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5 Fundamental UX Design Concepts to Improve Discoverability & Usability

UX design refers to the overall experience that a person gets from using a product. This is different than UI design, which is an aspect of the user experience (UX) that specifically involves the design of the visual interface. Two critical aspects of UX design are discoverability and usability. Discoverability refers to the process of learning about a produce and understanding how to use it and what it is used for. Five fundamental concepts can

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Sexual Assault on College Campuses: Motion Graphic

Last year, I watched The Hunting Ground for the first time. It’s a full length documentary about sexual assault on college campuses, and it combines testimonies and stories with statistics and facts to provide an in-depth look at the high rates of sexual assault at universities. After watching the documentary, I kept thinking how important the topic was and how useful it would be if everyone watched the documentary. However, I knew it was difficult

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The Evolution of a Logo: My Process of Branding Myself

If you have a brand, and especially if you’re a graphic designer, having a logo is important. Logos help establish your identity, and if you’re a designer, it’s another way to show your talents. When designing a logo, there are a few things to keep in mind: Is it timeless? Will it still work a year from now? 5 years from now? Is it scalable? Is it easy to see at small (as small as

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10 Ways To Create Powerful Infographics & Data Visualizations

Using graphs and charts to display complex data in ways that make it easy to understand is not a new concept. From the creation of the pie chart in the early 1800s to early instances of visualizing information, such as Charles Minard mapping Napolean’s invasion of Russia, presenting data using visuals has always been around. With the rise of computers and technology, data scientists and statisticians are finding innovative and powerful ways to interpret data

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5 Steps To Building Your Brand Online

So, you had an idea. You want to sell a product, offer your expertise in an area, or post content online about something you’re passionate about. But where do you go from there? 1. Think about it. Who are you? Write it out. How do you want to represent yourself? What are your goals? What do you want to be known for? How can you represent these abstract concepts in a concrete way? Once you’ve

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UI vs. UX Design: What’s The Difference?

Learning the difference between UI and UX design can initially be very confusing. Designers will tell you that UI is part of UX, but UX is not “experienced” from UI only. But what does that mean? Which one is more important? How do you use them together effectively? Rahul Varshney, co-creator of Foster.fm, explains, “User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are some of the most confused and misused terms in our field. A UI

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Rebranding Mental Illness

Rethink: Psychiatric Illness is an organization at UNC Chapel Hill that aims to create networks and end the stigma related to mental illnesses. They are committed to changing the way we think and talk about mental illness, and they accomplish this by organizing events aimed at fostering understanding among students and raising awareness about the current challenges in our mental health system. Their biggest project is a student-led sensitization training held several times a year,

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5 Simple Ways to Boost SEO Using Content Marketing

Your website can have the best, most interesting and engaging content on the entire Internet, but if no one sees it, what’s the point? Especially if you’re not an internationally known website, it can be difficult to obtain wide viewership on your posts. Luckily, you can use SEO (search engine optimization) to boost your content’s ranking on search engines and make it more likely that people will see it. Content marketing, creating and spreading content

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Are You An Ethical Designer?

Defining your own ethical code is difficult, but if you’re going to work with a variety of different clients, it’s necessary. What types of work would you refuse to accept? How far is too far over the line? Where is the line? Designers must ask themselves these questions to determine their personal ethical code. To help you figure out your personal ethics in design, I’ve included The Road to Hell, a test developed by graphic

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9 Tips For Photographing Graduating Seniors

When May rolls around, most people celebrate the warm weather, colorful flowers, and abundance of green. But for photographers, late spring means something else: senior photograph season. There are lots of articles and online galleries that offer examples of creative, out-of-the-box senior photography. But let’s start with the basics. For photographers who have less experience with senior portraits, or for experienced photographers looking for new tips and inspiration, here are 9 tips for photographing graduates.

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What is Design Activism?

I recently purchased a copy of The Design Activist’s Handbook, a fantastic book written by Noah Scalin and Michelle Taute. Their book discusses how designers can use their powers for good, creating graphics that inspire others, educate people about new topics, or provide a platform to people whose voices are often not heard. As designer David Berman explains in the foreward, “Design is a very young profession. We’ve barely begun. Over 95% of all designers

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A Graphic For Every Country in Africa

People often refer to Africa as if it is a single country, ignoring the fact that Africa is a continent with 55 distinct countries. I created this series to use my design skills to emphasize every country in Africa and help others understand the uniqueness of each country. Below you’ll find thumbnails of all the graphics. Click them to see larger versions!     I created this series both to educate myself and others. I

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When Animals Don’t Smile: 10 Zoo Photography Tips

Taking photos of animals at the zoo is a lot different than photographing your pet dog at home. You can’t spend hours getting the right lighting and angle, you can’t change the background, you can’t position the animal differently, and you can’t put quirky objects near the animal to get a funny picture. In zoos, you’re stuck with what’s in the exhibit. But this challenge is what makes the outcome so rewarding; taking a stunning

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6 Typography Tips & Tricks

Typography is a crucial aspect of design, and the art of using typefaces beautifully goes far beyond avoiding Comic Sans and Papyrus. Learning the basics of typography improves your design. Typefaces are not pretty decorations; they’re an essential part of your design that directly impacts the readability and usability of your final product. If your design is flawless, but the text is distracting or difficult to read, your entire project may be disregarded. Below are

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From Canvas to Computer: Combining Traditional Art With Graphic Design

Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about the research and planning phases of a white tiger infographic I designed.   One of the key aspects of that infographic is a large illustration of a white tiger. When creating the design, I wanted it to look rustic and rugged. The infographic is about the horrors of the breeding industry, and making the illustration look slightly distressed would complement the content well. I wanted to

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The Devastating Truth About White Tigers: Changing Design Direction Mid-Project

When I was enrolled in an Infographics class taught by Terence Oliver at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, I wanted to make my final illustration-based infographic about white tigers. They’re cute, stunningly beautiful, and very rare, making them even more interesting.   I eagerly looked at photos of white tiger cubs online, obsessed with their soft fur and bright blue eyes. They were the perfect combination of regal tigers and adorable kittens. I

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Why Designing for Mobile Devices Is Like Eating Ice Cream

Mobile devices account for more than half of online search traffic, and that number is only going to increase. Designing for such a small screen is significantly different than designing for a computer screen, and it’s crucial to design unique interfaces for both. And don’t forget about tablets, either! Each device should have a design that is optimized for its dimensions. All these factors to consider might seem overwhelming at first, but don’t worry, I

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How Playing Neopets Made Me Love Graphic Design

A lot of people become interested in graphic design when they take an introductory class, learn about design through advertising, or work on the design team for their high school yearbook or newspaper. I, on the other hand, became interested in graphic design before I even learned the phrase “graphic design.” It all started when my 10-year-old self began using Neopets.com.   Neopets is not a design site for kids. Neopets is a site where

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Expressing Complex Concepts in a Simple Logo

One of the most challenging aspects of logo design is communicating the complicated company values, mission, and services in a simple logo that translates easily over print and digital mediums. Especially now that over half of all digital media usage is via mobile devices, there’s a huge push for simple logos that scale down to mobile devices easily. That’s simple enough if your client wants a logo with their company name and a simple shape,

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5 Ways Your Design Is (Unintentionally) Excluding People

Designers have good intentions, but small overlooked details can subtly reinforce concepts that exclude certain people, even if your company preaches diversity and inclusivity. Sometimes we get so focused on making pixel-perfect designs, adhering to a particular color scheme, and making great UI that we forget to look at deeper implications of what we design and how it might affect specific groups of people. Listed below are a few examples of designs I’ve seen that

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