Saturday, December 7, 2019

Designers Designing Designs for Businesses Looking for Cheap Business

Let me know if you think this adds up.

You need a logo for your business. You find a place to do it cheaply, and here's what they will do for you.
First, you fill out a "creative brief" to inform them about your business. Their project managers will "contact you by phone...get additional details and review ideas."
They will put together some ideas, and several of their designers will, from the info gathered so far, each design a logo in their own personal style. The manager will review all the logos to make sure the proposed concepts all communicate the ideas you've outlined in your brief, and then you get to check them all out, choosing the one you like best. If you want, you can choose elements from all of them and request to have those incorporated into an even more awesome logo. You can do this as many times as you like until you are completely, 100% satisfied.
If you don't like the look of those initial designs at all, they will have a new set of designers create a new set for you to look at.
When all is said and done, you get a logo that is, well, it's something.
All for the low cost of $149.
This is a direct quote from the website:
"Because we take the time to get to know you and your business, our designers understand your needs and translate that into a distinctive logo design that uniquely reflects your business identity."

Let's review.
Say that they have five graphic designers work up designs for you. They also have an administrative team that you deal with when filling out the forms and connecting with the business. There is a project manager who reviews everything and connects with you as often as it takes to get things right.
They all need to read the brief or at least be briefed about the brief, so they have a sense of what they are trying to communicate. They need to formulate some ideas, do some research, and actually create a design. A manager has to review everything and okay everything, connect with you, and ensure that you are happy. If everything goes perfectly, then they have to do it up so that they can give you all the necessary files for you to use this in all your communication. They need a support team to store all this info, back up all this info, and disseminate all this stuff to you. They need to bill you, and they need to collect, and they need to pay employees. You know, the manager, the designers, the front end staff and the back end staff. They need to do a bit of advertising, and since they are doing all this through the Costco website, they probably pay some kind of fee to Costco. They likely have someone who cleans their offices and do their books too.

How many hours might all this take?

Let's assume they are billing at $50 an hour to cover everyone's time: designers, managers, overhead, reception, computers, software, network, cleaners, etc etc. That has to be the bare minimum they can do it at if there is a team of people. So what does this mean? It means you get three hours of their time.


They are going to get to know you and your business, give you several iterations of a logo that suits your business. They are going to keep doing it until they get it right. 100% satisfaction.

So those designers and managers (six people? Seven?) are each going to have about a half hour to forty-five minutes to get to know you, understand your business, and produce a distinctive logo that uniquely reflects your business.
A logo is the face of a business to the outside world, the first point of contact with a new customer. I think it's probably worth more than forty-five minutes of someone else's time.

UPDATE: After a conversation last night, we were thinking that this may be one of those things where the designers are freelancers who are only paid if their design is chosen. Oh, what a relief. So now someone might actually be spending an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes on your design. And how much might they get paid for this? Fifty bucks? But what about all the times their design doesn't get chosen? Isn't this a bit like a casino, except, for actual wages?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Art Crawl

On November 30th and December 1st, South Osborne neighbourhood artists will host another Art Crawl, a tradition that began in December of 2012.
An Art Crawl is a self-guided tour, in our case to ten different artist's studios. You choose when and where to start, and you decide how much stamina you have for exploring.  It's a fun event that allows you to browse a variety of styles of art, from painting and drawing to ceramics and printmaking and  a whole lot more.
My studio hosts an opportunity to explore the world through art, photography, and stories. There are abstract and representational pieces, oil, watercolour, and acrylic paintings, ink drawings, pencil drawings, photographs, prints, greeting cards, and travel books, probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. All the art is for sale of course, but first and foremost, this is a relaxed environment in which to view and talk about art without any high-pressure sales tactics. I am an artist who likes to talk about art and travel, so if you like to talk about art and/or travel, this is the place to be.
If you are just getting started in the world of art, start here.
If you are an avid collector of art, there will definitely be work to catch your eye.
And if you just love art, I can almost guarantee there will be something to capture your heart.
Want to read about travel? We have comfy couches designed for that very purpose.
And if you do find something you want to take home, we'll take your money. Or your VISA.
We'll have a screen showing a collection of videos from around the world and the process of creating some of my large drawings; another displaying loads of magical images from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. If that weren't enough, we'll also have some hot apple cider too.
Come with us for a walk around the world, November 30th and December 1st.
479 Beresford Avenue.
Celebrate - watercolour

Walking in Burano and walking in Alleppey -photograph, watercolour

Walking in Asilah, Morocco

Walking in Cambodia

Walking in Greece

Walking in Jordan

Walking in Fes, Morocco

Walking in Syria

Walking in Toledo, Spain

Walking in Turkey

Walking in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Walking in Venice

Walking in Vietnam

Monday, April 15, 2019


Some city names have a certain allure that makes your skin tingle a little bit, depending on your sensibilities. Paris. Rome. Istanbul. Damascus. Mumbai. They all bring to mind a certain feeling.
Venice is yet another of those cities with connotations all its own. Is it really that crowded? Is it really that beautiful? Is it really worth going?
Well, when it's March, and you are lucky enough that the sun shines every day, and the temperatures are warm, the answer to all of these questions is all that you could hope for.
Venice in March is by no means devoid of tourists, but outside of St. Mark's Square, you'll find plenty of lanes that aren't filled with camera-toting day-trippers. Some people find Venice to be far too touristy for their liking, but I wonder how many who hold that opinion only visit for the day, or only visit the main sites of the city?
We arrived in Venice at noon on a Sunday near the end of March, welcomed by a perfectly clear blue sunny sky and a temperature of 20˚C. The boat trip from the airport in the Alilaguna boat with windows covered with salt splashes was uneventful, but pleasant enough once we got into the city's canals.

Giacomo met us at the Sant'Angelo vaporetto stop, and walked us to our apartment in the heart of the San Marco area. He explained the workings of the apartment, then looked at the top of my brow and warned me to be careful in the very low-ceilinged bathrooms (yes, plural!). Off he went, and we unpacked a bit, headed to our balcony to look over the city, then raced over to the Simply Punto to get some groceries for the week. Alas, this market is closed early on Sundays, so we carried on a little further to the Coop, conveniently located right along the busy and somewhat frenetic Grand Canal. Yogurt, milk, a bit of fruit and some veggies (use the little plastic gloves and be sure to weigh everything), and then back to our apartment before venturing out again into this sunny jewel.

Over the Accademia Bridge for the view that I simply could not wait for, and then some strawberry gelati, and a walk along the Zattere to the point, and back to the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute for a little sit-down. Before jet lag fully took hold on the streets, we headed back to the apartment and went straight to sleep.
With a full week in Venice before us, we were in no hurry to do everything all at once, but we might as well start with some of the big ones - the Doge's Palace and assorted St. Mark's museums. The palace is pretty much everything you might expect, with sensational gold ceilings and paintings and frescoes everywhere.

At the nearby Correr Museum, I was transfixed by the display on the history of book printing and Venice's place as a distribution point for those first printed books.
I read the train ticket incorrectly, leading us to miss our early Tuesday morning train to Padua, but fortunately there are many, and our ticket was valid for four hours. With a little bit of running, we managed to get to the church we planned to visit, the church that required a ticket purchased online ahead of time, the ticket that requires you to be there at a certain time and that time only. Otherwise you'll be turned away. You've been warned.
Padua is a pretty university town full of students, but for us it was the calzone at what I think was Pizza del Cubo in Piazza dei Signori that we will remember. Well, that and the church was cool too. As was the anatomy hall. And the other church.

Padua piazza

The church that you buy tickets for online that you must be on time for. Or else.

On our return in Venice, we walked through Cannaregio and took the long way home.
Wednesday we meandered through Dorsuduro, Santa Croce, and San Polo. One important note: if you are ever in Venice, you must stop in at the Church of San Pantalon. Look up, and your trip has paid for itself.
Thursday was the first of our two vaporetto days, as we sailed over to the Church of St. Giorgio Maggiore, climbing the tower (well, taking the elevator) for what can only be described as a splendid view of the city of Venice, followed by an extended walk through Castello, almost right to the eastern-most point. More church visits, and then we got turned away at the Arsenale. We thought it was a place to go in, but the security guard thought otherwise.

The view from St. Giorgio Maggiore's bell tower

All the literature on Venice says that if you have a few days, you must must must go to Torcello, get away from the crowds and see the island where Venice truly began. A once heavily populated island, Torcello is mostly known today as the home of the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, a 7th century church with a few large mosaics. Well, it is nice, and we love seeing churches, but in my opinion, if you've never been to Venice before and are only here for a few days, I would say you could better spend your time exploring some of the many incredible churches in Venice (of which we went into more than twenty) without having to spend two hours on a vaporetto (one hour there, one hour back). Again, San Pantalon was far more awesome than Torcello. History buffs may scoff, but I'm into art and painting, and that ceiling is The Ceiling of All Ceilings. I didn't read anyone anywhere saying that you should see this church. But I am telling you, if you are in Venice only for the day, go to this church. Please google it. San Polo and Santa Croce were also probably our favourite areas of the city (although San Pantalon is actually in the very northern part of Dorsuduro, also quite charming), so it's worth heading over there.
On the way to Torcello, we stopped off at Burano, a lovely small island full of colour. It was a real delight walking around there in the early morning hours with only a handful of others to annoy us.

We stopped in again after Torcello, and I was taken aback at how different the place looked when it was covered with tourists - people in tragically unsuitable attire grabbing at knick knacks on shelves in the street in front of shops and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Ten minutes was all I could handle, then it was back on the vaporetto headed for Venice. It is a nice trip, of that there is no doubt (especially when the warm sun is shining down on you), being on the back of the boat in the open with a view across the lagoon.
I got up early on Saturday to photograph the city at its quietest, and then we set to work seeing the last of the stuff on our to-do list - Accademia Gallery, more churches, a bit more gelati, and Ca'Rezzonico - a palace included in our St. Mark's Museums pass.
First, I should say something about the Accademia, and that is: Don't go. Maybe it'll be a lot different when they are done their renovations, but man, half the place is closed off. Literally half. And then you have to ask, surely we're missing something? Seriously, I have to know that you walk past the sign for the bathrooms to find stairs to the lower floor? C'mon man. There is no way they should be charging full price for what they have on show right now. It really is a disappointment. Granted, they did tell us after we paid that they were doing renovations, but I think a better call would be to say, "Half of our museum is closed. Do you still want to pay twenty bucks to get in here...?" with a voice that trails off so that you know it's probably not worth it.
Second, I would like to say that you really should see Ca'Rezzonica. It's a remarkable place full of some really wonderful art, as well as windows with great views along the Grand Canal.

At some point over the last few days we stopped in at St. Mark's Basilica. We went in the late afternoon, only a few people in line. But...I'm not really fond of sites that have you walk single file through a fenced off area without really any opportunity to explore the place a little more fully. On the bright side, we paid the extra bucks (extra more than zero as it's free entry to the church itself) to get upstairs to see the museum. With that you have the chance to see the church from the second level, which is pretty cool, and can also head out on to the balcony for a great view over the square and piazza to the water.

We awoke early again on Sunday for one last walk in pleasant and crowd-free Venice, and then wandered slowly through Santa Croce and over to the train station. Exactly seven days in Venice and short of an evening shower on Monday, it's been blue skies and warm weather the entire time.
What a beautiful city.