(Title inspiration: Reduxwood West)
You can find the original blog post under the name A Work in Progress (you can also find it under Technical Work on my homepage).
Since determining that my actual most fit vocation is art/creative direction (yay!), I had to update the original post for transparency and accuracy. I guess the act of doing that is responsible!
Another thing to clarify – saying ‘customized content solutions’ is just a more ambiguous way of saying art/creative direction. And, saying ‘define or refine your brand’ is my way of slowly dissecting the meaning of Digital Presence. Is it not crazy to think only half a year ago I didn’t respect my artistry (and 20+ years of it)?! INSANE!
So, without further ado…enjoy!
These are the kind of stories I love telling my daughter, Bishop. I want her to understand linearity and its purpose. So in the most basic of elements, the beginning and an end. Also, inserting subject matter that she is currently familiar with, like numbers, colours and fruits. Her stories lately start with, “One day!” as if she is saying ‘today’ with so much resolve, confidence and sobriety. She is not referring to daydreams in or of the future. It is a great mentality that I sometimes wonder (with my preposterous ability to downgrade), did she get that from me?
The answer is: Yes, she did.
Abstract – the / an / not / which village are you from
She bombed down the hill, biting her teeth into a teal blue apple. The shiny surface reflected confidence and her sobriety. She was going to win this game! But then suddenly, the mysterious sasquatch was coming. She could hear his roar and he zoomed through the trees landing victoriously onto a pile of soft snow. His green tuque made him look like a kiwi fruit. Bishop was suddenly starving, but there was no time to stop.
A team of yellow capricorns danced around the finish line, laughing and hiccuping at the sight before them. The orange judge was serious and studious. He seemed to bear more focus on his clipboard than on the race. Flipping her hair and toying with the pens behind her ears, another judge was vivacious and fixated. Her red dress was imprinted with marigold polka dots and it swayed in the warm breeze felt by all at Sunshine Village.
Village A is competitive. Always looking for the advantage. Has an alarming penchant for recognition, which bears a sense of positivity in their pursuits. Village A is not at first welcoming, but becomes comfortable if their surroundings seem to agree.
Suddenly, Chona came flying down the narrow corridor wearing a vintage, pink, one-piece snowsuit she found at Value Village precisely 10 years ago. There was no one behind her at this point, so she raised her arms proclaiming, “Funny. These bags seem heavier than they were yesterday. My stuff must have grown!” The clock was ticking down to the last few seconds, then a huge bell signalled the end of the race.
Village B is innovative. Always looking for the answer. Has an alarming penchant for reassurance, which bears a sense of positivity in their pursuits. Village B is not at first welcoming, but becomes comfortable if their surroundings seem to agree.
The champions switched outfits (because that’s what champs do when they win) and all stood boldly on the podium, waving arms, pleasing the crowds who came to watch them.
“Purple purple. The medals are purple! That is so cool!”
Just a short burst of info here. What are you drawn to? Do the colours play a significant role in your interpretation? What connections can you make with the chosen imagery attached to each hashtag?
A perfect brainstorming exercise for design newbies – make a list under each hashtag including transferable elements (actual aspects and items like a brand name or object) and attributes (descriptions and words) for each. Aim for 50 answers each, then narrow down to your top 10 answers, then again to top 3, then top 1. What conclusion can you draw from this experiment?
Always remember the acronym PRAC – Popularity, Relevance, Authority & Credibility. This will help you target your audience and ensure that your content is set up to improve your overall search engine ranking. Yes, yes…SEO is a lot more complex than a simple acronym, but sometimes starting off with something more general helps you to develop your digital marketing strategy or plan more succinctly down the road. I will have to get into this topic with greater detail in the near future!
We do what we do! Well, I do anyway…
I sometimes find myself questioning my work. Like, is it too complicated for the average reader? Does it come off as fluffy or at the opposite end of the spectrum, dense? And when my mind enters ‘the complex’, I literally have to stop what I’m thinking and revert to self-talk. I used to avoid self-talk for fear that it gave others the impression that I was crazy (my mouth moves when I’m thinking too hard), but now I use it as a gentle form of therapy, to get me back on track to believing in myself. That’s why today, when I came across the word consonance, I felt blessed and it quickly resonated with my current circumstance. Anyway, here’s a bit on consonance as it relates to working and the whole job interview process thingamajigger.
Scott Olster, Ideas Editor at LinkedIn, wrote a brief article around “the idea of business trends, perspectives, and hot topics you need to know to work smarter”. He says –
Success can easily end up feeling hollow when it’s defined and measured by other people’s standards. For our work to have lasting personal value, author Laura Gassner Otting writes that we need to focus on developing what she refers to as consonance.
Laura is a writer for Harvard Business Review and she defines consonance as –
“Consonance is not just purpose writ large (and lofty). It’s your purpose, freely and clearly defined by you, and put into action through awareness of and alignment with your life’s plan. Consonance is when what you do matches who you are (or who you want to be).”
As I enter the interview zone, I will remember consonance as another word that will help me stay on track. Thank you for the opportunity, now I have something to say – always remember, the value of the job is to you (Gassner Otting).
Do you relate to this? What is the interview process like for you? Easy? Intense? How do you prepare?
Using simple applications to turn out wicked images is fun. Sort of like the gamification of graphic design (what blogging is like to me). Gaming is portable these days, right? Here’s an interesting article on the history of gaming, maybe you can check for me!
Back to the matter at hand…
Here are 3 versions of an image I developed for a post (Start). I’ll try to share my process with you (unedited) about how it came together in a time frame of about 15 minutes.
Step 1 – Select a major topic from blog content. (the plague)
Step 2 – Decide if primary message will focus on an image or text. (text)
Step 3 – Decide on a colour palette. (complementary colours blue and orange)
Step 4 – For this image, I decided on text, so the next step was to figure out wording. Wording should be based on the blog’s content, and is usually more effective if it provides the viewer with a direct parallel or bold contrast to the primary message. (the plague)
Step 5 – Pair text with secondary element – image or text. For example, the post’s title is ‘Start’, so I looked for an image of a ‘start button’. (image)
Step 6 – Publish the featured image. Go back to the website to see if it’s effective. In most cases, the image will be cropped, so you may have to edit to ensure the desired elements you want to showcase show up in the frame. (edit to fix)
Step 7 – For this image, I didn’t like the way it was cropped. So, I asked myself – to add or remove? In this case, I decided to add another element in the centre area where visual weight was lacking. (edit for composition)
Step 8 – Again, return to your website and check to see if the image is effective. Still in this case, there was a lack of balance in the top left side corner. I decided to add a pop of colour to provide an additional element of contrast. (edit for graphic design elements)
Step 9 – Check the image on your website. If it works, you will be aesthetically pleased with its presentation or you have found a balance between image – text – colour. (satisfaction)
Step 10 – Double-check to see if there were any cropping issues, spelling or grammar mistakes. Ensure each element of the design is balanced and harmonious. And, you’re finished! (completion)
What’s your graphic design process like? Do you create your own images for your blog? If you could write 10 steps to finalizing an image for a post, what would it entail?
Editing could quite possibly be the treachery of writing! Overly edited content may tell readers, “This is not false.” On the other side, the raw construction of content is meaningful, but we should argue that the deliberate deconstruction of content to reveal a greater point of view (proper editing) more readily achieves the goals of an SEO/communications strategy – to uphold popularity, relevance, authority and credibility and to distribute a message that is transparent, accurate and responsible.
This piece is inspired by a very popular surrealist painting, Ceci n’est pas une pipe by René Magritte. Ironically, my image overloads the viewer with elaborate messages (a commentary on keywords perhaps), whereas Magritte’s painting is a basic review of signified and signifier. Here’s some additional information taken from Wikipedia –
The painting shows a pipe. Below it, Magritte painted, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe“, French for “This is not a pipe”.
The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe”, I’d have been lying! (Magritte)
Do you enjoy the process of editing? How do you know when to stop and is this action directly related to a meaningful message, because content becomes inherently closer to ‘an answer’ or ‘a reality’?