16 Questions you can’t afford NOT to ask your graphic design clients

Clients. They all know exactly what they want, don’t they?  We’ve all been there, you’re asked to create a logo to a certain style then when you present your draft it’s just not right.  You spend a further 10 hours and numerous revisions tweaking, re-drafting, and emailing back and forth to ensure you’re on the right track.

Save yourself and your client time and frustration by asking the right questions before you start.  This is not a definitive list but should give you a good starting point and a glimpse into your clients mind.  My suggestion is to take these examples and change them to suit your needs and customer base.  Don’t forget to always leave room for any other comments or ideas that your client may have.  I also use this opportunity to ask for contact details if I don’t already have them by prompting as part of the questionnaire.  If you think it would help your client, consider adding some example answers after each question – this can help to make sure you get the type of replies you’re expecting.

Be careful!

Whilst you want to gather as much information as possible, be careful not to ask too many questions as that could put off potential clients – no-one likes to spend an hour completing a questionnaire so try to ask the minimum you can to achieve the answers that you want.  Clients with established businesses will expect you to have done your own research so avoid questions that duplicate information already on their web site.

  • Full name to appear on logo
  • Slogan to appear on logo if any
  • Where will the logo be used (print, web only, signage, vehicles, buildings etc)
  • Should the logo be text only, or text with an image?
  • What does the company specialise in?
  • Do you have competitors?  If so, please name them below and provide web site links if possible
  • Who are your customers?
  • If you already have a logo please tell me what you do and don’t like about it
  • Do you have existing company colours that need to be incorporated?
  • How many colours should be used?
  • Have you seen any logos that you like the look off?
  • If your logo has an image, will the text and image ever be used separately?
  • Do you have a message or feeling that your logo should portray?
  • Describe your company in one sentence
  • Are there any interesting and unique facts about your company?
  • How many people will I be dealing with within your business and who are they?

The final question here is as important as questions about the company and the logo design itself.  If you know early on that you’ll be dealing with four people, you can work out how you will communicate.  When a number of people are involved, it’s much simpler to arrange contact via one representative to avoid any confusion.

Hopefully it’s clear why I have included each question – but if you don’t know why I’ve included a certain item let me know and I’ll provide explanations.

Anything else?

Let me know of any others I haven’t included and please remember to leave a comment if you agree/disagree with anything.  If you plan on using anything from the list, please show your appreciation with a re-tweet!

32 Logo Inspiration Sources

I’ve been through my bookmarks and compiled a number of sites that display logo galleries as a source of inspiration for those times when it just isn’t coming from anywhere or anything else.  My method of referring to these sites is to look through then leave the computer for a couple of hours (do dinner, clean the house, go for a walk etc) before returning to the project in hand.  They all help to provide colour, style, shape and concept ideas which I find useful for logo design.

Please do be careful not to duplicate anything already created, intentionally or not.

Logo Gallery

Logogallery1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Pro Blog Design – Blog Article

InspirationProBlogDesign1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logotwo

LogoTwo1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logo Faves

LogoFaves1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logospire

Logospire1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logosauce

LogoSauce1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logopond

LogoPond1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logomoose

LogoMoose1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logolog (part of  38One)

logolog 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logogala

LogoGala1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

StationeryStyle

StationeryStyle1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logotalkz

LogotalkZ 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logo From Dreams Awards

LogoFromDreamsAwards1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Brand New (a division of UnderConsideration)

BrandNew1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logo Design Love

LogoDesignLove1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

LogoBlog – Blog Article

LogoDesignBlog inspiration1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

LogoGalleria

Logo Galleria1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Lo8os

lo8os1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logofi

Logofi1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Dzineblog – Blog Article

DzineBlog1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

DeviantART

DeviantART1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Design Dosage

Design Dosage1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Smashing Magazine – Blog  Article

SmashingMagazine inspiration1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Carbonmade

Carbonmade1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Brands of the World

BrandsoftheWorld1 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Design Guide

DesignGuide 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Lemonflip

LemonFlip 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Logo Lounge

LogoLounge 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

The Design Inspiration

DesignInspiration 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

The Identity Archives Project

IdentityArchivesProject 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Creattica

Creattica 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Web and Designers Inspiration – Blog Article

WebanddesignersInspiration 300x300 32 Logo Inspiration Sources

Thanks to Hilario for his blog article ‘New must have plugin for Firefox: Pixlr Grabber’ which helped with this article.

If you can think of any that I haven’t listed please let me know and I’ll add them.

New: Web Designers – Outsource Your Graphic Design

Outsource Your Graphic Design

I am delighted to announce that I now offer outsourcing services.

You’re a fantastic web designer, your latest site looks great, you made it compatible with every standard out there, it’s all perfect…except for one thing.  That dodgy looking logo in the top left hand corner of your beautiful page.  Sure it does the job – but is it really what your client is looking for?  A bad logo can let even the best designed website down.  Well designed and attractive logos on your web sites can also improve the appearance of your portfolio when presenting  your past work to a potential client.

Learn more about outsourcing to VictoriaAnn Design

10 Premium Artsy WordPress Themes

At the end of January I posted 15 free wordpress themes that all had quite an artistic style and appearance.  Now I’m following up on that by sharing 10 premium themes that I’ve discovered.  Again, I haven’t tested each design so can’t comment on functionality/usability.

OnTheGo

OnTheGoTheme 250x250 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Viso

viso e1265799465590 250x186 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Antisocial

antisocial e1265799778253 250x178 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Tribal

tribal e1265924364439 250x228 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Elements

elements e1265967696311 197x250 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Deviant

Deviant 250x250 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Minifolio

minifolio e1265968500298 250x171 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Simplix

Simplix e1265968916184 250x149 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Flashlog

Flashlog e1265969096875 250x147 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

Slurpie

Slurpie e1265969289255 250x156 10 Premium Artsy Wordpress Themes

Details
Demo

New EU Organic Products Logo Announced. Love or Hate it?

Some Background

Today saw the unveiling of the new EU organic products logo, chosen from entrants to a design competition.  The competition was open to students from all 27 EU Member States.  Entrants submitted designs to http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/logo/competition/competition_en.htm which were eventually narrowed down to three final designs to be voted for online.

The logo will be introduced to all pre-packed organic products from July 2010 and displaying the logo will be compulsary.  The logo will show consumers that the product has gained a specific quality level to meet EU standards throughout the growing, manufacturing and packaging processes.

The competition was open for two months and received approximately 130,000 votes, the winning design by Dusan Milenkovic, a student from Germany, receiving a huge 63% of all votes.

The other two finalists:

eu2 250x250 New EU Organic Products Logo Announced. Love or Hate it?

eu3 e1265711759795 93x250 New EU Organic Products Logo Announced. Love or Hate it?

My Thoughts

Now, out of the three logos in the shortlist I can see why the winner received the voting majority.  There are clean lines and it’s simple – two great logo traits.  However, there’s something that is just bothering me about this logo, I Just…don’t like it.

Sure it’s a great concept and does manage to represent both the Euro  stars and the leaf but is it really that good?  For a logo to be present on multiple product lines it needs to be extremely scalable.  When this logo is scaled down the stars are unidentifiable, they just look like a series of dots.  The details on the logo is too small in my opinion and that’s not all that bothers me.  I even find myself grimacing at the shape of the stars.  I can see that the designer outlined a leaf shape with stars and then warped them to create the effect but it just looks messy and amateurish.  As if that isn’t enough, the overall shape seems to be a little…wrong.  The leaf happily curves round to the left whilst the middle part that comes from the leaf stem curves round to the right.

Perhaps I’m being unreasonable here and over critical.  Unfortunately I wasn’t aware of this competition until today, and would have liked to see the other entries for comparison but these have now been removed from the competition web site.

So am I being over critical?  I’d be interested to see why this is a deserving logo from those who disagree with me.

Convert your logo to vector

Do you…

  • Have a logo designed in Photoshop or any other non-vector software?

  • Find problems like blurred and low quality logos when printing?

  • Need to use your logo for large printed items such as exhibition stands, banners or billboards?

  • Want to avoid a complete logo re-design?

If yes, then you would benefit from having your current logo converted to vector format.

Read more

19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

Some of you may have seen these in an email already but I wanted to share these images for those who haven’t yet seen them.  I was stunned by the quality and uniqueness of the work, all of which are creations of Guido Daniele, an expert body painter from Italy.  I urge you to take a look at his site and see samples of his other work.  Some of these hand paintings took up to 10 hours to complete – that’s dedication!

image00111 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0191919 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0181818 403x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0171717 439x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0161616 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0141414 204x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0131313 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0121212 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0111111 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image0101010 381x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00999 204x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00888 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00777 199x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00666 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00555 211x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00444 416x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00333 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

image00222 440x300 19 Amazing Hand Art Paintings

You know you’re a graphic designer when…

Ok time for a small geekiness part of me to come out of hiding!  This isn’t mine, it was taken from a post on a forum over at estetica design forum but I just had to copy and share it here.  I just love ‘You’re up ’til 5am because you came up with the best idea ever while brushing your teeth‘ and ‘you need someone else to point out that you’re sitting in a room in front of the computer with all the lights off’ because they are SO true!

They made me laugh – let me know which ones relate to you or which just made you chuckle!

  • You have bags under your eyes so big you’d have to check them in at the Airport
  • You watch the superbowl just for the commercials
  • You can spot bad typography from 100 yds away
  • You are pro-facebook because 95% of the myspace accounts burn your retinas
  • You can name more than 200 fonts in under five minutes
  • You are completely immune to subliminal advertising
  • You look upon a well-designed project with either sympathy OR extreme jealousy
  • Your hand is permanently stuck in the shape of a mouse
  • You tell stories of exacto-knife inflicted wounds with grizzled sort of pride
  • You practically take caffeine intravenously
  • You have an appreciation for everything unique
  • You’ve been spending three days non-stop on a project and it still looks like shit. You find yourself overcome by Deathlust.
  • “You find your pulse increase at the sight of a lovely ligature, glasses steam up when an unusually elegant arm, leg, or tail comes in view, and a well-kerned paragraph is apt to make you break into a sweat with excitement.”
  • “You know you’re a Graphic Designer when… you buy a CD or DVD for the artwork, even if you have no idea what the actual music or film is like”.
  • (even worse, you don’t actually watch or listen to it, just stare at it for hours and hug it in adoration)
  • “You look at the clock and see it’s about midnight and think ‘I’ll go to bed now’… and you actually go to bed about 2-3am”.
  • “You need someone else to point out that you’re sitting in a room in front of the computer with all the lights off, and haven’t noticed”
  • “…when you know what “kerning” is and you really, really like it.”
  • “… when you wear two [ke] [rn] pins on your bag, and only you know what the mean. To others its probably a band of sorts..”
  • Forget the boy-wonder and the man of steel; your heroes have names like ‘Tibor Kalman’, ‘Stefan Sagmeister’, ‘Paul Rand’, and ‘Paula Scher’.
  • You don’t wear black to look cool, you wear it to hide the gauche.
  • You have a thing for chairs. You don’t know why.
  • You giggle whenever you use the colors F0CCED, EFF0FF and 44DDDD
  • You’re in the sun and you look around for a Drop Shadow to sit under.
  • You give your relatives a lecture about color spaces and profiles when you email them your vacation photos.
  • Seeing someone use Lens Flare or Comic Sans adversely affects your blood-pressure
  • You maintain a grid system for your refrigerator magnets.
  • You organize your CD collection according to the Pantone chart.
  • You sit at work for eight hours straight just looking at your monitor, waiting for a spark of inspiration that doesn’t come.
  • You’re up ’til 5am because you came up with the best idea ever while brushing your teeth.
  • The hottest dream you ever had was “Trace contour… Find Edges… Pinch… Extrude… Smudge Stick… Motion Blur…. Sprayed Strokes…”
  • You know Lorem Ipsum by heart.
  • Your kid knows Lorem Ipsum by heart.
  • The preschool teacher complains your child won’t color inside or outside the lines – only indicate colors on a separate sheet.
  • Activating your entire font collection makes your computer crash
  • You deliberately butcher your perfectly cross browser compatible site in IE by placing a “Too Cool for IE” banner on it.
  • You prefer a Layer Style of 50% Opacity (or less) on your wife’s Satin.
  • You spend $200 on a font for your personal website because “it’s the only one where the lower-case g is just right…”
  • Looking at a menu make you go “hmmm, ITC Baskerville italic” rather than “mmmm, lunch!”
  • And when you finally order, you go for Layer Based Slices with Grain Texture…
  • You use words about fonts you dislike that other normal people reserve for fascist dictators and serial killers.
  • Apple+Z is the first thing that goes through your mind if you drop and break something.
  • You refer to colleagues as Strict, Transitional, Loose and the Future Unemployed.
  • You refer to your privates as “the Magic Wand”.
  • You know that rivers are more than just water.
  • Your best friends are all employees at the local print shop
  • The only people who seem to know what you do for a living are other Graphic Designers (ex: Graphic Design? What’s that? You’ll never be able to make a living being an artist!)
  • Kerning and leading on your shopping list actually matters to you, and you don’t see a problem with that.
  • Several South American economies suffer noticeably any time you try to give up coffee, or even cut your consumption of it by half.
  • You know that “bleeding” doesn’t hurt.
  • when your significant other/ friends have threatened to never speak to you again if you point out one more font to them.
  • when you know the difference between fuchsia, magenta, and maroon.
  • If you could go back in time you wouldn’t go back to see the rise and fall of civilizations, you’d go back in time to destroy comic sans and papyrus.
  • When deciding on the right crop doesn’t involve a choice between corn or wheat.
  • You’ve considered naming your children things like ‘Kern’, ‘Pica’, ‘Bézier’, and ‘Serif’.
  • When you think watching “Helvetica” is the best thing to hit DVD, and even worse, when you know that the name Helvetica was derived from the Latin word for Switzerland and that it was originally called Neue Haas Grotesk.
  • When you can’t remember the word “fog” and instead refer to it as the “Gaussian Blur.”
  • When you write essays, papers, and letters with InDesign.
  • When the best use for papyrus you’ve seen was on toilet paper.
  • You look forward to seeing PMS
  • Printing your wedding invitations cost more than the dress, engagement ring and honeymoon combined
  • Your favourite scene in American Psycho is where they discuss business cards
  • You test the stock and weight of EVERY piece of paper you come across
  • You always travel with your X-Acto kit
  • Your idea of a hot night is joining the serifs of two Baskerville L’s
  • When your mousemat is also your placemat
  • You’ve named your fish Gill Sans
  • You physically can’t get a Tattoo containing wording, for fear of the kerning being incorrect, or the characters being just that little bit different.
  • You cringe when text formats on a web page such that it has widows EVERYWHERE.

Fixing RSS Feed Error in WordPress (following an upgrade?)

You may have noticed that over the last week or so I’ve been having problems with my rss feed.  This occurred at the same time I upgraded to WordPress 2.9.1.

I was getting various errors but mainly the ‘Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at line…’ error.  I tried everything from removing spaces in php files to reinstalling feedburner plugins.  Still, nothing seemed to work.

Today I thought I’d test something else.  I went to my WordPress dashboard settings, clicked permalinks and hit save.  The default option was already selected.  That was it – and for some reason my feeds are working again.

I don’t know why it went wrong or how that helped exactly as I’m no WordPress expert but thought I’d share my experience in case anybody has encountered the same issues.

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