Icons remain a hot design trend for 2017.
The Flat Design is still a reliable option.
SVG (Scale Vector Graphic) Flat Design Tool Icons.
The SVG format provides smooth curved edges.
Why use Icon for Website Design?
Graphic Design is about Visual Communication. When people arrive at your site, they quickly scan your web page – looking for something of interest. The modern web page icon provides a visual break for your site visitor.
The Icon is a psychological paragraph. Paired with strong typesetting. The icon can visual help your site visitor connect with your content.
Relax & Rejuvenate arrived with an out-of-date WordPress site. The theme was too old to update. And the WordPress installation had long expired (and failed all attempts to upgrade). We also streamlined the Hosting and Domain management. Transferring our clients to a Fast Forward Hosting account is essential to the website performance and security.
SEO Services / Design
Getting to know your customer’s customers is the most important aspect of creating a website.
Who is the end user?
Are they local?
Are they repeat customers?
What is their online experience?
Just a few of the questions. What we quickly discovered.
Local Repeat Customers had no need for the website.
Tourists relied on the site.
Google Maps had multiple lists.
Website Design Consideration
WordPress is a suitable platform for most everyone. With a carefully configured Theme. And optimized content.
Being user-friendly is the most important consideration for all websites.
For this site, we had reported that most all of the traffic and conversions are from people traveling. We knew it was important to provide a website that will load onto mobile devices quickly.
Providing the end user with a strong call to action – CALL US TO BOOK. Is the most important function. With Directions being the second action.
Website Booking System
Adding a booking system to your website is a HUGE deal. For the end-user, your customer. Visitors can book their appointment online at any time and from anywhere. For the website, we kept the booking system very simple. Most customers when asked said they liked the ability to pay online so that they could focus on their spa experience.
Google My Business & Google Maps
There is no getting away from Google My Business. Google Map had populated the Asheville business in four different locations. At one point the only correct location was published as “Permanently closed.” We claimed all of the lose Google My Business listings. Tracked down all the different variations of the address that were online.
With the information on Google corrected. Fewer customers reported having difficulties locating the spa.
ASSIGNMENT: The rule of thirds is the first compositional rule most photographers learn, but most don’t know why they learn it. The rule of thirds is fantastic for telling a story. Tell a story using the rule of thirds.
PHOTO: The beginning of the year has begun with thick mountain fogs. Most of the animals are staying close to the house. The Rooster got my attention – then his buddies showed up.
Inspiration this week is candy. Since this is the advanced challenge… you can’t
actually use candy in the scene.
Week six photography challenge “Artistic Candy.”
I love to make handmade candy. And, have quite a collection of candy/cookie making baking tools. Unlike, other kitchen tools, the candy tools are unique. Each mold or cutter has a story. Or a special event that they play a role.
Every good blog needs a strong graphic. Asheville Dental Care like a crisp, clean typeface. Eating apples are a key element of the blog. At the store, I bought the best-looking apples they had.
In the photo studio
Once in my photo studio, it is lights, camera, action. The studio is not a place that I spend time figuring stuff out. I arrive at the photo studio with a task to do, a concept devloped, and outcomes expected. In this case, the subject is an Apple. But what an apple. It took six takes to get the right bite incision into the Apple. I did use the apples to make a pie (I like pie).
What I did not say. I bought red apples, not green. The photography I did was a red apple. With Photoshop I adjusted the color values of the Apple to make it appear green (to match the Asheville Dental Care brand).
Who doesn’t enjoy creating fun comic strip illustrations?
Asheville Dental Care always has fresh ideas, and are interested in connecting with their patients. As their graphic designer and website developer, I get to immerse myself into their website content. And what is so fascinating, my idea of modern dentistry was completely off. Believe it, dentistry has evolved, and in many cases is now pain-free.
Greeson & Fast were ready for a website redesign. The theme selection was a basic Hero slideshow with a simple grid system layout. The client liked the user-friendly experience on their previous website design.
Accordion Navigation for Content
Using an accordion system to display content provides the right look for the website. The design objective – clean and fresh. The clients interior design work does speak for itself. In the Portfolio Session, there are no words; the entire page is a wall of beautiful photos. I strongly recommended keyword conscience content on the other pages. The design that we arrived at was to use an accordion navigation system. Search Engines can easily rank the page content – and the end user can request to see as much or as little of the written content.
Creating special effects frame-by-frame is not the norm. Most graphic designers and video editors would turn to Adobe After Effects. And, yes, I too love working with Adobe After Effects. However, as an experienced After Effects user, I understand the limits. I know what I want a particular look I need to do it myself.
The best web designers have the talent and experience to create the right balance between graphic design and technology. Website design technologies have come a long way. In the early 1980's Edward Tufte said that informational design needs to be minimalism to be understood. Last year, web technology and design concepts caught up with visual communications century old standards and perceptions.
Today's world engage with online content differently than before. We measure a person's attention span in seconds. We rate 3-seconds to load a home page as slow. We know experienced online users reject superfluous content as meaningless and distracting. Web users know what they want.
For the Sweet Carolina Labradoodles (SCL) website design project - we began with the end user in mind. With the graphic design approach of Less-is-More. With any internet site, it is important not to overwhelm your audience. Creating a primary focal point is essential.
For Sweet Carolina Labradoodles the focus on the homepage is the dogs. Nothing more, and nothing less. The right amount of information is on the homepage. The audience is welcomed to the website and embraced with the strong brand colors for Sweet Carolina Labradoodle.
On the sidebar is the "Countdown Clock." for the new arrivals of puppies. The sidebar also includes quick links to the bio pages and recent blog posts. The SCL website design holds true to essential elements of graphic design.
Establish your Brand
The logo and brand color are clearly stated and instantly understood. The Brand secured without distracting or overshadowing the doggie photos.
Successful modern web design can be highly intricate. For SCL the design involved a layered approach. Presenting information and functions to the end user as they needed them. For the first time visitor to the site, there are the large photos and links to each's dog's bio. There is more information available for someone research adopting a dog. As well as an adoption application for website visitors who wishes to begin the adoption process.
Have More Information Available
Have information to discover for users who wish to dig deeper.
As well as more details. Have functions for users who want to engage. When your audience needs to participate with you - make it easy.
For Sweet Carolina Labradoodles we made the online process seamless, cost-effective, and straightforward to complete.
Custom Google Forms were created and installed into the website. The Forms are an ideal method to collect user information. While there are many other online form solutions - Google Forms is a cost-effective way to gather base information.
Yes, even small websites now need Point-of-Sales functions. Depending on the transaction type and amount their as many online payment solutions. For SCL keeping the payment system as easy to use was paramount. PayPal has secure payment tools that integrate well into a WordPress website. Paypal payment options are quite basic and well suited to easy money transactions. None of the money transactions for the SCL website are complicated. Paypal is also an excellent starting point for any internet site. The setup fees are minimal, with most of the expense generated after the transaction.
I still don’t understand why my studio went without a scanner for any length of time. I am such a scanner fan. I love how I can capture different stages of a drawing. Often the steps toward the end images can create unusual patterns – that may not be as present in a later stage of the design process.
Repeating and position the copies in a circle motion. The overlapping design forms a large hexagon pattern.
I always like drawing with ink. It was until discovering Aubrey Beardsley (1984) that I became a huge enthusiast. (2017) Many of my design inspirations still pull from Beardsley’s influence.The illustrations tend to work best for me when they have a resistance to color.
The starkness of the Black and White hand drawn illustrations always interests me. Hand-drawn ink illustrations reach into a moment. Long enough to create an interpretation. There are no redos. Each line is a commitment.
I began by modeling of the icons. Once I had my 3D design together, I created the lighting system with silver and gold lights to heighten the metal texture.
I did experiment will rotating the icons – though settled for a front on view with the 3D displayed as the depth to the icon.
I began the design process by modeling the icons in 3D. Once I had my 3D design together, I created the lighting system with silver and gold lights to heighten the metal texture. I did experiment will rotating the icons – though settled for a front on view with the 3D displayed as the depth to the icon.
With the expectation of the Interface Icon, the artwork was simple outlines then extruded to 3D.
Icon – Disc
Icon – Eye
Icon – Mouse
Icon – Interface
For the interface icon, I extend the 3D style by including tall handles.
The photography hand study was created using a scanner. The hand was positioned in the scanner and held still while capturing. During the process, the model had to hold her hand completely still. The process created a visual tension that I was after. I experimented with a similar process using a camera and sheet of glass – None of the pressure appeared when the hand was held for a few seconds as it did when held for a few minutes. The effect of the glass against the fingertips really reinforces that sense of pressure and force pushing down. To the effect to almost remove the imprint of the fingerprint.
The website design for Visual Propaganda changes with the user interaction. Animations load and respond to the user mouse movement. The site was developed with Flash (that is no longer supported by Apple) – here is a video sample of the animated interface.
Doodle Art inspired by a phone call from a friend. The beginning sketch (below) centers on the brightest, fullest sunflower (you have to imagine your own yellow). What makes doodle art interesting is that often the patterns created take on an element of math.
The Phone Call doodle echoes the number 6.
The design elements either double to 12 items or reduce to 3 design elements.
The design has six main sections, which content central design elements of six dots, three on either side. With 3 dots leading out of each division, to be greeted with a 3 stack column. Most (but not all) of the shell-fanning are groups of 12.
The final part of the math is to divide the largest of the echoed numbers 12, by the lowest echoed number 3. 12 / 3 = 4. Creates the format that the design reaches out to four panels, while also growing out of groups of four shell-fans that bands around the Sunflower.
Pablo (chicken) and Timmy (cat) have become quite the new pals. Shortly after being born, Pablo was rejected from the nest. His small body submerged in a dirty puddle. The following days his body remained motionless. Baking under a red heat lamp. By day seven Pablo has gained the strength to stand.
Since then, Pablo has become an attractive addition to the farm. He has a large personality. Big talker. With a range of sounds for “Give me Food”, “The Water Dish is Empty – again!“, and “I want a cuddle”.
I began building the scene from photography. Even though I am a whiz with Photography many of photos do not get greatly altered for my projects. In most cases I shot what I am after – and do simple touch up and adjustments with Photoshop.
Tree Truck Photography
The nail photography was shot by Brian Jones – and worked perfectly.
The base of the trees from created from photography I shot of carpet patterns in Vegas.
Asheville Business Card Design can mean one of two things. A business card that is designed without a brand.
The Hands on Health Asheville Branding Project included a range of graphic design services. I worked with the Asheville startup to develop a strong logo design package.
Due to the nature of the business model – and the over saturation in the Asheville market. It was important to create a design that was different – while still having a local appeal.
Branding Development and Logo Design.
Doing the graphic design for the business card samples had many firm visual guidelines that were easy to follow and adopt a strong visual design.
I have said it before – creating a business card is often the first that your graphic designer can test the guidelines of your Branding Package.
Improve your Asheville Business
Asheville is very much a word-of-mouth small town. You are as likely to run into more people are the local grocery store, than at a nightclub. The upside to this is that Asheville grocery stores are quite common and happening places. Often with free internet and awesome coffee.
Due to the clients word-of-mouth appeal, I created the appointment card on the back of the business card – making it easy to secure follow-up appointments.
The client said that the scheduling feature was a great success – often while buying groceries.
Other Graphic Design Projects
Website Design and Development Projects
Other aspects of the project included website repair and custom programming for the company website.
The company website was on a limited service hosting plan. While the templates were complicated and limiting – I was able to rewrite most of the code to transfer the website interface over to the brand palette.
Sure, the entire process took many hours of coding (way too many hours). But, you know I love to overwrite code – there is nothing better that I like to do. I am quite a master at CSS and figuring out how to best control any website element.
Rewriting the template to reflect the new company brand colors for my client was an awesome power of CSS. I don’t often get to show off my CSS programming skills. That all changed with this project – to be honest – I took a good guess on most of the CSS coding.
The fun part about designing a Yellow Pages Ad is the color. Black and yellow. Sure there is an entire range of yellows that you can use until that yellow become black. Often, yellow pages ad feel more like a school assignment from “Principles of Design” class. The only difference, Principles of Design is the study of black and white.
Yes, some businesses use yellow pages ads. Some firms even generate business from yellow pages ads. It is always good to at least test your target market out. Perhaps there is an opening for an older demographic to your market share. Reach them with a well designed yellow pages ad.
Creating contrast is key to standing out. And don’t over do it. Clean and straightforward. For the yellow pages ad I choice to highlight the phone number and availability. With the location visually following behind.
For this yellow pages ad I choice to simplify the logo – by leaving the icon off. With the health icon for artwork and the list of services. Along with licensing and insurance tagline. IN the space of a business card. Something had to go to provide some breathing room. While including the message the client want to confer.
The yellow pages ads were as used in low-cost local marketing. The ads printed well in black and white – and showcased the local small business. The yellow pages ads were part of a much larger branding project.
Photographs of leaving Ireland. The photos were later pieced together in Photoshop to create a short string of motion.
The idea of jumping on a plane, and heading off. All quite easy to do.
But sometimes those plane flights are different. Sometimes, they only go one way. The homeward bound flight when a home is away from home. That is this flight. The flight when I left Ireland. The animated GIF’s capture and repeat forever that moment – the moment I left.
Like most days in Ireland, the sky is low and heavy with clouds. The dense darkness engulfs a few of the frames. Clouds so thick they block the light, leaving you in darkness.
When creating a logo – the process can be very different from one client to the next. Often the clients expectations and lack of experience can account for the varied design processes.
Designing a Logo for a Brand
Given my client pool, I am lucky to work with creative people. I surround myself with skillful and creative types that are seldom wrong when it comes to the principles of visual composition.
When clients come to me for graphic design services – they often have the design concept and brand philosophy developed. At which time – my role as the graphic designer is defined. I am there to ensure that the logo renders correctly and is aesthetically pleasing – while reaching the project design objective.
Designing the logo for a Brand.That’s the natural Logo Design approach. The conceptual developmental of the Brand is complete. The visual logo simply needs to acquire the right personality.
And the Rough Sketches can quickly move into refined ideas.
Designing a Logo without a Brand
Yes, I know – as a graphic designer we should never let this happen. But it does. Maybe you like the business idea or the client is refreshing, or you just feel like giving someone a break. Whatever the reason – you allow the client to move forward to the design process, without a brand. With the idea of working backward to establish the brand philosophy.
The difference between the old client and the newbie is that the experienced have structured their thoughts into a formatted project plan. The other client this has the ideas in their head. It isn’t that they don’t know – they just have never been asked before. And so the process begins.
From Logo to Brand
For most of the world, the role of Branding and Logo Design is confusing. The experienced graphic designer understands that the Brand is the business reputation – the business equity – built upon reliable products and reliable service.
The Logo Design – while the logo is the first visual component of the branding process. The logo does not stand alone to create or maintain the business values and customer loyalty.
For more information on how to build a strong, loyal brand – read my blog BUILDING A BRAND.
Creating a logo without a brand is not an ideal approach. But, as many graphic designers understand – especially those graphic designers that work with start-ups. You as the designer may be the first person in the world to ask your clients about their business goals.
Your Graphic Designer is the only person who cares to ask you branding questions
Be honest, no-one else is interested in our work ideas. People are not stopping me in the street and asked about my yearly business goals, or what I hope to achieve ten years from now. No one cares about my moral stands. I do however get stopped in the grocery store to answer computer tech and design questions. Which is typically fine, expect when selecting toilet rolls – that I like to do alone.
Building the Brand backward
The logo creating begins. In this case, the client was more visual that conceptual.
The Seasonal Greeting cards are part a larger branding campaign.
Website and Online Store.
Print ads and Flyers.
Posters, Banners, and Signage.
Series of greeting cards.
Postcards - with discount programs.
Seasonal Greeting Cards.
Asheville Postcard Design – Moogfest
Created for the Moogfest after party. Moogfest was a blast - with a pumping after party with DJ iGUY.
Asheville Postcard Design – Metropolis
Club Metropolis Club flyer.
Asheville Postcard Design – Hairspray
Club Hairspray - Asheville NC. Rather than creating two postcards for two different events – we went with the concept to feature one event on each side of the Postcard. The printing cost was reduced by half.
Asheville Postcard Design – Kings
Calling on Adobe Photoshop to quickly create some visual effects for the back of the postcard.
Asheville Postcard Design – Art Opening
Art Opening Asheville: Intersection:8
The photographic journey of eight men.
There were an entire series of postcards created for the Art Opening. Here are a handful of the samples.
Postcard Design – Asheville Adobe User Group
Postcard Designed for the Asheville Adobe User Group to market upcoming event.
Asheville Awards Presentation Graphics created by Gary Crossey of IrishGuy Graphic Design.
The journey with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the MEA began by setting up the Manufactured in Western North Carolina – where creativity and technology meet Innovative Solutions stamp. The graphic combines the Asheville Chamber of Commerce mountain icon with technology pixels. Working on the Branding team for Manufactured in Western North Carolina was an impressive project – bringing pixels to the Western North Carolina mountains.
We created all aspects of the graphics for the Asheville Chamber of Commerce award presentation.
Beginning with my photography – I select a series of business buildings for the background artwork. Using Photoshop, I removed undesired elements from the photography – cleaning windows, deleting objects from the windows, mirroring the image, and coloring to red. The live version of the background artwork had graphical animations that ran the length of the building to the center.
The Award Presentation was delivered using Director. The Award Presentation include integrated animations, video, infographics, all to a 154 step program.
Yes, this show had 154 show calls – this was more than a slideshow.
The 3D background animation had 5 interactive layers.
I designed the Red Hoop images for a manufacturing awards event. Included on this page are 4 or the 30 images created.
The cropped images express the close relationships that parts of the manufacturing community overlap and rely upon. The Full View of Red Hoops represents that local Asheville manufacturing community. Toward the center of the infographic - the overlapping is dense. The relationships are more engaged. The engagement level reduces as you move to the edges of the infographic.
Infographic for Asheville Award Presentation
RED Hoops series of infographics installation. EVENT: Asheville Chamber of Commerce Award Presentation.
I created a series of directional postcards for Crowne Plaza – Atlanta. The cards for printed and given to customers who were interested in particular Atlanta attractions. The postcards were a welcomed tool for the hotel concierge and the Crowne Plaza customers.
Not everyone can make a map. And, even fewer people can write clear directions. I did both for this projects.
Are the directions correct? The instructions are all right. I walked every one of them to be sure.
The Importance of Research
As a designer doing your research is always key to a successful project. The directions that were provided by the client had been pulled from the internet and were mostly incorrect. I always check the information submitted to ensure that I am creating the result that my customer needs. What’s the point in creating a directional postcard that is wrong?
I walked all the routes. Drunk coffee and discovered the most enjoyable path. I then wrote directions and created the maps for each route.
I used tiny dots to create the graphics for the HEville launch. Each dot represented each member of the HEville network. During the launch party, the animations were protected. With the cycle coming to rest on the male silhouette. The same color palette was carried into the event.
Store Banner Ad
Online Sign-Up Banner
BANNER ADS created for Launch of the HEville Social Networking Web Site.
CD CoverDesign created for a CoffeeTime Project. Now, back by popular request. With an updated Spotify playlist of 45 coffee related sounds. The CD cover is Low-Res webcam photography. The artwork images are tiny. I created the checkerboard design on the front because the photos couldn’t get much bigger without becoming entirely pixelated. There was something satisfying about working within the limitations of digital art.
The low-res quality of the image had personal appeal. Being blind in one eye, I connected. Tech was able to express my view of the world. The portrait of myself captures my visual field. With the dominant eye visible while the other not. The portrait photography mirrors from a prior painting with the same composition.
Pour Myself a Cup of Ambition
Created while at design school – engaging my future as a visual artist – with one eye.
Package Design – CD Cover
Pour yourself a Cup of Ambition
The coffee inspired CD release. First created in 2001 with coffee related songs. I designed the CD cover and arranged the music – each CD came with a small bag of coffee (enough to make one pot).
Fast Forward to 2015 – and Pour yourself a cup of ambition is now a Spotify playlist. Brew some coffee and enjoy.
Half the joke about the Laser Records illustrations is that when they were created records were surely disappearing. The larger record stored had all but closed. Record players were not selling, not alone “being the top bought Christmas gift for 2015”.
What song do you think would be best listened to on a laser record player?
Creating 3D art is special. Unable 2D art, you can’t doodle in 3D (and I do love to doodle). In 3D you build. You begin with a blank screen and you begin to build. However, knowing how to build in 3D is where the art and creativity is most present.
3D requires careful planning and consideration. Silimar to the process of a conceptual artist – all the ideas, questions, and concerns are answered prior to building.
The wonderful reward from 3D creations are the many views that one art piece can generate.
There was something about this scene that was so, important to get right. The entire scene runs for near seven minutes during which time the green screen cat interacts with the live dancers. I loved how the cat running across the screen looked – that was super fun to make.
The green screen life action of the appearing and disappearing cat was timed to the ballet performance.
The cat was first shot on green screen. From our storyboard, all the scenes were shot. The laughter mouth footage – was shot with the dancer moving their head forward and back. During a life performance, the actions would have been perfect. However, for the final scene of having a large mouth – laughing and floating around the stage – meant the dancer’s head should have been still – so I could add a mask and reveal what I wanted. With the mouth movement – and the dancer out of town until the day before opening night. I turned to Adobe After Effects.
Using the tracing features in After Effects, I was able to track the inside of the dancers mouth – I think I track a tooth! After placing a keyframe in every frame, I then centered all the frames – which resulted in freezing the dancers head motion.
Before applying the mouth-shaped mask, it was almost impossible to watch the mouth footage. Once the mask was in place – and all the edges were cleaned up, and the magic dust was applied -the footage worked great.
Building The Scene
The background had to hold video footage and have the ability to act as a 3D scene. Nothing in the scene was shot together. I created the forest scene from more than 350 of my photographs. The bark on the trees was completely resurfaced with bark from another tree. Plants were cropped, resized, and arranged to create the entire scene. It was a beautiful experience of starting from a blank screen and collection of my photos – and start building a scene.
My design work began in the nightclubs of Atlanta. Back then I created frame-by-frame animations. Now, I pull in the strong arms of Adobe After Effects to create my motion graphics. Using After Effects to create tempo-synchronized graphics. The background patterns were created in Adobe Illustrator for the website and incorporated into the piece installation.
Motion Graphics created for Asheville DJ iGuy. The video piece was integrated into a one-page website design. The visual were also used with projectors for special Asheville party event.
Non-profit Print Ad for Asheville Manufacturers Executive Association (MEA). The graphic design for the print ad is quite simple with an extended members list. The slight slope of the membership list does give the graphic design just enough to set the ad apart from the rest of the publications.
Poster Design created for the Asheville Adobe User Group. The user group was a creative resource for local graphic designs, photographers, videographers, visual artists, web designers, teachers, and people interested in creating visual arts.
The poster features the cables connecting to the back of the head – similar to how the User Group were connecting with one another.
All 3D projects begin with a blank screen and an idea. For this project, I started with the sofa design. Modern, clean design, shape lines, and pointed metal feet. The metal carries to the tables, lighting fixtures, and mirror. Balancing the room with a red accent from the lamp and flower vase.
The only rendering of the room with the glass on the table. The glass was later removed to help balance the content on both tables to two items each.
I love the look of the glass top table. I did use Raytrace filter on the glass and metal surfaces. Which provides the surfaces with a reflectiveness. In the case of the glass top table, you can see how the light travels differently through the glass depending on the viewers angle.
A series of postcard designs created of the dentist Scott D Neal DDS. Scott requested for something a bit different than all the other dentists were doing. The design direction used a combination of my abstract photography and graphics.
The second postcard began by drawing the figure and toothbrushes. The male figure graphic was included in the branding package.
Personal preference identifies that people relate to a brand name that they understand. People are attracted to meaningful and memorable brands.
What make a Brand?
A brand needs to be Memorable, Pronounceable, and Spellable.
The core of a great company, organization or group is creating a name that people can easily recall.
Most people appreciate when they can say the company name. Or, you can opt out to be another one of those establishments that its customer base refers to as “that place near the Post Office” or “Oh no, the other place.”
Yes, it is true – everyone is on “The Google”. With the help of Google auto-type, our typos are significantly reduced. But, what happens when you can’t recall the first letter? It’s one of those unpronounceable names.
It might be foreign.
It could be made up.
Make reaching your Target Market easy
Make brand accessible to your target market. Help your customers find you by having a name that is easy to recall, pronounce, and spell.
When a person is unable to remember how to pronounce or spell your Brand – the person is left searching online for your service. An action that promotes your competition.
The opening of Cheap Joes Art Supplies in Asheville has inspired me to get back to basics. My basics consist of two design tools.
The power of doodles.
The captivation of photography.
I created the design work for The Three Little Pigs for a Digital Storytelling Class. Not to waste a good doodle, I looked in my collection for a background image. Then quickly set about making my paper-cut-out house and a black sharpie.
The objective of the project is to demonstrate how easy and fast Adobe Slate is to publish content. The Three Little Pigs took an hour to create the scenes, edit the photos, and have published online.
Every year, I look forward to the Pantone Color predictions. And, if colors are anything to go by - 2016 is about going back to basics. The design craze is clean and precise. Pure color has returned to mainstream culture.
Do color trends reflect modern society?
The selection of the top ten color predictions for 2016 is not random. The selection is a sincere reflection of our modern society. Most people do not notice color trends. The consumer dollar depends upon its success.
People who work with color - do so with meaning and intent. I have spent hundreds of hours processing color photography. I have trained my eye for Color Correction. And training my brain with Color Theory. And creating artwork with an in-depth knowledge of color limitation for print and the web. For people like me, color is much more than a general interest.
A bold statement with muted colors
Muted Pink and Boy are the core color values for 2016. Normally, the core color value is only one color. For the first time, Pantone included two core colors. The muted pink and boy is a strong statement in the role of equality. In 2016, the role of men and women in society has changed. Core values are different. A redefining of the gender role has happened. And here we are, the muted pink and blue - one no louder than the other - on an equal playing field. A bold statement with muted colors.
What is important about the color selection?
COLOR - Back to Basics
The Red-Yellow-Blue (RYB) combination is perhaps the most meaningful. Red-Yellow-Blue combination make-up the primary colors for creating all other colors. Pantone showcases not the primary colors of Red, Yellow, and Blue. The message here is to get creative. Experiment with the primary colors - see what happens.
Pantone reinforces its message to be creative and experiment with the Battleship Gray choice. The color that materializes when you mix too much Red-Yellow-Blue together. Pantone makes you fail a success.
Yes, too much pigment is a top trending color. There is no losing for experimenting with color in 2016.
Download 2016 Color Trend Swatches
Download the 2016 Color Trend color swatches for free from Adobe Color.
Photographing Tonya Abernathy lead singer of The Robustos was always great fun. We worked on the red series using red lighting a low quality digital camera to create a low density image that I was after. The lighting effect did create visual artifacts that were later corrected in Photoshop.
Tonya has a great voice – that you can listen to right here! Enjoy.
Restoring your historical heirloom photos from water damage, mold damage, and even torn or ripped photos. Have your old family photos restored to their former glory. Here are a few examples of photographs that we restored for an Historical Jewish Website.
PHOTO: Mold and tore damage.
PHOTO: Heavy mold and marker damage.
PHOTO: Missing part of face with heavy mold damage.
PHOTO: Metal strains, missing spots and visual damage around mouth.
PHOTO: Water spots and fold removed from photo.
PHOTO: Large fold removed, water and mold damage removed. Missing spots restored.
Photo Restoration Experts
We can scan and restore your photos from any format, printed photograph, 35mm negatives, slides, and large format transparencies.
Photo Restoration Services
Light Balance for unexposed photo.
Restore faded photography.
Restore damaged or torn photography.
Remove fold lines from photos.
Restore from fire, water, and mold damage.
All final photos are high-resolution photography for the highest quality printing.
ALICE: Hall of Tears scene from the ballet created by Asheville Dance Company Terpsicorps.
GARY: It is hard to know where I began when creating Hall of Tears scene. There are layers and layers of video footage, frame-by-frame animation, green screen, and special effects. All of which came together to create this awesome stage design.
PLOT: This is the scene where Alice has gotten really large, and is crying. The water is from her tears. For this scene of the ballet. Alice was shot against a green screen – in this case we also had the dancer hold a green screen in front of her (as I just needed her hands and head).
On stage during the live performance – two dancer (tear drops) appear from a slit in the center of the screen. The video projection repeats on a loop.
Homemade Special Effects
When creating the water effects for the scene – I wanted the water to appear natural. I wanted a flow, spread, unevenness. All the characteristic of water. What I didn’t want to do – was simply turn to a 3D model to created water. Sure in certain scenes, and for certain effects it was great to turn to CGI to create the effect. However, for a modern ballet in Asheville – the digital media needed to be less polished and refined – the visual installation had its part to play as the backdrop.
Water Highlight – shot with a small hand-held digital camera
You can no longer think about website design with considering website design for smartphone users. The adoption rate of people accessing website content via their smartphones is HUGE!
Website Design for SmartPhone Users
The one thing people like better than their smartphone has something to do on with their smartphone. There is no denying it Smartphone users are accessing web content, at an alarming rate.
What are the SEO reporting?
During recently web site traffic reports for my clients. Most of the popular sites are reporting smartphone access rates to be between 53% – 65%. With online trends indicating an increased spending rate with Smartphone users.
How the same site content loads on different devices?
With so many different devices on the market. And people using a broad range of various devices to access the web – it may surprise you what your website experience for each user.
The primary objective for Asheville Super Duper Team Computer Training website design was to be user-friendly. The interface and navigation system needed to run successfully on all devices. The core principles of the Super Duper Team Computer Training is to teach people how to improve their skills with computers.
When considering website design for smartphone users you can quickly see even with the different iPhone models how the content loads differently.
Asheville Website Design Example on iPad Users
The same website content accessed via an iPad provides the user with a different layout – and choices. Both in landscape and portrait view the site content is loading in four columns – similar to the experience of someone accessing the web content via a laptop or desktop computer.
On a computer display, the navigation section spreads across the top of the page. On the smartphone, the navigational buttons stack on top of one another.
The iPad and iPad mini website content load the same on both devices.
The website loads slightly differently on the Blackberry device. In portrait mode, the layout exposes a small amount of the first website publication.
The Google Galaxy Nexus appears to load more of the first post than an of the other smartphones. Both the iPad and Computer load the website content in four column, infinite scrolling homepage.
Reach your target market using website banner ads. Yes – someone has to design all those website banner ads. Here is a small collection of website marketing ads that I have created for Asheville Tech Community College, OurVoice, and Heville Social Network.
Graphic Design created for Asheville AB Tech Classes
Graphic Design created for OurVoice Asheville
Some website banners work well by being simple, clean, and easy to understand.
Ads for Heville Social Networking Websites
The Heville Social Networking website ran ads on various websites. Depending on the website that Heville ran their banner ad designs – they wanted either still or animated banner ads. These three banner ads are examples of some of the still ads created for Heville.
Sign up for Membership Ads
Ads to announce
Announcing the launch of a new social networking website .
“How Extraordinary! I thought they would care for nothing but your art”
The opening animated text sequence is a line wonderful line from The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde has always inspired me. I was in my early teens when I read The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (for the first time). Alongside the three books written by Lord Alfred Douglas. It seemed fitting to incorporate Oscar Wilde into my first public collaboration.
Most of the content for the installation was frame-by-frame animation. Using 29 frame per second – I created a still images in Photoshop. One image for each frame.
This animation project taught me two very precise things about myself.
I am very fast with Photoshop.
I am very patient.
The frame-by-frame animation took hundreds of hours to create. For most scenes I had at least seven active layers in Photoshop. Each layer controlling the frame-by frame animation for one element. Providing me control over seven elements to animate for each frame.
The nude dancing figures was my artistic expression to how I was feeling. This was my first BIG installation – I did feel somewhat exposed. The opening still lady-figure was my state of artistic focus to command inspiration from feeling exposed.
The dancing figures began as pencil sketches. I then photographed the sketches. And refined the sketches with Adobe Illustrator. I completely lost count how many female figures I sketched, certainly enough for the chorus line animation that they became part of.
Special Text Effect
The frame-by-frame animation white and orange text effect are extracts from my of Essay of Aubrey Beardsley. Beardsley defined the art of graphic design and print making. While Beardsley provocative nature of penmanship was even disliked by Oscar Wilde. Beardsley unique ink and pen images are the visual definition and origin of graphic design.
“Patterned his Style”.
Beginning my public statement to accept the fear of being exposed. And to trust my artists expression to create. The frame-by-frame animation text sequence begins the dialog.
CREDITS: Photography – Bart Peeters. Motion Graphics, Animation, and Typesetting – Gary Crossey.
Poster Design and Branding: solely by Brian Jones.
Video Project for Asheville Ballet
Video Editing projects are such fun when you have creative footage to work with. For Terpsicorps – Asheville Ballet promotional video there was so much beautiful footage that I could have used.
The art of video editing is knowing which shots will tell the story best. I had great fun getting to film dancers. Capturing the dancer’s motion and creativity. And then bringing all of those series of images to the video editing part – filtering and combining the storyline.
Due to the marketing masterminding of Brian Jones (Branding Creator for ALICE) the promotional video for The Mad Hatters Ball was a huge success.
The video was both showcased on local TV news and public access TV. Published by Mountain Xpress newspaper. And featured as bonus footage during the online interview with Asheville Citizen-Times – and that was just for the preview.
Video Promotion Script
Heather (the creator/visual direction of Alice and director of Terpsicorps) – “I had definite ideas in my head of what I wanted to see come to life, and I sat down and wrote out a bunch of storyboards and pictures and things that I wanted. Having absolutely no idea whether any that was possible. I guess all that comes down to see what happens and meeting these people who can make it happen”.
Craig (Advanced tech, camera work, creative continuity )– “Bringing all these assets together is a gargantuan task requiring a lot of organization and production. Alice is a very complex project. We’re are going to be utilizing no less than four video projectors and six screens”.
Gary (Digital Media Artist, Animator, and Special Effects) – “Some of the approaches that we’ve adopted is to use live footage shot in the Asheville area. And then apply different special effects and animation techniques. Using Adobe Flash, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Premiere to create the content that we need for the show. Alice is a prime example of where all of our skills come together to create a beautiful project”.
I spent “days” photographing this stone collection. Thankfully, as a professional Asheville photographer; I love to work with difficult objects. The entire Product line are shiny stones. Yes, they reflect everything. Some of the spheres can reflect the entire room at once. And, I think I may have said it before, they shine, shine, shine, and reflect.
The clients product line of rare and collectible stones was not easily subjects. I used every photography studio trick to capture the unusual collection. At which time I was thankful for having spent 100’s of hours in my University Photo Studio ~ practicing for the day I’d need these photographic techniques.
Without my professional experience of studying light and space and their relationship to reflective surfaces, I could not have delivered a full catalog collection to my client. To my delight the client used all of the photographs I created for the series.
The product photography was quickly and successfully integrated into the company branding, direct mail, signage, business cards, website design, trade show and online promotions.
Visit the Shiny Stone:Product Photography Samples Collection – to review the product photography for the catalogs, event programs, magazines, flyers, websites, online stores, and email marketing.
RETRO POSTER DESIGN.
Posters have a history of connecting people. Unlike other forms of graphic design. Posters have a directness, accessibility, and simplicity. When asked to design a poster. I begin from a creative place of too many choices.
Finding the Graphic Design Focus
When I design I have to first discover a focus. For the Honor Night poster I wanted to design a poster that I connected with. I wanted the graphic design and typography to communicate something about me the designer, as well as reach everyone. I wanted to create a meaningful reference to what school had meant to me.
This retro poster design wasn’t for any Honors Night, this was my own Honors Night. For me, the poster had to reflect my school experience.
At school I enrolled for every art history class that was available. While all of the art movements provided me with interest and inspiration. It was the Dada art (or anti-art) movement that resonated with me the most.
Unlike prior art movements. Dada was more a mindset, than a single art style. The Dada artists dedication to questioning everything about artistic expression resounded with creative approach. The Dada movement did borrow their visual and technical vocabulary from Futurists. Especially those contributions to visual communication and advertising.
Dada made the poster the central tool for introducing new and bold graphic design aesthetic. The Dadaists, like the Futurists had a typographical revolution. With the typeface being the medium. The Dada artist isolated the graphic values of a typeface. While providing an independence meaning to the shape of the letters that was different from the transmitted textual meaning.
The typographical revolution brought about an innovative use of typography. Where the artist questions every adjust of the design. From adjustments to the kerning (space between characters). To refining the leading (space between successive lines of type). To the use of negative white space. Allowing the layout to flow vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
The Dada art movement enriched creative libration to the collective arts. Impacting painting, collage, sculpture, poetry, performance, photography, and graphic design. The collective spirit of Dadaism parallels directly with my creativity as a multimedia artist.
Drawing Creative Inspiration for Retro Poster Design
One of the most recognizable designs from the Dada era is that of the cover design for Veshch (Object). 1922 Berlin anti government booklet.Veshch introduced using an array of different typefaces and printing on colored paper to liven up the design.
100 years later. The retro poster design remains distinctive and modern. The design aim is to break the reader free of the traditional concept of typography.
Today the reader is now expected to explore the shape and form of text. Without having to decipher the meaning of the content. Every major brand depends on reader recognize. With shape being the first value a reader will recognize. Follow by color, and third the text.
CD Cover Design. Sure it has been awhile since anyone has requested a CD cover . But, back in the day, CD’s artwork requests were quite popular. At that time, everyone wanted a CD, everyone had a CD, some people even wear CD’s as clothing accessories.
While the CD cover never did reach the same artistic heights as the LP cover. The CD was the last step before switching our media to an online format. Where every song, book, or show feels the same in your hand. Same weight, same shape, same.
When Asheville recording star Cookie La Rue hit me up again for more free design services. At first, I said “NO”. I actually kept repeating “no, no, no…” and there it is I ended up with this creation.
Granted at the time, most everyone had already stopped using CD’s. Most people had even stopped using Napster. But, Cookie wanted the CD format. And that is what she got!
The CD cover design of Folkin’ with you was the Blue Prior of Cookie La Rue recordings. Keeping with the theme, I drew my inspiration from Joni Mitchell – Blue LP design.
I began the CD Cover Project as I do with many projects. I began with my camera. Shooting photos of Cookie La Rue was not pleasant. There was a huge amount of Photoshop skills need to blur out most of Cookie face – I then created the CD cover following the tone and layout as Blue LP did.
To my complete surprise – the CD release party was hughly popular. The CD went on to 2nd and 3rd reprint.
Photography: Gary Crossey. Graphic Design: Gary Crossey. Digital Artwork: Gary Crossey.
Be sure to check out the many other Cookie La Rue design projects.
Tasty Tim – Needledust (London) Photography and Graphic Design by Gary Crossey.
What a great guy to work with. Tasty Tim made every shot count, and very easy to capture. I shot the photos in some nightclub in London. Boy George was spinning, Tasty Tim was my host – and Mark Moore had put me on the guest list as photographer. Many corners got turned that night.
Working with the Asheville Salon is always fun. For the Asheville Salon Business Card both Danielle and Greg wanted a business card they could feel proud about handing out.
The graphic design for the Asheville Salon business card design is a true reflection of the Asheville Salon branding guidelines.
Personalize your Business Card
Asheville Salon wanted to way to personalize their business card – without distracting from the brand. The graphic design solution that I presented – was to let each person choice their own element to add to their business card.
For Danielle, she added her own hand-drawn sketch of an owl that Danielle has a connected to. While Greg choice to use a sketch of a flower that Danielle also drew.
As the graphic designer for Asheville salon I am very pleased to include Danielle’s artwork. The sketches are an extension of Danielle’s creative self – the same creative self that Danielle brings to each of the hair styles that she creates.
There was quite an in-depth creative process in bringing the Irish Guy Website Design, Programming, and SEO Services 3D Logo Design forward. The concept of the logo design was quite instant. I instinctively comprehended what I wanted. Being the client and designer for this design does make that transition easier.
However, making sense of a concept takes steps. Bringing that original abstract idea to fruition requires a process. As the graphic designer I have to move with the design. While other graphic designers are comfortable creating design from clip art - I prefer to create my own visuals. I like to explore the visual aspects of a design. Discovering the layers of detail that and visual aspects of shape, tone, hue, and the combination of all.
Some logo designs can be quite instant - while other logo designs can take longer. For the Irish Guy Productions I remained with the design - sketching out ideas of some of the different visual aspects that I wanted the logo to have.
Making sense of a concept
3D Logo Design – Background
During the Branding Development for Irish Guy Website Design, Programming and SEO Services the visual guidelines were established. The color palette - Pink, Deep Purple, Rich Reds, Light Gray, and Black was firm! No green or blue.
I typically begin my graphic design projects with black and white sketches. Once the graphic design aspects of the design are strong enough - color is added. It was exciting for me to approach a logo design project from a different direction. Though somewhat nervous too - as graphic designers we train ourselves to follow creative processes. While altering the process can bring about creative insight - the creations may not reach your target.
The Irish Guy logo brief was simple enough. "Draw inspiration from traditional Irish visual. Stay away from the tourist ideas of Ireland (Green, Shamrock, Rainbow, and Leprechauns)". Personally, I am quite fond of Leprechauns and Garden Gnomes in general.
Digital Sketches – Click thumbnail to Enlarge
Drawing inspiration for the Irish Triple Spiral
The Irish Triskele or Triple Spiral has been of great inspiration to me. And has been a part of Irish tradition for as long as anyone can recall. What I love about the Triple Spiral symbol is that depending on who you ask, you may get a different definition of what the three spirals represent. There is something special about a symbol that can represent what you want it to - and still be appreciated and valued by all.
The one understanding that is consistent is that the Triskele design comprises of three similar elements that come together to from one. Irish Guy Website Design, Programming, and SEO Service also share the responsibilities of three equal services that come together to form one uniformed web solution. And, so the digital sketching began.
Successful design projects begin with research and discovery. Unlike other items of graphic design. The Icon has to bashfully obey two functions.
Functions of an Icon.
Be able to stand out alone.
Remain part of the group.
The modern icon is not a one trick pony. A thoughtful icon will both visual unite and stand solo. The aesthetics of the icon design makes it engaging. Icons rarely function alone. Icons work harmoniously within a larger design system.
My design research begins by considering the audience. Who might use these icons? If I am designing for a company in the UK or Europe, I may reconsider some of the case symbols. Establish cultural and traditional visual guidelines.
ICON DESIGN – Design Stage.
The design problem of creating icons. An Icon has to stand apart while being the same. Keeping icons simple and easy to understand is essential.Overly complicated icons are difficult to grasp. Limit how many design elements to include.
Icon Design Perspective
Icons observation. Any which way. It is a good idea to keep your icon collection in the same Perspective. If you have your icon positioned at a particular angle – maintain the same angle for the icon collection. Keeping a consistent viewpoint will help establish a consistent icon set style.
Misused national, international, and social characteristics.
Use text in icons.
Including interface features in icons.
Insufficient individuality between icons.
Lack of aesthetic unity.
ICON DESIGN – Implementation Stage.
The final and most important part of the design process. Does it work? The implementation stage is more than just getting the design out there. During the Implementation Stage, I am looking for ways to improve and strengthen the design message.
Questions I ask
Are the icon design consistent?
Do the colors come together as a unit?
Do the icons look like they belong together?
If used: are the reflections, shadows, and lighting consistent?
Do the icons scale correctly?
Once I am happy with my answers, I then test the icons on real people. I listen carefully to feedback. And value the power of observation . I am always looking for that problematic icon – the one the everyone misunderstands. For the icon collection success all of the icons have to work together as one language.
Sometimes, I get to do more than Graphic Design services in Asheville. The Frame-by-Frame animation was created and showcased in the Royal Palace in Lakenhal, Belgium. Using Adobe Photoshop to create frame-by-frame animations may not be the fastest way to create content. However, the look and feel that I was able to achieve does add the personality that I was after.
Creating the Clay Lady Animation
The Clay Lady was the first of a series of short animations created for a multimedia installation. Bart Peeters had created a series of beautiful photographs of people either painted in covered in clay.
The images of the clay lady really interested me. The shape of the body, the lack of expression on the face. Making the animations felt like a road of self discovery.
Frame-by-Frame Animation Contact Sheet
The single frames of the animation also have a certain amount of interest. When viewing the single frame in the file browser – I like the color changes and the movement that the image create. Continued
How long does it take to build an International brand?
It might surprise you to see the historical timeline of your favorite brands.
Hope you enjoy the interactive timeline – over time I will add more content to the timeline and informational table. If you would like to add information to the either the table or timeline please email email@example.com.
Logo has changed
Still in Business
Changed 3 times.
Johnson & Johnson
JP Morgan Chase Bank
The corporate name was dropped in 1995
Changed 3 times.
Merged in 1999 with Exxon to form ExxonMobil
Merged in 1999 with Mobil to form ExxonMobil
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Yes – The egg packaging was one of the most successful product launches of all time.
The brand no longer use the plastic egg as it is seen as wasteful.
While I do love the first portrait of Vivian. The blue of her eyes. The void of makeup. The natural beauty.
Into the Light
“Gary Crossey came by yesterday for an impromptu photo shoot. I was completely unprepared and yet the pictures turned out gorgeous. Photographer and skills! I can’t wait to see the other ones. I call this one Into the Light” – Vivian
Asheville Salon create beautiful, stylish, and manageable hair. Their hairstyles have a huge curbside appeal - that range from everyday wear, to formal, to high-fashion art form.
When Danielle and Greg approached me to develop their brand and logo design for their downtown Asheville hair salon. They asked that their business name be user-friendly and have a strong search engine appeal.
After much local SEO and market research I proposed Asheville Salon as the brand name.
Asheville Salon is both rememberable and rankable.
Stage One – Asheville Salon Logo Design Process
The Asheville Salon logo was a true design collaboration, that was very natural. Danielle created the sketches. I directed and refined the designs. Greg provided the much appreciated Art Direction.
Danielle wanted the logo to capture the idea of hair in motion.
During Stage One of the logo development, we explored creating the Letter A from hair. While the look is both organic and has a hand-drawn element - both visual elements that Danielle had wanted to include.
We both felt like the logo was missing a refining element. We agreed that including the Letter S was an important visual aspect for the Asheville Salon brand.
For Stage Two, I created the visual study for Danielle. I wanted to share the idea that letters can be any range of different shapes, while remaining true to their form.
With more than 20 examples of the same two letters. No two letters are visually the same - while they are all understood as the same.
Stage Two – Developing Shape Relationships
Refining the Logo
With Danielle's sketch of the letter A and S coming together into one form. I capture the sketch and refined the image.
We had reached two logo design objectives.
"Hair In motion" Danielle.
"Include letter A & S" Gary.
While we both liked the shape and motion - but with more clarity. A bit abstract is fine - but clean up the edges.
The function of a logo is to print the same every-time. The final round of design revisions were cleaning up the edges, refining colors and laying graphics to increase pop value.
Internet tech is often blamed for moving forward to fast. The changes happen too quickly for people to keep up. Sure, sometimes this may be true. However, there are some techs that flood around for years before taking a hold (Bluetooth). Or, there are other techs that are reinvented, or at least relaunched and begin another cycle of usage. The latter example is the certainly the story of the GIF animation.
GIF animation early days may have been jumping hamsters and spinning blinking buttons (my personal fav). Which is a far cry to presenting high-end fashion for some of the most pristine fashion houses. 2015 is the year that GIF animation returned to the tech world as a stylist fashionable option for delivering media rich content.
When it comes to Map Design - everything has got to correct.
For the Atlanta Map Design Project I was commissioned by Crown Plaza Hotel to create a series of local interest postcards. Each postcard featured a place of interest, with a user friendly map. Here are three of the map examples that were used on the maps.
Map Design - doing the walk for work
The interesting part about creating these maps - at the time - Google maps had incorrectly mapped out some of the roads. After doubling checking with my map resources, I then decided to walk the maps. Thankfully, I did - as I discovered at least ten other road and misnamed streets.
Asheville Business Card Design Inspired by a Needle
Asheville is the home to the small business. Working on the design for the Asheville Business card for Underground Weaver was a fun project. I spent time with the Weaver and watched her work. Bernice worked between different artisan projects – all of which were wildly different from one another. The one thing that caught my eye was the tool that Bernice liked to use. A hook needle. Continued
Asheville Manufacturing Video Shorts created by Gary Crossey for the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. After meeting with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce we created storyboards of the video spots. Interview times were established for the film crew to visit each location.
I later edited the video to be presented during the annual Asheville Manufacturing Awards.
Graphic Design Services Asheville. Graphic designers all have different approaches to creating unique posters. For me, designing a new poster is usually done in an easy to follow six-step-process.
Establish a graphic design focus.
Have the correct information.
Balance the Design.
Establish Graphic Design Focus.
Having a graphic design focus is a good starting point for any creative project. Posters are unique creations that are much more than typesetting. Posters are created to inform the public. To be successful, a poster has to connect with the viewer.
Depending on how complex the content is. Establishing a strong graphic design focus may require serious consideration and research.
For the Girl Scout Poster, the board members wanted a design that would reflect the event. Fun & Elegant Black Tie Cookie Cook-Off. Featuring desserts by eight Asheville chefs. Served with a full range of wines from Asheville.
Asheville Graphic Design Sample
Asheville Poster Design
Graphic Design Process.
After research. I begin drawing thumbnails. The thumbnail designs are more about form and function. And coming to understand and connect with the content. Each of the three mock-ups presented a strong modern approach to the poster.
While the board liked all the graphic design mock-ups. The Urban Illustration Layout was approved by the board to be the official poster design. The other two mock-ups were liked so much, that they were adapted to email blasts for the same event.
While designing the poster my first consideration was to not feature one person more than anyone else. The event included eight well-known Asheville chefs - with the most amazing array of desserts. The event was a celebration of many talents coming together as a supportive community. So with that idea, I did not feature any of the chefs desserts.
At the time, I was working on a character design that the Asheville board liked. It was great fun, seeing my illustration bring life to the poster.
Asheville Poster Design
Have the Correct Information.
No matter how good your design is, if the information is not correct - the graphic design fails. Always re-check information. Clients get basic information wrong. Include the address, date, time, and cost.
The poster is there to connect and stir interest for the viewer. With creativity in the details. Posters have a historical placement. Design trends have launched from posters. Wars have been won and lost over posters. Women, men, and children have united to the call on a poster.
Yes, use the correct typography. Posters scream to use typefaces. I locate type design that relates to the event. For content, I like the typeface to clean and easy to read.
Balance the Design.
Rework the design. Tweak and improve. Refine the details. It's not about design perfection. It's about refined graphic design.
Asheville Graphic Design
I like to help guide my clients through the printing process. I understand the paper. I know ink. I practice color theory. Use readable fonts. I use the correct printer (for the job).
A poster is designed correctly when the final print is incredible.
Graphic design for the Asheville Public Access grand opening. That was a fun opening party. Here is a sample of one of the postcard invites that I designed for the opening. The postcard design was also redesigned into a large format poster. The poster design was quite awesome (if anyone has a copy of the poster - please forward a photo).
Prior to URTV going on the air, I headed the Branding Design team. And designed the first URTV LOGO: Asheville Wiki. I also headed the Graphic Design and Programming team for the first URTV website (I do miss the URTV flash navigation I created for the website).
Yes, Cat Williams performed opening night - what a gem for Asheville culture.
As a graphic designer, creating a poster design is always a fun project. For me each poster is a new graphic design journey. Especially, for the The Journey of Creativity series. Some of my most memorable moments as a graphic designer involve the thrill of unwrapping large format print jobs. One incorrect fold and that high-gloss photography finish will ruin the impact.
Thankfully, most of my early design years were spent in the darkroom, processing photography. Granted, I learnt all my lessons the hard way. Which is why this graphic design theme of “Learn from Failure” holds true to me.
I am always discovering new aspects of graphic design, videography, and interactive design. Most recently I discovered the value of the creative journey. I reflect on the planning process and production. I review the graphic design and typography. And I appreciate and recognize the different skills that come together to create.
The Journey of Creativity – Learn From Failure Poster and Short Video Animation were designed for the Asheville Adobe Digital Creativity class. The graphic design from the poster was used as part of a short video promotion and a mobile ready website prototype.
Asheville is such an interesting town. The local Asheville business community represents a wide diversity of product lines. Which often translates into the photography world as having to shot "A ONE OF A KIND".
My rock collection is mostly all one-of-a-mind. Here are a few product photography samples of the brilliant rock surfaces. What amazing colors to get to work with.
Working with local Asheville businesses is always a treat. WIth a wide range of downtown Asheville retail stores. There is a big demand for product photography in Asheville.
Here are a few Asheville product photography samples of designer handbags.
Product Photography for Print Marketing and Website Design. A successful website requires content. Without the right content, your website design will fail.
For the Jazzy Asheville web design project the right content was elementary. Ladies high-fashion is an exclusive market. The target market is precise. And the customers want access to the limited collection. People do not visit a website for nothing special. Especially true for a high-fashion websites. Thankfully, unlike other website designers in Asheville or beyond, my skills are not limited to coding. With a minor in photography, I am equally skilled behind a camera or keyboard.
Shooting these beautiful garments was incredible. I have never handled fabrics of such fairness and design. Often the pieces were limited to 1 or 2 items. Using models simply was not a practical approach - we did try. While other web designers, graphic designers, SEO specialists, photographers, and media rich digital developers rely on each other to complete a project - my track record as a leading Asheville visual artists and programmer shows I can deliver - DIRECTLY.
Beginning with a detailed SEO plan to direct the development of website content and design. Without the correct content, website fail. Having the correct photography, graphics, infographics, and backend programming are key to your businesses online success. Do not let creating online content hold your business website back. I understand it is a real challenge for businesses (even creative industries) to create their website content.
Downtown Asheville Product Photography and Website Design Project.
Creating content for PBS was awesome. The website banners were firsted designed to be deployed in Flash. The example posted is an animated gif (for our iPhone & iPad users). Some image quality is lost during the Flash to GIF conversion.
Photography for Enter the Earth Asheville, North Carolina.
The clients liked the blue crystal photo so much, that they requested for me to make it into a seasonal greeting card for their customers in Asheville.
I photographed the product items in my Asheville photo studio. Having a studio in Asheville certainly helps with the ever changing mountain light. The photography from this photo shoot was later used in the company website, online and print catalog, direct mailers, and over 30 different print ads.
Product Photography in Action
The product photography for my client was used for a wide range of branding.
Seasonal Eggplant product photography and poster design for Soapbox Farm, Asheville.
My list of branding project for Asheville small businesses keep increasing. For Soapbox, the brand was developed as a strong ink-block logo - followed with a collection of vegetable and livestock photography. With hope to launch their new line of package design this year.
Working with the Greeson & Fast Interior Design team in Asheville has been an incredible experience. Their design work is exquisite, modern, and forward thinking. Creating their online portfolio was a very natural experience. The website remained active during all stages of the redesign, with a focus on SEO and improved usability.
Greeson & Fast have a clear and efficient communication chain – and have always had a definite vision of what they wanted from their website.
“The website has got to be user-friendly, secure, and easy to navigate.”
Leicester Farmers market (Asheville) is a small local market. I got their first website up and active - and provided the website with a series of photos. I am glad, that all these years later - many of my photos are still included on the Leicester Farmers Market website.
For these photos I actually did bake the bread. And, yes those eggs and eggplant were grown on our farm.
I pulled from my experience of painting and working in the darkroom. By creating the entire art piece with just three Photoshop tools. Paint Brush, Dodge, and Burn Tools.
By focusing on tools that I understood (in the real world), I quickly grasped the abilities and limitations of working with digital tools. Since then, I have become a Photoshop Master - with a vast knowledge on all of the tools.
Everyone in Asheville loves the Mountain Xpress newspaper. Creating the cover of the Asheville Mountain Xpress was a great honor.
The graphic design came from the Asheville production of Alice. The Mountain Xpress is a huge supporter of the local arts and the Asheville community. They featured my graphic design work from the “Rose Garden” scene of the production.
Here is the Asheville Mountain Xpress cover, design by Gary Crossey.
TRUE STORY: That is a real big ass bug. That sat on my finger while I photographed him.
There is always something special about creating a poster. First off, I like when 1000's of them arrive and are eager to be hung.
However, working on a poster for a well known production can be difficult. As you want to create something new, or at least a little different. While still remaining true to the production.
How the images were created
While creating the foot image for the poster, I first went to the studio and photographed feet. After many hours of working with the images that I had shot I started over. The second time I reshoot the images in a flatbed scanner. I wanted the feet to look like they were being pressed on. That the bearfoot was altogether goo. The scanner provided a flatness to the toes - that I after. Made the toes slightly wider and more present.
At the same time I began to scan a collection of dry leafs. In Photoshop, the leafs were layered on top of one another.
You gotta love the tools of Photoshop. I wanted to create something that would pull the type design and the strong graphic of the feet. I wanted the image to soft, almost not seen. The leaf was the creation - painted mostly in Photoshop. The leaf was a really fun image to create.
If you have ever heard DJ iGuy spinning, then you mostly likely heard “No Brakes on my Rollerskates” during the set. The Futon Bann Remix has filled many a dancefloor and has become one of DJ iGuy’s most requested song.
The Dolly Parton 9 to 5 video was super fun to make. First off, this is an awesome remix, that always gets a great crowd response.
For the video footage, I pulled interview and live footage from the 9to5 Academy Award performance. With the layered dance moves of John Travolta (Urban Cowboy). And then a little Madonna to keep the groove going.
Working with Brunk Auctions is a pleasure. Brunk Auctions publish a monthly catalog - with 100's of items. My role is simple - I remove photo backgrounds. And, I get to dig deep into the Adobe Photoshop Masking Toolkit.
Photoshop Production Work
Masking tools respond best to a strong edges. Not all edges are defined. Glass has unclear edges that are hard to define.
While it may be true that some masks are easy to make.
It is also true that other masks are difficult to create.
Detailed Photoshop Masking
Detailed masking does require skill, time, and knowledge. Understanding the strengths and limitations of Photoshop masking tools is essential to creating quick, clean, and precise masks.
Tri-folds are an effective newsletter method. Creating the trifold for the Atlanta Aid Non-Profit included a registration form and dotted line to cut. Working within the printer guidelines, I created an easy to print tri-fold.
On the front fold, the reader is provided an overview. With more information provided as the user opens the tri-fold publication.
Printed in Black & White on an assortment of rainbow colored paper.
The playing card animation was commissioned by Tersicorps Theatre of Dance – Asheville.
Alice in Wonderland – Chapter Eight – The Queen Croquet Ground.
What an exciting part of the Alice and Wonderland story. Alice has arrived to the Rose Garden and is now face-to-face with the mighty Queen. The stage is bathe with my playing card animation. A procession of dancers are flooding the stage – with impressions of my animation on their skin and white outfits. Everything and everyone got covered by the animated playing card wash. The visual effect was outstanding.
From the opening beating of the simple single rotating hearts – half white, half red. Before launching into the animated playing card parade. The mirrored tunnel effect added to the chaos of the scene to great effect. The heart design began as the photograph of my red jacket reflecting on the metal door. The door had a diamond design that created a strong silver in one panel, while my bright red coat beamed in the adjoining panel. For me the heart was the central design element for Alice in Wonderland – the scene is rich and heavy. With hundreds of little hearts covering the scene – little hearts that were created with my reflection. While the reflection on the heart is only one half of myself – the mirrored placement of the heart creates the whole reflection.
Video Projection – Animation Wash
Parading Playing Cards
Full stage front-projection washing over entire stage and two rear projectors for added 3D effect.
Off with her head
Undoubtedly the quintessential line from Alice – “Off with her head!”.
As the chaos of the scene grows the dark playing card animation slowly fade over the stage. The music gets darker – the mood changes. On the stage their are 5 men in a web of white rope. Pulling and turning, twisting their bodies into the same knots as the rope. The more entangled the twisted bodies became the heavier the dark animation painted their skin.
Unlike, the earlier lighter animation of white and red – which created an iridescent illumination. The dark animation achieved the opposite effect. The black of the stage literally absorbed the darkness of the animation. The crimson, dark grays, and blood tones created a sinister tension between the dancer and the entangled ropes.
Alice in Wonderland – Off with her head!
Animation cycle that covered the back wall of the stage. Unlike the front-projection that flooded the stage. The rear projection was onto the high-density screen. The clarity was incredible. The blood red of the animation reflected and painted the dancers skin.
Design Process – Animation Sequence
With every design the design process begins with the objective. For the The Queen’s Croquet Ground scene from Alice the animation was to serve to functions.
The scene relied heavily on flooding the stage with animated content. However, the general problem with washing an entire stage with visuals is that everything is covered the visual. Stage lights also serve to wash out projected content. For the scene – lights were lowered – projection increased. To create an awesome balance of visuals, dance, and audio synchronization. Finding this balance did take quite a few revisions – especially during the installation in the Diana Wortham Theater (which can only be expected).
The Playing Card Animation design process begin with simple sketches of playing card design. Before refining the designs in Adobe Illustrator. During the early design stages of the playing cards – I imported the roughs to After Effects – as I worked on refining the card design in Illustrator, the file would update to my After Effects animation. Most of the final animation effect was created prior to the card design being finished or approved.
Having a strong workflow plan completely helped to make this part of the project a huge success. The placeholder content that I had imported to After Effects was easier to animate and experiment with while the individual components were still so light. No delays from graphic card overload – fast and simple.
Once the final artwork was completed. I simply had to do to After Effects and render the animation. Revisions to the color content in relationship to the saturation of stage wash were done in Illustrator, and footage would be again rendered.
PLAY CARD GRAPHIC – Each card was created for the animation.
Asheville Graphic Design Service
The process of converting large amounts of data into a handy trifold, Is nothing short of tech heaven magic.
Yes there is an art in the graphic design and typesetting to create a monthly newsletter. There is also a mastery for content development and management needed. Along with a solid project workflow.
The project workflow that I created for Charlotte Street Computers greatly reduced the cost and turn around time. Labor time was great reduced. While printing costs were reduced by 85%. Simply by printing the trifold in Black and White, and on an cheaper recycled paper.
The trifold was an important element to the success of the Asheville computer training classes. Students feedback indicated that the trifold was their first go-to for class information.
Technology Aided Graphic Design
Creating a Google App to extract Google Calendar data to a Spreadsheet was the biggest time saver. The app saved hours of data entry labor - and greatly reduced user error input. Computer Training Classes, and updates were entered directly into Google Calendar.
I then had Google Calendar automatically update all the related material for instructors, support staff, students, graphic design projects, website content, and newsletter content. No more double entering content - or having to email updates to the other team members and students.
Asheville Graphic Design Samples
Included below are three samples of the monthly trifold newsletter. Each month while the graphic design style remained the same. Fine adjustments to layout and typesetting were made to highlight and organize classes.
The Workflow for Creating a TriFold
Enter class time, description, location, cost, class files, enrollment instructions.
Embed Public Google Calendar in website - in agenda format.
Provides support staff up-to-date class details.
New classes automatically appears on calendar followers.
All students are shown how to (and encouraged) to follow the Public Google Calendar.
Google Calendar events are searchable and can rank.
Run Google App to extract 30 days of data from Google Calendar.
Sync Google Calendar with Google Spreadsheet.
Sort / Organize data as you need.
Create graphics for Trifold.
Import Google Spreadsheet to InDesign.
During import automatically apply InDesign styles to data.
Sync Adobe InDesign with Google Spreadsheet.
Typo and copy rewrites are added at the spreadsheet or calendar level. NO EDITS are completed in InDesign.
Made In Honduras published in the New York Times and The Washington Post.
If you don believe in online marketing, you might want to track how many clicks these banners got – it was huge!
Using Adobe Flash, I created the Motion Graphics from still photography. Due to the size requirements for Banner ads, I had to reduce these ads to a 27K file size. Creating a banner ad is certainly one skill, having that banner come in under 27 K is quite another skill altogether. Data file reduction is a skill that I excel in.
Digitally Drawing by Gary Crossey. Created on the iPad 2 using Adobe Ideas.
Creating digital art with something other than the 'mouse' sounds ideal. However, after 15 years of learning how to draw with the mouse, I did find working with Adobe Ideas to be slow. It was fun. Somewhat steamless with Adobe Illustrator. For production work I would use Adobe Ideas for outline work. Complete the painting in Adobe Illustrator.
Was an AWESOME App - however, as of Fall 2014 Adobe have disconnected the support of Adobe Ideas.
The work of Mitchell Lonas, Asheville is outstanding. When created the gallery thumbnail layout did serve well to deliver the content (may be due for a wee update). The website was built under the close direction from the artist. It is was very important to Mitchell that his artwork show well. As a web designer it is critical for me to understand my clients aesthetics. Especially when that website showcases the work of an artist, photographer, or designer.
Mitchell first request was that his website should be, "user friendly, and easy to get around." Due the heavy traffic that Mitchell's website recieves since his work was featured in The Twilight Series (2012) and Architectural Digest (2014). As well as being the featured artists for numerous charity events.
Much of Mitchell work ranges within the earth tones. The website color palette is directly influenced from the earth tones that Mitchell used in his work. The darker screen for the viewer greatly reduces the brightness (similar to reading a Kindle in night vision). I found that the details in Mitchell's work showed better with a darker palette - which created an awesome balance between Mitchell's visual aesthetics and my values of usability and utility from the website were met.
While working with my clients it is imperative that we are collaborative. A successful website needs that a driving focus behind it to maintain success.
Creating animated motion graphics from 2D still images can be difficult enough. For the success of my Honduras truck door animation, I had to first track down the model of the truck - locate photos of the inside of the doors.
Creating artwork on the iPad feels good. After 15 years of becoming a master of drawing with a mouse, I find myself back at the beginning. Drawing was my first desire.
Working within this 10 x 10 grid system - the outer blocks begin with nine strokes within each block, reducing down to one stroke by the center four blocks. The objective was not so much keeping within the lines, but rather how the hand to device was to translate. I like when the lines extend beyond the blocks. The spacing between the lines, changes. The light to dark, dark to light is easily controlled.