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Art Direction & Graphic Design

For as long as I can remember, I've drawn cartoons. It was something my dad did and I picked up on it early in life. This love of drawing is what endeared me to the Disney animated features.

In 1985, while still in high school, I turned my talents to graphic design and eventually printing. Since then, I've walked the fence between designer and illustrator, eventually landing my first Art Director position in 1994. I've held the title off and on at different jobs but I've always served the purpose, even in Webmaster positions.

Links to some samples of my art direction and design can be found below. Also, in the sub-navigation above, you'll find a set of links that covers many other facets of my design career.

Keep in mind that the work represented on this site is not indicative of everything I've done. These samples are merely the stuff I'm the most proud of.

Feel free to browse and check out some of the samples.

- Paul M. Carhart

Art Direction & Design Samples


Logo Design Samples



Thoughts on Design
by Paul M. Carhart

The first thing I'd like to emphasize is that what rules there are can indeed be broken. Very little is black and white. That said, it's good to know what rules you're breaking which is why I went to school.

The other thing to realize is, just because you've graduated from one school or another, doesn't mean that your education is over. If that were true, I would never have learned programs such as Dreamweaver or Flash and would be severely limited in what I could accomplish graphically (not to mention that the last ten years of my career have been spent primarily working in new media, which didn't exist when I went to school).

The reality is that we live in a designed world. Thought has been given to every building you may enter, car you may drive, park you may wander and utensil you might use. Beyond what has been designed by Man, there is an even greater design.

As a designer, I like to think I'm following in my Father's footsteps.

A few design basics to live by:

The color wheel is your friend.
Some folks can just pick colors out of the air and they work. But if you really want your design to sing and you want to eliminate the guesswork, brush up on your color theory. A couple complimentary colors will go a long way on your design as well as in your kitchen.

Three is the magic number.
It's true. If you have points to make, make three of them. Graphic elements, three is nice. If you absolutely must do more than three, do five or seven. Whatever you do, stay odd.

All capital letters are amateurish.
The possible exception to this is in extremely stylized headlines. Still, even in e-mail, you're yelling. There's really no reason TO ABUSE PEOPLE IN THIS WAY.

Brainstorming is a treat.
The more ideas, the merrier. If we were Sith, we'd only care about our one idea. But we are Jedi. We need many to come up with the best stuff before unifying the vision.

Someone has to be the visionary.
It doesn't always have to be the same person, but someone needs to know where the project is going. It can't be a committee. That's not leadership.


  © Paul M. Carhart, all rights reserved, all media.