Logo Peruano

My friend, Matthew Piscitelli, is working on his Anthropology Ph.D. dissertation. I recently helped him create a logo for the archeological dig he is leading in Huaricanga, Peru this summer (named the Huaricanga Archeological Research Project, or HARP). I wanted to share what I came up with since I was happy with the result, and to shed some light on a project that is interesting in its own right.

Logos are important because they are one succinct representation of an organization. Additionally, logos must avoid including photos since photos limit the flexibility of a logo – photos have no branding value because they don’t scale in size and are very difficult to adapt for any use (such as letterheads, T-shirts, posters, hats, seals, etc.). With this in mind, I came up with several initial sketches. These sketches incorporate huancas, which are iconic standing stones seen at one of the Peruvian sites Matt works at:

Huancas, the iconic stones shown in the picture, were the centerpiece for the logo concepts sketched below. These sketches were made in the beautifully designed iPad app, Paper by FiftyThree.

The most important characteristic of the logo ideas is the perspective angle of the huancas. Matt’s research is concerned with how power was established via rituals, and it is ultimately this power that dominated the landscape and people surrounding the huancas. The perspective angle of the huancas as drawn in the sketches adds the symbolism of hierarchy: the seemingly taller structure visually dominates the logo and the land surrounding it compared to the shorter structure. From these sketches, I finally arrived at this logo:

Matt does a great job of chronicling his work on the HARP blog, Digging Peru. Huaricanga is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the findings from HARP will give us insight into the social dynamics of power.

How to Make Sexy Websites

Not too long ago, I started making websites profesionally. After a lot of toiling, I discovered the key to making sexy websites: read, read, read! I always do my best work after having read many design blogs and articles, so I want to share the wealth with y’all (and thus hopefully make your learning curve more shallow).

While there is a trend of specialization developing in other industries, it seems that the web design and design industry favors those who have broader abilities (nevertheless, this is a debate they’re having in the financial world as well). For this reason, I try to keep constant tabs on the latest in general graphic design, branding, writing, and various programming technologies that are relevant to the web. Reflecting that blend, here are (IMHO) the most important websites that beginning web designers/web developers should thoroughly browse:

Greenies: For those just starting out

  • Web design from scratch – The BEST place to start if you’re just beginning to make professional websites. This site has a wide variety of topics, including the entire design process, graphics, and branding.
  • W3Schools – Check out their HTML and CSS tutorials in parallel with Web design from scratch (knowledge of HTML and CSS is super important because it gives you complete, pixel-by-pixel control over your designs). W3Schools’ tutorials give you really straightforward explanations and examples, and beat the pants off of reading huge books since they convey their information concisely.

The (barely?) Initiated: beyond the basics

Graphics Creation

  • You Suck at Photoshop – You need some graphics skills to make sexy websites, and Photoshop is usually the weapon of choice for graphics work. This link is geared towards beginners (and is hilarious).
  • PSDTUTS – More advanced tutorials for when you stop sucking at Photoshop ;)

Logo Blogs

Branding Blogs

Design

  • CSS Remix – For inspiration from CSS-based designs
  • Toxel – General creative design inspiration (covers creativity in the virtual and physical realms)
  • Design Meltdown – A site focusing on web design
  • Some designers include description and rationale behind projects in their portfolios (like Mark Boulton). These can be pretty useful to go through.

General

  • A List Apart – A very popular website “for people who make websites,” with an emphasis on code.
  • NETTUTS – From the same people who brought you PSDTUTS, these guys give you a lot of tips on more advanced things you can do with HTML, CSS, etc.
  • Freelance Switch – About the business of being a freelance designer, writer, illustrator, farmer, or whateverer.

How to keep up without perpetually having 20 Firefox tabs open

These resources are by no means an exhaustive list, but are certainly good starting points. If you haven’t set up an RSS feed reader yet, you should strongly consider it – it’s the easiest way to be in the loop on all of these websites (I use Google Reader). Of course, there’s way too much good stuff on the web about making websites, so BEWARE: you may become info-whelmed.

If you know of some good sites that I’ve left off my list, drop a comment and help us all!