Self Portrait as Designer

Since you can’t find any photos of me on this blog, and maybe you’re curious who’s the writer behind all the articles here :), I thought it would be a good idea to upload something that’s close to that. A self-portrait. And the best part is that you can learn much more about me from it, than just by looking at a snapshot. You get to see who I am inside, underneath the usual appearance.

I’ve tried, and succeeded (at least, in my opinion :)), to integrate in this portrait, a few of the values that define me as a designer and a brand… creativity, playfulness, reliability, flexibility and the constant desire to provide high quality artworks

As I’m a strong believer of minimalism for layouts, I do my best to create and design, whenever applicable, with a deep consideration for white space and elegance.

Enjoy the image below and… may the light be with you too! 🙂


The power of smell

Here’s the outcome of a project I’ve finished recently. I’ve enjoyed working on these quite a lot and I’m proud of the final cards. They look even better when printed at high-resolution. 🙂

Brief: Express a ‘user’ experience through the human sense of smell

Client: Floriade

Examples: Tulips, Parsley and Pansies

In order to create the initial concept, I tried to reproduce the way our brain identifies an invisible and intangible and translates it into a perception and lastly into an emotion. I came up with the idea of using “smoke” that wraps around and, at the same time, defines the inner structure of each chosen flower.

Also, by mentally playing with the words that define the physical process of smelling, I realized that the word “bulb” has a double meaning in this case: flower bulb and olfactory bulb (the neural circuit that transmits smell information from the nose to the brain) and I can use this to create a catching slogan: “Tantalize your smell bulbs, like never before!”

Card 1 – Face >

Card 1 – Reverse >

Card 2 – Face >

Card 2 – Reverse >

Card 3 – Face >

Card 3 – Reverse >

No matter if you love or can’t stand the concept, your constructive feedback is always appreciated. 🙂

How to remove a gradient mesh and regain your (good) shape

There’s a high probability that everyone who worked or played with gradient meshes in Illustrator hit this dilemma.

Let’s say you start from this…

And you get to this…

Then at some point you want to go back to the original artwork.

But maybe the initial file was overwritten, maybe you ran out of undos (200, last time I checked) or for any other reason you’re stuck into this situation. So you start trying to release or remove the mesh, you look through all the menus, but there’s nothing that seems to work and give you back the original shape.

This is where the following trick comes into action.

Select the object containing the mesh with the Selection tool and choose Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter 0 in the Offset text box and click OK to exit the dialog box. You’ll see the same mesh, and think that nothing has changed, but select the object and move it aside and you’ll find a thin black outline of the original path underneath.

Like this…

There you have it… magic simply delivered. 🙂

And the best part is this technique it’s working for versions dating back to Illustrator CS2 up to now.

What type of designer am I?

That’s the kind of question that all of us (who work in this area) have asked ourselves, or at least should have, at some point in time. And the sooner, the better. Why? Because it really pays off in the long run to know where we’re heading and how we want to promote ourselves in the industry and in front of our clients.

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It mainly comes down to choosing between being a Jack of All Trades vs. Specialist in One Area. There are different kind of perks up for grabs, but also compromises to be made no matter which way we choose.

You can find an excellent article here, with lots of pros and cons on both sides, and enough ideas to get you thinking well about the choices you might make tomorrow or the ones you’ve already made.

In the end it all depends on personal circumstances and career goals. Either way, go for the path that makes you happy and enjoy your professional life! 🙂

How to create your own cinemagraphs

If I got your attention in my earlier post about cinemagraphs and you want to know more, then let’s get straight to the core of this technique. For start, these are the required ingredients: a camera/smartphone that can shoot video, very steady hands or preferably a tripod, exciting ideas and a computer. And then comes the editing part. Depending on the device you’re using, there are different ways to achieve similar results.

Scenario 1: The most recommended app for editing the video material and getting the best results at export, due to its tweaking flexibility is Photoshop. If you want to go this route, you can find a very good and detailed tutorial here.

Scenario 2: If you have a computer that runs Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit) you can give a go to Cliplets, which is an interactive app, developed by Microsoft, specifically for creating cinemagraphs in just a few steps. Moreover, you can find an inspiring tutorial over here.

Scenario 3: And finally, but not the least, if you’re using a tablet or smartphone (iPad, iPhone or Android) to capture the video footage, and you’d like to do also the editing part on your mobile device, you should definitely have a look at the dedicated apps reviewed here.

Whichever path you’re going to choose, don’t forget to try new ideas and have fun in the meantime! 🙂

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