Tag Archives: Graphic Design

Facebook Page within a Facebook Page within a Blog Post

I’ve recently created a Facebook page for I Kern’t Stand It. Yeah…I’m shamelessly promoting it. You gotta’ problem with that??

I found a fantastic Facebook page about building a following on your Facebook page. This is getting a bit like Inception…a blog post about a Facebook page about a Facebook page.

I don’t want to be too harsh because this page has some really, really good content—25 Ways to Grow Your Facebook Fan Page. But I just can’t let the main picture escape its well deserved critique. This is an atrocity that can’t be ignored.

What's your social net worth

Not quite sure why her legs have been chopped off…Call me superficial but levitating torsos creep me out.

If I could summarize everything that’s wrong with this design into one word, it would undoubtedly be PAPYRUS!

On my very first blog post, I used this “lovely” graphic to express the essence of Papyrus:

words of the na'vi

If you want to be a good designer—or just a decent citizen—there are three principles that should be practiced at all times.

1. Never use Papyrus.
2. Never use Comic Sans.
3. Use drop shadows sparingly and with the subtlety of a cat burglar.

Papyrus

In a very early post, I explained kerning—hence the name of my blog. Kerning is the space between the individual letters.

Papyrus

That’s a lot of freaking space!

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Filed under Art, Branding, Business, Critique, Graphic Design, SEO, Social Media, Typography, Web Design

Addicted to Pawn

Boy, I was careful with my spelling when I Googled these shows.

Pawn Stars

Honestly, this isn’t a bad design. It clearly communicates the essence of the show and clearly targets a particular demographic. It has enough mystery to attract new viewers and it clearly states when the show is being televised without distracting the viewer from the focal point.

So if this is a good design, why is it on my blog?

At first, I thought the network had simply recycled an idea. (Hollywood has been known to do that on occasion.)

But then I realized that these are on two completely different networks—Pawn Stars is on the History Channel and Hardcore Pawn is on truTV.

So my question is, how the heck is this not blatant intellectual property theft?

Hardcore Pawn

Come on guys…really? REALLY?!

Because I haven’t seen the shows, my critique can’t rightfully go beyond the designs. However, this guy on imdb.com seems to have summarized it quite well.

imdb.com

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Filed under Advertising, Apple, Branding, Critique, Graphic Design

Flick Quarterback?

I’m going to make this post short and sweet. Today is a fairly big day for football. Not for me…I suppose I’m just weird. But for most Americans, it’s a big deal today.

A good friend sent this to me a few months ago via Twitter. I thought this would be a good day to share.

“I found a design mistake. Something you shouldn’t do. Tell me if you spot it.”

NFL

I assume professional football players wear a cup but there still has to be some kind of penalty for flicking in that region.

Ouch.

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Branding, Graphic Design, Products

3 reasons why Kayla is wrong about design

You see the atrocities below this paragraph? A young lady named Kayla uses these as examples of why “design is not all that it is made out to be”. Her argument: these ugly, yet successful sites prove design is unimportant.

Chris Guitars

Chris Guitars is a discount guitar site. Here’s an older post from my blog that will explain why a an inexpensive company needs an inexpensive looking brand.

MMFOB blog

This “successful” blog doesn’t seem to exist anymore…

Plenty of Fish

Yeah, this isn’t exactly sexy, but it isn’t horrid. Besides, check out their updated brand:

POF

This is a decent leap forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if sales have increased.

Wikipdedia

Wikipedia is the epitome of a content heavy site. The entire concept is based on the encyclopedia, right? For a site that is driven by seemingly infinite content and links, this is excellent design.

Google

Okay, does Kayla own a Delorean with a flux capacitor? Where in the world did she find this image of Google? Is this from 2000? This example doesn’t count.

Kayla, like many other people, thinks design is purely aesthetic—a designer just makes stuff look good. Allow me to rebuttal and explain that design is so, so, so much more than making stuff look good.

3 reasons why Kayla is wrong about design:

1. Good Design is clear communication. If the target demographic has to spend time deciphering, the designer has failed.

The documentary Helvetica features a “designer” (note sarcasm) named David Carson. By the way, Mr. Carson…your site looks like a myspace page from 2004. You might want to do something about that.

In the 80’s he worked for an experimental magazine called Ray Gun Magazine. His claim to fame was that he took an article and published it in Zapf Dingbats (or the 1980’s equivalent to the typeface), which was impossible to read.

Let me demonstrate what Zapf Dingbats is:

helvetica

Obviously, an article published in Zapf Dingbats is bad design.

In my overwhelmingly humble opinion (ahem), this guy was just lucky. He’s not a designer. He was just an edgy artist in an edgy decade—the 80’s.

2. Good design is persuasive. My business partner and I had a meeting with a marketer last week. We discussed how design and marketing go hand-in-hand. The three of us completely agreed that if a pretty design doesn’t improve sales…it’s a failure.

Good design improves sales for the client. It has a call to action for the client’s target demographic. It persuades the reader to do something.

Bottom line: it persuades people to do what you want them to do. (Sounds a bit manipulative, huh? Mwahahahahaha.)

3. Good design is good SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely crucial. I’ve read many, many articles, ebooks, blogs, etc. on SEO. In a nutshell, a site with good SEO will appear on the top of a Google search.

I have a friend who is really getting in photography, let’s call him George Georgeson. I explained to him that he would be at the top of the search if someone Googled George Georgeson photography NYC. But good SEO would put him at the top of the list if someone simply Googled photographer NYC.

Keep in mind that I’m giving an overly simplified definition of SEO.

You want to be at the top of the first page on Google. It’s a very, very lucrative place to be and it’s very, very exclusive. If you’ve made it to the second page, it’s bad design. That’s like being in the front of the line at the hip club that won’t let anyone else in.

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Filed under Advertising, Art, Branding, Business, Critique, Graphic Design, SEO, Web Design

Photo Manipulation and Politics

With 2012 being an election year, you tend to see a LOT of political ads. A. Lot.

It’s always intriguing to see how the media portrays certain politicians—particularly the president. Take Obama, for example.

Here’s the iconic design from his campaign that was designed by Shepard Fairey. I think everyone in the western world knows this one:

(P.S. if you haven’t seen Exit Through the Gift Shop by Banksy, it is absolutely worth watching. Shepard Fairey has some pretty cool segments in it.)

Shepard Fairey

It’s interesting that we’ve gone from this in 2008…

Barak Obama

…to this:

Barak Obama

Interesting, right?

From a design perspective, Obama was an icon for hope, change and progress. He was contemporary. He was modern.

But now…well, now all I see is a scary goblin-like being that lurks in the shadows. It’s as if he’s in between the stages of Smeagol and Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

And what about Bush? For eight years, all I saw was this:

George W. Bush

George W. Bush

Duuuuh??

Until last summer when I saw the most heroic pose of Bush…ever. It was a subway ad for the National Geographic Channel. They were going to televise an unprecedented interview on Bush’s perspective of 9/11. (I’d still love to see that special, by the way.)

George W. Bush

By the way, photo manipulation isn’t reserved exclusively for politicians. Remember that crazy guy—OJ Simpson? Time magazine got into quite a bit of trouble for their photo manipulation. They added shadows and a vignette to make him appear more ominous.

OJ Simpson

So keep an eye out this year. There’s bound to be some photo manipulation.

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Filed under Art, Branding, Business, Critique, Graphic Design, Photo Manipulation

No, I’m not dead.

It has been a while since my last post (sorry about that). A good friend pointed out the irony  in saying, “Hey, I’m going to make shorter, more frequent blog posts” and then vanishing from the blogging world. You can see from her blog that she knows a thing or two about this whole “blogging thing”.

So why did I drop off the face of the earth? Well, I am building a company! It’s a tech startup called ThompsonParks. My business partner and I have been working on this for quite a few months now. I assure you, more information is to come about this wondrous LLC.

As for this blog, I thought to myself…do people really want to see a blog that is negative in nature? Bad design is ubiquitous…it’s already everywhere. Do people want a virtual hub for bad design?

So here’s what I Kern’t Stand It is going to do: Yes, it will still feature bad design. Yes, it will still make fun of it—mwahahahaha! However, being in the process of starting a company with a partner, I am constantly learning valuable information about design, web development, marketing, networking, etc. This blog is going to give you valuable information that comes from first hand entrepreneurial experience in New York City.

Let’s start with some tech news—a first for I Kern’t Stand It.

Every designer’s go-to example of excellent design is Apple. Steve Jobs’ death, though tragic, is old news. It’s irrefutable that he revolutionized several different industries. Think about it:

-The iPod: He changed the music industry.

-The iPhone: He changed the phone industry.

-Pixar: He changed the animation industry

-I think it goes without saying that he changed the computer industry.

My question is—will his legacy change Hollywood?

According to TechCrunch, Apple has saved up nearly $100 billion in CASH! That’s more than enough to buy Time Warner, Dreamworks (yes please!) and Viacom. And there’s speculation that they might just buy their way in to Hollywood.

Personally, I would love for Apple to buy Dreamworks and here’s why:

Dreamworks, though a good studio, has always been subpar to Pixar. I’ve always been a huge Pixar fan…but the last few years, they’ve been a little disappointing (I blame Disney). I mean, come one guys…what’s with all the sequels?? You used to be the imagination think tank of our generation. Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Monsters Inc. 2? I loved Toy Story 3 and everything but let’s try to have some original plots again. Piggy backing off of has-been successes isn’t in Pixar’s DNA. If you don’t believe me, watch The Pixar Story. They were highly intentional in re-creating themselves every time they made a new film (before Disney bought them out). That’s why they stood apart from their competition.

What do you guys think? If Apple bought Dreamworks, could they dethrone Pixar?

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Filed under Advertising, Apple, Art, Branding, Business, Graphic Design, Steve Jobs