How to Design and Layout a Coffee Shop Or Espresso Bar

If you are planning to open an espresso bar/coffee shop, then developing an efficient store design and layout will be one of the most important factors in positioning your business for success.

Speed of service is critical to the profitability of a coffee business. An efficient ergonomic store design will allow you to maximize your sales by serving as many customers as possible during peak business periods. Even though your business may be open 12 to 16 hours a day, in reality, 80% of your sales will probably occur during 20% of those hours. Coffee is primarily a morning beverage, so your busy times of day (those times when you are most likely to have a line of waiting customers), may be from 6:30AM to 8:30AM, and then again around lunchtime. If you have a poor store layout, that does not provide a logical and efficient flow for customers and employees, then the speed of customer service and product preparation will be impaired.

Think of it like this; if someone pulls open the front door of your store, and they see 5 people are waiting in line to order, there’s a good chance they’ll come in, wait in line, and make a purchase. But, if they see that 20 people are waiting in line, there is a high probability that they may determine that the wait will be too long, and they will simply get coffee somewhere else. This is money that just escaped your cash register! And, if they come to your store multiple times, and frequently find a long line of waiting customers, they may decide you are not a viable option for coffee, and will probably never return. Poor design slows down the entire service process, resulting in a longer line of waiting customers, and lost sales. So in reality, your daily business income will be dependent upon how many customers you can serve during peak business periods, and good store design will be essential to achieving that objective!

The financial impact of a poor store design can be significant. For the sake of this example, let’s say the average customer transaction for your coffee business will be $3.75. If you have a line of waiting customers each morning between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM, this means you have 90 minutes of crunch time, in which you must drive through as many customers as possible. If you can service a customer every 45 seconds, you will serve 120 customers during this 90 minutes. But, if it takes you 1 minute 15 seconds to service each customer, then you will only be able to serve 72 customers. 120 customers x $3.75 = $450.00 x 30 business days per month = $13,500. 72 customers x $3.75 = $270.00 x 30 business days per month = $8,100. This represents a difference of $5,400 in sales per month ($64,800 per year), coming from just 90-minutes of business activity each day!

So how should you go about designing your coffee bar? First, understand that putting together a good design is like assembling a puzzle. You have to fit all the pieces in the proper relationship to each other to end up with the desired picture. This may require some trial and error to get things right. I’ve designed hundreds of coffee bar over the past 15 years, and I can truthfully tell you from experience, it still usually takes me a couple of attempts to produce an optimal design.

The design process begins by determining your menu and other desired store features. If you plan to do in-store baking, then obviously you’ll need to include in your plan an oven, exhaust hood, sheet pan rack, a large prep table, and perhaps a mixer. If you plan to have a private meeting room for large groups, then an extra 200 sq. ft. or more will need to be designed-in, in addition to the square footage you are already allocating for normal customer seating.

Your intended menu and other business features should also drive decisions about the size of location you select. How many square feet will be required to fit in all the necessary equipment, fixtures, and other features, along with your desired seating capacity?

Typically, just the space required for the front of the house service area, (cash register, brewing & espresso equipment, pastry case, blenders, etc.), back of the house (storage, prep, dishwashing and office areas), and 2-ADA restrooms, will consume about 800 sq. ft. If space for extensive food prep, baking, coffee roasting, or cooking will be required, this square footage may increase to 1,000 to 1,200, or more. What ever is left over within your space after that, will become your seating area.

So, a typical 1,000 sq. ft coffee bar, serving beverages and simple pastries only, will probably allow for the seating of 15 to 20 customers – max! Increase that square footage to 1,200 sq. ft., and seating should increase to 30, or 35. If you plan to prepare sandwiches, salads, and some other food items on site, 1,400 to 1,600 sq. ft. should provide enough space to seat 35 to 50, respectively.

Next, you will have to determine the tasks that will be performed by each employee position, so that the equipment and fixtures necessary to accomplish those tasks can be located in the appropriate places.

Normally, your cashier will operate the cash register, brew and serve drip coffee, and serve pastries and desserts. Your barista will make all your espresso-based beverages, tea, chai, hot chocolate, Italian sodas, as well as all the blender beverages. If you’ll be preparing sandwiches, panini, wraps, salads, snacks and appetizers, or will be baking on-site, then a person dedicated to food prep will be necessary. And, if you anticipate high volume, and will be serving in or on ceramics, a bus-person/dishwasher may be a necessity.

After you have determined what you will be serving, the space you will be leasing, and what each employee will be responsible for, you will then be ready to begin your design process. I usually start my design work from the back door of the space and work my way forward. You’ll need to design in all of the features that will be necessary to satisfy your bureaucracies and facilitate your menu, before you make plans for the customer seating area.

Your back door will most likely have to serve as an emergency fire exit, so you’ll need a hallway connecting it with your dining room. Locating your 2-ADA restrooms off of this hallway would make good sense. And, because delivery of products will also probably occur through your back door, having access to your back of the house storage area would also be convenient.

In the back of the house, at minimum, you will need to include a water heater, water purification system, dry storage area, back-up refrigerator and freezer storage, ice maker, an office, 3-compartment ware washing sink, rack for washed wares, mop bucket sink, and a hand washing sink. Do any food prep, and the addition of a food prep sink and prep table will be necessary. If doing baking, gelato making, full cooking, or coffee roasting, all the equipment necessary for those functions will also need to be added.

After all the features have been designed into the back of the house, you will then be ready to start your design work on the front of the house service and beverage preparation area. This area will probably include a pastry case, cash register(s), drip coffee brewer and grinder(s), espresso machine and grinders, a dipper well, possibly a granita machine, blenders, ice holding bin, blender rinse sink, hand washing sink, under counter refrigeration (under espresso machine and blenders), and a microwave oven.

If serving food beyond simple pastries and desserts, you may need to add a panini toaster grill, a refrigerated sandwich/salad preparation table, soup cooker/warmer, a bread toaster, etc. If you plan to serve pre made, ready to serve sandwiches, wraps, and salads, along with a selection of bottled beverages, an open-front, reach-in merchandising refrigerator should be considered. Serving ice cream or gelato? If the answer is yes, then an ice cream or gelato dipping cabinet will be necessary along with an additional dipper well.

Finally, when all the working areas of the bar have been designed, the customer seating area can be laid out. This will, of course, include your cafe tables and chairs, couches and comfortable upholstered chairs, coffee tables, and perhaps a window or stand-up bar with bar stools. Impulse-buy and retail merchandise shelves should be established, and a condiment bar should be located close to where customers will pick-up their beverages.

A quick word about couches, large upholstered chairs, and coffee tables. Living room type furniture takes up a lot of space. If you plan to be opening evenings, and will perhaps serve beer and wine, and having comfortable seating will be important for creating a relaxing ambiance, then by all means do it. But if you have limited seating space, and are not trying to encourage people to relax and stay for long periods of time, then stick with cafe tables and chairs. The more people you can seat, the greater your income potential!

Features from the front door to the condiment bar should be arranged in a logical, sequential order. As your customers enter the front door, their travel path should take them past your impulse-buy merchandise display, and the pastry case, before they arrive at the point of order (where your cashier, cash register, and menu-board will be located). Exposing customers to your impulse items and pastries, before they order, will greatly increase their sales. Then, after the order and payment has been taken, they should proceed down-line away from the cash register to pick-up their beverage, and finally, the condiment bar should be located beyond that point. Be sure to separate your point of order from the point of product pick-up by at least six feet, otherwise customers waiting for their beverage may begin to intrude into the space of those ordering.

Don’t make the mistakes that many inexperienced designers commonly make. They arrange these features in a haphazard way, so that customers have to change direction, and cut back through the line of awaiting customers to proceed to their next destination in the service sequence. Or, wanting to make their espresso machine a focal point to those entering the store, they place it before the cashier along the customer’s path of travel. Customers inevitably end up trying to order from the barista before they are informed that they need to proceed to the cashier first. If this happens dozens of times each day, confusion and slowed beverage production will be the result.

On the employee’s side of the counter, work and product flow are even more important. Any unnecessary steps or wasted movements that result from a less than optimal design will slow down employee production. All products should flow seamlesly in one direction towards the ultimate point of pick-up. For example, if preparing a particular item is a 3-step process, then placement of equipment should allow for the 3 steps to occur in order, in one linear direction, with the final step occurring closest to the point where customers will be served.

Equipment should be grouped together so that it is in the immediate proximity of the employee(s) who will be using it. Beyond the actual equipment, empty spaces must be left on the counter top to store ingredients and small wares (tools) used in product preparation. Counter top space will also be needed where menu items will actually be assembled. Think of the grouping of equipment for different job functions as stations. Try to keep different stations compact and in close working proximity to each other, but make sure that there is enough space between each so that employee working-paths don’t cross, which could contribute to employee collisions.

Creating defined work stations will allow you to put multiple employees behind the counter when needed. When it is busy, you may need to have 2 cashiers, another person just bagging pastries and brewing coffee, 2 baristas behind the espresso machine, a maybe even a dedicated person working the blenders. If you’re preparing sandwiches and salads to order, then another person may need to be added to handle that task. Keeping your stations in close proximity to each other will allow one employee to easily access all equipment during very slow periods of business, thus saving you valuable labor dollars.

When you arrange equipment in relationship to each other, keep in mind that most people are right handed. Stepping to the right of the espresso machine to access the espresso grinder will feel more comfortable than having to move to the left. Likewise, place your ice storage bin to the right of your blenders, so when you scoop ice, you can hold the cup or blender pitcher in your left hand, and scoop with your right.

As you create your store layout, the equipment you select should fit your space and the needs of your anticipated business volume. A busy location will most likely require a dual or twin, air pot, drip coffee brewer (one that can brew 2 pots at the same time), as opposed to a single brewer. If you anticipate selling a lot of blended and ice drinks, then an under counter ice maker, one that can only produce 100 pounds of ice or less per day, will not be sufficient. You should instead locate a high-capacity ice maker (one that can make 400 or 500 lbs. per day) in the back of the house, and transport ice to an ice holding bin up front. Plan to bring in frozen desserts and ice cream? Then a 1 door reach-in freezer in the back of he house will probably be inadequate for you storage needs, so you’ll need to consider a 2 or 3 door. I always recommend a 3-group espresso machine for any location that may generate 150 drinks per day or more. And, I can tell you from experience, you can never have too much dry or refrigerated storage space!

Make sure that any equipment you select will be acceptable with your local bureaucracy before your purchase and take delivery of it. All equipment will typically need to be NSF & UL approved, or have a similar, acceptable, foreign certification equivalent. Your bureaucracy will most likely want to see manufacturer specification sheets on all equipment to verify this fact, before they’ll approve your plans.

ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) compliance will also come into play when you are designing your coffee bar. In some areas of the country, this will only apply to those areas of your store that will be used by customers. However, other bureaucracies may require your entire store to be ADA compliant. Following are some of the basic requirements of compliance with the code:

• All hallways and isle ways must be 5 feet wide (minimum).

• All countertop working heights must be 34 inches high (instead of normal 36 inch height).

• 18 inches of free wall space must be provided on the strike-side of all doors (the side with the door knob).

• All hand-washing sinks must be ADA friendly.

• All bathrooms must be ADA compliant (5 foot space for wheelchair turnaround, handrails at toilet, acceptable clearance around toilet and hand washing sink, etc.).

• No steps allowed, ramps are OK with the proper slope.

• If your space has multiple levels, then no feature may exist on a level where handicapped access has not been provided, if that same feature does not exist on a level where it will be accessible.

You can find the complete regulations for ADA compliance at the following website:

http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm

Beyond the basic Equipment Floor Plan, showing new partitions, cabinets, equipment, fixtures, and furnishings, you’ll need to produce some additional drawings to guide your contractors and satisfy the bureaucracies.

Electrical Plan

An electrical plan will be necessary to show the location of all outlets needed to operate equipment. Information such as voltage, amperage, phase, hertz, special instructions (like, “requires a dedicated circuit”), and the horizontal and vertical location of each outlet, should all be specified.

A small, basic coffee shop might get away with a 200 amp service, but typically 400 amps will be required if your equipment package will include items like an electric water heater, high-temperature dishwasher, or cooking equipment (ovens, panini grill, etc.).

In addition to the electrical work required for your coffee business-specific equipment, you may need to adjust existing electrical for additional or reconfigured lighting, HVAC, general-purpose convenience outlets, and exterior signs. Also, have your electrician run any needed speaker wires, TV/internet cables, and cash register remote receipt printer cables at the same time they are installing electrical wires. Finally, make sure your electrician makes provisions for lighted exit signs, and a battery-powered emergency evacuation lighting system, if needed.

Plumbing Plan

A plan showing all plumbing features will be necessary. At minimum, this should show stub-in locations for all needed water sources (hot & cold), drains, your water heater, water purifications system, grease interceptor (if required), bathroom fixtures, etc.

While a typical P-trap drain should be acceptable for most fixtures and equipment, some will require an air-gap drain. An air gap drain does not go through the “S”-shaped twists of the P-trap. Instead, the drain line comes straight down from the piece of equipment or fixture, and terminates 2 inches above the rim of a porcelain floor sink drain. This porcelain drain basin is usually installed directly into the floor. The air gap between the drain line from your equipment or fixture, and the bottom of the basin, prevents any bacteria in the sewer pipe from migrating into the equipment or fixture. I drain the following pieces of equipment to a floor sink drain when creating a plumbing plan:

• espresso machine

• dipper wells

• ice maker

• ice holding bin

• food prep sink

• soft drink dispensing equipment

To save on the life of your water filtration system, only your espresso machine and coffee brewer should be supplied by with treated water. Coffee is 98% to 99% water, so good water quality is essential. Your ice maker should only require a simple particle filter on the incoming line (unless your water quality is terrible). There is no need to filter water that will be used for hand and dish washing, cleaning mops, flushing toilets, and washing floors!

Be aware that many bureaucracies are now requiring a grease interceptor on the drain line from your 3-compartment ware washing sinks and automatic dishwasher. A grease interceptor is basically a box containing baffles that traps the grease before it can enter the public sewer system.

Also understand that a typical retail space will not come equipped with a water heater with enough capacity to handle your needs. Unless your space was previously some type of a food service operation, you will probably need to replace it with a larger one.

If cutting trenches in the floor will be necessary to install porcelain floor sinks, a grease interceptor, and run drain lines, then establishing a few general purpose floor drains at this same time behind the counter, and in the back of the house, will prove useful. Floor drains will allow you to squeegee liquids away when spills occur, and when washing floors.

Finally, if you added some new walls during your remodel, you may need to have the fire sprinkler system for your space adjusted or reconfigured.

Cabinet Elevations

Drawing cabinet elevations, (the view you would have if you were standing in front of your cabinets), will be necessary for your cabinet maker to understand all the features they will need to incorporate into your cabinet designs.

These elevations are not meant to be shop fabrication drawings for your cabinetmaker, but merely serve a reference, showing needed features and desired configuration. Where do you want drawers, and under counter storage space; and, where do you want cabinet doors on that under counter storage? Where should open space be left for the placement of under counter refrigeration and trashcans? Will cup dispensers be installed in the cabinet face under the counter top? These elevations will provide your cabinetmaker with a clear understanding of all these features.

While your kitchen base cabinets at home are typically 24 inches deep, for commercial applications they should be 30 inches deep, and 33 inches if an under counter refrigerator is to be inserted. Also, when specifying the size of an open bay to accommodate under counter refrigeration, be sure to allow a couple of inches more than the physical dimensions of the equipment, so that it can be easily inserted and removed for daily cleaning.

Dimensions Plan

You will need to create a floor plan showing all the critical dimensions for new partitions, doors, cabinets, and fixtures. This will, of course, help make sure that everything ends up where it is suppose to be, and will be the right size.

A final thought about design; unless the space you will be designing is a clean vanilla shell (meaning, nothing currently exists in the space, except perhaps one ADA restroom), you will have to make sure that all the features that you are considering keeping, will be acceptable with your local bureaucracy. Many older buildings were not designed to present codes. If the business type remains the same (your space was occupied by a food service establishment before you), then some times any non compliant features will be grandfathered-in, meaning you don’t have to bring them up to current requirements. But don’t count on this! You need to check with your bureaucracies to make sure. More and more I see bureaucracies requiring new business owners to remodel, so that all features are compliant with codes. This means you may have to rip-out bathrooms and hallways, add fire sprinkler systems, and provide ramps where there are steps. Better you know all these things before you begin your store design!

I always tell my consulting clients, that if I produce a perfect design and layout for them, they will never notice… because everything will be exactly where you would expect it to be. Unfortunately, if you create a less than optimal design for your coffee bar, you probably won’t realize it until you start working in it. Changing design mistakes or inadequacies after the fact, can be extremely expensive. Not correcting those mistakes may even cost you more in lost potential sales. For this reason, I strongly suggest using an experienced coffee business space designer to create your layout for you, or at very least, to review the design you have created. Doing so will payoff with dividends.

The State Of Graphic Design In Jordan

Jordan’s unique geographical position results in its experts choosing self development, which includes graphic design. Experts are also involved with developments taking place in neighbouring countries and the internet was extremely useful in putting interested parties in these two fields in touch with each other and sharing possible development tools. The development of Graphic Design is also assisted by annual exhibitions and specialised conferences held both in Jordan and outside the Arab world.

The academic and professional specialists for the basis in developing graphic design through the formation of local learning institutions. In these institutions academics, programmers and graphic design teachers can meet with professional designers and discuss the way business is moving forward and requirements of the labour market.

Practical training is considered the foundation of Graphic Design, upon which the academic skill of the student and his creativity are built. Working in a design office is considered to be the most important and effective tool in measuring the level of academic learning. It also gives an indication of the effectiveness of teachers in producing a generation of students capable of dealing with the academic ethos and engaging with the requirements of the profession. This training provides the students with opportunities to polish and develop their skills by working along side established practitioners. Today’s graphic design tools rely on information technology for producing visualisations of scientific developments. This visualisation requires an understanding of the scientific theory and the visualisation tools available, which in turn relies on the expertise of graphic designers.

In this paper I will focus on the profession of graphic design and its development by discussing its early development. I will review the positive and negative aspects of that development and how they related to changes in the market and the size of the market and labour force. I will also discuss the academic concepts, and the requirement for graduate graphic designers.

In this paper I draw from my experience of working in Jordan since 1987 at the MIDAS Establishment and my roles in student training at Yarmouk University and the Applied Sciences University, which I had been attached to since 1999. This paper addresses many questions and aims to explore the mechanics of enhancing graphic design in the academic and professional sectors.

The historic and technical initial stages of graphic design in Jordan

Graphic design developed alongside the printing and information technology industries. Printing was brought to Jordan in the 1940s by people who had learnt the trade in other countries. Jordan’s printing evolution was similar to that of other countries. Printing started using wooden moulds, then zinc clichés and letterpress, as well as other printing tools, symbols and shapes. It was the printing technology that restricted the scope for producing new designs. The range of items printed was limited to newspapers, cards and stationary. Printing started mainly in black and white, and was then developed to make photo made clichés through which the printers were able to print in full colour. Typolography, or raised printing was the main method and is still used today. Offset printing enhanced the quality of production, providing improvements in colour and picture reproduction. Around the same time the role of the graphic designer was developed, involving the preparation of makettes and then film montage and plates to be ready for printing (prepress); this relied on the professionalism of the film montage technician for the preparation of backgrounds for the pictures and words. Prepress was considered the most important process in the production of the final printed article. This process was carried out at the prepress service centre which was limited to a single institution until 1987. This centre had the capability and technology to perform a range of techniques where an artistic touch was required.

In the late sixties, design pioneers were not graphic designers, but had learnt the technologies of collage and calligraphy. They were able to imitate designs from abroad and in some instances reproduced them. Their work initially ranged from greetings cards, business cards, social stationary, letterheads and envelopes, then progressed to brochures and folders. The work was mainly limited to newspaper advertising which relied predominantly on the offset printing method. We shouldn’t forget the air brush technology that provided designers with the use of graded colours, achieving three dimensional effects for some designs, although the number of people using this was limited.

From 1980-87 design was performed by specialists in Plastic Arts and Architecture, as well as the first graduates of the college of arts at Yarmuok University and similar institutions. By the end of the eighties, the computer Linotype was used as a publishing tool by newspapers to prepare text for layout and paste it on the required pages next to advertising. Some publishing houses have graphic design offices which also acquired these systems to ensure the production of books and magazines to a similar quality. Linotype was also used to prepare the design of brochures and advertising materials that cannot be hand drawn. With time Linotype was also used for the preparation of other material by this method, including greeting cards, posters and advertisements.

The design and printing sectors found the computer to be an effective way of improving productivity. In 1988 with the arrival of the first design computer by Apple Macintosh, the numbers of workers in the field increased and performance progressed in the pre-printing stages such as film making and separation. However, the expense of computers meant that there use was still limited. The production of personal computers by competitors of Apple Macintosh as well as the ease with which film can be processed through its programs, created a huge increase in the number of professionals interested in graphic design. This became evident by the growth in the number of agencies, design offices, publishing houses and service centres.

Personal computers affected the technical and artistic aspects of production. Some production centres were able to develop their skill base and by recruiting experienced designers and developing them by organising training courses. These highly trained individuals achieved high standards of work within and outside Jordan and were able to compete with others in the Arab regions and captured a share of these markets, producing many publications. Jordanian specialists became serious competitors against other Arab countries which had previously monopolised the fields of design and printing. Jordan has developed so that it can meet the demand for design and printing within the country. Jordan has become a magnet for many publishing houses in the Arab region. Many production and publishing organisations were able to catch up to the levels of the latest technology. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that they will develop further, using modern production tools, and this will ensure there are enough local specialists who can continue to produce work of the highest quality.

The pace of technological development made it necessary for the academic institutions to provide the Jordanian market with the skilled workers who can work to the high standards required. These institutions have to continually adapt to the advancing technology as well as support the academics in their quest to enhance the artistic, scientific and technological aspects of production and publishing. Relationships must also be strengthened by co-operation between business leaders and academic institutions in order to provide the mutual benefit of improve standards, with the ultimate aim of keeping up with both local and international developments.

The easiest way to judge the standard of design and printing in a country is through the newspapers, magazines and books published. Television also provides a showcase for visual communication through locally produced advertisements. The speed of printing development has made impositions on graphic design and the designers themselves. Designers have to continuously update their training to keep abreast of new technology. This enables them to be at the forefront of improving quality and creativity in all aspects of production.

The advantages and disadvantages of sectors allied with graphic design

When discussing the organisations involved in design and production in Jordan it is easy to become overwhelmed by the variety and abundance of them. These organisations saturate the market. One of the reasons for the number of organisations is the variety of production formats, each of which has its own structure. Computerisation has lead to many operators being made unemployed.

Production sources can be divided into;

– Design

– Commercial printing

– Publishing houses

– Pre-press services centres

– Computer software training centres

These are the organisations where people often look for graphic designers, although most of them do not have academically trained staff who specialise in graphic design. Many of the people who own these organisations have chosen to specialise. Some of them specialised because the profession does not require a large capital outlay, others specialised because they had a knowledge of the tools used. Most appear to have specialised because this provides them with status in their community.

Although there are many organisations working in graphic design, the workers and owners in these establishments often lack awareness of the professional graphic design concepts as they have not studied the subject in depth. Employment opportunities for graduates only began to develop after 2000 when some organisations recognised the need for such skilled workers and academic institutions were able to produce professionals of this standard. The impression of graphic design graduates has changed so companies are no longer choosing graduates who studied abroad. Design establishments have noticed the high quality of products which trained graduates can produce with their competence and skills, and their ability to use the full range of design and printing equipment. Without this properly structured training program, experience had been gained through hap-hazard on the job training.

One of the weaknesses of those producing the designs is that they are not always confident about how to use the latest techniques. They often ask advice and prefer to work within their comfort zones, failing to produce designs that would demand a great deal of time, effort or care. Graduates are much more comfortable with change and willing to develop new skills. There are a few professionals, however, who have been invaluable in the development of graphic design by training others and developing their own technical and professional skills. These people have also monitored the pace of development in the fields of printing and graphic design.

Many of the professionals have established themselves thorough the high quality of the work they produce. This is not possible without a capable, aware and educated body of co-workers, who have scientific knowledge and are creative rather than imitating the work of others.

The increasing gap between academic designers and employers, or art directors and creative managers is often due to misunderstanding the role of graphic designers. In industry, the priority of some designers or agency owners is profitability regardless of the quality of the results.

The first problem is that some of the art directors or creative managers are not aware of the importance of their position, and often the employer is equally ignorant of this. Job titles are often arbitrary so artistic or creative managers frequently lack experience and expertise.

There is an absence of a common language between academic designers and managers or employers. This often frustrates designers, creating insecurity and hindering creativity. Such an environment can be an attempt to reduce a designers` status and restricts him from engaging in the creative thinking he would have been taught and university.

Adequacy of the professional reality

Graphic designers are distinguished from other fields by being one of the most creative professions; they work with information technology and visual communication. It also involves dealing with the business world, in which credibility and ability are necessary to achieve the creative work. Qualifications and talent are essential for this.

A graphic designer is not only an artist but also a technician who is able to use software and techniques to tackle the project in hand. His approach should go beyond communication with the audience, to effective promotion and display. His aim is to produce clarity and he should be able to do this from the information using the techniques available to him. The aim is to connect the data and in order to do this must understand the development and design of the software that could be used. He has to understand all the innovations and methods of designing texts.

The design sector requires professionals to have the experience to be able to select and classify information, and to create links between related elements. However, this won’t be enough if they can not interpret this and transform it into definite forms. It is also important to understand the vocabularies of with language, sound and music as they are the most important tools of communication. Added to this, the designer must understand how to use the specialised design software to write texts, prepare drawings, animated cartoons and websites. The designer should know about design, timing, transformation, rhythm and visual presentation.

The potential of the design sector should be realised by knowledge of the necessary theories and techniques to improve communication with the audience, enrich the design proposals and understand the reflective aspect of the design process, studies and research.

There is much variation in the qualifications of staff within the design sector. It is important to differentiate between the craftsman and the academic designer. The graphic designer is a complete cultural and intellectual entity that is noted in the sensational theory, linguistic theory, visual eloquence and the cultural history of art, literature, science, technology, industry and humanity. They cannot isolate themselves from developments in theories of communication, information development, and from management and criticism. Moreover to improve the added value of the final product, all methods and tools used in production and publication should be understood. They must understand the stages before the design, and they must understand the printing process and its implications on the design.

The market is crowded with many people working in graphic design. Due to the wide use of graphic design in many fields of work, the widespread use of computers and availability of basic software packages there is a role for people using graphic design without any prior knowledge. The expression of graphic design is still not adequately understood by some employers in industrial and commercial firms and organisations that need graphic design services.

I do not doubt the potential of the vocational sector but this is the reality of graphic design. It must be remembered that well qualified people now occupy high status positions in the Jordanian market, showing its expertise and its ability to demonstrate the highest levels of graphic design.

The size of the market and people working in graphic design

There are now more than five hundred establishments working in graphic design. There are many who would not classify themselves as an agency, centre or office, as they have found their own market niche. Therefore these classifications can not be meaningfully applied in Jordan.

The sector is large compared to the market. The establishment of new graphic design organisations peaked in 1999. Since then, some have declined while others have expanded. Some have stagnated or changed management, while others have merged.

A quick look at the design sector will show that 85% of those working in the field can be classified as;

– Computer science graduates

– Architecture graduates

– Interior design graduates

– Graduates in ‘Computers and the Fine Arts’ from community colleges

– Fine arts graduates (both graphic design specialists and non-specialists)

– Graduates of design courses run by computer centres

– Unemployed people who are interested in computers

University educated graphic design graduates fulfil an important role because;

– Universities produce Graphic Designers with a different outlook to those mentioned above.

– Organisations run by people who understand graphic design will be better able to develop designers skills and adapt to the future

I am concerned for students who study graphic design at university but do not try to improve his rate of innovation and creativity in order to improve. This will affect whether he is employable.

Academically and scientifically talented students will have few problems because good employers need students who are able to form ideas quickly, use appropriate design programs for his ideas and able to produce those. Other organisations are not useful for the academic designer. These are the push-pull level of the graphic design sector which reflects the levels of awareness of the concepts and functions of graphic design.

The market is capable of absorbing all graduates. This is dependent on the development of visual communication methods through graphic design. Such development requires the presence of skilled workers capable of meeting the needs of the market. This places incentives for educational organisations that deal with design to plan to suit the graphic design market.

The academic reality of graphic design

The emergence of academic institutions that specialised in the arts started at the Yarmouk University where the first arts and music department was established in 1980. This became a faculty in 2001, teaching drama, design (industrial, interior and graphic), plastic arts and music. The university awards bachelor degrees. It started in 2001 at the height of the computer revolution within the design sector in Jordan. In1991 teaching graphic design started as an independent specialisation within the Arts Department at the Applied Sciences University. This was followed by the Ahiya Amman University, the Petra University, Philadelphia University, AlZaytouneh University, the University of Jordan, and later the Israh University.

Apart from universities, during the time when graphic design became popular and a profitable profession, community colleges started teaching graphic design. These included the Al-Quds College, Granada College, Middle University College and Princess Alya College.

The work of the universities that award bachelor degrees is similar to colleges that grant two year diplomas, because both produce students with a certificate in graphic design. But in reality where creativity and technical skills are concerned we find differences. The differences are in the course curricula, and include understanding the production process, product identity, knowledge of software and design innovation.

There is confusion between graphic design and graphic art. These differences affect the student, particularly when he enters employment. He is judged by both his creativity and innovation in producing new ideas and his ability to use technology which now involves the computer, the main graphic design tool.

The reason for these differences becomes clear when we look at the number of workers in the market and where they graduated from. During the time that the largest number of graduates were being produced, the highest quality graduates were produced by well-known institutions and these were recruited by the most successful companies.

A distinction has developed between technicians and designers. This is because some academic institutions concentrate on technology and the practical aspects of design software, whilst others developing the ability to use knowledge and know how to connect ideas to the psychological and social context and include qualitative studies of theories and design curricula.

The reasons for this are;

– The absence of specialised academic experts in graphic design and the poor quality of some of the teachers.

– The absence of appropriate study plans for creating graphic designers

– The absence of a system defining the role of universities and colleges in teaching graphic design

– The absence of entry examinations to graphic design courses, unlike courses in the art specialisations

– The absence links to the outside world, other than through books.

– Some universities and colleges do not understand the concept of graphic design in an industrial context.

– The absence of official government support for finding a way to establish a core curriculum for university courses.

I have taught in the art departments of a number of universities and have assessed many graduation projects. These gave me the opportunity to find out about graphic design teaching, the standards of students, and showed the need for appropriate study plans. There is a lack of competitiveness which would improve educational standards and there is an arbitrary use of teaching methods. Objectives can be clear, but often mistake in not using the appropriate teaching methodology leads to them not being achieved.

In order to develop and improve, the graphic design sector needs skilled and competent workers. The workers will not be able to respond to the changes in technology unless they have a formal academic training. In order to achieve this advancement it is essential that graduate students are used as graphic design specialists.

Conclusion

There is a requirement in the Jordanian arena for the academic and professional sectors to review their experiences and identify their strengths and weaknesses. This is used by them to set a strategy capable of giving graphic design the respected position it deserves.

There is a requirement for government intervention to provide arena where specialists in graphic design may discuss many of the concepts that help them make company owners and managers aware of how to make the best use of graphic designers.

As well as teaching graphic design, universities and community colleges must support the markets needs for designers and artisans within the new specialisations which need to be introduced in order to reduce unemployment.There is a need for a professional body in graphic design to give support to designers, co-ordinate educational and technical preparation and for making contacts with the outside world. It is important to hold workshops and symposiums that enhance the competence of teaching staff, designers and students; these should be held with assistance from international institutions which are respected in this field.

It is also important to hold national and international competitions to encourage creativity and innovation. This will create a competitive atmosphere in which graphic design can flourish.

Finally, it is important to create a national identity in graphic design, which can cement its position in the international arena.

Letterhead Design and Desktop Publishing

If you are starting up a business, or trying to upgrade your look and feel, one of the things you have probably considered, or should have considered, is business stationary. There comes a point where sending out letters, bills, and advertisements on blank paper out of your fancy printer just doesn’t cut the cake.

One easy solution is to go to a professional. There, for just an arm and a leg, you can, if you’re lucky, get something really fine. If you’re lucky, and get a pro who also knows how to listen, you’ll actually get something that fits you, and not just their idea of what looks hot or in fashion. But in the computer-heavy world, there is another option.

Desktop publishing is a fancy phrase meaning, You Have The Power. No matter what computer you work with, you can find an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use program that will enable you to design your own headings, stationary, invitations, and general design.

When you start out, you’ll find yourself pushing every button, adding every frill, and generally making some of the ugliest things you can imagine. Calm down. It goes away. Once you have learned what you CAN do, you can start working towards what you can do. Remember that once you’ve bought the software, it’s free, not $500-a-shot, so you can really, and usually quickly, make something that suits your needs and maintains the character of your business.

A couple of tips will, if not make you a professional, at least put you out of the rank amateur category, and feel competent at what you’re doing.

You’re trying to create a feel. Take an idea, and repeat it. The consistency of any one idea will bring everything together. Figure out what is the main idea, and make sure that this remains the focus. Either it should be bigger, or central, or in some way clearly the dominant idea on the page. Other wording should NOT be similar. Your design takes shape by having contrast. Think of how many ways you can contrast the different items on the page. Use size, color, and style of font to focus where you want the focus, and keep the minor information as background.

It doesn’t really matter whether you are trying for a classic look or a creative feel. These principles cross all boundaries. Balance them on one hand, with the image you’re trying to convey on the other, and you can design yourself right onto the map.

For more information on this subject and many others, please visit Stationary Place.

Sam Jordan

How to Create a Good Letterhead Design?

A letterhead is a part of a very effective business package. You see the letterhead has a great influence on your image, specifically on how your company is viewed by your potential customers. It is your initial move to introduce your company to your prospects. For this reason, it is essential to design the letterhead with the right image of your company. It is the letterhead that conveys to your customers who you are and what products or services you have. You think that they only provide the address of your company. But it’s more than that. Letterheads have great marketing potential that business persons can take advantage to make it to the industry.

If you want to make an impression it’s the letterheads that you should capitalize on. What does a letterhead can do to your company? Well, the letterhead can enhance the credibility of your business. It implies your corporate identity, which means it’s the one responsible for convincing your prospects that you have a professional image.

To be able to have a good professional image for your business, your letterhead design should be good. You must know that there are several ways on how you can design a great-looking letterhead. What is important is that your letterhead should be able to increase your marketability. A letterhead is said to be well-designed when it effectively gets your word across your prospective clients.

One of the most important things that you should remember when designing a letterhead is to make a good first impression. It’s a must that you ensure to make use of a high quality printing method in producing your letterheads.

Another important thing to take into consideration is to match your letterhead with the envelope. This way you can make a more professional look and feel in your company letterheads. The paper of the letterhead should be compatible with the envelope paper. It leaves a clean and corporate look and your business package.

In addition, you should also need to make a well thought-out plan with regard to the design of the letterhead before you decide to produce it or submit to the printer. With careful planning on letterhead design, there’s a higher possibility that you’ll achieve a successful marketing campaign and corporate branding for your business. With the right layout of letterhead, you can prevent design and printing errors which sometimes ruin your overall marketing campaign.

There are lots of companies out there that offer letterhead printing and design services concerning the utmost creation of your letterheads and other marketing materials. These companies are the ones you can depend on when you don’t have any background yet on what design is good for your letterhead printing projects. Choose the right company that will provide you the best services that you need. Surely, there are no regrets in letterhead printing.

7 Important Software Solutions A Fashion Design Company Should Use

When a new line or season is planned, manufacturers and designers in the fashion design industry have many parameters to consider. The elements that comprise the fashion design company expenses are many, and the product line planning stage can never be too meticulous.

Following is a list of a few modules and add-ons to CAD/CAM software solutions intended at keeping manufacturing on track, while saving on inputs such as raw materials and work hours (manpower):

  • Prototyping

    -PDS Pattern Design System and 3D Draping for getting the right fit the first time – faster.

    -Asset management – no more storing of paper patterns – instant retrieval for modification, amendments etc.

  • Merchandising
  • 1. 3D Draping utility for faster approvals of fit from buyers, communicate in 3D.

    2. 3D Designer – Carry your whole sampling room and the entire fabric swatch library for virtual presentations.

    3. Marker Making Software – Automatic marker making solution for fast consumption calculations for costing purposes. Allows you to Plan your fabric purchases effectively – Order just the right quantity needed, neither less nor more.

    4. Part patching Marker making – automatic marker making solutions for patterned, striped or check fabrics where part matching has to be done.

    5. Modulate – Create your patterns once and use them forever – Just change the measurements and all the related patterns change automatically.

  • Production
  • – Save fabrics during bulk cutting by making the tightest possible marker, with the least fabric wasted.

  • Converters
  • – They are available for converting native files from other CAD/ CAM systems to OptiTex(TM) format. OptiTex(TM) is a fully open CAD/ CAM solution, we can read files from almost all the major CAD/ CAM vendors and can work in a truly collaborative manner irrespective of which CAD system the vendor/ supplier is using.

    For further planning and production line efficiency, the following software solutions may be considered:

    3D Simulation – 3D Simulation offers the user a suite of tools that will simulate all pre-production activities including stitching, fitting, visualization, texture and color variation. This can also be used as a communication tool between retailer, subcontractor, designer, pattern maker, manufacturer, costing and marketing departments. It allows the visualization of any pattern modifications instantly in 3D, based on accurate CAD patterns and real fabric characteristics.

    Runway Designer – Whenever a manufacturer goes for a meeting with the buyer, it is customary to see them lugging around huge suitcases full of garment samples and fabric swatches. The same samples can now be easily carried around virtually with this user friendly and intuitive tool.

    Runway Designer has an inbuilt library where different sizes of mannequins and their associated garments and scanned fabrics and prints can be stored. Presentation of the virtual fashion collection is just a click away. Communicating and presenting design ideas was never simpler. All the characteristics of the fabric will be taken care of, while simulating the garment.

    In conclusion:

    Saving on manpower or materials and shortening the Time-To-Market can make all the difference between a profitable company and one which is not, and a company in the fashion design industry cannot afford planning or manufacturing mistakes.

    Using any or all of the above software solutions and modules can assist with production line efficiency and profitability in the fashion design industry.

    Finding the Best Website Design Company in India

    India is the hotspot for website designing presently and it does not disappoint! The web design firms in the country are some of the best on the internet and deliver quality work at the lowest of prices. It is no wonder then, that a majority of people are contacting Indian website design companies to either design or re-design their websites. The result is always satisfactory and attracts huge amounts of internet traffic, much to the benefit of the site’s owner.

    But, with the plethora of website designers present in India, how can you find out which ones are good and which are not? The answer is simple – research it! The large number of website design companies and the tedious task might seem daunting at first, but it pays rich dividends in the long run. In this day and age, researching can be done online, especially for a web design firm. Here are a few tips that might come in handy when you go looking for those who will design your website.

    First of all, check out the location of the company, whether it is in a metropolitan area or not. Website designers are more likely to opt for firms based in metros and major cities due to the presence of better opportunities. Therefore, location means better talent for your business in this field. But, if a website design company you like is not located in one of the metros of India, it still will not hurt to check out its work. There might be a little difference between the charges being levied by the website design firms in metros and non-metros, but the difference is nominal, and completely affordable.

    Also, check the previous websites designed by the company, so that you can get a better idea regarding what kind of sites the website designer possesses experience in. Most designers do put up links of the companies that have done work for, so it will not be difficult to get hold of their work. If you like a certain web design company, ask it for the statistics of the number of visitors received for any particular website it developed. Footfall, obviously, will let you determine the effectiveness of the site as well as the web design India.

    If you are offering prospective clients certain products or willing to render services, and aim to grow your business, then your website must be searchable. This means that the website designer should be proficient in making the site search engine friendly. If your site comes in among the first few pages of the searches carried out by Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com and other search engines, then promoting your business would become a piece of cake.

    The thousands of Indian web design organizations offer variegated packages to prospective clients to develop or re-design their site. The charges are just a fraction of what it might have cost for the same job in USA or elsewhere, but checking out the nominal rate is advisable. Think about the job you want the website designer to do exactly, the number of pages, graphics, links etc. you want on the site and check out the packages being offered by the companies for your requirements.

    But making your website rank among the most searched ones is no walk in the park; it requires relevant content and attractive designing, along with superlative SEO skills. All website design companies offer SEO services and quite a few sites designed by these companies come up on the first pages of popular search engines. So hire a web designer in India who has some pages ranked in the top engines, namely Google, Yahoo and Ask.com.

    All in all, a web design firm should exercise strategic planning, business promotion techniques, creativity, application development as well as solution maintenance while creating a site. These are the points you need to keep in mind while thinking of getting your website designed in India. With the help of these useful tips, you are bound to zero in upon the most apt designer for your website.

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