Author Archives: Alex Bigman

Taking stock of the craft beer movement and its image

In 1949, LIFE magazine ran a nifty chart (below) plotting Americans’ tastes across the “brow” spectrum: highbrow being the most intellectual and sophisticated group, lowbrow the least. For example, where the most refined among us (retrospectively speaking) might attend a ballet for entertainment, the lowbrows would catch a Western flick. For drink, wine reigned at the top; beer was... Read More

September 29th By

The challenge of branding across languages

If you asked for the most general definition of a logo, you’d probably get something like “a mark that stands for a company or product.” The implication is that it doesn’t matter what the mark is; anything could work. But then, can we assume the effect of a logo is universal—even across languages? Apparently not, based on... Read More

September 17th By

Your back-to-school design reading list, by publisher

It’s that time of year again and back-to-school reading lists are upon us. If you don’t consider yourself to be a bookish designer, perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at the range of design books on the market. The breadth of topics, from biographies of famous designers to how-to guides about navigating the industry, is truly... Read More

September 9th By

Words of wisdom from 99designs veteran, SHANAshay

Name: Shana Cinquegrana 99designs handle: SHANAshay Location: New Jersey, USA Contests won: 238 Shana Cinquegrana, a.k.a. SHANAshay, is a bonafide 99designs veteran with over 200 contest wins under her belt—most of them in her signature illustration style that appeals to female-run businesses ranging from beauty and fashion to publishing, food and other forms of entrepreneurship. We sat... Read More

September 5th By

A look inside L.A.’s Architecture and Design Museum

Hollywood has long been a magnet not just for aspiring film stars but for the creative minded more generally: illustrators, advertisers, designers of all types. As a young city expanding at a vertiginous pace, postwar Los Angeles promised more than just economic opportunity for young commercial artists. In the words of designer Gere Kavanaugh: “When I... Read More

August 20th By

The art of book series cover design

The emergence of e-books and other digital texts has forever changed the role of the traditional, printed copy. Today, the printed book’s physicality is a key distinguishing factor and principal selling point – which gives designers all the more reason to focus on the art of book cover design. It’s common for a group of books... Read More

August 15th By

Gestalt principles and the psychology of design

The word “gestalt” gets thrown around a lot in design. Taken from the German word for “form” or “shape,” it often refers to the overall look of something that is greater than the sum of its parts. In psychology, gestalt refers to the basic principles that allow us to visually perceive order. These principles are fundamental building... Read More

August 12th By

5 essential tips for drafting your next design contract

If you enjoyed drafting contracts and negotiating terms, you probably would have gone to law school instead of becoming a designer. Little did you know you would end up having to play both parts. There’s no getting around it: If you want to protect yourself and your product in your freelance design work, you had... Read More

August 5th By

A field guide to stock image licenses (and how to protect yourself)

Whenever you use a stock image, it is crucial to understand the licensing terms associated with it. Otherwise, you could land yourself – or your client – in very hot water, legally speaking. Unfortunately, like many legal documents, licensing agreements can be virtually indecipherable to the average reader. Making matters worse, the terms oftentimes vary... Read More

July 23rd By

Elevating wordmarks with the power of a custom font

It’s the perennial question for logo designers tasked with creating a wordmark: to create the type from scratch, or to simply modify an existing typeface? As we previously discussed, there is no shame in sprucing up an existing typeface – indeed, some of the world’s most famous companies have done it! At the same time,... Read More

July 18th By

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