Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pet Peeves

I have to rant about these:

1) Linden Labs desperately needs a better process for updates. It's NOT cool to do an update and then an hour later have to take the grid down because the update is buggy. They need to make their testing process more thorough. Honestly, it's NOT too much to ask. And they will NOT survive as a company if every update is this shoddy. Even Microsoft isn't this bad.

And here's another pet peeve. Don't tell us to check the blog for updates on the grid status if the blog doesn't work when so many people try to access it.

2) People making ads on the forums that make my eyes bleed. I wish I could use examples, but I don't want to make anyone unhappy. I just want to bless everyone with graphic design knowledge. Because I'm tired of my eyes bleeding. And it will help them sell stuff!

Here's a small list of things you should avoid in graphic design terms:

- images from SL that aren't scaled correctly.
We can tell when you've scrunched or stretched your images from SL. Not only does it look unprofessional, it makes your product look fuzzy and bad. Hold down the shift key when you reduce or change the scale in photoshop. Look up how to do it GIMP. Or whatever program you use.

- Too much going on in the ad.
Yes, it's nice to have a pretty border. Yes, it's nice to have a pretty logo. But when you try to stuff all of that into an ad AND put text in the image about the product, your ad gets cluttered. Our eyes don't know where to look and they certainly aren't looking at your pretty product. Don't put stuff in every corner. Don't clutter your ad with unnecessary text. What is the most important in an ad? Your PRODUCT. You've gone to all of that trouble to take a pretty shot of your creation, don't ruin it by slapping unnecessary stuff in there.

- Text
First, ask yourself "Is this text really necessary?" Sometimes it is. Then ask yourself "What is the shortest way to say this?" For example, if the skirt is flexi, don't say "Flexi prim skirt" - Just say flexi. We'll get that it's a flexi skirt. Don't feel the need to list everything that's included. We can check the box contents in SL or read the item description on SLexchange or SLboutique. Highlight the important points of the item, but don't go overboard. Remember that text distracts our eyes from looking at the image of your product. Most of us won't read much of your text anyhoo.
And also . . . use a readable font if you actually want us to READ your text. Now, I know that I use a pretty scrolly font on my wing ads, but I don't actually care if people read that. It's part of the design elements.

- Image Image Image
The MOST important thing is the image of your product. I touched on this before, but I'm going to stress it again. An image speaks 1000 words and if your image is fuzzy or too small or cropped funny, it's like a drunk is slurring those 1000 words. Your customers won't get what your product is, they won't see the beauty or your creativity shining through. They'll see the defects.

- KISS (Keep it Simple Sweetie)
Do not choose a highly textured background image. Choose black or white or something very subdued.
Keep product images to a minimum. 3 different shots of your outfit is probably more than enough unless you are highlighting different colors or your outfit is REALLY complex. Try not to overlap them too much. If you do overlap, use a drop shadow on the top layer so our eyes can find the focus.

-Focal Point
Oh right, that's the other thing I wanted to cover. Pick a main focal point and make sure the entire ad revolves around that focal point. All additional design elements should define and support the focal point. No design element should conflict with the main focal point. The easiest way to do this is with scale. Put your main image in the center of your ad and make all other images and design elements significantly smaller than the main image. Avoid putting something in every corner.

This really should be an ongoing column in something like Second Style Magazine to help aspiring fashion newbies with good examples and concise writing. I know what I've written here is not very organized and not very well written. I didn't even intend this to be so long and this just sort of poured out of my brain unedited and even tho the grid is down, I don't have time at the moment to edit it. But I hope it is useful. If not, I at least feel better.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Here is a couple-

I want to see what the item looks like on a avatar from different angles. I will never, ever buy something that is just a cut out front view of an item. I need to see how it hangs!

Also related, some pictures look like they are images from photoshop rather than an actual image of the item on an avatar. I don't want to see some sort of concept drawing. I want a picture.