April 28, 2014

Printing, Toner and Understanding Color Blindness –

Filed under: Colors,Information,Printing Tips — Janelle Sullivan @ 7:42 pm

By Janelle Sullivan

color-blindnessHave you ever known anyone with color blindness? I have a relative who has this problem and I must admit I used to tease him when we were kids. I didn’t understand why he didn’t see colors the same way I did, I just thought he hadn’t learned his colors. Of course, I feel bad as an adult for the teasing, but now I understand more than I did back then. Although I do not suffer from color blindness, I realized that many of my typography projects had the potential to be viewed by people who do have this affliction. I had to find ways to be sure they could perceive my work as it was intended.

What is Color Blindness?

Color blind people do see colors; they do not usually see the world in shades of gray. Color blindness is the inability to distinguish certain colors, or the differences between colors. This is the result of a lack of color pigment in the cones of the retina of the eye. A person who is color blind may have trouble seeing red and green, or blue and purple. Depending on the severity of the color blindness, these colors may even look the same to a color blind individual. You do not get color blindness; you are born with it, and most likely inherited it. More men than woman are color blind and it is a fairly common occurrence – 1 in 12 for men and 1 in 20 for women. There is a very small group of people who suffer from red monochromacy or achromacy. This rare type of color blindness leads to seeing the world in gray and black because the cones in the retina do not work at all.

April 1, 2014

An Interview with Kristian Bjørnard: Designer, Thinker, Educator, Sustainabilitist. –

Filed under: Design Tips,Interview,Printing Tips — Janelle Sullivan @ 3:52 pm

By Janelle Sullivan

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the incredibly talented designer and artist Kristian Bjørnard. Already a prominent name in graphic design and publishing, Kristian and his design studio, The Office of Kristian Bjørnard, continue to grow in popularity and so do its impressive catalog of projects. Those of you who might not have already heard of him, get ready, because you will.
Kristian’s education accomplishments include an MFA in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA in Studio Art from the Kalamazoo College. Currently Kristian is the inaugural Bunting Teaching Fellow in Graphic Design where he once studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Kristian is passionate about true sustainability or post-environmentalism as a concept and lifestyle and has even taken it to the next level by incorporating it into his work and coining the term: Sustainabilitism. In coordination with his design studio, Kristian is researching sustainable graphic design, and new print and digital publishing tools. Further principles of sustainabilitism are detailed on his website, The Sustainabilitist.

Kristian Bjornard: Designer, Thinker, Educator, Sustainabilitist 
Kristian Bjornard: Designer, Thinker, Educator, Sustainabilitist

1) Having looked through some of the designs featured in your portfolio on Kristian.Bjornard.com and on OOKB.co, it’s clear you’re incredibly talented at what you do. After receiving your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art, I understand your interest in mathematics and physics almost led you to a career in engineering. What can you tell us about when you discovered graphic design and decided to pursue it as a career?


I hadn’t intended on becoming a graphic designer, it is something that ended up happening once I started trying to find work. In fact, I didn’t quite realize it was an actual “job.” I would make posters for events in college. I would make covers for mix-tapes and mix-CDs I compiled for friends. I drew things for bands to put on shirts. I even helped a friend of mine typeset the novel he wrote. But I didn’t realize this was all “graphic design.” They all just seemed like fun things to do that lived at the intersections of my interests. I liked playing around with images and text on the computer and I liked big, iconic graphics. The “art” I made in high school and college used these aesthetic stylings and pop-art tropes. Design ended up being something that allowed me to keep doing that, but in more of a professional capacity. Once I realized that, then I got serious about learning what “good” meant in a design context, not just a visual or artistic context.



2) Your studio, the Office of Kristian Bjørnard (OOKB) specializes in publishing, identity design, print, web, letterpress and other design projects for many different clients. After almost a decade in business, do you have a project that stands out above the rest as your favorite or most coveted?


Asking a designer to pick out a favorite project is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid … but I’ll try. One of my favorite things I’ve made is the book “Green Acres”. I did it with a friend of mine, Sue Spaid, for the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati Ohio. It is a book that goes along with an exhibition that Sue Spaid also curated. It was interesting in that it isn’t a catalog of the work in the exhibition, but an accompanying piece. The exhibition was also called “Green Acres,” and focused on artists that use farming as their artist practice. With that in mind, I did a lot (at least in concept) to bring “farming” into the design of the book itself. For example, the interior page grid references the section lines of surveyed farm land. Graphics based on aerial maps of industrial farmland decorate many of the spreads. This is somewhat ironic as none of the farming-as-art featured in the book takes place on a large-scale. But I thought it was more likely what a person thinking about farming would visualize.


01-GreenAcresBookStack (copy) GA-chap1-opener
Above: Cover of Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses and Abandoned Lots (left) and an example of the design of the book’s interior pages (right).


February 17, 2014

Choosing the Paper that will Turn Your Poster Work into Awe-Inspiring Printed Works of Art –

Filed under: Art,Printing Tips — Janelle Sullivan @ 3:44 pm

By Janelle Sullivan

poster-printingWhen you spend time working on your art, or your passion, as I prefer to call it, you want the end result to be perfect. Whether you are a typography nut like I am or maybe you are into posters (oh wait, that’s me, too), there is a certain amount of bliss involved in seeing your project finished. It can be confusing, though, to know which paper will be the exact right choice for what you are trying to achieve. I find myself doing a little research every time I am ready for either typography printing or poster printing, just to be sure I am heading in the right direction. Maybe when I’m done here, we will all have a better understanding of paper types and how to use them. (more…)

February 12, 2014

How to Expertly Print Your Digital Art and Impress Your Audience –

Filed under: Printing Tips — Janelle Sullivan @ 6:57 pm

By Janelle Sullivan

digital-artThere’s nothing more disappointing to me than when I print my digital art and the outcome is less than I expected. You know what I mean: Based on your printing techniques, I am sure there have been times when you have not been happy with the hard copy of your digital art. I have discovered that there are some tricks you can use when printing digital art to ensure a beautiful final product. Crisp, clear colors and well-defined subjects will please the artist in each of us.

Proof Your Work

Whatever you are printing, I am sure you’ll want it to be the best possible reproduction of your work. So how can you be sure that you will get what you want? You’ll need to proof your work. Start with an artist proof. Print your image and see if it is what you are hoping for. Are the colors what you were hoping for? Is the image clear and crisp, or soft and mottled, just the way you intended? Once you’re holding a hard copy in your hand, you will be able to see what, if anything, needs to be tweaked. Just be sure to proof using the same paper and printer model that you will use for your final print. This is the only way that you will achieve consistency in your prints. If you are printing digital art images in larger quantities, you might choose to make a contact sheet instead. Thumbnail images, several to a page, allow you to save some money and time. I’m not a big fan of the contact sheet, though, because I find it harder to see all of the details of each picture in such a small format. (more…)

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