We are just a week into 2015 but I already am starting to feel anxious to make this a year of successes. Like most people I start the year with high hopes. I know an important part of realizing my goals is to write it down. What better place than on a blog 🙂
One of my major projects from last year was to get a better website designed. It has only been seven years in the making. Part of the reason it has taken so long as I was working fulltime with a large mining company leaving me with little free time. I would think about it, occasionally create something but inevitably be my strongest critic and scrap it. Its rather hard to design for oneself! This past year I hired someone to help me with the backend while I concentrating on the design of the front end. Currently it is done, I just need to make the time to transfer it over and add content. So Goal #1: Get this done!
Last year I also put together a PowerPoint presentation of my PowerPoint design work. Trouble is I don’t think many people have seen it. Goal #2: Send this out to people so they can see the work that I do.
Goal #3: Create a brochure about Geodesignworks. Brochures (two or four page) are a common piece of print communication mining companies use at trade shows. Many of them are very badly designed because they stuff in as much content as possible, with whatever images are on hand. The result is something very uninviting to read. I am quite passionate about designing brochures that convey the right amount of information to do what a brochure needs to do – inform people about projects and companies in a concise manner and direct detailed questions to the website and people at the company.
I have more goals but I think I had better stick with these ones for right now. Stay tuned for a progress report!
A few days ago as I was web-surfing I came across an article about a local politician. It was an editorial in a local newspaper. I started reading it, but became so irritated by the lay-out I could not finish it. The paragraphs were broken down literally into individual sentences. I imagine it was simply a result of taking the article how it was laid-out in the newspaper and pasted into the website post. Print newspapers are laid-out in narrow columns, and often have paragraphs composed of one or two sentences. It’s not a problem in this format as the eye does not have to travel very far to continue reading. A webpage is a different animal. If there is a hard return after every sentence, my eye has to travel much further to continue reading. This causes eye-fatigue and is very irritating.
This was a good reminder to me of the importance of how copy is presented. Obviously what is written, and how it is written is crucial to the success of any print or digital communication. After all the hard work and editing of an article, why would you want to make it difficult for your audience to read it? Factors to consider include the typeface, number of columns, spacing between lines of copy. This is how a graphic designer can make a huge difference to just about any piece of communication. A graphic designer works with readability, or the ease with which text can be read and understood. If a lay-out is done properly it is invisible and the content shines through. If done poorly you may not be fully communicating as your audience loses patience and might not even know why.
Like many of you in the mining industry I have now seen a few of the cycles that this industry goes through. The first “pit” of a cycle I went through was just as I was about to graduate in the mid-90’s. I remember my TA’s finding it hard to get work. The next one was when I moved over into diamond exploration from gold, and managed to secure a pretty good job considering what a lot of my colleagues and former classmates were dealing with. I saw a lot of people leave the industry all together around that time. When it finally picked up again I had made the decision to switch into graphic design. Perfect timing really as I was able to land a great job with a mining company employed as a designer. Perfect fit, perfect timing and I got the best experience I could have hoped for.
For over a year now we have trended downwards. And down. And down. Is there some light at the end of the tunnel? I am far from knowledgeable on this topic, I ask other people more closely tied to the stock market and global trends for their opinion. I hope there is at least a sparkle up ahead.