Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Our opportunity, as designers…

by Molly Mahar

Our opportunity, as designers, is to learn how to handle the complexity, rather than shy away from it, and to realize that the big art of design is to make the complicated things simple.

-Tim Parsey

October 31, 2011

For the Love of Type ♥

by Molly Mahar

Experimenting with typography is one of my favorite aspects of designing, and the opportunities are endless. These days, designers are stepping up their game and using typography in new and unique ways.

For the most part, I am not a rule-breaker when it comes to the core principles of design, so I don’t simply like any artistic use of typography out there. Readability is so important in typography designs… if a design piece isn’t readable to viewers, then it serves no purpose. It shouldn’t take a viewer longer than a few seconds to figure out the reason for your design and understand the flow in which they are supposed to read it. Personally, I enjoy typography designs that appreciate negative space. Keeping a design simple by leaving blank space is classy, and shows you aren’t trying to get your money’s worth by filling every part of the frame with information! Leaving negative space also brings attention to the focal point of your design, which allows your message to take center stage.

Here are twelve great designs I found that take typography to a new high. They set the bar for designers like myself, and push me to think outside of the box and get creative, while still keeping the design uncluttered and readable. To learn more about the designers who created these stunning designs, visit the links below each piece.

Designed & Submitted by Rahma Projekt to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed by Kasper http://psd.tutsplus.com/articles/inspiration/53-mind-blowing-uses-of-typography/

Designed & Submitted by Hannes Beer  http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed by Ivan Vidovic http://psd.tutsplus.com/articles/inspiration/53-mind-blowing-uses-of-typography/

Designed & Submitted by Accent Creative to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed & Submitted by Michael Rubini to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed & Submitted by Hannes Beer to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed & submitted by devgupta86 to:  http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed by Kasper http://psd.tutsplus.com/articles/inspiration/53-mind-blowing-uses-of-typography/

Coke Ad  http://www.lava360.com/graphics/45-beautiful-creative-use-of-typography-in-print-media-ads/

Demortalz.com http://www.demortalz.com/2011/09/10/how-can-you-use-typography-art-effectively/

Lava360.c0m http://www.lava360.com/graphics/45-beautiful-creative-use-of-typography-in-print-media-ads/

October 30, 2011

The Minneapolis Riverfront: Part Two

by Molly Mahar

The St. Anthony Main trails on the Minneapolis riverfront are jam packed with photo opportunities. Besides all of the beautiful landmarks that St. Anthony offers (which you can see in my previous blog post), I found so many interesting and different wildflowers to photograph. As promised, here they are! :)

October 30, 2011

The Minneapolis Riverfront: Part One

by Molly Mahar

St. Anthony Main is the place to be on the Minneapolis riverfront if you enjoy acres of trails, beautiful city and water views, trendy restaurants, and breathe-taking Minneapolis landmarks such as the Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Falls! As you may know, I am a fan of free entertainment, which St. Anthony Main provides with all of its trails and things to see. Although I enjoy the free aspects of the area, I am not opposed to sitting down at Vic’s or Tugg’s Tavern for a beer and some amazing food! :) We had a drink and ate cheese curds (my weakness) at Tugg’s before walking around on the scenic paths.

I have only recently started investigating great places in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, as I live in the suburbs, but have truly enjoyed all they have to offer! It definitely keeps life interesting & I get some great shots, too. Here are some photos I took of a variety of things we saw at St. Anthony Main. Check back for my next blog post “The Minneapolis Riverfront: Part Two,” which will showcase all of the beautiful wildflowers I found along the way.. coming soon!

If you are in the Minneapolis area, you NEED to explore the downtown scenes, especially the riverfront at St. Anthony. Check out http://stanthonymain.com/ for information!


October 26, 2011

Saying Hello to Fall

by Molly Mahar

As the summer weather started to make way for brisk autumn days, I was desperate to get outside and find some great places to walk around, enjoy the outdoors, and of course, take some photos. One of the places I found while researching was UMore Park. It caught my eye because it’s free to the public, and conveniently located in my area, south of the Twin Cities in Rosemount, MN. The Master Gardener Education & Research Display Garden at UMore Park holds beautiful gardens and landscaping, but is just a small part of UMore Park as a whole, which has acres of beautiful fields and farmland, used for energy, wellness, educational, & agricultural research.

As we (my significant other and I) pulled up to the Gardens, I was filled with disappointment as I saw wilting, dead flowers… we had missed the peak of the gardens. With the chilly fall weather, they stopped grooming and caring for the gardens until next year. We got out anyway, to walk around and enjoy the weather, and I was pleasantly surprised as we got a closer look that some flowers were still clinging to life. I got some great shots as we enjoyed a walk down the dirt roads, and through the gardens… I hope you enjoy them like I do! And, if you are ever looking for something fun and free to do outdoors, research gardens in your area.

To learn more about UMore park visit http://www.umorepark.umn.edu/


October 26, 2011

Pumpkins!

by Molly Mahar

It’s almost Halloween! We finally made it out pumpkin hunting… a little late I know. Hopefully we will get around to carving them this weekend because I am craving some baked pumpkin seeds; I only get to eat them once a year! Here are some photos of our outing..  Thanks for stopping by & enjoy the beautiful Fall weather!

October 23, 2011

A Designer’s Dream: The International Market Square

by Molly Mahar

Every time I would drive down I94 South in Minneapolis, I was mesmerized by the most beautiful building, The International Market Square. I always wondered what was inside, so I did my research. I found that my mystery building is a design center that hundreds of interior designers, among many other creative businesses, call home. This breath-taking building was built as a factory in the 1900’s, vacant for years after the factory shut down, then was eventually transformed into a beautiful hub for designers to work.

Finally, on a weekend trip to the downtown farmers market with my mom, our curiosity got the best of us, and we stopped in. I fell in LOVE instantly, as I looked up at the beautiful architecture and windows, was greeted by the most friendly staff, and as I opened the directory to find hundreds of unique designers and their showrooms.

We walked around for hours looking in all the showrooms (the ones we were allowed in without a trade professional), seeing everything from accessories, decor, architecture designs, flooring, and furnishings, to fabrics/textiles, lighting, kitchen/bath/outdoor designs, wall coverings, and more! Other than the showrooms, the IMS has a lot to offer… multiple restaurants, graphic design services, event and meeting areas, as well as beautiful modern lofts. After walking around we ate at D’amicos, and enjoyed a glass of wine. I cannot wait to go back!

I got some fun photos of the outside, but if you want to see more, go to www.IMSDesignCenter.com!

October 23, 2011

My Latest Font Addition

by Molly Mahar

I found the most beautiful font download, Ribbon, and the best part… it’s free! Check out TrueType.com for the DL- http://bit.ly/oDGqJV 

Come back again soon for my latest font obsessions! 

October 22, 2011

4 Unique Photography Tips

by Molly Mahar

Finding my niche in photography took some time, and I am constantly perfecting it. When you jump into photography for the first time, you tend to be inspired by others, by trying similar concepts and ideas. Once you put yourself out there, practice, and gain confidence, you begin to branch out and take truly unique photos.

My style began to change as I started experimenting, and deciding what aspects I really liked. While studying Graphic Design at UND, we were always taught “Less is Best” and I have definitely attributed the minimalist look to my photography. I have also grown very fond of high contrast photos and different shades of blue, as you will notice in my photography at the end of this post. By making these key decisions about what I liked, I was able to form my personal style of photography.

You should work on perfecting your own style, but here are a few tips that have helped me with my own visions. I hope you can be inspired by my work in some way, try some different things that I try, and hopefully gain the confidence to break away and find your niche!

As a side note, I am not a professional photographer, so don’t take me too seriously. These tips and tricks are my own personal views. If you are looking for more professional advice, you should contact a professional photographer.

Enough talk, here’s my tips:

(1) Don’t be afraid to look stupid
A lot of times, you will be taking photos in public, in places where people are going to see you. I used to be so embarrassed to take photos in public that I would snap my subject really fast and move on. Well, once I got home I had a bunch of photos that were unusable. Eventually, I wanted my shots so bad that I stopped caring about who was gawking at me.

(2) Take multiple shots of your subject
When you take only a few shots, you don’t have much to work with. When I see something I want to photograph, I take TONS of shots.. I will literally take 10 shots or more. You can always delete them later, but it gives you options to work with. Hopefully you will have at least one that you love. If you are using a DSLR, take multiple shots of your subject, experimenting with different aperture and shutter speeds. Record the settings you used for each shot so you can start to learn what settings work best in different conditions, and your personal preferences. You can find charts online to assist  you with settings.

(3) Experiment with different perspectives
This goes back to my first tip, don’t be afraid of looking stupid. I like to experiment with angles, which usually leads to some unique shots that I never would have thought of without trying different perspectives. As you may have noticed, my favorite perspective is the worm’s eye view, where I literally lay on the ground and point up. My typical subjects are flowers, so I have a lot of fun laying on the ground, burying my camera into the flowers, trying to get the perfect shot with the beautiful blue sky in the background.

(4) Don’t waste a sunny day!
Sunny days are perfect for taking photos similar to the style that I shoot. This tip is especially important if you are using a camera that cannot adjust for lighting conditions, such as an iPhone, which I use a lot of the time because it’s always in my pocket and readily available. I never waste a beautiful, clear skied, sunny day. When I wake up and see the sun blazing through my window, I am outside exporing for shots. Don’t make photography harder than it needs to be… if you want a colorful, blue skied shot, then don’t miss out on the sunny days.

Thanks for reading! Come back soon.

October 22, 2011

Show Me Your Garden

by Molly Mahar

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” (Alfred Austin)

Looking at Brenda’s garden will give you a great understanding of who she is. Even after a difficult childhood, being raised with her 7 siblings by a single mother, and dealing with many life-changing experiences, she has managed to remain a strong, bright and positive person.

Brenda’s flowers have been a huge subject of my photography for the past three months, as they have been in full bloom. It has been such a joy being able to document her flowers, and I am in the process of designing a book collection of the photos as a gift to her.

Here are some of my favorites from her garden… Enjoy!