It has been so much fun working with Conrad Homes creating web and print designs for them. I started out receiving AutoCad files that I had to edit in Illustrator (strokes too small) and create at first, specification sheets with the front elevation of the home, basement, main and second levels if applicable. I created a layout template so all of the sheets looked alike for all of their home designs.
Below is the latest request which is to take the front elevation, colourize it and add the rest of the info below to be printed out as a poster. There are currently 3 posters of various home designs that you can see in their model home.
This rendering was all done in Illustrator. You can see more of my work at conradhomes.ca
I have been using a CMS software platform called Weebly for 5 years now. I have used Dreamweaver (currently maintaining a site for a client) for over 13 years. I have an intimate relationship with Dreamweaver, it is just the software and I, creating and editing a website.
About 5 years ago I came across a platform called Weebly that I was so impressed with that I decided to use for my own website. This was an HTML editor on steroids. Oh, did I mention that I started web designing in the early years of HTML and created sites in notepad (oh yes, I said it!).
Again, my relationship at first with Weebly was an intimate one. Then I created a few sites and I set up a customer with her own permissions to edit her own site. I am well aware that I am not a programmer. I have enough knowledge of PHP and Java that I can go into a script and edit it to get it to do what I want. I don't want to be a coder because that is not where my passion is. I personally love the site analysis of how many hits vs unique users come to my site. I check this daily and really appreciate the feedback. Setting up the SEO options is all on one page which is great as well.
I have done some homework and I realize that Weebly isn't for everyone. Very large scale sites are not possible with it. For your regular company website, it has wonderful SEO section, E-commerce integration, permissions for clients to log on themselves and edit their pages, automatic layout for mobile devices, lots of templates and truly WYSIWYG. Everyone will have their favourite CMS platform such as Joomla, Squarespace or Wordpress, it's what you want to do and how you feel comfortable doing it.
I am not stuck to Weebly, I actually have looked at Joomla and it sounds very interesting.
I am sure there will be more platforms that will be created, such as the technology being more of wearable item, not a desktop platform like I am at right now. That's what I love about this funky thing called the Internet, it will continue to change and maybe someday it will be holographic for all (insert evil laugh here)!
I have been very lucky to be surrounded by like minded geeks who are my best friends. We love to talk about new technologies and where things are going. This keeps me young and as a true life long learner, open to new ideas and technologies. Thankfully, with the Internet at only about 25 years old, it is still finding out what it wants to be.
I am very happy to join along for the ride.
Colour theory is something you learn as a kid, in grade school or high school. I had a colour wheel as a kid handed down to me by my older sister who went through school for graphics. I kept that wheel and used it as I started teaching graphic design in 1992. I still have it with my art stuff somewhere with all the other tools that I have.
And that's just it, it's a tool. It can help someone figure out what colours to choose for a project, whether it is for web, print or fine art.
When I was teaching, the most fun for me was explaining the difference between CMYK and RGB colour and why that beautiful royal blue on your screen printed out as a purple colour on your printer. It's all about gamuts or "range" of what colours can be created. I still find myself informing someone on why it works as it does. It is a basic tool for me that assists me on how to determining whether a design will be strong in complimentary colours or have a bit of that and work more with analogous ones.
There is so much info on the psychology of colour and how we perceive them. That.. as an old Hammy Hamster episode would say...is another story.
I love the language of graphic design and how it just makes sense. There are definite laws but as one of my favourite HGTV designers, Candice Olsen says, "It's understanding the rules, but knowing when to break them." That's what makes using colour so much fun, you can play with your choices and be creative.
Hearing about UX and how people interact with technology harks back to my days in Industrial Design. The backbone of Industrial Design itself is Ergonomics. We learned, especially at the time in the early 1990s, as computers were becoming more available in homes and businesses, how people interacted with technology.
In our Industrial Design course, on of the realizations we had was that audio feedback was needed as people were using ABMs. For example, if a person using an ABM didn't have the audio cue that they actually touched that button in front of them they wouldn't know if they really pressed it correctly. I have felt this confusion myself when I was using technology with the sound off. It is very unnerving. This and other usability concepts later helped me as I developed screen designs for kiosks and websites. On the low tech side it also helped me understand how to better design printed items.
Using the technique of story boarding, as shown in the graphic at the top of this post, is something I still strongly believe in. As I started designing websites in the mid 1990s, story boarding was key to figure out how many pages were needed and how the navigation would work. Again, story boarding is helpful with print design as well. I guess graphic designers would call these thumbnails.
Now we are looking beyond websites and figuring how humans interact with cell phones, tablets, and whatever new communication tools that will show up in the future. These are very exciting times, in my opinion, when it comes to design. As long there is people and technology, UX and Ergonomics will always be paramount in the design mix.
I found a wonderful website called Designing for Humans:
For more information about me go to www.sylverdesign.com
I recently was asked as to what my background was as an instructor and I realized that even though I haven't had a college or university education on instructing others, I have had quite a strong education along the way. Here is my history when it comes to learning how to teach adults and why I am so passionate about teaching...
I have had professional Train the Trainer courses throughout my career. The first one was through Productivity Point in 1994.The training was done in Toronto. It was from this training that I ended up working for them for the next 5 years. With Productivity Point, I was taught the Explain, Show, Do, Review method that I have continued through the years. It was here that I expanded my training from design software to office software. I taught courses in MS Word, Powerpoint, Outlook (before it was an online entity) and other programs.
Also, at Fanshawe College, I attended 5 Train the Trainer courses through my 10 years with the college through their Continuing Professional Development program. I have knowledge of many Adrogogical concepts. With Fanshawe I learned more about Malcolm Knowles' concepts of Androgogy and the difference between visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. It was instructing here that I experienced almost every kind of learner, from autistic, low functioning, ADHD and other types that stretched my skillset in caring for them as an instructor.
I worked closely with Ruth Rodgers at Fanshawe College Contintuing Ed, a very accomplished Educator whose belief is that the instructor needs to make the shift from “subject matter expert” to “teacher of subject matter.” Taking her teacher enrichment training sessions at Fanshawe College helped me understand how I could be a better teacher. At this time, there was a real focus on the improvement of teacher to embrace many new teaching theories.
Well, it all started with my wanting to get new business cards made. I decided that I would make a new logo for SylverDesign. I then made the business cards and realized that I also needed to update my portfolio, resume and website.
For the design, I wanted to incorporate my SV signature that I have used on all of my artwork in the past. I also had fun trolling font sites in search of the font for the text SylverDesign. I looked at many handwritten and decorative fonts before I decided that this was the one. With the latter font being a bit decorative, I decided to keep my SV to look as a brush stroke keeping its historical reference.
Colour was another factor with my penchant for green, historically as well as gold. I tried for the text to be a royal blue but for me the green made more sense. Green tends to me a very strong colour choice for my own business. I guess it has to do with the fact that I live in the country and I feel a connection with the land.
I tried various locations of the SV and the text with te SV being to the left and top. I decided to have it on top first of all because I could have the SV as a fairly large size. Secondly, I liked the shape of the logo and the negative space it created.
Overall, the logo is much cleaner than any image/text combination that I have used in the past and so I am happy with the outcome. Readability of a logo is always an issue and I am sure if this logo would be reduced in size, it would still be understood.
You can see from my portfolio, found on my website, sylverdesign.com, that I have designed many logos over the years and I am very proud that they all look completely different. Each logo has it's own story and what it is trying to convey, as they should.
You will notice from my website that I have designed my SylverDesign logo. It all started when I realized I needed new business cards and so I came up with the logo and designed the cards.
Then of course, I had to change my website, portfolio, and resume. I am very happy with my design and I do think it looks pretty clean on a white background. You be the judge.
This blog is to showcase my ongoing work.