Inspiration: Design Ideas For New Projects

It can sometimes be difficult for graphic designers to find inspiration for new clients – especially when it is an industry you have not explored much in the past and have little knowledge about.

Looking for inspiration for your graphic designs can also be a time-consuming task and eat into your fee. Sometimes it’s a better option to think abstract and see what surfaces. Here are some ideas we’d like to throw into the ether. See how these work out for you.

Use geometric shapes

geometricGeometric patterns are nature’s own design. There are five principle shapes from which all other patterns can be made from – square, circle, triangle, cross and spiral. Because they are natural patterns and often symmetrical, the human eye instinctively finds them appealing and they communicate to the subconscious.

If you are designing a logo, always use geometric shapes. These are the building blogs to the most effective logos – which is why all the major companies use geometric shapes, usually inspired by the artwork of ancient alchemists.

Designs from world cultures

Design concepts inspired form other parts of the world can do wonders for your graphic designs. Some people will be drawn to a symbol from another culture because they are familiar with, whilst others may be curious to know what it is. Other cultures can appear exotic and intriguing.

When you are using symbols and cultural visuals from other nations, you do have to be careful to avoid stereotypes or use the symbol out of context or it could offend people of the host nation – and cultural appropriation is hot gossip that can reflect negatively on a brand.

The stitch-in-text effect

stitched-effectIf you need to go for a modern design that requires an edge of sophistication, but appeals to a wide audience, the life-like features of the stitch-in-text works very well. You do need to choose this design wisely though.

It obviously works well with fashion, but may be considered too cliché or even a clash, so why not use it more artistically and create a brand label for a client you can imagine wearing on your clothes as a statement of expression such as a food item or sport – something that represents a person’s identity. To design a stitch-in-text check out this tutorial.

Transparent backgrounds

We’re big fans of transparent backgrounds. They are a cheat sheet for making bright and busy designs look less confusing and easier on the eye. When images are feature-rich and overwhelming, they need toning out a little.

For example, let’s say your client wants a colourful floral arrangement in the background or multiple items that cause visual chaos. These type of feature-rich displays can be masked over by using a semi-transparent second layer. It doesn’t hide the main features, but tones down the glare.

If you do need inspiration for your graphic designs on a regular basis, we recommend checking out Pinterest – and if you want to follow particular designers you feel drawn towards, check out these tips from the guys over at canva.

Photoshop Tips for Lighting Effects

Effective lighting on digital images can have a massive impact on an audience. And Photoshop is a great tool that gives designers numerous options of creating stunning lighting effects that give images visual dynamics.

Lighting plays a vital role in artwork and helps the finished product look visually engaging and feel more alluring. Whether you are using lighting to enhance images, highlight features or just tie a piece together, here are a few ideas you might like to try out.

3-cosmic-lightsLight Streaks

Light streaks have a real digital, futuristic feel to them. They are also versatile and can add drama to images, or when used more subtly will draw attention to detail that you want the viewer’s eye to catch.

All you do to add light streaks is select the pen tool and draw a path for where you want the lines to go. You can find a full explanation for how to include light streaks in your image designs in this tutorial.

Eclipse effectsolar-eclipse

When you want to include a design that is out of the world, the classic eclipse effect is a great choice. Mesmerising, impressive and just downright cool, the eclipse effect is a great design skill to perfect.

The process of designing an eclipse effect may be a little more complicated than other lighting options you have in Photoshop, but for dedicated professional and curious learners, it is worth the effort. Check out this tutorial to learn how.

cool_space_lighting_effect_by_drkzin-d4b9ju8Space lighting effects

If you want to take the space theme one step further then check out these amazing ideas for inspiration. With little application, designers can create images from outer space and design any world you can imagine.

Photoshop enables designers to create planets, exploding nebulas, star systems and any other intergalactic image you like. If you really want to impress your audience, space lighting effects work a treat.

Luminescent lines

Luminescent linesAnybody that has used a computer is probably familiar with the luminescent lines on screensavers, but designers can put them to much better use by including them in ads or on web designs.

Glowing energy lines give glossy ads a powerful effect that make the image stand out and guides the eyes of the viewers to the features you want them to notice. Luminescent lines are an effective mechanism and not difficult to produce in Photoshop.

Abstract lightingAbstract lighting

An engaging background adds depth to your designs and abstract lighting effects can enhance artwork in various ways. By using Photoshop’s brush tool designers can create an illusion that inspires, excites and intrigues.

There are many ways to design abstract effects in Photoshop and you will find lots of tutorials and ideas to get you started around the internet.

The ideas above are just a few snippets of inspiration you can get for lighting up your next Photoshop design. Although many of the examples are intended to be eye-catching, it is worth noting that using lighting effects serve a function, so use lighting appropriately to enhance artwork, and not destroy it.

The Power of the Polka Dot in Graphic Design

Of all the patterns that appear in graphic design, the polka dot is one of the most versatile, eye-catching and has stood the test of time. After first appearing in the world of fashion in the mid-19th century, this spotty design has been used in countless art and graphic design works, adding visual interest, fun and a quirky touch to all of them.

In fact, the polka dot is so iconic that many artists and designers have based entire series and brands around the aesthetic, creating iconic works in the process.

article-0-0F6B384B00000578-786_634x428Damien Hirst

One of the most famous British artists of all time Damien Hirst has used the polka dot in some of his most instantly recognisable works. Known as the ‘Spot Paintings’, the simplicity of Hirst’s pieces have inspired countless artists and graphic designers and have created a brand new aesthetic all of their own.

Cath Kidston

Cath-Kidson

One of the most famous contemporary designers around, Cath Kidston has taken full advantage of the creative potential of polka dots in designs across her collection.

By using polka dots to add interest and character to the background of her designs, Kidston has managed to create a unique aesthetic and an instantly recognisable brand. Even when the dots themselves are replaced with flowers or birds, the regular intervals and geometry of the underlying polka dot design still helps to unify the piece and make it stand out.

Roy Lichtenstein

roy1By appropriating an aesthetic first used by comic books, Roy Lichtenstein took the polka dot to brand new heights. Working in the 1960s Lichtenstein helped to bring the pop art movement to prominence, create a unique and iconic aesthetic of his own as he went.

Work inspired by Lichtenstein can be seen across the web, with thousands of websites, products, apps and logos bearing elements of his ideas.

She Who Bakes

Another fine example employing the power of the polka dot (if we do say so ourselves) is She Who Bakes. Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 14.42.02 Designed by the creative cats at Clockwork Moggy, the site uses elements of pop art to create a striking aesthetic. The monochrome polka dot background helps the content to jump off the page, giving the site a strong identity and an instantly recognisable look.

Inspired by the strong personality of the site, and the artistic preferences of the client, the look of the site combines classic elements of pop art and contemporary digital design.

To find out more about our designs and the work we do, have a look around our site or get in touch with one of the members of our creative team.

Graphic Design and the Oscars

The Oscars is arguably the biggest show in show business. With its A-list line up, glamorous ceremony and legendary status, the awards show attracts a global audience of around one billion.

With such an iconic reputation to live up to, it’s no wonder that the tech team behind the Oscars put a huge amount of effort into creating the graphics for the show. In 2015, the intros for the awards categories were one of the highlights of the event, with all of them perfectly designed to show off the nominations in each category.

The importance of intro sequences

As we saw in 2015, Oscar intro sequences are a fantastic way to set up a category and get the audience excited by the nominations. The creative genius behind many of last year’s best intro sequences was Englishman Henry Hobson. A graphic designer who’s worked on the past eight Oscars broadcasts, Hobson has a lot of experience when it comes to creating eye-catching images for star studded events.

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Having worked on the Oscars in various capacities for so many years, and having watched the role of graphic design slowly evolve and develop within the awards show, Hobson has now taken on an overall design role, helping to bring unity to the title sequences and create spectacular intros.

In fact, the role of graphics within The Academy Awards has now grown so much that the show employees three designers, two illustrators and twelve animators as well as Hobson, showing just how important the aesthetics of these sequences are.

Hobson’s main goal in creating intro sequences has been to reflect the nominees and the category he’s representing within the graphics themselves. By incorporating the films into the sequence in this way, Hobson has managed to create a unique aesthetic and title sequences that get the audience genuinely excited.

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Graphic design and the Oscars

Considering how important graphic design is to the Oscars, and the movie industry in general, it’s surprising that the medium is only now beginning to receive the attention it deserves.

Though film posters, title sequences and fonts have long been iconic to the movie going public, the industry itself is yet to acknowledge graphic design with an Oscar of its own. Until they do, designers will have to make do with stealing the show at the Oscars and using the Academy Awards to showcase the incredible work they do.

Best of Festive Design

From Christmas cards to festive decorations and winter getaways to special promotions, this time of year has always been an important one for sales and marketing. As a result, a huge amount of brochures, posters, greetings cards and websites are made especially for the Christmas period, with designers working throughout the summer and autumn months to create those perfect pieces.

As Christmas imagery has been used, reused and then used some more over the years, coming up with original and exciting festive design isn’t always easy. Luckily, there are a few inventive minds out there pushing at the boundaries of Christmas aesthetics, creating stand out printed and digital designs as they go.

Christmas cards

christmas-card-designs-2aWith around a billion Christmas cards sent every year in the UK, coming up with a design that’s new, exciting and innovative is almost impossible.

These customisable cards from David Papov are notable for their minimalism, bright, bold colours and eye-catching design. Perfect for families who want their cards to stand out from the crowd and for businesses looking for a festive message with a difference, these contemporary cards will help you to send your Christmas greetings in style.

 

 

Festive emails

With a number of businesses choosing to convey their Christmas message via email, there are a variety of interesting and eye-catching designs and templates available online.

To make the most of this digital medium, a lot of companies choose to include a discount code or limited time offer with their festive email. The perfect way to drive traffic to a site and promote customer good will, including a Christmas offer in your festive email campaign could help you to make this year your most successful yet.

 

Magazines and brochures – Festive Design

a598ef22381123.56045f468240aMost magazines and brochures get a festive makeover at this time of year. Helping to get readers into the holiday spirit and encourage a bit of festive spending, these Christmas covers help to boost sales and good will.

The cover of the Washington Post’s Art & Style Magazine is a good example of innovative Christmas design. By putting a twist on classic images and colours, the designers have managed to create a cover that’s instantly festive while at the same time exhibiting some outstanding design credentials.

 

 

Offering designers the perfect chance to flex their creative muscles and let their imaginations for your festive design run wild, the Christmas period is the perfect time to show off innovative print and digital design. To find out more, get in touch with a member of the Clockwork Moggy team today.

Trends in Fonts and Typography in 2015

Whether you notice it or not, typography is an integral part of your internet experience. Every website you navigate to has chosen its font for a reason, with every embellishment, adaptation and innovation designed to influence your impression of the site and affect the way you think about the brand.

As with any kind of design, typography styles change over time. To make sure that your website and printed materials are contemporary and on trend, take a look at the most influential typography trends of 2015.

Handwritten Fonts

Though handwritten fonts have been around for a while, 2015 has seen a big increase in their use and popularity.

KR final logoRGB

Logo Design for Katharine Roberts by Clockwork Moggy

Perfect for startups, small independent businesses and larger companies trying to create a more personal feel, hand written fonts are best suited to titles, headings and other small segments of texts and when matched with a hand drawn logo or icon can look spectacular.

Dramatic Fonts

Though many designs rely on images and graphics to create eye-catching looks for their sites, type can also be used to great effect when building a dramatic and arresting design.

Candy inc. final-RGB

Logo Design for Candy Inc by Clockwork Moggy

Large, oversized text and fonts that have been adapted to suit the context of the site and the client company are fantastic for creating drama and visual interest using text alone.

Photo Overlays

As the internet becomes more photo and video heavy, increasing numbers of designers and web designs are creating home pages that are built around a single image.

isurfnl-2

This is example is from a Dutch wind surfing website (http://www.isurfnl.com/)

Typography is then used over that image to create a striking, simple design with a huge amount of impact.

Back to basics

As well as beautifully embellished fonts and intricate headings, we’ve also seen a move towards a more basic typography style throughout 2015. Using strong, simple lines and clear, concise fonts, designers have been creating a range striking typefaces with a unique graphic element.

camilla-seton-portfolio

Logo Design for Camilla Seton By Clockwork Moggy

 

Perfect for modern companies and businesses that want their site to look a bit different, this look is one that’s set to grow in popularity throughout the coming months.

Vintage Type

The use of vintage type has increased considerably over the last few years. Full of character and with a distinct quirky touch, this kind of type is ideal for companies that want to connect with their audience and show that they have the personal touch.

As a central part of any digital or print design, typography needs to be selected carefully and thoughtfully. To find out more about choosing the perfect font for your next project, talk to a friendly member of the Clockwork Moggy team today.

 

 

Positive Reactions to Negative Space Logos!

Whether you run a business, charity or a social network, your logo is one of the most important parts of your branding.

We all know that a good logo should be eye-catching, memorable and communicate something about the personality or character of the business that it’s representing. A nifty way to achieve all of these goals, while keep your logo looking sleek and professional is to utilise the negative space in the design. Effectively doubling the communicative power of a logo, negative space holds a huge amount of potential for forward thinking graphic designers and creative companies.

 

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What is Negative Space Logo Design?

When creating a logo using negative space, a designer will use the alternative colour in a graphic to create dual images and representations of a product or service.

Less obvious than traditional logo design, negative space techniques are often only noticed at second glance and will force the viewer to think twice about a company’s logo.

In black and white logos, designers will often use the empty white space to cut out images and shapes from the black part of the graphic in order to create a more interesting, meaningful and individual design. The American Institute of Architects Centre is a great example of making the most of monochrome and uses negative design to transform the teeth of a key into a city skyline.

Why is Negative Space Logo Design effective?

Negative space design is effective for a number of reasons, and up there on the list of why designers love the look it creates – it allows designers to combine a relatively simple graphic with an intricate and clever cut out element.

By making a logo simple and complex at the same time, negative space can help a business to create an eye-catching and memorable design while giving them the space to add a bit of style and personality to the graphic. The result is often more subtle and more stylish than other types of logo design, helping to bring more of the company’s character into their branding.

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Who uses Negative Space Logo Design?

Negative space logo design is suitable for businesses in a range of industries from all walk of business life. From organisations like The Guild of Food Writers and the famous Panda at WWF, to businesses like Spartan Golf and Yoga Australia, the technique has been used by organisations around the world to add an interesting, intelligent and alternative element to their logo design.

If you’d like to give your logo a lift using negative space design, or you just want to find out a little bit more about logo design, get in touch with the team at Clockwork Moggy today.

We All Go Loco For Logos

A logo is incredibly important for any company. Appearing on everything from the website to promo pens, a logo helps to define a business, create its identity and build its brand. Logos are so important there has even been a best-selling board game made in their honor and some committed consumers even branding themselves with tattoos of their favourite brands!

However, despite the fact that most good logos are incredibly simple, creating a stand out design can be tough. If you’re starting a brand new business or you’re giving your brand a face-lift, let’s take a look at what makes a logo eye-catching, attractive and instantly recognisable.

Simple

2000px-Logo_NIKE.svg Apple-logo McDonald's_Golden_ArchesWWF_logo.svg

 

From Nike’s iconic ‘Swoosh’ to the ubiquitous golden arches of MacDonalds and from Apple’s partially eaten fruit to the WWF’s enigmatic panda, the best logo designs are often the simplest.

Clear, concise graphic designs are easy to recognise, easy to replicate and easy to spot from a distance. This makes them ideal logos as they communicate quickly and effectively with your target audience, acting as a calling card for your business and helping to strengthen your brand identity.

If you can’t find a graphic that suits your brand, you could consider a type-based design. Companies like Fed Ex, CNN and Disney have all created effective logos using a unique font.

Timeless

Unless you want to rebrand your business every few years, you need your logo to be as timeless as possible.

Try to avoid any unnecessary flourishes, design fads or clichés, sticking instead to clean lines, a few select colours and a clear message.

This also applies to the typeface you use for your logo. If you’re creating a font from scratch, make sure you make it clean and simple. Typographic trends come and go and something that’s fashionable now may well look dated in a few years time.

If you don’t have the time or expertise to create your own font, you can use an existing typeface and adapt it to suit your brand.

Appropriate

Creating an eye-catching, timeless design is just half the battle. In order for your logo to be truly effective, it also needs to relate to your business.

Before you start designing your logo, sit down with your colleagues or collaborators and make a list of your business’ most important qualities and associations. Use these as a starting point for your logo design, incorporating your ideas into the finished result.

If you need a little more inspiration to create your perfect look just take a look at the logos of some of the brands that you know and love. And for a bit of fun, challenge yourself to this logo quiz and see how well you know some of the most famous brands around, based on their deconstruction logos.

Let us know how you get on and see if you’re a logo legend or more of a logo loser!

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