A Conversation with Andrew Berkemeyer

Social media and the internet, as many of you know, provides plenty of opportunities to foster community and discover good people doing amazing things with their work and pursuits. I came across Andrew Berkemeyer's work via Dribbble and Facebook a year or so ago and something I noticed besides his high quality and versatile body of work was his genuine good nature and positive attitude that radiates from all of his social media feeds. 

Andrew gave me the pleasure of taking the time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions and share some of his work with us.

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Interview with Icon Designer Kyle Adams

In this episode we had the pleasure of interviewing Icon Designer Kyle Adams. We chat about Kyle's journey in becoming an icon designer, as well as the history and process of creating icons. Kyle also gives helpful tips about becoming better at icon design.

Follow Kyle on Social Media!

 Twitter: @itskyleadams 

Instagram:@itskyleadams

Here are some notes from the interview:

  • Icons have been around since the genesis of mankind, before human language or oral tradition. We can find early examples as simple drawings on caves and rocks. Many ancient tribes and civilizations used icons heavily to depict religious and cultural identities as well as observations about the world around them.

  • When designing icons, always establish what the icons are needing to convey. Icons are meant to convey communication without language. For example, when at an international airport, people from all over the world are able to recognize the icons on all of the signage and wayfinding materials.

  • Keep in mind the audience for which the icons are being designed. For example if you are designing for a children’s brand, rounded icons and bright fun colors would be an appropriate style to apply to the icon design. Icons with angular edges and dull or dark colors may not convey the correct feeling and thus would affect the success of the icons.

  • Always set goals when designing icons. Get to know your clients needs and assure them that you are there to take care of all of their icon design needs by conveying your expertise. Setting boundaries and communicating really helps with the efficiency and success of the project.

  • When you complete a project, it’s a good idea to create a case study. Having intimate knowledge of the project makes it fairly easy to make one. Building these case studies can help you monitor your progress and refine your process over time. Having case studies on your site can also help clients see how you think and how you might be able to help them as a design professional.

  • It is not always necessary to re-invent commonly used icon forms. While the style can change greatly depending on the target audience, many icons have become very recognizable around the world. For example, an envelope on a website or mobile device usually mean “email” or “mail”. The main goal should always be centered on communicating in the clearest way possible to the target audience.

If you'd like to learn more about Icon Design, take a listen to our interview with Kyle below and check out his awesome blog: https://kyleadams.me/blog/

Kyle also has a Youtube channel with tons of great icon tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/user/kyleadamsdesign

If you are enjoying our Podcast, please subscribe on iTunes!

Enjoy!

 

Interview with Print Expert Marina Joyce

Marina Poropat Joyce has been marketing, graphic designing, publishing and printing her whole life. She fell in love with design and printing early on, and she founded one of the first design-to-print companies in Los Angeles. She recently wrote Designing for Print to explain printing in graphic designer-speak.

Today we had the pleasure to interview Marina and ask her about all things print. We learned a ton of amazing things and hope you do too!

Here are some notes from the show:

 

Marina’s Kickstarter for her book “Designing for Print”, will be launched at the end of September, be sure to keep an eye out for it!

Check out her website for amazing resources for how to handle print projects:

http://designingforprint.com/ 

Also, sign up to be notified when her book comes out:

http://theartandscienceofdesigningforprint.com/the-book/

  • Find out the process and cost required to accomplish a print project before showing it to your client. This prevents clients from getting attached to a design before you find out if the print is even feasible.

  • Great design is the most important aspect of achieving a beautiful print.

  • Find and build a relationship with a quality printer. You can find printers in your area here: http://printaccess.org/

  • Remember that a print will look much different than what you printed in your home printer.

  • Paper comes in parent sizes, for examples 8x8 is printed on 25x38. You can eliminate print waste by referring to standard print sizes.

  • Use a Color Gamut Diagram to find colors that can work best in both RGB and CMYK. Here are some links explaining this more: here and here.

  • Always be aware of the grain of the paper you are choosing. The grain affects many things including varied stiffness, and achieving clean cuts and folds.

  • Don’t use Photoshop for print layouts, use InDesign :)

  • Always request a print dummy, this is vital in making sure the paper you are choosing will work best for your project.

 

 

Creative Work is a Marathon

I have a few people in my life that I consider mentors, they might not even know that they are… but they are. I am very blessed to have a few friends, current and former teachers, and all around good people in my life that are much more experienced and talented in design than I am; and I constantly am seeking their advice on how to grow and improve in this craft. There is one common factor in most of the advice they try to hand down to me:

“Be Patient”

Of course they’re right, and I must admit that a lack of patience could be my number one weakness as a designer. It might be because I got into this business later than most, or it might be because I like to produce and share work as often as possible, or it could be my obsessive desire to be ahead of deadlines and please our clients at almost any cost. Whatever the reason is, I can be impatient at times. Chances are, that a lack of patience, effects you in some way as well, and a lack of patience can manifest itself in many ways, here are a few that I can think of:

Feeling anxious or feeling like a failure based on your position in life.

Finishing a project way before it’s due to save time.

Finishing a project right before it’s due because you wasted time.

Rushing to produce things daily for social media.

Taking short cuts in your work flow and process.

Purchasing something with credit because you don’t want to save for it.

I am sure that patience, or lack there of, is something you deal with on a daily basis. I think it’s important to realize this one basic fact that could be the key to your career:

Creative work is a marathon not a sprint

Angela Lee Duckworth, a Harvard educated psychologist won a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship partly based on her study on what factors make people successful. In short, her conclusion was and is grit. You can see her explain it better than me in her TED talk here. But grit is basically the unbreakable and passionate pursuit of long term goals and endeavors. In other words, Duckworth (and I) believe that determination and long term consistent effort is a key to success, in fact it maybe THE key to success.

How does this tie into the creative world? Think about how much time and effort you have already put into your craft, that was grit. Think about all the creative jobs you applied for with no call backs, but yet you kept applying, that is grit. Think about all the times you wanted to give up your craft and do something else but didn’t… that is grit. How many stories have you heard of about the actor, artist, designer, filmmaker etc. that had to wait tables, teach, or do whatever for years until they were finally able to break through and do their craft full time for a living. Are these people more talented, gifted, or skilled than we are? Probably not, but they were and are certainly still are, more passionate and determined to succeed at pursuing their passions than most of the people out there.

Grit is addressing the marathon mentality on a very macro level, and to give myself credit, this is something that personally for me I am not to worried about. My intense, immovable, glacier like passion for design is by far the number one reason I get to do it for a living. You might be like me and are all stocked up on grit with whatever creative craft you want to pursue. But what about patience and having that marathon mentality on a more micro level? I think we can all admit that in a deadline driven results oriented business that is the design and creative industry, it’s not always easy to be patient and to think long term. As I stated in the beginning, it’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. How can we address patience on a micro level? Here are some of my ideas:

Give yourself more long term projects: I think the daily challenges seen on Dribble and Instagram are pretty cool and even helpful, but it’s easy to let these challenges push you to rush your work. Build a project for yourself that will go beyond a day.. for example, you might like building logos every day; now take one of those logos and take a few weeks to build an entire identity system around it.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others: This was an important issue we addressed on the podcast we did on the impostor syndrome, but I think this issue plays a role in patience as well. We are constantly getting bombarded with other people’s success that can often lead us to thinking we aren’t doing enough and thus will lead us into rushing our work or our career path. Don’t forget that this is your journey, not anyone else’s. Most marathon runners are trying to beat their best time’s not anyone else’s.

Write Down Short and Long Term Goals: I believe feeling accomplished on a short, mid, and long term basis is a vital component to feeling and being more patient. I use Teux Deux and Field Notes to keep track of my to do list and accomplishments on a daily and weekly basis. Writing things down has really helped me be patient and think about the big picture at work and when I am doing personal projects.

Get away from the screen: Obviously this is a thing that is mostly for digital creatives, but I think a lot of digital artists and designers forget to step away from the computer and get inspired and creative in other ways that take more time and patience.

I know this article was bit all over the place because it kind of covered being patient and being determined at the same time. But I think both are intertwined because I think determination or grit can lead to great patience and mastery of your craft. What are some tips you have for slowing down and being more patient? I obviously want to get better at both so any advice you can leave below on the comments or via email at zach@activecolor.com would help a great deal.

Imposter Syndrome

At some point in their careers, most Creatives will feel like an imposter. Its a phenomenon that leaves people feeling like they are suddenly unfit, unskilled and a con even though the person has been performing well for years, or has even reached a high-level position. In this episode we delve into why imposter syndrome happens, and how to overcome it.

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