Graphic and Web Designer



Photoshop Retouching

Category : Photoshop · No Comments · by Dec 26th, 2013
Photoshop Retouching

Ok before I get started, I hope you all had a great Christmas or are simply enjoying the festive holidays….

Tips on Staying Creative

Category : Design · (1) Comment · by Sep 2nd, 2013

This has been long overdue but here is the list I made from last weeks podcast describing helpful tips on how to stay creativity. These are things that I’ve tried from time to time I hope you find them just as helpful as I have.

Creative Process & 18 Tips to Stay Creative

Make lists.

Keep a list of the things you plan to do for the day. This will help you stay organised and set you on a good path for achieving your daily goals.

Write down all ideas/ brainstorming.

When I work on projects I sometimes like to brainstorm and let my mind spill out all over a page with ideas. From here I can then build on the ones that I feel work and then start word associating. Word association is where I brainstorm words that best relate/ highlight my projects key points. Once I’ve jotted down all the words I can think off I like to highlight at least 5 words and see if I can build some drafts from there.

A good example of word association would be if I was working on a finance project I would start listing words such as money, currency, banks, stock exchange, foreign exchange, money bag, piggy bank, calculator, bank teller, business men, suit, ties. From there you can see how one word stems to another. Through word association you create a better idea for yourself on what you are trying to achieve with your design element.

Carry a notebook/ or have a notebook app (Evernote).

Yes, this might be a bit of a carry at some points when you feel that you have other things more important to store in your bag. Trust me! A sketch/ notepad is always handy to have around! You never know when aide will pop into your head! Be it a quick idea that comes up for a project that you’re working on or if you see something on the wall and it gives you an idea for starting a fun project for yourself.

Take a break

Get away from the computer, change your environment and go out for a walk to stretch your legs.

Don’t beat yourself up.

We’ve all had the moment when we get frustrated with ourselves and feel that we’re not performing at our best! Don’t be so harsh or yourself as this might do more harm than good and cause you to feel like you failing even more. Just take a break and accept that you’re still developing and  believe that you will create something better/ come back stronger.

Allow yourself to make mistakes.

Such a classic saying! Mistakes is where the magic happens! It’s what forces us to learn and to come back stronger. We should welcome mistakes (to an extent!) and se them as opportunities for us to grow and develop ourselves physically and mentally. What I mean was that if I was in the gym and I was doing a squat with poor form and was told that I was sloppy. I’d take it as a blessing in disguise, learn from this critique and find out the proper form of performing squats so that next time I can go back to the gym and develop myself physically. Through this process, I’ve built the mental strength to accept critique and to not beat myself up and saw this as a chance to correct my form and come back stronger. Accept failures, they happen for a reason. To teach us things we didn’t know before and make us stronger people.

Be open minded with your ideas

Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and thoughts. The worst idea is the one that never gets shared! No matter how silly, incorrect or off the wall it may sound an idea could provide you and those around you with the right ammunition to get your project off the ground and again help you achieve the goals that you create for yourself.

Break the rules

(but first make sure you know the rules so that you know which ones to break constructively).

Don’t be afraid to bend the rules from time to time (as long as you don’t hurt nobody!) then this will give you a chance to push the limits a bit. I know I’ve found it a bit difficult to try new things but once I have it turns into an experience where I know that I can say that I’ve tried  something new and depending on the result it will help me determine if I an use it again apply it in a different way or simply not do it again.

Stop trying to create your work whilst analysing it at the same time.

Just let your ideas flow, don’t worry about applying a grid or getting the letter spacing correct right off the bat, the main thing i to not lose focus or disrupt the creative wave that your surfing by analysing something minor like thinking about colour or shapes. Just go with the flow and worry about the smaller details once you feel you’ve planted your ideas/ work on your sketchpad or working document.

Clean your work space.

This is a bit feng-shui to say but a clean workspace reduces a cluttered mind! Give it a go! Spring clean your workspace!

Get feedback.

It’s always nice to have your work reviewed and get some feedback on it to see how others perceive the work you create, and have them let you know that your work is ticking the right boxes and portraying the right message. However..there is an extent!..Proceed to the next point…

Don’t allow your work to be someone else’s perfect.

It’s all good when someone is helping you out with your work and give you suggestions and feedback. Bear in mind that that’s all it is..FEEDBACK and SUGGESTIONS! Don’t let somebody else dictate/ stump your creativity. Keep yourself in the driving seat and don’t get steamrolled into adopting somebody else’s idea and approach, cause if that’s the case then you might as well handover the project to them if they want to do it so badly that they’re disregarding all the work that you’re pouring into it. Stay strong and don’t get overruled.

Surround yourself with creative people.

They say that we are the direct reflection of those around us. If you surround yourself with great people then you are creating an ideal environment for yourself that will allow you to nurture your goals and aspirations that will ultimately help you overcome barriers and meet your personal goals.

Don’t give up.

Need I say more?

Find different ways of doing things

Experiment with your creative approach. For example you are used to creating posters in Photoshop using images/ photography. How about adding a spin on things and creating the same poster in Illustrator and using vector instead or focusing more on typography! This new approach will help you learn and expand your creativity borders. Enjoy!

Find inspiration.

Who doesn’t like looking at other peoples work! If we didn’t have each other, who would we learn from or build our ideas off of? Find resources like PinterestDribbble or subscribe to creative newsletters like Hongkiat. These will help us with fresh creative breeze from time to time and inflate our sails are we explore the sea of creativity.

Enjoy what you do.

Take pride in your work. Do what makes you happy! It makes your enjoyment of life all the more fulfilling and worth living!

Finish the job

Always see a job from start to finish! There will always be some sort of experience for you to take away from a job and at the end of the day you will leave with another project under your portfolio, another happy customer and another experience that you can learn from and share with others.

Lose fat and gain muscle

Category : Health & Fitness · (3) Comments · by Aug 16th, 2013

One of our great listeners Kristina asked us a question “I’m training for a long endurance marathon but how do lose weight and gain muscle?”

One of her main concerns stems from her cardio workout, although she is losing fat, she is also worried that she may be decreasing her muscle mass from her cardio workouts.

I once heard in the gym that the best method to lose fat/ lose weight was to focus or weight/ strength training. I would mix it up at least 3 days for strength training and 2 days are active rest days doing cardio.

My reason for a more strength based approach for training towards a marathon is that when muscle training you will burn more fat and gain muscle and gather more benefits as opposed to a more cardio based program.

Calorie Burn
With a cardio workout you’d have to burn 3600 calories in order to burn one pound (0.45kg) of fat however to achieve this would mean having to spend a long time during cardio giving boredom a chance to set in. It’s also worth noting that prolonged cardio exercises lead to higher levels of cortisol being released by your body. What is cortisol? I hear you ask…well cortisol is the primary hormone that encourages lean muscle mass loss, thus creating a catabolic effect on your lean muscle mass. With strength training although you won’t burn as many calories during the workout the beauty begins to come through post workout since your body will still burn calories after your workout is completed.

Strength training and increased metabolism
This leads to increased metabolism as it receives a boost for up to 36 hours and as long as you maintain a strength weight/strength training program with some cardio training you increase your long-term metabolism.

Weight Training and Total Body Reshaping
Had to grab this from Bodybuilding.com since I could not have phrased this any better:
“Another big benefit that weight traininghas over cardio training is that it will completely allow you to reshape your body. Cardio training generally will help you lose weight, however typically this weight loss is going to be a bit of a combination between fat and muscle; therefore what you’re left with is a smaller version of your current self.
When you are performing resistance training instead while following a hypocalorie diet, then you stand a better chance of losing strictly body fat, while helping to enhance the natural curves of your body.”

Stronger Core
Performing compound exercises such as squats and deadliest will increase your core strength. By strengthening your core you will help prevent back pain, compound exercises have shown results where they’ve improved the transfer of power from the arms to the legs thus enabling you to run faster.

Don’t Rule out Cardio
Just as the title says, don’t rule out cardio entirely from your workout as cardio training will improve your cardiovascular health.

Overall
You still have a year of training before the marathon Kristina. Why not give strength training a go with some light (not too light) cardio work, I believe after knowing this your dream isn’t much of a dream after all and you will still be able to gain lean muscle whilst losing body fat.

Resources:
http://www.superhuemen.com
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fat_loss_training_wars.htm
http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/806/Ten_Reasons_Why_Runners_Should_Include_Weight_Trai.aspx

Back from Paris

Category : Health & Fitness · (1) Comment · by Jul 28th, 2013

Hi All,

Another update from myself! Again there’s so much for me to tell and share with you all! First of all a colleague and I have finally kick started our very own podcast! You can get links to our podcasts from. Our Facebook page! So make sure you like us and you can also follow us on Twitter. A little bit of background to our podcast and how we got started! First of all Adam and I are great podcast listeners! (More so Adam than I) Adam was listening to The Joe Rogan Experience and one day he shared a link with me and from there we started to exchange podcast links ranging from design, motivation, entrepreneurial topics and so much more! This all snowballed and we decided to start our very own podcast and wanted to cover two topics primarily Design and Fitness! Although, I should add that we aren’t totally fixed to these two topics since we want to cover a wide spectrum of things that will help all of our listeners and encourage us all to better ourselves and each other! I believe that this will be another opportunity for us to learn from ourselves and each other!

From my our 3rd podcast you would’ve heard me go over my trip to Paris! This was a fixed gear cycling trip from London to Paris! I wasn’t able to join the gang for the first half of the trip since I had to attended my sisters graduation! There was a small drama play that almost caused me to miss the ferry and trip altogether since I missed my initial train to Newhaven Town! God was definitely keen for me to join the gang since I managed to clinch the time and board the ferry just by the skin of my teeth! Thanks for being patient guys and a special thanks and shout out to the Newhaven Town Transmarche ferry staff for allowing me to still board the ferry and still wearing a smile! After that small scare we we able to sleep on the ferry all the way to Dieppe! From Dieppe we rested for a couple hours from 4am-8am! We didn’t manage to set off at the time we initially wanted to but when we finally got started we were firing off on all cylinders! Zipping down Avenue Verte in a peloton like formation and switching front man every hour or so so that we had a different person breaking head wind allowing us. Through the ride into Paris I spent the majority of it riding at the back of the peloton as backstop. My role as backstop was to make sure that no one fell back from the queue and if someone was started to break off from the pack it would be my job to see how they were holding up and catch up to the next man ahead and ask them to relay a message all the way to the front man requesting him to take the speed down a little bit just to let the back man catch up with the rest of the pack.

The weather throughout the ride was absolutely beautiful! The sun was beaming down and we were grateful for any shade we managed to pass through and at the end of the journey we all caught suntans and strong tan lines! Although some of us had stronger tan lines than others! As you can see from the pic below my tan was very strong!

 

Cycling to Paris allowed us to see some of the most beautiful sights and cycle through the most scenic routes! The journey overall felt so surreal and I was in such a dream and amped up state I didn’t feel too fatigued! Only when we were climbing an incline! As a cyclist I feel like I’ve proven to myself that I am capable of reaching such distances and enduring whatever obstacles came my way! I’m so proud of everyone on this journey and I’m so glad that I was able to share in this brotherhood and experience! There was a strong unity amongst the pack and we all encouraged each other! I just can’t wait for next year and see where we’ll be cycling to next!

Stayed tuned for the next blog and instalment from me guys!

Ren

 

News and Reflection

Category : Daily Thoughts · No Comments · by May 13th, 2013

So much to tell! Well more like two really big things to tell you all about!

On Saturday 4th May 2013 after 8 years and 3 months with my girlfriend I finally plucked up the courage to propose to her and we are now undergoing preparations for our wedding! Even though the planning is a bit hectic right now, once we get our heads around the whole thing and understand what needs to be done it should make some things easier to digest!

 

On May 9 I turned 26 years old. This birthday felt different from the rest however!, I'm engaged and I've spent another happy year at my career workplace! Only now did I begin to realise how far I'm getting on in life, I've got a career and I've got the ball rolling with my fiancée on settling down and starting a family (eventually). I couldn't help but take a step back and take a look at everything currently in my life. I've got a great family behind me, they've helped shape me into becoming the person I am today. A bunch of people that I have the honour of calling my friends and consider them my extended family. My wonderful fiancée! She's always brought the best out of me and shown me that I should never settle for regualrity and always exceed my limits in life and personally. My friends are my supporters, thought provoking advisors and inspiration. They all possess wonderful qualities that just highlight who they are and have always set bars/ records and guidelines that have helped shaped me and my mindset to becoming and stronger! Lastly my family! To put it simply, where would I be without them? The wackiness, life's teaching and wisdom all wrapped up into a group of people whom I've been blessed to call my family!

I consider myself to be very blessed and humbled by this fortune and just wanted to take this moment in time to bookmark this moment in time of thought and reflection. I have no doubt that in the future these bonds will continue to grow stronger and create more memories to look back and smile upon!

Without Them We Would Never Be Complete ~ Family Quote

“There comes a point in your life when you realise who really matters, who really did and who always will”

 

London to Windsor

Category : Health & Fitness · (1) Comment · by May 6th, 2013

Hi Guys!

So a few weeks ago I joined went with a few friends on a cycling trip from London to Windsor Castle! The cycling ride from London to Windsor was about 30 miles which meant we’d be doing 60 miles in total for the ride back (obviously!).

I done the ride as a way to kick start my training for my July ride where I’d be cycling with the same group of buddies from London to Paris! Here’s a video that my good friend recommended for me to watch:

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LONDON TO PARIS (FULL VERSION) from Ladoja & Sons on Vimeo.

Back to the ride! Quite early into the trip I found each pedal beginning to become more challenging since I had just come back from Bulgaria and was still putting my body through a mini detox from the alcohol that was consumed during my time there. In addition to that, the day before the ride I decided to help my girlfriend with her workout routine and decided to do a mini squat – lunge – deadlift circuit this overall had an effect on my ride performance and felt the burn quite early on into the ride.

The weather was fairly warm with some crosswinds and we all know how annoying crosswinds can be! I began to slip from the group and worked at a reduced pace which I really hated since I knew I could cycle much more better and hold my own with the rest of the pack. Mikey and the others in my eyes were already veterans since they’ve all covered the London to Brighton distance as well as London to Paris! This trip nonetheless was one for training and I looked at it as a way to increase my endurance since it was my first long ride of the year. Throughout the ride I came across a lot of mental walls/ barriers there were times where it felt like I wanted to just slow down to a crawl and just take a 30 minute break but I wanted to prove to myself that I could push through and show myself that I could smash through the wall of limits and silence the voice of doubt in my head! 2 hours and something minutes later from London we all made it to Windsor! We couldn’t get into the castle itself since Princess Kate was there hogging all the space but we still managed to have a great time! We filled our appetite with a good ol’ fish and chips meal and went to a desert type diner where you could have a waffle and create your own toppings with any flavored frozen yoghurt! This would prove to be our Achilles heel on the ride back since it left some of the riders feel queasy to say the least!

In summary I was able to enjoy a great ride, make some new friends and get a good understanding on what I need to work on if I want to take my ride to Paris seriously and keep up with the guys! Since then I’ve purchased a Garmin Edge 810. I’ve moved from Endomondo and started to use Garmin Connect and Strava to track my cycling riding times, heart rate and soon to come cadence once I fit my new cranks.

Follow my Strava: http://app.strava.com/athletes/2030181
Follow my Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/profile/jusren

Lastly, pay a visit to Mikey’s post on Fixed Gear London on his recollection of the ride: http://fixedgearlondon.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/sunday-ride-to-windsor-castle/
Enjoy the pics! Most of the credit has to go to Mikey since he took most of the photos!

Safe riding, and enjoy the Bank Holiday.
Ren

What I’ve learnt so far…

Category : Design · (1) Comment · by Apr 14th, 2013

During this re-design project for my website it always gives me the chance to learn new things and try new things out such as using HTML Boilerplate, paying more attention to typography (complimentary fonts, do’s and don’t) and CSS sprites to name a few things.

Throughout my time building up to this re-design I’ve been making mental notes of how I’d like to re-do my website and so far I’m pretty pleased with how far I’ve gotten. I feel that a designer should have there own approach to their projects and that when the more they keep their work personal and infuse it with their personality and passion then the more the designer will come to realise what their graphic representative actually is.

Sounds confusing right..I know! A bit hard to digest but I’ll do my best to explain using myself and my web portfolio as an example.

When I first started my website, it was fully of texture, bold colours and large fonts. After each re-design and applying what I felt most comfortable and happy with I began to notice just a while ago how much more minimal my work began to look. I hardly use a background image nowadays, I like to pay more attention to the font types that I’m using, and I love using a simple, minimal grid style!

I may not always get these things right the first time round but through each practice in each project both in freelance and office I learn something new each time.

What I’m curious to find out is what are your design approaches? What kind of design style do you think best represents your work?

I love web and graphic design!

Design within the browser

Category : Design · No Comments · by Apr 7th, 2013

Hi All,

Been a long time since I last blogged since I got quite caught up in my personal life, Facebooking and Instagramming. It’s time I got back in touch with my blogging web and graphic design side!

I was looking into different approaches that people used when designing websites and that’s when I came across an article from Josh Long regarding Web Design in the Browser

The article is basically about removing Photoshop from the design approach and simply getting your content out there first and then handling aesthetics second (fonts, colours, images etc.).

After reading the article it does make sense to stop designing sites within Photoshop. My reason for this is because the end product is a fully functional website and not an image, it’s going to be responsive to the end users activity and simply put it just does what it’s suppose to do. Another reason for this approach is best quoted from Josh when he says

Designing your content first and coding semantic, standards-based markup is the foundation of a great design and not something you approach as an after thought of Photoshop

Before I got into graphic design I was first introduced to web design, I understand the importance of having good clean coding and adhering to web standards it’s from these two reasons I can see why Josh has taken this design within the browser approach over having a Photoshop mock-up drafted first.

It’s definitely made me think about changing my approach to creating websites. It’s from this article I’m going to test out this approach by re-designing/ updating my online portfolio jusren.com and see how it goes. One thing that I will be using to give me a kick start will be HTML5 boilerplate, I’ve never had the opportunity to use it so what better time to use it than the present!

Wish me luck!

Ren

Inspirational: How badly do you want to be successful?

Category : Daily Thoughts, Health & Fitness · (2) Comments · by Apr 14th, 2012

This is a great video I came across, it’s truly inspirational! This year I want to make a change, at work I’ve signed up to participate in the JPMorgan Challenge 5.6km run! I’m so excited to start training for it. Besides that, I’m also a keen gym enthusiast. I’ve just completed my 3 months bulking, and I’ve just almost 1/3 into my cutting phase. It’s videos and speeches like these that inspire/ motivate me to be the best that I can be, not only physically but also mentally, daily at work (basically everything!).

I know we all come across those days, moments or moods where we think we can’t do something or just put something on-hold for whatever reason! We temporarily lose sight of what our goal(s) are, which means we just sort of want to succeed, going for the videos below we’ve got to want to succeed as badly as breathing!

Let’s become greater now! Than we were 5 minutes ago!

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My Progress Report

Category : Health & Fitness · No Comments · by Mar 26th, 2012

Well it’s coming to the end of my USN Body & Lifestyle challenge and I can definitely say that I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what I can really achieve with hard work and determination.

I’ve been able to lift a lot more weights, for example: in the beginning I was curling about 12 kgs on each arm, now I’m able to do 18 kgs in 6-7 reps and 3 sets!

Looking back so far I don’t want to sound to big headed or egotistic but looking back on how far I’ve journeyed I’ve continued to excel and improve my workouts! With the help of popular websites (will post soon!) YouTube fitness and bodybuilders such as Lee Hayward, Scott Herman and Rob Riches to name a few I’ve been able to progress and learn from these resources.

Nutrition has been somewhat difficult to maintain and I know I can do a better job. For the next three months it’s my goal to begin cutting and start sculpting away at my body fat and really get down to the core of my physique! I’m sooo excited! Throughout this stage I will try some new supplements from Optimum Nutrition and start a creative detox until the end of April.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll provide you with all of tue resources on sites and channels that I found to be informative and encouraging throughout my fitness regime!

All the best,
Ren