I have been working on honing, and in some cases, learning new graphical skills in the past few weeks. So, I have been extensively watching Adobe Illustrated tutorials and working on my existing Photoshop knowledge and basically trying to get a hang of the software beyond basic image editing and digital painting.
From a beginner’s point of view, the world of graphical design is quite vast… at times intimidating and there is no limit to creative options. One could branch out into any form of graphical design… illustrations or web-design or logo & advertising and so much more. At the same time, one does not need to limit the options to just these.
What I have experienced in the process of my baby steps in to this graphical world is that technical knowledge is quite secondary. What is needed is a passion for seeing the immense possibility in the mundane. Everything around you can inspire you, be they objects or situations or emotions. And almost all of it can translate into images… and a combination of these images can illustrate bigger ideas.
I also realized that developing a personal style in your artwork is important… and as soon as you are comfortable with the design processes, it is a good idea to chalk out a signature style… something that ties your artwork to you like no watermarking can. Being inspired by existing artwork is fine… but if you can infuse it with your vision then you are making it your own.
Some of the basic concepts any would-be designer needs to understand are… colour, form, and light. These three elements combine in different ways to produce all kinds of artwork.
These 3 elements influence our daily life in ways we don’t immediately notice… but it is inherent in our behaviour. They can influence your thoughts in a sub-conscious way. Some of the imagery formed with a combination of these elements become instantly recognizable and attached to the idea behind it that the separation of the two becomes almost impossible. For example, the cross and Christianity.
Even though it is said that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder… achieving a good balance between the three elements of colour, form and light is almost always a sure way to create a striking composition which would largely be considered beautiful. Though, it is not always possible to get that perfect balance… one can always find a middle ground were the trade-offs aren’t glaring and the result would still be a grand success. The resulting artwork may be complex or charm with its simplicity… but, it would create an impact. The levels of complexity depend on how the imagery would be used… simple imagery works for logos and icons; an illustration would require more detailing and so on.
One of the first projects I did was a head-on jump into creating a logo for a friend… for a made-to-order pastry website, one that specializes in cakes and cupcakes. My technical knowledge at the time of creating the logo was nil. I did not even use a vector-based program to create the logo… because I did not know how to use one. I made the logo in good old pixel-based Adobe Photoshop.
The only points I considered for the logo were that it had to be simple, have a warm and cosy, inviting feel to it and it had to be hand-drawn to give it that personal touch which is what the idea behind personalized cakes is. I would like to think that I achieved at least some of what I set out to when I finished the logo. Here it is…
I chose some nice pastel, cakey colours that hint at yumminess and simple lines and curves to create a stylized double-storeyed cake with some very simple decorations. I chose a simple, yet whimsical type-face to create that hand-piped illusion for the name of the web-site and complemented the logo with a matching colour-scheme for the background.
I did make more than one version of the logo… with minor changes.
What I liked about my own logo was that it was simple enough to be used in different sizes and easy on the eye to be used as part of a larger canvas… like an element in a background image for the website.