Lately, I have been helping out my wife by making graphics for her side business (DeskMate, a VA service for people on-the-go and need help with day to day activities), creating all sorts of things in a cute and simplistic style. She decided she liked the DeskMate icons so much, she asked me if I could make her a custom Facebook banner in the same style, one that encompassed what she was all about. She ended up sending me several reference images, having to do with Veganism and whatnot, and I was very glad to be able to help her out, once again. I asked her what her 3 favorite fruits and 3 favorite veggies were, and drew them up using the pen tool. I was originally going to place each of the food icons in rows and columns, trying to take up as much of the background of her banner as possible, but I decided to challenge myself just a little bit, and made the icons radially surround a centerpiece instead (which eventually became a block of smiling tofu). The banner was looking nifty and I even told my wife I could make her a wallpaper or even other types of banners (like for her LinkedIn or whatnot) in the same style.
She was pleased, but she felt something was missing, so she went back and decided to send me even more reference images, but this time of famous people she looked up to (most, if not all of them, being Vegans, themselves). I took the best of the best of each of the 10 people chosen (not including myself), and we both decided to have them lined up on the bottom – each being of a different color – with my giant head rising up in the background like some sort of blonde phoenix. I was somewhat against my face being the new centerpiece for a banner that was to grace her Facebook, but she said I was one of her inspirational heroes, as well, and I humbly agreed to putting myself on it, after all.
Not too long ago, I posted 3 different, working templates for a new DeskMate logo I had been designing for my wife’s Virtual Assistant business, and now I get to show off the final versions that were born from those collages. After slimming down all of the choices I had created, we both agreed that this version – with the more blocky, serif font and stylized envelope/letter “M” – captured the essence of what DeskMate was all about. The colors we decided upon were taken from the color palette we had already finalized with her last website icons that were created, keeping the same light blue and gold from those pieces, and implementing solid black wherever appropriate.
The reason for multiple “final” versions of this logo was so she could use them amongst different backgrounds, websites, etc. Even though this might look simple (which is is), I am proud of this design. I have had my hand in several projects before, but none that called for subtlety over flare, and I was thrilled to be able to stretch myself to be able to create something that is both easy to look at, but has a double-meaning hiding in plain sight. I hope she is able to use these logos as much as possible, and that it helps her business garner even more clients in the near future!
I have much confidence in my wife, and in any endeavor she puts her mind and little heart to, so I thought I would keep helping her with her VA side business as much as I could. I had already created some icons to encompass the feel of her business, a simple logo that went along with other icons I had created, and then I animated said icons so that they could be used as an interface for the homepage of her newly-created website. So now, using an initial idea that Aeowen had given me, we wanted to create a newer logo, a simple yet effective one that could be used for both printed and digital means.
The three different collages of images above are the steps I took in reiterating her idea into reality. The first collage had to do with the centerpiece of the logo, transforming the letter “M” into a envelope (which had been used on the first icons I made for her) using negative space in a clever way. As you can see, I created several versions of the stylized “M”, and eventually showed them to my wife, in which she decided on a few of them to be experimented with for the next step.
The second phase of this project had me implementing the actual name of her business – “DeskMate” – alongside some of the different “M’s” I had created, prior. I attempted to create 5 different versions of this logo, at this point, making sure the two different fonts we had chosen went along with the “M’s” that was agreed upon. Eventually, after taking a look at what I had done, she ended up boiling her choices down to two somewhat different styles, and then I created 5 variants of each, hoping to capture the look and feeling that was in her head within at least one of them.
We have, at this point, already figured out which ones out of the last collage above seemed the best of the best, and I will be posting about them in the near future!
The two images seen above is another designed piece from the KFTC brand that I have been collaborating on with one of my current clients. Considering the theme of this brand is crassness and boldness (whether they are blatant or somewhat hidden in meaning), my client wanted to stick with the monochrome theme that is well known within crass artwork, but also add a splash of effective color (kind of like the “Socialism or Extinction” bumper sticker I’ve done for him, prior).
RUN DMC is one of the most popular Hip Hop groups ever to come out of North America, and spoke against injustices of the state and those employed by it (among other topics of interest to myself and my client). Karl Marx was also against certain powers that be and their corrupting ideologies, and I assume my client saw this connection and the idea for this sticker arose from that. Many iterations were created until the final versions above came to be, mostly because we didn’t want to have to buy rights to the RUN DMC font (which is basically a variation of Franklin Gothic Heavy), and wanted the font to be perfect, to give off that same feeling as RUN DMC does to the psyche of those that know of them. The other big problem we faced was choosing whether or not we wanted to use the name Karl Marx in its entirety, or slim it down to 3 letters each to better resemble the original design. We couldn’t determine which version would be the most effective, so I decided to just go ahead and create both, and we could figure it out in the near future.
I have been creating pieces for the KFTC brand for over a year now, and I feel I am finally getting the hang of dealing with clients, and being able to successfully transcribe their projects from mere ideas to fleshed-out realities. As per usual, when it comes to this specific brand, I was tasked with yet another “in your face” logo/sticker, one that hopes to get people to question the silly things they have done their entire lives: like eating the flesh and bodies of decaying animal carcasses, even though we have more than enough resources to create foods that don’t need to be taken from other living beings.
Considering I do not have Adobe Illustrator anymore (for now), I had to fool around in Photoshop, trying to figure out how to vectorize my images and words. After a few failed attempts, I believe I have found the correct techniques that should allow me to vectorize raster images, so the point of having Illustrator might become moot (considering I used it, more often that not, for printed pieces – which always needs to be vectorized). This was probably one of the easiest KFTC brand pieces I’ve created to date, mostly because I have done this sort of thing before, and it mostly consisted of taking an already created stencil image of a lamb, and putting it into Photoshop, cleaning up stray pixels and the like.
2017 was a big year for both myself and my wife, both of us working towards our careers, trying to assess our place in this town and how we can possibly make extra money doing what we want to do. With that being said, this year of 2018 is looking to be even better, us both having multiple clients in our respective fields – expanding our experiences and knowledge – and we are determined to keep up the momentum we have created. Even though both of our projected careers are a bit different from one another, we are compelled to help one another succeed!
What you see above was my attempt at helping my wife, yet again. She was tasked by one of her clients to write a white research paper to summarize the history of artificial intelligence, and to weigh the pros and cons of implementing such an amazing technology into other mediums and uses. Like with most papers of that kind, she also had to have some custom graphics donning some of the pages (like bar graphs and other images), so she came to me hoping I would be able to come up with something simple and impactful for the front page of her report. I did some menial research into how AI is perceived through the lens of us humans, and decided to go through with recreating a consistent design I kept seeing through my searches: an artificial brain, of sorts.
Once I created several different styles, I stuck with one of them, and then decided to create different variations of what I, and my wife, had deemed to be appropriate. The three different iterations you see above are the best of the best I had created, and we eventually decided upon the graphic farthest to the right (the one with the pinky, squishy brain, compared to the more mechanical and/or colorful versions). I love helping clients create magic, but I cherish helping my love even more so; we are in this together, and we shall pierce the heavens with our endeavors!
Alrighty, for those that have been keeping up with my posts about the various DeskMate VA icons I have been creating, here is the last animated .gif I worked on for Aeowen – the client in question. Other than the nameplate icon I posted about not too long ago, this is also another center piece for the homepage menu we are putting together.
Compared to the other .gifs I made, this one definitely took the most time to translate from my mind to the digital screen. As one can see, not only did I animate the Start menus (in Windows 10 style), but also gave the illusion of a rotating world as the background image. There were two ways I could have gone about creating the illusion of a spinning Earth, and of course, in typical Ronin Yeti fashion, I took the hard route, haha. My wife even came up to me after showing her this, asking if I had created a masking effect on the circle of the planet, to show off a sort of panning world behind it. Sadly, I had to tell her “nope,” and that the way I got this to work was I literally moved the green landmasses about 5 pixels to the left, deleted what was falling off the left side of the circle, and drew onto what was supposed to be showing up on the right. I did this over and over, frame by frame, until I was back to the first frame of landmasses, again. Suffice to say, I could have made this project a lot easier on myself, but I’m a stubborn person, and only the harshest of lessons seem to take root in my mind.
I hope you all enjoyed seeing the whats and hows of my first set of animated .gifs from scratch. Considering I feel I did pretty well with these, I might consider stretching myself and making even more, for different reasons, clients, whoever/whatever!
I am almost done blogging about the various icons I have created for the upcoming DeskMate website, a place to get all of your Virtual Assistant needs! The .gif above is the second-to-last one I worked on, and was, by far, more challenging to animate compared to the others I have shown off. For this icon, I couldn’t simply take parts/layers of the original image and manipulate them like I had with most of the others. Instead, I would have to take perspective into consideration, and create some new pieces (specifically talking about the different views I’d need of the cover of the binder) that would help convey a smooth transition between the frames.
I have never really animated anything like this before, having to actually create frames that used assets that weren’t from the original design, and found myself pleasantly surprised at the simple, yet convincing outcome of an actual binder opening and closing. Here soon, there is one more animated icon to discuss – it being the most challenging one to date – and I can’t wait to show if off to you all!
Onto, yet, another DeskMate homepage animated icon, however this one is a bit simpler than the others I’ve shown so far. What you see above is the center piece of the entire homepage, and is supposed to have (as you might have seen in a previous post) the rest of the animated icons surrounding it, yet again, signifying the importance of what the icon says, and what sub-page it should lead to (which in this case, I would assume would be a Contact page of sorts, or perhaps an About Me page).
Instead of trying to capture the feel of some of the principles of animation, I wanted to simply have a cute, yet somewhat impactful animation for this one (that, and you can’t animate a hunk of wood and metal in too many realistic ways). Considering one of the colors for the 4-color palette we chose is gold, I wanted to compound that idea and give this piece a shimmer on some of the golden areas, scaling up and down a simple, 4-pointed star on various parts of the icon. I think this turned out nicely, and Aeowen – the DeskMate client in question – simply adored it, per usual.
Now back to even more animated icons from the DeskMate website’s homepage! Compared to the others I have shown off so far, this one required some editing of specific parts of the image, itself, so I could articulate the motions of an actual stapler. I basically split up the different sub-layers of the image into three main layers for animating – the base, the top, and the inner piece. Instead of simply using rotation and basic movements like with the other .gifs, I wanted to make this particular piece look like it was actually trying to staple something together.
With some important key frames created, and adding in some tween frames in between them, I came out on the other end with what you see above! Even if a little “abrupt” at times – in regard to some of the inbetweens – I feel like this icon gives off a realistic feeling of weight and has a solid and smooth action of stapling. One other thing to mention, most (if not all ) of the other DeskMate homepage .gifs I’ve posted has had the same color palette – with whites, grays, and some minor color differences. Like with the business pen, this icon – and the remaining ones I will be posting about soon – will be, instead, using both black and gold, to help give off an air of professionalism and sophistication.