All posts by Basilios

Celebrating 10 years in freelance graphic design

Wait… has it been that long already?

Basilios Graduation 2005It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since my college graduation – it was a major milestone for me. At the time, I don’t think I sat down to imagine how my life would be ten years down the line and here I am now a husband to a lovely wife and a proud father of two healthy boys.

My life changed when I moved back to Indianapolis in 1998 with the goal of getting a college degree and in May of 2005, my goal became reality when I earned my Bachelors of Science degree from Purdue University.Like most college kids, I went to school not really knowing what I wanted to do. When I was introduced to the world of graphic design, digital graphics and multimedia in particular, I knew I had finally found my calling. The symbolic language of graphic design is universal because it has the ability to communicate across different cultures, languages and countries.

Entering the world of freelance graphic design…

Many people believe being a graphic designer is a free and quite laid back profession, which will offer you an unlimited amount of spare time, but that is just not the case. Graphic design comes with its share of stress and long hours. It can easily have you looking for another job if you do not have the passion for it. Graphic design clients will typically change their mind several times before a project is given the thumbs up. I understand that. It is part of the job and it is also the goal to make sure my client is satisfied with the final product. The happier your client is, the happier you will be.

If you are a graphic designer thinking about entering the freelance graphic design industry, here is a nice read which can be found in the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) website, explaining some of the considerations and lessons learned: http://www.aiga.org/freelance-considerations–lessons-learned/

I love what I do!

I love thinking outside the box and solving problems. Creating and designing. I love taking an idea and turning it into a visual representation with an identity. Most of all, I love that at the end of the day (no matter how stressful that day was) I can sit back and say “I love what I do”.

Over the last ten years in the freelance graphic design industry, I have had several fantastic opportunities and have built lasting relationships with many people as I helped them communicate their ideas visually. Working for such a variety of different clients has given me a great range of experiences which has helped me build on the foundation of skills I learned in college.

In addition to the Freelance graphic design work I do, I am about to celebrate my eight year anniversary working for a manufacturing company as the lead graphic designer for our marketing team.  This company has provided me with such a wonderful opportunity to live out my dreams and actually DO what I went to school for.  The amount of experiences I have had with this company is invaluable.

Looking down the road another ten years, what should my next goal be? Improve my craft and continue learning?  Well, that is a given! Graphic designers, specifically in web development, will not survive without continually learning. Maybe I can venture to say that my goal for the next ten years would be to get to a point where I can do freelance graphic design full time enabling me to travel back to Greece with my family for the Summer and work remotely from there for part of the year. I do not know if that will happen, but it is certainly fun daydreaming about it.

Cheers to another 10 prosperous years of learning, perfecting my craft and continuing to build on the solid foundation I have created for myself!

Basilios K Dimitrelias
BKD Designs
Dimitrelias Family Easter 2015

 

How to edit photos online for free without Photoshop

Did you know you can edit photos without the need of expensive photo editing  software?

Pixlr is a cloud based photo editor tool available for free (assuming you have an internet connection) and intended for non-professionals, but it has some advance editing capabilities very similar to what Photoshop has to offer. It can now be used on smartphones and tablets as well.

A little history on Pixlr (thanks to Wikipedia)

It was founded in 2008 in Sweeden by a guy caned Ola Sevandersson but in 2011 it was acquired by a well known American software corporation called Autodesk.

Okay so why use this?

Simply it allows you to edit photos for free while giving you many options available in other professional photo editing software.

As a graphic designer I use all kinds of software, multimedia applications and tools. for photo editing I mainly use Adobe Photoshop. But a cloud based version of Photoshop now costs $19/month (about $228/ year give or take). You can also buy a copy of Adobe’s Photoshop Elements for a PC or MAC for about $70. Unless you are using Photoshop as a professional or you have a passion needing photo editing as your hobby its a little hard to justify spending that amount of money.

People want free stuff. No one really wants to pay for this stuff? So basically Pixlr is for those who just do not want to pay for photo editing software or simply cannot afford it… but let me give you another example.

I was once helping out a friend and I did not have access to my computer. He did not have any essential graphic designer tools installed on his computer. He wanted help editing some old photos of his, so the first thing that came to mind was Pixlr. I pulled it up very quick on his browser made the edits and had my friend watch in awe. He did not realize this tool was available and free!

He now tells me he uses the Pixlr anytime he has to edit a photo and has gotten quit good at it too.

So…

In conclusion what I’m trying to say here is that you do not have to have hundreds of dollars worth of software to edit a photo. The tools are out there. Pixlr is one of many.

Go ahead give it a try: http://apps.pixlr.com/editor/

Pixlr editor

Thumbtack helps you find new customers and grow your business.

If you are in need of a service or you are a professional looking to grow your business, then I would recommend you sign up with Thumbtack

A day does not go by where for one reason or another I have to get on Google and search for something. The question really is who doesn’t do this in this day and age?

Have you ever heard of Thumbtack?

Hire a local professionalI came across this great services when my company was looking for a professional photographer to take some corporate head-shots.
It’s basically a website where customers can go looking to hire professional to help them accomplish their personal projects. They have to answer a series of specific questions about their needs. Then Thumbtack reviews the request and sends it to the appropriate professionals that have signed up for the service with those particular skills. These professionals then bid on the project and the users gets to choose.

It is a great idea and I have used it several times since then as a customer. I have now signed up as a professional as well, which helps me generate leads for all my freelance work.

Click here to see my profile

Searching through bookmarks made easy

If you use bookmarks when browsing, Dewey is an app you must have

If you are like me you may have over 100 cool pages bookmark on your browser with the idea that down the line at some point you are going to need to use that blog article as a reference. But searching through bookmarks seems to takes longer than actually going back on Google and searching for the website all over again.

Well worry no more!

Searching through bookmarks made easy

About a year ago I came a across this very cool app that I now use on a daily basis on Google’s Chrome Browser (which I find to be the best web browser out there right now). The app is called Dewey. It’s a quick install and easy to use interface. Just type the keyword and it will find your bookmark for you.

 

Play Pac Man on your browser thanks to Google

Growing up on a small Greek island in the Aegean sea in the 80’s was not quite what you would call the “Meca” of video games and technology.

But I did grow up in the 80’s and 90’s and if you did too, then surly you have played some Pac Man! (pacman? Which one is it?).

There was an arcade game in an old bar in our small village of 800 people at the time, and all the teenagers would go in there spending hours with a few coins they were able to snatch from their parents to play the few games available. One of them being Pac Man. I was mostly a spectator watching the older kids play the game.

Later on we were lucky enough that my Grandmother from Indianapolis bought a Nintendo Gameboy in a yard sale and shipped it over to us in Greece. Now that was a game changer! My brother and I would fight over who will get to play this thing. Eventually my grandma had to send over another one! Yes the fights between brothers are endless.

So even though I was never really great at video games (my brother mastered all the Gameboy games) I enjoyed playing them and I enjoyed playing and even watching my friends playing Pacman on that old arcade game trying to beat each other’s records.

I think not only our generation but also the fact that we grew up in a place that was a few years behind from the existing technology available makes me appreciate more what we had and what did not have at the time. I am not sure kids this days will understand that.

Daniel playing Gameboy

my Brother Daniel in his farm clothes playing Gameboy.

The Modern Day Pacman

So not in this day and age I cannot even keep up with the evolution of video games. The amazing graphics and level of difficulty that comes with them. Quit frankly I think the gaming world has gotten a little out of control but that is a different story for a different day.

Once morning I hopped on Google to look something up as I do pretty much every single day. and I remember seeing Pacman on Google’s home page. To my surprise I was a little shocked when I realized I could actually play the game right there. Needless to say I did spend a few minutes trying to knock off some of the rust before I moved on to my daily activities. The game was up on Google’s home page for 48 hours celebrating the 30th anniversary of the most popular game of all time! This was back in 2010. May 21 to be exact.

After popular demand, Pac Man became available permanently on http://www.google.com/pacman/

And just for fun I have embedded the game on this post for you to enjoy for a few minutes and maybe bring back a few childhood memories to you to as it did for me.

Thanks to Barry Schwartz’ post for the embedding code.

And if you are really missing those old arcade games you grew up with here is a great site running a simulator of all those great MS-DOS Games:

https://archive.org/details/softwarelibrary_msdos_games&tab=collection