A Little Motivation

Letterpress printer and designer, fine artist, and family man, Vince Perez is one of Kingston’s most talented designers. His studio, Everlovin’ Press, is known for specializing in readymade and custom letterpress work. Not only is Vince a talented printer and designer, but he is also involved in many community organizations. He has an eye for detail and believes in original ways of producing work.
While being a graphic design student at St. Lawrence College I’ve had the honours of meeting Vince and hearing him speak. He was a quest speaker for our entrepreneurship course, and I met him on portfolio review day – I really appreciated his feedback and advice, and felt lucky to have been paired with him for reviews. I think Vince is really inspiring and has motivated me to believe that it is possible to be a successful graphic designer in the Kingston area. He’s inspired me to work hard for the things I want in life, and that it’s okay to be working on multiple things at once, just remember to take care of yourself too.
One of the community organizations Vince is part of is the Fat Goose craft fair. It’s a non- profit holiday season craft fair based in Kingston and has been running for 8 years by volunteers. Their goal is to create opportunities for crafts people of any stripe to exhibit and sell their work to the public. The Fat Goose Fair offers access to affordable, high-quality handmade goods to the public. Want to apply or interested in attending this event? Visit the website at http://www.fatgoosecraftfair.com.
When Vince talked to our class and I spoke with him on portfolio day he also gave some great advice. I asked him if he had any suggestions on being a graphic designer in Kingston and he told me that with Kingston being a small town it’s best to be involved in many different things to expand your network and opportunities in the city. Some more advice he gave was:
1- Know your niche or your unique skill. Don’t be afraid to be different.
2- Communication & good relationships are important
3- Believe in yourself
4- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or take risks.
Vince Perez is an inspiring printer and designer, who’s very talented and known as a renaissance man. Everything he does, he does with passion and this drives the motivation that keeps him creative and working hard. Want to learn more about Vince and his work? Be sure to check out his website http://everlovinpress.com or follow him on Instagram @everlovin. There’s no doubt you won’t be inspired too!

Do You Know the RGD Rules?

Over the last few weeks our class has studied the RGD rules. To me all of the rules seem very important to follow, but one rule that stood out to me was rule #6. Rule #6 states, “I will ensure I receive compensation for graphic design services that I provide except for pro bono work”.

From webinar, Understanding The Basics presented by Hilary Ashworth, Julian Brown RGD, and Stussy Tschudin RGD. http://www.rd.ca/resources/ethics

As a student RGD this rule means to me that I will not provide graphic design services without receiving a fair compensation in return, unless it’s for a pro bono project. It’s important to me, as a graphic design student that our work is appreciated and valued. This means I will limit the amount of my time and work that I donate and that I will not donate my services to charities, or organizations that have the ability to pay for services. To also provide all clients with an invoice, including pro bono work but with a 100% discount that still shows the value of my donation. When charging for design services I will also always use a fair compensation rate that is suitable for my qualifications.

The following example shows how easy it is to not receive a fair compensation for your work. Nathan is an RGD grad student who loves to skateboard, and follows all of the top skate companies on social media. His favourite skate company has recently asked followers to submit concepts for a board design. The winning submission will receive $250 and 1 of the final skateboards. Designing for a skate company would be one of his dream jobs, if Nathan submits a concept would he be violating the RGD rules?

Yes. The company is using their reputation to take advantage of designers instead of hiring one. This devalues the work of graphic designers. This is a form of spec work – also known as crowdsourcing, which violates the RGD rules because the designer would not be compensated fairly for their work. Nathan shouldn’t participate and should inform RGD so the Ethics Committee can make the company aware of the issue and recommend how to properly find assistants with designing new materials.

I will incorporate this rule into my design practices by not participating in spec work or encouraging anyone else to. I also wont participate in any skills tests unless it’s part of a job application. Terms must be agreed upon before taking the test, and no work will be used in any commercial way. Before engaging in design work I will use a contract and proposal to clarify all project details between the client and I, to ensure it follows the RGD rules. This way work can be determined in advanced if it’s pro bono, freelance, or spec.

As I begin my graphic design career I will make sure I incorporate all of the RGD rules into my design practices. Do you know the RGD rules? If not I highly recommended checking them out on the RGD website at, https://www.rgd.ca/resources/ethics. Not only is great advice for graphic designers to follow during their career, but it also helpful.

What Really Counts

Over time I have realized there’s more to being a great graphic designer than I thought – It’s also important to overall be a good person in your work and be professional. That means it’s about more than just having top marks and portfolio.

While studying the RGD Rules of Professional Conduct, I choose to look at rule #1 a little deeper. The first rule is, ‘I am committed to meeting the professional standards of the graphic design industry and working towards the betterment of the profession across Ontario, Canada, and Internationally’.

To me as a student graphic designer this means being professional in all aspects of my graphic design work is important, so I can be successful in the industry and achieve great impacts with my work that will inspire and innovative others. It’s important to do this by being honest and responsible for upholding the industry standards. As a student graphic designer it’s my duty to lead by example to show others what they can achieve in their work and motivate them to do the same.

An example of when this rule could be used is, I see someone breaking several RGD rules while working, but they’re not an RGD member. In this case I would not report it to RGD because the Rules of Professional Conduct only apply to RGD members. Check out the full list of RGD Rules of Professional Conduct on their website, at this link https://www.rgd.ca/resources/ethics. All RGD members are required to follow these rules while working as a registered RGD graphic design.

I will use this rule, along with the other RGD rules, to help guide me through my graphic design career and remind me to be professional. It’s my responsibility to always continue my design education, and I will also only represent RGD if I’m a member. While learning the RGD handbook and these rules, I have realized there’s more to being a good graphic designer than I thought, and that it’s important to overall be a good person.

Board Games Over Time

Growing up most of us remember playing board games such as clue, sorry, monopoly, and more. Over time these board games have changed. It’s not the game itself that changed but the design that changed. This could be the design of the package, the board itself, the logo, or the game pieces.

The history of board games starts a long time in ancient times. The games were mostly engraved in caves or tombs and were written with symbols, signs, pictograms, or icons. The oldest board game was found engraved in tombs from 3,500 B.C. The game was called Senet. Mah Jong, which is still a popular game today, was found etched into titles from 800 AD.

Senet engraved in tombs


Overtime classic board games have changed; Most of these changes have been improvements. Some of the logos and packaging have been re-designed so legibility and contrast are better. Legibility hasn’t just improved on the packages but on the game too. Different typefaces have been used and more hierarchy was used. This also increased readability. Some improvements were made in the technical design of games. Such as the game Mouse Trap – When I was a child I remember being ecstatic over the game, but of course it fell apart every time. Today the game is better designed and more sufficient.


Today apps are more popular than board games, and people are almost always using technology. Kids are also more interested in playing on a device than playing a board game. This creates more competition for the board games. To reach today’s target audience most classic board games now have an app designed to be played on a phone or tablet and a website to play online.


Looking back we know that board games have been around for along time and have changed a lot. From typography to technology many things are different and have even improved. I think it’s important for kids to still play physical board games and want more board games to be designed specifically towards kids. My favorite board game was The Game of Life. What was your favourite board game and how has it changed?

Check out some more great articles about boardgames changing:



Expressive Typography

Type can be rendered lots of different ways. When deciding how to render your type, it depends on the kind of project and the audience. One way to render type is called expressive. Expressive typography is using letterforms to create a visual image to express a message to the audience in a more dynamic way.

The definition from www.creativepro.com states, “Letters are not just abstract notions, carriers of meaning; they are also real, physical shapes. Paying attention to those shapes, and using them as a visual element in graphic design, is an essential part of the art of typography.”

Expressive type can show physical subjects but it can also show emotions, thoughts, and energy and motion. The type will have a connection to the visual to express the meaning or concept to its audience. Words can be interpreted in different ways to represent a meaning. Look at some of the great examples below:

Work By Rachel
Sink By Tracy Baker

The type can sometimes appear to look like an illusion to also form an image. The letterforms are used to create shapes or outlines in a compelling way, which leave gaps for the human eye to fill in. Sometimes the type can appear random by it is carefully and accurately placed. The work below is a great example of this:

Ad from “The New York Times”

Expressive type can be fun, but you need to be cautious when designing with it. Typography rules still need to be kept in mind and it’s important to make sure content is appropriate for the concept and its target audience. To learn more about expressive typography check out the following links below:







Serifs Vs. San Serifs


When deciding on the perfect typeface for a project there is a lot of things to consider, but one of the main decisions a designer needs to make is whether the typeface will be serif or san serif? There are some helpful factors that can help you decide which one suits your design/ client best. Some of these tips are:

Research should always be done first – Brand values & personalities, audience, and more will effect what typeface suits any project. The application of the design will also be considered when making this choice because some typefaces are better for the web than for print. Colour and type treatment will also affect legibility and readability; certain typefaces handle more weight and size changes better. Audience is an important factor, especially when designing for children or someone with visual impairments.

Serifs are known for being more decorative and have little decorative strokes that extend at the end of letters – They can be in the forms of a tail, sharp or blunt. Because of these decorative strokes the typeface will guide the natural “flow” of the eyes when reading. Serifs are normally used for large body of text to make it easier to read, but legibility can be affected by weight and size.

Some More Facts:
– Used in books, magazines, and news papers
– Most commonly used
– Classic, elegant, formal, confident, and established
– Most well known typefaces are Georgia, Rockwell, Baskerville, and Times Roman

Showing a serif & san serif in a heavier weight and what the difference is

San Serifs are known for being simplified and more modern; they don’t have decorative strokes extending from the ends of the letters. Depending on the typeface, the edges can be either sharp or round. Even though san serifs are not recommended for larger amounts of text, the readability can increase at smaller sizes. When designing for children or the visually impaired it’s good to use a san serif typeface because it will be easier for them to read. San serifs are also recommended to use for web design.

Some More Facts:
– Used for annual reports and brochures
– Modern, friendly, direct, clean, minimal
– Captions, heading, credits, chart, and graphs
– Most well known helvetica, Arial, Future, Franklin Gothic

San serif is more appealing when designing for children who are learning how to read and write. 


Next time you’re deciding on a typeface I hope this blog post has made it easier. Remember to always decide on whether the typeface should be serif or san serif and to always do research. The one key thing to remember the difference between the two is that serifs have little decorative strokes on the ends and san serifs don’t.

Serif Vs. Sans Serif 

So what are you using, Serif or San Serif?

Want to learn more? Check out The Final Battle – A cute infographic about serifs VS. san serifs. http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2013/03/serif-vs-sans-the-final-battle/




The Design Process

Some say that the design process is more important than the final outcome. Process is important because it helps create a better solution. It’s kind of like the foundation of your work. It also shows why you have made the choices you have and you can expand and evolve your ideas and create more options for better work.

For all of my projects, I have used the design process and it has helped me improve my designs. The design process I use is strategy, design, and production. When you get a new project it’s best to start with research. After research, you start compiling notes, content, and sketches. The more sketches the better. Creating as many different possibilities as can, will help you discover new ideas. After generating as many ideas as possible, you work on the design until perfect, and then print and hand-in.

There are lots of other good design process techniques but it’s good to find one that works best for you. A good design thinking process that I recommend is the one D.School uses. Their steps are:

  1. Empathize – problem from the perspective of the user’s experience
  2. Define – problem statement
  3. Ideate – brainstorm & research
  4. Prototype – different solutions
  5. Test – impact

So, when working on a project I think it’s great to use a design process. There are lots of different processes to follow. Do you already have a favorite one? If not try researching the different kinds or even check out D.School’s design thinking process at http://dschool.stanford.edu/redesigningtheater/the-design-thinking-process/ .


 D.School’s Design Thinking Process

RGD is Useful for Graphic Designers

There are many great things about the graphic design program. One thing is that being part of the program you learn about many different graphic design resources. An example of one great resource to learn from is RGD.

RGD is a network for the graphic design community. It has knowledge and creative sharing, continuous learning, research, advocacy and mentorships. RGD has many events you can attend to, such as Design Thinkers and local Future by Design events – They also host webinars. If you miss any events you can watch them online as well on their website at http://www.rgd.ca/resources/videos.php.

2015 Design Thinkers Event Poster

Unfortunately I have not had the chance to attend any of these events. When I first started the graphic design program I went to one webinar that St. Lawrence was hosting. It was interesting and great to learn what successful designers had to say. I wish I had more time to attend them and other events. I think these events are great for learning and building a network.

Not only did I hear the opinion from some great designers but I also met some graphic design students that were in 2nd or 3rd year. The graphic design program director and some of the other teachers were there too. It’s good to know other designers that you can collaborate with and learn from. It can help your designs and later in your career too.

This is only one of the great things that the St. Lawrence graphic design program offers to their students. I think it is great for the students to learn from and build a network. It is important for designers to have a variety of resources to help with research that will hopefully help to create amazing work.

Tips to be a Typography Pro

Lots of people don’t realize that there’s more to type then just placing words on a page. Typography is study by designers around the world to learn how to correctly place and size type. When you study typography it’s easy to spot when type is done wrong. There are lots of examples of bad typography – Check out the example below! There are 6 major tips that will improve your typography skills.

disney_quote(Looks pretty but is not proper typography)

  1. Point Size – When placing type you need to use an appropriate type size. On a poster that is 14’ x 17’ the headline would not be a point size of 12; it would be better with a much more larger size to catch the audiences attention more. When writing body copy point size should be 10-12 points in a printed document.
  2. Leading – This is the space between your lines of text. Leading is important because it affects legibility. If your lines of text are too close it will be hard to read. The rule is to use a leading size that is 2 points above the type size. For example, if the type is 12 points the leading should be 14 points.
  3.  Tracking & Kerning – These are very similar and easily mixed up. Tracking is the space between a group of letters. Kerning is the space between individual letters. Both can be adjusted by using to type panel. Both need to be adjusted so letters don’t touch each other. This will increase the readability of headlines, body copy, logos, and more.

  4. Line Length – Line length is the width of your body copy or how long your type is. The average body copy line length is 50–60 characters on every line. Line length usually depends on type size and your design. Depending on your project the number can change.
  1. Alignment – This is really important in design and typography. There are four types of alignment; center, left, right, and fully justified. Debating on which one to use depends on the design and readability of content. Center-aligned is the hardest to read but still can be used in appropriate times. It’s good to experiment with using different alignments but too much will affect readability and could create a cluttered and confusing design.
  1. Font – The final tip is to know the different typefaces. Different typefaces can be used to communicate or convey a message or idea. For example a script font feels more fancy and elegant, where as impact is more bold and basic. Both can be used in different contents to express meanings through typography. There are tons of typefaces to pick from; the trick is finding the right ones to use. When picking typefaces never go over board, it’s best to use 2-4 different ones in a single project. You should pick typefaces that have good contrast and compliment each other. Also knowing the difference between san-serif and serif fonts is helpful too.

Not only do these tips make your design and content more legible but it will look better too. Next time when you’re designing or using type try remembering these tips! Keep practicing them and you’ll be a typography pro. Check out the links listed below for more tips and details!