My alter ego is in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In fact, working cartography and GIS in part led to my foray into graphic design. Recently, GIS helped my graphic design. Usually, graphic design helps GIS better portray data.
With the unveiling of the US Space Force’s (USSF) ‘new’ camo (same one the Air Force borrowed from the Army), I decided to try my hand at making a more USSF-specific pattern. Yes, the first one was a tongue-in-cheek star pattern. After that, I took a little more serious look at it.
Here’s where GIS helped out. I wanted to use a hexagon pattern. Easy enough to build in Inkscape. Sort of. Yes, I can create a grid of hexagons, but the rub came in two areas.
The first was making sure all of the cells were actually snapped and aligned. This is fairly easy on a small area, but a larger fabric area introduces lots of edges to snap together. The next issue was randomly coloring all those cells to be a disruptive(ish) pattern, the main reason behind camouflage.
So, how did GIS help? Opening QGIS is the first step. It’s a free GIS suite that runs pretty much on anything. It also has tools to generate a grid and assigned random colors to the cells. After generating a global grid (just for good coverage), I then randomly selected and assigned one of four color values to each cell. Export that to DXF (CAD file) and then import into Inkscape.
Once back in Inkscape, I recolored the greyscale cells (DXF didn’t capture other colors well) for the final pattern. Merge each color and the result is this:
For the colors, I borrowed the Navy’s NWU (aka ‘Bluberries) colors and add some green. Why green? Well….they are Space Force (you know, little green men?)
A while back, I wrote a post called “Dropping Coin“. Here’s a quick update on that project.
After a delay/pause, I reached out to the speaker from the conference regarding the project. It’s been a slow roll, but now I’m building multiple concepts and tracking down production quotes. If things go through, this may be one of my highest profile jobs. Won’t get paid (no double-dipping for me), but will certainly have a major sense of accomplishment.
And oh, I might even design this year’s conference coin. Need to check on that.
I often keep tinkering with designs, sometimes right after I create a post or send it to someone to look at. The jersey design is no different. After closing things down for the night, I had the thought about using binary for the player number instead of a regular Roman numerals (the whole data thing).
Fast forward to today, and not only did I create a binary player number, but revamp the pattern layout. And…..that led into home vs. away version for the second variation. You’ll also notice some changes within the second variation in the short time between those exports.
I think most designers and artists have that moment, while working on a project, when a spark brings all the elements together in a flash. I had one of those moments tonight while working on a logo for an employee council at work.
The project started with the usual circle, a popular form at work. That was version 1. Before hitting the hay (after camping the night before and still recovering from that), I cranked out version two, which was more text based, but had some elements from version 1. Sitting down tonight to tweak version 2, I looked around for more inspirations for some visualization of the “employee council” concept. Finally I just searched on “employee” and came across a stock graphic from Adobe. Sparking an idea, I used the concept in that stock graphic to create the final icon.
In this case, it took finding the right inspiration to kickstart the process. I think the end result finally captured the concept well. The actual final version for the employee council, naturally, has more elements.
I decided to start a more formal design presence, it was a pretty leap to take my signature design (at least one variation) and build a logo from it. Adding some blocky, almost stencil-like letters to convey the “DMD” concept was also an easy start, even with the second “D” being reversed to add a nice ‘cradle’ for the face.
Reading through Instragram today and scanning the search area, I came across a graphic designer that had some wonderful logo designs. Many of them were beautifully laid out based on clean lines. While I have no allusions of reach that artist’s skill, I was intrigued by his use of lines and combining things.
So, cracking open Inkscape, I decided to experiment on a new logo that was more simplistic logo that could be applied to less ‘tactical’ designs and projects. My plan was to combined the “D” and “M” of Data Monkey. With that simple plan, I cranked out the designs below. There is a subtle difference – the upward line for the “M” borrows the curve from the “D” on the righthand design, versus the straight of the left.
Not in a hurry to change my logo, but thought this was a nice experiment, and something to potentially use in the future.