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design Archives - Sarah Jane Maki

Sustainable Design Can Save the Planet

I am a huge advocate of the idea that designers are the key to a sustainable future for people and the planet. Everything created on the Earth passes through the hands of a designer, be that a business card, a product package, a hospital bed, an office building, a light rail system or a city park – all are created by a designer. As such, we have – all of us (engineers, graphic designers, architects, industrial designers, interior designers, etc.) – a huge responsibility to learn as much as we can about the principals of sustainability and apply them to our projects. Just one product made in a sustainable way can save the ecosystem untold stress.
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The Art of Logo Design

I am doing some branding work this week for the SMSBF. I am assisting them with a new look and marketing plan for the New Year. I have also been putting together this [sparkly new] website you are viewing now. While rummaging through folders and files of past work, deciding what to post in the portfolio, and working on logo concepts for SMSBF, I became very conscious of the process I developed over the years to create logos. I tend to start the creation process with thumbnails using pencil and paper. To some, this is “old school,” as many designers today never touch pen to paper in their design process. All designers have their own process to reach a deliverable. It can be a personal process or a design process, of which they may be partially or completely unaware. This is what I find so interesting about the video “The Art of Logo Design,” part of the PBS series “Off Book.” It gives us a glimpse into other designers’ processes. Some prioritize strategy, some research, and some do a million ideations. And then of course there is the Paul Rand (logos above) approach of providing one, and only one, concept for client review – would this approach work today? Have you tried it?

“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.”
— Charles Eames

My approach to logo (and branding) design is from the outside in. I start by interviewing stakeholders. All of them, from client to end user. By identifying the needs of all stakeholders, I have a good idea of what the design needs to accomplish before I put pencil to paper.

Trends come and go in logo design, but in my opinion one thing should always be true of a successful logo: It should clearly communicate the values, objectives and culture of the company … and it must be easily read and identifiable.

A logo must accomplish a lot, with very little. Like a Picasso drawing, a few lines must tell the whole story.

How do you design a logo?


As obsessions go, I have my share. Like most women, I can lose all common sense when presented with a great pair of boots (past: Naya Quail) or the perfect fragrance (currently: Tokyo Milk 02 Le Petit), but I also have some unlikely and unique interests that may raise an eyebrow to the uninitiated. The most recent of which is a tiny little obsession with diatoms.

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Ideas and fun

On 14, Nov 2012 | No Comments | In design, design thinking, Sarah Jane Maki, sustainability | By Sarah Jane

I have long wanted to create a space that combined my inspirations, work, rantings and wanderings into one place. This site is that space. Finally I have found (I believe) a nice space to collect the combination of my interests and talents, my adventures and my aspirations. The goal when creating was to make it fun, carefree, light-hearted but informative. It may seem a little busy and scattered, but that is how I roll these days.  I have an enthusiasm for all things designed and created and those interests constantly buzz around and bump into each other.

I am an environmentalist and care deeply about not only HOW things are made, but where they go when their useful life is over.
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