Articles by Month: December 2009
The past year has been a fantastic close to a decade filled with great design advancements in all media, but especially on the web. New artists, new firms, new techniques, styles & trends. We’ve seen a lot of stuff that we like, and some that we don’t – but it’s all been a thrill to live through.
The White Stripes tugged the young decade into nostalgia for the 1960s, The Strokes reacted with tunes reminiscent of the 1970s, and The Killers rounded off the pattern making music that borrows from the 1980s. The mood and intentions of creative people seem to move in harmony around current culture; Designers started putting out work with a nod toward vintage aesthetics. Then in 2009, the shapes & color palettes of the 80s seemed to be especially popular.
Trends are inevitable and not inherently bad. But eventually, we all get tired of patterns and similar-looking designs. Here’s a handful of (web design) trends as identified by our friends at Smashing Magazine. This list is just to refresh your memory – let’s not limit the discussion to these design trends only.
- Big Typography
- Modal Windows
- Carousels (slideshows)
- Big footers
- 80s colors & shapes
What do you think?
So this is topic is now open for discussion. Let’s chat in the comments about what you think are the some overused trends in your area of expertise? Whether it’s design, web, illustration, etc. What do you think?
GoMediazine: Let’s start with the usual questions: tell us about yourself, what Godmachine is all about and where you’re from.
Godmachine: I am from Wales in the UK and have been designing T-shirts for about 2 years now. I studied Graphic Communication as a mature student and was terrible at it; I just cant see the subtleties needed for clever ‘design’. Luckily for me the Lowbrow world has reared its beautiful head.
Godmachine: I have always drawn- I think I was even better at 8 years old than I am now, if I remember rightly. I pursued drawing as an interest up until the age of work. I was never brought up to think that you could make a career out of anything but laboring, Dad was a fitter, brother is an electrician, granddad was a minor. I was always taught that I needed a trade. I was always taking courses like ‘media studies’ etc between and during jobs, but never really had a clear idea of what I wanted to do. I never stopped doodling though and was always making images and it wasn’t until my wife bought me a canvas and told me to paint that I actually thought about it as a way to make a living. As time went on more and more paintings were made and sold and I finally got a PC just as the Merch boom started and it all fell into place.
GoMediazine: There’s a lot of debate about the value (and incredibly high cost) of art education. Coming from an illustration program myself, I feel like the guidance was at times valuable but anyone who spends 4 years drawing all day every day is going to get better, and you could just as well do this out of your house and be getting paid for it instead of the other way grow as an artist?
Godmachine: I am certainly not going to dissuade anyone that wants to study to not take that opportunity. I don’t want to sound like an ass but I do think you are right; if you take every opportunity to draw, read books on drawing, study peoples techniques, ask questions, try new things….why would you need to go to University? I feel though a Uni’ course would make you a more rounded artist in that it would force you to look at things you may have no interest in. I feel there are weaknesses, too many to mention, that I will not get round to working on for a long time as I am always busy with work now. I wish I could take time off to de-learn and start again sometimes, do some real life studies, get messy with paints again. You wouldn’t really get that opportunity if you were working- but in Uni’ you could. With the advent and ease of the internet, there really is nothing you couldn’t learn from home right now. Mostly I would say more than anything else you should have a burning desire to draw/create/study, with that they could put you on an island with a crayon and you would develop your skills. So its a bit of both really.
GoMediazine: I read in another interview with you that you don’t keep a sketchbook because you’re always near a computer. Do you sketch on the computer or is it all finished work? Does this allow you to get down more ideas or is it an obstacle? Care to share any samples with us?
Godmachine: I just bought two sketch books today hahah. I realised last week that my work station is full of scraps of paper with non-sensicle doodles all over them. I am using sketch books not for sketches, but for ideas, I see things, think of something, grab a piece of paper and doodle on it and then pin it to my work board. Where was I getting these pieces of paper? I was ripping them out of an old sketch book. But I need to see those sketches in front of me- I cant have them hidden in a book- they are no good to me there. Sketching on computer is good for me but not great- I cant work on that sketch on the toilet (lets face it all good ideas are created there, see flux capacitor) or on the train. I will send you a sketch but you wont believe it. Recently I was talking to a few artists, including Dan Mumford about concept sketches and when we compared them we saw that we were all quite horrific at sketching. I think its because what we see is not what you see on that paper, artists have an image in the mind and use the doodle as a quick reference and guide. I think I get more ideas using my scraps of paper, and soon, my sexy new sketch books (£3.00 off ebay).
GoMediazine: Do you have any recurring themes in your doodles, you know, eyeballs, zombies, etc?
Godmachine: Yes. all of the above and the rest. Gore, skulls, pain, anger, skulls, gore, blood, eyeballs, I love them all.
GoMediazine: Do you keep any type of reference library?
Godmachine: I have an extensive library of books for reference and inspiration, I love that a lot of it wont be found on the web. I used to work at a second hand book shop during Uni’ and amassed a great collection. Cant stop buying books. I also have a folder of hands on the desktop from photos I took.
GoMediazine: What is your typical process from start to finish? How many revisions does it typically take for you to get to a place where you’re happy?
Godmachine: I start by collecting ideas from various places, getting inspired- usually takes a day or two, then the scrap of paper doodle. Then I sketch it into photoshop and layer after layer I define what I am doing and where it is going. From actual initial PS sketch to finished piece it usually takes me about 10 hours over 2 days, I have other work to attend to during. My brother in law, adam, bought me a coffee machine recently and That gets fired up first, I call it ‘The First Four Black Sabbath Albums’, not the names of the albums, but exactly that ‘the first four..’. As for revisions I tend not to do any unless the client really want me too and then we refer to the contract to see how many we are allowing. We usually hit it first time, I can only really think of 2 times that it was completely the wrong image, and that was all totally my fault as I wanted to get these ideas out and there really was no explaining them, just had to do them…But Usually its just a case of a few tweeks. I wish I had enough time to revise each piece over and over again, I am always able to pick holes and see new things.
GoMediazine: How have your tools changed from when you started until now? Has moving to digital changed the way you work or your style?
Godmachine: When I started it was mostly Biro, I loved that dirty strained feel it gave lines, like it was made by a weak, ill, disturbed person. Then it was marker pen and acrylics. Then back to pen, this time; fine-line. Then finally a tablet. It totally affects your work and your style. I see loads of people buying tablets now and seeing they all look the same. I asked Ray Frenden, the artist that showed me how to use a tablet the same question and he replied that sadly your work and style will someway always be influenced by your tools. It is bad in that a lot of people look the same now. It hasn’t affected my style as I remember it, but it has helped me achieve the style I was always aiming for. And recently I am learning to make it look more like pen and getting more courage to get back to my old ways.
GoMediazine: What’s the biggest hurdle for you in working digital?
Godmachine: It will never be as responsive or as natural as working with ‘real’ medium. Ray Frenden who is a constant source of knowledge and inspiration for me recently blogged that his MAC pro, Citiq tablet, umpteen programs are all easily trumped by an $8 brush on a piece of paper. I would say the biggest hurdle I have is it not being ‘real’ untill they are flogging it on a t-shirt/poster/deck…. Or that my computer strains with file size or process power. Other than that I am more than happy with it, so is the Mrs as it means less paint being flicked about the house. Some people think the ‘splats’ thing is like a trend for me or something, but I been flicking paint about for over 12 years now, my painting reflect that.
GoMediazine:I wanted to avoid asking you the obligatory influences question, but do I detect some Ed Roth showing through in addition to the skate art flavor to your style?
Godmachine: I only found out who Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth was a year ago, so I cant say he has been a direct influence on my work. Maybe indirectly through a culture, yes, and definitely through the skate culture. All the usual suspects are my influence and I will not give the usual obligatory reply. I will say though that I am avoiding doing that style these days and have been for a while. My aims, as I grow in skills and confidence is to leave that behind completely and concentrate on a lot more serious or ‘darker’ style of art work- more Marvel than Phillips. I don’t post much of it though as it seems to influence too many people too quickly, I will do when this comes out though and you will see for yourselves.
GoMediazine: Do you have ideas floating about that you use when a client comes around, or is it client first and then idea?
Godmachine: I have loads of ideas floating about in my head. But usually the client has some ideas as to what they want. The problem with doing my own thing for clients is that its not always in the same vein of my last piece- I am always developing ideas or wanting to try new things and mostly a client will want what you have already done- why wouldn’t they though. I had a phone conversation with a client a while back about some of my ideas I wanted to produce for him and he knocked them all down giving some reasons….Then months later I saw all my ideas had been produced. I don’t know if this was intentional and was probably a subconscious thing…but then again…So sometimes it works for us when a client gives me full reign and other times it is not a good idea…we find a way though. very rarely has someone requested a job that I have thought of- no one is that twisted.
GoMediazine: When you work are you a no distractions kind of guy, or are you watching your favorite movie for the 12,000th time?
Godmachine: I am totally distracted. When I first started I could work 8 hours solid and was producing one design a day easy, but it was killing me. Now I am all about distractions, social networking makes it easy for me to get side tracked. My main indulgence is you tube and TED which is great and i really enjoy learning new things about philosophy and science. I also like listening to the radio. Twitter too! I love twitter. I can be sketching away and be thinking of something then lean over and spew some verbal detritus into the world, wipe my brain clean and carry on sketching. If you like anti-religious stuff, cats or work related rants feel free to come follow me on twitter @godmachineuk .
GoMediazine: Are there other areas of art you want to branch out to, or things you do today that you’d like to evolve?
Godmachine: I want to get back into painting one day, but mostly I would like to be in a position to be the one that applies my design to things. I would like to be the one who decides where the print goes, how big it goes and what it goes on. Maybe open my own clothing label one day, but then I know how much work is involved that is not designing or creating.
GoMediazine: Have you ever had to walk away from a bad gig? Sometimes people just want you to be a physical extension of Photoshop. Has that changed how you select clients?/
Godmachine: I am writting a load of rules for myself, among them is such things like ‘do not compare yourself to others’ and so on, but one of them is ‘select only jobs that inspire you- even if you are without work’. I think I am getting to the stage now where I am fearful of churning out work that isn’t my best. My aims have always been (and I think I got the idea from a designer called Collison Theory) that each piece you design should be better than the last and that you are only as good as your last piece. Having that attitude early on was what I suspect got me here today. I have had to walk away from a bad gig though, some clients give bad art direction, and I have learnt that they don’t always want ‘new’ and ‘amazing’ they just want ‘something’ and ‘anything’. The clients I end up parting company from- and I am glad to say there have only been 2- have always ended up with below par work by some other artist- that at least makes me feel better about sticking to my guns. Next year will see me only taking on jobs that inspire me and test me- and in between I will practice and create work that I like to see.
GoMediazine:Do you have any recent favorite projects or anything coming up you’re excited about?
Godmachine: I have been aiming to work with more doom metal bands lately and more skateboard companies. I do enjoy working with smaller companies as they seem to want to take more risks with work which is fair enough as their risks are smaller, but oddly its the bigger companies that come back months later asking for the same stuff they turned down. The money isn’t as great- but at least I am happy with what I am producing, and I know that if you do it for the money you wont get as far as you want.
GoMediazine: What have you been listening to lately, have anything that never leaves the rotation?
Godmachine: Big Business! just cant get enough, I had a dream last night and woke up singing it. I have Palehorse to thank for turning me on to them. Also film soundtracks/scores; Moon, The Dark Knight, Lost Highway, Solaris, Twin Peaks.
GoMediazine: Who are some of your favorite illustrators working today?
Godmachine: I hate answering these things as I am lucky enough to call some of the greatest artists I know friends- albeit efriends, they are still good genuine people and have helped me unconditionally. The reason I hate these things is because with my sieve like mind I will always leave someone out. And to say one is to leave the other out.
GoMediazine: So tell me about this Weedeater shirt. I have to ask because I think it’s my favorite of yours. Was there a lot of planning in this or did you just sit down and belt it out? Would you consider a variant involving pizza? (Because that is the only way it could get more awesome.)
Godmachine: No planning at all. I had the idea of doing a gross women and that just came out. I think I remember pulling some faces in the mirror one morning and deciding on doing some disjointed mouth and a hand trying to hold it from dropping off completely. This tee among the others in the similar vein were the ones I produced when I nearly quit. I was sick of doing ‘Jim phillipsy’ stuff for clients and just wanted to make my own stuff. It was at this point when I discovered Brian Morris and he blew me away with his unapologetic work- it was like seeing the artistic equivelent of a ‘fuck you’. It may well be that, this wasn’t his intention, is not how he sees his work and is not what other people see. But it did it for me- I pulled up my socks- said ‘fuck you’ to my fear and drew a load of stuff I wanted to draw. Took me ages to sell it as all the people/clients I talked to all wanted my old stuff. Its been a long process but I think I am finally there- like I say next year will see me turning away a lot more jobs. I will work for anyone as long as they want something different, gnarly and promise to print it huge hahah
Hey readers, you probably know by now that Go Media makes really cool t-shirt templates. We often get emailed suggestions for new mockup templates like pullover hoodies, jeans, cd packaging, etc. So we’re going to run a poll here to figure out for sure what you folks want. But first, why do we even need these templates?
Well, impressing our audience is a huge part of what we do. That means friends, bosses, department, clients, or the world. We’ve got to be able to turn heads and make people say “wow” about our latest work.
This is complicated stuff, and there’s no magic bullet. But one thing we’ve found to be true is that people are sensitive to how we present our work.
Imagine: If we’re designing a CD cover, which do you think makes a better first impression: A 7x7cm square JPG, or photo of the finished CD in plastic wrap on a shelf at Best Buy? Presenting our design in a realistic mockup helps people imagine the final product, and all the warm fuzzy feelings that come along with it.
Luckily, we can pull off a photo-realistic presentation like that in a few minutes in Photoshop with the right tools. And we’re going to build those tools. But first we need your help to decide what to do next.
There are so many different Mock up Template possibilities that we’re asking you to help make the decision: What’s next? What would really help you out day-to-day? Which of these templates do you think could help a client say “Yes – that’s what I want it to look like!”? Which templates could help you get clients excited about a project?
If you see think of a type of presentation template that isn’t included in these categories, you can add your answer. Please be cautious about adding answers, or this poll could get out of control. We can’t wait to see what you think.
Also feel free to leave a comment with ideas about presentation style, or how to impress clients during the proofing process.
Welcome to the first installation of the Weapons of Mass Creation video interview series. Not sure what this is all about? Read the kick-off article to get caught up!
Our first interview will be with Richard Minino, better known as HORSEBITES. We’ve got 10 minutes of awesome video interview for you to watch. We’ve also transcribed the interview for folks in a hurry who’d rather scan than watch! You’ll find both below.
This is cool to actually meet, like physically meet, people that I’ve looked up to, or just seen their work. I don’t recognize them by face because I only know them through the internet.
If a kid wants to start out designing, and he can use the illustrations you’ve provided as stock art. Even if he uses it at first and doesn’t use it later, he’ll always remember that he needs to make it as professional and high quality as what Go Media puts out. I think it’s great.
And then having the option and the confidence to start up another business with someone and put out a little series of things. I would have never thought that would have been possible five or six years ago. It’s just awesome. I’m “living the dream”!
It’s still weird to me.
Although it rarely happens to me, I see tons of Twitter friends posting about their Adobe software crashing while working on a file. InDesign has a pretty robust temporary file feature that usually saves what you were working on, however that’s only useful if you work in InDesign. What about Illustrator and Photoshop users?
ForeverSave is a clever application that does versioned auto-saving of your open files. ForeverSave isn’t limited to Adobe software, but it’s the primary reason I was interested in the app. It works silently behind the scenes, yet instantly accessible via the menubar icon. Very customizable, not only the app itself but also on a per-application basis. This is a sign of a developer who knows their potential customers well.
Read on for more about how this very handy piece of software can improve your workflow, and as a special treat to Go Media readers, we’re teaming up with Tool-Force Software to give away a limited number of free licenses to our readers.
I love the fact that on a per-application basis I can set how many versions I want to keep, when to erase old backups and also excluding extra-large backups. Concerned about disk space? You can choose where the backup database is stored. Throw it on that external drive with tons of space instead of your startup drive if you want.
What It Does
So how does this all work? Simple: run ForeverSave, and based off your settings (per-app), ForeverSave will silently keep backups of your files according to the schedule you’ve specified. Sure, Time Machine is great for files you’ve already saved, but ForeverSave goes one step further and makes it easy to go back in time with files you’re actively working on.
The big key to the awesomeness of ForeverSave is the fact that it can be set to not overwrite your current file — it saves a separate copy to allow you to revert if you choose. This is not some generic “hit the Save command every 5 minutes” solution only. ForeverSave allows you to work on your file and save a copy every so often in the background.
Go Back In Time
So what happens if you do need to go back to one of your backups? ForeverSave has a very intuitive backups interface to do just that:
Each software application has it’s own backups window which allow you to browse the files it has been monitoring (left-hand panel) and the versioned backups for each file (main area on right). Click on a backed-up file on the left to see the versioned backups for that file.
Each backup is date & time stamped, and full info can be gathered by clicking on one of the backup files and checking the info panel at the very bottom. Each backup file has the option to Delete, Open, replace or Restore, and everything works nicely with OS X’s Quick Look feature.
I’ve been demoing this software for a while now to prepare for this review. I wanted to make sure it ran smoothly, worked as advertised and fit into my workflow. I am very happy to recommend this software to any Mac user, but specifically to my fellow illustrators and designers out there. This really should be a part of your Mac workflow.
I’m a big fan of backup/security when it comes to my computer as I find it’s part of the creativity process — if I don’t have to worry about my tools and my files, it leaves more flexibility to concentrate on the creative side of things. ForeverSave is a tool that helps me achieve this.
Get It Now!
ForeverSave is available from Tool-Force Software for the insanely reasonable price of $14.95. There’s also a “lite” version, but it doesn’t offer most of the features reviewed above and I recommend just going for the full version. The first time you need to access a versioned backup of a file you thought you lost after a Photoshop crash will more than pay for the price of ForeverSave.
Tool-Force Software has also graciously agreed to bestow some free licenses to our loyal Go Media readers. The first 10 to reply in the comments will get a free license for the full version of Forever Save.
Be sure to have some way for us to contact you. I’d suggest a cleverly obscured email address within the comment itself (name [at] domain dot com usually works). If we can’t contact you easily, we’ll need to move on to the next.
This past September, fourteen fantastic designers, animators, web developers, strategists and illustrators visited Go Media’s studio to be part of the Weapons of Mass Creation art campaign. It was exciting for us at Go Media to meet people that we’ve known and respected only through the wonders of the internet. We thought it’d be selfish to keep all the fun to ourselves, so we pulled out the video camera and chatted it up with our guests!
For the next couple of months you’ll find a new video interview every week right here on the GoMediaZine. For now, watch the trailer and whet your appetite for our upcoming interview series: Weapons of Mass Creation.
Get ready for upcoming video interviews with these leading artists, designers, and entrepreneurs!
In late 2007, Adelle Charles started Fuel Your Creativity, a fast-growing design & creative inspiration site that is now the flagship of the 11-blog network. The Fuel Brand Network, which includes such titles as Coding, Writing and Illustration, is aimed at creative professionals.
Under the Angryblue moniker, I design posters, art prints, album art and do way too many shirt designs full of strange imagery. Though I’ve mainly done aggressive work for metal bands, I also do merchandise design for Genesis and Ashlee Simpson as well. I am an art whore.
Brad spends part of his days wondering how to combine his two loves, comic books and easter eggs. The rest of his time he spends trying to design killer user interfaces.
Chad Lenjer is an illustrator from the outskirts of Cleveland who focuses on line-work and and amalgamating techniques and conflicting themes. He creates unsettling, sometimes macabre depictions, for the hardcore/metal music scenes he’s worked in for the last six years.
Owner and Creator of IFYOUMAKEIT.COM. I also play drums in Halo Fauna, Thousandaires, Golden Age of Radio, Kudrow and Air Raid Barcelona.
Geoff is a graphic designer, illustrator, guitar god, Cleveland sports nerd, and day dreamer hailing from Cleveland, OH, whose main focus is merchandise design in the music industry. He also likes curling up on a bearskin rug before a roaring fire with a fine bottle of merlot.
In addition to being editor of the GoMediazine, George Coghill is a humorous illustrator and cartoonist who specializes in cartoon character design for logos & mascots. He loves to share what he’s learned from his 10+ years as a professional freelance artist.
I am a designer, animator, creator and co-owner of nah design. I am always looking for new and exciting clients and projects. Feel free to contact me for any reason.
My name is Richard Minino aka HORSEBITES, born and raised in Orlando, FL, and full time designer for about 5 years. I teamed up with some of my best friends in the design world to form The Black Axe which will be melting faces for years to come.
Joshua Smibert directs his creative passion into the Fuel brand, where he oversees marketing and strategic direction for the company. Australian by birth, he loves travel and is the quintessential entrepreneur: intense, sleep-deprived, passionate and forward-looking.
Mark Weaver is a designer and illustrator living in Atlanta, GA via Boston, MA. He has worked for clients such as Wired Magazine, Good Magazine, and Paste Magazine. He currently works from home with his wife, Jessie and their dog, Sgt. Pepper.
Web designer and developer interested in web applications, identity and advertising campaigns. Interested in front end design implementation as well as back end administration. Has experience working with advertising agencies, corporate clients and independent artists.
My name is Aaron Sechrist. I design within the realms of print, web, apparel and broadcast. I like to make things look cool, and the fact I get money and occasional high fives for that is a great bonus.
How To Create Fanatics as a T-Shirt Designer
Quick…think of the top 3 most popular t-shirt designers that you know of. You probably came up with names like Geoff May, Jimiyo, Wotto, Collision Theory, Corefolio, Godmachine, and many more. Just how did these graphic designers become household names in the t-shirt industry? It wasn’t easy, because “just being gifted” won’t take you to the top. You have to be smart, you have to market, and you have to focus on a few key ingredients in the recipe for success.
I had to start with the most obvious. This is one part of building your tee design credibility that you just can’t fake. Stay true to your style and try to be consistent, because the consistency in your style will become the fingerprint of your work.
Personal Site With Portfolio
It’s 2009 folks. Don’t expect to gain a following if you don’t have a web presence you can call home. This allows your fans to dig a little deeper and get to know you better. It also provides a plethora of content for t-shirt bloggers like myself.
This creates a conversation. It also provides you with a platform to launch new designs and products. You don’t have to blog that often, just provide quality with each post.
It isn’t good enough to just join a competition anymore. You need to interact with the members and occasionally scratch some other backs. Being a part of the community is crucial. Having a lot of friends in multiple competitions can build an army.
Submit, Win, Repeat
You’re never gonna win if you don’t submit. And you need to submit often. Then hustle the heck out of your design, because the more eyeballs viewing your submission…the more votes you will receive. T-shirt design competitions are all over the web these days including:
Create a Mailing List
I’m not talking about a monster 1000+ list of e-mail addresses. Just a small, high-quality list of t-shirt bloggers, friends, influentials, and fans. You can use this list to update people on what you’re working on and ask for favors.
Teach Them Your Ways
You have to give back to the community that gives to you by creating tutorials. Take your most popular designs and show them how you arrived at the masterpiece. You can gain a lot of exposure and appreciation by showing others how you do what you do.
Create a Freebie Pack
Who doesn’t like something for free? If you have an abundance of unused artwork, then give some of it away instead of letting it waste and rot. You don’t have to give away the farm, but artwork was made to be seen, so get it out there.
Show Your Personality
Your artwork should speak for itself. But what it doesn’t say about you, should be shown in your interaction and interviews. There are many different ways on the Internet to make yourself available and to really let loose. Don’t be afraid to share your quirks and make some jokes with your online friends.
All of these components are critical for gaining momentum and building a following. After all, that is the hardest part. Once you have a loyal group of fans, you will have more opportunities than you can probably keep up with.