Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Graphic Design Series: Font Theory

How to choose fonts that reflect the brand style?

Source: The Daily Egg

Apart from dividing fonts into the categories mentioned above, there is lots of other factors that can be taken advantage of building the right association:

Lowercase - Uppercase
Character Weight: Light - Medium - Bold
High Contrast - Low Contrast
Character Width: Regular - Condensed - Extended
Italic - Oblique

It's really interesting to notice how the understanding of the different moods and personalities of fonts develops as I've consumed media myself. I personally love typography design, and how surprisingly versatile and creative it can be in all its simplicity.

Combining Fonts

"Don't try to be original, just try to be good."
"Compliment OR contrast!"

As much as combining typefaces is an art, there is some general rules that can be used in pretty much any graphic design project. 

1. Combine a Sans Serif With a Serif
2. Avoid Combining Too Similar Fonts
3. Assign Distinct Roles
4. Contrast Font Weights
5. Clever Use of Typographic Color
6. Mix Moods Carefully
7. Contrast Distinct With Neutral
8. Use Different Font Sizes
9. Keep It Simple - rarely mix more than 3 fonts in a design!

Get inspired of the free font pairing guides online!

Graphic Design Series: Color Psychology

Color, or the absence of it, might be the most important thing about graphic design - it's the very first thing the viewer notices. Understanding the psychological effect and associated moods will help choosing the right shades for the client's needs.

Source: Vecindad Gráfica

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Photoshoot Styling: The Process of Producing a Photoshoot (Carlings)

Now you've seen the outcome of the Carlings project, and it's time to analyze the hours spent designing and producing those photos. The photoshoot was team work together with my classmate Siiri.

Step 1: Brainstorming

After deciding we wanted to shoot fashion, the whole idea started to build around using an abandoned gas factory I discovered earlier this year as the shooting location. We thought it'd go perfectly together with the edgy streetwear brand Carlings presents. We contacted them and got to hear they'd be happy to lend us merchandise.

the abandoned gas factory
Some footage of the shooting location from last summer

We started making a mood boards. It's important to know the client, so I researched their commercials and clothes. The second board was all about photoshoot inspiraton, consisting of industrial shoots, potential poses, and the general feeling we were after.
We were sure we wanted to shoot the clothes on a model, and Siiri had a friend on her mind we 'booked' for the day we chose to shoot on (choosing according to the weather forecast was critical as we were going to shoot outdoors!)

Step 2: The Practical Side

It was important to know the model before choosing the actual clothes, because there is surprisingly many aspects to pay attention to:
  1. Choosing the items in right sizes
  2. Choosing flattering items: right colours and cuts suitable for the body type
  3. Personal style: shooting 'low budget' (no budget) we needed to make sure the hair and shoes the model had would look good together with the outfits we chose
After forming a general idea of the type of outfits we wanted to have in the photos - the kind of contrast/harmony we wanted to the industrial background - we went to the Carlings store, made a list of clothes we booked for the actual shooting day, and discussed about the use of the photos. In this case, we were asked to shoot material for Instagram, and got completely free hands doing so: we were not asked to shoot or edit the photos in any particular way, but the manager emphasised the importance of shooting the newest items - our photos were going to support sales and marketing, even though sharing brand-supporting mood board-like content has its role too.

Choosing a place outdoors required us to make a plan B: in case of rain on the shooting day we had prepared another industrial vision using a huge empty store space in our local shopping mall as the alternative location. We went to check the place out to make sure it was suitable and planned using a chair as a part of the poses for adding an element to the extreme minimalism. 

On the shooting day, we had booked a car from our school to drive all-expenses-covered to the factory. I packed the car making sure we had enough of everything: batteries and memory cards for the camera, snacks and water, warm clothes, a speaker, and sheets to make a very minimalist 'backstage' out of - after all, our main priority was not to ruin any of the clothes we had borrowed from Carlings. We paid attention to not wrinkle the clothes during the transportation.

We made a strategical stop at the hugest petrol station on the way to do the make-up of our model there. She had already done her hair in the morning, which saved us time - the days are really short in November in Finland.

At the factory, we started with a quick tour choosing places of the complex we wanted to have as the background. The area was huge and it would have been waste of energy to carry all of our things around while trying to create the exact plan.

We took turns using the camera, both going for our own visions and outfits. While Siiri was shooting, I filmed some material with my phone I offered Carlings for their Instagram stories - personally I love to see brands posting less commercial material and behind the scenes videos, it's a great way to make the brand feel more familiar.

Step 3: Guiding the Model

Our beautiful model Anna was 16 years old and modelling for the very first time. She naturally was going to require guidance, and from prior experience I knew how important the role of the photographer is guiding the model anyway. 

While it's obviously my job to look for and capture the best angles, suggest poses and make sure the light always comes from the right direction, I also need to constantly analyse the model is posing with their whole body, as it is easy to be unaware of a lot of things: over-bending knees, forgetting about posing fingers, tilting head too much, or looking unnatural or stiff because of being nervous, cold, or trying something for the first time. 

I've watched Youtube-videos about modelling and posing to become more aware of how it really works, as it doesn't come naturally to everybody, including me. It's much like learning to dance. Having some own experience and basic knowledge about modelling makes it a lot easier to guide other people as well.

 Having good social skills is an important part of photographing models, as it's impossible to take great photos if the model is feeling uneasy in your company. Small talk, or deep talks (car drives together!), sharing snacks, laughs and music all help to build a comfortable atmosphere nobody is afraid of failed screens or trying new things. Giving good feedback is as important as correcting the model.

Having music in the background also helps everybody to tune into the mood of the desired photos! 

Taking test shots to choose the right settings is necessary and saves from the disappointment of having the perfect pose in a technically failed photo. 

Taking a lot of photos is very important, especially with less experienced models. Combined with the chance of failed camera settings the perfect screen can truly be just 1 out of 100. Changing poses and backgrounds helps research what is works and looks the best. 

Step 4: Photo Editing

As the photos were going to be published on Instagram, I was able to make more radical and artistic photo edits on Lightroom. Knowing the kind of brand Carlings is naturally affected the editing as well - this was the time for slight edginess and contrast.

Reducing the image size optimal for Instagram posts was the last part of the project.

Monday, 23 December 2019

It's a Wrap: Carlings

Back to the few-week-old project with Carlings with these final shots. We were shooting for Instagram, so I decided to edit the photos in a rather artistic and personal vibe. We'll see what Carlings will do with them! These are my two favourite shots, I'll post the material I planned for Instagram stories later. 

Sunday, 22 December 2019


I’ve been spending the past weeks taking and editing photos for own little vintage label, AZURE VINTAGE: hand-picked vintage clothes sold on Instagram only. I'm thanking my ex-boyfriend for making me discover the whole buy & sell-industry, the per kilo-priced second hand stores around Europe, and my gorgeous friends for always modelling for my projects. 
In love with the idea of building a brand, but notoriously prone to perfectionism and procrastination, I’ve kept in mind trying to keep everything from styling the photos to editing them as casual as possible, and chose to shoot with my iPhone, for achieving a certain relaxed look as well. I just wanna have fun while doing this!
 Can’t wait to launch the whole thing - here is a sneak peek to my future Instagram feed which I’ve planned with an app called Planoly.  

The future feed of AZURE VINTAGE

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Photoshoot Styling: The Process of Building AZURE VINTAGE

AZURE VINTAGE. The idea of a vintage label didn't happen overnight - in fact, the idea first time came up 1,5 years ago. Planning to partner up with my boyfriend that time, selling vintage streetwear online - my job being taking care of the marketing and photography - simply stuck with me even if the though the guy didn't. Branding, fashion, and photoshoot styling fascinate me and I've always had a lot of fun creating photos myself.

photoshoots for Azure Vintage

Instagram is my main source of inspiration. I spend time every day looking for ideas I never came across before. I have an art account @un_thical on my own as well, as I find curating incredibly entertaining and love to match and expand things.

photoshoots for Azure Vintage

After starting to find cheap and good-looking clothing - I wear all of my vintage items myself as well - the brand started to build up almost itself around the things I personally love about life. The fun, the youth, rebelliousness, originality, a little luxury, all while looking classy but interesting.

I write all my late-night ideas down and spend time researching other vintage collectors and stores, to guide me with my visions.

I'm really lucky to have friends that want to model for me. We have been shooting in their apartments, styling the photos rather simply - but some surreal ideas have required prior organising, like my vision wanting to have a naked mannequin in a photo. I posted on 7 Facebook-groups and finally found one I could come to pick up from Helsinki.  On another shot, I had a clear vision of the model having her hands covered with fresh paint - so I went to buy paint, making sure it wouldn cause allergic reactions, or stain our hands forever.

photoshoots for Azure Vintage

Monday, 25 November 2019

BTS - Carlings

Our very first client project for an actual clothing brand, a Norwegian jean store chain Carlings, was great success despite it being only 4 degrees on the shooting day. We chose an abandoned gas factory near Helsinki for getting an interesting, industrial contrast for the rather simple outfits. Here's a little behind the scenes video before getting the final photos out:

Photoshoot for Carlings
A big thank you for our beautiful and patient model, Anna