Money gets Illustrated

July 3, 2009 at 11:03 am (Art, economy, Graphic Design, Illustration, News, print media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Money MagazineDo the right thing in a recession
In a tough economy you may face some hard decisions when it comes to money and your relationships with family and friends. Our ethics experts weigh in on how to handle some particularly thorny dilemmas.”

This is not the title and intro of an article you would expect to have interesting, or even good, illustrations associated with it. Surprisingly enough the staff at Money Magazine have arranged for this and many other articles to have strong graphics and illustrations complementing their reports.

Toronto based illustrator Kagan McLeod created the illustrations for the “Do the right thing in a recession” article. I really enjoyed this set of graphics. Our protagonist remains the same identifiable character throughout the article. He is groomed and dressed in the same uniform – gray shirt and bluish-gray pants in various states of dress – throughout the article, while the antagonist(s) for each sub-article are displayed in monotone gradations.

The graphics are easy to digest as simple visuals, and they complement each storyline well. The content of the article is good, too. I look forward to the editors of Money Magazine continuing with the strong graphics, after all, illustrators need work, too.

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The New Normal

June 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm (Design, economy, unemployment) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

abc_new_normal_logo_090520_mn

Last night we watched part one of the New Normal, a 20/20 special on ABC. One of the stories, Workers Learn New Skills, showed how cotton farmers in Mississippi are now planting corn and beans, and how a former car plant, MasTech, in Manistee County, Michigan has been retooled to produce wind turbine generators (you can have one for around $8K).

What does this have to do with design? Well, as designers we are noticing a trend where we have to adapt, too. Many web companies are no longer looking for that extremely specialized graphics guru who can turn a design over the programmers to figure out how to make it work. They want someone who can design it to look beautiful, and program it to work.

Just like the auto manufacturer who took the welding, machining, and assembling process for cars and repurposed their skills for a new product, I have transformed a bulk of my skill sets to other industries. Where the majority of my design work was in exhibit, set, and environmental graphic design, now the greater part is in logos, branding, and illustration. In addition to just design, I have also transitioned into a Manufacturer’s Representative position at a signage company.

The Plant Manager of MasTech is challenging us to “think the same way.” It’s time to retool and repurpose our skills for the new economy. So go look at previously unthought-of avenues for your skills – I wish you luck.

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