Tuesday, 7 June 2011



Some facts and figures you may not know about what we see in the world around us.

1. The term graphic design was first coined by the American book designer William Addison Dwiggins in 1922.

2. The average yearly income of graphic  designers was $45,340 in 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

3. Before he became famous for his TV comedy work, the late Phil Hartman worked as a graphic designer. He created the logo for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

4. While there are numerous graduate programs in graphic design in the US, only three give PhDs: North Carolina State University, Carnegie Mellon University and Illinois Institute of Technology.

5. The Nike swoosh was designed by Portland State University student Carolyn Davidson in 1971. She was paid $35 dollars.

6. There are 40,000 students in four year and graduate design programs in the US; there are 1,000,000 in China. Source: AIGA and Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.

7. Designers have always been near the center of the civic experience. The US Constitution was written by the Committee on Style.

8. South Carolina beauty Queen Caitlin Upton had planned to attend Appalachian State University to study graphic design, but chose instead to focus on her modeling career.

9. Photoshop 1.0 was released in 1990 for Macintosh exclusively.

10. Until communication designers discovered and changed it recently, a law in Illinois prevented the use of lower case letters in candidates names on ballots



On Craft: Marian Bantjes, Graphic Designer
The future of aesthetics lies in random generative software such as Processing, but which will become less random as designers gain control of its abilities. The digital will merge with the hand-made like electric guitar and bagpipes, and together they will break down the rigid tempo imposed by increasingly prescriptive and powerful template software.

On International Design: Richard Grefé, Executive Director, AIGA 
In the 21st century global economy, communication designers will make the complex clear. They must also focus on human-centered need, sustainability, simplicity and the special challenges of communicating across cultures. Communication designers will become a strategic resource for the way we approach problems. Creativity can defeat habit.

On Design & Business: Joel Podolny, formerly Dean, Yale School of Management
The future of design in business is promising, from both strategic and tactical perspectives. Design can help frame a business problem, develop and support a clear and compelling message, and align that message with business objectives and customer preferences. Design can drive revenue. And more and more companies are discovering the value-add that design can provide.

On Type: Matthew Carter, Type Designer
New font formats are encouraging type designs with larger and more varied character sets, particularly significant in the non-Latin world. There are more good young type designers now than at any time in history, and there is more teaching of type design at college level — a bright future.

On Education: Meredith Davis, Professor, North Carolina State University
The future of design education depends on how well institutions can adapt curricula to changing conditions in the field: to the increasing complexity of design problems that argue for tools and systems, not objects; to designing with rather than for people; to recognizing the importance of community and context; and to collaborating with peer experts in other fields.

On Sustainability: John Thackara, Director, Doors of Perception
Most designers are in the representation business, so their first response has been to design a poster about sustainability, or launch a media campaign. But the transition to sustainability is not about messages, it’s about activity — helping real people, in real places, change a material aspect of their everyday lives.

On Visual Language: Alice Rawsthorn, Design Critic, International Herald Tribune
One of the most important roles for graphic design in the future will be to help us to make sense of what’s happening in the world around us by interpreting developments in science and technology in a visual language we can understand. Graphic designers have always done this by presenting complex information clearly and legibly, but increasingly they will do the same for theories, as the software designer, Ben Fry, has already done with his visualizations of the human genome.

Best Graphic Design

Best Graphic Design

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From nineteenth century broadsides to twentieth century propaganda posters, the poster is to graphic design what the building is to the street.

Posters have always existed in that tension-filled space between culture and commerce, situated somewhat precariously between the fine and applied arts. If nineteenth-century posters offered pomp and propaganda, early twentieth-century posters created a canvas in which expressive typography mixed with theatrical juxtaposition to produce new formal languages. Throughout this time, it might be argued that a poster has always been seen as a kind of visual tonic, an antidote to chaos — and something which, by sheer virtue of its scale, can knock you right over. “Some one sole unique advertisement,” as James Joyce once wrote, “to cause passers to stop in wonder, a poster novelty, with all extraneous accretions excluded, reduced to its simplest and most efficient terms not exceeding the span of casual vision and congruous with the velocity of modern life.”

Russian Constructivist film poster designed by Georgi and Vladmiar Stenberg, 1929 and Obama Hope poster, designed by Shepard Fairey, 2008

Folies-Bergére theater poster, designed by Jules Chéret, 1893, Broadside advertising wild cherry tonic, 1970's and Weneger Lärm Swiss poster, designed by Josef Müller-Brockman, 1960

Everybody Installation, designed by Tibor Kalman with Scott Stowell and Andy Jacobson, M&Co., Times Square, 9193



Graphic Design Done Right: A good identity is simple, but never boring; flexible, but never chaotic; playful and iterative — and always supremely recognizable. Good examples of graphic design done right are Saks Fifth Avenue and The New York Times online.

Saks Fifth Avenue, brand identity and packaging by Michael Bierut at Pentagram
The New York Times online
Best: Saks Fifth Avenue; The New York Times online: Seen on everything from shopping bags to shipping vessels, print collateral to web and motion graphics, an identity program balances variety with specificity. Often accompanied by “bibles” — detailed style guides outlining the proper procedures for implementing a logo or trademark — identity programs shoulder enormous responsibility. While infinitely scalable, a good identity program is grounded in a kind of basic formal system: color palettes, font choices and grids (the underlying armature upon which most printed materials are placed) all help to solidify a brand’s visual recognition

Graphic designing introduction

An Introduction to Graphic designingBroadly defined, graphic designers (sometimes referred to as “communication designers”) are the visual ambassadors of ideas: their role is to translate, communicate — and occasionally even agitate — by rendering thinking as form, process and 

experience. *

* ["experience" is a widow (also called an orphan), a word or fragment appearing alone at the end of a paragraph. No good graphic designer would have let this go to press in print or online it's an obvious mistake.]

Graphic design is an international language composed of signs and symbols, marks and logos, banners and billboards, pictures and words. As visual communicators, graphic designers maintain a delicate balance between clarity and innovation: if too much of the former is a snooze, too much of the latter yields chaos. In between lies a complex series of negotiations which lead, in turn, to a host of applications — the same logo engraved on an envelope one day, emblazoned on a truck the next — and therein lies the designer’s peculiar, if paradoxical challenge. Succeed, and the world works a little better as a result. Fail, and — well, you’ve got the butterfly ballot.

In addition to their role in the visual engineering of most printed matter, graphic designers today lend their expertise to a host of related disciplines including, but not limited to, strategy and consulting, information and experience design, branding and broadcast design, and signage and wayfinding systems. They are groomed to acquire a certain classic set of skills (which today demand a facility with software) including drawing, photography, composition and typography — the design and structural characteristics of letterforms, arguably graphic design’s lingua franca.

Long ago, to be a graphic designer was to distinguish yourself by defining your territory as fundamentally two-dimensional. Unlike artists, graphic designers had clients. Unlike architects, they delivered printed messages. Today, with the meteroric rise of desktop computing, social networking and mobile technologies, graphic design is the ultimate DIY activity. Or is it? Albert Einstein once said that the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. So don’t ask us to explain how kerning works: just trust us.