The Graphic Design Thread UPDATE: 1st post filled with info. 2nd with NTer's portfolios.

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It's important for people to realize the difference between different types of designers - too. We can all sorta get grouped together when the actual things we do are very different.

Job tip, Growing/emerging field for those interested in design - but don't necessarily need to be visual designers - UX (user experience design). Its tough finding good ones right now.
 
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And not even the type of designers but the ones that get paid better then others too. I know people want to do this for the love but others want to make it a business. The best thing to do is just be a jack of all trades. Learn print, web, coding, animation, etc. I was a print major (and was horrible at it) and I wish I at least learned how to make websites. Plus print as a medium isn't what it used to be. Newspapers are dying, mags are getting thinner and even the quality of the actually paper for (say) mags are even cheaper. Web design obviously is where the money is just because of designers constantly updated sites but print is still essential for client's needs. Learn all codes and learn the current ones. Flash is dying and HTML 5 and CSS is becoming more normal. Learn how to make mobile sites, apps.... learn it all.
 
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Motion is a HUGE thing right now in the field of design. UI/UX designers are needed just as bad.

Sadly, Fong is right. Traditional print design is dying. Even in the advertising industry "print" is only about 37% of media nowadays in comparison to almost 80% 15-20 years ago.

Environmental and wayfinding design is growing as well. Just know how to see how design affects the 3D world and not just a flat 2D service.
 
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Even though this thread is more geared toward Graphic Designers, I'll still be taking away some sound advice from here. I'm starting Industrial design next fall and I'm going to try to minor in computer science. I've also started investing in a wacom tablet and will start teaching myself 3D character design and also working on my own comics this summer since I want to be a Video Game Designer and a Graphic Novelist. Thanks guys 
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Well, actually I would say thats good when starting out, and for the first few years after graduating college. At that point you probably don't want to specialize in one area - and it makes sense because you won't have enough experience to say you're a specialist. Generalists are good but at some point - when you do too many different things, you aren't focused and you aren't GREAT at one thing. If you are in the right company, designers design, developers code, and the two don't need to mix. Even better companies have its own research and ux department. You should be aware of existing and upcoming technologies and how things actually work, but you don't necessarily have to be the one that does it all. There's this thing called T-shaped people, where you're strong in one area, but pretty aware across the board of other things as well. That is helpful. It shows you're a well rounded person. Its awesome to be curious. But I don't want people to think they have to know 10 different facets of design. To really last in the industry, you need to learn to solve problems and be a great thinker. Anyone can learn tools. Explore, find what you're good at, and concentrate on that area.

It also depends on where your career arc is. If you're trying to be a one man studio, then yes you either need to do everything yourself or hire freelancers to help where you're weak at. But, there are only so many hours, so many years, that one can dedicate themself to - and more often than not we're victims of distractions that aren't necessary. And if you're trying to get in a company - its more often about being the right fit, not the level of talent. The company is building a team - don't be mad if you get passed up, just make sure your portfolio reflects the job application. And also make sure your portfolio represents the work you WANT to do. Too often people throw in things just to give it extra weight or show off other parts of them - like I said earlier, its a distraction.

Also, for those curious
http://www.coroflot.com/designsalaryguide
 
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Well, actually I would say thats good when starting out, and for the first few years after graduating college. At that point you probably don't want to specialize in one area - and it makes sense because you won't have enough experience to say you're a specialist. Generalists are good but at some point - when you do too many different things, you aren't focused and you aren't GREAT at one thing. If you are in the right company, designers design, developers code, and the two don't need to mix. Even better companies have its own research and ux department. You should be aware of existing and upcoming technologies and how things actually work, but you don't necessarily have to be the one that does it all. There's this thing called T-shaped people, where you're strong in one area, but pretty aware across the board of other things as well. That is helpful. It shows you're a well rounded person. Its awesome to be curious. But I don't want people to think they have to know 10 different facets of design. To really last in the industry, you need to learn to solve problems and be a great thinker. Anyone can learn tools. Explore, find what you're good at, and concentrate on that area.

It also depends on where your career arc is. If you're trying to be a one man studio, then yes you either need to do everything yourself or hire freelancers to help where you're weak at. But, there are only so many hours, so many years, that one can dedicate themself to - and more often than not we're victims of distractions that aren't necessary. And if you're trying to get in a company - its more often about being the right fit, not the level of talent. The company is building a team - don't be mad if you get passed up, just make sure your portfolio reflects the job application. And also make sure your portfolio represents the work you WANT to do. Too often people throw in things just to give it extra weight or show off other parts of them - like I said earlier, its a distraction.

Also, for those curious
http://www.coroflot.com/designsalaryguide
Not trying to be a one man studio at all! But I do know exactly what I want to do and who I want to work for after gaining some experience but I also know (through research in the field), I'm not going to be hired directly into the field I want to go in (that being a concept artist for a video game company.) As a video game designer, you actually do have to be knowledgeable (not an expert) at everything, kind of like a jack of all trades because, chances are, you're not going directly into what you want to do. Most people in the video game industry start off as qa tester and to do that you have to know a bit of programming, drawing/technical skills won't help here. 

I wouldn't focus on things like programming because that's not what I have a passion for but I definitely want to be able to say I have those skills where as others who want to be concept artist probably don't.  But for the most part, I'm working on my sketching, character design, and 3D modeling since that is what concept artist are about. 
 
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Ive always had a knack for graphic design, went to school for it, but kinda fell off of it for a while. Kinda weird how I got back into it.

About 3 - 4 year ago, I had jailbroke my iPhone and was putting different types of icons on it, at the time I had just bought my first Android phone but there was no designers out there that made cool icons like the iPhone. The iPhone graphic designers are a whole different beast, just great talent. I wanted some new Android specific icons that I requested from the iPhone guys, and the designers behind them didn't want to make any OR they had a bunch of NFR icons. So I said, f it, ill make my own. Who would of thought, 4 icon packs later, and now Im hit up pretty often for freelance stuff, which as moved to more than just icons, now website designs, logos, business cards, pretty damn cool. I even signed a contract with google to use and design upcoming icons / ux stuff for apps.

I do want to move more into actual programming though, as of right now, I have moved more into android app developer and have made a few - personalize / theme apps, but I want to do bigger - better projects. I got a lot more to learn.
 
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Graphic design student checking in. Currently working on my Associates in GD before I go off to university for engineering. Been dabbling in GD since about 2008. Started with sneaker Photoshops. Now I do album artwork (shoutout to Slim K, Chris Steez, EDF, etc.) for NTers/other folks. Trying to work on a portfolio on my wordpress. Just have to find the time. Did a little movie poster for Fast & Furious 6 for a class project last week. Will post up tomorrow + what it looks like printed and mounted. My online portfolio is pretty stale right now I admit. Mostly quick cover arts or sneaker things. Trying to expand and venture into other aspects of design. Any tips? Here it is: http://www.thebrainstormcollection.wordpress.com
 
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Ive always had a knack for graphic design, went to school for it, but kinda fell off of it for a while. Kinda weird how I got back into it.

About 3 - 4 year ago, I had jailbroke my iPhone and was putting different types of icons on it, at the time I had just bought my first Android phone but there was no designers out there that made cool icons like the iPhone. The iPhone graphic designers are a whole different beast, just great talent. I wanted some new Android specific icons that I requested from the iPhone guys, and the designers behind them didn't want to make any OR they had a bunch of NFR icons. So I said, f it, ill make my own. Who would of thought, 4 icon packs later, and now Im hit up pretty often for freelance stuff, which as moved to more than just icons, now website designs, logos, business cards, pretty damn cool. I even signed a contract with google to use and design upcoming icons / ux stuff for apps.

I do want to move more into actual programming though, as of right now, I have moved more into android app developer and have made a few - personalize / theme apps, but I want to do bigger - better projects. I got a lot more to learn.

Did you use your previous experience to make your icons or just tutorials online? Did you use PS?
 
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Ive always had a knack for graphic design, went to school for it, but kinda fell off of it for a while. Kinda weird how I got back into it.

About 3 - 4 year ago, I had jailbroke my iPhone and was putting different types of icons on it, at the time I had just bought my first Android phone but there was no designers out there that made cool icons like the iPhone. The iPhone graphic designers are a whole different beast, just great talent. I wanted some new Android specific icons that I requested from the iPhone guys, and the designers behind them didn't want to make any OR they had a bunch of NFR icons. So I said, f it, ill make my own. Who would of thought, 4 icon packs later, and now Im hit up pretty often for freelance stuff, which as moved to more than just icons, now website designs, logos, business cards, pretty damn cool. I even signed a contract with google to use and design upcoming icons / ux stuff for apps.

I do want to move more into actual programming though, as of right now, I have moved more into android app developer and have made a few - personalize / theme apps, but I want to do bigger - better projects. I got a lot more to learn.

Did you use your previous experience to make your icons or just tutorials online? Did you use PS?
Yup, I bought CS4. No previous icon experience or tutorials. Just determination, motivation and A LOT of free time.

Here is my first icon pack (2010)

8c0dd0076afcbced31b6d3fcb2be6cbf-d34uoq9.png


My latest (WIP) (2013)

theseus_hd_preview_one_by_raadius-d5kzf7c.png


I've came a long way, but I still feel I have a long way to go as Im never really satisfied with what I create :frown:
All smartphone icons are pixel art right Boost?
Correct.
 
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So funny seeing app icons being a form of graphic art now. In 2005 when I was in school, there was no such thing. Hell, even CSS for blogs was hardly even studied. Crazy how you have to roll with the times. Nice job up there on those renders. I seen some youtube timelapses of some icons being mad and it looks like a lot of work.

Oh....here's the vid:

 
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Dude, your UI/UX look is on point.

Being a bit nit picky - but since the two are often paired together, its important for people to know the difference. Not saying you don't know the difference, I just know there are alot of people who just automatically think they're the same.

This poster helps a bit http://www.uxisnotui.com/

@raadius - nice icon work, been getting better over the past few years. you gonna be at the la summit/dodger game in june?

I respect icon work - I personally couldn't invest myself in that, takes alot of pixel perfection into making great icons.
 
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I think talking about contracts and deadlines is something to bring up that will be good for the people on here that would do freelance work and what not. I can't personally shed any light but maybe others can.

For people that have the experience with it, what is your normal turn around with your work? Month for logo? Is it longer for websites? Also can you breakdown the timeline of how things are processed?

Like for example, I would think a project would be similar to this, give or take.

- Talk with client to get a feel of what they want and their ideas.
- Bring back sketches and mock ups with also a contract breaking down the price and due dates. Client sheds more of their thoughts to see if they are on the same track.
On a sub note, do clients pay half now and half later?
- Week later, bring back rough draft of product with a more finalized render. This could be color print outs, unfinished web pages, etc.
- Week later bring final product to client with them giving final payment and signing off on the contract stating this is finished.

Also can people talk about their personal contracts? Like what do they consist of to certain clauses to have on there so you don't get into some sort of pickle with clients asking you for more work than you are getting paid for. Again I just think this is good for people to know. I know some designers work hourly and literally have a clock they click to count it all. What are your hourly rates?
 
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Truth.

This business is nothing but hustle. To be in this industry you need to keep working hard and wanting to make yourself better. You have to put up with the long days, longer nights, screaming creative directors, etc.

You also have to promote yourself like a boss. A website and/or a behance isn't enough. Write art blogs, distribute them to bigger art blog sites, join online design comps (like www.thetypefight.com) so that people can see your work. Because it's most likely that someone can do the same thing you can do (maybe even better) but if your name is more common household, people will go to you first.

Also, this is pretty common sense, but NEVER burn a bridge. Keep any kind of conflict very business and very professional. The creative world is smaller than people think. So, if you screw over someone in LA, they might know someone in the company in NY you're applying for and they'll get you denied that job. I've seen it happen to people and those people are scrimping by through semi-bad mom and pop shops because they've been blacklisted in a way.

Co-sign. Having been in the Ad Industry for about 2 years, I've realized you have to be composed and avoid wearing your attitude on your sleeve. It is not for most and being a late 80s kid, I've seen the majority of my peers around my age feel entitled often forgetting the value of hard work and self-branding. People are always watching.

Every now I watch that clip of John Jay. Such an inspiring guy. Even Jeff Staple has him as one.

presequel and Fongstarr, good to see you guys chime in. Your guys' advice was on point in the last thread that died. Guess not too many people in design on NT?

OneTrueSoul, that's pretty dope man. I see the links in your signature :tongue: Do you mind if I ask if you're getting paid? I came across the wk12 two years ago, but my portfolio is still relatively weak so I opted to move and go back to school in NYC.
 
1,462
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I think talking about contracts and deadlines is something to bring up that will be good for the people on here that would do freelance work and what not. I can't personally shed any light but maybe others can.

For people that have the experience with it, what is your normal turn around with your work? Month for logo? Is it longer for websites? Also can you breakdown the timeline of how things are processed?

Like for example, I would think a project would be similar to this, give or take.

- Talk with client to get a feel of what they want and their ideas.
- Bring back sketches and mock ups with also a contract breaking down the price and due dates. Client sheds more of their thoughts to see if they are on the same track.
On a sub note, do clients pay half now and half later?
- Week later, bring back rough draft of product with a more finalized render. This could be color print outs, unfinished web pages, etc.
- Week later bring final product to client with them giving final payment and signing off on the contract stating this is finished.

Also can people talk about their personal contracts? Like what do they consist of to certain clauses to have on there so you don't get into some sort of pickle with clients asking you for more work than you are getting paid for. Again I just think this is good for people to know. I know some designers work hourly and literally have a clock they click to count it all. What are your hourly rates?

I'm doing UX work for a friend's site right now. Technically, I'm looking at this project with me as a Hybrid creative/project manager as I'm only responsible for delivering the wireframes (OmniGraffle), but then help my friend work with the art director and dev for meeting purposes.

I asked my friend to break up the payments:
- one at the signing of scope of work (I suggested that all the pre-field meetings, research, initial wires, etc. be rolled in)
- another instalment when I give back updated wires after dev and art design have provided their feedback
- third, when my wires have been signed-off

I told him it would take 40 hours to do my thing, but the delivery would be stretched out to a month because of our respective day-time responsibilities. Because it's my friend and it's on top of my day-job, I make sure to check up on him once a week.

Would appreciate your thoughts on the process guys.
 
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onlyXXVIII

formerly onlyxvbuthaveallxix
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I think talking about contracts and deadlines is something to bring up that will be good for the people on here that would do freelance work and what not. I can't personally shed any light but maybe others can.

For people that have the experience with it, what is your normal turn around with your work? Month for logo? Is it longer for websites? Also can you breakdown the timeline of how things are processed?

Like for example, I would think a project would be similar to this, give or take.

- Talk with client to get a feel of what they want and their ideas.
- Bring back sketches and mock ups with also a contract breaking down the price and due dates. Client sheds more of their thoughts to see if they are on the same track.
On a sub note, do clients pay half now and half later?
- Week later, bring back rough draft of product with a more finalized render. This could be color print outs, unfinished web pages, etc.
- Week later bring final product to client with them giving final payment and signing off on the contract stating this is finished.

Also can people talk about their personal contracts? Like what do they consist of to certain clauses to have on there so you don't get into some sort of pickle with clients asking you for more work than you are getting paid for. Again I just think this is good for people to know. I know some designers work hourly and literally have a clock they click to count it all. What are your hourly rates?
When I usually do freelance, it goes like this:

- The initial meeting would entail the general idea behind the concept, I like to ask a lot of questions pertaining to background info, history, and pet peeves.
- If the client has an idea of what they want, great. If not, I would soak up all the info they can give me and translate that to about 4-5 rough comps. I'm talking like sketches, nothing serious. I see it as the skeleton, just an outline to work off of. Each one would be a different vibe, different direction.
- The client would choose one or two, and I would flesh those out to maybe 3-4 more comps each.
- So now the client would have 8-10 comps, two different ideas. They would narrow the selection to maybe 1-2 comps, and I would further develop those.
- After those, I've gone through about three rounds of revisions, so the fourth would be to finally pick one single idea, and refine from there. This is where they would make all the necessary changes to make it to the final product. This can be the most lengthy phase in the process, as some clients are very picky. I don't blame them, it's the nature of the beast.

Turnaround time varies obviously, but a logo should not take a month. I would average that I could probably get a logo out in a week, or two, max. A website would take a few weeks, no more than a month.

As far as personal contracts, I like to just charge flat rates for projects, half now, half later. I've had too many bad experiences with clients, so I drew up formal contracts and what-not, just in case things go south.
 
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^ It really depends on the scale of client. Maybe for an individual or small client where you work 1 on 1 with them and constantly in communication, you can finish a logo in a week. In a design agency, you'll spend weeks alone just sketching, concepting, brainstorming the language of branding behind the logo. No way does it only take a week in that scenario - it can takes months to fully form a complete strategy. But if you're only responsible for executing the form of something and not thinking the whole branding out, then thats something else. I typically work with larger clients so I know things never happen as fast as you think they should, mostly because of the series of approvals and people you have to work through to sell on an idea.

Same with websites. Yes, you can build a site in a week, or a month - but something that requires more weight and thinking to it, can take a few months. Usually because more than one person is involved. If its just some 5 page site then yes, those are relatively quick. I'm talking about large campaigns, full out services, and ecommerce experiences.

Typical UX process for a new product, though some areas have to be flexible. I don't believe in a single process across the board - you need to adjust. Some people believe in one process for all, and it can work too.

- Vision statement
- Research competitors/similar apps
- Conduct user research/interviews, Affinity Diagram research, Create personas
- Competitive analysis
- Mental model, List all user tasks, Card sort, Taxonomy
- Create feature list/matrix
- Create user/site flows
- Sketch/wireframe major level screens, create prototypes, present a few options
- Usability test prototype with various stakeholders
- Update wireframes/prototype based on results, present revised option(s)
- 2nd usability test with stakeholders/field
- Final revisions (hopefully, if not, repeat last few steps)
- Create deck with annotations for handoff to development (very important)
- Start visual designs

Notice all of that happens before you do any sort of design that the user would see. I didn't even get into that part. When a client asks, how long something is going to take, I run them through a few scenarios, because in most instances, I won't be the bottleneck. And when executed correctly, the client will see the process and how it works, why it works, and why you're good at what you do. I also stress the process rather than jumping ahead steps, say directly to wireframes or to visual designs - because alot of back and forth could possibly be saved when you work out with the stakeholders during the process exactly what their needs are, not just what they think they are.

And tip for freelancers, you should all have an LLC for your own protection. Always get paid - don't do work you don't want to do, and don't work for free, ever.
 
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Typical UX process for a new product, though some areas have to be flexible. I don't believe in a single process across the board - you need to adjust. Some people believe in one process for all, and it can work too.

- Vision statement
- Research competitors/similar apps
- Conduct user research/interviews, Affinity Diagram research, Create personas
- Competitive analysis
- Mental model, List all user tasks, Card sort, Taxonomy
- Create feature list/matrix
- Create user/site flows
- Sketch/wireframe major level screens, create prototypes, present a few options

- Usability test prototype with various stakeholders
- Update wireframes/prototype based on results, present revised option(s)
- 2nd usability test with stakeholders/field
- Final revisions (hopefully, if not, repeat last few steps)
- Create deck with annotations for handoff to development (very important)
- Start visual designs

Notice all of that happens before you do any sort of design that the user would see. I didn't even get into that part. When a client asks, how long something is going to take, I run them through a few scenarios, because in most instances, I won't be the bottleneck. And when executed correctly, the client will see the process and how it works, why it works, and why you're good at what you do. I also stress the process rather than jumping ahead steps, say directly to wireframes or to visual designs - because alot of back and forth could possibly be saved when you work out with the stakeholders during the process exactly what their needs are, not just what they think they are.

And tip for freelancers, you should all have an LLC for your own protection. Always get paid - don't do work you don't want to do, and don't work for free, ever.

Probably my favourite part of designing, especially when you solve a user-flow or journey map. :pimp:
 
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^^^^^Yes. If there is one thing I remember from school, the key to design is research in solving a problem. Design is not art by any form. It is a form or function in solving a problem. Example: Client needs logo. You as a designer is going to solve their issue in making a new logo that fits their needs. It can be as simple as that but everything has to make sense and you don't just "color that logo blue cause its cool" just for the heck of it. There is so much too it with color theories, font treatments, layout placement, the ease of scrolling through a website, etc. I thought a weeks time was way short too. I've also heard a month is about right but mind you that you will be handling other jobs as well





Some good stuff in here. You graphic heads should really take note. They don't really teach you this stuff at school.
 
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