Monday, July 20, 2009

Design isn't just for advertising

As a graphic designer by day, I truly appreciated this opinion article by Allison Arieff over on the NY Times web site. Imagine easy-to-follow, well-designed forms; clear and precise info boxes for your mortgage; signage designed for easy reading (see an older article from the NY Times for examples of this). The article is calling for a national design policy, and while many rebel against this siting a loss of creativity, I think at a basic level it would do much more good than harm.

I think of forms first and foremost. Often relegated to a side task or to someone with no training beyond a good grasp of Word, I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to scream and then redesign forms in doctors offices, government agencies, court offices, grocery stores, banks, etc. A well thought-out and well-designed form always immediately jumps out at me, mostly because it's so rare. I wonder how many mistakes could be avoided with better forms that flow logically, offer the right amount of space for requested information, and have common sense explanations for terms that might be industry-speak. And while a national design policy can't do anything about those horrible forms at my bank, they can remind people that good design isn't just for advertising and brochures, but applies to everything. It can save time, money, and help avoid mistakes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The winter queen would like white ferns

I've posted a new set of cards over in my Etsy shop. I really enjoyed creating this illustration of a fern frond. The fern image comes from a fern in my backyard and I love the detailed edges combined with the flat off-white color.

And, as I've said before in this blog, I do think packaging is an important part of the whole. In keeping with the light, neutral tones of these cards, I wanted to do something simple for the packaging, so created a pocket. I added just a bit o' shiny in the tie used to close the package.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sail away, sail away, sail away

I will be taking a few days away from the blogosphere. Expect new posts mid next week.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ode to the handwritten note

The NY Times has a great article on how stationary and handwritten notes are not dead. It's wonderful to hear the love in the voices of those who are quoted.

I do find it a little sad that it focuses only on high end stationary, which, for print and paper-philes like me is lovely to send, receive, touch, feel, drool over at De Medici Ming (store in Seattle), etc. But, I do wish the article made mention of the fact that hand written notes on any card, not just the expensive hand-engraved on french paper versions, are always well appreciated and are worth the time. Who doesn't love receiving hand-written notes in the mail these days?

Take my niece and nephew. My sister-in-law has always been wonderful about writing thank you notes. The notes are always timely, well worded, and much appreciated. As my niece and nephew have learned how to write, thank you notes have slowly started coming from them. It started with my sis-in-law writing the note and they would add a little picture, then their name as they learned to write it, and more recently they have written the notes themselves. Not only are they learning good manners, but I have loved watching the evolution of their notes, pictures, handwriting.