Make Something People Need

Whether it's for your book or for your client - or for your personal creative endeavors or job - always be thinking about what you can make that will be awesome.

Not just look or sound awesome. But is inherently awesome.

Something that solves a problem, answers a need, helps make people's lives better/easier/brighter and in the process, makes you rich and famous. Or at least popular.

I have a million and seven ideas for apps, sites and other randoms things I could do to make one little thing easier in someone's live (mostly my life - like why isn't there an app that lets me take a picture of my food and tells if it's the right portion size? I mean, how am I really supposed to know what 4 oz of anything is??)

I recently took a master class at Hyper Island NY sponsored by the Ad Club and one of the biggest takeaways was - Make something people need.

You can't go out of business if people need and use your product/service.
People will always need to bathe, eat, sleep, get a train or gas and so many other everyday things that somehow or another end up getting more challenging or frustrating than they need to be. (Like why can't I find my other blue sock??)

Here's an example of a product/service that looks at a real-world, human problem and came up with a solution that fits right into your life.

Start thinking about what you can create that solves a problem, fits into people's lives AND is awesome?

This is how you'll get hired and blogged about. And most importantly, this is how you're going to go to sleep every night feeling like you added some value to the world.

Start thinking.

Perfect Example: Size You. 

Via Digital Buzz

Size:You from Alexander Norling on Vimeo.

"The Miami Ad School students are really stepping it up, and here is a great example from Alexander Norling & Sara Uhelski, who have created ‘Size You’. A Bookmarklet that once dragged into your browser bar, will automatically check your perfect clothing size on any online store, so you never have to return something you bought online again!
The concept is simple, measure yourself once, enter the details on the Bookmarklet site, drag it into your browser bar and then where ever you shop, on the item page, just hit the ‘SizeYou’ Bookmarklet and it will match that items measurements against yours, to tell you the perfect size to buy. This would save me all sorts of online shopping pain"

Art Directors vs Designers

Not that I'm suggesting you face off in a Photoshop cage fight or anything - don't mean to be misleading with that title. (Though that would be awesome.)

Are you a designer? Or an art director? There's a difference. And knowing the difference will help your overall job satisfaction. (Kinda like how I did an account management internship one year and learned that I'm good at it. but absolutely hate it.)

This post is important for writers too. It will help you understand who you're working with and how to best work with them.

Enjoy this lengthy, but super helpful post. I even learned a little something too. (That's my one thing for today so no more learning until tomorrow. Woohoo)


from Adteachings

Our first order of business is to try to figure out what the differences and similarities are between visual advertising and graphic design.

When I first got into advertising, my colleagues and I had the very snobbish and very wrong idea that advertising was better than graphic design, that it had better ideas, that graphic designers were just around to make things look pretty, that the more strongly conceptual work was done by ad people. If you had asked us to draw a Venn diagram of the two disciplines back then, it would have looked like this:


We would have said that designers were all about peripheral marketing materials, annual reports, shopping bags, things of that nature. We would have insisted that advertising was about important things! Double-page spreads! Television commercials!

Many designers were rightfully insulted by this kind of thinking – including one very famous one.


Jonathan Ive is the Senior Vice-President in charge of design at Apple Computer, responsible for the groundbreaking design of the iPhone, various iPods, the Macbook Air, the iMac– the list goes on and on. The interesting thing, though, is that Jonathan Ive almost resigned from Apple before any of those products saw the light of day. And the reason he almost resigned was that for the longest time, he wasn’t permitted to do the job of a designer the way he understood it. Apple’s hardware engineers would bring him the box of wires and circuit boards and say, “Here. We need you to design a nice-looking case for this.” But as a designer, Ive knew that his work needed to start well before then – right back to when the product was first conceived. Eventually, he got Steve Jobs to understand it, too.


To persuade Ive to stay, Jobs agreed to give him meaningful input to his products from the earliest stages. With this new influence, Ive helped to create the first iMac computers in 1998…
…which launched Apple on its way to where it is today – the most valuable and admired brand on the planet.

There is a difference between the disciplines of graphic design and advertising, but there is also a great deal of overlap. Here’s something to look at.


Although this is obviously an example of graphic design, I don’t think you would describe it as an ad. Now, let’s look at something else:


Would you describe it as an example of advertising? Of course you would. But you would also have to describe it as an example of graphic design. So, while it’s clear that not all graphic design is advertising, it is equally clear that almost all advertising does involve design – even radio commercials, because the sound effects and music placed behind the announcer’s voice are referred to as “sound design.” Thus, the appropriate Venn diagram to describe the relationship between advertising and design actually looks like this:


(I’ve allowed advertising to spill out of design a bit because of the possibility that a stunt – or something – might require no design at all.)

So, advertising is just one small part of a much larger universe called design. But what makes advertising its own little dot inside that diagram? What sets it apart? Let’s look at the next slide and see if we can find an answer.


What’s going on here? We see there’s an arrangement of typography and illustration here, so we know there was graphic design involved. But what is the concept? Well, we’re looking at an architect’s blueprint for a house, but the weird thing is that the family’s vehicle is included as if it were really part of the floor plan. So the concept, or the point they’re trying to make, is pretty clear here. They’re telling us that a family’s car is an extension of their home. Some families practically live in their cars, so I think this is a sentiment we can all recognize and get behind. But for all that, I don’t think this is an ad. Not yet, anyway. Now, I’m going to show you this piece of design again, but this time with an important difference.


What has been added here is a sign-off identifying Volvo as the source of this design thought. There’s also copy expressing how Volvo understands that a car is effectively a second living room, and that the company takes design very seriously for that reason. I think we can all now agree that this is most certainly an ad. So what were the differences between this ad and the previous slide? Well, we’re now seeing that the interesting design concept is being presented for the benefit of a particular product.

We’re also seeing that there’s an explicit call to action – the reader is being invited to see a Volvo design exhibition. There’s also an implied call to action – buy Volvo cars. So, for the purposes of today’s talk, I’m going to define advertising as follows:
Typically, the call to action is “buy this product” or “try our service.” But sometimes ads ask for political action or charitable donations, so our definition needs to be flexible enough to accommodate this possibility.

There is far more respect for design today than there was when my career began. I think the brilliance of Apple’s success is part of the reason for that. It has made us aware that design is central to every manmade product, process and activity. The design might be brilliant or mediocre or downright terrible, but the design is there nonetheless. The limitation of advertising is that it generally has no opinion on products or practices until it’s time to write the creative brief. Practically speaking, ad agencies don’t get involved until a product is well on its way to being in stores.

By contrast, designers (be they product designers or graphic designers) have the potential to improve products or processes from the moment of their conception. Good design makes itself felt in all our interactions with a brand. You might recall the launch campaign for the iPod, a campaign in which the posters looked pretty much like screen grabs from the TV spot.


It’s interesting that the launch commercial looked more like a piece of design than an ad. It was all graphics and sound with no explicit sales message, but it sold hard nonetheless. It was a wonderful piece of design because it felt like the product it was selling. It was cool, thrilling, simple and human. In recent years, ad agencies have trumpeted their ability to make brands consistent and recognizable at every point of communication the way Apple has, but good designers have always known the importance of this.

Another reason design is getting more respect these days is that more and more ads draw their thinking from the grand tradition of poster design. When my career began, the concept of most ads was found in the headline. But for the past decade or so, ad concepts have been visually driven. Today, many advertising concepts are virtually indistinguishable from the design concepts that appear on event posters. Here’s an example.


Here, we’re seeing a mash-up of the visual language of movie theatres and the visual language of the chemistry lab, all in service of promoting a scientific film festival. The thinking here is pure graphic design, but it’s coming from an advertising agency – the very respected Legas Delaney of London.
But the most important reason design is getting more respect these days is the relatively new and still-scary blank page known as the Internet. This is a blank page that is communicating across cultures and languages, and because of that, icons and images are supremely important, as are the ways in which users interact with them.


Clearly, to manage this new frontier, it’s the designer’s training you want on board more than the advertising art director’s.

So now we know that if you decide to be an advertising art director, your design concepts will be dedicated to selling products or services or ideas. That’s okay on a theoretical level, but you probably want to know about the practical differences your decision will make. Okay, so here goes. The first big difference is in your earning potential. Your pay in your first job will probably be terrible whichever path you choose.


However, the potential salary for an art director is way higher.
If you are an award-winning art director, you could be earning six figures in just a few years. Most designers don’t earn that much that quickly. Money should never be your only reason for doing anything, but if salary potential is an issue for you, you’ll want to consider a career in advertising.
However, there is definitely a price to be paid for that higher potential salary, and that is in the relative volatility of the two industries. Simply put, jobs in graphic design are way more secure than jobs in advertising. The reasons have to do with the business model of a design firm versus an advertising agency.

Design firms are usually hired by the project – an annual report, a corporate identity, a package design and so forth. A design firm might therefore have dozens of clients, and losing one or two clients is no big deal. At busy design firms, layoffs don’t happen all that often, unless the entire economy is suffering. By contrast, advertising agencies don’t spend a lot of time doing project work.

They need to rely on substantial monthly retainers paid by a smaller number of clients. So, if one large client cuts its spending or fires the agency, the agency’s revenue can drop so sharply that jobs have to be cut, and one of those jobs might be yours, even if you’ve been doing a good job.

If you stay in advertising long enough, this is almost certain to happen to you sooner or later. So, if you’re the sort of person who places a lot of value on a secure job, you will probably be happier in a design firm than in an ad agency.

Another important difference between design and advertising is how concepts get generated – how your work gets done. As graphic designers, you will typically work alone. You’ll get the brief, go to work on some ideas, and if you’re awaiting copy from the client or from a writer, you’ll just flow in Greek copy as a placeholder. You might not ever meet or speak to the person who’s writing your copy. If it’s an annual report, you’ll get your copy emailed to you, and if you don’t have any questions, that’ll be it.

Good advertising agencies work differently. Typically, creative people in agencies work in teams. In an ad agency, an art director is paired with a writer in what is pretty much a full-time partnership. You take the brief together, and you work on it together, batting ideas back and forth. And there’s a lot of overlap in your roles. You might suggest a headline thought to your writer, and your writer might suggest a certain illustration style to you. All things being equal, a happy creative team can produce a lot more cool ideas than someone working solo. And, indeed, some amazing careers have been built on this sort of teamwork. But creative partnerships are like marriages. When they work, they’re awesome, but if they’re not working, they can be a source of pure misery. So if you’re interested in being an advertising art director, remember that you’re going to be spending a lot of hours trusting in and relying on your writer. If you enjoy jamming with people, you will probably do just fine. But if you prefer disappearing into your own head when you work, you might be happier working solo as a designer.

Now would be a good time to talk about the history of advertising, because that, too, might affect your decision. Fifty years ago, ad agencies actually worked more like design firms. Writers and art directors were in separate departments. The art director would wait until the copywriter came down the hall with his copy sheet. Only then would the art director start thinking about how to handle things visually. But all this changed in the early 1960s because of what is known in advertising as The Creative Revolution. It was hugely important to our business, and it all started because of one man.

This is the late Bill Bernbach. He is still viewed today as the single most important figure in the history of advertising. Bill Bernbach was one of the founding partners of the New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, which is today known globally as DDB.

When Bernbach started his agency, he made some radical changes in how advertising got made. Every other ad agency had writers and art directors working separately; Bernbach got them working in teams. Every other ad agency hired blond-haired white boys who had graduated from private schools; Bernbach hired people from working-class immigrant families: Jews, Italians, Germans – even women. Bernbach had a core philosophy about advertising, and it’s a philosophy that still dominates today. It is the philosophy that advertising doesn’t work at persuading people unless it reaches people emotionally. And to reach people emotionally, you have to say things that are insightful and true to the human condition. The most famous work Doyle Dane Bernbach did was for Volkswagen, and the single most famous ad they ever did for Volkswagen was this one.


Now, you’re probably thinking, “What’s so special about that ad? I’ve seen lots of ads that look something like that. What’s the big deal?” Well, the fact that you’ve seen lots of ads that look like this is a reflection of how important this ad still is, fifty years later. To understand how arresting this ad was when it first appeared, you have to look at other car ads of that era.


The first thing you’ll notice is how over-the-top the scenarios are. For one thing, people are depicted as being absurdly happy just because they’re near a car, for goodness’ sake. Also, these ads present fantasies as if they were reality. Most people don’t belong to country clubs or go yachting, but before DDB, advertising would present such scenarios as if they were fact.

So, the “Think Small” ad was arresting for the modesty and simplicity of its art direction. But the writing would also have caused a bit of a head snap back then. The years following the Second World War were a time of explosive growth and progress in America. People were earning more and more money to buy ever bigger homes and cars. Back then, people would say, “You’ve got to think big!” absolutely without irony. So, the exhortation here to “Think small” would have been almost shocking, and it would have pretty much guaranteed that the ad got read.

Let’s look at another famous ad from Doyle Dane Bernbach. This was an ad they did for Avis Rent-A-Car.


Again, there is nothing shocking about this ad if you view it through modern eyes. But remember, this was done in an era when people bragged about being number one. Back then, America was Number One. Nobody would have proudly announced that they were an also-ran. So, by proclaiming their Number Two status, Avis got people’s attention, and they rewarded it by stating some very human truths. We all know that people who aren’t leaders have to try harder; Doyle Dane Bernbach was the first agency to turn that kind of human truth into a persuasive selling message.
So we now know that advertising attempts to deliver emotionally provocative messages to people. What I can tell you is that your success as an advertising art director will largely depend on your ability to present ideas as freshly and as interestingly as Volkswagen and Avis’ messages were presented back in the day.

That ability will depend on your ability to think in terms of advertising concept versus design concept. If it’s true that form follows function, then we need to think about the function of graphic design versus the function of advertising. Typically, the function of graphic design is to present communication in a way that is clear, interesting, accessible and appropriate. You already know more about this than you think. You already know that this is an appropriate wordmark for a funeral home…
While this is not…

Advertising concepts share this burden with design concepts, but they have a further duty. They must provoke action, something that graphic design isn’t always required to do.

To provoke action, the best ad people understand that they must target people’s emotions. But mere information isn’t typically very emotionally provocative. If I tell you that Tide gets clothes clean, you probably won’t be inspired to run out and buy Tide. That is because information is not communication, at least not in advertising terms.

So, good ad people work to reconfigure or reinterpret information so that it becomes more persuasive. They seek to give information a kind of personality or attitude that makes it more interesting and convincing. I just mentioned a truth that everybody knows, that Tide gets clothes clean. Back in the 1950s, advertisers felt they were doing their jobs just by illustrating that information.


How can we turn this boring information into interesting advertising? Here’s an approach that won a ton of awards for Saatchi a while ago:


Here, they’ve shown the fight against stains as a literal battle, and because of Tide, stains don’t stand a chance.

Let’s look at another example. We’ve all heard of date rape, and we all know the importance of keeping an eye on your drink when you’re out partying. Here’s a website that provides information about that topic.


I think we can all agree that this is not a successful piece of graphic design. Whoever put this together was obviously well intentioned, but it’s just a whole bunch of default font type on page that’s never been touched by a designer.  We can agree also that this is not a successful piece of advertising, either, because all it does is repeat familiar information. There is, unfortunately, nothing here that would make people think seriously about how to protect themselves when they’re out clubbing. But a London ad agency helped these people out with an ambient idea that looked like this.


A team of people went out to clubs and popped these little umbrellas in women’s drinks when their backs were turned. Suddenly, people were confronted with the stark emotional reality that they weren’t as good at protecting themselves as they thought they were. Suddenly, mere information was delivered in a way that grabbed people’s emotions and made them think about their behavior and how they might change it. So, if you’re interested in becoming an advertising art director, ask yourself if you feel able to come up with the kinds of ideas that turn mere information into arresting communication.

It may be that some of you are thinking, yeah, wow, I want to get into advertising. What should I do? Well, the good news is that you can and should keep on doing exactly what you’re doing. To understand good design principles, photography, typography, print production – all these things are vitally important to your success as an advertising art director, and I can tell you that advertising programs don’t teach these skills nearly as well as design programs do. So you’re in the right place, but you’ll need to do some extra work to prepare for your start in advertising, and that extra work will be on your advertising portfolio. Your advertising portfolio should not, ideally, contain design pieces.
For your advertising portfolio, you need to start creating ads. Grab images off the Internet or do your own quick photography and start creating ads. The best place to start is with print ads, because they give you your best odds of making a good impression quickly in the context of a portfolio. To inspire yourself, go looking for an ad that’s really bad. You won’t have to look long to find one. When you see that bad ad, you’ll probably be able to glean from it what the brief would have been – that is, what the advertiser was trying to communicate.

But if you don’t feel able to work without a formal brief, I can help you there. If you go to the adteachings account on, you’ll see that I’ve posted a bunch of clear, straightforward briefs for several brands: California Sandwiches, Swiffer, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Jolt Cola and M and M Meat Shops.

A word of caution: Your first portfolio will not be done quickly. You’ll get started and think, “Wow, this is going well. I’m going to be done in a couple of weeks!”
No, you aren’t. If you spend an hour a day on it, your first presentable portfolio will easily be a year away. Good portfolios are the result of endless revision, refinement and editing. You will know you’re making progress when you realize that you’re discarding way more ads than you’re including. And please be aware that your portfolio will actually never be finished. I’ve seen advertising students and juniors hang on to the same lousy ads for years and years, and since their portfolios stay in the same crummy place, so do their careers.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, I would direct you to the Internet, where there are all kinds of amazing websites devoted to advertising. One of those is mine.


Another one is, which receives and posts pretty much every good ad that gets published or broadcast anywhere in the world.

Inspiration: Alphabet Illustrations

I love letters. Not only because I'm a writer and they allow me to do what I do best. Or because I use them all day everyday to get shit done. Or because I am addicted to playing Scrabble.  Well, it's partially because of that.

Letters  - and more importantly - the words they make - are all types of awesome and seeing designers do amazing things with them is awesome squared.

Check out these cool type illustrations of the letters of the alphabet. Really makes you look at things differently. And smile.

If at least one of these doesn't make you smile you're officially dead inside and need therapy.


See them all at Abduzeedo

Brands & Daddies

What do Diet Pepsi, Cap'n Crunch and Naked Mighty Mango have in common? They all have the same daddy. (I just got back from vacation and access to day-time TV - aka episodes of Maury, court shows and reality TV, so give me a pass on this one.)

Many brands have parent companies - meaning several different products are owned/sold/managed by one major corporation. In the case of Pepsi Co - they own all the Pepsi, Tropicana, Quaker and Gatorade's sub-brands.

This is important for you to know for two reasons -

1. When looking at an agency roster, when you see Unilever, P&G, Kraft or Campbell's as one of the clients - that may mean the agency works on one or more of the brands that fit under that company. So if you want to - or don't want to -  work on something in particular, it's good to know what this all really includes.

2. This helps you understand the importance and the relevance of branding. One company - say Pepsi, can sell something unhealthy like cola, and something healthy like oatmeal, at the same time. But can still keep such separate identities for the two of them that you don't even know they're related. (Kinda how I didn't know Lenny Kravitz and Al Roker are related.)

AdFreak shared a quiz last week to see how well you knew who owns who. Give it a try. I bet you $100 you'll be surprised at what you learn. ($100 invisible pesos to be exact.) 
I don't know if the pasted quiz below will actually work so you can do it directly on their site to get the results. (here.)

Adweek's Brand Paternity Test: Who Owns What?Match these 15 products with their parent companies 

When you buy anything these days, from apple juice to an Audi A6, chances are good that at least some of your money is going to a parent company that might surprise you. It is a rare and inquisitive marketing mind that can actually remember these relationships, like the fact that Minute Maid is owned by Coca-Cola or Baked Ruffles report up to PepsiCo.
Think you've got the brand savvy to match up the marketing marionettes with their corporate puppet masters? If so, take Adweek's Brand Paternity Test below and gauge your talent for spotting consumer culture's family connections. 
Name the parent brand or holding company of ...

10 Mistakes You Make Right Now

All week I've said to make mistakes - I totally still mean it - go ahead and mess up -- but do it because you don't know better and are learning. Not because you're not trying, are lazy or in a rush, or can't be bothered to do shit right.

And honestly, there are some lines you should know not to cross. 

Feel free to get as close to them as possible. Feel free to take pictures from the edge. To get binoculars and check out the other side. But there are definitely those situations when your boss/professor/partner is going to look at you like "Say Whaaaat?!?!"

Here are a few mistakes you may not even know you're making right now. Learning what they are, what not to do and what to do instead at this point in your career will really be helpful in the longrun. 

(it says it's for designers but I think it's something copywriters should also take to heart like 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9)


How not to design: The 10 biggest mistakes that designers make

All designers make mistakes. Craig Minchington examines the most common howlers, and how to avoid them.

By: Craig Minchington
Although we don't like to admit it later on in our careers, when we start making our way as designers, we make a lot of mistakes. Once you're working in a creative agency you quickly learn that there are a lot of things you should not do. Here I've compiled a list of 10 common design mistakes for you to be aware of. Although I've committed most of these crimes myself, I have learned from them and hopefully they can help you too...

01. Not understanding the brief

Get as much detail about what the clients wants and needs, as early on as possible
Without a clear idea of what the client wants you can end up making matters complicated for yourself. A lot of time can be wasted procrastinating, or working up design ideas that may not be relevant to the client's needs. Instead, you need to read and understand the brief carefully from the start, make notes, brainstorm and try to keep in contact with the client to ensure that what you are working up is heading in the right direction.

02. Not saving files correctly

In general, save your designs as CMYK for print, RGB for web
Knowing how to set up your files correctly from the start is vitally important. There are many things to consider depending on the output of the work.
Print work is generally set up as CMYK and at 300dpi, whereas work for the web should be RGB at 72dpi. Remember to consider bleed, trim and safety areas. Before sending to print, think about your file formats, outlining fonts and colour profiles.
This may all seem like a lot to take in but learning these processes will save you time in the long run, ensuring your work is reproduced correctly and keeping the client happy.

03. Font overload

Too many typefaces can look cluttered and confusing. Image from
Having a clear, formatted design is crucial and so it's important not to use too many different fonts within a piece. You want your type to look consistent so don't confuse the viewer by layering your page with lots of varied typefaces.
As a general rule, try to stick to two different fonts and use the different font weights to differentiate and highlight areas.

04. Using the wrong fonts

The font choice for the title of the movie Avatar was widely criticised. Image courtesy of
Alongside getting the number of fonts right, picking the right ones is equally important.
There are lots of places to download free fonts but be aware of the potential pitfalls in terms of legalities and usage rights, which may leave you having to restart your work with a new font. If you're doing professional work, don't shy away from the idea of paying for professional fonts. Try to stretch your budget using font foundries such as
As well as deciding where to get your fonts from, your font choice is equally important. It's not just amateurs who fall foul of this - for example, the movie Avatar was criticised for its title font, which looked very similar to the terribly overused system font Papyrus. Obviously Avatar had a few other things going for it that helped it rise above criticism of its typography, but your project may not be so blessed!

05. Using too many stock images

Stock imagery can be very helpful to a designer, especially when you can't afford to hire a professional photographer. However, certain stock photographs seems to do the design circuit, especially within digital art, and can become overly familiar.
Try to avoid using stock model images as a central focus for your work because if you think it's a good photograph then it's more than likely others will too. It would be a shame if you produced a beautiful design only to find someone is using the same image in another design, taking the shine and originality off yours.

06. Working destructively

Work in a way that means you can edit individual elements later if necessary
'Working destructively' means making permanent adjustments to the pixels within your projects without being able to go back and re-edit things later.
To avoid this situation, try using layer masks instead of the eraser tool. Become comfortable using smart objects rather than rasterized layers and make use of adjustments layers. And try to ignore the standard adjustments from the image drop down menu in the toolbar.

07. Failing to proof read

However professional your design, spelling errors will make it look like the work of an amateur
Using the spellchecker is great for finding misspelled words within your work but it won't catch correctly spelt words in the wrong context. For example, one of the most common mistakes is to confuse "your" and "you're", but spellcheck won't be able to help you with that. This is just one reason why you must always proof read every piece of your work (and ideally, get others to check it too).
For a real-life example, take a look at the above building-site hoarding. It uses the word ‘exiting’ instead of the word ‘exciting’, which changes the sentence altogether. As ‘exiting’ is a valid word it wasn’t picked up on the spellcheck but some proper proof reading would have brought the error to light.

08. Failing to checklist

The new Weightwatchers logo might have benefited from an extra pair of eyes
Once you've finished your design, it's good practice to run through a checklist and get someone else to look over your work. A second pair of eyes will often spot something you may have missed, especially if you've been working on a project for a while.
For instance, take the latest WeightWatchers redesign by Pentagram. The new logo has attracted ridicule and derision from some quarters because of the four letters that glaringly jump out in the middle of the word. I'll leave you to take a look and work out what I'm talking about.

09. Copying other people's designs

Twitter users accused Claire's of copying a design by independent designer Tatty Devine
Originality is key as a designer, and plagiarism will not go unnoticed. Gathering influences and inspiration is fine but straight copying other people’s work is not. And with the recent growth of social media, you risk your design crime being made embarrassingly public.
For example, accessory brand Claire’s faced a huge backlash on Twitter over a necklace design that was uncannily similar to one created by independent designer Tatty Devine. Keep your credibility and keep your work authentic.

10. Poor use of QR codes

Think about how practical it will be for people to scan your QR code. Image courtesy of
QR codes are popular and can be effective when used properly. But that's often not the case.
Think about where the QR code is going to appear; for example, will it they be easy to scan? (If it's on the side of a moving vehicle, the answer is no!) Will your target audience need internet reception to decode it? (They won't have any, for example, on the London Underground.) As with all design, with QR codes it's all about context.

Craig Minchington is a Welsh digital artist, living in Bristol, creating under the alias Adora. He's worked on projects for leading brands including Coca-Cola, Nestle, Unilever, and Krispy Kreme as part of Epoch Design. Learn more about Craig here.