Category Archives: Design Process

How to Photoshop 12 Famous Landmarks into One Image

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MapMe is a story map platform that creates itineraries, guides and events in a completely interactive way. The company was looking for a compelling image for their home page that would represent their app.


————————I began with a sketch (above) to roughly show how I envisioned this. My concept was to create a 3D map of the world that would include many famous landmarks, which would be linked to show some of the product features.

As soon as Philippe Lang, MapMe’s CEO, approved my initial sketches, I let my imagination run wild in my favourite playground – Photoshop! I was given a list of items that should be included: city symbols such as the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben, and rural areas such as mountains, sea, and lakes.


I began my task by looking for an aerial photo upon which I could base the image. I’m from South Africa originally, and like everyone from Cape Town, I am proud of the city’s exceptional beauty. When I saw this image, I immediately loved it because at the beach on the right is the seaside neighbourhood where I grew up. (If I look really carefully, I can even see our wooden bungalow, so this is a very nostalgic backdrop for me.)


I needed to create a sense of 3D space that would span from sea level to the highest mountain peaks. Keeping the bottom of the Cape Town image, I pasted a snowy mountain in the background and added grassy plains and a village in between.

Fields and forests were added, as well as a mountain from China and part of the sugarloaf from Rio. A cableway was created on the Swiss alp, and a desert area for the pyramids. To make the overall picture believable, I had to choose photos where the sun shines on the mountains from the same direction.

The composition changed a lot during the month that it took me to complete this. City and rural elements were added and removed, depending on what looked better and what seemed implausible. There were many changes and retouches to the mountain slopes, reflections on the water, and the merging of it all together.

Here are some of the closeups with more detail:

And here is the final image. Check it out here.


What are infographics anyway?

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Why does everyone want infographics? Can they really help your business?

Making a presentation or writing web content can be laborious and take up days at a time. The final result may contain all the content that you need, but it could be ineffective if it looks boring. A great infographic will change all that, and your audience will note that you stand out from the crowd.

Infographics are a set of icons, charts or illustrations that visualize a process or a story in the simplest form possible. They convey a message for a company or brand. To design an infographic, data must be studied and organized. The aim is to make an eye-catching graphic that will pass on a lot of information with minimal images and text. Infographics can be used in PPT presentations, on web sites, newsletters, emails etc. Consumers find this content useful, with successful results at a relatively low cost.

Infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than a text article. People remember 80% of what they see, but only 20% of what they read. Infographics are great branding tools, and they are an excellent source of referral traffic.

In a world where pictures really are better than a thousand words, the Infographic is King!


My aim for this graphic was to show a road with various milestones and obstacles along the way.


This infographic displays 6 pieces of information in bite-size chunks by simplifying the message of each point into easily recognizable icons.


Color-coded icons and data (left) are transformed into a complex flow chart (right).


Simple-looking variations in font size create a puzzle-like area with many pieces of information that must each stand out and be read.


Individual pictures that each employ a combination of icons to tell a story, and accompanied by text and numbers.


Hand-drawn icons for a USA-based travel company to create a unique, light-hearted look and feel.


The 5 C’s to success in working with your graphic designer

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Collaborating with your graphic designer should be an efficient and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips (the five C’s) to get the best results:



Make sure that you feel comfortable with the person you have chosen to take on your graphic design needs. Not only do you need to like their style of graphic design, but you and your graphic designer also need to understand each other. If you keep up a pleasant, cheerful atmosphere, the designer is sure to be flexible when you really need it, and to go that extra mile for you.



To ensure that the designer creates the appropriate content to attract your target market, prepare a detailed design brief. Describe your business and outline what services you provide, what sets you apart from your competitors, who your ideal client may be, and what sort of look and feel you envision for the end result. Be sure to include input from all stakeholders in the brief.



Is there an image or a color that you particularly like, and want to use? Look for examples of work that you find attractive and share those with your graphic designer. (Pinterest is a great place for reference.) If the look and feel of the draft isn’t working for you, talk to your designer about it. Most designers would prefer to know if something is bothering a client so they can address the issue as quickly as possible. Ask questions, rather than becoming disappointed. Clearly specify what you like and don’t like about the drafts. The better you explain, the better the end result will be. Sketch your idea on paper if you find it easier than describing it in words – you can take a photo of it with your phone and send it to your designer to quickly get the message across.



Design is a collaborative process, so having patience and expressing yourself clearly will help achieve your goals. Avoid vague and imprecise feedback. Designers are perceptive, but they can’t read your mind! If you don’t like what you’ve received, it will save a lot of time if you can explain why. Try and break it down into components: images, colors, type and composition. Does the design have balance and contrast? Are the shapes, colors and spaces in harmony with each other? Is the message clear to understand? Have the goals of your business been communicated? Has the company branding been correctly incorporated?



The design process is has various stages of development, from the concept to an initial draft, followed by a few rounds of changes before the final delivery. As mentioned earlier, get input from all stakeholders at the outset. If you bring a colleague or friend into the process at a later stage, after committing to a direction, your designer may lose focus or even feel discouraged. Collect all stakeholders’ comments in a single email or pdf for each round of revisions.

If you pay attention to the five C’s, you will be more likely to develop a strong working relationship with your designer. Building a solid relationship will help your designer help you. Presentation speaks volumes: your designer can enable you to communicate visually to put your business in the best professional light.  Your designer is your teammate and together, you can create and accomplish great things!