Skeuomorphic Design Trend

Skeuomorphic Design - UI Design Trend 2020

Welcome back Skeuomorphic Design! With the latest updates Apple has presented for iOS 14, and it's development of brand new application icon designs, you can be assured that skeuomorphic design is back for the second half of 2020.

What is skeuomorphic design?

Skeuomorphism is commonly a term used in UI design that describes objects / graphics that are similar to what you'd see in the real-world. What this entails is hyperrealistic shading and depth to the design, to make it look realistic. For example (and we all know the one), but the recycling bin icon is the perfect example showing depth when discarding unwanted files.

In contrast we've had the ever popular "flat design" which has been around for the last couple of years. Flat design refers to a design which doesn't have any depth, is one-dimensional and is created to look clean and simple. We also had the "long shadow" trend, which hung around for too long, also.

From a design perspective the skills involved in making skeuomorphic design is more intricate. It makes crafting the designs have a sense of real world lighting, which can be difficult to capture.

Flat Design vs Skeuomorphic Design – which is better?

It's difficult to say, as both design languages pose their own questions and answers. Flat design can allow for a more minimal, therefore could be considered easier to use from a user interface perspective. But, the eye-candy that skeuomorphic design can bring a sense of the third dimension and a level of realism. Needless to say, designers all over the world have discussed both trends in a huge amount of depth.

Following the iOS 14 UI Design Trend

Ok, so, with Apple's release of iOS 14m / macOS at WWDC comes a trend more towards skeuomorphic design. And, when a company as big as Apple design something 'new' (or in this case bring back the old style), we all stop and tend to follow. Flat design from a UI perspective has made designing easier for a lot of people. Lets face it, they're clean and simple and they look the part. But, how difficult is it to now skim through your phone and look for the app you're after? It's arguably more difficult now, because design is looking a little too similar across the board. Skeuomorphic design allows the eye to capture more of a design, with greater depth. Thus, we take more notice of the design, appreciate its intricacies and gravitate towards it.

Skeuomorphic Design Trend


A quick guide to copyright in digital design

A quick guide to copyright for digital design

I often get asked about copyright for digital design work in Australia that I've created, and what it amounts to. I've had a read of the IP Australia website and noted content outlined on their website.

When an idea or creative concept is documented electronically (i.e. on a computer) or on paper, it is automatically protected by copyright in Australia. This includes books, music, film, sound recordings, newspapers, magazines and (in my case) artwork.

The copyright law is governed by the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and the Department of Communications and the Arts administers the law.

 

A quick guide to copyright in digital design

 

How copyright applies to code (for websites, for example).

When new software is created in the form of code, it's protected by copyright as an original literary work. The code doesn't need to be classified as original, in that nobody has written similar code before. Authors of the code need to demonstrate they've used skill and labour to create the software in question without blatently copying the code.

How to gain copyright protection

Unlike a trademark, patent or design, copyright does not require any form of registration as it is automatically generated when the work is created. This is great for designers in Australia, who have their work protected from the outset.

 

What copyright gives the creator

The owner of the copyright gets exclusive rights to;

  • make copies of the software
  • publish the software
  • communicate the sotware to the general public
  • make adaptations of the software
  • and more!

 

An idea isn't protected under copyright

A specific form of expression is what is protected content, not an idea (as such). To protect functionality of software in Australia means that the copyright holder would need to apply for a patent with IP Australia.

 

This is just a really brief post, with some quick information regarding copyright in Australia that I thought I'd post and share on my website. As always, please visit the governing body website of your country if you're an artist not from Australia.

To find out more, please visit the IP Australia website.


Anatomy of Typography Poster

Anatomy of Typography - Letter features and characteristics

Sometimes it can be difficult to explain and identify the different features of a typeface. So, let's take a look at the anatomy of typography!

What is type and lettering?

Type and lettering is something we see every day of our lives. It's used for print media such as signage, brochures, in store, flyers and so on. It's also used digitally on the web, whilst we sift through Facebook and Instagram posts, blogs, or the latest Reddit news.

Typography features and characteristics

So what did I do to help indentify features of type? I've put together a poster, which I have hanging up in my office! It contains all the significant features of type, pointing out features such as a stem, eye, bowl, counter, arm and so on. I've also included x-height, leading and baseline, which identify features outside of the characters themselves. Not only does it help explain certain features, but is also super interesting to have a little bit of extra knowledge regardless of if you're a Graphic Designer or not.

I have excluded a few type features, but the everyday, common features have all been included. This is a great guide for professionals and students alike.

What other posters would you like to see made as a graphic design resource? Comment below to tell me what you'd like to see created!

You're welcome to download the file as a reference or bookmark this page. I've included a link below.

Have fun with type!

You can download the image below.Anatomy of Typography Poster


protein supplement design 3d render graphic label

Supplement Label Designs and Requirements

Now that I’ve designed for quite a few supplement companies, I’ve got a good grasp on what’s required for supplement label design, how it can be applied on packaging, marketing features and elements, hitting key fitness demographics, and so on. Supplement design, whether it be whey protein powder, a fat burner, casein, (the list goes on doesn’t it?!), is a super competitive industry. And, the clients I’ve had requesting their brand on supplement labels has ranged from start-up entrepreneurs, hobbyist, personal trainers, to larger, more established companies.

Design Requirements

First things first, you need to know what type of products you want to sell. As I mentioned, (and if you’re reading this article you’re bound to be interested in all things supplements), there’s so many different types of supplements in the fitness industry. So, knowing what you want to sell is critical, because more often than not, that will dictate the size of the packaging required. Furthermore, the quantities of protein (for example) generally comes in quite a number of different sizes, in different types of packaging. Some are zip locked, some are in tubs and some in sachets.

Nutrition Information and labels

When a food product is sold to the public, generally a nutrition label is required to go on the product packaging or label. I’m specifically going to talk about Australia and the United States here, and say that both countries do require this information.

Supplement label logo design packaging Even stylistically, the nutrition information needs to be designed in a legible way. This can be quite complicated, so please refer to some of these websites which may help:

Australia Food Labelling

Food Standards Australia Nutrition Information Panels https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/labelling/panels/Pages/default.aspx

Food Standards Australia Nutrition Information User Guide https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/userguide/Documents/Userguide_Prescribed%20Nutrition%20Information%20Nov%2013%20Dec%202013.pdf

Australia Made Logo Use https://www.australianmade.com.au/for-business/using-the-logo/

United States Food Labeling

FDA Dietary Supplement Labeling Guide https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplements-guidance-documents-regulatory-information/dietary-supplement-labeling-guide

FDA Nutrition Labeling https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplements-guidance-documents-regulatory-information/dietary-supplement-labeling-guide-chapter-iv-nutrition-labeling

 

Often the Nutrition Information will be supplied to me by the client. It is their duty to supply the correct information and guidelines for me to complete.

Using a Template Maker

A template maker for supplement design is often a really cheap, inefficient way of doing business. Calculating the costs involved in using a template maker, how often it’s been used by other companies all around the world, legalities, specification sizes and so on, is extremely risky. It would also be a time where, if you find yourself going down this route in business (in general), you might need to ask if you can afford to run a business. A template maker, whilst useful for some things, would be extremely risky.

Let’s talk about custom supplement label design

Ok, onto the fun stuff! Custom supplement label design, something I specialise in, is what I know best. We have some key areas to focus on here, and they include logo design, software, target demographic, style, and printing types / substrates.

 

Logo Design for Supplement Companies

I’ll talk about target demographics a little bit later on in the article, but logo design is critical to the success of a brand. So much design aesthetic stems from a logo design. There’s so much consideration that needs to take place and if you’re an experienced Graphic Designer then you’d recognise what has the ability to work and what doesn’t. So, please read further down the article where I talk about appealing to a target audience, because that pertains to logo design too.

One of my favourite logos I’ve created is for Nitracore, a more hardcore style supplement brand. I created custom type for the company specifically directed to appeal to their target audience.

I’ve also created a logo for Megathom, Argyle Nutrition, Monster Performance, Primo Performance and a few more companies.

 

nitracore-supplement-logo-design-bodybuilding-protein

Software to design supplement labels

Generally, labels I design for clients are created in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign or Adobe Photoshop. However, it’s usually a combination of two or three of those. Consideration of size of label, resources (like photos, the company logo, and so on), and quantity are assessed. Adobe Illustrator is great for label design (and company logo design for that matter), because of its sizing (un)restrictions. The majority of print based work I create for labels is created in Illustrator. InDesign is really useful for larger quantities of work, so if you have a lot of labels to be created in many variations, this could be my choice of software. Photoshop is generally better to make edits to photos and photo manipulation, mocking up products and so on.

Speaking of mocking up products, this is something a lot of clients end up requesting for their fitness business. To show photo quality renders to customers, without the use of actually hiring a photographer, the perfect setting, and so on, is so appealing. You can also rotate the product on different angles, so showing it on a gym floor, or presenting it in a nice, natural (or in some cases, really abstract and stylistic ways) is so engaging. I generally use Cinema 4D – one of the most powerful 3D rendering programs in the world – to create the product renders.

protein supplement design 3d render graphic labelDesigning appealing labels for customers

Supplement labels are no different to most other print-based graphic design work. Considerations for who your target audience should be at the forefront of your mind. For me, that’s certainly the case. Identifying who your customer is could involve the following:

 

  • Location of the customer. This could be as specific as your local area, state, country, multiple countries and so on. Even with the internet, it’s important to realise who are typically visiting your website.
  • Physical abilities of your customer. Are they just starting out in fitness? Is it their hobby? Are they semi-professional? Professional athletes?
  • Age of your customer. Younger demographic? Older?
  • Gender specific product or a skew towards a certain gender.
  • Your main competition. Are their labels similar to yours? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • Cost of your product relative to the competition. This is so important, because often consumers will look at your product side by side with another, similar product. If their protein powder looks and feels more expensive, that may mean that they opt for their product, or end up using yours because it in fact looks and feels cheaper.

 

Often clients will approach me and state that they want their product to appeal to everyone. And yes, that would be fantastic! However, it’s never the case.

If we look at a company like Optimum Nutrition, for example, who are iconic with their label designs, they’ve made their labels appear expensive, the typography used demonstrates their product is more geared towards hobby to semi-professional athletes, at a mid-range demographic and a slight skew towards males. With all of that considered, the price point for a brand like Optimum Nutrition is generally more expensive, and that’s because of their more luxurious look. Now, they also have the backing of reputation, too.

Supplement Packaging, Bottles, Sachets (etc).

After the logo and supplement label is designed, often clients will print their labels onto tubs, bottles and sachets depending on the sizes of their products. There’s such a wide range of options in regards to printing.

A few options could be:

  • Matte / Glossy Paper
  • Silver Metallic Paper, sometimes with a white underprint.
  • White Film BOPP Polypropylene which is great because it’s waterproof and tearproof
  • Clear Film BOPP Polypropylene
  • Chrome Film BOPP Polypropylene

There’s a range of costs involved in regards to quantities, types of print, quality, paper and so on. They’re best discussed on a case-by-case situation.

Protein supplement 3d render design label

So that’s about all for supplement label design in terms of a general guide. I hope it’s helped give you a better understanding of what’s required. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


Exhibition Space Design and Signage

Successful exhibition and event signage, and signage in general, can be a powerful tool in marketing your business at a trade show. The cost may be substantial because of the large amount of material used to produce the signage, however this would (most likely) be offset by the exposure you would gain from a successful marketing campaign.

Designing Exhibition and Event Signage for Melbourne Businesses

I’ve created exhibition signage for several companies, but two companies in particular spring to mind – both located in Melbourne. The printing process was undertaken by local companies, too, which made it easy to work in conjunction with. They also assisted with the construction of the banners themselves. The reason why that’s an asset to the process is that large format printing can be a somewhat difficult operation.

Working with the exhibition space

There’s plenty of factors that should be considered, including location of exhibition, booth location, physical space, visibility, lighting and mood of the exhibition itself. It’s important to have a stand that factors in all of those considerations. For example, demographic plays an important factor in the design of the signage because as a promotional tool, you want the target audience to appeal to what you have on display.

Signage render for Radins exhbition space

Signage design considerations

Viewable Angles

When working on the design for signage at exhibition spaces, it’s important to consider viewing angles. At what angles on a horizontal plane can the artwork be viewed? Will signage be cut off or obscured by additional, manmade elements such as tables, stools and chairs? How can we maximise the brand exposure on the signage itself? The logo of the business should be viewable as practically as possible.

Signage for Melbourne exhibition custom design
Signage created for IFS World exhbition space

Text and Content

Furthermore, something I always consider is average human height. When you think about signage within a booth, especially with readable elements such as text or iconography, what’s the ideal range to view the content? And, will the content be obscured by other people. Hierarchy of text also plays a role in this case, as perhaps the heading should be the reading element from a far, and subsequent text should be read up close.

Graphics and Artwork

In terms of the artwork itself that is displayed on the signage, a lot of companies want as many vibrant colours as possible to highlight their booth. This might, in fact, draw eyes to your booth, but will it be for the right reasons? You always want your branding material to reflect your product or service.

Marketing your graphics towards your specific target audience is proven to be the best way to sell product / service. Bentley, an expensive automotive manufacturer, use subtle monochromatic tones to sell their premium product. It adds to the depth and quality of their product. And, rightly so. It’s one of the most expensive cars in the world. Toyota, on the other hand, tend to use a lot more colour with a lot more vibrancy to make their product appeal to a broader, cheaper target demographic.

 

Additional design assets for a successful marketing campaign

Of course, it’s important to remember the other assets in conjunction with your exhibition booth signage, such as a brochure showcasing your product or service, perhaps a flyer to quickly show customers what you offer, and business cards to introduce yourself and employees. Pull-up banners are also a great way of capturing the attention of viewers with short, sharp messages or visuals. All these types of touchpoints are important to impressing potential customers. Why? Because, customers love to see professionalism, quality and most importantly be able to trust the business.


Business Card Design Modern Print

Personal Business Card Designs

I recently made some new, modern personal business cards featuring my new logo. I thought it would be nice to make a few variations (5 in total), with the background of the back being different artwork that I've created over the years. I wanted to keep the front – where my name, phone and email address is – nice and clean. Legibility and cleanliness are two big factors, for me, for this particular side of the card.

These cards are printed on a 300gsm substrate in a standard size for Australia. I went for a gloss finish, with a laminate over the top. It allows the colours to appear rich and vibrant, even though they're generally monotone looking for the most part.

A special thanks to Simprint Digital in Dingley, Victoria, Australia for getting these printed or me. They always do a fantastic job and I'd definitely recommend them.

Print Modern Business Card Design

Above: 'Day 7' business card design featuring artwork created in Adobe Illustrator.

Business Card Design Modern Print

Above: United business card design featuring the artwork created for Desktopography.

Modern, Clean Business Card Design

Above: Heights business card design featuring the artwork from the Depths / Heights series.

Abstract Business Card Design

Above: Inifinite business card design featuring artwork created in an isometric, 3D style in Illustrator.

Gloss Laminate Business Card Design

Above: Flow business card design featuring artwork created for EvokeOne Digital Art Group.