Some keys to great design

Creativity
• Fear is the greatest block to creativity. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Fail forward. Its better to fail while taking a risk than to succeed while playing it safe.

Ideation
• Graphic design is the visual communicate of a specific body of information to a specific group of people to achieve a specific result.
• Establish the creative strategy concept: destination, goal, result. Memorize it to stay on track.
• Determine the options available, then explore and select the most efficient.
• Designers don't deal with reality, they deal with the viewer/target's perception of reality.

Problem solving
• The brain will solve any design problem, provided it has a thorough understanding of the problem, adequate information, strong motivation, and a valid deadline.
• Become an authority on the problem.
• Get to know the audience.
• Seek what the client really wants/needs, not what they say they want.
• Every design decision is a compromise, a balance between the familiar and the innovative.

Logo/identity
• Logos are identities, not ads.

Layout principles
• Alignment
• Proximity
• Contrast
• Repetition
More info at Design Components

Objectives
• Strive for clarity, not simplicity.
• Design solutions must be concept driven.
• Design solutions must also be content/message driven.
• Integrate type and image for effective comprehension.
• Successful work requires minimal education.

Effectiveness
• The specific purpose of advertising and graphic design is to change the target market's attitude about the subject.
• Attention to detail separates the good from the great designers.
• Use punctuation to aid comprehension.
• Order: 1) Legibility, 2) readability and, most important 3) comprehension.

Critiques
• About the work, not the person.
• Vista vision: get back from your work and see it with fresh eyes, to objectively spot its strengths and weaknesses.
• See the bigger picture the problem is a part of.
• Critique design work from the viewer's point of view.
• If a design element cannot be justified, one must get rid of it: it becomes clutter.
• Figure out what is working in the piece, enhance/exploit that and minimize the rest.

Technology
• Avoid being seduced by computer technology.
• The Macintosh computer is a wonderful tool, but it is not a crutch, an excuse, nor a designer.

Presentations
• Avoid: 'I feel" "I chose", etc. Keep personalities to a minimum: discuss the work as a strong solution to the problem, not a personal preference.
• Put a letter on letterhead comp, its the most important element.
• Show one comp, propose the very best option.
• Persuasive communication is achieved by providing strong rationale; using correct grammar and spelling; and being prepared, rehearsed, and able to think quickly.

Professional practice
• Interviewers look for a pleasant personality, intelligence, clear communication skills, innovative problem solving, a strong portfolio, and traditional and digital execution skills.

Ethics
• Provide fair value.
• Help improve the professionalism of the industry.

Designers
• Great designers have a passion for great solutions, courageously take risks, possess integrity and enthusiasm, think innovatively, and truly believe design is fun.

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