Online Portfolio: Adobe Portfolio

Adobe Portfolio is a great example of a site where you can create your own personalized portfolio.  It is really easy to get started because of the various templates provided.  You can choose which one works best for you as an artist, depending on if you want to showcase a specific type of art, like photography, or if you want the website to have a particular look such as a large cover image.  Users do not even need to know coding skills like HTML or CSS to create beautiful, professional-looking portfolios.  Below is photographer Matthieu Belin’s online portfolio, an example of a website that was created with Adobe Portfolio.


Sites created with Adobe Portfolio can also be synced to Behance, another popular site for showcasing art online.  As you can see, there is a small link on the top right of Matthieu Belin’s website that brings the viewer to his Behance page.  This feature is useful for artists who put their work on several websites and want viewers to be directed to their personal portfolio immediately rather than having to scroll through other websites.

Adobe Portfolio is free with a Creative Cloud subscription ($20/month for students and educators, and $50/month for other users), or $10/month without the Creative Cloud.  I think that it is incredibly useful that this site can be used for free for Creative Cloud users, because it offers an easy way to showcase your work professionally without having to go through another company to do so.  Overall, Adobe Portfolio is a user-friendly, cost-effective way for artists to create professional portfolio sites.

Self-Promotion Piece: Jonathan Shackleton

One interesting and well-done self-promotion identity system that I came across was that of graphic designer Jonathan Shackleton.  His logo is a combination of his initials, the letters J and S (mentioned in this article), which I think is an effective way to promote one’s business.  This also shows that even the simplest combination of two letters can become a refined and successful logo.

js business card

js posters

The rest of Shackleton’s branding reflects his style of work and gives the audience an idea of what he specializes in just by glancing at a poster or business card.  I think that this aspect of portraying the most information in the smallest amount of time is incredibly important in a self-promotional identity system, especially for anyone who works in a mainly visual field like graphic design.  Overall, this logo and identity system is successful because of its simplicity and unification in color and style.

You can view more of Shackleton’s work here.

Great Design Blog: CreativeBloq

One graphic design blog that I found to be interesting is CreativeBloq.  This site is divided into several sections that are organized by different areas of art such as graphic design, illustration, and typography.  Each article itself is also labeled so that if you are just browsing the “Latest News” section of the site you can immediately tell which area of art each article references.  There are articles that feature tutorials, advice for both new and experienced artists, and latest announcements in the world of technology that will benefit digital artists.

However, the most interesting and useful part of the CreativeBloq blog in my opinion is the “Inspiration” section.  This page will inspire anyone in a creative block (which is obviously what the site intended) by highlighting articles regarding trending illustration styles, new and fresh fonts, and some recent logos in the graphic design world recently that are successful.  Overall, I think that CreativeBloq is a great blog to visit if artists are looking for some advice or inspiration.

Information Design: Oil Spill Infographic

oil spill

This infographic about oil spills is a great example of an interesting and efficient information design.  The use of a world map as the background allows the viewer’s eye to move naturally through the design without much thought, as the world map is familiar to most people.  There is a great use of hierarchy of visual elements as well, such as the large black title of the infographic.  Likewise, the black drops representing the magnitude of each oil spill are effective as the viewer’s eye is drawn to the largest one first.  This is a simple way to show which oil spills were the largest and most harmful without making the viewer bored by having to read each statistic individually.  Also, the largest oil spill (the Gulf War Oil Spill) is the focal point of the design not only because of its size but because the oil drop is facing the opposite direction of the others.

Furthermore, the simple color scheme is effective as it does not overcomplicate the design and causes the few elements that are different colors to contrast against the rest of the infographic.  For example, the text describing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the only element that is the color red.  This is efficient as that specific oil spill was one of the worst in U.S. history, and is therefore one of the most important pieces of information in the entire design.  Also, the general statistics on the left of the infographic are distinctly set aside from the map and the individual oil spills because of the color yellow that is accented solely in this area of the composition.

Overall, the sizes and colors of the elements in this infographic were well-designed to show the monumental significance of oil spills globally, while also allowing the reader to easily see at a glance which spills were the most harmful.

The designer of this infographic is Gavin Potenza, one of the founders of the company Script and Seal.

Identity System: Apple

apple current

One of the most prominent examples of an identity system today is the logo for Apple.  Today, the logo is incredibly simple and instantly recognizable.  However, this has not always been the case; as shown below, the Apple company’s branding was once not even an apple at all.

apple progression

Since 2007, the logo has been simplified even further to an apple’s most basic form.  It is so simple that it can be incorporated into several types of products and advertising very easily, which is part of what makes it such a successful identity system.  The company has also been around for so long and has such a legendary reputation that the logo is easily recognized around the globe without question.  Therefore, Apple’s logo is a great example of a successful identity system.

The designer of the original apple-shaped logo (created in 1977) is Rob Janoff.

Ambiguity of Positive and Negative Space: Girl Scouts

girl scouts.jpg

The Girl Scouts logo is an excellent example of the utilization of positive and negative space in logo design.  The original logo was designed by Saul Bass in 1978, and it was revised in 2010 by the The Original Champions of Design.  See an in-depth explanation of the improvements on the Girl Scouts logo as well as the company’s typeface here.

Both the original and revised logos show two distinct images that are significant to the Girl Scouts organization: three girls, and the trefoil motif.  The positive space in the logo and the overall shape itself represents the trefoil.  This symbol is included in the logo because it has three leaves, which represent the three parts of the Girl Scout law that reads “To serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law.”  Within the trefoil there are profile views of three girls, each slightly different (especially in the newer version of the logo).  This is an important part of the logo because the Girl Scouts organization supports all girls of every background and community in the development of leadership skills and believing in themselves.

When I first look at this logo I see the profile of the girl on the left, but as my eye travels around the image I notice the other girls and trefoil created by the interaction of positive and negative space.  Therefore, the ambiguity of positive and negative space within the Girl Scouts logo is very effective.

Seen in the Real World: Breathe Magazine Cover


Graphic design can often be a combination of type and illustration, as is the case with this interesting magazine cover.  The magazine itself, Breathe, gives tips on self-care, meditation, and mindfulness.  I think that the cover illustration conveys these themes well, as there are doves featured for symbolism of peace as well as self-care habits portrayed such as meditation and writing in a journal.

The simple colors used are effective in this graphic design as they are not distracting from the subject; rather, they are muted and and work to portray a calming theme.  This is a perfect example of how designs often do not need many colors to be successful.  Furthermore, the subdued colors help the girl’s red hair and blue scarf stand out as the focal point in the image. The viewer’s eye moves around the design from the middle to the outsides because of the swirling lines and floral patterns around the girl.  These elements were smart of the designer to include because otherwise I do not think that I would have noticed the smaller elements on the page such as the doves and journal.  Finally, the rather plain text and white border gives the cover a unified feel and unites the typography and illustration into one cohesive design.

Overall, the illustrative style, muted colors, and simple type on the cover of this issue of Breathe are not only eye-catching and interesting on their own, but also portray the themes of the magazine extremely well.