Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Strive for quantity when trying to generate new ideas.

Strive for quantity when trying to generate new ideas.

When my Dad was teaching me how to use my first camera, the ole cannon AE-1, he told me to take more pictures. That was his answer to most of my complaints. He explained that the more pictures I took the better the odds that one of them would turn out. 

I feel that way about, brainstorming for paintings, logos and layouts. Alex Faickney Osborn who made brain storming popular in his book, Applied Imagination, was the originator of the maxim, "quantity breeds quality". This is 1 of 4 rules he offered to stimulate idea generation.

He also encouraged to withhold criticism (rule number 2). This helps you to feel free to throw out anything that comes to mind. It has been my experience that some of the worse ideas have spawned the winning idea. No Simons in brain storming.

Osbor's third rule is to welcome the unusual. These new ways of thinking may provide better solutions. ('"Think Different." - Apple  )

Rule number 4 in Osborn's brainstorming list, is to combine and improve ideas. In some cases, a few good ideas put together can make a great idea. Here are a few great logos that combine ideas.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

See a live performance to generate new ideas

Go see something live. It can be any kind of performance. Get out and hear a live band, or go see a play. 

Saturday evening, my sister-in-law brought me to the Provo Library to hear Markus Zusak speak about his new book. He is on the New York Times best seller list as well as the winner of the Michael L Printz Award for young adult literature for his book, "The Book Thief"

Great insights were offered about writing and being creative. He said, "I try to do the simple things well."  He also talked about if you want to be a writer  it has to be on the top of your priority list. Of course that doesn't just apply to writers. My favorite thing he stated was, "I am not creative". He went on to explain that he just has a lot of problems. When he solves a problem, he gets another string of problems to solve. Somehow I found that to be comforting. I often feel like I am just pushing around problems when I am doing graphic design. Eventually after a lot of work the pieces fit together.

I have been reading Mr. Zusak's book and it is very well written and engaging. All his hard work of problem solving and rewriting definitely paid off. 

Hearing him speak about his work, ignited lots of new ideas for me. I know if you walk away from the TV, put down that remote and participate in an audience at any kind of live performance you'll get the brain juices flowing again.

Please share any engaging performances you've been inspired by lately.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The World Needs More Dreamers: 10 Ways to Generate New Ideas

A series of blog entries will catch you up on what I've been up to lately.
As the title says, 10 ways to generate new ideas is where I am headed. Maybe it will will grow in to 15 or 20, who knows.

Today we start with number uno.

1. Travel 
Travel is a great way to let your brain unwind and let go. New scenery, sights, and smells will make way for new connections and new ideas. My trip to Austin was full of inspiration. 

We were rushing to a venue to see Eyes Lips Eyes play and I almost literally ran in to a real life example of yarn bombing. I was so excited. To me seeing a little rebellious knitting around a light pole gave me hope. It meant there are people out there who care. They care enough to add a little touch of surprise to an ordinary day for a stranger. A stranger like me. If you look closer you'll see someone added some paper butterflies to it as well. 

Don't think you have to travel half way around the world to get inspiration. You can try going to a nearby town. Or think about what it would be like if you've never been to your own town and try to see it with a fresh pair of eyes. Even better get out there and leave a harmless example of inspiration of your own for someone else. What has inspired you lately? Please share.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

on the road with Eyes Lips Eyes

Last night at Grant Street Dance Hall in Lafayette, Louisiana

we met up with Eyes Lips Eyes.

Seeing and hearing their new songs in my old stopping grounds was a real treat. When I asked the local band Brass Mimosa what they thought of their music, they exuberantly shared with various expletives how much they loved it. I knew the south would like 'em. Now we are in Austin and I am excited to join in on the fun of South by Southwest music festival.
Today the music video produced by Collin Mapp of "Pretty" by Eyes Lips Eyes will be screened at Alamo Ritz and I can't wait to go.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Birthday CD Mix Sleeves

Who doesn't love getting a custom CD mix of awesome music? Making a mix to me is  a highly personal process of choosing songs for a specific recipient. Listening to the collection of songs is more meaningful than hearing the songs individually. Together they tell a story and set a mood. 

My husband shares the same exuberance for music mixes as I and made me many mixes while we were dating. Usually I spend so much time making the mix, the presentation is usually lacking the same attention to detail. For these new mixes, we teamed up. He went through the tedious process of listening and choosing the potential songs, while I made these cd sleeves. We talked about the music and what I was putting together. Since they were birthday presents for our nieces, I added the happy birthday greetings. I would highly recommend doing this for a date. 
We really enjoyed it.

I am always down for hearing new music, so if anyone wants to trade mixes let me know.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cookin' Up Inspiration

Receiving new inspiration often happens while I do something creative unrelated to the area I am trying to be creative in. Lately cooking has been a new way for me to create something I can share with others. While I cook, I tune out every thing else and this has led to me thinking of new solutions to graphic design problems. The lesson here is that if you expose yourself to new ideas it helps keep up your creativity. You can't take out creative ideas from your brain if you aren't actively putting something in it.

With that said I just received the Bouchon cook book, as a gift so I now have new info to put in the ole noggin. I bet it will lead to more ideas in and out of my kitchen. For those unfamiliar with Bouchon Bistro, it is based on french bistros that serve a sort of family style meal in a home like atmospheres. 

The owner of French Laundry, Thomas Keller decided to open Bouchon as a more casual cozy culinary where one can be social and relax.

I'll share what I learn from my new cook book in future blog entries. In the meantime please share you favorite cook book titles in your comments. I am always looking to grow my collection.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIY Laptop Stands

A friend with a hot running laptop was just over. I thought, he needs a laptop stand. I also thought I could use some better ergonomics as well. There are a lot of folks that offer counsel on proper working environments. Such as

I wondered what I could throw together around the house. I have a few bins I could turn up side down, but I want it to look sleek as well. There are lots laptop stands out there. One I was impressed with is the iLap 14" Laptop Cooler and Stand available at MAC Pro Online. It will run you about 50 bucks though. Seems steep for a little bit of bent metal.

With a little more research I found a great DIY project on PopSci.

This stand has a great angle and is well ventilated and to my surprise is made out of a metal document holder you can find easily at an office supply store, with a few alterations you can have this awesome laptop stand.

If that ain't cheap enough for you, here are a few cheapskate versions I found at Closet Entrepreneur.

If you have more ideas or links for Laptop stands, please share.

Found: Great Texture Example in Packaging

The Fiji Water bottle is a great example of what a rich texture can do for a product design. The Figi designer printed the palm leaf graphic on the label in the back facing in so the buyer can see it through the water and it looks beautiful. This design jumped out at me yesterday because the photo is very simliar to the one I posted previously of Robbie's.

Since there has been much scrutiny over the source of many water bottle companies, Fiji tries harder to communicate with the consumer through it's package design. To learn more about that visit Sustainable is Good.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

texture arsenal

Every graphic designer shoud have a texture arsenal. That way you already have lots of textures to use when you need them. 

Texture can come from the type of paper the designer chooses. Designers also add visual textures with photographic images of objects. Today I am referring specifically to background textures that give depth to designs. They can be simulated textures that you create in photoshop or actual scans of textures you have found. 

Sometimes the right mixture of both does the trick.

These picture of leaves in Honduras taken by my husband, Robbie Petersen are great additions to my texture library.

My new goal is to build up my personal texture library and share them with my readers. In the mean time,  I’ll share some sources for some great free background textures that I found that I am sure you’ll love.

Great paper textures can be found at Design Freebies.

Beautiful wood textures are available at Vandelay.

Clay, concrete and slate  can be found at High Resolution Textures.

Enjoy, and please share your favorite freebie texture sites with me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ever hear of yarn bombing?

It is like graffiti except with yarn.

Installation at the Design Center at Philadelphia University center’s grounds as part of 
‘Lace in Translation,’’ 
Image courtesy: Kerry Polite/From The Design Center at Philadelphia University.

Yarn bombing goes by other names like, graffiti knitting, guerrilla knitting and even yarnstorming. A group of artist called Knitta began the "knit graffiti" movement in Houstan, Texas in 2005.

A very clever Natural Gas Belgium Commercial uses the yarn bomb concept to illustrate 
the softness of natural gas. The making of the video is worth a gander as well.

My latest yarn bomb find is the Warmest Euphomium. 
If you want to make your instrument a one of a kind sensation, check out the how to at instructables.