5 Essential Japanese Design Principles

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Traditional Japanese residential architecture

As a designer I’ve been influenced by many people and places. British designers Peter Saville and Vaughan Oliver immediately come to mind. As well, countries like Germany and Italy have affected me. Bauhaus, Futurism, Bruno Munari, the Memphis Group, and other forms of modernism and post-modernism have widened my vision and deepened my understanding. However, the country and culture that has influenced me most is Japan. I’ve always related to its customs, design, and philosophy, which are often diametrically opposed to Western ideals. After traveling there extensively over the past 15 years I consider myself somewhat of a Japanophile and want to share 5 essential Japanese design principles that have influenced me.

Seeing With the Eye Vs. the Mind

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I recently gave a tech talk at Grio on the topic of Designing With The Photo: Cropping Methods and Other Techniques. One aspect of this talk covered different ways of seeing photos. I want to share this part of my talk in this blog post.

Design Begins With Concept

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Design Begins With Concept

Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The task of creating something out of nothing is perhaps the most challenging aspect of a designer’s job. Beginning a new project can elicit apprehension about how to proceed and feel intimidating. It is comparable to a writer sitting at their desk, staring at a blank page, waiting for that inspirational first word or sentence to come forth.

Using Photoshop CC to Automatically Generate Web Graphics

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Adobe Generator App Icon

Let’s face it, creating web graphics takes time and is often tedious, especially if you have to slice images from detailed web page layouts. Sometimes it’s even necessary to copy and paste graphics from a Photoshop layout into a new Photoshop document just so you can isolate graphics and save for web. Recently I began experimenting with creating web graphics automatically from Photoshop layers using the new Adobe Generator feature, which was released in Photoshop CC version 14.1 (to check your version launch Photoshop and go to the menu and select Photoshop/About Photoshop and this will open a panel that includes the version number). When Generator is turned on it will monitor the file you’re working on and generate web graphics based on how you name layers. The cool thing is that as you continue to work in Photoshop and make changes Generator will automatically update assets.