Author Archives: neda

About neda

Illustrator and mom.

One general rule and the “F” pattern

Last week I had some laughs browsing the gallery of bad design choices featured on Boing Boing. What makes humor the byproduct of bad design? Like in any joke: misunderstanding, poor communication. That means that the essence of any good design is good communication.
Well performed information exchange. Designers should be able to pass on all the necessary information while adding even more in a discrete and subtle way. And when I say more, I mean more positive and relevant information. Not that one can’t spell, or can’t come up with a fresh idea. In that case less information is much preferable.

Designing for web, means designing in time. Having in mind that the recipient may skip and skim and leave your page before he had a chance to see all that important stuff. That means that alongside all the other rules of good communication design, one must follow the rule of designing for inpatient public. There’s a simple rule mentioned on Shortie Design (alongside 9 other handy principles):

Eye tracking studies have identified that people scan computer screens in an “F” pattern. Most of what people see is in the top and left of the screen and the right side of the screen is rarely seen. Rather than trying to force the viewer’s visual flow, effectively designed websites will work with a reader’s natural behaviour and display information in order of importance (left to right, and top to bottom).

3 looks for my blog

Three is a reasonable number of options from which to choose from. I knew exactly what I was looking for so those three themes to pick from are fairly similar. I’m looking for a white background. Not just that visual content always looks best on white, it’s also way more practical for adding images. Otherwise, I’d be tempted to add transparencies to make images look nicer and I already know that’s be too much work. I like white background because I come from traditional publishing and I know white pages passed the test of time for a reason. I want my blog to look unassuming and simple and I need all the necessary features at a glance, so I ‘ll pick between:

  • Coraline


  • The Morning After


  • Yoko


Some themes like Chateau offer a nice diary like looks, but I’m not sure that’s what I’m looking for since dates won’t be that important.

How to make WordPress play to your tune?

The first question that comes to my mind is how can I add some music to my illustration blog? It’s unclear WHY I would want to use music to showcase illustration? Maybe something in line with “this is what I listened to when I worked on this piece”. For fun! For variety! My husband is a sound guy, so every time I try to learn a new skill on the web I think of how I can help him with his website (which is what I will eventually have to do at some point).

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Blog those illustrations!

When creating a website to showcase visual work, people will clearly show (or try to show) the best pieces in their portfolio. Well, I tried to do this. Once. I learned basic HTML so I can create my own website. These were the pre WordPress days. The problem was: it got stale. Unless you’re an avid web designer, perhaps unless you’re a programer, you’ll be inclined to make that PERFECT showroom and leave it as is. It’s like designing a poster: the picture looks great here, no, I don’t think we should move it to the left.
In order to show more recent work, blogs may be a great choice. And that’s the reason so many illustrators have blogs. A curse and a blessing of blogging is that you have to add work on regular basis. Which is great because it puts you to work. Nulla dies sine linea. No week without a post.
Another reason to blog is that the non-perfectionist, laissez-faire approach of blogging may benefit an artist who is a subjective sort of animal. Artists often gather a portfolio of works that agents find to be bad choice. This is because we get attached to some works, we personally like it and it has a special meaning to us that nobody else will see. Blogging would expose such work alongside other stuff that we would never put in a portfolio but may be more communicative to the public.