Monday, June 21, 2010

Ads of the week

Check out these two adverts for Fortnight Lingerie. These ads are a take on educational videos, where the situation is deliberately taken out of context. This creates a sense of humour and sex appeal that ties it in with the product advertised without having to make any verbal mention of it at all. That's clever!

Super Sexy CPR from Super Sexy CPR on Vimeo.




Super Sexy Abdominal Thrust from Super Sexy CPR on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Things I wish I knew better at High School

1. It's best to start working on a portfolio of personal and/or professional work as soon as you can.

2.
Once you begin university you are likely to start missing the old days. Enjoy your time here - when you're out in the workforce you're likely miss uni just as much.

3. Collecting samples of work that inspire you sets you in the right direction.

4.
Always be prepared. Circumstances change in a blink of an eye and opportunities you thought didn't exist could pop up when you least expect them.

5.
Being able to draw helps.


6. Everybody is different so it's always beneficial to share your creative ideas.

7.
Age should not be a factor - the earlier you start progressing, the better.

8. Avoid working for free. Design jobs without pay as a new student can be misinterpreted as a privilege as you may get valuable experience but most of the time it's a misconception. Not only is this unprofessional but it's an attempt by someone to take advantage of your time and skills. The only time free jobs are acceptable is if it's for a good cause or a charity.

9. Design isn't always about pretty pictures, it's about finding the most effective way to communicate a message. How it's done is up to you.

10. Get involved online. Join forums, write/follow blogs and listen to podcasts. All of this will eventually come around useful in one way or another.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

LoveColour Vectors: More Networking Icons!

I made some social networking icons - same as last time only this time they are stylized into little blobs...with eyes.
If anyone out there wants to use these for their site or blog or whatever go right ahead, download link here.
(Please don't forget to link back if you use them online).




FYI: Look out for the next vector giveaway - I'm planning to make a brand new wallpaper.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ad of the Week

You may have seen this one before and if not - you're likely to enjoy it. It's in our basic human nature to take care of and nurture little children which is where the idea of 'cute' comes from. The truth is that in the world of advertising 'cute' is powerful and effective. Arguably even up there with humour.
This week's ad uses the above-mentioned idea quite effectively! The product advertised has infact zero connection to what's being shown in the advert and yet it still managed to pull it off! Have a look:

video

Sunday, March 7, 2010

LoveColour Feedback

As mentioned in The Plan, I am planning to update my website and I asked several people (mostly professional designers) for some feedback regarding my site. Some comments were positive some were negative and some were downright brutally honest.

















The most important thing to mention here though is that all of them were equally embraced with open arms, all posted right here and ofcourse all uncensored. Wanna know what people think of my artwork? Here it is!
_________________________

Source:
Graphic Design Forum


"There are 3 links on the page it feels odd that they are all to the left of the page. Are you planning to add something to the right?"

"Your portfolio - it would be nice if there was a next button instead of having to click back and then to the next piece."

"Your bench and contact booth illustrations are very good realism wise- but the fountain one ceases to really shine."

"Sorry, but the initial load was way too long, and I clicked away."

"I love the illustrations and the layout of the site, but I had to wait forever for it to load."

"As to your portfolio pieces, I think the colors are very nice and you show good artistic style, however need work on the communication and details."

"I agree it took a while to load (but I walked away and it loaded by the time I came back). I like your illustrations and you have some nice work there."

"If your goal is to become a digital artist I think you show great promise."

"Having a subtle menu on the top or bottom isn't a bad idea for people to fall back on."

"The zoom feature threw me off, why is it there?"

"Loaded in about 50 seconds - I would have clicked away normally. Would like to be able to click a 'next' button to take me through the designs."

"Choose a style, and try to retain it in all aspects of the illustration, and the illustration as a whole. Color schemes are nice to use too. A lot of colors going on- primarily the very detailed skyline.

Could check something like this out for inspiration:
http://www.kanyeuniversecity.com/"


Source: Yahoo Answers


"It looks awesome, really! How did you do it? I am serious, it looks amazing"

"Your website is very nice and quite well done in Flash. At such an early age you have done a wonderful job. Not to forget you still have a long way to go, your current work shows the sign of upcoming hardcore professional."

" Try making an XHTML version and offer the user choice to switch between XHTML and Flash version."

"You seem to have knowlegde of SEO and if you are a Freelance Designer you may need to market your site. So making it in DIV based layout will help you get good traffic and maybe clients too."

"It took little more time to load in my machine. Try to optimize the loading time of you Flash version. Remember, not everyone will wait for it to load. Internet connections are not too fast in every parts of world."
_________________________


!!Thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to place this feedback on my site. It will be a vital source of information to be referred to when I will be upgrading my site. I greatly appreciate this!!



-----------Edit-----------

As I was overloaded with an enormous amount of assignments and design-related projects outside of uni I was unable to complete my web-site upgrade on time. Sorry everyone! This will have to be postponed until a later date - will hopefully have it finished by the end of this semester.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ad of the week

This one aired a couple of years ago and I remember thinking how cool it was. Made right here in New Zealand, this week's top ad goes to the Vodem Freedom of Movement campaign. Check it out below:


video

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Luck vs. Skill

I've been wanting to talk about the relationship between luck and skill for a very long time now. As it turns there is a very thin line between the two - and the relationship is probably completely different to what you'd expect.
A few weeks ago I've had long conversations with Jamie Ford about success (particularly from the sales point of view) - what defines it and what accounts for it. Jamie Ford is a business owner and professor who also happened to write a post for Business Blogs at the time I met him. He argues that optimism plays a large part. This is infact a very true point.
Richard Wiseman wrote an article about luck. According to Wiseman, luck is something you can master rather than a random occurence
of a fortunate event. Luck will hardly ever come out of nowhere, instead something must happen beforehand and that something is the potential which must be noticed and acted upon. Wiseman describes experiments set on people which show that the ones that consider themsleves lucky have it come their way rather often. These are the people who have the right mindset and tend to notice some aspects (which later lead them to getting 'lucky') more easily than the people that consider themselves unlucky. These aspects are what we call opportunities. In other words the ones that have all the luck stay more open. They possess the precise mindstate to recognize and seize an opportunity as soon as it arrives. Luck however is also heavily reliant on skill and for that matter effort as well. I always think that luck is more of a reward which comes as a result of hard work.
As I briefly mentioned in The Plan I'd like to bring up my point of view strictly from my own experiences. I am currently a university student studying design. I work part-time for an advertising agency as a graphic designer. When I talk about my job I often get told that I'm lucky. At first I used to dispute that but lately the more I think about luck the more I realize how plausible that statement may really be. The fundamental reason for my assumptions go back to how I found the job in the first place. But before I go into that and to really get the point across I must go back to about 4-5 months even prior to the job hunting. I was in the first year of my course back then and it all started with a client from Canada through oDesk (more about this here). What begun as a small illustration project turned very time and effort consuming due that very client. Specs would change in a blink of an eye and I had to start over a nearly finished design on two occasions. As the process went on, the deadline was getting closer and as a result I ended up working 18 hours straight. This happened twice. I've never pulled anything like that before and regardless, I still missed that deadline by 4 days. Two things resulted from this. A stunned client when he saw the amount of work I put into the illustrations in such a short period of time (I'll be putting these up on the portfolio once I finish updating the LoveColour Homepage in about 2-4 weeks time) and a very high rating from oDesk. So high infact that it scored me a 24th place amongst 40,000 others on the Best Designers of the Month list. This was the catalyst. It led me to applying to local jobs.





I just so happened to be in the right time at the right place when I applied for my current position. They called me in on the next day and I talked as much as I could about my previous experience and my capabilities. The trick is being confident. It's always about confidence. The oDesk rating was what gave me mine. Of course I mentioned it whenever I could but the real significance in this is that it all happened right at the time my workplace really needed someone. This is where the idea of luck came in. Perfect timing. This whole experience was my reward. Luck however can only take you this far. While it played a significant role in receiving the opportunity, the rest of it was all up to me. I was originally needed only for 30 days; I've been working there for almost 5 months now.
Success is heavily reliant on the amount of resources you have at your disposal and in most cases those can be earned with the amount work you put in. And I think this is the real key here. The more effort you put in the more opportunities you receive. Luck is more like a follow-up. In reality luck IS a skill - have a look at this article written by Richard Wiseman, the one about setting experiments on people to test how lucky they are.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ad of the week

This weeks ad of the week goes to a video that I can't actually post on this blog - you'll find out why as soon as you watch it!
It's quite unique of its kind. Brought to you Nintendo Wii - heres the Creative Ad Trailer for Warrior Land.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Plan

Today is the last day before going back to uni and I can honestly say that getting here wasn't simple. Waking up at 7.30 six days a week and working 40-50 hour weeks was just the beginning. As I reflect on the past few months of the summer holidays though, I can't help but to feel satisfied from what I did with my time. Over the holidays I received very sweet job opportunities ranging from both contract and freelance design work (which I'll talk about in more detail in the "Luck vs. Skill" blog post coming up before the end of this month).
And now that the holidays are almost over all the work is still there (obviously on a smaller scale) the one thing that changed is the added pressure from university. So I thought I'd dedicate this small post to discussing what will be happening to the schedule and availability but more importantly the plan for this Blog and the LoveColour Homepage.

First things first. LoveColour is due to be getting a makeover - hopefully completed by the end of March. (See its current state at http://www.lovecolour.co.nz) I asked around for feedback and constructive criticism from amateurs, professionals and complete randoms. All feedback was recorded and yes, I will put up a separate "LoveColour Feedback" post with everything people have said about LoveColour. Of course all completely uncensored. This should be fun.

I will still try to update the blog as often as I can. I will continue to put up the Quote and the Ad of the Week and at least one weekly post.

Free stuff. Right now I'm focusing on Vector Graphics rather than working on internal application elements like brushes, gradients and so on.
The whole 'free giveaway' idea is always a juggernaut. It's quite time consuming and at this point I don't even know myself how often I'll be able to put these up. I can definitely say though that the next vector giveaway will be the 15-or-so Web 2.0 icons but in a completely different, wacky style for those who might fancy. There are more in planning. Also please feel free to comment for any special requests.

In the slightly longer run (3-4 months from now) I'm also planning to introduce brief but consistent content for the recent high school graduates interested in design. Currently on the top of the list are things like posting Photoshop and Illustrator Tutorials; discussing everything I wished I knew about the industry before finishing high school; and things I've done that were actually mistakes.

Let's hope this coming year of study won't be impossibly scary. Wish me luck!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Ad of the week

This week's top spot goes to Wilkinson's Razors.
They launched a whole campaign completed with a dedicated web-site, neat flash game and goodies. Site here.
This is a fun little commercial to let people know about the company and the product.
Check it out:


Saturday, February 13, 2010

LoveColour: 15 Free Social Networking Icons

These are especially useful when building out a website or a blog.

I've created 15 vector icons in Illustrator. Download here. Use them for anything you like: skins, applications or even on-screen designs - embedding these on web pages to increase social productivity is only the start!

Icons come in AI and EPS formats.




Monday, February 8, 2010

28 things I believe in.

This is a compilation of principles in life that I feel strongly about. Following them really help. Some I've learned out of my own experience, some - from others. Some are general and some are personal. Here they are:

1. Music heals.
2. Dishonesty, Stealth advertising and Undercover Campaigns backfire.
3. Karma exists and works in a completely logical way.
4. Graphic designers never sleep.
5. Happiness can come out from the simplest of things.
6. Tea.
7. Grabbing every opportunity.
8. Hyping yourself up works.
9. Understanding the future pays.
10. Working on a bed results in higher productivity than from behind the desk.
11. People are the key to opportunities.
12. Failure is a challenge.
13. Supplying with free advice.
14. Creative solutions win. Always.
15. If you are early you're on time. If you're on time you're late.
16. 80/20 principle.
17. 2012 London Olympics Logo may actually be embraced in 2012!
18. Indirect rewards. Pay-offs that are not immediate.
19. Luck is what you get for consistent effort.
20. Writing down your goals increase the chances of achieving them by 25%. (Although a completely made up number, I'd like to think it's not overly far off).
21. 6 hours of sleep is healthier than 8.
22. What I've done today could be done better tomorrow.
23. An open mind is the key to success.
24. Utilising a given resource. Admitting and moving on when it runs out.
25. Constantly finding ways to motivate yourself.
26. Laptops are saviors.
27. Twitter will change the world this coming decade.
28. Rationality is most important.

Thanks for reading. Please comment and let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Commercial of the week

Every week I will be hunting for the best of the best world-wide tv ads and posting them here the following monday.

Here's one for last week:


video

Free vector icons

Some cool icons I made in Illustrator over the past couple of days. Download the AI file containg all icons here, or click on the thumbnails to get the induvidual AI's.



































Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Online Freelancing on oDesk Pt.2

This is a follow up post to Online Freelancing with oDesk.

So you singed up. Completed all your profile details and are now ready to apply.
Unfortunately you are unlikely to get your first job very soon. Or a good paying one anyway. Pulling off a good job straight after you register is very rare and is a feat that normally gets you an article in the oDesk monthly newsletter.
There are certain tricks, however to getting ahead of your competition. Read on.

Landing a job:
Finding the first job is always the hardest. When I started fist time back in 2007, I only applied to the smallest project. Less candidates are interested in these which means less competition for the freelancer and less risk from the client's perspective.
It took me roughly 20 different applications before I got my first tiny job. Since then there were more once-in-a-while minuscule projects. I gave up on freelancing for about a year after that. Bad move but luckily I had enough skill to pull me back up. Only thanks to that fact, I started getting bigger jobs when I came back.
Here's my provider profile. http://www.odesk.com/users/~~65e0b4e14a2c9388

Learn from my mistakes. Do not ditch freelancing - keep on at the small projects until you have built up some reference, then start applying for the real stuff. If you give up half way through, coming back is NOT easy. Buyers start wondering why you haven't had a job in so long. Active users are much more preferred.

I specialize in Design and Multimedia. Usually, over 15 new jobs will surface up everyday. Every job receives an average of 15-20 candidates, before the client makes his/her choice. There are three main things that will contribute towards persuading the potential client that you are perfect for the job. They are:
1. Your genuine skill
2. Your first impression
3. Your price bid and turn-around time.
You need to be better than your competition on all three. (Keep in mind these apply to working online. Dealing with real-time clients is some-what different.)


Skill
This is most important. Put together a portfolio of work and present them as an example. Physical examples are no use here, as you cannot see the client in person. The best way to go about this is to create a web-site that showcases your best relevant work. You need not pay for a web-site if you're just starting out. Plenty of services give you space for free. Your URL however will be in a www.yourname.sitename.com form.
These are just some websites that will host your web page for free:

An additional feature on oDesk is a section on your profile, where you can physically add work pieces. This has been introduced about a year ago and is proving worthy. Having a web-site however shows you are more dedicated and professional than people that don't.


First impression.
This will almost always be determined by your cover letter, which you write every time you apply for a job.
I used to write long letters about how suitable I am for this job when I was introduced to freelancing.
DO NOT do this.
Clients have 20 cover letters to read and if you write an essay you are more likely to bore them. Say as much as you can, in as little as possible. Briefly introduce yourself (where are you from, what you do). Mention your achievements, and link to your previous work examples. Let the client know about the ways of contacting you, and spend the rest on stating relevant facts that prove you are perfect for the job.

NEVER copy and paste the same cover letter to multiple job openings. It's amazing how many people do this without realizing that it just doesn't work.
I keep records of my successful cover letters. Unfortunately I cannot share them on this blog. However, if you e-mail me personally (contact details on the LoveColour Homepage), I will send some over.

Now, to writing the actual cover letter. Clients are different. Some will want a formal letter. Some will want to see you are open-minded, well spoken and good at communication. (By the way - communication is critical here, as you are dealing with people miles away). I even came across clients who will only reply to cover letters that show a strong sense creativity. Learn your client before even making contact. Read their job opening. Is it brief or in-detail? Pay close attention to things like punctuation, writing style and capitalisation. These are tell-tale signs about the client's tolerance levels.

Never make loose promises. While it may be tempting or may make you sound more professional it's generally a good practise to not do so. I personally stay away from promising things I'm not completely certain about. Remember this simple rule: Underpromise andOverdeliver. (DNA 2nd edition).


Price bid and Turn-around time.
If you cannot compete on the first two principles then you have no qualitative advantages over any other person. This is known as a commodity. You don't want to be in this situation because now can only compete on price or how fast you can deliver.
If you are in this situation you'll want to take a look through your competition's rates. You have no other choice but to compete with them on price if you want to succeed and this almost certainly means dropping your rate below what you are comfortable with.

It takes effort and time before the real $ comes in. But until then you really gain something more valuable through the process of learning and gathering experience. For beginners, oDeskwould indubitably be a great start to your career as it was to mine and even for the seasoned freelancers it really does pay to look out for new job posts now and then - you never know the next big gig might just be waiting for you!

Thanks for reading, please don't forget to comment.
And be sure to subscribe for further posts on Online Freelancing and more!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cool commercial

I saw this on YouTube some time ago and thought it was clever. It kept me interested throughout the whole thing despite its length and its always effective when it all comes piece to piece right at the end.
Enjoy!


video

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Online freelancing on oDesk

First and foremost I am writing this article from my own personal experience on oDesk. I started out around about my final year of high school and since then worked with numerous clients around the world. Back then jobs were occasional and well paid. These days good paying jobs are more scarce, although the concept of online freelancing is expanding. More and more clients are offering jobs, and so long as guidlines are followed, the process is more secure than ever.
If you are after some job experience or have time on your hands and would like to have a go at a project (and obviously make some $$) then oDesk is perfect.

Getting started on oDesk:
http://www.odesk.com

So this is an online application where you register a profile, and choose your area of expertise (I will list these later). You will have opportunities to take tests. Have a crack at a couple (and PASS them) to prove your potential clients that you are fired up and ready to go. You may get sent out a contract which you will sign and keep. You may also apply for a FREE shiny Debit Card which looks like this:
















This is probably the simplest option to receive the $$ on the payday, although not the cheapest. Other methods are also available. (e.g. PayPal, Bank transfer).
Make your profile more appealing by adding a photo of yourself, writing some relevant background information (incl. education, very small resume, work history if any) and your desired hourly rate in US$. The latter is tricky, look around on other people's profiles and compare your skills vs. theirs. Feel free to send me an e-mail - I'll be happy to advice you on this.
Complete the above and you are ready to apply for your first job!

The following are just some of the oDesk job fields:

- Web Development
- Design and Multimedia
- Writing and Translatoin
- Customer Service
- IT and Software development

- Administrative support
- Sales and marketing

- Networking and Information systems

- Business services




Next up, I'll be disucissing work experience on odesk, maximising your chances of landing jobs, giving away hints and tips, do's and dont's and more.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this post!

Friday, January 22, 2010

False advertising

Spotted this flyer outside a vegeterian restarant:
























Tuesday, January 12, 2010

6 Ways to Beat Stress

"The reality is that its everywhere. These days its so rare to gain success worth celebrating without stress."

The trick to being stress-free is finding ways to get yourself into that mindstate where you genuinely want to work hard and strive to succeed. The better you do this the more likely you are to beat stress. Getting there is not easy and certainly takes a great measure of motivation. There are things that work well. And then there are things that work really well. So I decided to compile a list of things that work best for me. Enjoy.


1. Light exercise.
An age old trick. Everyone knows exercise releases endorphins, the stuff that makes you happy. You want to stay as positive as possible during the stressful times. Being in the right state of mind means so much more chances of finding solutions or staying open-minded - this important.

2. Plan of action

If you are in really deep then you need to take some time off before anything else and really figure out the steps needed to be taken to pull yourself out. Most of the time I know what I have to do without having to set aside special time to plan steps. In saying that it is still useful to break it down into smaller milestones because at least this way you know the direction to head in.























3. Reward yourself

Set your mind to finding something you crave for and only permit yourself to having this once you have achieved a goal. This doesn't have to be something really big. Maybe treat yourself to something you don't normally have everyday - again nothing too dear - but rewarding yourself means you can physically feel that you have achieved something, which does get that drive going, especially when there is a large number of tasks to accomplish before you get to the end of that tunnel.

4. Finding the love

This ones a juggernaut. A large number of motivators often say that passion beats all and learning to love the things that bring you down is the key. I am no different with this one and its absolutely true - the idea has pulled me up countless times. As crazy as it may sound - if you learn to love all that pressure from stress it becomes a million times better to deal with it. Not only that, but you may even benefit from it in various ways! Remember to always think big and take stress as a challenge.























5. Music

Whatever tastes you may have - music is amazing. There will always be music that makes you feel good or motivates you. The power of music is a concept that should not be underestimated. Pick the right stuff and listen to it. This is important: when you are listening, always keep in mind that the aim is motivation or even inspiration. Do this whenever you get time.

6. Working hard

Always the bottom line. Whether you're in a good or a bad state give it all you've got. I earnestly believe in this. I think this idea has been overused and overstated. And nevertheless it really does pay off! Sometimes in the long run, sometimes almost instantly. Nomatter what you do if you put in the effort, if you are willing to go the extra mile and if you forget the regular 'it's good enough' then I guarantee you will be rewarded!

Monday, January 11, 2010

LoveColour Wallpaper!

Love the homepage design cover?
Get it here!



1024x600 | 1280x1024 | 1280x960 | 1400x1050
1680x1050 | 1920x1200




Also decided throw in a random wallpaper I made back in the start of 2008 when I was playing with Illustrator.





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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mac on Windows

Start of 2008 - quite frankly I invested in a PC that I am now just mildly regretting. I use a Mac at my workplace and at uni. Dont get me wrong, it's still a beast of a machine - its just that well... it's not a Mac.
So if you're anything like me then you're in luck 'cos I've found a bunch of sweet apps that will allow you to have some those nifty Mac features on a PC.


- Expose

A cool little patch that allows your PC to run Mac's Expose

Get it here






- Making a screenshot selection
There is actaully a program that comes with most versions of Vista that lets you take screenshot selections. Its called Snipping Tool.
Find out more about it here






- Fonts : Mac <--> Windows

The problem with Mac fonts are that most, I find, don't work with a PC.
TransType is a neat app that can juggle between converting fonts for both: PCs and Macs
Get TransType here



- Mac OS

There is are ways to make your Windows OS look almost identical (visually) to OSX.
Article here



Tw-Twitter?!

I used to think little of it. Now I'm hooked.