The best graphic design show I ever saw was self-juried. Called “One Show,” each designer could only enter one piece per category. Choosing that one piece was a huge challenge out of a year’s worth! But, as a great way to end 2013, I will attempt to choose one piece from each category of my work:
• COVER DESIGN—Sim Street Journal #5
• BANNER DESIGN—SSJ Facebook page
My all time favorite banner design is for my portfolio site. But it is older than this year, so I will not count it in this competition. For 2014, it has to be for Sim Street Journal‘s Facebook page. This banner has very constrained parameters and needs to have a comprehensive message. The illustration represents the most active contributors in Facebook, and the most-read articles.
• LOGO DESIGN—Alexander’ Breakfast and Lunch
The new restaurant, Alexander’s, opened this summer, and I am thrilled to see how the logo that I designed plays out in the signage, T-shirts, and menu. As a very cheerful and positive feeling, the best part for me is to see the owner smile with success.
• AD DESIGN—Last of Humanity game
To design a subject that I am not interested in might be one of the most intriguing challenges. A game designer for a zombie role play environment came to me for an ad. I really hate zombies. I can’t watch Zombie movies, and I would never be a candidate for this game. But, many people love zombies. I channeled what it is that I hate and considered it must be what they love. So this menacing illustration is more emotional than much of what I get to design.
• PORTRAIT ILLUSTRATION—Jayjay Zifanwe, UWA, portrait
It is hard to pick just one portrait from an entire year of doing publications. This was a tough transition, having ended Bowler Business Review, and starting my own publication, Sim Street Journal. It was a leap of faith. A unifying factor is my approach to portraits of those I profile in all of the issues. So to choose a favorite for the year, I do reach back to earlier work and pull forward the Jayjay clock and the mosaics I did for that article. Though that publication has ceased, the friendship with Jayjay continues.
• BLOG ILLUSTRATION—Aesthete and the Amateur: Ally Aeon
The illustrations that I created to express the feeling of being at Ally’s studio don’t look at all like the original images. I used the overlaps of many images to give the impression of movement, ever present when viewing the works in-world. I took the most liberties with the first one, the moving globes, slicing the time into blinking stills. It becomes a work in itself, as inspired by Ally. To create kinetic stillness fascinates me, because I care more what can be achieved in two glances, not needing the patience of watching a video.
• PORTRAIT ARTICLE—Arkad’s Axioms to Virtual World Marketing
The only reason I choose this article by Arkad Baxton is that it is one I go back to like a checklist. Perhaps it is because Arkad has done so many different things, and I have known him a long time, that this one surfaces. But it is also because it was extremely difficult to edit—because he does so much. To find a focus, a commonality, and an explanation for how he does all this, I hoped to convey. But if you ask him directly, he will laugh and say “I can do all this because I never sleep.”
• OVERVIEW ARTICLE—“Finding Purpose in the Virtual World”
Purely based on reader numbers, “Finding Purpose in the Virtual World” is third in the top ten most read. I have never promoted it individually, nor does it have a champion profiled who will promote to new markets. This article is read simply because of the topic, and so I have been surprised at its high readership. Therefore, choosing the favorite article I have written
• BLOG ENTRY—The Aesthete and the Amateur
I use the blog platform for my own voice. Normally, in all publications, I write in the third person. But in the blogs, I get to be just me, and express how I personally see and feel. Similarly, in one article series, though fictional, I do get to express my own opinions directly. Why is what satisfies our own egos also our favorite works? Well, I was fair to choose best article from the readers (above). I can be selfish here, and pick my own favorite. The Aesthete and the Amateur series is such a labor of love, I am very proud of the conclusions and perceptions inspired there. To blog about that process in “Constructive Objectivity” is also part of the process.
• FACEBOOK POST—5,000 readers
This was from a few months ago. As of this writing, SSJ has almost 8,000 readers. It has grown consistently through this first six months. The happiness I feel at its success is expressed in this post—my avatar dancing in three different looks—party, business, and casual. Growing with Facebook is an accomplishment for me because I always feared the platform. Whatever we don’t understand we fear, and the was to be added to an already full plate. I needed strategy. And I found it. Now, I am a great Facebook fan, and really love designing for it.
So in summary, this was a great creative year. Having a publication like SSJ is everything I imagined it would be, due to my experience. But there are surprises when it is your own. The biggest is my relationship with advertisers. The best ones come from those I researched, and invited to be contributors. They are the foundation of my inspiration, and I always thought of selling ads as someone else’s job. First, I approach those who’s work fascinates. Then, seeing what I do, they support SSJ‘s role in defining commerce and culture.
For the advertisers who have approached me, I find them also to be fascinating studies in taking the virtual world seriously. They become contributors, sharing their experiences. These relationships daily give me insights into the full landscape of the metaverse.
Most importantly, I have learned from what the readers read. There is always the usual spike in reader numbers after a new issue comes out, but happily, the average number of readers per day becomes higher. The big surprise here is that the older issues get just as much traffic overall, as the new ones. I didn’t expect that because returning readers would just choose the new one. But even they are clicking on more. The number of pages each reader visits is very high, and that is a reward in itself. —always inspired, Liane