We see graphic elements everywhere; in logo design, on signage, in invitations, as decor decals and much, much more. No wonder we need an entire team of graphic artists to keep up with the dizzying pace of illustrative applications in the event decor world. Today, we’ve asked Graphics Director, Laura Monk, to share her insight on a few exciting developments in graphic design as well as tools to give attractive force to your graphic elements.
Fierce Mixed Media
A clear trend in all spheres of design is the incorporation of multimedia art; graphic illustrations and patterns layered with additional textures such as paint, vinyl, and fabric. Straight lined geometrics are replaced with busier, fun, much less structured looks. “We see the relevance of this style affirmed at the Missoni and Versace shows at Milan Fashion Week 2014,” says Laura. “It’s no longer about matching; it’s about creating a strong statement through juxtaposition with patterns upon different patterns and colors that are high risk, in your face, fearless.” That said, the choices in color remain deliberate. “In the past, designers might have been more reluctant to go towards bold colors like hot pink, for example, but now we’re seeing that when these colors are grounded with neutral tones it feels cohesive, balanced with a touch of electric energy!”
Whether it’s a nonprofit gala, Mitzvah party or a Fortune 500 corporate soiree, an important part of event design is bringing visibility to a client’s brand and message. In years past, we’d see visual elements, most often a static two-colored logo, duplicated a million times in a party scene. But as we evolve into a more dynamic multimedia world, branding and logo development has taken on much more energy and wow factor. In the event decor world, we are seeing branded colors become more central and the actual logo, less literal. “It allows for a great deal more creative play and themes that can carry a stronger message,” explains Laura. For UNICEF’s “Build Back Better” Haiti campaign, for example, Kehoe Designs artists combined the logo with graphic applications that punctuated the theme of reconstruction using cinder block prints and colorful water paintings displayed with corrugated metal sheets. For an edgy Bat Mitzvah, the logo design came alive through various treatments including massive front door decals, place card wall and an impressive stage focal. Each element was designed individually but stayed true to the vision of the original design. For BIO’s International 2013 convention, it was all about eye-catching colors and patterns, presented differently throughout but clearly part of a cohesive theme.
Choosing great fonts is also central to attractive and effective graphic design. “It’s easy to fall in-love with a particular font,” says Laura, “but when you are designing big signs for people-packed parties, function plays as crucial a role as form.” Laura suggests saving the more decorative fonts for larger headlines and using simpler, legible fonts for descriptive elements. “If people have to strain, it just won’t get read.” For couples opting for a custom monogram for their wedding, Laura suggests thinking not just about the way the font looks but how your particular letters will look combined. “Another thing to be careful about is to avoid fonts whose letters could easily be mistakened, like a “K” that looks too much like an “R”. Finally, she emphasizes the importance of making sure the fonts chosen match the personality of the person it’s intended for. “For our Bat Mitzvahs for example, we’ll use a range of typography, from fun and feminine to really cool and edgy. It’s all about knowing who your client is.” And now, some examples of Kehoe Designs’ produced graphic signage with eye-catching fonts for a variety of themes.
LAURA’S FAVORITE “FREE” FONT SITES
www.devive.com – love the section called “60 gorgeous free fonts for designers” with a great selection of original typography to make your name stand out. Also a fantastic resource for websites and blogs.
www.fontspace.com – excellent search feature, especially when looking for specific wedding related categories such as wedding labels, wedding programs, royal weddings, etc.
www.losttype.com – features a number of cool vintage fonts and font families that will complement each other.
www.dafont.com – huge selection of every kind of font already listed into easy categories.
BIO BITES: Laura Monk
What do you do for a little adventure in your life? I love doing “extreme” races, like the Tough Mudder and Spartan Races. Training is half the fun, and it gives me an excuse to crawl monkey bars and climb stairs all across in the city. The sheer happiness you feel after finishing such races makes it all worth it.
What graphic elements do you believe are most impactful at events? A large stage focal sets the tone of the party, states the theme, and is the central grounding element that everyone sees when they walk into a space. I like to design these elements first, and the smaller graphic embellishments can come alive based on that concept.
If you could go to lunch with anyone, who would you choose? Jimmy Fallon. He’s so funny and so down to earth that I’m sure my cheeks would hurt from smiling afterwards.
What has been your proudest moment as a designer? A few years back, I lost my job as a commercial designer due to lay offs, and months later I was featured in an article for the LS&A Magazine at the University of Michigan. The article had originally been scripted to be about successful designers that had graduated from Michigan but instead, the editor changed the article to be about following your passion and doing what you love, even during hard times. I continue to be proud that after that set-back, I did not give up as a designer, and continued with my chosen career path.
Where is your happy place? Montezuma, Costa Rica. The cliffs, the waterfalls, the surfing, the town, the heuvos rancheros… everything about that place is magical.
Director of Graphic Design