The passion behind a designer

What makes you passionate about design, and how can you make that passion grow as you develop as a designer?

When I noticed this question a student asked on Quora, I knew I had to respond. Nothing makes my eyes sparkle as much as discussing the passion behind a designer and how it never seems to dwindle, at least, not in my case.

Because design is a process, much like editing, where you start with a general concept, then hone it as close to perfection as you can within a given deadline, achieving perfect balance is what makes me passionate about it. Balance in design is achieved when a designer has solved the problems put forth in a client brief using an easy to understand, uncluttered visual solution. The amount of culture, knowledge of design history and skills a designer possesses all contribute to his/her capacity to provide original, high-quality solutions. It is this quest for culture, knowledge and skills — capable of filling a lifetime — that make a designer’s passion grow and keep the fire of creativity alive. In any case, that’s what’s worked for me in a 25+ year design career, where every new project is more thrilling than the last :)

Massivv Social Icons
Social Media icons © Melissa Brunet for Massivv
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Gaming logo design

Gaming logo design has its own set of codes. Here’s one way to break them down.

Any good designer knows that every industry has its own rules, or codes, that help audiences quickly understand and identify with them. Example: fashion labels and magazines typically use Didot typefaces for their logos, headlines and magazine titles. Gaming is no different.

What I find interesting about the gaming industry is that logotypes have a tendency to be more playful, bolder and more illustrative than most other industries. And since lettering is really just another form of illustration, albeit one I certainly haven’t played with enough, I was quite eager to give gaming a try.

So here is a logo design I did for my partner + his best friend’s website & brand targeted at video game industry professionals.

Both are professional gaming journalists, both are used to working with designers and both knew the spirit in which they wanted their logo to be designed. Basically, I had a really good brief to work with which is a LOT considering how shy I felt about the gaming genre.

They were happy with the result, so I am too, of course! The letters were custom drawn using a grid using several color combinations to rotate the logos for a fresh look every season – that’s the ‘fashion’ twist to this design.

Here is how I fleshed out the social icons:

Massivv Icons

And last, but not least, the whole identity in situation. Voilà!

Massivv branding

Be sure to check out Massivv’s website too!

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Seductive Portrait

What makes a portrait seductive?

For some, a seductive portrait is communicated through the subject’s pose or perhaps the lighting. For me, it’s all in the eyes. If you’re familiar with my work, you probably noticed my fondness for portraiture. I love how so much about the human condition can be understood simply from the expression in a person’s eyes, the tilt of the head or the arrangement of the mouth.

Here I was interested in capturing a goodbye moment. Whether it’s to a lover, a place or an era, that’s up to you to decide! This was also my second illustration on the iPad.

UPDATE: My son thinks this portrait looks like Claire from Jurassic World. I’m certainly not unhappy with that remark — I think she’s gorgeous, stylish and brave.

Communicating Nostalgia via Art

Communicating nostalgia via art

Communicating nostalgia via art and design is challenging. Nostalgia, or saudade, as the Brazilians or Portuguese would say, is an abstract concept.

Saudade is “a Portuguese and Galician word that has no direct translation in English. It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or deeply melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return. A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing.”

But what tools could you use to convey this feeling? Here I chose a longing expression in the eyes, a somber palette and lots of texture.

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Often we see photography taking inspiration from illustration and fine art. With this piece, I decided to turn the tables and borrow from the popular vintage photography movement, appropriating its saturated color palette and vignette framing. The result is a fresh, bold and simple yet dramatic resort theme that I hope you’ll enjoy looking at as much as I enjoyed creating.

Street Chic

From my sketchbook, here are some quick and cheeky watercolor & ink fashion illustrations that capture stand-out street style.

The Heiress

While playing around with a Whodunnit theme, the opportunity for visual storytelling became obvious when imagining the suspects. Meet the Heiress. Think she’s too posh for crime? Only more detective work can determine the answer to that question…