Designing a Business Card



I thought that this was a very interesting business card when I saw it on Google Images. The shape of leaves and tree trunk that were cut out creates a unique texture that is not often seen on business cards. I tried to Google this company, thinking that if I could compare it to the company website I might be able to understand a little bit better why they chose a mostly white business card with only a bit of colour. I discovered that this was just a sample card and that Cleverly Cut wasn’t really a company. Taking that into consideration, I think that they could have done a few things that would make this card more aesthetically pleasing.

I really think that they could have played on the colour green, especially if they are an environmental friendly company. “White Space” does not mean that the space has to be white and I think the colour white was not the best choice for the company. This being said, I think that the colour white works fine on the back of the card because of the large image.

I also agree with Williams that corners should be left empty. I think that the placement of the owners names is not ideal. There is also too much blank space to the right of the address. While the words do not need to be aligned in the center, it should be in the middle between the edge and the main motif.

Even though I think that there are a few things that could have been changed, overall I think that this is a very unique business card.

– Erika Murray


Photography – Emma Watson


I found this beautiful picture on Google Images and figured that it really encompassed the major elements in good photography. Normally I find Emma Watson quite pretty, but this photo really made me take a second look. The photographer made very good choices in the frame composition, colour choices and overall quality of the photo.

For starters, her positioning is perfect. She is not right in the middle of the frame where most photographers would normally put her, but she is off-center, with her nose falling directly on the rule of thirds. I think that the only thing that could have been improved with this photo would be if it were taken just a little bit higher. Her eyes should have also fallen on the rule of thirds for a more dramatic impact.

The colour contrast is also a great aspect of this photo. Even though there isn’t a huge contrast, the colours that they chose for her to wear complement her skin tone and the image that they are trying to portray. By using pinks and light reds, they are enhancing her girlish freckles, giving her a feminine and innocent look. Her loose curls also play on this imagery.

This would be the perfect picture to use for any type of advertisement. The blank space to the left of her indicates that this photo was likely taken for this exact purpose. While there is still open space to the left, the photographer was still very close to Emma. Overall, a great photo!

– Erika Murray

Semotics: Signifiers + Signifieds = Signs


Two years ago I entered a pageant and won the title of Miss Albert County and continued on to the Miss New Brunswick Pageant where I was a finalist and won Miss Talent New Brunswick 2011. I was really excited when I got my invitation to participate in the Miss New Brunswick pageant, but I knew that I would have to have some professional photos taken to be used in their promotional materials.

I took a gown, my crown and my sash to a local photographer (and also a good friend of mine) so that she could take some pictures that I would be able to submit. To my surprise, when I got there she pulled out an old pair of boots and encouraged me to wear them in some of the pictures. I laughed so hard because I knew exactly what she was trying to do. You see, Albert County is a very small and rural area and most people who live there own farms. She wanted to play on the idea that I was going to be representing a community of farmers.

Now that I am taking this class, I recognize that she was using the boots as a signifier. People who were looking at both the boots and my title would make the connection, creating the signified. Between the boots and the idea that I came from a small farm town, the audience was able to distinguish the sign that this was the part of New Brunswick that  was representing. The other girls thought that this photo was hilarious and were quite jealous that they hadn’t thought of something like that!

– Erika Murray

iPhone Icons – Semiotics


Our generation is so dependent on technology to stay in touch with others that it is hard to imagine going for an entire week without your cell phone. I know that mine is permanently glued to my body and when I put it down for only a few hours, I feel as though part of me is missing. One of the main reasons I always check my phone is to check social media. I want to make sure that I am always up to date on any and all information from a shooting on a bus in Dartmouth to the worst dressed women at the Oscars.

Because I have grown up in this tech savvy environment, I do not need to have the name of each form of social media to recognize what program it is. For example, when I turn on my phone I know that if I want to go on Facebook that I don’t need to type it into the search bar. It is on my home screen in the form of a white letter f on a royal blue background. I recognize the program through the icon that has been burned into my mind. This is an example of semiotics. Any of the icons above you probably know what they stand for, even though there are no names.

These companies have created unique logos that will automatically trigger a response in it’s users. Most people in the world, even if they do not have Facebook or Twitter could probably recognize their icons. Take a minute to think of how many icons you see everyday that you might not even have considered. I bet there are a lot!

– Erika Murray

Before and After – Black and White


I don’t know about you guys, but I am a sucker for before and after pictures! With absolutely anything that has been manipulated using Photoshop,  I love seeing the original photograph and the end result side by side so that I can see what a huge difference the editing really makes. I think that this is the best way to truly appreciate the effects that the designer has created from the photographers original photograph.

This photo is the perfect example of a before and after picture! I really like the first photograph because the contrast between the colour of the woman’s bouquet stands out against the background of her white wedding dress. I love how the bride is in focus, but the men in the background are blurry. This ensures that the viewers eye goes directly to the bride and is not distracted by the background.

Even though the first photograph is beautiful, I really love the second one. More and more, photographers are leaning towards black and white photos, especially for wedding photography. In my mind, the black and white photo is more soothing and creates a more romantic allusion. Because there is more contrast in the first photo and a gray scale limits the amount of colour contrast available, my eye does not go directly to the pink bouquet, but rather the woman’s smiling face.

This being said, I do not think that I prefer black and white photographs to colour ones. There are certain times that I believe that black and white photographs have more of an impact, and I believe that wedding photography is one of those times!

– Erika Murray

Logo Design

Chelsea Coates, one of my best friends is just finishing up her final semester of a graphic design course. In order to complete the course she needed to take a year of visual arts and one year of graphic design.

Below is one of the paintings that she created last year for a “fire” assignment. I love the warm colours that she decided to use in the Phoenix (orange, red and yellow), but also that she decided to use the contrasting colours of white and blue.



This was the painting that she chose to use for her professional logo. I’m not completely sure how she worked her magic, but somehow she was able to replicate the basics of this painting in Photoshop.


With a little bit of tweaking, she was able to create some texture in the wings, making them look more like feathers. The shadows that she included created depth and makes it seems like everything the bird is actually flying. She then added a bit of text to include her information. Here is a picture:



Finally, the last piece to creating the logo is finding a cool background. This picture incorporates the grey that she had used in the previous designs while creating more texture. It looks like she also applied a bit of a gradient so that it isn’t too shiny.




This is the final product! She plans on using it on her website in the future. I know that a design like this will attract lots of people!

– Erika Murray

Typography Logo


I found this logo online and thought that it was an awesome example of typography! I love how the designer chose to incorporate the company’s name right into the logo, and not just once! To me, the repetition of the company name really makes me remember it. If this logo had not been made by using this method and was instead just the simple letters “CV” in white on a black background, the name would have been much easier to forget.

This logo also uses one other main theory of design and that is colour contract. I love the bright and vibrant colours that are used in this logo because they make the main text stand out, even though there is text all of this photo. Pink and green are not colours that I would have ever imagined putting together, but it looks awesome!

To me, this logo screams creativity. Something about white and colourful text on a black background shows me, before I even read the title of the company that this is clearly a very creative company. Maybe a graphic design firm? Looking at this logo, I can’t help but wonder what this same logo looks like on regular paper. Clearly, this company cannot print everything on black paper, but I wonder if they keep the black surrounding the text or not. They might not even include to typography in that design!

All in all, I think that the look that this designer has created is eclectic but cohesive which is why my eye was draw to this unique logo.

Colour Contrast and Tone


I thought that this photograph was an awesome example to describe how colour can play a vital role in the tone of an image. Setting aside the fact that the designer chose to use the warm colour of orange and the cool colour of green, the viewers can clearly see a disconnect between these six fish.

The viewer’s eye automatically goes to the green fish, both because of the colour and because of the alignment of the entire photograph. The other orange fish and all facing one way and directing the eye to the green fish. Without seeing this photograph in an actual advertisement either in print or on the web, the viewer is able to distinguish that it is representing a sort of disconnect between the different coloured fish. This indicates that a company could you this image to visually represent them standing apart from their competition or how they go against the norm.

Applying this to my own life as a university student, I realize that I use this technique all of the time. When I am reading through my notes and I come across something that I think is important, I pull out my highlighter so that I can turn back to it when I am preparing for a test. If I did not highlight my pages, I would have no idea what would be important information for the test and would waste time going through and reading over all of my notes instead.

I did not realize how much this one design principle in particular is used. It can be found all around us. Just look around!

– Erika Murray

Layers and Transparency


As I was searching through Google images I found this really cool picture. Once I looked at it for a few minutes, I realized that I would probably be able to do something like this using Photoshop. I think that the designer likely used three or four different pictures and put them together on Photoshop or something similar.

In order to get this picture to look the way that it does, the designer would have had to open each photo as a separate layer and edit each photo individually before putting them all together. Some key tools that they likely used were the magnetic lasso, blur and transparency.

I think that the main thing that drew me to this image was the cohesiveness of all of the images. Everything has a green tinge, creating an earthy vibe. This is probably created by flattening all of the images together then adding a hue. The analogous colours that are used create very minimal contract. Even though there is no colour contrast, the woman’s face is still the main focal point. This is because of the light radiating from above her.

This is a good photograph because, even though there are a lot of different  visual elements, there is only one main motif. The main motif is the woman’s face, the secondary motif is the butterfly and the rest of the forest acts as white space. The white space enhances the main motif instead of taking away from it.

See what photos you can put together to create a similar look!