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Filtering by Tag: graphic design

Norway's new "artsy" currency

Billy Fasig

From a young age, I've always thought the US currency was pretty bland. Don't twist my words though, I always loved having money in my pocket, but I never really liked the design of them. Once I started expanding my design side, I really started to question why the US currency hadn't changed throughout the years. I'm not talking about slight edits to the currency forms, mainly for extra security measures. I'd like to see current bills scrapped and completely redesigned from the ground up.

Well, the United States didn't do it, but Norway is on the verge. This spring (2014), Norges Bank of Norway held a competition to redesign the new banknotes. As the mission stated, "the purpose of the competition was to arrive at a proposal that can be the artistic basis of the new banknote series and communicate 'The Sea' in an appropriate manner." A design group called The Metric System was selected for the front side, while the reverse side of the banknotes would feature art by Snøhetta Design. [image shown below]

I personally think these new banknotes are stunning. I'd love to see something like this adapted for American currency. The front sides leave plenty of space for security elements in the design. It features five illustration designs based on the Norwegian landscape/life, all of which illustrate the sea in some fashion.

The reverse side is extremely interesting to me. Snøhette created an idea that is pretty clever in my opinion. First, you notice that the designs are somewhat abstractions of the illustrations from the front side of the banknotes. However, it goes a little further than that. As the amounts of the bills increase, so do the length of the rectangles in the design. Why is this? It's a concept based on the Beaufort wind force scale (yet again a reference to the sea). As the denominations increase, the abstraction of the wind force does as well. You'll see on the 50 kroner that it's only small bars and slight pixelation. Once you get to the 1000 kroner, the bars are extremely long with absolutely no clarity in what the original design is.

These designs are set to enter circulation in Norway in 2017. 

Now really, who wouldn't want to see the United States switch things up?


Retro Movie Posters

Billy Fasig

South African creative studio MUTI recently created a series of posters that are based on four famous film locations, designed in a retro-esque styling.  MUTI was commissioned by FoxP2 to create these posters for their Ster-Kinekor Theaters. I absolutely love how it was pulled off. Using a limited color palette in each poster, MUTI created great designs for all four films (The Shining, Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, and King Kong). These are excellent posters. I really want to own them.

Diploma Arrival

Billy Fasig

It's been over three months since I walked across the stage for my graduation and my diploma finally showed up at my doorstep today. It's funny how the timing of events happen sometimes... just yesterday I was planning on calling the university to ask when it would be arriving, seeing as though they told us it'd be about a month after our graduation. But regardless, it's finally here. Five years of hard work and dedication. It almost seems silly how proud I am of this piece of paper.

Designing for the Homeless

Billy Fasig

The Signs for the Homeless project exchanges handwritten cardboard signs for colorfully illustrated, extremely eye-catching redesigns in the hopes that they will benefit those holding them... by helping them get noticed. I'm sure we've all encountered homeless people asking for money. Many times they just walk by and don't even ask, as if they've given up hope. I read an article on this project and found it to be extremely fascinating. The new signs are so much more eye-catching and provide the homeless people holding them a little more hope of being noticed.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't typically have loose change or dollars in my wallet. Most of my money is on my card. So when I encounter a homeless person, I usually try to avoid eye-contact all together. Christopher Hope, one of the creators of this project says, "good design helps you see the world in a different way." So I ask you, if you were walking down the street and happened to see a homeless person holding an excitingly colored sign like this, would you be more likely to stop for a second or at least glance their way? I believe that I would.

Pricing Picasso

Billy Fasig

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

"It's you -- Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist."

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the woman his work of art.

"It's perfect!" she gushed. "You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?"

"Five thousand dollars," the artist replied.

"B-b-but, what?" the woman sputtered. "How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!"

To which Picasso responded, "Madame, it took me my entire life."

Throughout college one of my main questions about graphic design was how much to charge clients. Do the research and you'll get the same answers... it depends on the client/company, the project, the timescale. And then of course you wonder whether or not you should charge someone per hour, or by base price. Even better, sometimes you get the friends who expect you to spend time designing something for free. Let them know how much you'd typically charge someone and they'll ask something like, "why so much?!" with a seemingly altered persona because they are apparently offended that you'd charge "so much" for a friend.

Many people wonder why design is priced how it is because "they can do it themselves, but they just don't have time to." Alright, then find time and get it done for free. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't do pro-bono work occasionally or that you should never give friends discounts... that's all personal decisions based on your preferences. Then there are the people (typically high schoolers) who advertise themselves at $10 per subpar logo design, which always gets people wanting them at those prices because now they've seen it for that price.

Now why am I even saying all of this?  I don't really know. I saw the excerpt on David Airey's blog and thought it was an interesting concept. As a graphic designer, it's not just the hours of work you put into a project. It's a lifetime of experience. It's every college course, every client interaction, every struggle, and every triumph. It's an entire knowledge base. Look at the story above. Picasso was going to charge $5,000 for a single stroke of a pencil. The client loved the result, but was dumbfounded by the pricing. I'm not the expert on pricing. I've dealt with numerous clients myself, but the majority of them were through my internship.  The company I worked for had prices decided ahead of time. When it came to clients who were asking me about pricing for projects, I was never sure of what price to give them.

The fact of the matter is, pricing is a grey area. It's difficult to figure out. You shouldn't gouge your clients, but you shouldn't under charge either. It's a process that takes time to figure out. Just take a second to think about it.