All Posts By

Natasha Storm

Book Review: Caffeine for the Creative Mind

Time to time people in the creative industry are bound to run low on their creative juices and then need something to get back on track. This book will not only help those creatives out, but get them into gear. Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield is a fantastic book for thinking outside of the box…

Who is this book for?

This book is for any designer, writer or anyone that wants to get their imagination going. It’s great to do an exercise each morning to get your day started, or even just when you’re feeling you need a little inspiration.

What’s the book about?

The book is cram-packed with 250 – 15-minute exercises to fuel your creative engine. What’s fantastic about this book, is that there are are all types of exercises such as design, photography, idea kindling, play, problem solving and writing.

There are also a few interviews with some prominent creative people which are quite interesting reads, as they discuss how they deal with satisfying their creative needs.

The book has an edgy sketchbook design which is visually appealing and it sets the tone for the book, as many of the exercises include sketching or using your everyday environment to create something. Some examples include phrases, icons, words, using a digital camera, pictures or even magazine cutouts. All of this helps to develop a working and productive creative mindset. See examples below.

The Doodle

Perspective is a key ingredient in creative thought. Everyone has a different perspective on everything even if it’s only slightly different.

Use your own unique perspective to finish this drawing. Turn the paper to whatever angle you desire. There is no “right side up.” Simply document what it is you see and finish the drawing using pencil, pen, crayons, inks, or whatever tool you’d like.

Proof that everyone has a different perspective. Here is what other featured interviewees from the book did:

That Penguin is Throwing up on My Pants

Fire hydrants are cool. Unless you didn’t see it on the street and ran into it with your bike. But that’s another story. Fire hydrants are cool, but they’re bland. They serve one purpose : to provide water to a fire truck if need be. Some have used it to create a much needed summer oasis of urban-style water fun, but its intended purpose is to extinguish fires. Typically, fire hydrants are red or yellow, making them fairly apparent to an oncoming fire truck (but seemingly invisible to an unsuspecting cyclist). Your task today is to give that fire hydrant a new face.

Create a new look for the fire hydrant based on its current design. You can’t change the way the fire hydrant is built, only how it is painted. The structural design must remain in tact. Evaluate its shape and paint something new on the fire hydrant.

Creativity needs to be exercised, and this book definitely helps to do so!
Buy the Book Now

Going Green in Graphic Design

Today we are going to be talking about a subject related to graphic design. We will be talking about going green in graphic design, what it means to be a green designer. Why you should go green, how to practice green design and a few more topics. I hope that you will find the article useful and that you would be able to learn a few things regarding this topic.

What does it mean to be a Green Designer?

To be a green designer means to think about our environment and to practice sustainable design. This includes using non-toxic recyclable materials and saving on energy and resources where we can. The ultimate aim of practicing sustainable design, is to reduce waste, use as little resources as possible, and the resources that are used, should be unharmful to our environment and re-usable.

Why should I go green?

As a graphic designer, your job is to produce creative ideas to promote your client’s message effectively. By promoting a greener image, you are adding value to your relationship with the client. Consider that consumers have never decided against a product because it is green, but they have and will decide not to buy it if it isn’t. In fact, 82% of consumers are focused on buying green products and services. Customers are becoming more drawn to going paperless, recycled products, bio-degradable products and low emission products.

Companies that are supporting the eco-friendly movement are also seeing increasing numbers in their sales. Many companies are opting for the ‘greener’ option not only because they are contributing to a better, healthier Earth, but because it saves on costs:

  • Less print costs
  • Less shipping costs
  • Less energy costs

How can I practice green design?

By creating a greener image, we are creating awareness of our environment. By creating a greener product, we are taking the step of saving it.

The first step is to become aware as the designer. You’ve heard about the three R’s and why we should be doing it, everyone has; but has it become something you think about daily?

Start with your own surroundings:

  • Are you using energy efficient light bulbs?
  • Are you turning off your pc/appliances when you’re finished?
  • Are you using more paper than needed?
  • Are you printing more than necessary?
  • Can you reduce your own waste materials?
  • Do you have recycling methods in place?

The next step is to think about how your work is impacting the environment. Did you know that for every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved: 7,000 gallons of water; 380 gallons of oil; and enough electricity to power an average house for six months.

When you receive a project, the importance of how it may effect our environment should be something considered in every step of the planning.

Factors to consider include:

  • Are the materials you’re using recyclable?
  • Are the materials coming from somewhere nearby?
  • Are the materials non-toxic?
  • Can you use less materials?
  • Can scrap materials be used?
  • What will happen when the user no longer needs this piece?
  • If printing, are the inks vegetable-based or soy-based?

There are so many helpful resources out there supporting graphic designers to make the commitment. If you’d like to make a pledge please visit :

Re-nourish is my favorite site of all. It includes fantastic tools to help, including a project calculator, paper finder and green printer finder. It also includes standards on design sustainability and includes the best case studies on companies that have gone green. Another inspiring and helpful resource is the ‘big book of green design’, which shows numerous examples of projects and explains why they are green.

Don’t be frightened to think of green design as being limited… it’s just another opportunity to think outside the box and get creative!

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