to thoroughly answer each of the questions below.
Skills section of Arun’s website which includes an interactive pie chart.
Arun’s skills seem well-developed. Of course, his largest area of expertise is in UI and UX but his XHTML and CSS skills are also highly refined. Add to this list his knowledge of PHP and a bit of HTML5. What really caught my attention, however, in my search for a UX designer (besides the fact that I wanted to find someone not so well-known but just as talented as the big names), was Arun’s heart and passion. In scrolling through his cleverly interactive website, I was captivated by his creative story-telling and fantastic design skills. In visiting the websites listed in his portfolio, I was greatly impressed not just at his ability to create very usable websites but also at his ability to help build a startup from the ground up. His personal blog showed me just how much heart he puts into every single one of his projects, and also how much pure passion he has for helping startups grow into successful companies. This man was one that certainly deserved an interview. Hopefully his answers below will help those of you who are searching for success in your own UX designer careers.
How did you get started?
Arun: Like most other UX engineers, I come from a design background. I started off as a graphic designer in a small company when I was young. Although I had a formal degree, that never really helped. I quickly realized that you’ll learn more about design by sketching on paper than reading a dozen books on design. After 2 years of working with print and graphics, I was introduced to web design by Suhas Gopinath, usually referred to as the world’s youngest CEO, my short time former employer, and now a very good friend. I was fascinated by the way Internet worked, and was amused by the impact of design on making decisions online.
And that was the time when I started taking an interest in UX design. While working with SlideShare, which is among the 250 most visited websites in the world & the world’s largest presentation sharing community, I learned how little details impact user behavior. The metrics give you quick feedback on what’s working and what’s not, whether the users like a red button or a green button, where to have ‘ok’ & ‘cancel’ buttons and where to have ‘yes’ & ‘no’ buttons. In fact that’s the basic idea behind UX, you learn how actions are affected by the smallest of details. You connect to users emotionally.
Slideshare pricing plans page.
What’s your education background?
Arun: I was never a good student. So my answer is not really encouraging for youngsters. Although I have a formal degree (with specialization in Animation & SFX), what I do currently is completely different from what I was taught. I was trained for 3D animation & visual effects in movies but that’s not something I believe I would have enjoyed to work on. I took a different career path and here I am making a lot of stuff easier to use.
I believe my instincts have been right so far. I love what I do and I’m not doing a bad job at it either.
Hiring page for Zeebo, Inc.
Zeebo gaming console: registration page.
How do you differentiate between UI design & UX design?
Arun: User interface is a part of user experience. Although UX in it’s best form is curated, it still needs to be designed.
UI design is entirely visual. It’s mostly about aesthetics and deals with what the different parts/sections of a product look like. The design of a UI will be heavily informed by the UX design.
On the other hand, UX design is a broader term. In addition to the visual appearance, UX deals with what a product feels like, how difficult is it to obtain, how easy is it to use, and whether it adds value to the end user. For some products, not necessarily web products, UX could encompass sales and support as well.
The UI can be a component of UX, but many user experiences don’t have UIs. Some have invisible UIs. For instance, I have once worked on the UX of a telephonic customer support product and it didn’t have a visual UI. A phone caller won’t get to see anything but he still expects and deserves a good user experience.
A very casual way of explaining the relationship between UI & UX would be -
“In the ultimate analysis, the goal of UI is to deliver sex, while the goal of UX is to deliver orgasms.”
Can crappy design still provide excellent UX?
Arun: Of course! Design merely acts as an enabler of UX, good or bad. My favorite web examples are Craigslist and Facebook. From purely a visual design point of view, the sites are very basic, if not crappy, but they still manage to provide great user experiences which can be explained by the popularity of the platforms.
Among physical objects, something as mundane as a wooden chair or a spoon could be an example of crappy designs with excellent user experiences.
Screenshots of the Zeebo Inc. website.
What resources do you reach every day when approaching a UX gig?
Arun: Most of my work comes from personal contacts, past clients, referrals & Dribbble. Although I have gotten a couple of projects from visitors of my website (www.arunpattnaik.com), the quality of those leads have been terribly low, due to the fact that the industry is yet to understand the importance of UX design.
Apart from Dribbble, some of my peers score UX gigs from the following websites:
What does the future of UX look like in your head?
Arun: I believe UX, as an industry, is going to be one of the largest in the near future. Companies, both big and small, are starting to invest heavily in creating amazing user experiences by innovating in their respective fields. The product companies have learned to put customers first. As recently as five years ago it was hard to find a user experience designer in a company. Ironically it was handled together by the CEO/Founder and the visual designer of the product. And now it’s common to see teams of user experience designers in companies, either as a separate department or working together with the product managers. Users are now part of the product’s building process. Internet startups are considering UX as their most powerful tool. So I’d say the future of UX is very bright.
Graphic of Dribbble invites Arun made almost completely of free PSDs found on Dribbble.
How will approaching design change?
Arun: Designs are now being done by putting the user first. Engineers are putting more focus on what the user expects to happen instead of what’s cool. Designers are putting an effort in what works best instead of what looks shiny. So the approach to design has taken a different turn. It’s a two-way process now. We learn by the user’s needs & behavior and then design our products according to it. Then we observe the user again. If we find the design didn’t work, we iterate. Repeat. User Experience should be seen as a continuous thread that runs through an entire organization, from one project into the next always pushing to make a person’s entire experience better.
Login section on the left panel of a website for a cabs booking company called Meru Cabs.
What technologies will be standard in future?
Arun: have always believed that technology merely acts as an enabler of what you actually want to do. So I would frame this question as “What methods will be standard in future?” Talking to the users is always the best method of improving your product. The success story of Dunhill is my favorite example of keeping the customer involved in the product’s development process. More and more corporates are taking this approach to design their products, and I am very sure that this will become pretty much the standard for product design. So a typical product release cycle would look like:
1. Find the problem.
2. Ask the user if it’s a problem.
3. Ask the user how has he tried to solve the problem in the past.
4. Solve the problem.
5. Ask the user if his problem is solved. Confirm that with metrics.
6. If not, go back to step 4.
If yes, ask him what did he find annoying and how can you improve.
7. Improvise. Repeat.
How does mobile fit into the future of UX?
Arun: Mobile has an important part to play in UX in the future. It already has, especially with the latest innovations in touch and geolocation technologies in place. Most of the successful businesses, both offline and online, have mobile apps which help them extend their service to users. Mobile is no longer just a communication device. It has now become an important part of our daily lives.
Mobile brings an always-available feel to technologies, which is partly true. But unfortunately we have gotten into the habit of presuming that mobile means on-the-go, desktop denotes a desk, and tablet is on the toilet. But we fail to see the blurring lines on where devices are being used and how they’re being used in unison. And that adds to the user experience regardless of the nature of your business. With mobile technologies, you no longer have to call up and ask friends about directions, journalists don’t have to carry equipment all the time to capture news, twitter has changed the way we communicate and receive news, we no longer have to wait for an important email because we are traveling. These are small but revolutionary changes. We’re saving time and money to do things which are more important. And all this has been made possible by mobile [devices].
Screenshots of the Stealth Android App.
Landing screen of the Stealth Android App.
Superhero UX Designer
Many would agree that a superhero is anyone with superhuman skills and a passion for helping and protecting the weaker members of society. Maybe this is why Arun Pattnaik likes to refer to himself as a superhero of sorts on his website. So, maybe his skills aren’t exactly superhuman, but they are definitely at an expertise level. Maybe he doesn’t fly around the world in spandex and a cape, but he does like to help other entrepreneurial businesses succeed. In my opinion, these descriptions are close enough for me to call him a superhero UX designer that deserves a moment in the spotlight.
Author: Tara Hornor
Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She is a freelance senior editor at DesignCrowd – a marketplace that helps businesses outsource or ‘crowdsource’ custom design from over 100,000 designers worldwide. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.
Global design marketplace, DesignCrowd.com, has launched an unofficial $500 logo design contest to design a new 21st Century Fox logo, after the mixed response to the new logo from the international design community.
Earlier this month, owner Rupert Murdoch unveiled a new logo for 21st Century Fox, the (new) parent company that owns the Fox broadcast and entertainment brands.
Some in the design community described the logo, created by Pentagram, as mimicking an ’80s telecom’ logo. Under Consideration said it was ‘underwhelming‘ and Design Taxi remarked “the new company logo is much like a minimalistic version of production studio 20th Century Fox’s logo.”
DesignCrowd launched the 21st Century Logo Design Contest to its own community of 120,000 designers, offering $500 in cash prizes to be shared between three winners.
Owner Rupert Murdoch says the new logo “signals the promise of the 21st century.” If you disagree then submit a new design in the DesignCrowd contest.
Get in quick, the contest closes on June 15. Check out the brief and entry requirements here.
3D is a useful and important tool for graphic designers. Not only it is highly useful for prototypes, interior and construction design, it also comes in handy for graphics and logos. While you can have raster and vectors mashed up in a graphic design, a logo and a t shirt design has to be strictly vector. You can create 3D in Illustrator but the engine is not up to the mark and the dedicated 3D programs render in raster formats but still you can try vector exports; alas they will disappoint you again. So if you want a perfect 3D vector for the logo project or T-shirt design project you are working on you have come to the right place.
In this tutorial you will learn how to create a striking 3D vector logo. I used Cinema 4D as my 3D software but you can use any 3D program. This logo was created by me for a band called “Traced in Shadows”.
Step 1 – Render settings…
Having the correct render settings is very important. These are the render settings I used for my project:
Output : 1920*1080 at 72 ppi.
Save: Format- PNG with Alpha Channel on (this will render without a background).
Anti Aliasing : Best at min. and max. 16*16 each.
Apply Global Illumination
NO Ambient Occlusion please.
Step 2 – Model the Logo …
The first step is to model the logo. And here is what mine looked like.
Step 3 – Apply the materials …
This is a crucial step because how you edit the materials will determine the quality of your vector. Don’t apply any specular or colors just apply a luminance which will give your logo perfect color and make it easier to vectorize. Here is how my “Material Editor” looked like…
Step 4 – Add a camera object…
This is relatively simple, just go to “Scene Objects” and add a “Camera” object
Step 5 – Lighting
Lighting is important too but we do not want realistic lighting because it will ruin the vector. So I found out the trick for perfect lighting:
a) Create a Sphere.
b) Enlarge it so that it engulfs the subject of your logo.
c) Apply a plain white material(only luminance) to it.
d) Apply a composting tag to it and disable the “Seen by Camera” option in the the “Tag” panel.
Step 6 – Rendering.
Render out your logo and now you are halfway through…
Step 7 – Open up the PNG file in Adobe Illustrator.
Open the render in the Illustrator.
Step 8 – Live Trace the image…
Yes you read it correct; Live Trace the image. It is the easiest and fastest way to vectorize anything and because your logo is without shadows and stuff, the trace will be perfect. Be careful about your tracing presets and choose them according to the number of colors you have in your logo. Also, go to Advanced Trace Settings and check the “Ignore White” box. This will give you a transparent background…
Play around with the settings until you get the perfect trace and then go to Object>Live Trace>Expand which will give you the paths.
This is my trace…
Step 9 – Saving
Save it as an AI file and EPS file. These are the formats most clients require and which you need for submitting designs on Design Crowd.
So now you know how to create a perfect 3D vector using Cinema 4D and Illustrator. This tutorial will come in handy for a lot of 3D logo projects, t-shirt projects and what not. So thanks for bearing with me. Hope this was helpful and enjoyable.
Guest post by BrandCrowd graphic designer, Anghelaht
All web designers love to have cool stuff at their disposal, ready for instant use. Although 100% custom work is always the best approach, sometimes ready-made is the only choice when faced with the challenges of a deadline. On the internet, there are tons of high-quality designs available for purchase, but today we thought to provide you with a small collection of 44 awesome web and graphic design freebies, gathered from all around the web. The collection includes icons, textures, vectors, patterns and other various goodies for you to grab for your library and use in logo design or web projects. We hope all of the following will prove to be useful with your web design or any other professional or personal projects. Feel free to share your thoughts or other freebies with us, by leaving a message in the comment section. Have fun, everyone!
PSD toggle switch UI
6 Greek / Roman Pixel Patterns
Hand Drawn Web icons
iMac free PSD mockup
business card template
12 Blurred Backgrounds
Free PSD synthesizer
Free PSD simple emoticons
Social Media UI Buttons
41 Social Media Icons
Retro Portfolio – Full free PSD pack
Pretty Little Progress Bar
Slabstatic display free font
Moonshiner free font
Pixel UI Icon Set
Newap – Free PSD website template
6 wood patterns / backgrounds PNG PAT
Free PSD USA map
10 High Resolution Rusty Metal Textures
Carbon Fibre Photoshop Patterns
Black Wall Texture
Pattern Kit One: “Ribbon Dancer”
Share Buttons PSD
Replacement iOS Icons
Mimi Glyphs Icons
Crisp Icon Set
Blanka website template
IPhone wood UI
What awesome design freebies did we miss for logo design, graphic design and other design disciplines? Do you use free or purchased ready-made graphics in your design process? Tell us what you think.
As its still early in the year we thought we’d turbo-charge your creativity by featuring a collection of 50 mighty logo designs gathered from well known online logo galleries. All are designs that show a display of power and might and vary in tone from serious to humorous and masculine to feminine in execution. This roundup features a nice mix of design approaches that cleverly use shape, color, negative space and typographic marks to make a statement.Get challenged and inspired!
Power to the Pencil
Silver Gold Bull
Zeus Fight Wear
Now Make Me A Sandwich
Athletic Performance Academy
Truckers fitness gym
What’s your favorite pick from this roundup of mighty logos? Maybe it didn’t make the list, share your feedback in the comments below.
When it comes to logo trends, transparency seems to be having something of a moment. It’s a brilliant way to bring branding to life. A well executed transparent logo can add the next level of colour variation and depth. It’s an elegant technique that designers also use to introduce a sense of perspective to a logo.
It can suggest organic growth to a digital mark and add development, connection, continuity and smooth, subtle transition between individual elements. What’s more, transparency can help to make the design brighter, lighter and create the effect of an illuminating the mark. Not convinced? Take a look at this showcase of creatively applied transparency and overlaying techniques to see what we mean.
This candy-coloured logo is by graphic designed Jared Milam. Look at the way the letters overlap to create new tints of each shade, and the beautiful textures that using transparency adds.
This is a stunning example of transparency applied to a typographic mark. It’s for Paranaiv, a blog and magazine about photography and style and makes excellent use of layering to create depth, interest and colour variation.
Here’s an example by Sean O’Grady for Pangur Glass Craft. It uses transparency to add a sense of perspective to the stacked bowls. It also helps to suggest that the bowls are made from a delicate base material; incredibly appropriate for a company that supplies glassware.
In this example graphic designer Joan Pons Moll uses transparency to create texture on the bird’s feathers and beak.
We love the way that transparency can add a sense of fragility to a digital mark, as can be seen in this example by Mattia Moretto. Check out the way the accent colours are repeated over both the letter I’s for attention to detail.
With a seriously reduced colour palette and clever use of transparency, Firebrand, the designer behind this treatment, creates a metropolis of intensity and a real sense of city-scape perspective.
The company is called wraparound, the designer has used transparency to create a brand that wraps around itself to build depth. Simple, effective and super-smart.
Written by Nicky who works at whoishostingthis
The tablet app development platform Oomph has launched Oomph Marketplace, an app marketplace for self-service customizable app templates. Like Themeforest is to Wordpress templates, designers can create and sell their templates in the Oomph store.
Oomph will be launching new functionality in the coming weeks so Designers can sell templates they have created in store.
Leading up to the release of Marketplace, Oomph has launched a $10,000 app design competition on crowdsourcing website DesignCrowd. The competition comprises of four separate contests focussed on four popular app genres. The interactive template designs should be suitable for organisers of arts or music festivals, industry conferences, travel agencies marketing holiday destinations, retailers who want to build a rich media interactive experience for customers and branded magazines. (See examples of tablet app covers are below.)
How to Enter
Click here for the DesignCrowd contest page. Read the brief and guidelines. Oomph has included template creation guidelines that are required reading. To help you design an Oomph app template, Oomph is giving away a best practice app template, icons and artwork and a blank template. Register at Oomph Marketplace and you’ll receive the free templates in your account, or take a sneak-peak at the tools and guidelines here.
Each contest offers $2,500 in cash prizes awarded to the top 3 designs in the following contest categories:
- Event Apps
- Brochure Apps
- Retail Catalogue Apps
- Magazine Apps
Designers designers have until January 19 to submit designs to be in the running to win cash prizes.
The contest closed in August after receiving 5, 845 designs from 1,300 designers from around the world.
On 12-12-12, TimesSquare.com announced the top 5 winners on its site. Sixty-five designers were awarded cash prizes for their efforts.
A Serbian-based designer who goes by the user name Jovan on DesignCrowd, took out the $5,000 first place prize. The winning design was one of 6 designs the designer submitted to the contest.
The top 4 designers were awarded $3,000 in cash prizes and another 60 designers of merit shared in $3,000 in participation payments.
Here is the top 5 roundup.
Winner – Jovan
Top 4 Designs …
What do you think of the winning designs? You can check out more entries on DesignCrowd.
The iPhone App Store hit the internet back in 2008 and in just four years apps have been well and truly accepted into the mainstream. From getting on top of your finances to managing your personal fitness, there’s an app for it. But the most fun aspect of apps is the possibilities they present for the gaming industry. And things have come a long way in just a few years. It’s now possible to get games with console-style graphics quality on the go; video and animation you’d only expect to find in a games arcade. Here are some of the games that have swallowed our spare time in the past twelve months – our top ten games apps of 2012.
Angry Birds Star Wars
Somewhere in a galaxy far, far away, the ultimate games app just got a whole load better. Star Wars Angry Birds isn’t just the best incarnation of the game, it’s also the best movie spin off we’ve seen in a long time. Yup, you still shoot birds at pigs, but in this game you get to do it with lightsabres and lasers. What’s not to love?
The original Fieldrunners was one of the Apple App Store’s first hit games and this version takes to the next level for 2012. It’s a simple premise. Protect your tower and stop the bad guys from getting to the other side of the screen by using a variety of weapons. The more bad guys you kill the more money you get for weapons.
The first app from Swedish interactive toy maker Toca Boca, Toca Tailor is a cool game for the over fours. This game lets users dress a variety of characters in an almost endless choice of clothes and is a brilliant game for encouraging creativity.
Hailed as one of the best children’s apps of 2012, Toca Band gets kids to create a song through an easy-to-use interface. All they have to do to make their music is drag and drop the colourful characters across the screen – each one has its own unique sound!
Clash of Clans
Clash of Clans is a cool cross between FarmVille and a war game. Build a village, train your troops and fight with other players. One of the most popular free apps of 2012 on Apple devices.
New Star Soccer
It might not look like much, but New Star Soccer is utterly addictive. Your aim is simple; score as many goals as possible while more obstacles – such as high walls and winds – are put in your way. You need to upgrade from the free version to the 69p incarnation for the real fun though. This version lets you live like a real player, earning wages and building professional relationships with other players and your club manager. Improve your skills and you make more money. You’ll also have to make lifestyle choices to help improve your fitness or, more importantly, attract your very own WAG.
SongPop is a free music-trivia app that was named app of the week by ABS News back in July. Guess song clips and challenge your friends – and there are thousands of songs on there, ranging from golden oldies to today’s top tracks.
Rayman Jungle Run
The legendary console platform hero made a successful jump to mobile this year with Rayman Jungle Run. The graphics are gorgeous and the smooth touch-based controls are a pleasure to use. No wonder it was named the App Store’s Game of the Year 2012; it’s an easy game for all ages to get to grips with, but addictively tricky to master.
This app was one of the biggest smashes of 2012. The narrative is one of the most engaging we’ve seen on this platform and involves the discovery of alien life on Mars and the subsequent mission of first contact. It’s an intelligent, adrenalin-fueled race against the clock to determine the fate of a sleeping planet.
Batman: Arkham City
It may only have been launched last week, but Batman: Arkham City is set to be a last-minute big-hitter of 2012. It’s based on the most popular Batman video game on record and sees Batman fight some of the toughest villains ever – including Catwoman. It’s a hefty download, clocking in at 10.67 GB, so make sure your Mac can handle it before you buy.
This is a guest post contributed by Neeru Pallen who writes on behalf of Print Express UK.
The winner is Studio71, a graphic design studio started by Shane Marchewka who discovered the contest on crowdsourcing site DesignCrowd and submitted six designs to the website’s $1,000 t-shirt design contest.
“I registered with DesignCrowd earlier in the year as a way to boost my exposure as a freelance designer. I am stoked enough to say I have a former Prime Minister as a client however the $1,000 prize money is like a cherry on top of a very sweet cake!” he said.
Mr Rudd tweeted about the contest yesterday and said, “Shane is a great guy who is putting in the effort to start his own small business. He had a range of great ideas and really embraced the spirit of the competition. I wish Shane and Studio71 all the best for taking his business to the next step. I was overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of entries, so thanks a million to DesignCrowd and Australia’s talented graphic design community.”
It’s not everyday designers acquire former Prime Ministers as clients.
Here is the winning design:
In this guest op-ed Alec Lynch, the founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, a design crowdsourcing website, argues that political groups like Greenpeace are increasingly relying on the creative power of online ‘crowds’ to drive activity and create media awareness around their agenda.
Crowdsourcing design is a proven way to generate creative ideas – from logo design to t-shirt design – and now, in an innovative twist, Greenpeace are applying crowdsourcing to environmental activism by asking people to enter an’ad contest’ for Shell Oil via a spoof website ArcticReady.com. Greenpeace’s campaign has generated hundreds of entries and a firestorm on social media.
Here are some of the funnier and more popular advertisements created by the crowd:
It’s not the first time Greenpeace have used crowdsourcing to target an oil company. In 2010, Greenpeace ran a logo design contest to re-design BP’s logo (shortly after the BP Oil Spill) with hilarious results and a big social media impact. Thus, the current Shell Oil ad contest appears to be Greenpeace’s second attempt at crowdsourcing and (given the success they’ve achieved) probably not their last.
It’s unclear what Shell can do in response. It’s probably less an issue related to crowdsourcing and more of a legal question related to using a logo or brand to ridicule that brand (i.e. whether the crowd created these or Greenpeace it doesn’t matter – as soon as they’re published and become popular, Shell will get upset).
What is clear is that the power of the crowd to act fast and generate creative ideas is compelling. While the message is serious, some of the entries are downright funny. It will be interesting to see how the Greenpeace crowdsourcing initiative plays out (while the site be taken down or not). In the meantime, crowdsourcing remains a powerful tool for a range of organisations from small business and big brands to non-profits and activists. Brands and businesses should consider using professional crowdsourcing websites and services (such as DesignCrowd) to manage their crowdsourcing initiatives.
The first impression is always very important and quite often crucial when dealing with customers. Displaying your company or personal identity in a properly and creative fashion might be the difference between potential and real clients. Below I have gathered a small collection of 33 Business Cards that captured my attention with their style, colors and effectiveness.
Mile Deep Films & Television
The Argonaut Hotel
Grit Creative Co.
Bright Edge Painting
Business Cards 2012
Which were your favorite business cards and why? Tell us in the comments below.
The need for unique visual identities has pushed both designers and ventures in capturing inspiration from unusual and common origins. Today, we showcase 50 logos with a slightly common source: logos inspired by animals that human beings have managed to domesticate during thousands of years.
Symbolism plays a significant part in logo design and extracting inspiration from friendly, trustworthy and sometimes funny looking domesticated animals is a natural place to seek creative inspiration. Although the featured animals in this post are familiar, the logos display a memorable and one-of-a-kind visual appearance. Without further ado, feel free to fuel your creativity with 50 logo designs inspired by these cute, sometimes fierce and often furry domestic animals.
Top dog training
Las Cabras de Mexicali
Mack Wack the Duck
Alpine Goat Project
Store logo in progress
Burro Bar Variant
Which was your favorite design and why? Do you look at animals for design inspiration when you receive a logo brief? Let us know in the comments!
The Kiev based Ukrainian illustrator and graphic designer Yuri Galitsyn passed away unexpectedly earlier this month.
According to Galitsyn’s LinkedIn profile, he studied book drawing in the early 1980s at the Higher Polygraphic Institute in Kiev (known as the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute) during the twilight years of Soviet ruled Ukraine.
Galitsyn’s body of work was extensive with a distinct style that incorporated line drawing and animal motifs giving his work a contemporary ’neo-gothic’ feel with the effective use of line weight and shadow to create depth and feeling to his designs.
He was an active member of the online design community. Galitsyn’s Dribble profile displays more than 2,000 followers and 20,000 ‘likes’ for his designs. His work can be viewed on Dribble.com and LogoMoose (see links at end of post).
As a well-liked and respected member of this community, designers from around the world have publicly shared their feelings about Galitsyn’s death.
“I heard about this tragedy. Really liked his unique style. Glad that you guys didn’t forget him. I think that his style should be called by his name, because I don’t know any other designer who designs logos like that, ” said Lithuanian designer Paulius Kairevičius.
We commissioned Felix Diaconu to curate a roundup of Galitsyn’s most recent designs which we’re publishing today. The Romanian designer says, “The following collection of 25 brilliant logo designs belongs to a great man and designer, Yuri Galitsyn. Our sincere condolences to Yuri’s family and relatives. R.I.P. Gal! Your work will always be remembered in our hearts!”
Cat logo letterpress
Union Express logo
Logo of Theater Institute
You can view more examples of his work here:
Do you know more? If you knew Yuri personally or just admired this prodigiously talented designer from afar, share a link to your favorite designs of his in the comments below.
Illustrator’s Live Trace option came about with the release of Adobe’s Creative Suite 2, so it has been around for a while. Live Trace was designed as an easy way to convert raster-based graphics into vector graphics, be it either .gif versions of graphics or symbols or .jpg versions of photographs. Anything that involves pixels you can bring into Illustrator and use the Live Trace to produce some sort of vector graphic.
The Live Trace option can be great for many things, but can often be misused too. It is often used to achieve many different ends, such as quickly turning a graphic into a vector without having to redraw it by hand and taking a photograph and giving it an illustrative or graphic appearance. To me, these are often the two extremes on the uses of Live Trace, however, sometimes the result is amazing, other times the result requires some work.
Let’s walk through four situations in which Live Trace is often used, and how you can use Live Trace to help you in those situations.
If you have a raster-based image that has quite a bit of typography that you are wanting to convert to vectors, Live Trace is not your tool. Since often in raster images, any fonts or letters that were originally produced using a font will not keep their crispness and exact lines, even though to our eyes it appears that way.
Take for instance the logo of The New York Times. The left version looks very clean and crisp, however an up-close inspection on the right shows that it actually isn’t as clean and crisp. Live Trace often has a hard time figuring out which of the pixels should be included and which pixels shouldn’t.
Unless you are working with hand-drawn type that you would like to eventually polish on the computer, using Live Trace to capture type that was computer-generated to begin with is only going to cause you headaches. Live Trace will produce uneven results, often resulting in curvy lines that should be perfectly straight, circles and ovals not perfectly symmetrical that should be, and often an overall rough appearance. You can see this in my attempt to vectorize a .jpg version of The New York Times logo.
The top one is the .jpg version and the bottom one is my best attempt to replicate the logo using the basic Live Trace features. In cases with alot of computer-generated type, you are best off finding the font and regenerating the typography yourself.
Let’s try this out using Live Trace. I am using Fuel Your Creativity’s logo (minus the flame) for this example. Opening the bitmap logo in Illustrator, select the logo and look for the option in the option bar at the top for “Live Trace.” For more Live Trace options, we are going to select the down arrow beside the Live Trace button and select “Tracing Options.” You can see this in the example image below. I have two copies of the FYC logo so that the one on the left will be the original as we use Live Trace to vectorize it.
Once you select “Tracing Options,” a dialogue box will appear with several options. To make it easier for you to see what is going on, you can select “Preview” on the right hand side of this dialogue box. Also, for this example it may be best to select “Black and White” from the “Mode” drop box on the left hand side of the dialogue box. You can see a screenshot of what you should be seeing now below.
As you can see, you will need to make some tweaks to the default settings in order to get close to the original on the left hand side. We now know that Live Trace isn’t very good at handling typography, however, adjusting settings on the Live Trace dialogue box (hovering over each option will tell you what each one does) will allow you to get close. Once you have changed the options to produce a result you are ok with, then press “Trace” in the top right corner of the box. To make the tracing a vector, you will need to select “Expand” in the top options box in order to see the vectors. There may be some needed clean up after doing the Live Trace.
Basic and Simple Shapes
Live Trace is ideal for turning bitmap simple shapes into vector shapes that can then be manipulated using other Illustrator tools. Taking the idea of using Live Trace to take bitmap images and making them into vector images, let’s use the flame portion of Fuel Your Creativity’s logo and go about the same process we did above.
Going to the Live Trace options dialogue box and doing the same above, you can see that you can get closer to the actual flame shape than you can with typography. I followed the same idea above and below is my result:
You can see that I was able to get fairly close, although not exact, to the original flame that is on the left. More vector manipulating using the direct select tools and pen tools may be needed to make it exact, but as you can imagine, doing this can save time compared to using the pen tool to just simply trace it.
REAL Hand Drawn Elements
I hinted at this above, but if you have something hand-drawn that you are wanting to convert to vectors, then Live Trace is a great starting place to do this. Although it won’t give you an exact replica of your hand-drawn masterpiece, it is a great way to get all the vectors in place so that you can then go in and make changes as you need.
In order to do this, you will need to scan in your artwork and open it in Illustrator before you can use Live Trace. You can then follow the same steps above for “simple shapes” to help you save time in converting your handwork into vector art that you can use in your designs.
Some tips to make this much easier for you:
- If at all possible, make your artwork as contrasted as you can. Draw your work on a white sheet of paper and draw in a black marker or Sharpie to allow for maximum contrast. The higher the contrast you use, the better your scanner can scan it for you.
- Take your scanned image into Photoshop to clean up things such as stray scan marks and anything else you may not want Live Trace to find. You can also up the contrast here as well.
- When using Live Trace on your hand-draw image, select “ignore white” so that Live Trace does not unintentionally trace large areas of white space.
If you are needing to change an original photograph to give it a more graphic or illustrative look, Live Trace can help you with that. Since the object is not to produce an exactly replica, some minor changes are acceptable in this process. Live Trace is often used as well to achieve many different effects instead of using things such as Photoshop and Illustrator effects, with the added benefit of being able to manipulate the pieces later.
My favorite thing to do is to take a photograph and manipulate it using Live Trace to give it a nice, illustrative feel. Let’s take for instance the below sunrise (in which you can download for free here)
Opening in Illustrator and the Tracing Options dialogue box, some notable changes you can make includes switching to “Color” for the mode and changing the “Max Colors” count to achieve the effect you want. You can also change other options in that dialogue box, but I find that the color options are the best ones to change to achieve great effects. You can see what I was able to do with the above image below:
It is worth noting that different options produce different results. For instance in the above example, I changed the max colors from 20 to 40 and it produced a drastically different image. The one on the left is with 20 max colors, the one on the right is with 40 max colors.
Live Trace is one of those tools that takes practice before you can really know what all it is capable of. However, with the above examples, you can not only get started using Live Trace, but also know what its expectations and limitations are when working with this powerful tool.
A word of caution: lots of designers get in trouble for taking others’ works and using it with little to no change. Live Trace is often the tool behind such problems, as they feel that if they replicated it through Live Trace than it is theirs. It should be said that you should only use Live Trace on your own elements. I used bitmap images in this example, but to avoid possible copyright claims, you should use your own elements.
Benjamin de Cock is a freelance designer who works out of his home office in Belgium. His focuses are interface and icon design, and he’s 28 years old. Benjamin spends most of his time designing Stripe and Kickoff. We caught up with Ben to talk to him about his design practices and approach.
What software/hardware do you use daily?
I exclusively use Adobe Fireworks CS6 as my design tool. I look more and more at Sketch 2 which is very promising but still a bit young to make the complete switch in my humble opinion. When I design for iOS, I also use quite a lot of LiveView and — surprisingly — iPhoto to quickly import screenshots to the Mac through Photo Stream.
I’m not doing a lot of front-end development anymore but when I do, I still use the dying TextMate. I gave Coda 2 a quick try but I felt it wasn’t the right tool for me as I’m usually looking for extremely light text editors. I’ve heard great things about Sublime Text and Chocolat but since I lost some interest in coding, I must admit I haven’t found the motivation to properly try those apps yet.
As for the hardware part, I work on a MacBook Air 11″ (always closed) connected to a Thunderbolt Display 27″. I should probably mention my iPad too as I work quite a lot on it. For example, I do most of the email stuff there and I truly enjoy the experience. Many people find it difficult to type on the iPad but it’s not the case for me. Editing text still feels complicated to me (I hope Apple’s working on improving the loupe or an alternative to it) but typing works just fine with me. I wouldn’t say I’m as fast as I’m on a real keyboard but I’m honestly close to it and I love the feeling of my fingers on the glass. :)
Where do you get your inspiration from?
It may sound cliché but I look at everything Apple makes, from their website (the iPad’s feature page is still amazing) to their device boxes. I honestly still haven’t found another company where the attention to every detail feels so important. I guess I should also mention Dribbble. While I have mixed feelings about it (showing some graphics out of context rarely makes sense), it’s still a great resource if you want to get inspiration on execution.
What triggered your passion of design and development?
Showing things to people and see those people actually using your creations has always been fascinating to me. Designing something exclusively for me wouldn’t be motivating at all. With the web, I have this amazing opportunity to easily share my work with so many people around the world so it was a no-brainer.
What’s a typical day look like for you?
I usually start the day around 9am by answering the important emails on my iPad and checking some RSS feeds and tweets before moving to my office. I try to then focus exclusively on designing things, hiding all kinds of notifications that could disturb me. I repeat the same scenario after lunch and I usually leave my office around 6pm to take care of my son.
What would you recommend to anyone wanting to get started in the world of design?
I’m a huge believer in practice. Trying to replicate existing graphics is a good way to start learning your design software and to see how the original designer made all the details. Learning to make many iterations of the same mockup is very important too. We, as designers, are often too connected with the graphics we create. Trial and error is a frustrating but essential workflow to reach something really good. Experience is king.
Thanks a lot for your time – keep up the great work!
Thanks for having me Daniel!
Halloween is drawing to a close in some parts of the world where the holiday has become popular, such as Australia, and it’s about to begin in its homeland — the United States.
Given that it’s one of the biggest holiday events of the year, beating out the popularity even of Easter in many locations, we’ve put together a special for our readers: two inspiration pieces packed with the best Halloween-inspired designs, both for those who like it creepy and those who like things a little more conservative.
Felix Diaconu has collected 44 fun and playful designs using pumpkins, candy and other Halloween motifs. This is great for clients with brands for children or those who just don’t want to get too ghoulish.
Jean-Pierre Gassin has collected 30 awesome designs, mostly illustrated, that use skeletons, zombies, ghouls and other creatures to spook viewers out and really get into the Halloween spirit. If you’re looking for the best design scares this holiday has to offer, this is the piece for you!
Happy Halloween, readers!
It’s Halloween and we’ve had our fun — but we all know what this holiday is really about: scaring the hell out of people! Check out these 30 awesomely illustrated designs containing skeletons, zombies, walking pumpkins and other frightening fiends.
Bride of Frankenstein
Spider vs Walking Dead
The Witches Desk
Trick or Treat
Mr Jack ‘o’ Lantern
Looking for freelance design work?
It’s Halloween and we’re all going to have a wonderful time trick or treating. Let us fuel your inspiration with 44 pieces of pumpkin and candy inspired logos (and a few other bits of design for good measure). They’re two of the most important design motifs at this time of the year — and they’re on the lighter side for those clients who want to instill a bit of fun in their collateral rather than ghouls and ghastliness.
Pumpkin seed press
Ready Steady Pumpkin
Wall of Candy
Pumpkins & Calaveras
Don’t scare me!
Are you ready?
Cake pops shop
I Want Candy
Life of a pumpkin
Pumpkin Candy Bowl
Looking for freelance design work?
A great Roman poet, Virgil, once wrote in his poem Georgics: “fugit irreparabile tempus” – the translation of which is “time flees irretrievably”. These three words are part of a timeless expression, turned by time into a well-known proverb, which is adapted into English: time flies.
We are all well aware that time has never been a thing we can manipulate. The only thing that remained in our reach was to find a way to measure it, giving time a friendlier appearance! With technology that uses the position of the sun to calculate the current time down to great accuracy, we’ve done a pretty good job.
In logo design, the use of a clock imparts many desirable values. Reliability, punctuality, and consistency are just a few. This article features 40 logo designs inspired by clocks. If you’re looking to use the motifs of time in your next logo, I hope you enjoy and take inspiration from this collection.