Graphic design for the web since 1998


"...both of my companies have enjoyed
Susan's design professionalism; wonderful
work that absolutely and clearly reflects
the intentions of the client..." - Florence P.

Original Graphic and Website Designers

Lately, I’ve come to realize that when potential clients are searching for a graphic or website designer, they don’t realize that we each have our individual style. Just like fine artists can range from impressionism to art deco, and illustrators can range from cartoonists to realism, so do designers. We all have typefaces we like and use more than others, we have color palettes that appeal to us, and we might be attracted to certain genres. If experienced, we also have the ability to adapt, if a client is looking for a particular theme or style, but we can only go so far.

As someone who loves designing posters, I’ve always been drawn to the classic movie posters and advertising of the 40s. One of my favorite artists from that era was, J.C. Leyendecker. He illustrated covers for The Saturday Evening Post, Ads for Chesterfield Cigarettes as well as many other well known publications and brands. Another person through the years I’ve admired is Seymour Chwast and not just for his posters, but his wonderful style and originality. I’ve written previously about Milton Glaser, another legend, and was so thrilled to see the recent exhibition of his work in NYC.

I show these artists and their original styles, because I think we need to enlighten clients into realizing that not all graphic designers are the same. A graphic designer is not just cut from a mold, and we all design differently with our own sense of originality. Also, it’s important to realize that many graphic designers have additional talents they can use depending on a particular project. I know many illustrators who can design as well and they each have their own originality. Some friends of mine, to name a few, Todd Radom, Peter Thorpe, Wendell Minor, Greg Spalenka, and Marc Burckhardt.

If you gave the same assignment to three different designers, you’d get three very different results.

Here’s a short list of different styles or themes which you’ll notice apply to illustration, but crossover to graphic and website design as well:

Old-fashioned, retro, minimalist, clean, distressed, three-dimensional, typographic, hand-lettered, hand-written, illustrated design, green, naturalistic, eco-friendly, classic, marquee style, cartoon, futuristic, whimsical, art deco, art-nouveau, surreal, and brush work.

I’d also like to discuss color palettes. Only an experienced designer can understand the right color palettes to be used in the right ways. Whether appearing as a graphic advertisement, website or email campaign, everyday I’m horrified by the designs I see. Just today someone who owns a local business, sent along an email campaign, with the most horrid color combinations I’d ever seen put together, and this isn’t the first one they’ve sent, or the first client to think they can design because they have a computer. This is a perfect scenario for why a business owner should know when to hire a professional graphic designer to help them.

Recently, I purchased “The Web Designer’s Idea Book“, which does talk about themes, color palettes and styles, along with sample imagery, but this only touches on the subject.

I have profiles on all the assorted websites for freelance online search, such as, Guru, Elance, LinkedIn and Merchant Circle. You’ll notice that “Graphic Designer” is a general term, the same way “Website Designer” is, with no distinguishing styles or characteristics. I believe these search sites need to build some styles for designers, the same way they do for illustration, otherwise how is a client to find the right person, without looking at a hundred portfolios.

For now, I guess my point is that clients need to review an artist’s body of work carefully, make sure they see something that appeals to what they want for that particular assignment. If they do, the outcome will always be right on target.