studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Monday, March 26, 2007

School’s In Session

Even though I am no longer teaching graphic design, it remains my duty to educate the masses when necessary — consider me, if you will, a kindly Ambassador of Design. Today’s lesson is based on my escapades at Revelation Graphix’s website.

Never...ever...ever, use the word “graphix” – not even as a joke. If you choose to do this, you are a tool. When referring to design, there are only two acceptable variations, “graphic design” and “visual communication”, that’s it. It should be noted however, that if you claim to be a “visual communicator” to anyone outside of the field, they may stare as if maggots are crawling from your eye sockets. So for the sake of ease, lets just agree to use “graphic design”. Also, it is never acceptable under any circumstance, to vary the spelling of “graphic” or “design”. “Graphix”...NO! “Grafix”...Please Stop! “Dezine”...Where’s my X-acto knife! “Grafix Dezine”...Ask for a refund from whatever online design school you’ve been attending for the past six weeks, reunite with the members of your recently defunct high school band and move back in to your parents basement, placing the requisite KEEP OUT! sign on the door.

Avoid the use of absurd personal or company taglines. Taglines are not a necessity, but if you choose to have one, make sure it accurately represents you. Our friends at Revelation Graphix have chosen the tag, “The final chapter in graphic design”. Choosing to go in such a direction is downright ballsy. As a matter of fact, you should probably be inflicted with elephantiasis of the groin before selecting such an egotistical tag. What makes this decision infinitely worse, is that Revelation’s site design looks as if it was inspired by 1987, and not even the totally rad 1987. I suppose it is possible that Revelation Graphix had one of the first websites ever created for the Internet, thus appearing contemporary at the time, but failing to update in a 20-year span.

Outer space, lightning, comets and glowing swords are all splendid, but attempting to include them into your logo treatment can prove troublesome. On second thought, unless you are hired by a government weather or space agency, or you happen to be contacted by a sports team named the Comets or Excalibur, just avoid this kind of imagery altogether.

Your mission statement need not glow. I know Photoshop filters are a tempting treat, but save the glow for light-bulb icons or something “Xtreme”. Also, unless your company is named PIXAR, you might want to avoid using all of the following words in the same sentence: high-quality, professional, computer-generated, cutting-edge and high-intensity graphics — it just screams overcompensation. Imagine that guy at the end of the bar with one too many shirt buttons opened, revealing a tuft of chest hair and a cornucopia of gold jewelry. This mission statement screams, “That Guy!”

Be consistent. Every typographic virtuoso wants to show his or her skill, but remember uniformity. Visitors may become confused when you start them off with a little of this:

Then without warning, you decide to switch-it-up and hit them with some of this:

The goal should not be to blow your entire typographic wad on one project. Pick your poison, and stick with it. There will be plenty of future endeavors that will allow you to break-off a little somethin’, somethin’.

And Finally...

Use your site to show the breadth of your work. It is important as a designer to show the ability to problem-solve differently for each client. I know that most clients drool over concepts that involve, flames, fire and flaming-type, but sometimes you need to throw a monkey in the wrench. Instead of flames, you could try...Oh Hell, who am I kidding, flames are sweet! Who needs a concept, when you can just light the thing on fire? It is apparent that the student has schooled the master, lesson complete.

If you would like to see Revelation Graphix in person, below is the address (yes, that jumbled mess is really it), I am not going to link to the site for what should be obvious reasons:

It’s kind of sad really, they’ve only had 31 visitors since 1987 – that’s an average of 1.5 visitors per year. What’s even worse, I account for 5 of those 31 visits.

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