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Two Roads Diverged

When starting out as a professional in the creative field there are many options that there are to proceed with in the Design field. There is a smorgasbord of directions designers can take and a niche or pocket for everyone depending on their interests or hobbies. If you love Design and have other passions besides it, there is always the possibility of merging them for the best of both worlds. There is a lot to be taken into consideration on such subjects and we’ll probably explain more at a later date. Today’s post however has to do with two extremely important directions every designer should know about from the beginning in order to better project what they want in career outlook of goals. These two categories can be broken down into salary versus freelance. Only the individual truly knows which is best for them based on their situation but we will try to explain the major differences, positives, and negatives of each. 

We will start with the all powerful salaried career. For any Designer wanting to stake a claim in a company or business as a member of the creative powerhouse that pumps out relevant work day to day, this is the direction for you. Here, you have the choice of multiple companies and markets that you can fit into and gain employment. Here you are a part of an agency, in-house department etc. The main benefit of a salaried position is stability and peace of mind. There is the reliability of having a paycheck every scheduled payday as well as benefits. Another great aspect of a salaried position depending on where you work is, the ability to grow with your career or company. There is nothing more rewarding than starting out as a peon of an intern pushing coffee cups around to eventually guiding your own art department as a creative director. There are negatives however. The downside to having a salaried position mainly has to deal with there being too much structure for some. Again, this depends on where you work, your situation, and what you want out of your career. Many Designers like their freewill and going with the flow so being stuck inside a cubicle lifestyle with a standard 9-5 can be kind of daunting. It can be an extremely limited environment and constraining to their creative processes. 

Stable income and benefits
Stable work
Career outlook or growth

Can be a stifling of creativity
Less freedom
9-5 daily grind
restrictive for some

The counter to the previous model is the world of freelance. Come on, if someone tells you that you can be your own boss there’s no contest right? Well, when comparing freelance to salaried positions one has to realize that freelance is a whole other beast. As a freelancer you get the freedom to work when, where, how, and even with who you’d like. It even has FREE in the title. The dream killing aspect about freelancing is the work needed to be put into it to get the same outcome as a salaried position. Most beginning Designers don't have the stability or client base to live off a freelance career for a good while. There isn't the guarantee of steady income at times nor do you have benefits. There is also the hassle of handling all of the detailed tasks such as contracts, scheduling, payment etc. Everything you gain has to be earned from scratch by yourself. That being said however, if the work is put into it, freelance can be the most rewarding experience because it takes the most dedication and hard work to gain.

Your own boss
More direct client relationships
Your own scheduling

No guaranteed income
No benefits 
Takes time to build reputation and clients

After understanding the different positive and negatives of each, creatives can better choose which more aligns with what they are more drawn to as a professional. If your path is more along a careered path and working your way up the ladder with a stable income go with the salary. If you would have more interest in creating your own business and are willing to put in the work to reap the rewards go with the freelance. Either way, you will be doing what you're passionate about and that's what counts most.


Curtain Up!

This past weekend’s adventure? Cirque Du Soleil Amaluna. We know what you’e thinking, “how is this related to Graphic Design?” Well, there is always something that we can take from different situations to better ourselves no matter how small the thought. First off, It was truly an amazing experience and we suggest that everyone try to go out and see one of these performances in person one day. As a designer we are always looking at how things come together and the big picture. We can't help it, it’s just what we do. It's deeply rooted into our being and makes us produce captivating work. Cirque Du Soleil is an extremely creative and captivating experience. From looking around Amaluna, we noticed a few things in particular. Sit back while we set the stage. Whooosh. 

It was a little chilly that night as we approached the venue but of course, cirque had that taken care of. As we walked into the tent there were heaters at the entrance that kept the area at a nice temperature for guests. We were helped to our seats by section leaders and ushers. After finally seated and waiting for opening curtain there were a few characters walking around entertaining the crowd with a type of pre-show. The excitement of the awaiting performance felt to last for ages. As for the show itself, everything was exceptional as you realize everyone is in costume from the lead acrobats, to the minute characters, to the stagehands. Stagehands don't merely wear typical black outfits so that you won't pay attention to them but the show actually makes them into characters proving that a good shows thinks of every tiny little detail. It all works together in the overall production... annnnnd scene. 

Told you we’d get to it. Details and continuity are the two aspects that we can take from this experience. Everything should work together. That’s how we need to view design, as a show you are putting on for not only our client but for the specified audience. We sometimes think that "it's a small thing don't bother with it," but the truth is that every tiny detail counts in order to bring a vision to life. When all the small parts combine together to create a system of effective working parts it's just like a well oiled machine. It will work for the client and it works for the audience. We need to exercise our skills in terms of being attentive when it comes to this detail. Think of a design as being a math problem. Yea we know, EWW. But really, 1 without 2 can't equal 3. Design with all aspects of the equation in mind and we are left with not only beautiful projects but also projects that work well. 

This is what Cirque Du Soleil passed on to us beyond the amazing show of course. Keep the details in mind and follow through to captivate and impress your audience with beautiful works of art. Don't just take our word for it, be sure to check out a show and take in the inspiration for yourselves.

Get Inspired ;)



Why why why!?

The number 1 question we ask as graphic designers is "why." If you are in the design field and you don't use this word often you may want to revamp your tactics. The building blocks to great design is built around information. Successful design solves problems constantly and consistently conveys that outcome in a visual presentation.

The reason we ask why.

Literally almost every statement a client makes when explaining what they want their design to look like can end with the designer asking, "why?" Don't get me wrong. Don't be rude about it but in a professional way cater the question to the project to gain the big picture. Even more so, we ask it to ourselves. The reason behind this is that when we ask questions, we build a solid base of why a design exists, what it's for, and all the small building blocks thereafter that make it feasible and affective. It's almost equivalent to slapping various shapes on a canvas versus sentences. Shapes are more visual and interpretive whereas words are informative and direct.

When asking why in the overall context of a project, we will create more captivating and solid distinguishable work. Don't just slap some baloney against a wall and walk away.

Everything has a reason.

As an effective designer we should know that everything we do has a reason or purpose. Being creative and making things look good is all fine and dandy but, we should always have reasoning behind WHY it is the way it is visually and logically. This sets the amateurs apart from the pros and everybody wants to be a pro bro!

Think about...

Why am I using this typeface? 

Is it more legible with the current design? Does the style match the client, audience, or project?

Why is the project this size? 

Is it affordable or within budget? Is it logical for the situation at hand? Does it need to be that size? Is it too small or too large?

Why were these colors chosen? 

Are they representative of the client? Are they feasible in the specification of the project? Do they work with the design direction?

Why are these elements placed there? 

Are they aligned to something? Are they breaking the grid for a unique design aesthetic? Are they placed in order to lead the viewer to see something a certain way?

The examples can go on and on. The more we know, the better reasoning for the design and the more effective it will be. One of our favorite quotes at Picsul is,

Have reason for your design implementation and know why it's done that why. Be not only a creative, but a smart creative!




Share the Love and Get Inspired

There are 2 major road blocks that cause creative stallings among designers. They tend to revolve around the lack of inspiration and a feeling of monotony. Design is like a funnel and everyone knows that if you don't keep feeding it, it eventually will run out. We must stay fresh and green otherwise it’s easy to burn or fizzle out creatively. There are many ways to gain inspiration and it may be different from person to person. Some people like books, blogs, websites, and with social media as prominent as it is today there is plenty to reach from. These are all great tools but with that being said, sometimes the best direction to take in order to gain inspiration is to leave your desk, get out, and explore! Not too long though… withdrawal. 

There is so much out there to see, learn from, and you never know who you’ll meet. On a recent excursion to get out and do just that, I picked up my trusty DSLR camera and headed to the park to brush up on some street photography. As I headed down the sidewalk surrounding the large lake of Eola Park, I came to a bench that dawned a lone weathered man surrounded by artwork. Only in Florida for a short period but interestingly enough it wasn't the first time I saw this mobile artist while there. It seemed daily that he moves from point to point around the downtown area, finds a tranquil location and starts sketching away. At each point he scatters his work around him as he draws. Sketching flowers, birds, and anything that catches his eye, the man’s name is Roosevelt Hall. 

As I went to take a shot, he briefly said “No thank you” with a smile and I gladly pulled my camera back. We exchanged words over his work and I decided to buy a piece to show my appreciation of his craft. He directed me towards a featured newspaper clipping which he carries with him proudly and allowed me to snap a shot before we parted ways. His passion to be creative without any thought of reward or recognition is what I found most commendable. Just by staying flexible and breaking routine he stays creative and happy to do what he does. If you're ever in the Orlando area and come across this gentle soul, be sure to check him out! Share the love people! Get out and explore because inspiration is everywhere.

Picsul's tips to break monotony and get inspired:

Get Out and Explore

As creatives we are visual. Be spontaneous. Getting out and seeing things helps us gain experiences and causes the creative juices to start flowing.

Take Pictures

Photography in itself is creative and also when you take a picture that you think can be used for something in design it gets your wheels turning.

Take a Different Route Than Usual

Seeing the same things and people everyday gets redundant. Break the cycle and it’s possible to see and experience new things that you wouldn't normally.

Curious? Check it Out

See a park you’ve never been to? Go. See a trinket store you've always passed but never been? Go in. You never know until you know. Experiences produce ideas.


Sharing helps the world go round especially in the design and professional world. It helps gain ideas, inspiration all while networking.
Any other ideas? Feel free to comment and share. Until next time, be sure to share the love!




Spreading Roots

Less than a year ago as one member of the Picsul Design team, I moved from the DC area to Ft Lauderdale, Florida and now I find myself in Atlanta Georgia. I didn't specifically plan to do such long distance moves but sometimes life has other plans and we roll with the punches. This being the case, our Picsul Designers have gained inspiration from multiple cities and areas and have and continue to cater to clients regardless of their location. We are flexible! With Designers in multiple locations, we cover many areas like Northern Va, North Carolina, Florida and anywhere in between. As soon as we entered Atlanta I fell in love with it. It has an aesthetically pleasing balance of old and new. It is as if with every breath you take your body is filled with art, design, and the history of the city. Everywhere you look you can tell that a lot of thought went into the planning of how things look and where they are placed. Picsul is excited to be able to join this beautiful city and place some roots! 

Welcome to Atlanta!


~Picsul K


If We Design it They Will... Follow It

As a seasoned Graphic Designer there comes a time when you realize that you think and breath design and there’s no point in denying the fact. Don't try to overlook the atrocious typography on that sign over there, or the horrific placement of that logo in relationship to that imagery. Just live with it.  This superpower of our’s keeps us in tune or better yet, relevant and dexterous to create effective work that adheres best to the viewer or audience it’s intended for. 

Effective signage, symbols, type, are all important tools in environmental design spaces and one of the easiest examples of this. What works and what doesn’t; what causes your foot traffic to herd in the right directions and not over that cliff over there?? Easy, a sign in big red letters that says CLIFF. But hey, then again some people are curious. We can only do our duty and try our best to lead them away…

This summer after a sudden trip down to Orlando Florida, I found myself navigating a large building close to the downtown city center and I came to notice the horrible navigations throughout the facility. After five attempts to asking directions and 20 minutes later my group finally found it’s destination. It was evident the signage in this place needed an overhaul. It was a classic case of what we call, information overload. This is exactly the dysfunctional goldmine us Design fanatics deal in if we can get our hands on it!

Clearly good signage is a must in any modern environmental design. We as humans are complex but simple beings. Even though we interpret images and things differently, signage/symbols are normally universal elements that help guide us along our daily lives. As a designer thats the important tid bit to keep in mind when creating effective signage. Create something simple yet informative for the universal audience. In this case simplicity is more than likely the best bet. There is much to designing great signage but below are a few points we at Picsul think help across the board as effective and rudimentary.

Effective Signage Elements (in no specific order)

Color Coding

Humans like to group things mentally and visually. By associating certain areas or directions with other corresponding information of similar colors, it makes it easier to find or differentiate.

Legible Typography

This should be a no brainer but, if we can't see it we wont be able to follow it. Choose legible type and fonts that are more visible for the average person to see. Sans serifs are effective but there’s no rule. Just use judgement based on the environment and usage.

Simplicity is Key

People have things to do, people to see, and places to be! Give them the information simply and distinctly so there isn't information overload. If they get confused by it something is wrong. There is nothing worst than trying to find the Nutella but ending up in the Frozen Pizza section…well win win but you know.

Symbols or Icons

Humans have used symbols for ages. Much so that a good number are universal to the eye. Symbols not only serve as a fundamental foundation for human communication it also can sometimes break language barriers. What would we do without the Restroom symbol! Also, this can be the more creative aspect. Just make sure it is going to be recognizable.

These are just a few elements that can make or break signage and environmental design spaces. The most important aspect we have to keep in mind is to think 10 steps ahead of our clients and audience. If we do this we can design what they truly need based on what they WILL see and not vic versa. If you have any other points or anything to add feel free to comment below!