How I Became a Minimalist

minimalistYou may have heard of the term minimalism before. Essentially, it means giving up your physical possessions to concentrate on things that are more important, like family, friends, work, and activities. It doesn’t necessarily mean living a simpler life, but instead prioritizing things that are important to living a happy life. There have been a number of scientific studies that show that “things” can provide a brief boost in mood that simulates happiness. Unfortunately, it’s not true happiness and and quickly fades. We condition ourselves to keep pursuing that boost in “happiness” by buying or collecting more and more stuff. [Read more...]

Helpful Hints for Better Website Design

web designWhether it’s a personal blog, a news site, or your businesses website, an easy to navigate design will add to the visitor enjoyment of your site. We’ve all been to sites that are cluttered and difficult to navigate and it usually results in hitting the back button on the browser to look for a new option. Most of us amateur web designers use wordpress to manage our sites which is easy to use and comes with a lot of bells and whistles. Maybe a few too many bells and whistles. We can add content to the header, both sidebars, the footer, and just about everywhere else on the page. What oftentimes happens is a page gets so filled with content it’s distracting to the eye and takes away from the user experience. [Read more...]

Interior Decorating Tips

interior designThere are interior decorating tips that help homeowners achieve a certain look for their homes. Basically, these tips and tricks can easily be performed with minimal effort as well as minimal cost. In the interior design industry, even the smallest things or changes can actually make a great impact. Thus, if you want to achieve a certain look or make your home more inviting and cozy, you definitely should try the interior decorating tips.

  • Mix and Match. Another interior decorating tip would be to try mixing and matching different things, patterns and textures. You can actually play with your imagination on this part. You can place antique items with modern things in a room. By doing so, you are actually ensuring that the room will reflect your own style and personality.
  • Use Soft and Light Colors. For smaller rooms in a home, softer and lighter colors can make these rooms feel larger. With the use of the right colors, you can definitely maximize a small living space. In addition to painting the room with light colors, you can also incorporate large windows and mirrors. The use of such home additions will help reflect the natural light in the room from the doors and the windows. On the other hand, darker colors can actually make the room feel smaller.
  • Go Green. Having a sustainable garden inside your home is achievable. To do this, you can add plants to your living space. You can add several small or large plants to every room in the house. Plants are actually inexpensive decorations that add color and texture in a room. Plants are not only beautiful but these are functional too as plants can actually clean household air and balance the humidity in a room. Plants can absorb pollutants and harmful gasses from the air.
  • Instant Light Using Mirrors. Adding mirrors in a living space can actually add instant light to the room. With the mirrors, large rooms or rooms with limited light can actually have instant light. Mirrors can also be decorative additions to any room and these can fill up empty walls.
  • Use Slip Covers to Reflect Your Mood. Slip covers on furniture can be a means to change the look of your furniture to reflect your mood or perhaps the seasons. Slip covers can easily be removed and these can definitely promote a sophisticated look on the furniture.
  • Make Use of Readily Available Decors. When decorating your home, it does not necessarily mean that you need to buy everything new. You can actually make use of old trays, boxes, silver and other useful items that you already have. You can rearrange them or mix and match these items to recreate something appealing.
  • Make Use of Rugs. When dealing with hardwood floors, one can make use of throw rugs to provide warmth and add texture to the living space. While hardwood floors are easy to maintain, this type of floor lack the comfort that carpeted floors offer. Thus, the addition of rugs on hardwood floors is both functional and visually appealing.

These are some of the tips and tricks that can definitely improve the look of your home. In addition to boosting the appearance of your home, these interior decorating tips will also improve your home’s comfort.

Planting a Sustainable Garden

small vegetable garden

Gardening is thought of as a eco-friendly method of obtaining fresh and delicious produce. The eco-friendly and sustainable benefits of having a garden are easy to undertand when they are juxtaposed with the industrial farming methods that are currently in vogue. Industrial farms mass produce produce and use amonia and other chemicals to increase the yield to atypical amounts. Amonia adds an infusion of some nutrients to the soil but saps the long-term vitalithy of the soil. Farm produced items are then shipped around the country in a process that consumes gas, packaging, and often waste and food items rot on shelves.

A home garden is considered to be much more sustainable but there are certain steps that can be undertaken to grow a more sustainable garden. Reduce the need to buy fertilizer by starting a composting station in your backyard. A composting unit can be purchased and inside you can add odd vegetable skins, food by-products, and even newspaper. Over time these organic materials will decompose and will add to the overall nutrition in the soil. Composting is part of a sustainable garden in that it does not require the purchase of store fertilizer that is shipped around the country. Further, it reduces the garbage waste that you would otherwise be throwing away and converts that into a useful fertilizer.

Water management is another part of developing a sustainable garden. Some individuals will set up a rain catch that will store rain water and allow you to apply it to your garden without having to use water from your water system that can be expensive and needless. Selecting fruits and vegetables that are well adapted to the climate that you live in will also help to reduce the amount of water needed. Native plants have evolved to live in the climate and often require little to know maintenance and have natural resistances to pests which can remove the need to use any sort of pesticide.

If pesticides are needed, see if there are natural alternatives. For example, purchasing a colony of ladybugs or preying mantises can reduce the need for a pesticide as these natural predators will remove many of the insect pests that may harm the fruits and vegetables that you grow.

Maximizing space is essential in a garden and requries a gardener to identify the soil and sun needs for different plants that they are planning on growing and finding the right spot for them. Be sure to maximize space in your garden by planting items in a logical way that allows you to use the needed space, but still access ripe fruits and vegetables.

Maintaining proper crop rotation can also be an essential part of having a sustainable garden. This involves understanding the nutrient needs of the plants that you are planning on growing in your garden. Some plants leach many of the nutrients from the soil and planting the same plants in the same location can not only reduce the yield from your garden, but can also lead to the need for fertilizer. Rotating crops seasonally can reduce the need for this. Leaving some parts of your garden fallow with a cover crop that will improve the soil by adding nutrients can also improve the overall productivity of the soil and lead to a more sustainable garden in the long run.

 

Thoughts on Graphic Design and Computers

thoughts on graphic designRapid gratification from computer functions allow Graphic Designers to explore several ideas quickly and with more detail than they could explore by hand sketching or paper mock-ups. However, for the creative processes of the brain, the providing of several design options at once can actually diffuse the project with too many choices. The creative senses need room to expand upon their own and travel their primary creativity avenue of thought before re-evaluating the project and selecting another creation.

A graphic designer sketches by hand without being distracted by computer software demands. Creativity transferred from mind to hand to paper has always been the chosen route of artists and designers from time immemorial. This hand process saves time and money, as changes can be made and discarded from the sketch more easily. This hybrid process is especially useful in freeing the creative mind and juices from the electronic performance of a computer program.

Graphic designers in the past relied on computer techs called “production artists” enter the graphics designers’ works into the computer. Desktop Publishing has, over 30 years of use, gradually initiated teaching computer graphics software in graphic design courses. Moreover, graphic designers new to the field are now expected to have proficiency in the most popular computer graphic design programs.

Graphic design career paths cover all types, and frequently overlap each other. The main job of a Graphic Designer is arranging visual prompts and ideas in media. Today’s graduating graphic design students are highly exposed to all genres of graphic design and must become familiar with all of them to be competitive in today’s graphic design market.

The job duty pecking order for graphic design involves the graphics designer reporting to the graphics supervisor, then to the art department head designer. Different countries may have differing titles for the positions, but the order is the same. After the work has been approved up the department chain of command, it can be sent back to the original graphics designer for completion and following through on any innovations required by supervision. Once the project is completely designed, it can be sent to Print for a finished mock up to be shown to the client. Sometimes the senior graphics designer is included in the client presentation, which is very beneficial to the designer in terms of experience and in terms of stature within the company.

Graphic designers can work in companies solely involved in graphic design or work within a company in a particular department providing graphic design to and for the main company. Since introduction of personal computers to this industry, graphic designers have been employed within organizations that are not design companies as in-house graphic designers. Graphic designers may also work as free-lance designers, working on their own terms, prices, and ideas. This is the first stepping stone toward a designer forming his or her own graphic design company and working for their own clientele on brand identification, logos, photographic displays and more.

Graphics designers have open job mobility since their job descriptions involve all aspects of art, photography, engineering design and brand identification. Achieving a Graphics Design education should prepare men and women for a future career in a thriving business field.

 

What I love About Tiny Houses

tiny houseHave you heard about tiny houses? They are, as the name implies, very tiny houses, best suited for 1-2 people. They range from 100-300 square feet and have been getting a lot of press recently. My guess is that a lot of people are still stinging from the mortgage fueled recession and are looking for ways to spend less on housing. Having a cheap small house without room for many possessions is a great way to save some money.

For a lot of designers the tiny house is a dream. Because there’s so little space it forces you to be really creative and think outside the box. Literally, every inch needs to be considered. While there are companies that will sell you a pre-made tiny house a lot of people are choosing to build them themselves as a way t ensure they get exactly what they want. You can buy designs on-line and then customize to meet your needs. I’m not sure I’m ready to make the leap to micro-living quite yet but I’m definitely intrigued by the idea.

Here are my top 5 reasons, in no particular order, for being interested in tiny houses:

  1. Low Cost: Less space means less cost. Utilities are lower, maintenance is lower, and your rent or mortgage is almost nonexistent. From the research I’ve done, the most expensive part of owning a tiny house is setting up the plumbing. Most tend to use a composting toilet which doesn’t require full-on plumbing set-up but they can be pricy and usually cost around $2k. Depending on the materials you use and how much of the work you do yourself a tiny house can be built for as little as $10,000, which is was less than a full size home.
  2. Transportable: A lot of tiny houses are built on trailers so they can be pulled behind a pickup or SUV. I like this idea because it’s kind of like having an RV but more personal and home-like. Of course, you’ll want to be careful to make sure no one drives off with your house!
  3. Design Challenges: As mentioned above, figuring out the layout and design of a tiny house is just about my favorite thing about the whole concept. Every cabinet, step, outlet, nook, and cranny needs to be considered. Where will the bed go? Will it be a loft or a Murphy? One of the most difficult challenges is figuring out how the shower/bath will work. One really interesting idea I came across was a giant tub, that looked like a pretty deep sink, that you sit in and fill up with water to take a bath. It uses considerably less water than a conventional bath and doubles as a clothes washing machine. Genius!
  4. Helps Embrace Minimalism: As I mentioned in another post I am a budding minimalist, meaning I am attempting to live with a bare minimum of possessions. Living in a tiny house would ensure that you’re only able to keep the absolute essentials.
  5. Just Looks Cool: This probably isn’t really a very good reason to live in a micro-house but I just really think tiny houses look awesome. They’re so small and cute you just want to pinch them.

While I probably won’t be able to seriously consider building my own tiny house until I finish design school it’s a trend I’ll be following closely over the next few years.