Posts tagged ‘JRob’
This is a post that I should have written a while ago. For the past month and a half I have been writing about typography, logo design, promoting yourself in print and marketing yourself in general. In this time though I have not given many details as to who I am, why I am blogging, or why it may be of interest for you to read my posts, well until now.
So if you’re reading this, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jason Lester, I am a graphic artist, web and multimedia designer. I have been in this line of work for eight years now and hope to still be doing this when I am 80. Creative arts is my passion, and lucky for me it also pays the bills. I started down this road when I was enlisted in the Marine Corps. In this time I was the web designer for my company and ended up doing several sites for a few different sections. I also started to do this as a freelancer and soon started working with graphics as well. Since then I have worked fulltime and as a freelancer doing website design and development, graphics design for the web and for print, worked as a printer for a little while, designed flash animations, distance learning modules, e-commerce platforms and a lot more. I personally don’t see my work as a job, I enjoy it too much for it to really be termed as such.
Quite a few of my friends call me ‘JRob’, a moniker of my first initial and middle name Robert. This name has stuck like glue and I have grown to like it. I sport a full beard and a shaved head. At the young age of 26 I have the hairline of a 60 year old so I shave regularly and the beard just looks good so I stick with it and take very good care of it. I can play the banjo, mandolin and tin whistle. My guilty pleasures are anime, greasy food and good wine. My saving graces in this word would have to be my ability to learn quickly, creativity and my sense of humor. These have helped to deal with some hard times and lots of stress (which may explain the hairline or a lack thereof) I believe that creativity is one of the most important qualities a person can have, and that everyone has it to a degree. Creativity is definitely a driving force of civilization and without it we may not have many of the technologies or concepts that we take for granted today (I fully intend to write further on this topic sometime soon).
I have been married for almost seven years now have have two wonderful children, aged four and six. We home-school our children, my wife and I believe that their creative edge and young inquiring minds would be better of thriving in our home and learning environment than being idle in a public school classroom. If they should choose to go to school later on down the road I probably won’t object, but I would hope that they can learn some important life lessons in this environment and carry these along with their talents into the future.
I would like to thank you for reading this and for getting to know me a little bit. Feel free to read my other posts and I always welcome a good intelligent discussion so do not be afraid to leave a comment.
In a little side story, I have been working since I was in high school. It was only in the middle of my enlistment in the Marine Corps that I really found my passion in design, first for the web, then for graphics, print and multimedia. I have enjoyed every moment so far of doing what I love and making a living from it, and have come to the realization that this does have to be an unusual discovery or a hope that is not often achieved for everyone. Since then I have been trying to write my feelings on this. In the process I have also written on good information design and creativity. I decided to post this here to start some though provoking discussion and to give you a glimpse into some of my views.
I believe that being successful in design and the arts requires; being in touch with yourself, questioning everything in everyday life, remembering and practicing the basics and finding inspiration in anything. Success also comes with being able to inform and inspire at the same time.
- Dare to Dream and Think Critically – Dream big and think outside the box. In an age where having a degree is the norm and not the exception you have to set yourself apart. The ability to question everything, play the devil’s advocate in any situation or to otherwise think critically are seldom taught in the classroom, some even frown upon these abilities. These skills are at risk of diminishing, but with the explosion of the access to information they are more important than ever. Work on these skills and break the mold.
- Embrace your Talents – Society and education at large aim to teach in a modeled stale environment and enforce the ‘norm’, often at the expense of our talents and aspirations. Practice what you are good at, embrace what you do well whether it be dancing, sketching, or telling jokes. Embracing your talent and honing them will keep creativity and artistic capability in good shape for future generations.
- Seek Brilliance in the Basics – The basics of good design are often over looked or sacrificed in an attempt to make it original, or recognizable. One should always seek growth and push the limits of their knowledge and skill, but at the same time be sure to go over the fundamentals and re-learn them, lest they be lost in your work.
- Balance Form and Function – Good information design and good art communicates on different levels at once. There are too many cases of boring and bland pieces that inform, or visually appealing pieces that do nothing or have no meaning. Being able to mold aesthetics and relevant information into one coherent and beautiful piece is the key to making something truly memorable, informative and inspiring.
Be your own person, develop a creative and inquisitive mind and always set time aside to do what you do well and to relax. Enjoy life, seek inspiration, it is all around you and most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff, because in the end it is all small stuff!
This is also on my website: http://www.jrob.me/manifesto.html
A great website has many things that make it good, from a well thought out color theme, to attractive yet informative graphics and media. Probably one of the most important aspects though is good typography. If you have a website, chances are there is something you want someone to know and if they have a hard time being able to read the text on your site or the text fails to keep their attention then the site is basically useless. Good typography will make or break a website, and these guidelines will help to ensure that it does not make it a flop.
1. Readability is key! At the end of the day, your choices in type face do not matter if your visitors cant physically make out the text itself. Have a good readable font (or fonts). There is plenty of debate over whether or not to go with a serifed or sans-serifed font and I recommend thinking about your audience. To some people whether or not the font is serif make no big difference, but if your user base is older or more likely to be heavy book readers a serifed font is a safe bet. Avoid using heavily decorated fonts in paragraphs as they are less legible (think about an online news article done entirely in 10pt Old English type-face) Also do not use different typefaces or colors in paragraphs this can be confusing or jarring to readers.
2. Regarding Multiple Typefaces If you are planning on using different typefaces for different levels in hierarchy of information, stick to three or less different fonts. A whole array of different fonts in different places can be confusing to some and is generally not recommended. One thing that helps in using different fonts is to find a serif font and a sans-serif cont that compliment each other. If you go with this route pick two that are structured similarly and are equally readable (a good and simple recommendation here is Times New Roman paired with Helvetica) Doing so while having a suitable different color for different hierarchies will help each portion of your text stand out and be easily read while users will naturally see the different levels you have in the site.
3. Alignment and Orientation Write out your content thinking of your audience. If your audience reads from left to right, align your text to the left. Centering or right alignment makes the paragraphs feel sloppy. A centered heading or caption can work sometimes, that usually is a judgement call on a case by case basis though.
4. Originality There are many things you can do while following these guidelines to make your text content original and attractive while making it legible and informative. Avoid overly used decorative fonts for paragraphs and headings (Yes that means Comic Sans and Papyrus to name a few) Moreover than not, they are unattractive, do not add any personality to the site itself and to some look like a lack of effort. Instead of using these types of fonts, create a plan to use two or three typefaces to separate the levels of information and add color to some to make it pop.
If you put effort into this aspect of your site it will be an original, and informative environment that will keep a users attention. Do not be afraid to be creative with your typography choices, just make sure that your choices do not adversely affect the readability of the content or the structure of the entire site itself.
Samuel Morse used the phrase that is the title of this first post to officially open the Baltimore-Washington Telegraph Line. This first message may seem like a random phrase, but when you think of how the telegraph system created and caused a movement in rapid long distance communication, this phrase seems oddly prophetic, asking in what has this caused. Fast forward 167 years from that first official telegraph to 2011, long distance communication is taken for granted by most. The capabilities we have with blogs, social media and ever shrinking and more powerful mobile devices, it is amazing to think back on this achievement.
I decided to open my new blog with this phrase, mainly for the purpose of, I do not know what direction I will take this blog, what I will post about from day to day or how it will move me once I get consistent readers. My initial intention is to focus on my passion and work as a graphic artist and web/multimedia designer, but that will not be what this is all about at the end of the day, because that is not what I am all about.
So for now I will say this, if you want to read and discuss good information design, serious and intellectual issues, amusing anecdotes, or just my life in general stay tuned.