Archive for July, 2006

article on Wacom Asia Pacific Community Website

Well, this is probably the first time that I’ve been “e-published”.

Wacom has launched a Community website for the Asia Pacific region and had asked me to write for their “Pro Column”. I have written an article on the subject of “Business of Design“.

By the looks of it, Wacom is trying the online route to getting customers and it feels like a sincere effort too – there’s a lot of new stuff coming up on the community website and we should be reading more from designers and experts from the Asia Pacific region.

A great thing for the designers on the Asian continent!

Logo Design for TimeMakers

I am currently working with Mr. Anuj Babbar to develop a corporate identity for his watch brand. The name of the parent company that needs a logo is TimeMakers and the development process is outlined below.

I e-mailed the creative brief, customized for this particular project and received the filled-up document within a couple of days. After another round of clarifications, I started working on the sketches.

The preliminary sketches were put into a concept sheet [ PDF document ] and e-mailed to the client – following are those sketches along with the concept explained:

Anuj liked the first concept [ which is a ligature ] as well as the fifth one and asked me to work further on those. To do that, I picked up the creative brief again and started research on colors to figure out suitable colors for the keywords picked out from the brief. One of the mistakes that I made in the above process was that the keywords suggested by Anuj were for the child-watch-brand that I was also working on – while most of the values are common, it was definitely an oversight on my part but thankfully it did not affect the TimeMakers logo development process.

The following are the images I submitted for the second round after color suggestions and font suggestions. The aim was to pick out the correct direction of logo development – otherwise what happens is that as a designer, I tend to have a different vision from what the client has in mind and that causes the designer and the client to go into totally different tangents. Hence, I submitted very few ideas and awaited feedback :

My personal favorites are number five and number three [ but since Anuj has specifically requested for colored options, I recommended number five.

The feedback received was that Anuj was extremely disappointed with the second rounds. He mentioned it felt like "colors have been slapped onto the logo and presented". He also mentioned that he was expecting me to work further on the logo shape itself. Another point that he was not convinced about were the fonts and that he wanted the logo and the company name embedded together. He suggested I take a look at font websites online and suggest something suitable.

While I am not sure of the specific meanings of all the above requirements - we have tried to resolve what each means visually, but as a designer, I am still not sure what Anuj is expecting. Instead of going headlong into another round of design, I am going to first try and fix a font and style of logo presentation. Following are the looks I am suggesting - you are seeing it here first - even before Anuj will see it - hopefully we will be able to move out of the blockade and develop the logo : [ they say that we should not give a client too many options otherwise there will be a lot of confusion, but sometimes, it might just work and this is the first time I am deliberately giving too many options ].

The aim here to pick something and then work with it. You might not completely like any of what you see – but just pick one and then I’ll work on – pick one based on the layout of the logo [ where the name is written, the ratio of the name to the logo ].

I would suggest keeping the shape as simple as possible – but again, that is the client’s prerogative – if they want a complicated, intricate logo, that can be made as well. [ If there is a particular image that you like - please mouseover to read what number it is and leave that in the comments section. ]

I will update this space as the project advances.

UPDATE I : 31st July 2006

The font has been selected.
The name of the font is BonJovi and this is what it looks like:

I will of course have to work out character spacing and create a vector file.

The layout and placement still needs to be worked out. I will be posting some more examples soon.

UPDATE II : 31st July 2006

The following are what I am submitting for round four of semi-finished logos. These are again to arrive to a logo layout and placement decision, colors are still open to change.

UPDATE III : 31st July 2006

The final selected logo is as follows:

Colored Version

Black and White Version

design standards

Seth says:

Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards–and living up to them–is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it.

But what does one do when the client tells you “Hey, I really like your work and I want you to design my logo just the way you think would be right for my brand.” And then they go right ahead and backseat drive?

It’s the same with prices – decide what you are worth and charge that – create a bottomline that you WILL NOT go below – if a prospective client pushes you too much to go under your bottomline, you can be certain that this particular person does not care much about your skills or your design abilities and if you do take them on [ which will happen most probably out of guilt on your part ] – you WILL MOST CERTAINLY regret it.

I can definitely say that about prices for design services

Here’s something I got from Gautam’s blog [ reposted here in full ]:

“Presently, I am working in the US and am planning to return back to India. I have about 8+ years of experience would like to know the compensation levels offered to professionals like me in the IT field, who have extensive experience in Project/Program Management, Information Security, and Information Systems Audit. Of late, as you would agree, the Indian Market has seen an exponential and excellent traction in terms of opportunities and employment. The rate has been terrific and almost every one in abroad (whether USA or UK or Europe or Australia) are making their way back to India due to this. One important component here has been the salary/compensation and benefits package, which seems to be going at or beyond par with International markets. I have a few questions in this regard and would like to obtain your views on this.”

Without revealing too much, from personal experience, I can confirm the same about the scene of the design industry in India / Asia as well.

grunge website showcase

[ via Visting Hours. via WebCreme ]

Since I’d mentioned Grunge a couple of days back, this was a great viewing experience.

Links to the websites :

  • [ loads Flash - takes time ] : doubleOC OR Opposite of Corporate : I find their logo animation VERY distracting.
  • ThickRecords – nice illustration.
  • Why do I get a feeling that Grunge is not a great idea for website? [ they look too cluttered ].

  • Daniele Cascone : decent grunge – does not mix with the website content – better.
  • Miron Design : splash page – not such a good idea – with increasingly shorter attention spans – you should hit the visitor with a “sale” immediately – unless you’re creating a gallery / showcase – and it has pre-loading flash – very slow.

There were more links [ you can see them all here ] – I just didn’t have the heart to dis anymore of them.

is FireFox a thief too?

Firefox stole the www.ie7.com domain – it’s a prespective thing – the “stealing” part I mean.

Maybe if I’d included a little bit of text saying “Neither this site nor aside is connected with Mike Industries” thigs would be different. Or maybe if I’d been as famous as FireFox!

I am a thief

I got accused of “stealing” something today.

This is the aside home page:

and this is the Mike Industries home page:

See the similarity?

But do you also see the difference?

And no, I did not seek Mike’s permission because I did not think I was ripping his design.

And what about all those people who’ve “stolen” Mike’s idea of having the harbor image on his blog – that changes according to the time of the day?

target=’_blank’ No More

Owing to this discussion, I am officially giving up on the “target=’_blank’” command for all my links. From now on, I will not include that code snippet at the end of my links contained within posts – for links to external blogs via the BlogRoll – the “open link in new window” remains the way it is.

I did check out the top 20 blogs on Technorati and NOT ONE of them has links that open in a new window! The least I can do is emulate their example.

I will also take 15 minutes each day and get rid of that code snippet from all my previous blog posts as well [ it's going to be quite a job I tell you! ].

aListApart 200

Good article : Designing Through The Storm on their latest issue.

This is what I replied in the Discussion:

When I hit a wall in terms of creativity, I don’t do any work for a couple of days – no design, no brainstorming – I just let the deadline creep up on me and then Eureka! I get some good ideas and finish the work on time. This ALWAYS works for me – whether I do it consciously – on purpose or sub-consciously.

I’d like to add one more thing though – when you say that goals should be established before beginning – instead of just the design and project goals, it helps to set some goals on how to deal with the client as well – observe your client carefully and learn how they react to your aggressive advice / humble recommendations / technical explanation to support your recommendation etc. It will give you a very clear idea of whether the client wants you to be creative or just wants a scribble on a piece of paper according to his / her pre-conceived notions. It’s saved me a lot of time.

Get everything in writing – especially the approvals – is the best advice I’ve received from my ex-boss. It’s a no-brainer but it’s surprising how many times I find myself almost saying “It’s ok, you’ve confirmed over the phone, you don’t really need to send an e-mail.”

I work remotely with almost all my clients. If something goes wrong – and the client replies via e-mail – the best way to calm down is to pick up the phone and give them a call. Apart from the fact that you just might find out what the real problem is, the client will know that you are interested in setting things right – delayed communication is as good as no communication. Sometimes, however tough it might be, just grab the phone and TALK to the client.

Like there’s no telepathy in love [ you have to tell the object of you affection that you love them - OUT LOUD ], similarly, there is no telepathy in design!

Technorati re-designs

Wow! It’s the age of re-designs.

And this one SUCKS eggs.

As you can see from the above – my main grouse is the color scheme!
If they are currently BETA testing the design, then the clashes are alright – but if this is the final design, they REALLY need to re-consider. How did they come up with those colors? And the LAYOUT?

I LOVED the last design – all green and grey – it was VERY effective. Especially because Technorati has the whole “serious” / “business” blogging kind of brand character – in my opinion.

Now it looks like a teeny-bopper left bubble-gum all over the website!

WOW!