What makes a good visual/graphic designer?

 It’s widely known that we, graphic designers are here to create bright and creative images and graphics, however, we are also responsible to make mankind’s life better and easier. If you ever wondered what are the greatest qualities and mindsets behind our art, you should read further!

1. Communication

A great graphic designer is able to productively communicate with clients and other designers, teammates to ensure that the project is running smoothly and the tasks are finished until the deadlines. Negotiating rates and presenting (new) ideas require good communication skills as well - we need to articulate what we have to offer to secure projects and jobs.

2. Reliability

A good designer intuitively knows that the clients don’t just want talent - they want to hire someone who’s reliable and they can count on. Reliability might be the most important thing in our field - it’s good to know how to manage your time, develop a consistency and treat your clients’’ needs and the project as a priority.

3. Curiosity

 If you want to be a successful designer, you need to be curious about the world around you. It’s true that designers always look beyond the surface of things to understand the big picture; and to get there, they need to have an endless passion for learning new things. It’s really about the constant analysis to produce a piece of art that everyone’s happy with.

4. Accepting criticism

Let’s just face it - nobody likes to be criticised. A good graphic designer can hear the criticism with an open mind and is willing to be flexible with the clients’ needs. We must learn and remind ourselves that when our work is under criticism, we should not take it personally. Being receptive is the best solution for these situations.

5. Self-criticism

Every experienced designer knows that the key to improvement is, to be honest with themselves when it comes to responsibility and the work’s quality. Staying disciplined and focused on the project when the creative director is out of office can be difficult sometimes, but it’s a good practice to challenge yourself.

 Check out my little gif Project: Designer’s Mind

Check out my little gif Project: Designer’s Mind

6. Creativity (of course)

 Do what you love, love what you do - yes, it might be a bit cheesy, but it’s more than relevant in our field. You don’t just end up in the creative industry if you don’t have the passion and love for art. Coming up with new and exciting ideas is a must - we’re building a better world and a brighter future!

 7. Time management

 A great designer loves to go with the flow, but tricky workloads, lifelong edits and endless briefs can steal a lot of minutes from our “creative hour”. We have to combine some time management skills with our passion for art to survive - learning how to balance our tasks and projects require a lot of organizing and patience. Pro tip: prioritizing can effectively help with meeting deadlines and managing your workload!

 

8. Constantly looking for inspiration

Being up to date with the design world’s newest trends will allow you to mix the current swings with your unique style and sell it with the same professionalism. Trust me, every designer has a bunch of design inspiration boards and collections which are helping them to reach their creative flow.

 The above are just some of the qualities great graphic designers share - what do you think, do you have what it takes?

Designers’ Favourite: The Feedback

If we would live in an ideal world, every designer would be designing cool things for their grannies or their dogs – Imagine: every one of us would receive only positive feedback for our work.
However, in the real world, the clients and the users have their own and specific expectations and sometimes their (negative) feedback could be easily overwhelming if the designer doesn’t know how to handle the critics with the proper emotional observation.

 In an ideal world, every designer would be designing cool things for their grannies or their dogs

In an ideal world, every designer would be designing cool things for their grannies or their dogs

 Tip one: Read the Brief

With this, I really mean to read the brief, not just take a glance at it and that’s it. You need to read it through a few times and construe it.
If I have a certain question, the first thing’s first: research. If I could not find the right answer, I will just simply ask for guidance from the client. 
In the beginning, I always had second thoughts when it came to this part of the communication with my clients: Will it make me look unprofessional? But lately, my opinion has changed regarding this segment of my profession. If I think with the clients’ head, actually, it’s a good thing that the designer, who I’ve hired, really pays attention to the details and treats my project as a priority. On the other hand, if I’m following the client’s instructions, the expected job/quality will be delivered to them. This is surely the way as you can simply avoid the negative feedback.

 Tip two: Love the Brief

Sometimes we will encounter with various style guides which we can find difficult to implement in practice. The most important thing for us is to realise the consistency which comes from following a straightforward style guide – It will help you see the whole picture of the project. This consistency can and will earn the targeted audience’s attention and gives a good/dependable impression of the company. 
It’s possible that this will leave us with fewer opportunities, but let’s try to look at this from another angle.
Personally, I like to think of it as a challenge: am I capable of creating something fresh and exciting while obeying the rules? To be honest, it makes me feel more enthusiastic.

Tip three: The feedback is not against you – It’s teamwork

When working on any project, I’m always giving my best. That’s why my first thought was often „OMG, what did I do wrong?” when I received a neutral or negative feedback from my clients. 
I’m treating every critique differently now: like a new idea, or another way that we can follow together to design a better creation, which will positively change the outcome of the project. 
At the same time, if I can justify my professional decisions, I will let the client know what causes were behind my choice – they are employing me because of my experience and competence in the first place. If the feedback still stands after this professional discussion, the best thing to do is to think it through again, learn from it and build it into the project.

 Tip four: Acceptance

There’s a reason why they say that acceptance might be the hardest thing in this world – however, there’s no clearer and valuable guidance than a constructive critique.
We’re creating brand new things, so it’s acceptable that we don’t succeed on the first try. This is a usual and essential process which accompanies creative design.

 Tip five: There is always a new idea!

Yes, there’s always a new idea and there’s always a solution. If I’m treating this as a fact, I can let go of my previous ideas (obviously I will write them down first!). 
The easiest way is, to be honest with myself and rationalize why was the criticized idea important and dear to me. After this, I can bring a whole new energy into the project, implementing and experimenting with different ideas in my work. 

Let’s try to think about critique as a tool that will guide our progress. How do you apply feedback in your daily projects? I’m curious to know! 😊

Looping Animation


The first step to looping animation was a toy, called thomatrope which was a paper circle displayed a bird on the one side and a cage on the other. You should thread a string through the paper and when you spin it fast voilà - the bird got in the cage.

 Thomatrope - how you can put the bird into the cage? 

Thomatrope - how you can put the bird into the cage? 

Then came the zoetrope, which produced the illusion of motion by displaying a series of drawings showing phases of motion. So you had to spin this thing and look trough the tiny windows to see the magic. That was the first time when the human eye have seen moving drawings. To perform this motion, the same picture needs to be on the first and last frame of the device so that is why  we can consider them the very first looping animations.

 Zoetrope

Zoetrope

Once upon a time, the big animators drew the keyframes and when the deadline was approaching, they hired trainee designers to fill in the gaps. Their work was usually criticised by animators because the animations were not as they have imagined, as they were composing these motions with rhythm and speed in their minds.

Nowadays, After Effects helps us with drawing these keyframes, however, this is an enormous job which needs a lot of patience. We also need to synchronize these frames with the music and create a harmony between the adjustments. I love this part of animation, but let’s be honest, it really needs a lot of concentration and fortitude.

But back to looping animation! In After Effects, the first and last keyframe must match and what happens in between, that’s totally up to our imagination!
You have a lot of choices to choose from, for example, you can use a Loop Expression which can be assigned to the selected layers or if you want to make the Loop Expression even more appropriate, use The LoopMaker, which is a free script developed by Lloyd Alvarez. With just a few clicks, this script allows you to apply custom loops to multiple layers at the same time! Cool, isn’t it?
You can still use the classic copy & paste technique of course, but knowing that this script exists, why would you?😊

It’s brilliant that we can easily solve almost anything with these tools – if we want one specific motion to loop continuously (for example a plane’s propeller) but also another thing to happen in the background, it can be done in no time!


In my opinion, the animator’s humour or significant demonstration is what makes a looping animation engaging. What about you?

Colours and Inspiration

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If I think about which design style was my greatest inspiration so far, I would say BAUHAUS, without any hesitation. When speaking of BAUHAUS, consider me a true fan of Johannes Itten’s work – I’m implementing his methods and work philosophy day by day.

After the colour wheel – big thanks for this brilliant and innovative invention of Isaac Newton – Itten’s work was a significant ascertainment in the world of colours. He stated that the tone of a colour can be warm or cold and explained how these contrasts interact with each other. As we now know, these colours have a massive effect on the psyche and they resonate with different, abstract concepts. This study has a huge impact on today’s digital world as well. Understanding these concepts brings harmony and balance in one’s life. I really encourage everyone to read Itten’s book and learn the principles. 😊
There are a lot of different tools to gather inspiration and generate ideas from the warm and cold colours and I’ll share three great tools with you below!

1. Colourhunt.co

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This tool is brought to life by Gal Shir, an amazing designer, who was inspired by an everyday dilemma of all designers – the hunt for the perfect colour palette, which will corroborate with our project.

With his own words:

„I set some rules such as limiting the amount of colours in each palette to four and displaying the colours in each palette with a specific hierarchy I came up with. A ratio that gives each colour a different importance by displaying it in a different size.

After getting this simple web page ready, I decided to transform this personal collection into a public resource for the world. Then came the two following ideas: A) the like button that lets users save their favourite palettes, and B) the sorting menu that lets users change the order of the listed palettes based on their popularity, their age, or just random.”
Sheer brilliance!

2. Grabient.com

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Gradient is a hit in 2018 too – I could spend hours playing around with colours and having fun on this website!

I believe that this movement is not just a fashionable trend that will disappear as it has a huge impact on artists around the world. It’s perfect for creating an atmosphere that’s not as abstract as we have created something around 4 years ago with flat-design-thinking.
Gradient will show you the tone that you see all around you – the colours of nature and the environment.
I’m also grateful that we use high-resolution devices every day because, without them, this tool wouldn’t be such a big hit!

3. On the go – Colour mate

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This is a fantastic app on my iPhone that’s always with me when I need it on the go!
I usually use this app while I’m sitting on the train and thinking about my new projects – finding a totally random colour always makes me happy! When I get the perfect one, I just save it or convert it into RGB, HEX, CMYK or HSB formats.

So, these are my top 3 inspo tools, what are yours? 😊

Mentorship 1.0: Being a designer sister of the (best) designer brothers

Let’s start with an obvious fact: we were always close to each other and grew up as good siblings. We love each other for who we are and I’m grateful that we have found infinite trust and support within our sibling triangle while letting our ideas fly as high as the sky. Finding a mentor for your career/life can be difficult, and I’m happy to say that luck is on my side with these two fellas!

Aaron Kato – the brave explorer

Aaron was the first who chose the designer path and led the way for us. He was always the bravest explorer who is never afraid of anything – he knows that everything is possible with hard & smart work.
His friendly and confident personality allows him to practice his truly amazing ability to start and finish every work as an expert. Despite he is an honest critic, he always figures out how to transform and upgrade a project to a higher level (and this is equally true even if we’re just talking about a simple breakfast).

Janos Kato – the always curious fitter

I have learned that the decisions Janos makes are relying on well-deliberated theories and even if I don’t understand them at that moment, later it all comes together in my mind. His superpower: he opens brand new perspectives for me because he dares to think differently and I can often see him in the ocean of his thoughts standing solid as a rock.
Janos is going down some roads I didn’t even know that existed and his tireless concentration and dynamism towards the projects are astonishing me every time – and he’s doing this as it was the easiest thing in the world!

Lilla Kato – the source of ideas

Yes, I’m the youngest and the one who always has a new idea. I’m certain that I would not be living this creative, balanced and happy life without my two superheroes who are helping me through my career path and life. My brothers taught me not to be afraid to make mistakes and how to learn from them plus they have provided me with tonnes of advice and unconditional love – this is the way we’re mentoring and motivating each other.

So, this is our bomb trio – we have chosen this path together where we are exploring, understanding and altering the various and colourful universe of design, then creating a cool new thing together out of it.

Mentorship – the honourable guidance
Finding the perfect mentor means that one can develop unbelievable qualities with the speed of light and acquires knowledge that can’t be found in books. On the other hand, being somebody’s mentor is an honorific and super fun role -  looking back on the path we came up brings back valuable experience and memories. Passing on these gold wisdom and qualities is an indescribably good feeling. If we could implement this close mentorship in every designer’s life, not just the mentored person but the whole design community would be a big, happy family.
What are your thoughts on mentorship?

Behind the scenes of the Old People Stereotypes project

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We all know that getting an idea to realization is a very long journey with a lot of pitfalls, especially, when it’s a personal project. These plans can be usually found on the bottom of our to-do list.

That’s why I’m proud that my will power and love for animation has helped me through all the barriers that were present while working on this project.

The big idea

My new ideas are mostly just floating in my mind like the clouds in the sky and just the ones suitable enough come to realization. Behind every idea there’s an inspiration – for this one, it was an old lady’s honest manifestation. As I heard her words, the lightbulb in my head went on and in that moment, I already knew the whole script in and out – all I had to do was to sneak in some good old visual humour in the whole story. We can say that this project just fell into my lap from a casual everyday conversation.

Sometimes we just need an extra push

One time, I was attending an interveiw at Nutcracker and they have encouraged me to create a longer animation, where I can present my motion design knowledge as well. I am still truly grateful for this opportunity and they gave me the extra push with opening a whole new perspective for me.

Dream, Plan, Do – the bomb trio

When creating the storyboard of the project, I’ve individually adumbrated a voice effect plan for every scene and I dived into the work.

Illustration, the hunt for voice effects and music, making motions and transitions come to life in front of my own eyes – honestly, this is my favourite part of my work! When the illustrations were finished for the animation and after cutting out few a things and adding some others, everything has come together in after effects and my short animation was finally ready. When you’re working on a idea, everything that you know, understand and learned manifests in one given thing  and you realize that little part of you just came alive.

The very same thing happened to me when I finished my Old People Stereotypes project – a huge progress was made and I can proudly tell that I’m ready for the next challenge!