Meredith Design

Archive for February 2013

One day I was sitting in my cube, working on a project that had me stumped. I needed to have each data sheet look similar but somehow be easily identifiable as different. So I played with the colors on each sheet… but I just couldn’t get them to coordinate well. I went to my creative director and,  per usual, she had a wonderful solution. Use kuler.

What is kuler? “Adobe® Kuler® is a web-hosted application for generating color themes that can inspire any project. No matter what you’re creating, with Kuler you can experiment quickly with color variations and browse thousands of themes from the Kuler community.” In my terms, it’s a palette generator! Back before I got into designing on computers, I was drawing and coloring on paper. What I usually did first when starting a piece was make little circles of color on another piece of paper to test how they would look. Sometimes I would freestyle it. That didn’t usually work so well.

To my issue- why are palettes so important?! I’m sure there are folks out there that don’t need palettes or theme guides to help them see the colors work together well. Some folks are gifted. Others, like me, just have to practice and practice. Maybe some day I’ll be so practiced that I won’t need to make a palette beforehand. Unlikely. So for us normal folk we can use different methods and tools to help us select the best possible color choices. Maybe you’ve just created a logo in black and white and you need to find the right set of colors for the identity. But not only must you coordinate with the logo colors, you also have to think about the colors used in the website, company clothing or accessories. Not to mention conveying the right feeling or vibe via the colors. And so, I choose to make palettes or color themes in all of my projects now. It just seems silly not to when there are such nifty tools out there like kuler.

With love- M

This site might be old-hat for some but I only just learned of it this year. Thanks to my Creative Director at work, I now have a resource that I come back to time and again. I wanted to help support this wonderful site but sharing it.

So what is The Noun Project? “The Noun Project is building a global visual language that everyone can understand. We want to enable our users to visually communicate anything to anyone.”

From my experience, in a corporate setting we use these symbols in brochures and catalogs to help convey or reinforce an idea. Instead of bolding or headlining something you want to call out like ‘Fresh foods’, I might use a carrot symbol. Or instead of ‘weather resistant’ I might choose an umbrella. And it can get deeper than that, no doubt. I look forward to using more of these symbols, making smart selections for witty correlations.

Now I hope you all use this resource to help better your designs and communications. Some are free, some are not. Even if you’re not a designer, next time you think about using clip art, I hope you’ll decide to step outside the box.

They download as .svg so you’ll need a program capable of reading it and saving it as an .eps or .png. If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator, Gimp is a free open source program that does the job just fine.

 

 

 

Update 03/7/2013: Found a nice article about working from home that I found quite useful.

Najia Belly Dance Info Card r6a-1

Najia Belly Dance Info Card r6a-2

My first independent project in a while^^. I’ve been so busy with my corporate design job and new life with my significant other that I just haven’t had much time to do any side work. Certainly no time to seek it out. But I was lucky enough to have some work seek me out instead.

Najia is a marvelous belly dance performer and teacher. I’ve personally been a student for only a short 8 months but already I feel like I could take on the world.  So when she inquired about remaking her image and starting things off with a postcard to hand out at key places, I was more than happy to be a part of it. It was a fast project, completed over a weekend. There will likely be some revisions but Najia says she’s very pleased and is using me for a larger poster and also her business cards. If only I could find few more wonderful clients like her! I could think more seriously about leaving my corporate job behind.

Now onto what this post is really about: the challenge of working at home. One of the awesome things about working in the corporate world is the environment. My workplace is just that – a place that I work. I have a cube, my own iMac, a nice chair, desk, and so on. It’s not so different at home, physically. In fact, I’m more comfortable at home. So why is it so difficult sometimes to get work done at home? One word. Distraction.

In a good work environment, it works best for me if there’s a sort of hum in the background. I mean that both audibly and mentally. I know some folks around me listen to music to stay focused. Though I’ve done that in the past with more creative projects at school or home, it just doesn’t work for me in the office. Everyone around me is doing similar tasks, some talking here and there, nothing dramatic. That’s what helps me stay focused on each project. In any given day I might have 10 to 20 projects come across my desk. I can’t afford to lose focus.

So how can I build that efficient environment at home? Hopefully without losing the comfort of being home in the process. It’s been a real struggle for me lately because there are so many things I need to get done at home. Laundry, cleaning, dusting, cooking, grocery shopping, paper filing, receipt organizing, and on and on. Here’s where time management comes in.

I had gotten really good at time management in college. Unfortunately, things are different now. I have to relearn it all. For now, my best friend is my notepad and whiteboard. I shall have to be harder on myself. Set rules for the days when I’m making my own schedule and not bound to the corporate time table. Thankfully, the recent freelance project with Najia has really helped me start to re-evaluate things. Here’s to hoping I can keep up the momentum.

With love – M