At what point do I stop messing with layers, shapes, words, video, etc.?
For the most part, there is usually a feeling I am chasing. A feeling of completion. It can be a hard, moving target to hit. As you improve, your standards will as well. Your own high standards will make it increasingly difficult to let go and call a project finished.
Trust Your Process & Your Skillset
That moment right before you hit send or post can be nerve-racking. Trust the research you’ve done and the conversations you’ve had that led to your final concept. The more work you put in early on, the more sure you can be in the final product. Different projects require different solutions. In the logo design space, some brands need very minimalistic logos while others call for more. Have a clear goal and creative direction as early as possible. You have a particular skillset that has called you to this work. The more you do it, the better you’ll get, and the better your creative intuition will be.
Ask Yourself Important Questions
Before you cross the finish line, ask yourself some questions.
Does this accomplish the goals previously set?
Does this convey the right message in a worthwhile way?
Is there anything that I can afford to REMOVE from this?
Do I NEED to add more on this? (NEED not CAN, important difference)
Logo specific: Does it work in black & white and color? Different sizes?
Does it work in application? Within the specified context?
Are the specifications/parameters correct?
During a recent project, I had someone ask me, “Why can’t it be just THAT?” The “that” was an alternate logo I presented that was less busy than the main one I was pitching. I thought about it and agreed. I’m much better at pruning than I was when I first started designing. However, there are still moments when what I think isn’t enough is actually just right. After finishing a project, evaluate what you’ve created through a critical lens. Others, even those who don’t have your expertise, can help you better judge the work’s efficacy.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Leave It Alone, Come Back
If you’re still struggling with whether to know you’re finished or not, take a break. Take your eyes and hands away from the computer and leave it as is. Sometimes you won’t know you’re finished until you stop messing with it. Let it sit with you for a bit.
Wrapping up a project means achieving creative satisfaction and overall accomplishment. You have to feel positive about your effort and confident in its success (however you interpret that). When it feels right, you’ll know.
Just know that sometimes you’ll have to give yourself permission to be done with it. Don’t let the pursuit of perfection come at the expense of the commitment of completion.
My favorite projects tend to be the ones where I can design for non-profits. Branding matters for non-profits. It brings me great joy to be able to use my gifts to help advance the efforts of an organization or company trying to provide assistance to a community.
I was honored to be approached to design a logo for The Next Step. The Next Step, LLC provides tutoring services, community service and outreach events, autism awareness advocacy. The logo would be used to better promote the company in the surrounding areas. It would be used on shirts, business cards, and other advertising. The target audience was adults and parents with autistic kids or kids that need help in school subjects.
Research and Sketch
The first thing I had to do is research how autism organizations and initiatives are branded. I did this to get an idea of what is typically used as a symbol within this space. I discovered a lot of puzzle piece motifs.
“The origins of the puzzle piece, the primary symbol for autism, go back to 1963. It was created by Gerald Gasson, a parent and board member for the National Autistic Society (formerly The Society for Autistic Children) in London. The board believed autistic people suffered from a ‘puzzling’ condition. They adopted the logo because it didn’t look like any other image used for charitable or commercial use.” – The Art of Autism
Upon discovering this, I knew I wanted to create something that would belong in the space but as a unique addition. I sketched out some ideas for an N that was made of multiple parts. So, the puzzle reference was there but with custom pieces.
Making of a Logo
From sketches to Adobe Illustrator, I went! I experimented with the shape of the overall N and the pieces themselves. After I got the shape solidified, I played around with the colors. The different colors add vibrance and help drive home the idea of multiple pieces coming together to make the whole. The result was the following.
I am extremely pleased to report that the logo was well received by the owner of The Next Step, LLC. Warms my heart to know I can help others’ vision become reality. My skill set is here to serve others who in turn will serve their community.
“The Next Step Services” is a nonprofit organization that specializes in being an advocate for children and adults who live with intellectual disabilities.
Creating a production schedule means understanding all the elements that go into your videos. During each step of the journey, you accomplish something that gets you closer to uploading something worthwhile.
Here’s how I break down my attempt at making videos.
Research & Writing
Every video should start with you deciding what you want to share, teach, or discuss. Next, you should do the research required to communicate your thoughts well and write a script/outline, if necessary. For example, like with my blogs, I usually will do a mind map. From the initial idea or topic, I will break it down into various parts that represent my particular thoughts on that subject. For video, it often times helps to also storyboard a little bit. It helps me visualize how I want the video to flow visually.
Establishing this foundation first makes everything else easier because you have a focus set. You know what you want to do and now can concentrate on executing on your concept. During the storyboard phase, I will note what things I will need to design, film, or record. Making a list of all the photos, video clips, and footage you’ll need will make life easier. It’s all about knowing what you are looking for ahead of time so you aren’t wasting time. Collecting all the assets you need, which may include filming video or recording audio, under one folder makes importing into Adobe Premiere a quicker process.
I use Adobe Premiere for my video editing. I usually create a new folder and import all the assets collected at once. In Premiere, I edit and then render to my preferred specifications. After that, I’ll upload to my YouTube channel and promote throughout my social media.
Knowing all of that, it’s best to put together a production schedule that works for you (and won’t have you trying to go from idea to completion in a single day – like I have way too many times). Break each step down and spread across an appropriate length of time.
Day 1 – Come Up With An Idea or Topic Day 2 – Research & Write on Topic Day 3 – Storyboard Day 4 & 5 – Collect and/or Create Assets Day 6 & 7 – Edit & Render Video Day 7/8 – Upload & Promote
This could be a sample schedule you use. Once you’ve determined how long you’ll take to make a video, schedule backwards from whenever you want to release the video.
If you want to release a video on Sunday…
Sunday – Upload & Promote Saturday – Edit & Render Thursday & Friday – Collect and/or Create Assets Wednesday – Storyboard Tuesday – Research & Write Monday – Come Up With Idea
I’m still working to be more consistent on my own production schedule. But it makes it much easier to accomplish your ideal process when you have one to stick to.
I love marching band. I love graphic design. So, when I was approached by the Director of Bands at James B. Dudley High School to design a new logo for the band, I was very excited. However, this project would require me to illustrate a full panther mascot. This wouldn’t be the more minimal logos I had grown used to designing. I don’t consider myself an illustrator so this would be a challenge. But the challenge was well for worth it.
This year (2017) will make my 2nd National Convention I’ve designed materials for from start to finish. I’ll be following much of the same blueprint this year as I did back in 2015 when I came face-to-face with…
On my About Me page, I mention how I started down the path of graphic design. I didn’t always use or even know about Adobe programs. My chapter brother and mentor Shaun Harrison, the visionary behind Supernerd, introduced me to the power of the Adobe Creative Suite (now the Adobe Creative Cloud). It took me awhile to realize the wealth of options I had. I started as strictly a Photoshop user. Once I learned about the difference between raster and vector images, I opened my mind to the idea of using Illustrator. Since then, my vector dreams have taken me on quite a fulfilling journey.
In 2017, Adobe Illustrator celebrates 30 years of existence. It is my favorite program to use and one I greatly appreciate. What better way to show my appreciation than to create and share a series of logos I made in the program.
These past few weeks on my blog, I have focused a lot more than usual on providing case studies of my latest work. The “What am I gonna write about” question has a much easier answer than a lot of people realize. Write about what you do and how you do it. Document your journey.