Recreating kitchen tile

Another kitchen-related design project. The backsplash tile in our kitchen is…well…here it is in all its earth-tone glory:

square kitchen tile in earth tones
I did not choose this.

Why recreate this in Illustrator? Experience. My projects so far have been generally ideas that I came up with myself, which meant that if I couldn’t achieve a desired effect, I could just do something else. But with recreating something that already exists, I’m forced to figure it out.

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Designing simple household signage

TL;DR: It really wasn’t that simple after all.

It isn’t always clear whether the dishes in the dishwasher are dirty, or someone just stopped unloading it halfway through. So in my house we use a magnet to stick a sign to the front of the dishwasher if the dishes are clean. This is what that sign once looked like:

Clean written in marker on a dirty envelope.
The writing says “Clean” but the paper is filthy!

I “commissioned” myself to redo this sign, making the first, tiniest inroads into “designing for a purpose”. To get some color inspiration, I found a photo of dishes on Unsplash.

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Japan-themed color palettes

As the days get shorter and 2020 is drawing to a close, I’ve decided to explore web design. I think that idea deserves a post all to itself. (That will be coming soon.)

In order to get an introduction to design principles, and also to work out if this is something that could be interesting in the long-term, I’ve started The Complete Graphic Design Course For Beginners on Udemy. The first “assignment” is to create color palettes based on photographs, using Canva and the Adobe Color Palette Generator.

Autumn trees with 5 colors from the photo.
Autumn in Kyoto.

Up until now I’ve only really looked at colors once I had already started a project. I like the idea of putting together colors for later inspiration.

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Increasing Text Color Contrast Improves Readability

Recently, I helped a friend with her website.  I had just spent the whole day staring at a computer screen, and my eyes were tired. So the first thing I noticed was the contrast between the body text and the background…or rather, the lack thereof.

The page looked something like this:

An example of low contrast text.
This text isn’t very easy to read, especially if you have a vision impairment.

I have made many similar color decisions myself in the past.  When I first started making websites, choosing the colors was my favorite part. The only criterion I used to decide colors for text and background was, “does it look pretty?”

What I didn’t realize at that point was that color choice can make a website difficult to read, and even exclude users from being able to view a website at all.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)  has published a set of standards for web content, called the the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG for short). Within this document are standards for just about every aspect of web content, including colors, images, video, text, and documents.

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