Image to indicate that my etsy store is now open also contains and illustration of Chadwick Boseman also known as Black Panther

Shop is Now Open

So it’s taken me almost two years to open up my Etsy store. But on the 31st August this is what I did. And the catalyst? It was the passing of Chadwick Boseman, aka Black Panther. Within hours of finding out about his death, I grabbed my ipad and drew an illustration of him. Sad times that we’re living in. He inspired a generation of young people and old alike. Representation is important and he was a hero and someone to look up to for black kids. When you don’t see many people who look like you portrayed in a good light, you need an inspirational person (be it fictional or real) to look up to. The Black Panther is a film with an uplifting main character and a stellar black cast. I took the family to see this film on my birthday in 2018. I came out bouncing and smiling with glee. I love that film. And I’m not even a Marvel fan. Fast forward to two years later and to know that he was battling this horrible disease whilst performing these almost heroic, larger-than-life characters on film is astounding. My white friend told me that her kids were very sad when they heard and saiid that, ‘it’s so important for white kids see a black superhero, leader and all-round inspirational character in such a ground breaking film’. I second that.

A few people were asking for prints of this illustration But I didn’t feel comfortable profiting from his death. I’ve therefore decided that for every print sold of the Chadwick Boseman illustration, I will be donating a portion to charity. 

You can find my etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/absolutelykareen

Wakanda Forever.

Rebranding a driving school blog header with road signs in the background

The Rebranding of a Driving School

Keith Hepburn of Target Tuition Driving School, contacted me last year asking for a rebrand of his business. His plan was to get a new logo designed, business cards, vehicle signage and  some new portraits taken. It’s been a year long project in the making. Here’s a look at how his plan came to fruition.

 

Original logo

His original logo (shown left) is perfectly okay. It’s clear and recognisable but it’s a little dated.

Initially Keith didn’t want to deviate too much away from what he had already but on the flipside he also didn’t want to lose the opportunity for me to do something ‘new and great’. So the decision was made to go full steam ahead on a completely different logo.

His no no’s were stipulated as:

  • No ‘L’ Plates
  • No arrows
  • No dart boards
  • No abbreviations eg. TT

Ok no problem. Errr…so, what do I do now?

Research! I noticed that L plates were used a lot on driving school logos. So was the steering wheel or the (tyre) wheel so I definitely needed something different. It’s always good to get a clear idea of what your client doesn’t want but it’s equally important to get a steer (no pun intended) on what they find attractive.

 

The Redesigned Logo

I came with a ‘negative space’ logo. One where it’s not immediately obvious that there’s a secondary image in the logo

Target Tuition logo showing a car in the negative space and a gear stick in the E

Can you see the almost hidden graphic without me telling you what/where it is? If not, then look again. 

The pentagon shape was a way for me to get an arrow (target) into the design without it being a literal arrow. And the E in ‘Target’ is an obvious…well, I don’t think I need to spell it out. Or maybe I do. Can you see the car in the negative space? And the gear stick in the letter E on Target?

 

Other mediums

I then went on to insert the logo onto other mediums such as double sided business cards where it was Keith’s idea to add the appointment details on the back.

Driving school tuition business card design with an appointment card on the back

 

Photography

Portrait images of Keith and his car were taken in order for him to promote his business. He’s got a great success record of people passing their test. He has a calming demeanour which is a great characteristic to have when teaching someone how to drive.

Keith Hepburn, driving instructor at Target tuition

 

The Car

The sign writing for the car was designed by myself and printed at Sign-Tific Ltd who were also able to provide me with a template for the vehicle. I think the car looks gorgeous. Keep a look out for it driving on the roads in and around Enfield. It really is a thing of beauty. Honk. Honk.

Target tuition car design

Target tuition car design

Target tuition car design

Testimonial

Here’s what Keith had to say about his logo on facebook.

Keith Hepburn of Target Tuitions testimonial for his newly designedlogo

 

Last thoughts

I almost forgot to tell you that when the initial designs were presented to Keith he said: ‘I cannot stand red’! He felt that it was a colour that was difficult to read. He’s right to a certain extent but it really depends on how the colour is used. But, this red stands out. That car will get noticed. And you know what? Sometimes it’s a good idea not to dismiss things straight away. Take a moment. Let it sink in a little. Give it time to digest. And then have another look at it. Thankfully this is exactly what Keith did and now he has a logo that he’s really proud of. To find out about more about Keith’s services and what he can do for you, take a look at www.targettuition.co.uk or give him a bell on 07958 294 959

An image made up of two colours. A purple and a dark blue. Also know as (AKA) duotone

Using Duotones for Added Depth

Does anyone remember duotones? For those not in the know it was a way for you to add a bit of tonal colour to a monochrome photo.

Let me go back in time a bit and I’ll try not to bore you. Before digital (4 colour) print was born, businesses had to print lithographically. Printers would split the job into four colours (cyan, magenta, yellow and black, aka cmyk) and then make printers plates. It was pricey. So in order to keep these costs down, us designers would design and print a job in two colours only. Generally (but not always ) it was black and another pantone colour which are special printers inks. It meant that we couldn’t use full colour images. So we’d convert the colour images to monotone and add another colour to it – aka a duotone. For example, black and Pantone 122 (yellow) would give you a sepia-type effect. But with the invention of digital colour print which is so much more affordable, duotones have all but become extinct. They’re still great to use if you want a special effect like a black and a silver or a flourescent orange. This image is a duotone made up of black and a light blue. I took the contrast way down to soften it. It’s a simple and effective way to give an image a different look other than just black and white or full colour.

 Image made up of two colour also known as a duotone
 
Photoshop Duotone Settings
Use these Photoshop settings to create an image similar to the above.
Colours used are a light blue and black with the values
Light blue: C: 18    M: 1
Black: C: 75  M:68  Y:67  B:90
 
To create the duotone open photoshop and go to image>mode>duotone and input the two values as mentioned above.
 
 
 
You can also play around with the curves on the left hand side to reduce/increase the density of the colours if required.
 
 
The above featured image is made up of two different colours.
Purple: C:88  M:100  Y:25  K:28
Blue: C:62  M:14

Silhouettes: The Good, The Bad and The Downright ‘Orrible

Goodness me. I’m so bored of seeing silhouettes being used in design. The first time I used them was over 20 years ago when I drew the outlines myself with the aid of Adobe Illustrator – or was it Macromedia Freehand (the precursor to Illustrator?). It was when I was working for an agency in the Docklands. The client was the London Borough of Barnet and I designed an exhibition stand for a jobs fair. The design was brilliant (if I do say so myself) and quite innovative for it’s day. I traced round images of people in different professions and then interspersed these images with job titles to illustrate the jobs that Barnet council offered. I distinctly remember getting really positive feedback about it and I felt chuffed to bits.

lose client, unhappy client

Another client bites the dust

I agonised over whether to write this post. Well maybe not agonised but I certainly did hesitate. A lot. It’s bad news to lose clients. Right? It doesn’t reflect well on you as a business. Right? Well…actually, I’ve changed my tune on this one. Losing clients isn’t all bad news. And here’s why…

36 Days of Type

Personal projects don’t come along very often with me but when they do, it generally means that I want to put my all into it and really push the boat out creatively.

I’ve always loved typography and I stumbled across the 36 Days of Type project on instagram on the day that it started (29th March). Now in it’s third year it has a very healthy amount of contributors and followers. I didn’t think twice about doing it or worry about how much of my time that it would take up. I just jumped head first and thought that no matter how busy I was that I was going to finish this project and that it was going to be good. And I’m so glad that I did it.

Blog header for The Trust marketing illustrations

Illustrating The Trust and Enfield Market

Following on from the logo design branding blog published last week, let’s move onto the marketing aspects of the project. If you haven’t managed to read the rebranding story yet, please read it first as it forms a really good base for this follow up blog.

Enfield Market promotional material

As there were no actual photos of the new market (it hadn’t relaunched yet), I was asked to do some illustration as an aid to promote it.

instagram profile photo of absolutely kareen

Ready, steady, Instagram

So I’ve finally succumbed to the power of Instagram and to date, I have four photos on there. Woot woot! I’m going to be using it not only to showcase photos but also illustrations and graphic design stuff. It takes a bit of getting used to though and I’ve resisted joining for so long for a number of reasons: