Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category

Don’t forget about the books

July 17, 2017

There is an urban legend about an architect that designed a library.

In his calculations he forgot to factor in the weight of the books, so when the library was complete and filled with its contents it began to sink.

Although it is an urban legend the story hosts a very important point – Never forget about the purpose.

For example, when I design a logo and the client wants something beautiful and creative, it is easy to get carried away with aesthetics and forget about the purpose of a logo.

A logo is an anchor point for your business and it can often be the first impression a customer has with your business. It needs to represent you, what you stand for, who you are, what you do and what makes you unique – and it needs to do this immediately.

Always keep in mind the purpose of what you are doing.

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Consistency is key

June 26, 2017

consistency - Aristotle

Consistent: acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.

Consistency is one of my favourite words in the English language. I live by it. Do not be fooled, consistent does not mean boring, it means recognition.

Imagine every time someone asked you your name, you give them a different name.

Eventually if you are in a group everybody will be a bit confused. More so if someone calls you on the street – how do you remember every name you gave to people? People know your name because it never changes. The conversation changes, how you look changes but your name remains consistent.

This word alone is my bible in graphic design – Consistency.

All elements for your brand need to marry. They need to tell the same story, send the same message and the public need to know it is you. Every element of your brand from your logo to signage to the message you send needs to be consistent.

Be different, be you but be consistent about it!

Paul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Finding your creativity

June 6, 2017

Recently my colleague Paul Wade wrote on our blog about how he deals with creative block. I’d like to share some of what I do to help push my creativity further.

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj

Firstly, in the words of Paul Smith, design is everywhere, and he’s right. It’s just a case of looking for it.

When I teach design to students in CIT, one of the first things I ask my students to do is to start looking at things with fresh eyes, to question what they have taken for granted, and to revisit and review things. For some it’s a difficult exercise, because you are asking people to essentially think in a way that they have never done before (right brain/left brain tasks).

Originally to help myself remember these things, I started carrying a small notebook around with me, and as I saw or found things that interested me I would document them, creating a reference library for myself that I could use.

Much of these (and I have many, some going back 25 years since I started college) are full of small scribbles, found objects and coded illustrations that mean nothing to anyone other than myself, but they give me ideas and help to jumpstart my thought process. Often the thought of a blank page can be the hardest start to a project, so these small seeds can frequently give me the start of something that turns into something else.

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj

The second thing that I would suggest that everyone would do, is to visit their local art gallery.

In a world of non-stop connectivity and “always-on”, taking a few minutes out of your week to allow you to clear your head is a generous gift to yourself, and one that can often push me into looking at things with a fresh perspective.

We are very fortunate to have a number of galleries in Cork, including the award-winning Glucksman on the grounds of UCC, and the Crawford Art Gallery towards the Opera House, both of which have a wonderful rotation of exhibitions, and in the case of the Crawford, a truly beautiful permanent collection.

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a lunchtime lecture by Dr. Michael Waldron in the Crawford where some of the lesser known secrets of some of the works were shared, opening up a completely new insight into these works, and how I now perceive them.

Frequently in graphic design, I like to challenge my clients, that while everything should have a meaning or at the very least, a rationale behind the design, that it’s not entirely necessary that every piece of design should bear its full credentials in a literal sense – ultimately, my thinking is that you don’t have to give everything away immediately, that people appreciate working for detail a little in design.

The other thing that I keep noticing, is that often in galleries, the art is as much the building as its contents.

JLM

Finally, I use photography – or, to be more honest, I use image making as possibly the most powerful avenue for creativity and to force myself to look at things differently.

The reason that I call it “image making” rather than photography is that I see the process of taking the photograph to be the first part in creating any image. Technically, I am a terrible photographer, I have little or no regard to F-stops or ISO numbers, and my tripod is wobbly no matter what I do with it. But I take the shots and process them, frequently (and much to the annoyance to “pure” photographers) through Photoshop and I achieve the results that I want.

More and more I find that the outlet for this creativity is Instagram.

I have a number of APPs on my phone that when used in combination with Instagram. allow me to create images that otherwise, may or may not exist when published online.

Instagram provides me a platform that allows me to share these images with other people, and with the tactical use of hashtags I can build a somewhat curated gallery, available to like-minded people.

My true purpose is that I can create a set of images that have come about through looking at a situation, and environment, a person or a puddle, and allow me to redefine this scene into something that I want it to be. In some cases this means that the neon strip of a petrol station canopy can become an abstract, surreal landscape, in others, it means that I can create a hero out of a basketball hoop, or a pushback tug in an airport..

By taking a new view of an object, you can create a world of questions, many which have no right or wrong answers.

What I find incredible about Instagram, is that once you ignore all of the gym bunnies, the endless selfies and dinner images, there is a community there who are appreciative, supportive and creative.

Over the past year, I have been fortunate to meet quite a few of this collective, and have found them utterly inspiring in how they see things. I have stood next to people, taken the same image on practically the same device, and created utterly different images.

I have learned how to approach subjects that I would have avoided (street photography still scares the hell out of me!), and I have participated in events, from 10 people wandering around UCC pointing phones at things, to the incredible 24 Hour Project where nearly 4000 people in 840 cities, across 112 countries posted an image an hour over a 24 hour period last April.

Have a look for #24hourproject and #24hourprojectCork on Instagram to see some of my work as well as that of others.

Being creative day in and day out is a demanding challenge (like many jobs!), but with a little bit of focus there are ways that you can allow your mind to wander in a constructive way, and hopefully help to boost the inspiration that really is everywhere!

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads the Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland 

 

Never, ever write a cheque to make yourself look bad!

May 16, 2017

James Bond Museum

I was doing a review of the marketing activities with a new home improvement client a few years back.

In the previous year, they had spent €15,000 on Google Adwords in the UK bringing the right search traffic to the website of their UK operation.

They weren’t convinced about how successful this investment was and they asked me to review the campaign.

The lack of success was simple to figure out because the €15,000 was being used to drive traffic to their website, which was outdated and made them look like an old fashioned, backwards operation. You could easily understand how this traffic was not converting because, like me, I am fairly sure that the people who looked at the website were not inclined to do business.

Not only were they wasting money but they were damaging their brand – an important and very simple SEO tip is to make sure you have a website that makes people want to do business with you!

My simple recommendation to them was to stop the campaign immediately, upgrade the website and then, and only then, start up the Google campaign again.

I was told that there was no budget for a new website and instead they decided to increase their Google Adwords budget in the hope that bringing, even more traffic would somehow improve the results they were getting from the previous campaign.

Whether it is..

– Advertising when your store is a mess
– Putting a cheap sign over your premises
– Paying for an advert and not designing it properly
– Getting cheap business cards
– Bringing traffic to an outdated website

..the message is always the same.

Never, ever, write a cheque to make yourself look bad.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

My Crash Course in PR, Marketing and Design

March 17, 2017

Work experience

As my two favourite subjects in school are business and art I had a bright idea to apply to a marketing company for my weeks work experience. I was delighted to see that Fuzion Communications accepted my proposal to follow the employees around for 4 days!

I expected to be photocopying, filing and making coffee, which of course I wouldn’t have minded doing, but to my pleasant surprise it was the opposite. I was being asked did I want coffee and tea!

My time in both the PR department and the design department were both equally enjoyable.

In the PR department I learned a lot about using social media and not just newspapers to advertise businesses. Also, how not only is the article important, but the headline and the photographs are equally vital to grasp the reader’s attention.

On the Wednesday, Saidhbh, one of the PR team kindly let me shadow her on one of her trips out to take pictures for their social media posts. It was extremely interesting to see the ins and outs of PR and its not easy!

From my observation humour and sarcasm are the most prominent features in the design department, along with skill of course!

They know the computer keyboard like the back of their hand, they can also make a picture taken by a two year old look like a Caravaggio painting. The Photoshop tutorials were one of my favourite activities of the week.

Although I wouldn’t have the best IT background, with help from instructions and annoying Jonathan, the head of the design department with many questions, I wasn’t as shocking as I thought I would be at them.

I can safely say that this was much better than going back to my old primary school and looking after screaming children for a week even though that was also very eventful.

My experience here was great and much appreciated.

Kate D'ArcyKate

Kate D’Arcy, Transition Year Student

Twitter: @katedarcy1469

Well done to the very enthusiastic and lovely Kate who was a pleasure to have in the office for the week and a credit to her parents and her teachers. She rose to the challenge of writing a blog post that I put to her.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service national agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Creative block

February 26, 2017

 

Fuzion - Creative block infographic

Creative block– It, quite simply, sucks!

Not just for creative people, we all encounter that mental block in life at some stage. For some reason you do not know how to take the next step. Being a graphic designer, creative block is a demon I know all too well. Something you do for a living, that comes naturally to you all of a sudden is the most frustrating thing in the world.

Facing the issue over and over again throughout my career, I came up with little things to try and break the barrier. I cannot guarantee that any of these will work but what I can always recommend is get up, go out, take a short walk, grab a coffee – just take a few minutes!

Hopefully you will unblock the block..

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Boojum Mania

February 6, 2017

Boojum van in Cork

Our client Boojum is due to open in Cork this week…and the excitement is Cork is well and truly building.

Late last month the Boojum team came to town and caused a major buzz as they travelled around in their branded cars filled with Boojum goodies.

While I knew Boojum was popular I didn’t quite realise how popular it was and how much people wanted it to open in Cork!

I can’t believe the buzz and anticipation in Cork City for the award winning Mexican restaurant to open its doors. With stores already in Belfast, Dublin and Galway, Cork will be the first new city for Boojum in 4 years, and their 3rd new store to open in the past 12 months.

Boojum addict t-shirts have become a highly coveted item belonging only to the most loyal of customers and Boojum Cork have commissioned special edition t-shirts especially for the Cork customers designed (and modelled!! See below) by our very own Paul Wade in our Fuzion design department.

Boojum t-shirt modelled by Paul Wade, Fuzion Design

Since they were revealed we have been inundated with calls from people looking to get their hands on one.

The t-shirts will be available exclusively from Boojum Cork so keep an eye on the Boojum Cork Facebook and Twitter accounts where they may just give away a t-short or two!

The new store, which will be located on 7 Winthrop Street, is approximately 2700 sq ft over 2 floors, seating 50 people.

Will one of these be you?!!

Edel Cox - FuzionEdel Cox is a Senior PR Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion Communications are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Two heads are better than one!

February 1, 2017

A few years ago I worked in a company where I was the only designer.

This was nice in a few ways – I had creative control over everything and there is a lot of satisfaction to be had from fixing a problem by yourself. But on your own you can only take things so far – there is always someone who will think of something you won’t, know something you don’t and see things from a different perspective.

This is something that Fuzion does incredibly well. Whether it is design or PR – everyone attends a brainstorm.

Every idea passes through many minds, gets questioned, gets analysed, gets pushed. For an idea to be truly great, it needs to travel different avenues. Even if the idea comes back to where it started, it needs to make the journey. I genuinely believe some of the ideas the team have come up with could not have been created by a single person, but needed a group to help them develop and grow.

I am a big fan of brainstorming. Check out some ideas I use whether in a group or on my own:

Fuzion Brainstorming Inforgraphic

Paul Wade - Fuzion Graphic DesignPaul Wade

Paul Wade is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion Communications who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Fuzion Fast!

December 11, 2016

Mad Men

Hello!

My name is Marianne and I’m the Intern. It’s been 4 months since I started at Fuzion and the time has literally flown. That’s a common theme in Fuzion. I call it Fuzion Fast!!

One dreary Thursday morning after trawling online looking for work in graphic design I decided to narrow my search. I typed in ‘marketing’ ‘PR’ ‘design’ and came across Fuzion. Their work spoke for itself but it was really the Fuzion blog that held my attention.

I spent an hour reading entries by everyone who worked there, the tone of each one was warm and friendly and personable. I fired off a quick email, asking if they had any intern vacancies with only the smallest hope that I would hear back. 3 whole minutes later I got an email, from the co-founder herself who informed me they had a vacancy and that the Creative Director would be in touch. 8 minutes after that email I had an interview date for the following Monday afternoon. The Friday after I had a job offer.

Fuzion Fast!

At this stage I should point out that although I’ve just graduated, I returned to college as a mature student. Before that I had a steady career in Human Resources and experienced the usual highs and lows that working life entails.

What I found working at Fuzion was a new experience. Perhaps it’s because it’s a smaller company than I’ve worked in before but that still doesn’t necessarily explain the sense of comradery that I’ve found there.

Everyone supports each other and most of all the client is King (or Queen!). There are times when pure alchemy is at play as we literally make miracles happen to meet the needs of our internal and external clients.

‘No’ is not part of the Fuzion vocabulary. Don’t get me wrong there are times when we’re under the pump and the vocabulary can get quite colourful but there’s always a workaround or alternative solution to any given problem.

I work with the graphic design team who are more affectionately known as the ‘Colouring In‘ team, which isn’t a fair assessment of what we do – we also outline!

No two days are the same and I’ve been lucky enough to work on a variety of projects that have actually seen the light of day and received some pretty positive feedback from my boss and from clients. Each day is a new learning experience and I’m even learning to overcome obstacles such as quick commands and working with a Mac (#PCGirl).

Not only am I learning about the design world but because of where I work there’s exposure in marketing, PR and social media activities that are current and exciting and ultimately about people which is what Fuzion is all about.

My favourite weekly event is our ‘brainstorm’ meeting that gives everyone an opportunity to throw ideas into the pot about upcoming projects. No idea is a stupid idea. Even the humblest idea gets a hearing and can start a whole other conversation that might trigger a fantastic marketing or branding concept.

The experience is the closest analogy to any episode of Mad Men except that it’s lead by a larger stronghold of women and far less alcohol than you’d think!

As I sign off I’m reminded that 2016 is coming to a close and our Christmas party is about to begin. Of course it’s a Fuzion party and our pre-dinner hi-jinks will begin after lunch with what I am told are some fun and games to get us into the festive spirit.

I’m not sure what to expect which is par for the course but I’m hoping it’s the one time of the year that’s not so Fuzion Fast.

Marianne

Marianne Tierney is part of the Graphic Design team at Fuzion who have offices in Dublin and Cork

Offset 2016 and ones boy’s obsession with design

April 18, 2016

Offset 2016

If you know me, then great… if not, here are a few starter points:

This post is like me, it requires a bit of work. You’ll have to click links. You’ll have to forgive my overuse of exclamation marks, parentheses and the Oxford comma. And possible bad language that I wouldn’t even dream of using in the company of my mother, or even more, your mother. There may be mentions of testicles (all relevant). And finally, like a goldfish needs water, I need design.

Some people watch football. Others collect stamps. Some people go train-spotting.

Me? I look at design.

It started in 1990, when Mr Nott, my art teacher recognised that I was pretty rubbish at art, but I knew vaguely how to construct things into an order that conveyed a logical sense of information. I could tell a visual story. And he showed me some work that wasn’t art, but was artistic. It was creative, it was design.

From here I figured out what I needed to do to get into college and onto a design course (mostly fail all my Pre’s in the pursuit of the perfect portfolio of 18 year old rubbish art samples that showed the slightest glimmer of hope), and over the course of many years, of different directions, of false starts, and hard, hard work, I made it!

I graduated with a degree in design, and I got a job. But since the early 90’s I’ve watched television with an eye for fonts, I’ve read newspapers with more of an eye on the layouts than the stories, and I’ve bought countless books for the covers, never ever opening them or reading the content.  

But the thing about design is – or at least was – that it was largely something that you read about in Creative Review, or Eye, and marvel at. Then the Internet happened (yes, I am that old) and a community of discussion & sharing grew where we could discover things that we’d read about them, and see more, see similar and learn more. But there was a disconnect.

What could you do with that sort of lust from a distance?

Offset 2

Offset

I don’t remember my first Offset. I just remember being mind-blown by talent, passion and determination. But I remember being in the same room as some of the people who inspired me to create, to learn, to try and try harder. I remember that sense of astonishment that someone on a stage in front of me was the person who designed something that I’d known for years and wanted to know more about.

Remember your first concert? – it’s a bit like that.  

And 5 years later, it’s all there again. that sense of bewildering, confusing, heartbreaking brilliance, where someone describes the experiences of their professional journey and the highs and lows of being a creative.

Looking back at my notes from this year, I sat through 21 hours over three days of talks by my peers, and here is a small selection of those who, as a friend of mine so eloquently described as “not so much having lit a fire inside me, more created an inferno” of wanting this more, and more, and more.

Shred of Decency

Rothco, one of Ireland’s foremost advertising agencies spoke about their structure of gangs – a less Marketing-Speak term for ‘teams’. But despite the BS, they shared their process (anyone can bring anything to any department at any time), and the creative freedom that failing and mistakes bring. And their genuine elation of being part of the defining moment that the Yes campaign helped bring to a New Ireland last year, through their involvement in their Shred of Decency campaign (see more about it here: https://rothco.ie/rothco-daintree/ or here: https://vimeo.com/124607988)

Also, their honesty in bringing a stick and a football and combining that with the incorrect use of a bus companies logo and just how on the edge of fresh underpants they all were while presenting was refreshing (this is the result: https://twitter.com/NetworkNoel )

20 euro note

Robert Ballagh told us how he sold his bass to Ireland’s first black man, and started painting, ‘cos “He thought he could”, and my admiration for him, and his talent multiplied by a huge degree. There’s a piece of his work on display in Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery – go and see it, and sure if you have ever held the last issued £20 punt note with Daniel O’Connell on it, then you’ve handled a masterpiece. 

Mr. Bingo

Closing the first day was the unstoppable Mr. Bingo. A force in modern post social-media dynamics, and a vocabulary coarser than even mine, he was a master class in rejecting the approach that everyone else follows and carving a path that others couldn’t dream of.

Go to his website and click on the link about him working for free. You may know him from his hair portraits (http://www.mr-bingo.org.uk/index.php?/latest/hair-portraits/ ) but what you really should know about him is his wonderful Hate Mail project, and the insanely brilliant kick-starter project that he ran to fund the book of Hate Mail.

Click here at your peril!

Day two started well, the Assemble Studio of architects/creatives/disruptives who explained how, well, if you want to do something, then do it. They made me think of space (not the thing with worm-holes and Wookies in it, but the immediate area that surrounds each and everyone of us) and how we accept what is “our” space, and how we use it.

And then the day went batshit crazy!!

Jonathan Barnbrook

Piranha Bar, Jonathan Barnbrook and GMunk arrived on stage, one after another to literally shake the bejesus out of us.

Suffice to say this, Piranha Bar’s new film “Doom Newt” looks on fire, and their approach to doing what they want, because that’s why, reinforced so much of my own thinking. Barnbrook has had the enviable position of being the late David Bowie’s graphic designer.

His work on ★ was an eye opening 40 minute talk of working with a genius. Plus his work on the brilliant Adbusters from the 90’s was phenomenal. And then there was GMunk. I’d seen a bunch of his work over the past few years, not knowing who had done it.

At this point of the day I was pretty tired, but he bounded onto the stage, and it was like a missile going off in a fireworks factory, in about 50 minutes, blasting us through his ‘8 Pearls of Wisdom’. Click here for a slightly older version of this talk. I will never do him justice so take a long lunch and watch all 68 minutes of this, I promise that you’ll clap at your screen at the end.

The motion control projection mapping in was utterly incredible (it’s called ‘The Box’ and it’s at 28.28 in the link above), and the work on the Windows 10 and Adobe Brands is jaw dropping.

Una Burke

Sunday was wrapped up beautifully by the Studio Dunbar people, talking about (amongst other things) the misappropriation of their work for the Dutch Police, Una Burke (image above – Big Shout Out to the LSAD graduates! High Five!) spoke about how fortunate (its not luck, she’s bust her chops to get where she is) she’s been in the fashion industry.

Ok, there’s been a bit of luck but also that research is a key part of any project and how it influences your decisions and end goals.

mcBess

mcBess, a French illustrator brought a wonderfully cynical sense of humour to his talk, complete with highly inspirational quotes (“I like to draw” mcBess, 2009,”) and some great illustrations to illuminate his quotes

So what did I learn?

..so much. but I’ll try to wrap it up like this:

  1. Fail, but learn from your failings.
  2. Collaborate. More often than not someone else may bring something to the table that shakes things up for the best.
  3. Be brave. Take your hands out of your pockets, and run through nettles. People will admire you.
  4. Check your testicles. Check any outsourced work for testicles. And grow some testicles. Three different speakers mentioned testicles, and in more ways that you can imagine, this may have been the most important lesson for all of us to take away.
  5. Reference, catalogue, credit.
  6. Always try to reinvent yourself. Stay fresh.
  7. I need to design.

Bonus learning: Gifs. No matter how much we are told, it’s impossible to pronounce it Jifs. Even if 2016 was the year that gifs were in every presentation.  

Phew…see you next year

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj - FuzionJonathan

Jonathan Leahy Maharaj leads our creative Graphic Design Department in Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin, Ireland 


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