the golden ratio


The golden ratio is a design standard used by artists, designed by nature, and engrained into the human mind as an aesthetic standard for beauty.

I first learned about this in art school back in 1988 at the Cleveland Institute for art as a budding freshman. My perspective and interest in it has evolved since settling into my career. I see a lot of good design using it, and a LOT of bad design defying it. Usually out of ignorance or poor taste. Most artist that have this engrained deep into their psyche don’t even need to consciously think about it. It is largely based on some science we know as the eye’s resting points. It is no mistake that a logo or ID lies at the bottom right or left quarter of a page. Theres more to it, but thats just a fraction of how artist use it in conjunction with striking imagery. Next time you need a designer to confidently handle your project, know that if you pick the right one…they know more than how to just draw a pretty picture; )

blog activity to stir again


Now that the Summertime slowdown in the oppressive heat of the American Southwest is in full swing, I thought it ample time to pick up the blog again . I still anticipate posting helpful advice and resolve to do less boasting about the clients and work, so please subscribe… and be one of the first to follow the next big sensation in design blogs ; )

I will also be refreshing the website and expanding services and expertise in the back end of development thanks to my new and amazing recruits.

Please enjoy this random and unrelated image of a Di Suvero photo I snapped in SF.

more later,

Ebay logo redesign


I am going to have to weigh in on this one. Though the re-design is alright, the change is not a good one in my opinion. Ebay has lost almost all connotation and branding with the new contemporary and boring font.  I mean, an overhaul is fine, but why did they go with such a common font?  At least they didn’t change the colors.  I understand the argument that came from the top was one of a new, successful, and global feel. In their minds they’ve out-grown the whimsical adolescent start-up look, and now they want to graduate. However, one can argue conversely that a broad and matured online demographic may no longer view them as a value-driven marketplace, but instead another big business cog in corporate America.  And really, was the old logo holding back any business? and if so what demographic represents that? I would have like to have been at that board meeting, because i think the change was tailored to investors for grooming purposes.  Grooming for big business.

The new logo is fine by design, but I were given the choice of the two, I would have picked the old one on artistic merit.  I would have just redesigned the header and website.  I will continue to use Ebay, so does that mean that I just negated my own argument; )

3 Crucial Steps to take before Choosing a Graphic or Web Designer


Once in high school I made paper dice and wrote”A” through “F” and “true” and “false” on their sides, to take an entire test.  I remember scoring a C+.  Slightly better odds than a rebellious sophomore deserves.  And yet people seem to take a similar approach when making important business decisions, such as choosing and working with a designer.

So, you’re thinking, “I need a web presence, and a web site, but I don’t know where to start”.  So, you make a pair of paper dice.  On one side, perhaps the name a nephew who just got out of art school. On another, your sister’s former roommate’s dog sitter’s brother. Throw away the dice.  If you don’t have a reliable referral, obviously the best place to start is the internet.  Subsequently, doing your due diligence, you check references, etc.  (maybe fodder for another blog) and narrow it down to a few impressive portfolios and price ranges.  Once poised to make a decision, there are 3 cruical steps you should to make before hiring that designer.  Addressing the following steps prior will not only make the process easier, but it will yield the best performance and work out of your designer resulting in a win-win situation.  Here are a few of my tips for a smooth ride:

1. Do your homework. You can’t start a business or even get a business loan without a clear business plan, why approach any facet of the business differently? When building a house, the paint is only as good as the drywall, which is as only good as the framing, which is only as good as the contractor.  Just the same, a designer is only as good as the research, ideas, and content you give him.  Garbage in garbage out.  If uncertain, hire a consultant and trust their direction.  Just because you have an opinion on art, politics, or whats wrong with the kitchen sink doesn’t make you an authority (artist, politician, or plumber).  Right?  .  So prepare, do your homework, and be ready to delagate.

2. Have your vision defined, but open to refining.  You can’t do it all. Tap your resources and delegate!  Trust your instincts, but also trust your hired talent to do their job.  Especially if you made the first and second crucial steps.  Your happiness is not a designer’s ultimate goal, it’s your success.  Coming to the table with disorganized thoughts, abstract ideas, and a lack of content will only cost you more money and delays with the project.  Additionally you could create a tension and discourse with the people involved.  You can control the energy of the project right off the bat by being organized

3. Accept what you need, not what you want, as a measure of good course.  Assuming you’ve followed through, organized and presented everything your (excellent) designer needs, trust the final product and service your designer produces. Designers work a creative process in a business climate, so refrain from scrutinizing their process, or even asking about it.  No one has to reveal their processes anyway.  Note your initial impression, but live with it before discussing revisions.  A designers name is on their work.  Nine times out of ten, they will not hand over junk.  Be VERY wary of accepting opinions of friends, family, and other non-professionals.  Design by committee is a bad idea 90% of the time.  The true measure will be in your numbers… not whether you “love” that shade of red.  Art is NOT subjective, only tastes are.  Your tastes may NOT represent your own demographic!

Essentially, a good designer can play nice with good writers, programmers, marketing firms, and sensible clients.  Good sense and trust will go a long way if you make the right decisions and follow these simple steps when amassing a team of professionals.

Design on a dime












Not only a true in life, but a sensible approach and mantra to design!

Less is more is also a sure bet that you won’t confound your audience.  Whistles and bells are great to show off a technology, but it won’t sell a loaf of bread.  There is a lot of rules, psychology, data, and science to building an effective business and website.  Almost as many experts as there is on the subject. Always trust your first gut reaction (there’s a science to the reason we use viscera for decision making:)  It’s my personal belief that life is complicated enough, to have to weed through a plethera of information for every buying decision.  And the brain has a way of processing a lot with a little (think of micro-expressions, body language) so don’t under estimate the power of visual design.  With that said, do your due diligence, get a good designer, and trust them to do their job.  You’ll know if something is wrong…you”ll get a gut feeling.


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