DESIGN TALK – Art Podcasts

DESIGN TALK – Art Podcasts

Yes, I have discovered the Podcast. I am listening to Art, Design, Philosophy, and History Podcasts. Started listening to talkART podcast with Russell Tovey and Robert Diament earlier this week. This blog features artwork that was included in the Dec 2018. Also catching up on past weekly episodes of The Art Angle.

Ice Watch – Olafur Eliasson

Ice Watch creates an interesting conversation on the quality of immersive installations. The viewer is surrounded and encapsulated in the essential features of the installation. The subject matter needs no introduction or description.

Ice Watch – Olafur Eliasson

Mirror Room – Yayoi Kusama

The High Museum in Atlanta Ga. does a great job of showcasing a nice mix of travel art installations. I am sorry I missed the Infinity Mirror installation – it was on my Want to See art shows.

Surviving Picasso

So many cards to play…

The Art Angle

How MoMA Remade Itself

So far not quite sure what to make of the The Art Angle podcast. The opening of the MoMA was greatly welcomed. Listening to the plans with the opening of MoMa less than a year later is kinda sad – as every museum had to close its doors for most of 2020. The Asheville Art Museum have a paralleling story after reopening after a wonderful renovation and range of new art appreciation programs.

MoMA has a collection of over 200,000 modern and contemporary art pieces. With the objective to change what is on display every two years.

The conversation of social diversity and representation by MaMO in October 2019 is interesting. Long before BLM movement mattered. The conversation of inclusion/exclusion is clearly visible. Even in the most modern of all places – the modern art world. Art critic Ben Davis talks about how MoMA pulled muslim related artwork from their collection to be relative with the first Muslim Travel Ban.

There is an acute perception is what happened at MoMA and what continues happening on Local, Regional, National, and International scopes everyday.

MoMA solution was to pull and prop the the relative Muslim artwork to address a national problem. And while the act was effective to gain national exposure for MoMA as their own narrative gains national media coverage. The obvious question is

Why isn’t this work from your collection already on display in the same context as all other work on display?

Review by Ben Davis – What to Make of MoMA’s Stand on Trump’s Travel Ban A closer look at what the rehaug actually means (Feb 11, 2017)

How to Tame the Font Floodgate.

How to Tame the Font Floodgate.

Font Resources

Font Options can be Overwhelming – UNTIL NOW!

GooFonts Hand-Picked Keywords it is an easy (and fun) way to connect with unique fonts based on their use. Based on your project, review fonts that will work well for your genre – Horror Fonts, Christmas Fonts, Bohemian Fonts, or Fonts to use when Funny is needed.

My Two Favorite – for completely different reasons.

Asheville Retail Branding and Signage Design.
Asheville Retail Branding and Signage Design

Why is SEO important?

Why is SEO important?

Your Business Success Starts With SEO

The most important aspects of SEO is it still works.

Do not get out maneuver by your competitors by ignoring how your business ranks online. People Still Trust Top Ranking Search Engine Results. Ranking Number One is no longer the main priority. People have expanded their scope to now select from the top five search results. Users are opening all five results to compare content. Our web users have grown up and are able to quickly scan for quality content.

Quality Content is Still King

I tried to not include Content Is King – after 20 years in this industry it seems only to obvious. The expression, Content is King was penned by Bill Gates in January 1996, when he published the essay Content is King. In the essay, Bill Gates wrote “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting”.

What is the Definition of Content?

  1. Content – the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned.
  2. Content – being pleased and satisfied.

Content has two precise definitions. The first, related to the state of holding together the collective voice. The second, the how a person. I think the reason why Content is King keeps getting repeating is that the definition of Quality Content has been misunderstood.

The old goal of Quality Content was to rank on top.
The new goal of Quality Content is to make your end users feeling of being pleased and satisfied.

Does your online content make people experience the feeling of Quality Content?

However, for websites with experience and education to improve their site’s ranking can adapt quickly. The higher ranking site benefits from increased visibility, traffic, and conversion rates. Sure the rules of SEO are always changing.

Using old SEO tactics can seriously harm your SEO ranking. Keep current with SEO rules by making your content user-friendly, easy to navigate, fast loading, and easy to scan.

Timeline of SEO Tactics

  • 1990 – Meta Keyword Tags.
  • 2004 – Buying Links, Link Farms, and Link Bombing.
  • 2006 Blogging.
  • 2011 – Social Media Marketing.
  • 2014 – Media Rich Content.
  • 2015 – Responsive Design.
  • 2016 – Unique content and images.
  • 2019 – Accessibility.

Search Engine Essentials

Having a website, online store, or blog rank well can significantly increase your business.

People typically select from the top 5 search suggestions.

  • Get ahead of your competition with a strong SEO framework.
  • Improve your user experience.
  • Provide quality content.
  • 80-90% customers read consumer reviews for product/service before purchasing.
  • Not building an active content profile over months/years will potentially damage your business.

For more SEO Information

What to Learn more about SEO?

Article updated 11/20/19 – first published 25/5/17.

Why is SEO important?

Website Design for Devices

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You can no longer think about website design with considering website design for smartphone users. The adoption rate of people accessing website content via their smartphones is HUGE!

Website Design for SmartPhone Users

The one thing people like better than their smartphone has something to do on with their smartphone. There is no denying it Smartphone users are accessing web content, at an alarming rate.

What are the SEO reporting?

During recently web site traffic reports for my clients. Most of the popular sites are reporting smartphone access rates to be between 53% – 65%. With online trends indicating an increased spending rate with Smartphone users.

How the same site content loads on different devices?

With so many different devices on the market. And people using a broad range of various devices to access the web – it may surprise you what your website experience for each user.
The primary objective for Asheville Super Duper Team Computer Training website design was to be user-friendly. The interface and navigation system needed to run successfully on all devices. The core principles of the Super Duper Team Computer Training is to teach people how to improve their skills with computers.
When considering website design for smartphone users you can quickly see even with the different iPhone models how the content loads differently.

Asheville Website Design Example on iPad Users

The same website content accessed via an iPad provides the user with a different layout – and choices. Both in landscape and portrait view the site content is loading in four columns – similar to the experience of someone accessing the web content via a laptop or desktop computer.
On a computer display, the navigation section spreads across the top of the page. On the smartphone, the navigational buttons stack on top of one another.
The iPad and iPad mini website content load the same on both devices.
The website loads slightly differently on the Blackberry device. In portrait mode, the layout exposes a small amount of the first website publication.
The Google Galaxy Nexus appears to load more of the first post than an of the other smartphones. Both the iPad and Computer load the website content in four column, infinite scrolling homepage.

Asheville Website Design Example on iPhone 6

WEBSITE DESIGN for SmartPhone Users

How does the Website Load on Different Devices?

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Asheville Website Design Example on iPhone 3

Website Design for Smartphone Users
Website Design for Smartphone Users
Websites on Smartphone
Website design for smartphone users - Blackberry

Why is SEO important?

BLOG: Logo Design Timeline

How long does it take to build an International brand?

It might surprise you to see the historical timeline of your favorite brands.

Hope you enjoy the interactive timeline – over time I will add more content to the timeline and informational table. If you would like to add information to the either the table or timeline please email

Year  Business  Logo Logo has changed Name Change Still in Business
1862  Guinness 1862_Guinness_01  6 times.
1st version.
1865  Olympics  xx  39 times.  Yes
1870  Mitsubishi  Logo Design Changed 3 times.
1st version.
1875  Nestle  xx  Yes
1875  Bass  xx  Yes
1876  John Deere  xx 8 times  Yes
1886  Johnson & Johnson  xx  Yes
1887  Coca-Cola  xx  10+ times/  Yes
1892 General Electric  xx  Yes
1896  Prudential  xx  Yes
1898  Michelin  xx  Yes
1900  Shell  xx  7+times.  Yes
1900  Nabisco  xx  Yes
1903  Ford  xx  Yes
1905  Rolls-Royce  xx  Yes
1911 Mercedes-Benz  xx  7+ times  Yes
1926 Greyhound  xx  Yes
1933 London Underground  xx  Yes
1938 Volkswagen  xx  7+ times.  Yes
1943 IEKA  xx  Yes
1951 CSB  xx  Yes
1955 Guinness 1955_Guinness_02  6 times.
2nd version.
1956 NBC  xx Yes
1960 Chase Manhattan  xx JP Morgan Chase Bank Yes
1960 IBM  xx  7+ times. Yes
1960 International Paper  xx Yes
1960 Motorola  xx Yes
1961  UPS  xx Yes
1961  Weyerhaeuser  xx
1962  McDonald’s  xx Yes
1962  General Foods  xx The corporate name was dropped in 1995 No
1964 Mitsubishi  1964_Mitsubishi_02 Changed 3 times.
2nd version.
1965 Mobil  xx  Merged in 1999 with Exxon to form  ExxonMobil Yes
1966 Dinners Club  xx Yes
1966 Exxon  xx Merged in 1999 with Mobil to form  ExxonMobil Yes
1967 Westinghouse  xx  Westinghouse Electric Corporation Yes
1967 Metropolitan Life  xx MetLife, Inc Yes
1968 Guinness 1968_Guinness_03  6 times.
3rd version.
1971 L’Eggs  xx Yes – The egg packaging was one of the most successful product launches of all time. The brand no longer use the plastic egg as it is seen as wasteful. Yes
1971 Eastman Kodak  xx Yes
1971 Nike  xx  3+ times Yes
1971 Quarter Oats  xx Yes
1973 Atari  xx Yes
1973 Merrill Lynch  xx Yes
1974 United Way  xx Yes
1974 Dunkin Donuts  xx Yes
1975 I Love NY  xx Yes
1976 Citicorp  xx Yes
1976 United Way  xx Yes
1977 Apple  xx  4+ times. Yes
1979 Transamerica  xx Yes
1981 Texaco  xx Yes
1984 AT&T  xx Yes
1995 Guinness  1995_Guinness_04 6 times.
4 th version.
1997 Guinness  1997_Guinness_05  6 times.
5 th version.
2005 Guinness  2005_Guinness_06 6 times.
6 th version.
2005 Mitsubishi  Logo Design Changed 3 times.
3rd version.

Why is SEO important?

Motion with a GIF Animation

Photography and Motion Graphics (animated GIF) sample by Gary Crossey (aka IrishGuy) Asheville

History of the GIF Animation

Internet tech is often blamed for moving forward to fast. The changes happen too quickly for people to keep up. Sure, sometimes this may be true. However, there are some techs that flood around for years before taking a hold (Bluetooth). Or, there are other techs that are reinvented, or at least relaunched and begin another cycle of usage. The latter example is the certainly the story of the GIF animation.
GIF animation early days may have been jumping hamsters and spinning blinking buttons (my personal fav). A far cry to presenting high-end fashion for some of the most pristine fashion houses. 2015 is the year that GIF animation returned to the tech world as a stylist fashionable option for delivering media rich content.

Web Design Timeline

The Web Design Timeline – The Early Years

It was 1989, I was 15. Soul II Soul was riding the charts with Keep on Movin’. Sharing the message of not stopping the hands of time. While Tim Berners-Lee proposed the internet. Little did we know that

“Click Clock, find your own way to stay. The time will come one day”.

A few years later I was knee deep in design websites with code.  I was the graphic designer in 1995 who understood what impact TABLES would be! I built sites that were balanced with spacer transparent GIF tiles. Those days were web design wonders.
Upon the arrival of CSS in 1996 – I grasped the potential. However, unlike any other website code, CSS is easy. Too easy.
In 1996, Website Design and Development was hard stuff.  The learning curve was so short for CSS that it took programmers years to adapt to using CSS as the design element for controlling the website design.
You have got to recall that 1996 was also the “Flower Power” year of website design. Yes, we had Flash. I WAS A BIG FLASH FAN & MASTER FLASH DEVELOPER. My first Flash website ( won first prize from WIRED magazine. I loved working with Flash.

Web Design Timeline

1989 – Tim Berners-Lee Proposed the World Wide Web.
1991 – Text-based websites.
1993 – Mosaic Browser is launched.
1994 – The W3C is created.
1994 – Amazon arrive.
1995 – Design with Tables.
1995 – JavaScript brings the Pop-up Window.
1996 – Browser War: Microsoft and Netscape.
1996 – Internet Explorer – Uses CSS and tables.
1996 – Flash – in the pan. The limitless website design Flash Era.
1996 – Website Design with Dynamic HTML.
1997 – Macromedia release Dreamweaver website application.
1998 – Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) begin to impact website design.
2003 – WordPress arrives and provides user-driven content websites – takes a while to catch on.
2007 – Grids and Framework websites.
2010 – Responsive Website Design – why didn’t any website developer think of this solution years before?
2010 – Flat graphics are in fashion for website design. Yes, Apple did it first for the iPad. But rather than a new solution, Apple chose to step back to the early years of website design when graphics file size was a concern.

Why is SEO important?

ARTICLE: What does email tell?

Email Messages

IMMERSION is an online project that aims to address four precise areas of our email usage. By generating visual reports on your overall email usage. You are first stuck with self-reflection. Is it really possible that I composed (replied) to that many emails?
For most, it is now difficult to think what life was like prior to email. Two decades of internet usage we have witnessed an incredible increase of users. In December 1995, an estimated 16 million people logged onto the world wide web. In March 2014, 2,973 million people accessed the internet. In 20 years almost half (40.7%) of the world population now access the internet. An estimated 204 million emails are sent every minute.  With 1440 minutes in the a day  (204 milion x 1440) … you can do the math!
Until recently accessing the web for many was to check email. Email was initially used to connect and correspond with family, friends, and businesses. Social Networking channels have transferred a large part of what was considered base email interaction – the simple chit chat.
The next aspect of Immersion, is the Art of connection. Visually the graphics relate how connected you are to one group compared to another. The graphic will also help visualize the connection between groups.
Privacy is perhaps the third reaction to the visualizations. As awesome as this visualization tool is, it is available to everyone. When Google hand over your email records to the FBI (or other agency). This is what they see. WIthout even opening any of your email, it is now easy to build an entire history of your usage in moments. Having access to one email account may not reveal a huge amount of information. However, having access to a vast number of emails, and cross referencing data reports – well, you can figure out that conclusion.
The next aspect of Immersion, is the Art of connection. Visually the graphics relate how connected you are to one group compared to another. The graphic will also help visualize the connection between groups.
The final aspect of using Immersion is for strategy. From my email data reports it is easy to see where most of your email time is spent. Which clients or family members have the most interactions (demands)? I can’t say I was surprised to see which one of my clients emails me to most. What I found to be of most interest. The one client I find the hardest to understand via email, is also the person who emails me the most.
But visually seeing how much, or little we connect may have a profound impact on how you view and react to these relationships.

REVIEW: Web Design That Works

REVIEW: Web Design That Works

Modern Website Design

Over the past 15+ years, the face of the graphical internet has changed. Often most of these online trends go unnoticed, or at least not talked about (considerably). Unless those changes happen on Facebook, then everyone has something to say.
The changes I am talking about are different than when Facebook make an update. Those changes come from one online business. Online trends come from more than one source. The trend may very well start from one source. When Apple updated the iPad to include more “simpler” icons than before – what followed was an online trend.

Why do online trends have an impact?

Everyone that works with a website has a sense of what is cool, and what is out. In internet years – Flash may be but a distant memory, Today, every business runs directly to WordPress for their online solution. With clean, functional, and user-friendly themes.
In 2014 – the modern website was light on design – has thoughtfully written content. Highlighted with photos or graphics. Forget the bells and whistles – we know they have never worked. Clean layout with precise content is king.
Here are the websites that have that curbside appeal (more sites to be added soon).

  • Studio O+A is a San Francisco-based interior design firm.
Why is SEO important?

EBOOK – Featured Sections

Understanding E-Book Limitations

The idea of creating your own e-book can be exciting. That is until you see your own content in an e-book format. Those design ideas – are for the most part not included in the final hand-held device rendering.

Last week, I spent most of the week reading Cooking Books in e-book formats. During the week I jumped between using the Kindle app on my phone, iPad, MacBook Air, and HP laptop – each device presented a different experience with a changing array of tools.
NOTE TO SELF: Drop caps do not work on the Kindle app.

What you can expect from one device to the other:

The device determines the best settings for the content.
The reader can select:
The Font.
The size of the font.
How wide to make the columns.
How many columns to use.
How many words to include on each line.
How much space to include in the leading (space between lines)
What the background color should be: white, black.
And what page margins to use.
A few other end-user considerations:
Image wrap rarely works well.
Images need descriptive captions as images often load onto the device screen alone and out of context.
Aligning images with content is different, as break pages can occur unexpectedly.
Kindle does not support Drop Caps.

EBOOK – The Parts

The parts of an ebook.

While teaching a recent class on building an ebook it became very clear that few students understood the format. The simple truth is that most of the student were also not reading ebooks to have a working knowledge of the format. While the other remaining student who had experience, their knowledge was based on using one device.
The launch of ebooks have many parallels with the early years of web development and design. When web content was restricted by access limitations. Over the years, the web became somewhat standardized, with CSS3 and HTML5 adaptation. As of now the ebook realm does not have clear standard practices that can interpolated content from server to device without some degree of visual compromise. Yes, the line between content and visual integrity are getting closer – while the interactive elements drag behind. When building an ebook – you have got to visualize how the interactive components of the book will be.

The parts of an Ebook that need to built.

When using Adobe InDesign to create your ebook, each of the following pages and features should be included within your InDesign document. Often creating a Master Pages will help maintain the visual integrity of the publication.

  • Color Front Book Cover – PNG format.
  • Color Back Book Cover – PNG format.
  • Book Blurb.
  • Title Page – and author credit.
  • Table of Contents.
  • Dedications.
  • The Book – With Chapter Titles and Sectional Consideration.
  • Include artwork and illustrations.
  • Index of book (optional).
  • Book Extras – Reader Resources (optional).
  • Author Bio and historical background.
  • Link to Author’s Website and Newsletter.
  • Promotional Page – other publications, products, and services.
  • Copyright Information.

The Book Blurb

The book blurb is an essential component to a successful ebook. Without a blurb readers have no idea what your book is about. Your blurb should include enough information to connect with your reader and encourage them to download your publication. A poorly written blurb will result in poor downloads.

The Table of Contents

Ebook readers rely on the Table of Contents to navigate the book. Unlike a printed book that the reader is award about being in the middle of a book, compared to being at the end of a book, or within the first few pages. Knowing your placement in a book is determined by the feedback into your hands and eyes. It is easy for the reader of a printed page to see and feel what page they are (within reason). While the ebook reader has limited visual feedback and no feel feedback to determine their placement in a book. The void created by the reduced feedback from an ebook is at this time dealt with the Table of Contents. Permitting the reader to quickly move between chapters without have to flip one electronic page at a time.

Why is SEO important?

GRAPHIC: Marketing Series

How to make image text searchable

Example of how to layer searchable text over your website graphic. A great method to keep your graphics up-to-date. While improving your SEO ranking.

Sample of series of marketing graphics created to promote computer classes.
What made this project interesting was how I coded the graphics into the website.
We know that Search Engines do not read text in graphics. Having searchable text is one of the most important elements for any website. I created a practical custom CSS solution. That is visually pleasing to the website visitor, while capturing interest of the search engines.
NOTICE: you can not select the text from the top part of the graphics, but you can select the red notice text. My method makes the graphic content completely optimized for the search engines. (more…)

Why is SEO important?

BLOG: How to create a logo

AI-Rough-Sketch-LogoWhen creating a logo – the process can be very different from one client to the next. Often the clients expectations and lack of experience can account for the varied design processes.

Designing a Logo for a Brand

Given my client pool, I am lucky to work with creative people. I surround myself with skillful and creative types that are seldom wrong when it comes to the principles of visual composition.
When clients come to me for graphic design services – they often have the design concept and brand philosophy developed. At which time – my role as the graphic designer is defined. I am there to ensure that the logo renders correctly and is aesthetically pleasing – while reaching the project design objective.
Designing the logo for a Brand. That’s the natural Logo Design approach. The conceptual developmental of the Brand is complete. The visual logo simply needs to acquire the right personality.
And the Rough Sketches can quickly move into refined ideas.

Designing a Logo without a Brand

Yes, I know – as a graphic designer we should never let this happen. But it does. Maybe you like the business idea or the client is refreshing, or you just feel like giving someone a break. Whatever the reason – you allow the client to move forward to the design process, without a brand. With the idea of working backward to establish the brand philosophy.
The difference between the old client and the newbie is that the experienced have structured their thoughts into a formatted project plan. The other client this has the ideas in their head. It isn’t that they don’t know – they just have never been asked before. And so the process begins.

From Logo to Brand

For most of the world, the role of Branding and Logo Design is confusing. The experienced graphic designer understands that the Brand is the business reputation – the business equity – built upon reliable products and reliable service.
The Logo Design – while the logo is the first visual component of the branding process. The logo does not stand alone to create or maintain the business values and customer loyalty.
For more information on how to build a strong, loyal brand – read my blog BUILDING A BRAND.
Creating a logo without a brand is not an ideal approach. But, as many graphic designers understand – especially those graphic designers that work with start-ups. You as the designer may be the first person in the world to ask your clients about their business goals.

Your Graphic Designer is the only person who cares to ask you branding questions

Be honest, no-one else is interested in our work ideas. People are not stopping me in the street and asked about my yearly business goals, or what I hope to achieve ten years from now. No one cares about my moral stands. I do however get stopped in the grocery store to answer computer tech and design questions. Which is typically fine, expect when selecting toilet rolls – that I like to do alone.

Building the Brand backward

The logo creating begins. In this case, the client was more visual that conceptual.

Early Logo Roughs

Get the design ball rolling with simple sketches.
RoughSketch 006asheville_salon_log_rough
roughRoughSketch 011RoughSketch 009 RoughSketch 007