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Windows and Interior Design

Not all designers work with a blank canvas. For instance, think of the job of an interior designer. Often times they are working with a room that already has some furniture and furnishings but they need to figure out what they can do to bring it all together. There are many ways to do this, a piece of art hanging up on one wall, changing the wall color, tossing in a throw rug. However, for a room with a lot of window space a designer can dramatically change the “feel” of a room by updating the window treatments.

Blinds, shades, drapes, they all come in hundreds of colors and tons of different materials so an interior designer can really pick the perfect window treatment for a room.

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Of course, not all of us have the luxury of being able to hire an interior designer to maximize the potential of our home’s rooms. So what can you do? There are plenty of stores that are staffed with window treatment experts, such as Budget Blinds, who will listen to your thoughts and look at images of your rooms to recommend shades that are a perfect fit. You don’t have to be rich to have beautiful window treatments that pull a room together.

The next time you’re thinking about a designer remember that they come in many forms. An interior designer is just as important as a logo designer who is just as important as a packaging designer. Everything you interact with in your life, whether it’s a chair or a pen or a car, was designed by someone.

The Importance of Color for a Designer

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When creating a design or building up a brand it is important to keep color at the forefront of your mind. It can make a huge difference in any work you do. Any experienced designer knows when developing a brand the psychology of color can actually make or break a new company. Researching and exploring other brands and competition may hinder creativity to an extent, but  it can also give you clues on how the industry chooses its colors.

Color has many different meanings in many different cultures. When working with a foreign culture it is important to research and understand what particular colors mean to them.

Here are some key colors and the meaning they can hold within a project:

  • Gray and Silver evoke balance, cold temperatures, innovation and science.
  • Brown is associated with earthiness, simplicity, and durability.
  • White represents purity and cleanliness. White is often used to creating brand identities in the medical or bridal industries.
  • Blue is the most popular color used in brand creation. It usually puts people at ease as it relates to natural areas like the sky and ocean. The color blue may symbolize security; trust worthiness, stability, courage, preservation, confidence, wisdom, and friendliness.
  • Red is a color that evokes a passionate and instinctual response. Red can symbolize Energy, passion, joy, activity, leadership and courage.
  • Green is for wealth, trees, calmness, money, generosity, eco friendly, and completion.
  • Yellow can help create feelings of optimism, childishness, freshness, education, and arrogance.
  • The color black evokes feelings of mystery, power, elegance, sophistication and functionality.
  • Orange evokes feelings of hunger, pleasure, enthusiasm, creativity, and fun.
  • Purple is a mysterious yet sophisticated color.
  • Pink is an affectionate color which lends itself to identifying products and services geared towards women or young girls. Sensitivity, compassion and beauty often associate themselves in the world with pink.

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Here are some more key combinations of colors, their definitions and examples.

Monochromatic: The monochromatic or monotone color scheme uses variations of shades of a single color. (Red, dark red, and pink.) It’s associated with clean, elegance and balance.

Analogous colors: The Analogous colors are groups of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, with one being the dominant color. This color tends to be a primary or secondary color. Red, orange, and red- orange are examples of this theme.

Complementary: Complementary colors are colors that are directly opposite to each other in the color spectrum. Examples are red and green or blue and orange. When combined in the right proportions, they produce white light. (Cool and warm)

The Art of House Painting

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Today I want to cover an important topic that I find not enough up and coming artists understand. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to be an artist. You don’t need to be classically trained to be an artist. Art and artists come in many forms, for instance, a house painter can be an artist if he produces work that is worthy of praise and recognition. The man I’m going to cover today is a house painter, but make no mistake, he’s also an artist.

Sure you’ve probably painted your bedroom before, but that doesn’t mean you’ve created a masterpiece. Bryan Danstrup has been painting homes throughout the east end of Long Island for over 20 years. In case you’re not familiar with the area, the Hamptons on Long Island contain some of the state’s most expensive pieces of real estate (and as a result, also contains some of the state’s pickiest clients). This means the painting can’t be second-rate, only world-class work will do. That’s what Bryan Danstrup delivers, world-class custom house painting.

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Bryan knows every time he finishes a project his name and reputation is on the line. That’s why he only uses the highest-quality paints for his projects. It’s also why he works with each of his clients directly to figure out not only what they need, but what they’ll love. It’s this passion and attention to detail that sets true artists apart. Are you approaching your projects with the intention of making them the best they can be, or do you approach them with the intention of completing them as quickly as possible? A true artist loves his work. I’m half-joking, but Subway employees who really pay attention to their craft ARE “Sandwich artists”. It’s about the passion to keep learning and keep providing your clients with exceptional work that will set you apart, that’s why Bryan Danstrup has painted homes from the Hamptons to the west border of Long Island.

So why am I highlighting a local New York house painter on a design blog? I want all of my readers to realize that works of art are all around you. Some intended and some unintended. You need to be on the lookout for art as you’re exploring the world around you. Photographers are excellent at this as they are survey the world around them for moments of beauty they can capture. As an artist or designer you need to do the same thing. Look at the world and workers around you and draw inspiration from their work. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into their passion the same way you do. Learn to appreciate it.

Check out Bryan Danstrup Custom House Painting to begin your journey into “everyday” art: http://bryandanstrup.com/

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Tips for Building Your Portfolio

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Building your portfolio as a designer is absolutely crucial. It’s something you need to keep revisiting and keep adding to over and over again until the end of your career as a designer. If you don’t take anything else away from this blog post, remember that your portfolio is never finished!

Often design students neglect portfolio building until their senior year, but this is a huge mistakr. Your portfolio should be seen as a magical sword which only you can wield. It’s the most important representation of you as a designer and should be thought about and looked at as often as you create new work for clients. Degrees mean nothing, the real meat is your portfolio. It must showcase your creative thought process and show possible employers what you’re capable of and what you can bring to their company.

Sometimes it’s even a good idea to have multiple portfolios. There is no single, perfect portfolio touched by unicorn magic that gives you instant job offers. When developing your portfolio think about the kind of job or company you would love to work for. Think about the kind of work you would love to showcase to potential clients. Maybe it’s package design. Whatever it is, develop your portfolio based on the type of jobs you’re aiming for. Nobody in the hiring process wants to look at work that has no relation to what the company actually does.  Although you can put in a couple of different pieces that may showcase other skills, the bulk of the portfolio should correspond with the job you’re seeking.

Choose your best work. Just because a piece is important to you doesn’t mean it’s the best representation of your work and skill. Go back to older work and evaluate it. Update old projects to fit your current skill level and continue to do so over and over again. Remember, your portfolio is never finished!

Your portfolio will either help you or destroy you. Weak work, bad grammar and poor design choices can distract the interviewer from the other amazing in your portfolio. Make sure NO low quality work makes its way into your portfolio.

Don’t be afraid of anything. Never be afraid to organize and get together with other artists and designers. Remember most work in the industry is work created in a team. Not only will you be able to create a new portfolio piece, but also you’ll be able to gain experience while working in a team or group.

People ask how many pieces should a portfolio have…and it’s really all about quality over quantity. A portfolio can have 5 piece, 12 pieces or more. It’s up to you to decide which collection of work gives you the best chance to succeed. It’s better to have a smaller portfolio of AMAZING work than a massive portfolio that’s mediocre.

The flow of the portfolio is just as important as the kind of pieces and big ideas you may have displayed in your body of work.  Spend a good amount of time shaping your layout of the portfolio and deciding which order your work will appear in.  This can also save the interviewer time and bring to light your ability to work with detail. Always start strong and end strong.

Make sure you’re in love with all of your pieces in your current portfolio before going to the interview. If you have to apologize for a piece in your portfolio, it doesn’t belong there.

And finally remember, your portfolio is NEVER finished.

You’re a Designer? Better Head to the Museum.

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I remember watching a video on YouTube about the great George Lois. If you don’t know who that man is, I’ll give you a little back-story before we continue. George Lois is an American creative, art director, designer, and author. He’s known for designing over 90 covers for Esquire Magazine from 1962-1972. In 2008 MOMA exhibited 32 of Lois’ Esquire covers.  He was responsible for blowing unknown companies up. (In a good way.)

George Lois is an advertising genius in short. Now that we have that out of the way, this man said something that hit me. In his video he said that he was teaching at a college and asked the question “When was the last time you visited the Museum of Modern Art?” Nobody raised their hands. “When was the last time you visited a gallery?” Nobody raised their hands.

It’s upsetting that Design students do not take time out of their lives to visit museums and discover the brilliance hidden in art galleries. Students believe that the latest technology is really all they need, but true masters of Graphic Design have studied many areas of design and art. Sure, they had talent, but that really didn’t matter. The real talent was discovery; learning about different ideas, styles and movements. That’s where the magic began and that’s where it can begin for you.

I have seen too many design students ignore the answers the past provides. That’s what design really is. Finding visual answers to questions. Maybe they’ll Google some artwork and study that, but there are grand benefits for getting your butt to some galleries and museums. Not only is it healthy for you to meet new people and build networking bonds, but it will also strengthen your artistic mind, and eventually your overall artistic abilities. Visiting Museums and art galleries can be a form of meditation and relaxation as well. I know that many people will not make the effort, but if you want to stand out from the rest and keep your design sense at bay, then visiting art museums and galleries is the right move for you.

When an artist, designer, or writer gets up and visits places such as art museums and galleries, there’s a big chance they’ll bump into someone who have similar interests. Those interests can lead to a new friend, or even a new client. Networking is important for a designer (and really any serious professional). Sometimes its all about who knows you and who you know. You have to be able to explore new places and get out of your comfort zone and when appropriate, start a conversation. Conversation is key. Stay connected with them, plan trips together, share your work, and don’t be shy.

Conversation can also lead to new ideas and answers to old questions. Who knows, maybe there’s this project you’re working on and you’re having a conversation in front of one of Andy Warhol’s pieces at the MOMA. You may become inspired by just being in its presence or you might just look at a subject within a different light that can lead you to a big idea. It’s healthy to communicate with actual people.  We’re getting so used to just texting each other and building weak relationships through social media, its important we don’t forget about the basics of dealing with people professionally.

When you visit enough museums and art galleries you also strengthen your design eye. When you look at a piece of art up close instead of viewing it from your computer you’ll notice different kinds of textures and colors you wouldn’t be able to see on your computer screen. Sometimes these details can create an impression on your mind.

Remember, the more you’re exposed to different kinds of design and art, the greater understanding you can develop and the stronger your own work will become. It does take effort to get up and get out, but if you are serious about your career as a designer it’s incredibly beneficial and can give you a competitive advantage over your colleagues.