What makes a great portrait?

Posted April 28, 2016 in Design, Working with WD

  I work with photos every day in my graphic design projects. Sometimes they are provided by clients – amateur photos – and sometimes I commission a professional to take them. When it comes to photos of people, i.e. portraits, I’m fussy! I like to insist on well-lit faces, natural expressions and a little je-ne-sais-quoiMORE

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New website showcases Guelph’s graphic design talent

Posted April 25, 2016 in Design

A group of Guelph graphic designers is launching a new website today to show off the creativity of local designers, illustrators and photographers: www.designersofguelph.ca.

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Every picture tells a story

Posted May 2, 2014 in Design, Images

In many ways, it was a lousy photo: grainy, poorly lit, and the most unflattering portrait angle, shot from below. But none of that mattered. Finally, we had an image for the phenomenon everyone’s been talking about for a year: Rob Ford with crack pipe in hand. The Globe plastered it on their front page,MORE

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Coffee table books to order

Posted January 29, 2014 in Design, Printing

I’m very excited about the new publishing opportunities that exist for producing one-off books. Using the latest, short-run colour printing techniques, there are many choices for printing your own, hardcover (or paperback) book, at a price that might surprise you. Mostly, these are photo books, with a print run in the handfuls. Apple may haveMORE

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Good design is an old thing in France

Posted October 3, 2013 in Design, Printing, Technology

I just took a long vacation, in the Languedoc region of southern France. As always, I keep my eyes alert to graphic design when I travel. And I have to say, I was largely dissappointed this time around! The stylish French really failed me. Publicity for the places we visited was mostly uninspired (see posterMORE

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How do we protect digital ‘memories’ from loss or obsolesence?

Posted January 13, 2012 in Technology

Two stories. Some discussion. A little advice. And a bonus track! 1. In 1982 I was an undergrad student living in an old, wooden country house with four friends. It was called “Total Loss Farm” – bad omen, eh? Our house caught fire  at 4 am one morning and was no more than smoldering embersMORE

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My top 10 secret iPhone tips

Posted November 24, 2011 in Technology

The big ticket new iOS features are well-publicized (Notification Centre, iMessage, Reminders, iCloud). But I find it’s the little, undocumented (almost secret!) things that make writing and taking photos easier with my iPhone. Here are my fave tips, which should work on any iPhone model from 3Gs forward – so long as you’ve made theMORE

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Is profanity the new eloquence?

Posted November 11, 2011 in Design

“Fuck you Mad Men. Fuck your white male chauvinist and racist story lines.” I’ve been listening to George Lois for almost an hour, pouring out one remarkable anecdote after another from the 1960s trenches of Madison Avenue. His work was provocative and urgent – like when he posed Lieutenant William Calley (about to be convictedMORE

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Less is more … or, short is sweet

Posted November 1, 2011 in Writing

Once upon a time, I was a writer. Or to put it more accurately, I got my start in the communications business as a news writer. And the cardinal rule there was: write a great opening paragraph, answer the 5Ws, then elaborate in an “inverted pyramid” format. Short words, short sentences, short paragraphs. The mainMORE

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What’s the first thing you see? It’s colour

Posted in Design

I once designed a logo for a scientist who is colour blind. Did I pull a fast one and slip him a black-and-white design? Of course not! Colour is emotional. We feel it in a design before we even start looking. It’s so visible, but it’s mostly invisible to our consciousness. We take it forMORE

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How do I price and bill your project at WriteDesign?

Posted October 28, 2011 in Working with WD

Time is money – that’s how! But seriously, there’s more to it than that … Although every design project is different, I have a number of ways of “measuring” yours before I begin. I ask for your word count, which I can use to accurately predict the number of pages (for longer projects) or theMORE

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