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Exploring Careers in Graphic Design

graphic design
Image by Alki1

The field of graphic design is very broad. Designers create multimedia for news stations, commercials, movies, and TV shows. Designers also create graphics for website pages and in cartoon productions.

Determine what type of graphic design career you’d like to pursue. You also have other options related to graphic design — you can act as an editor or publisher of a print or video media production.

The field of graphic design covers a wide variety of arts. It also covers occupations that involve graphics editing and implementation.

Typically, graphic design careers are divided into two main categories, and then into several smaller categories or disciplines. The two main categories include designers and publishers.

The designers are usually the ones who implement creativity to produce a finished artistic product. This finished product can include both hand-drawn or painted items and/or computer art. It also can contain photos and text.

The publishers use some creative thinking as well. However, their main role in creating media is editing and producing. Publishers take finished graphic designs and produce them as newspapers, magazines, websites, and more.

Sometimes these two major roles interchange. In other words, the role of a graphic designer and a publisher is combined. This is more common in production studios operating off of a lower budget, or for freelance designers and small business owners.

Larger corporations typically divide the roles of graphics personnel and publishing personnel. Furthermore, a large number of different subcategories exist for graphic designers and publishers.

For example, some corporate employees may be employed as creative directors, layout artists, or Flash designers. Others may be assigned a specific task such as illustrating or photo editing.

Persons employed in graphics positions assist with creating a wide range of products. For example, employees work for companies that produce gift items (cards, calendars, e-cards, print stationary, etc.) while others produce business logos.

Other graphic artists are responsible for creating content for animation or movie productions. Yet another group of designers will create educational and demonstrative tutorials and slide shows.

Knowing the different options should help you to decide which career you want to pursue in graphic design and related fields. It will help you determine what your strengths and weaknesses are regarding design and publications.

If you can see the “big picture” in your mind but can’t translate your visualization into tangible form, then you would serve best as a publisher and to use ready-made graphics to produce your media.

On the other hand, if you are slightly disorganized but people have complimented you on your designs,, then becoming a graphic design is the best choice. The only challenge after this point is breaking into this highly-competitive field.

If you are determined and you have what it takes, then you will make it. Also, you increase your chance of success in this business as you identify your niche.

For instance, perhaps you are not thrilled about creating images for advertisements, but you have proven your skills in the cartoon world. If this is the case, then you should not try to pursue commercial advertising venues.

The opposite is true as well. If you demonstrate more talent in commercial ad logo design, then you probably have no interest in selling cartoon scripts. This does not mean you will never be able to, and it also does not mean that a cartoonist could never create commercial ads.

When you start out as a graphic designer, you are likely to find a niche. Stay in this niche if you find it comfortable. You are likely to have plenty of years to change careers or step out of you comfort zone.

Another area of graphic design not yet covered in this article is gaming. You can make a living creating sets and characters for video games.

Likewise, the world of gaming is very lucrative for editors and publishers. You can help coordinate the process of integrating graphic designs into various gaming formats. The possibilities are endless.

Green Homes

solar panel
Image by Marufish


Britain’s homes account for around 27% of the UK’s carbon emissions, a major cause of climate change. Domestic energy improvement targets of 20% between 2010 and 2020 have been suggested by the UK government.

All new homes are required to have a Code rating under the new Code for Sustainable Homes. The scheme was introduced in 2007 to encourage greener development in the home building industry. A Code rating and certificate must now be included in the Home Information Pack when selling a property. Green homes are significantly more costly to build, but home owners will reap the benefits of more efficient energy usage in years to come.

Ed Miliband announced plans earlier this year to offer “green loans” to home owners wishing to improve upon the energy efficiency of their already built home. The costs of items such as insulation and solar panels will be included in a loan which will stay attached to the house, owing to their high initial outlay. This would hopefully lessen financial barriers and encourage people to consider greener energy.

Renewable energy technologies attempt to reduce your homes CO2 emissions, control the overall impact on the environment and lessen the effects of climate change. Wind turbines, solar panels and biomass heaters offer a viable alternative to dwindling fossil fuels. You can reduce waste and avoid environmental degradation through recycling. You can save enough energy to power a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours just by recycling just a single glass bottle.

After the initial outlay, you could be rewarded financially for your investment. You are effectively buying energy at today’s lower prices to avoid the high costs that home owners will be faced with in years to come. If your resources are producing sufficient energy, you may also be able to put energy back into the national grid, and receive a wage in the process. Taxpayers will benefit from the reduced landfill costs allowed by recycling.

Various government grants can be obtained if you wish to go green.

Home Improvement DIY Projects – A Few Suggestions To Get You Started

Image by philippa mckinlay

DIY home improvement projects, both large and small, are happening in everybody’s neighborhood each and every weekend. So rather than put off your own home improvement for another six months why don’t you just dust off the hammer and saw, get your creative juices flowing and get into your project today.

If you are a novice at home improvement DIY style then you can become initiated in the ‘do it yourself’ way by initially tackling a small project, one that does not involve a great deal of skill based knowledge. Say, for example, you have just relocated and you are not too impressed with the previous occupant’s color scheme throughout the house – you can start your home improvement career by heading down to your local paint shop, load yourself up with brushes, paint, turpentine and a few ground cover sheets – turn up the music and go crazy on the walls. A painting project is one that does not involve buying or hiring expensive equipment but the end result can be quite spectacular, particularly if you have combined colors well.

If you intend to paint the interior of your home first then it is a good idea to have a family discussion to hear everyone’s suggestion regarding the proposed color scheme. The children’s views are important particularly if you are going to paint their rooms because if you just went ahead and used the colors you like without consulting them it could cause major grief. Just imagine how impressed your sports jock 16-year-old son would react if he came home from practice to find that you had painted his sanctum a mixture of purples and pinks. Remember everyone has an opinion about colors and the object is to reach a consensus together.

The saying goes that ‘a change is as good as a holiday’ and having a freshly painted home certainly makes the rooms feel fresh and revitalised. At the completion of the project you will end up with a great sense of satisfaction and probably a dash of motivation to start you on the road to your next DIY home improvement project.

Easy Ideas For Outside The Home

Other relatively inexpensive home improvement DIY projects can de done to the external areas of the home. You may think that it is time to upgrade your backyard area but don’t actually know what to do. So the best move in this situation is to borrow a few books from your local library or look online at how some of the more elegant and expensive properties have structured their backyards. For instance, you could really add some interesting features like building a fountain or installing some benches around the perimeter of the garden. You may even decide to take on a bigger home improvement DIY project and build your own gazebo in your backyard. If the garden is in need of a general spruce-up then maybe something as simple as clearing away bushes and trees can make a marked difference to the appearance of your backyard.

Give a little thought on what you can do to improve the appearance and features of your home and grounds and then visit your local handyman store or go on line for some advice and guidance to ensure your home improvement DIY project is a roaring success.

8 Thrifty Home Improvements that Save Energy


The upgrades and improvements you make on your home today can result in some pretty fabulous long-term savings, provided you do a little planning ahead of time. By making changes that will allow your home to utilize energy more efficiently, your redesign can save you some green and let you live “greener”, too.   

Before you begin working, an energy audit can show you where in the house your money should be allocated. According to Texas electricity providers, by performing an energy audit on your home and making improvements accordingly, you can save anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your monthly utility bills each month.

Here are eight simple steps to get you started:

Insulation and Weather Stripping

The first step to improving the energy efficiency of your home is making sure there aren’t leaks around the doors and windows. Leaks can also be found in the attic and basement. Before thinking about insulating the home, you need to check for leaks and use weather stripping. Otherwise, any energy-efficiency measures will not work. Next, you should insulate the walls as well as in the attic. Much of the heating and cooling escapes a home that isn’t insulated.

Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs

According to Energy.gov, energy-efficient bulbs use twenty-five to eighty percent less energy than traditional bulbs. They can also last up to twenty-five times longer than traditional bulbs. While they may cost a bit more at purchase, over the life of the bulb, it brings in more energy savings.

Upgrade the Dishwasher

Older model dishwashers manufactured before 1994 can waste up to 10 gallons more water than newer dishwashers. According to Energy Star, a new dishwasher can save you over $35 a year on utility bills. Reducing water usage and using less energy will have the added benefit of reducing pollution and reducing the impact on the environment. Consumer Reports has a list of the best dishwashers to save energy and money.

Programmable Thermostat

There’s no reason to run your heater or air conditioning when you’re not home, yet you can’t leave them off when you’re out of the home either. While you’re at work, you can lower the thermostat then have it raised a half hour before you’re scheduled to get home from work. You can save money by using a programmable thermostat in your home. Some thermostats come with smartphone apps to help you control the temperature in your home too.

Low-Flow Fixtures

Between low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, you can save energy and hot water each year, which is the second highest energy expense in the home according to Energy.gov.

Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters with tanks of water have to keep that water heated until it’s demanded by the homeowner. That kind of energy use is called standby energy, which can cost you a lot of money in energy each year. A tankless water heater doesn’t have to keep water heated in a tank, so it can save you money each year in energy as well as water costs.

Ceiling Fans

Instead of fiddling with the temperature in the home through the thermostat, purchasing a ceiling fan could be a better option. It’ll save you money on cooling costs each year, and they’re relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.

Energy Vampires

You can save money on energy and utility costs by finding the energy vampires around your home. Any appliance that uses energy to remain on standby for your use is a vampire. The microwave and coffee pot that keeps the time for you is an energy vampire. DVD and CD players, computers, game systems, televisions and cable boxes are some common vampires. Unplug all these appliances when they’re not in use. You can use power strips to easily turn them on and off when you’re not using them.

Save hundreds per year by upgrading your appliances as well as using low-flow fixtures in the home. Unplug electronics when they’re not in use too. Some of these upgrades and improvements are small but they can give you big savings throughout the year.

Recreating the French Country Home


french country decor
Image by Crossroads Cottage


From TV shows to interior design magazines, few themes are as well-loved and long lasting as that of the French country. It’s undeniable that this style is both timeless and elegant, able to create a room that deserves to be splashed across the magazines. Yet many homeowners have trouble creating the look because they don’t know where to start.

Although it sounds very fancy, French country-style homes need not be expensive. You surely won’t have to overhaul your furniture; you probably won’t even have to change a lot of your current decor. All it takes are a few touches for you to be able to bring the French country and all its elegance into your own home.

Country style home designs are basically similar. French country is similar to American country except for a touch of European style and a little extra boost in the chic department. The simple patterns are instead geared to more curves and the usual straightforward design is more stylish. However, because of the country factor, this is more toned-down than the conventional French or European design.

The essence of the French country aesthetic is luxurious touches done in an otherwise plain and simple space. It’s the kind of design favored by the robust French country people for whom the work and the outdoors are significant influences. Bright colors and mixed textures are common traits of the French country design. Getting this theme right is more about capturing the feel of it rather than simulating a straightforward look.

It’s not hard to apply a French country theme with ideas of how the countryside looks. Incorporating the elements of the country lifestyle will make using this design easy. Herb-themed decorative items, wine bottles, grapevine wall art, wallpapers and ornate lighting fixtures are just some pieces that help in creating this design.

Trimmings on the fabrics, frills, intricate patterns and even ruffles if you so wish for your pillow covers and beddings are small details that capture the essence of a charming and elegant French country home.

Common materials in the French country theme are metal and iron. Never mind the rustic-looking furniture. They fit right in this kind of interior. If you have a chandelier and candelabra, bring them out and decorate your home to the max. It will bring you the fresh countryside of France with classic pieces reminiscent of living in this part of the country.

Area rugs complete the French country look. What better design to use than those that bespeak of nature, such as floral patterns or grapevine design?

You may be living in modern times but using antiques or old pieces can really spice up the French country theme you’re looking for.

Have A Beautiful House When You Apply These Interior Design Tips

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Not everyone has a beautiful house. If you want yours to be found beautiful, attractive, or nice by your relatives and friends, you should start to decorate the home. Even if you are not a graduate of a home designing course, do not worry – there are interior design tips and pointers found below that you can apply in order to get the results that you wish:

Before looking at design magazines, websites, and so on, one of the very first home decor tips is for you to spend some time thinking about what you want. Do you have some pieces of furniture that you’d like to add to your house e.g. floor lamps, a chandelier, a love seat, perhaps? Before you can truly have a beautiful house, you should also decide on the theme or the style. Would you want an Oriental theme? Maybe you’re after a country feel to your property? List down your answers to these questions, before you actually purchase the pieces to decorate the home.

Included in interior design tips after you’ve made your decision as to the style, the feel, and so on, is to check out catalogs, magazines, and even TV shows and movies, that will give you ideas on how to design your residence. You can also seek advice from a professional e.g. an interior designer or an architect, or even get some ideas from your relatives, friends, or colleagues. You’ll be surprised at the great ideas you’ll gain from the above mentioned sources. Take note though that it is important for you to have a beautiful house that reflects your tastes and personality, so never let other people talk you into something. The decision should be yours alone, or yours and your partner.

Part of the list of home decor tips is also for you to take a good look around your house. See if there are any furniture pieces that you no longer need, or maybe ones that you can transfer to another part of the house so that they won’t go to waste. If you have decors or furniture that you really have no need for, you can auction them off, or if you want, give away to your friends or your relatives so they won’t become wastes. One of the interior design tips you can try is also to engage in furniture upholstery so you won’t need to buy new furniture, yet you’ll have ‘newly designed’ furniture that will become suitable to the new style you’ll incorporate in your residence.

When you decorate the home, remember to also do the measuring before checking out new furniture and of course, before making furniture purchases. If the things you buy are too big or too small for your actual space, they will surely affect the look of your property negatively. You should also not expect to be able to get everything you pictured in your mind. You should have back ups, therefore, e.g. if the Morrocan inspired carpet you want is out of stock, try one with a similar design to the first one you planned to buy.

Of course, part of interior design tips or home decor tips is for you to determine your actual budget right at the start, and stick to that budget, or increase that budget minimally if needed. True, you can use your credit cards if you run out of cash, but, think about how you’ll be in too much debt by the time you finish designing and decorating. If you want, you can finish the project little by little e.g. decorate one room at a time to avoid being in a large amount of debt or to avoid going over the budget.

Home Improvement DIY – Fun Family Projects

Image by amycgx


Be it indoors or outdoors, Home improvement DIY’s are not only about adding functionality to rooms, hallways or yards. These days, DIY projects are fun filled activities for the whole family to get together. With the best intentions in mind, almost anyone can achieve professional-looking results without the use of a contractor.

DIY Home Improvement nurtures the significance of family togetherness coupled with a warm home mindset. Here are the Top 3 DIY Projects that you can do as a family.

– Painting the Kitchen –

Painting the Kitchen is one of the easiest and quickest ways to brighten up the “grayish” flavor room. A task like this when done alone could take up to several days to a week to complete. This is one of those projects that desperately requires the family’s help to complete.

Try coming up with fun painting themes like “Painting the Kitchen to be Two times Bigger” or “An Authentic Italian Style Kitchen”. This way, your family can enjoy a fun filled goal while you ensure your project runs smoothly as planned.

Another fun family project could be as simple as painting the kitchen cabinets. Everyone loves an “Instant Makeover”. This can be the perfect solution to lighten up dark cabinets or brighten them up with bold colors.

– Custom Build Something Useful for your Family Member –

Custom building something useful for the house is probably one of the best ways to get the family involved, especially your kids. It could be a secret surprise renovation for your Mum’s birthday or simply building a piece of furniture catered to your son’s or daughter’s fashionable taste.

Try getting your children involved by helping you to create certain parts of the project or furniture. Kids will be kids and we sometimes like to spoil them because we love them. If you are a parent building something for your children, listen to your their suggestions and let them quietly instruct you on what they really want.

– Build A Custom Piece of Furniture To Sell –

This exciting yet encouraging project may be a tricky undertaking. But if done properly, with conscious business mindset, family planning and execution; will most possibly result in a source of lucrative income. Tricky because of the greediness of human nature; where everyone wants so do a little lesser and take the bigger share of the profits when flourishing.

If you plan to custom build a piece of furniture. A good tip will be to reproduce design ideas from popular pieces of furniture you see in stores or magazines, and construct them to be even better! Better material, better finish, while adding your very own personal touch. In short, a high quality, custom built, good looking piece of furniture that will grab the hearts and bigger pockets of savvy home owners.

Home improvement DIY Projects are indeed a fun-filled family activity. Do-It-Yourselves aren’t always the easiest way to go, but it certainly provide a sense of all rounded contentment, enrichment and family adherence.

Thanks, and we hoped you’ve enjoyed this Home improvement DIY article.

Introduction To Sustainable Homes

Image by mschellhase


The Code is a voluntary standard designed to improve the overall sustainability of new homes by setting a single framework within which the home building industry can design and construct homes to higher environmental standards and offers a tool for developers to differentiate themselves within the market.

Effects of climate change in the UK are expected to involve winters that are warmer, increased rainfall during all months contributing to flooding and sea level rises, increased heat during summers which will could possible cause more drought and intense heat waves.

This mandatory requirement came into effect for all developments where a local authority received the building notice, initial notice or full plans application after 1st May 2008. Developments where a local authority had received these stages on or before 30 April 2008 are exempt. Where Building Regulations apply, compliance is necessary at all times. The Code assigns one or more performance requirements (assessment criteria) to all of the environmental issues. When each performance requirement is achieved, a credit is awarded (except for the four mandatory requirements with no associated credits).

Assessment procedures are based on BRE’s EcoHomes System which depends on a network of specifically trained and accredited independent assessors. Currently BRE and Stroma can offer training and accreditation of Code assessors. Code assessors can conduct an initial design stage assessment, recommend a sustainability rating, and issue an interim Code certificate.

Code service providers are licensed organisations offering all or part of the range of Code services including assessor training; registration and monitoring; quality assurance of assessments; certification; investigation and resolution of complaints; and maintenance of records (BRE Global, 2007).

Each category includes a number of environmental issues which have a potential impact on the environment. The issues can be assessed against a performance target and awarded one or more credits. Performance targets are more demanding than the minimum standard needed to satisfy Building Regulations or other legislation. They represent good or best practice, are technically feasible, and can be delivered by the building industry.

How Home Automation Can Make Your Life Easier

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With the vast advancements that we have seen in technology over the past few years, by far one of the coolest and most convenient up and coming inventions is going to be the use of automation to control everything in your house. Automation can be so convenient because you can control many functions throughout your house with a simple one touch or motion onto a control pad. There are many great ways automation can be beneficial to your everyday life.

Home Automation Provides Comfort

One of the first ways automation is making our lives easier is it would allow you to control all the lighting in your house in the palm of your hand. Say you are getting comfy on the couch, all wrapped in a blanket, and you realize you need to turn the light in the kitchen off before you can watch your movie. Or your kids are going out for the night and you can tell that they left all the lights on upstairs, with various automation devices; you can control that easily without leaving the couch. Dim the lights or turn them off, you control it in your hand. With automation, you can shut off lights in any room from any room thus saving yourself money on your electric bill.

Home Automation Provides Convenience

Another great benefit of automation devices is the ability to use the curtains and blinds from the remote as well. One of the worst times is when you get comfy on a couch to watch a movie and you notice that annoying glare beaming off of the television. Well, worry no more because with an automation system you can handle the blinds and curtains from the comfort of your couch. No more ruining your comfort to be able to see the television. With automation systems, all of that power will rest at the mercy of your fingertips.

Home Automation Provides Simplicity

With automation systems, the possibilities are endless. You are also able to control the temperature of your house with ease. It also enables you to set up your home security system from the comfort of your bedroom without having to walk downstairs and check if you were unsure. There are numerous ways that automation systems can be beneficial and improve your quality of life and make things in your household run more smoothly and efficiently. It truly is one of the many technologies of the future that are going to benefit our lives for years to come.

The Many Benefits of Owning a Sustainable Home

sustainable home
Image by SFU – University Communications


What is a sustainable house? A sustainable house is a home which is a healthy environment for everyone in the household (even your pets) which is free of the synthetic, often toxic building materials which are often used in home construction. A sustainable house is less aggravating to those with allergies and safer than a traditional home to live in.

A Sustainable House is Healthy:

Building a sustainable house is more environmentally friendly as well as having a much higher air quality indoors than do many homes. A lot of building materials and furniture contain formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen as well as being an irritant to the nose, throat and skin – many are allergic to this chemical as well. Materials which often contain formaldehyde include plywood, fabrics and furniture upholstery.

In a sustainable house, the furniture and building materials alike will be made from organic fibers and be free of toxic finishes. Since 1980, the rates of asthma have doubled; something which has been linked to the indoor air quality in our homes – the air quality in our homes can be as much as 100 times worse than the air outside, even in a polluted area.

A Sustainable House is Energy Efficient and Saves You Money:

The newer models of heating systems, water heaters and other appliances are far more energy efficient than are the older models which are still in use in many homes. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 80% energy than do older incandescent bulbs, making them a popular choice for homeowners. A lot of homeowners are choosing to make their homes not only sustainable but also energy efficient by insulating and sealing windows and doors, along with installing programmable thermostats.

Other small steps which can make a big difference are changing your furnace filters regularly, using low flow showerheads and insulating your water heater. Making sure that your attic is well insulated can also greatly reduce your heating and cooling costs, while using less energy.

A Sustainable House Uses Green Products:

With interest in green building on the rise, green building products are much more readily available. There are non-toxic wood finishes and paints – and there are even options for sustainable wood out there. One particularly popular sustainable wood choice is bamboo flooring. These green building products are not only sustainable but also attractive, increasing the value of your sustainable house. You can also find carpets which are made from natural materials like wool or carpets made from recycled materials.

A Sustainable House Uses Solar Energy For Additional Light or Heating:

Any house can become a sustainable house by using the sun’s power to save on heating and light. Even without solar panels, you can use skylights and windows to increase the light and warmth of your home, especially during the daytime.

You can also choose to install tinting on your windows to reduce cooling costs in the summer. There are organic window treatments available which can help you to reduce your energy costs and make yours a more sustainable house.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to make your home into a sustainable house and save a lot of money on energy costs (and maybe even doctor bills) while doing your part to protect the environment.