Apr 29

Learning

Jared Jacob's fools you into thinking that tight is loose »

Jared Jacob's work is loose and lyrical. But, it's easy to miss the fact that it is also very tightly designed--meaning he is meticulous about the detail of each element, the piece's overall composition, how he fills negative space, and so on.

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An example of what I mean by tight and loose...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Jared Jacob's website...

An interview with Jacob from the Logo Lounge...

From Spoon Graphics: One method for achieving a similar type of distressed look in Adobe Illustrator...

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Apr 27

Print Design

How to design an embroidered patch »

These patches, designed by Ben Noe for Expedition Collectables, are not only beautiful, they offer a great lesson in how to design for the medium. If you've ever designed artwork that will be stitched, you know how vexing the decision-making process can be. Great compositions, deft use of typography, and I love the color palettes.

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The Dream Series...

The Seven Summits Series...

The Colorado Collection...

Expedition Collectables...

Ben Noe's website...

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Apr 25

Illustration

Meet my favorite children's book illustrator, Robert McCloskey »

I have a tangential connection to Mr. McCloskey. In the third grade I was the curtain puller in the Cherry Hill Elementary School production of "Homer Price" (yes, I did get my name in the program—trophies for everyone was in full effect even then.) An, even more pivotal is the fact that, as an adult, I spent my solo days (in an Outward Bound program) on an island very near to where McCloskey and his family spent their summers. Pretty amazing legacy huh? Well perhaps not.

But I did love reading his books to my sons. For whatever reason, his illustration style rang true to me.

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His home town, Hamilton, Ohio, is duly proud of its connection...

An illustration from "Homer Price"...

Sketchs for "Make Way for Ducklings" from Boston Public Library...

A McCloskey bio...

McCloskey spent summers on Scott Island, a small island off Little Deer Isle in East Penobscot Bay in Maine...

One Morning in Maine...

If you want a challenging introduction to the region, I can't recommend Outward Bound Schools highly enough (there are programs for ages 12 through adult)...

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Apr 22

Print Design

A wonderful resource for restaurant branding and design »

Grits and Grids is a blog created by restaurant branding firm Vigor. As is so often the case, the highest quality coverage of a subject comes from people with a passion for the subject—the site is curated by Joseph Szala, Vigor's owner.

As they tell it, "It started as a means to build inspiration and bring the awesome world of restaurant branding and design to creatives, but was also meant to raise awareness around the power of restaurant branding for the food service industry."

"The site covers all forms of restaurant design, branding, marketing and thought leadership for our readership of designers, chefs, restaurant owners, and various other wanderers of the interwebs. Our mission: to showcase inspirational restaurant-related design to build awareness in both the restaurant and creative industries."

If you're at all interested in this design niche, Grits and Grids is a wonderful resource.

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The restaurant: Le Diplomate in Washington D.C....

The designers: De Vicq Design...

The restaurant: Ficattola in Buenos Aires...

The designers: Yani Arabena & Guille Vizzari...

The restaurant: Oysters & Co in Guadalajara...

The designers: Monotypo...

There's MUCH more to see at Grits and Grids...

The folks behind Grits and Grids are Vigor...

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Apr 20

Print Design

Some designers seem to accomplish ten times what I do »

We all know this type of person: They seem to accomplish ten times what most of the rest of us accomplish and when they do something, they seem to do it well.

From the outside looking in, I think of designer and illustrator Tom White is one of those people. First and foremost, he creates highly-detailed, finely-tuned illustrations that are beautifully composed and executed in a distinctive style that I have always found particularly mesmerizing.

But second (and third and fourth) I see now that he is into producing giclée original and reproduction prints and, along with his wife, has started an art gallery where they are the artist's in residence. (Looks like, in his spare time, he is also a principal of the design studio FinGenuity.)

I mean really. It's all I can do to work with a short list of clients and keep a blog up and running. What am I missing here? Maybe I need to start taking vitamins.

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9 Surf Editions: Makers of museum-quality giclée original and reproduction prints...

Tom and Lois White: Collaborative husband and wife artists...

The Exhibit No. 9 gallery...

Tom White's design and illustration studio...

White is also a principal of FinGenuity...

An example of White's commercial work...

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Apr 18

Print Design

A treat for print lovers: Canada Post's look at successful direct mail »

Canada Post publishes a quarterly magazine, "Incite," that features successful direct mail campaigns. It's almost always interesting to see what others are doing, but of particular note to see what has worked.

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Incite Volume 2...

Incite Volume 3...

Incite Volume 4...

Incite Volume 5...

Incite Volume 6...

Incite Volume 7...

There's lots more direct mail marketing intelligence to be found on Canada Post's website—for example, here's a raft of case studies...

And their business marketing hub...

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Apr 15

Packaging

Another area of interest for graphic designers: Food Truck branding »

Design is HUGE these days and getting HUGER. Yet another area of interest is Food Truck branding. I'd love to have an opportunity to design a track and all of the accouterments. To whet your appetite...

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The Food Truck Design page on Pinterest...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Haha... old school

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Apr 13

Copywriting

LET'S PUT THIS TO REST: The phrase is, "One picture is worth ten thousand words" »

Or is it? There is an idiom that haunts every graphic designer—one that we have heard, ad nauseam, all of our lives. It is:

"A picture is worth a thousand words" or
"One picture is worth a thousand words" or
"One look is worth a thousand words" or
"Use a picture. It's worth a thousand words" or
"One picture is worth ten thousand words" or something like that.

It has been identified as both a Chinese Proverb and the headline of a 1920s printing magazine advertisement.

Yeah, it's not a huge issue, but it's one of those things that I'd like to get right. Like mistaking "champing at the bit" for "chomping at the bit"—or "I couldn't care less" for "I could care less."

Let's put this puppy to rest. From now on, the phrase is: "One picture is worth ten thousand words." Or is it?

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By Daryl Hepting: The history of a picture's worth...

By illustrator John Howe: A Picture's Worth of Words...

By William Safire: ON LANGUAGE; Worth a Thousand Words...

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Apr 11

Marketing PR

New research on the mystery search engine: Amazon »

If you're a graphic designer you are doubtlessly familiar with the Amazon—like Google, it has a presence almost everywhere you look. So any information about how to give your client's any kind of edge in complex structure could give you and edge.

Here, from Ripen eCommerce is what they are claiming to be the first comprehensive study to focus on what they're calling "Amazon SEO."

Among the findings:

There is a a strong correlation between Amazon sales rank and the search engine results page (SERP).

As a product's sales rank improves, the number of search queries resulting in that product increases (which is different than traditional SEO).

The second biggest factor in search results appears to be a company's fulfillment relationship with Amazon.

There is no supporting evidence to suggest that a long, keyword-stuffed product title leads to ranking for multiple search queries.

Organic rankings can be - and frequently are - indirectly manipulated by ad spend. (This is another departure from Google's algorithm.)

Here's the report...

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From Ripen eCommerce: Amazon Seo Research Study...

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Apr 8

Print Design

Are you doing some innovative direct mail? »

If you're doing direct mail that plays up any of the aspects below, you might consider entering the United States Postal Service's Irresistible Mail contest. Entry is free and it could lead to some excellent, nationwide publicity.

Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.

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The award entry page...

Examples and explanations...

Quick Response Codes (QR)?

Shoppable social experiences?

Near field communication?

Varnishes and finishes?

Video-enhanced prints?

Augmented reality?

Analytics (trackable data)?

Unique folds and cuts?

Variable data printing (VDP)...

The Irresistible Mail website...

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Apr 6

Learning

You can't fully appreciate the occupation of graphic design until you understand this... »

The history of graphic design, until recently, was as much physical as it was intellectual. Today, ink, presses, tools, chemical processes, and such are almost entirely avoidable if a designer chooses to avoid them. But if you so choose, you risk ignorance of the culture your family tree offers.

British Pathé is a deep collection of cinema newsreels from (roughly) the 1890s to the 1970s. And among it's 90,000-plus films are some gems regarding printing, typography, illustration, and so on. Here's a start...

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Lithography (1940-1949)...

Printing wallpaper (1968)...

The Teleprinter (1932)...

The art of etching (1941)...

An animated illustration (1932)...

Map making (1965)...

A designer/illustrator (1972)...

Making Christmas cards (1948)...

MonoType Portraits (1939)...

Lino cuts of Nazi crimes (1962)...

The British Pathé channel on YouTube...

The British Pathé website...

History of British Pathé...

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Apr 4

Learning

From GDUSA: Creative people to watch in 2016 »

As they explain it, "GDUSA starts each year by choosing a group of People To Watch who embody the spirit of the creative community. Individuals we have come to know and respect for a combination of talent, leadership, success, newsworthiness and community service. In a field so deep in talent and broad in numbers, this is clearly a subjective process. Still, for five decades, it has seemed to work out pretty well: the roster of past participants is star-studded, to say the least."

Here are the folks they chose for 2016. I always find it interesting and instructive to see whose ideas and opinions are currently capturing the attention of the creative community. Let's do this a little backward—first their network, then the GDUSA's presentation.

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Jason Alley...
Sharyn Belkin Locke...
Jim Bull...
Lisa Cain...
Susan Chun...
John Clifford...
Jason B. Cohen...
Rodrigo Corral...
Stewart Devlin...
Megan Flood...
Luis M. Gonzalez, Jr....
Dian Holton...
Michael Lemme...
Claire Williams Martinez and Charlotte Strick...
Theresa Mershon...
Kirsten Modestow...
Andres Nicholls...
Ross Patrick...
Kung Pik Liu...
Tanja Pohl...
Mackey Saturday...
Martin Schott...
Matthew Schwartz...
Moonsub Shin...
Seth Sirbaugh...
Lisa Smith...
Paul Stechmesser...
Chad Thompson...
Tobias Van Schneider...
Kanan F. Whited IV...

GDUSA People to Watch in 2016...

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Apr 1

Learning

Christoph Niemann on exorcising your creative fears »

Illustrator Christoph Niemann talks about the fears creatives face:

1. I'm not good enough
2. My work is irrelevant and soon I'll go broke
3. I'm out of ideas

I like the message. No magic pills, he prescribes instead, a common sense approach.

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From 99U: How to overcome the 3 fears every creative faces...

Niemann's website...

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Mar 30

Illustration

Graphic design and modern subway map hacks »

When draftsman Henry Beck created the London Underground Tube map in 1931, I doubt he had any idea of how he would so impact the world of design. 85 years later, his techniques of simplifying structures and color-coding are still considered a modern solution.

When his name surfaced a few days ago, I got curious about just how many different ways designers use his formulas. These are just a smattering of examples.

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The United States and its Interstate Highways...

Worldwide urban rail systems...

From the BBC: Railway maps of the world: bringing people together...

From Vox: 15 subway-style maps that explain everything but subways...

From edwardtufte.com: A freewheeling discussion about worldwide subway maps...

Design Classics: London Underground Map...

From O'Reilly: Redesigning the New York City subway map, The long and complicated path that led to Eddie Jabbour's KickMap....

Today's London Tube Map (610KB PDF)...

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Mar 28

Learning

For those interested in writing short stories, novels, screenplays, songs, and so on »

One of the qualities I most admire about Daniel Will-Harris is that he doesn't sit around waiting for the world to take notice. For the twenty-plus years I've known him he's always pursuing the next creative venture. Not, as is so often is the case, in a flurry to escape failures, but as a calculated move to explore new ground.

He was among the first design voices on the web, has written best-selling books, is an accomplished actor, and sells his watches through, among others, the Museum of Modern Art. That's an indisputable track record.

So when I get wind of a new venture, I take notice. Next up? Teaching. He recently shared with me his vision for a process he is branding "RiteNow." And I see that it is now up and running.

Rite Now is a workshop for teaching a practice he has developed for writing short stories, novels, screenplays, songs, and so on.

In April, he takes the workshop to Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton then back to Los Angeles.

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The RiteNow practice...

Daniel's bio and website...

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Mar 25

Print Design

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty of package design »

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty of package design—the creative and technical aspects—check out Package Design Magazine. They cover all aspect of the process and are a good conduit to many of the companies that support the trade.

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Package Design Magazine, January/February 2016 issue...

Back issues...

The Package Design website...

A video series that delves into the branding, design, and marketing of consumer packaged goods...

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Mar 23

Learning

It's always interesting to hear designers talk about the business from their unique perspectives »

This discussion, organized by Cooper Hewitt, addresses the business of design through the lenses of a cadre of people who offer very different perspectives. "Themes included the relevance of design to the museum experience, the impact of digital life on design, and recruiting and managing talent."

Don't miss the piece about recruiting talent.

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The discussion...

These are links to the participants...

Caroline Baumann, Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum...

Andrew Crow, at the time, Head of Design, Uber, now at Medium...

Philip Duncan, Global Design Officer, Corporate Design, The Procter & Gamble Company...

Dane Howard, Director, Global Brand Experience, eBay Inc, now Advisor at Trov I......

Randy Hunt, Creative Director, Etsy...

Doris Reyes, Senior Director of Visual Merchandising, MaxMara USA...

Jason Schulte, Founder & Creative Director, Office Inc...

Siddhartha Shukla, Chief Marketing Officer, Theory + Helmut Lang, Fast Retailing...

Margaret Gould Stewart, Director of Product Design, Facebook...

Jan Vingerhoets, CEO, Flos USA Inc...

Teresa Yoo, Vice President, Brand Strategy and Experience Design, IBM Corporation...

The Cooper Hewitt website...

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Mar 21

Learning

"John's good at math," and the #DesignInTech Report 2016 »

Designer, technologist, and former President of the Rhode Island School of Design John Maeda tells a story about a parent-teacher conference his father attended with his, then, third grade teacher. The teacher told the father, "You know, John is good at math and art." The next day Maeda says, he overheard his father telling a customer at their store, "You know, John's good at math."

Most of us, no matter what type of designer you are, can relate to that. Design is seems, on one level at least, to have mostly been relegated to the "creative" kids who aren't going to be doctors, lawyers, scientists, and such.

But that is changing. According to John Maeda (an a good many others), design is earning a reputation in the modern world as the track that differentiates technologies"—a significant field of endeavor that in some ways, is more important than technology.

Last year, from his position as Design Partner at KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) an highly esteemed venture capital firm, Maeda published #DesignInTech report, "To reveal the impact Design has made in Silicon Valley."

March 14th the second, much anticipated #DesignInTech Report 2016, was released and last week Maeda Tweeted that Margaret Rhodes of WIRED captured the essence of it saying, "The creative minds who break the mold of what we've long considered to be a designer—the architect, the suit-maker, the graphic designer—are poised to shake big businesses the most."

Thanks to Lee Garvey for pointing us to it.

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John Maeda's #DesignInTech Report 2016 ...

John Maeda's #DesignInTech Report 2016 (68.2MB PDF)...

Maeda's TED Talk: How art, technology and design inform creative leaders...

Maeda's Twitter feed...

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Mar 18

Typography

I've always sensed something a bit magical about physical lettering »

The type of type with dimension and weight. Characters and words we are used to seeing in two dimensions recast in three.

This is Chromeography, the domain of Robert Strovers who captures and curates a collection of chrome typographic imagery—mostly from vehicles but also from appliances, tools, and such.

I want some of this stuff on my shelf.

Thanks to Daniel Will-Harris for pointing us to it.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Chromeography website...

Here's a presentation by Stephen Coles, editor of Chromeography on its origins and purpose...

While we're on the subject, one of the contributors to Chromeography is Robert Strovers who offers this wonderful collection of vintage car and truck imagery on Flickr...

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Mar 16

Basic design

Want to hear old people talk about the olden days of graphic design? »

Haha... sounds like a real treat huh?

I don't know a lot about a lot of stuff, but I know a lot about the way design was done before desktop computers. I have opaqued negatives, cut Amberlith, I owned a Goodkin Lucigraph, could identify a Lectro-Stik by its smell alone, and have spent over twenty hours (straight) using an X-Acto Knife to adjust the spacing between body text letters on a double-truck newspaper ad. I KNOW some stuff about that.

So I've been keeping my eye on a project that originated on Kickstarter a couple of years ago titled Graphic Means, A History of Graphic Design Production. As they describe it, "It's been roughly 30 years since the desktop computer revolutionized the way the graphic design industry works. For decades before that, it was the hands of industrious workers, and various ingenious machines and tools that brought type and image together on meticulously prepared paste-up boards, before they were sent to the printer.

The documentary, Graphic Means, which is now in production, will explore graphic design production of the 1950s through the 1990s--from linecaster to photocomposition, and from paste-up to PDF."

The film is now in post production so its release is not to far off. In case you are interested in hearing old people drone on about how good you have it, here's are the links.

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The Graphic Means trailer...

The presskit...

Images from the front...

The Graphic Means website...

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Mar 14

Typography

Old world lettering for new world design »

Much of Tom Lane's lettering and design has a turn-of-the-century feel to it. He does a kind of hybrid of illustration and lettering. I like the way he uses these well-worn principles in new ways.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Lane also designed the Archangels Playing Card deck for Theory 11...

You can purchase the deck here...

The Ginger Monkey website...

From Industry and Interest: An interview with Tom Lane...

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Mar 11

Typography

Would you subscribe to a killer collection of fonts? »

Subscription software has been speculated about for over a decade. Lots of us speculated about using a dumb terminal to access software in the cloud and the possible scenario of logging into your account and of finding new features that had appeared overnight.

Clearly, a version of that world is now a reality. I subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud and, for a set fee, I have an arsenal of creative tools for not much more than I was paying for upgrades to a few six-shooters.

Want to do the same with fonts? Monotype is now offering the Monotype Library Subscription—full access to fonts over 2,200 font families from Monotype, Linotype, Ascender, ITC, and Bitstream. (Yes, all those entities are now owned by Monotype.) The fonts are "Instantly installable and ready for use at any time."

These are not cheap knockoffs, this is the high-end stuff. Original cuts by some of the great names in typeface design. The cost? $14.99 per month.

Skyfonts works with Windows or Mac. Here's an introduction followed by a FAQ.

What do you think? Would you subscribe to a font collection?

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Introducing the Monotype Library Subscription...

Here's the End User License Agreement here....

Here is the Skyfonts website...

I also asked the folks at MyFonts.com a few questions of my own:

Does the subscription include the use of web fonts used on a client's website?
No not yet—it will in the future.

Does Skyfont work in tandem with other font utilities such as Suitcase and FontExplorer?
SkyFonts is standalone. It's basically a delivery mechanism.

Is there any limit on the number of fonts that can be installed?
No.

From the type designer's side, I asked if a portion of the royalties is allocated to all designers equally or is a designer's royalty based on the number of end users who activate their particular typefaces?
I was told, "We're not able to share any information about how royalties are distributed."

Do the fonts expire or are they deleted? In other words, would they remain active until you next have an internet connection?
Once you download them onto your computer you don't need an internet connection to use them. Skyfonts will automatically delete them from your device once you've canceled your subscription.

Interested in trying the service? Use the link above and I get a small commission for providing the connection. Thanks in advance.

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Mar 9

Graphics Tech

Who is Raymond Tomlinson and why should we note his passing? »

The Internet Hall of Fame tells us, "Raymond Tomlinson is widely known for inventing network electronic mail, choosing the "@" sign in emails to connect the username with the destination address. His email software (SNDMSG) was widely distributed for years, and proved to be an exceptionally innovative solution. Tomlinson was also lead in developing the required services in network electronic mail, including defining a place to put inbound email on the user's machine, developing a mail transport agent to move email between machines, creating a protocol for moving email between machines, setting a standard format for email messages, and designing a tool for creating and reading email."

Imagine that. Helping to invent an entirely new mode of human communication. One that is used, by one count, over 140 billions times a day. That's a "b" for billion. AND for repurposing an ancient symbol—the "@" sign.

(Don't miss Keith Houston's in depth piece from Shady Characters.)

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

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Tomlinson speaks at his induction int the Internet Hall of Fame...

Raymond Tomlinson's official biography at the Internet Hall of Fame...

Some email stats...

From the BBC: The mystery over the @ sign...

From Shady Characters: The @-symbol, part 1 of 2...

Part 2...

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Mar 7

Typography

Jeff Rogers is part designer and part musician »

As he explains in a talk at Hyperakt, a Brooklyn design agency, Jeff Rogers was schooled as a musician (a drummer) then decided to get into graphic design. You can see that music in his design: the various rhythms, different timbres, tone colors, and so on.

He calls himself a "multidisciplinary designer and illustrator." Most designers tend to adopt a style but Rogers really does have a multifaceted palette. In edition to digital tools he uses pens, markers, pencils and paint brushes to produce a wide range of interpretations and styles.

Refreshing.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Jeff Rogers' website...

Rogers worked with DDB Chicago to create this spot for McDonalds...

An interview with Jeff Rogers by Ryan and Tina Essmaker from The Great Discontent...

Lunch Talk with Jeff Rogers...

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Mar 4

Learning

What is magic about graphic design? »

Designer Milton Glaser famously said, "I move things around until they look right." Every designer knows what he means. So what is that magic? How is it one person is so adept at micro decision-making about elements like shape and color and space—and the next person isn't?

I think of it as informed awareness. The skill of being aware about what the potential changes that could be and being informed enough to know which of the changes will and won't work. As I like to think, design is opinion—but it is also about understanding current styles, trends, and fundamentals such as balance, weight, juxtaposition, and so on.

Recently, I saw a just-for-fun logo makeover designer and illustrator Von Glitschka posted for his favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles.

I asked him if he would mind if I posted my thoughts about it and he was kind enough to provide some artwork. I want to share it with you because I think it is an excellent example of design nuance. The very subtle choices that can turn something good into something great.

Here's what I'm seeing:

1. Step back from the original (above, left) and the button on the top of the cap looks like a bump. If you're going to include a shape in a logo, it's got to serve a significant purpose. The new version of the button looks like a button even at a small size.

2. I'm not certain what the white strip is meant to signify, but on the new version, it is now clear that it is meant to draw the distinction between the cap and the head. The addition of a second feather just below the cap, to me, adds a little visual complexity that better matches the rest of the logo.

3. The bill of the cap is huge improvement. The cap on the original seems a little small in proportion to the head and doesn't give you a sense that the it is wrapped around the head—the makeover solves both problems. The size and weight of the hat is, to me, one of the most significant improvements.

4. So too are the eyes. Something as simple as altering the size of the right eye (reducing the size) and adding whites to the eyes adds a whole new sense of the bird's personality.

5. Another significant improvement is the bold line around the bottom of the bill. It really solidifies the logo and adds much needed visual balance with the heavy, complex top-left area.

6. It's funny how something as simple as the weight of the border can have such a positive impact. To my eye, by comparison to the makeover, the before bird is getting lost in the background.

7. The seam in the cap is a nice addition—it balances the complexity of the image and is bold enough that it doesn't get lost.

8. And one final, very important adjustment: the makeover is rotated counter-clockwise slightly to remove the sense (with the original) that it is about to tip over.

Von Glitschka is a master of this type of nuance. Whether you're starting from scratch or, as in this case, working from a base of existing information, I think what we know as talent is, in large part, one's ability to make these types of decisions.

This image further demonstrates the differences.

Great stuff yes? If I was the client, the only remaining piece I'd ask Von to tackle is the "O's" signature. I'd like to see it simplified, smoothed, and bolded just slightly. Haha... but then, design is opinion.

So what other nuances do you see?

Here's a history of the Cartoon Bird and other Baltimore Orioles logos...

Here is Glitschka's website...

And his Twitter feed...

John Adsit did a similar comparison on his site—but he it sounds as if his primary goal was to pay homage to earlier versions of the design...

Here's Adsit's formal proposal to the Orioles organization—page 6 includes a history of the Cartoon Bird (6.7MB PDF)...

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Mar 2

Illustration

Meet the non-nordic Magnus Voll Mathiassen »

In a recent interview with knstrct.com Gregory Maher asked designer and illustrator Magnus Voll Mathiassen to describe his design aesthetic and he answered. "Probably colorful and bold, and at times minimal. Fun and serious, dark and light." And then added, "Non-nordic".

Mathiassen, who lives and works in Norway, straddles the border between art and commercial design. And, to me, that's why it works so well.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Mathiassen's website...

From knstrct.com: An interview with the designer...

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Feb 29

Illustration

From Oddfellows: the Google Project Fi piece stopped me in my tracks »

Oddfellows is a design and animation boutique, as they explain it, "We are idea-makers with roots in the visual arts and have a passion for digital handicraft that brings screens of every size to life."

This is a rare trifecta for me. Three creative forces in much the same race (I'll leave it to you to choose who wins, places, and shows): Last week we looked at the work of Dan Cassaro who, as it turns out, shares an office with Liz Meyer and Gavin Potenza of Script & Seal, who, as it turns out, do work for Oddfellows.

And that's where we'll start—the first video is one on which Oddfellows and Script & Seal collaborated. It is titled, Google: Project Fi and it stopped me in my tracks. It's very different from the typical short, animated pieces I'm used to seeing. The overall design, production values, and illustrations are, to me, perfectly matched.

tags

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Oddfellows 2015 reel...

The Oddfellows website...

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Feb 26

Illustration

Script & Seal makes complex information "interesting and digestible" »

Liz Meyer and Gavin Potenza are Script & Seal, a two-person studio that specializes in, as they explain it, work "...in the fields that need the most transparency—medical, science, technology, journalism—to help clarify and break down barriers, making bewildering research interesting and digestible."

Their work is exciting to me. It feels unique. I've been a designer for almost forty years now and the thing I most admire (and envy) about some of today's top designers and illustrators is their ability to communicate complex ideas in simple terms. I love to try, but it is challenging.

Looks like the pair does or did share a space with Dan Cassaro—small world (see the post of February 22).

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Example 1: From The Verge: This machine kills troll...

Example 2...

Example 3...

An interview with Creative Bloq...

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Feb 24

Copywriting

What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling? »

Are you interested in a 10 year discussion on the subject? Then go directly to (or don't go to) Pain in the English, the home of a proofreading service founded by Dyske Suematsu.

I was looking for an answer to that question and stumbled upon a helpful discussion in its forum.

Though I haven't used their services, I adding the link to my resource list in case one of my regulars isn't available.

Here's how they describe their services: "We have a pool of highly qualified proofreaders in New York City who are going to eradicate your errors like they are plagues. So, stop asking your friends for favors. They are busy too. Who knows when they'll get around to it. We'll get it done within 24 hours, so just consider it done!"

What is the word for intentionally incorrect spelling? After reading all the back and forth, I decided on "intentionally misspelled wording." Sleeper huh?

tags

The discussion forum...

How the proofreading services work...

As it turns out, Dyske Suematsu is a principal of the digital marketing firm: Cycle Interactive...

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Feb 22

Typography

Meet Dan Cassaro: A self-described young jerk »

In a recent interview with John Hall at Typo-Graphical, Dan Cassaro answers the question, "So why 'Young Jerks'?" "Well," he explains, "It's sort of a joke and sort of not. The Young Turks were Ottoman revolutionaries, so it's kind of a bratty take on that—but I'd be lying if I said the Rod Stewart song didn't have something to do with it too."

In any case, six years after being named an ADC Young Gun by the Art Directors Club, Dan Cassaro is producing a ton of work from his Brooklyn studio, Young Jerks.

The work shows great versatility—some loose, some tight—from rough-hewn black and white lettering to sophisticated animation and video work.

Sure, the work is great, but he also looks as if he's having fun. As he tells it, the practice focuses on type, lettering, logo design, and powerful 70s rock and roll.

tags

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

A condensed portfolio...

Cassaro's website...

The interview with John Hall...

Rod Stewart's Young Turks...

Why are you reading this?...

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Feb 19

Typography

Hats off to a someone who wants to be known as a "letterer" »

I was watching a video of a talk Erik Marinovich gave to a group of students at the School of Advertising Art (SAA) and was happy to hear him refer to himself as a "letterer." Letterer, to me, is old school. I think of the artists whose job was lettering comic strips and of advertising artists who drew or painted lettering on signs, vehicles, and showcards.

A veteran of Landor Associates and FutureBrand (two branding behemoths), Erik Marinovich is one of the founders of Friends of Type, a kind of testing range for he and lettering artists Aaron Carámbula, Dennis Payongayong, and Jason Wong.

As they explain it, "Friends of Type posts are meant to log ideas, express ourselves, and inspire each other and our readers. The last week of every month we feature a guest designer, someone we admire and think will elevate our work and the site through their contribution.

"This is a sketchbook, an archive, a dialogue. The posts are sketches and ideas on visualized language; a collaborative habit born out of the realtime interactions that made us friends in the first place."

Some examples of his work.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Marinovich's website...

Friends of Type...

Erik Marinovich spoke at the School of Advertising Art (SAA)...

On Instagram...

An old school showcards by Derek McDonald at Golden West Sign Arts...

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Feb 17

Typography

These logos caught my eye »

Roll over them and you see a bit of a morph. The designer is Moniker SF, a design and branding studio founded and led by Creative Director Brent Couchman.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Haha—they also do big stuff...

Here's the trademarks/logos page where rolling over them show a bit of a morph...

Moniker SF is a design and branding studio...

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Feb 15

Packaging

"I believe design can change people's minds." »

Those are the words of Margo Chase—the renowned graphic designer and lettering artist and founder of the Chase Design Group. Her roots are in the entertainment business and she has a deep, interesting story to tell.

Take a close look at the quality of the work the Chase Design Group produces. If you're not careful you can miss the nuance of this type of high-end retail product packaging. They combine conventional typefaces with custom wordmarks, illustrations, photographs, and use color in ways that take it far beyond mere aesthetics.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Chase Design Group website...

Lynda Weinman, of Lynda.com interviews Margo Chase...

Will Sherwood provides another excellent interview...

Here's an in depth look at Chase and her work on Lynda.com: Creative Inspirations: Margo Chase, Graphic Designer (you can sign up for seven free days using this link—click Sign Up in the upper right)

» Comments

Feb 15

Typography

Regarding the design of information spaces »

While we're talking about Clearview (the previous post), let's look at the work of two of the folks who designed it: Donald Meeker and Chris O'Hara.

If you're unfamiliar with this area of design, it is referred to as "wayfinding." The thesis I linked to below, Designing Navigable Information Spaces by Mark A. Foltz, will give you an in-depth look at the subject.

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Example 1...

Example 2 (966KB PDF)...

Example 3...

The Meeker & Associates website...

Designing Navigable Information Spaces by Mark A. Foltz (5.1MB PDF)...

We discussed wayfinding here...

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Feb 12

Typography

Why is the Department of Transportation killing the "better" highway font? »

Why are they killing the "better" font? In short, because they now claim it isn't better.

If you've read this blog for a while you've read about Clearview, the font designed to improve the legibility of highway signage. The font received an interim approval by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2004 for use in some situations. But recently, the FHWA rescinded that approval and many designers (and others) are wondering why.

Here are the details, you decide. Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to the news.

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From The Atlantic Citylab: From America's Sudden U-Turn on Highway Fonts
Clearview is out, Highway Gothic is (back) in. Critics want to know why by Kriston Capps...

The post from the Federal Highway Administration: Keeping drivers safe one road sign at a time, posted by Gregory Nadeau...

The notice of termination...

From The Verge: The feds are killing off Clearview, the new highway sign font
by Jordan Golson...

The author of the blog post is Gregory G. Nadeau, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration...

The Standard Alphabets for Traffic Control Devices (257KB PDF)...

When we first talked about this I pointed you to this NYT article...

And the Clearview website...

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Feb 10

Graphics Tech

Is Sketch a replacement for Photoshop and/or Illustrator? »

I'm new to Sketch. I had not heard of it until my son Rob mentioned it the other night and now I'm intrigued. It is billed as a tool for, among other things, designing User Interfaces and is, by all accounts, particularly well suited to exporting the pieces to development for actual coding.

If you haven't played with it, join me, we can compare notes. It is a Mac program that sells for just $99 and seems to have generated an impressive following and lots of add-ons.

tags

About Sketch...

Sketchapp TV...

Sketch App Sources...

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Feb 8

Illustration

Meet illustrators Craig and Karl »

Craig Redman and Karl Maier illustrators and designers to be sure. Because I was so influenced by it as a kid, I see a strong 1960s vibe. (In an article in The Design Files, I see where Craig Redman points to Peter Max and Hapshash and the Coloured Coat as creatives he admires—two 1960s stalwarts.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Craig and Karl website...

An article about the duo...

Examples of work by Peter Max...

An example of work by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat...

From The Design Files: an interview with Craig Redman by Lucy Feagins...

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Feb 5

Graphics Tech

Discover what is new and next »

If only you could. Well maybe you can. Product Hunt—a much lauded, 2014 startup—is an up-to-the-minute forum for sharing what's new in Technology, Podcasts, Books, and Games. TechCrunch called it "the Valley's water cooler for discussing new apps and services."

Thanks to Jeff Green for pointing us to it.

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The original idea from founder Ryan Hoover...

This is Product Hunt...

From TechCrunch: A article about the site's recent redesign...

Recent posts by Product Hunt's founder Ryan Hoover on Medium.com...

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Feb 3

Illustration

Hang onto your hats information graphic lovers... »

You're in for a real treat. Ross Hudgens, the founder of content marketing agency Siege Media, has curated a one-of-a-kind collection of infographics titled, "The 100 Best Infographics".

Lots of folks whip together "Best of" lists, but his really is a list of note. As he tells it, in researching the design of their own work, he and his team amassed a list of links to roughly 300 of what they considered the best-of-the-best information graphics. Then narrowed that list down to 100.

It is an impressive collection, many of which I have not seen before.

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Example 1: VERY impressive piece on running...

Example 2...

Example 3: The author calls this one his all time favorite of the 100...

Here's the whole list, sortable by type: The 100 Best Infographics [Interactive] by Ross Hudgens...

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Feb 1

Illustration

Check out this new source of vector maps »

I haven't added a new map site to my big list of links on Jumpola.com in quite a while. Cartographer Koen Adams, alerted me to his collection a while back and I'm just getting around to sharing it with you.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The One Stop Map website...

There's a collection of free maps here...

Here's my big list of graphic design links at Jumpola.com...

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Jan 29

Typography

"TYPEFIGHT is an arena for alphabetic altercations..." »

A cadre of designers got together to pick a fight: Who can create the better letter?

As they explain it, "We cooked up a simple concept. Create enmity between two designers via salty language and a bottomless bin of yo' mama jokes, then watch them use their lettering skills to duel while democracy takes its course. In a week, the loser walks away with emotional scars and the winner walks away with measureless glory. But ultimately, Typefight is just an arena for people who like having fun with letters."

Bing.

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Example 1: Dan Christofferson VS Dan Cassaro...

Example 2: Sindy Ethel VS Nick Matej...

Example 3: Graham Erwin VS Von Glitschka...

The TYPEFIGHT website...

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Jan 27

Illustration

Illustrator Anthony Calvert shows people "how-to" »

Technical illustrations are complicated. You've got to figure out how to show a process or product, divide it into a reasonable number of stages, create accurate, clear representations, AND do it with style. It ain't as easy as it looks.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Calvert's website...

He is represented by Jacky Winter...

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Jan 25

Marketing PR

Lesson: Don't formulate a creative concept from a widely circulated idea »

Haha... Launched within three days of each other, campaigns for Sulekha.com (a local service need fulfillment platform) created by Ogilvy & Mather and one for Exide Life Insurance, created by Bengaluru's Autumn Worldwide, use the same metaphor--an example of "jugaad" (roughly defined as a workaround in the Indian culture)—in this case, the idea of splitting the output of an air conditioner using a pair of trousers.

Ouch.

Thanks to Chris Miller for pointing us to it.

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The Exide Life Insurance spot...

The Sulekha.com spot...

An article from The Economic Times about the faux pas...

Here's one search result that appears toward the top when you search for "jugaad" on Google—which includes the trouser/air conditioner image...

At this writing, that same trouser image appears over 100 times on TinEye...

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Jan 22

Typography

Meet lettering artist Becca Clason »

Among other things, Becca Clason creates static and animated typographic compositions centered around natural elements.

tags

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

An interview...

Becca Clason's website...

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Jan 20

Photography

The continuing story of photographer Vivian Maier »

Even here, we've been talking about Vivian Maier and her secret life for five years. Since we last checked in a year ago, more has been learned about her past. In case you are interested...

tags

From the New York Times: Digging Deeper Into Vivian Maier's Past by Kerri MacDonald...

A Peek Into Vivian Maier's Family Album by Kerri MacDonald...

By Pamela Bannos: Vivian Maier's Fractured Archive...

My first post about the discovery of Maier's body of work...

You'll find a large collection of her photographs here...

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Jan 18

Books

Graphic designer: Feeling as if you are not accomplishing enough? »

It's easy in today's world of high-achievement to believe you're "not living up to your potential"—I certainly feel that way at times. (Maybe because my teacher's always wrote that tired phrase on my report cards).

Here is an interview from "The Art of Manliness" podcast (Brett McKay) of Cal Newport about his new book, "Deep Work." (This applies to womanliness just as well.) Newport talks about the value of focus in a distracted world. It really is revelatory.

Thanks to my wife, Leslie Green for pointing us to it. (Think she's trying to tell me something?)

tags

From "The Art of Manliness" podcast: An interview of Cal Newport regarding "Deep Work."...

Cal Newport's blog...

You can order Deep Work here...

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Jan 15

Marketing PR

What are the rules for endorsing products on the web/social media? »

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates, among other things, the disclosure of material connections between advertisers and endorsers.

Some answers to questions are obvious, such as:

You can't talk about your experience with a product if you haven't tried it. If you were paid to try a product and you thought it was terrible, you can't say it's terrific. And you can't make claims about a product that would require proof the advertiser doesn't have.

But some questions are more subtle:

When I endorse a product, must I disclose that I work for the company that makes it? Is a product hashtag an adequate enough incentive disclose on Twitter? Must I make a disclosure if I return the product after I review it? Can you use testimonials featuring endorsements from consumers who achieved the best results?

You might be surprise to learn what you should be disclosing and how you should be presenting it.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

tags

The FTC's Endorsement Guides...

A PDF version (317KB PDF)...

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Jan 13

Packaging

Packaging heaven »

The Dieline Package Design Awards, judged by a jury of structural packaging, design branding and consumer product experts, presents awards based on the quality of their creativity, marketability, and innovation. Here are the 2015 winners...

tags

Dieline Awards 2015: The Winners Ebook...

The online version...

The Dieline...

Another packaging blog: Lovely Package...

One more...

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Jan 11

Typography

What fonts did people buy in 2015? »

MyFonts.com makes it clear that their Most Popular Fonts of 2015 is based on sales. "Not simply the total sales volume across the year, as that would give the oldest font families an unfair advantage. We've looked at average sales over the year and during the successful introduction period; we made sure popular genres are fairly represented; we included no more than one font family from each foundry."

Thanks in advance: I make a small commission on fonts ordered using these links.

tags

The most popular fonts of 2015...

The last month's bestsellers...

Hot new fonts...

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Jan 8

Packaging

A free collection of dielines for packaging »

Design Packaging, a retail design, manufacturing, and sourcing company, generously offers this substantial collection of packaging dielines. You can use the book to spark an idea or import pages of the PDF into Adobe Illustrator and edit, scale, and otherwise customize them.

tags

Dielines for packaging...

Design Packaging created the ebook...

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Jan 6

Shopping

Two words: Horse lamp »

I thought you might be interested in a quirky design brand I stumbled across. I love the thinking and I love the horse lamp.

I wonder if most other graphic designers are as interested in furniture design as I am. Are you?

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Example 1: Horse Lamp...

Example 2: Smoke Chair...

Example 3: Vulture carpet...

Example 4: Labyrinth Chair...

Moooi launches photorealistic print-on-demand carpet company...

The Moooi Boook 2015...

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Jan 4

Web Design

Mobile first, display forever »

Here's a very interesting website design. One that incorporates lots of mobile device user interface components in it's full-screen display version (be sure to see it in desktop form).

This is one of the sites featured on Jeremiah Shoaf's Typewolf (previous post).

tags

SF/Arts Media...

At this level you can narrow search choices by choosing from a collection of dropdowns...

The site was designed by Didier García...

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Jan 1

Typography

What's trending in type? »

Designer Jeremiah Shoaf couldn't find the type of type website he was looking for so he created Typewolf.

He was looking for a resource for choosing fonts and font combinations for design projects and narrative that was written from the perspective of someone who uses type versus those who design them.

What he created is all that and more. Typewolf points to websites Shoaf believes demonstrate the creative use of typefaces, typeface resources, and offers font recommendations.

I particularly appreciate his eye for websites.

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This is Typewolf.com...

Here are some interesting lists...

An excellent collection of typographic resources...

Jeremiah Shoaf's website...

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Dec 30

Web Design

What makes a good logo? Something, nothing, everything. »

What makes a good logo? Ask ten designers and they'll give you twenty different answers. But this interview of Michael Bierut by Vox offers an interesting perspective from someone who has had great success designing them.

Thanks to Jeff Fisher for pointing us to it.

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What makes a truly great logo...

From Vox.com: The accompanying article...

Bierut, of course, has been a partner at Pentagram Design since 1990...

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Dec 28

Typography

What would that website look like with different typeface? »

Webtype specializes in licensing typefaces for website from top foundries such as Font Bureau, Okay Type, and Underware. Curious? Their Font Swapper lets you type in a url and preview how that website will look with their fonts.

Pretty cool.

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The Webtype Font Swapper...

They also have an excellent gallery of type use cases...

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Dec 25

Photography

Is it possible to determine if a photograph is memorable? »

Today I point you to a paper authored by A. Khosla, A. S. Raju, A. Torralba and A. Oliva that was presented in a poster session at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) (December of 2015).

The paper, "Understanding and predicting image memorability at a large scale," poses that, "We tend to remember and forget the same pictures and faces as each other. This suggests that despite different personal experiences, people naturally encode and discard the same types of information."

So is it possible to determine memorability? The author's MIT website includes this overview:

"Progress in estimating visual memorability has been limited by the small scale and lack of variety of benchmark data. Here, we introduce a novel experimental procedure to objectively measure human memory, allowing us to build LaMem, the largest annotated image memorability dataset to date (containing 60,000 images from diverse sources)."

Thanks to Ken Cheetham for pointing us to it. Here are some connections to explore.

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Test your own photographs using the experimental procedure...

An overview: Understanding and predicting image memorability at a large scale...

The paper includes the parameters...

The Atlantic Monthly: What makes unforgettable images so memorable?...

From PetaPixel: This algorithm can tell how memorable a photo is...

While we're here, you might find some of the other papers of interest...

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Dec 23

Typography

"Grave Stones cut in any of the Hands by John Baskervill" »

This is the story of a not-terribly-scientific readability experiment conducted by Errol Morris in a column he wrote for the New York Times a few years ago. It's all about at very readable typeface—Baskerville—and the pursuits of its talented, quirky, complex designer, John Baskerville.

"Amongst the several mechanic Arts that have engaged my attention," Baskerville said, "There is no one I have pursued with so much steadiness and pleasure as that of Letter-Founding. Having been an early admirer of the beauty of Letters, I became insensibly desirous of contributing to the perfection of them. I formed to my self Ideas of greater accuracy than had yet appeared, and have endeavoured to produce a Sett of Types according to what I conceived to be their true proportion."

Have you read any worthwhile articles on readability? If so, I welcome you to point us to them.

tags

Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth (Part 1)...

Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth (Part 2)...

The original questionnaire...

An article about the questionnaire: Can a font make us believe something is true?...

One more...

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Dec 21

Web Design

The next design challenge »

Imagine approaching a retail display and, instead of searching your mobile device for information about included products, you could choose to receive information about it on that device, maybe get a coupon for it, via a "beacon" attached to the display.

That's what beacons and "the physical web" are about. Kinda.

It is fascinating and frustrating how often and how profoundly we must change what we design for each change in the marketing market. The first challenge is to keep up with what's happening. To that end, a multifaceted introduction to the physical web...

tags

Scott Jenson: Building the Physical Web together...

Jenson's blog...

From PHY.net (a web-based tool used to manage Physical Web beacons): 2016: Could this be the year of the Physical Web?...

From Google Developers: Beacons: A platform for marking up the world to make your apps and devices work smarter by providing timely, contextual information....

From Apple Developers: iBeacon for Developers...

Beacons and Physical Web Essentials by Kevin Benedict...

From Terracoding: A Museum iBeacon Application...

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Dec 18

Photography

Illusion illustrations »

Erik Johansson mixes reality with fantasy using tools and talent.

tags

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

A video analysis of the process...

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Dec 16

Web Design

A big collection of resources for UX designers »

As they describe it, "The most common methods and deliverables produced by UX Designers as they craft amazing experiences for other people. For each item on the list you'll see additional links with some of the best practices available in the industry."

tags

UX Methods and Deliverables...

UX Tools...

UX Events...

UX Books...

Fabricio Teixeira's website...

Caio Braga's website...

Bruno Oyama's website...

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Dec 14

Typography

Meet lettering designer Kelly Thorn »

Kelly Thorn is another talented alumnus of Louise Fili Ltd. Does Fili have some secret formula for creating illustrative lettering? I'm sure there are some techniques she teaches (or somehow exudes) that helps to turn raw talent into truth and elegance.

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Kelly Thorn's animated sig...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The home page...

Thorn's Instagram page...

Also via Louis Fili: John Passafiume...

Pictures of ideas -- a tour of Scripts: Elegant Lettering from Design's Golden Age...

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Dec 11

Photography

Paranoid about copyright? You will be after you read this... »

If you weren't paranoid about copyright laws—it can get a tad-bit confusing—you will be after you read this.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

tags

Copyright and the old family photo by Judy G. Russell...

My Grandmother Grace—photographer unknown...

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Dec 9

Web Design

1001 ways to create an online form »

That's the title I imagine to a book about creating online forms. To me, it seems there must be at LEAST 1001 schemes for creating forms—it's never been particularly easy so seemingly everyone has taken a run at coming up with a way of automating the process.

Here's a real, free book on the subject by the folks at Zapier (they have a system of automating automating tasks between the app the support).

One part of the book presents "The 14 Best Online Form Builders for Every Task," a good, comprehensive look at many of the leading form generation tools.

Do you create online forms using something other than what you see here?

tags

Zapier's Ultimate Guide to Forms and Surveys...

The 14 Best Online Form Builders for Every Task...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Dec 7

Learning

A web page that will put a smile on every graphic designer's face »

The other day I posted my response to an email I received from someone who works for a design crowdsourcing site offering to write an article for my blog.

Our fellow designer Dan Antonelli commented by saying, "You might appreciate the link on site which automatically displays if our site is linked to from any crowdsourcing site..."

I did and suspect you will too...

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First, my email response to Brian from a design crowdsourcing site...

The Smile from Dan's website: Copyright Warning to Those Who Intend to Steal or Be "Inspired" by Our Work...

Here's a post about Dan's website and book...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Dec 4

Basic design

More about Google's take on design »

A couple of posts ago I pointed you to Google's Material Design. While we're at it, here's a link, generally, to the Google Design website and specifically, to links from their SPAN Design Conference.

It is an invitation-only conference billed as "Conversations about design and technology" and was held in October of 2015.

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About Google Design...

A look at SPAN 2015...

The SPAN 2015 reader (see the bottom of the page for the articles from the book)...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Dec 2

Illustration

Meet illustrator and designer Steve Dressler »

I saw Steve Dressler's tribute to Pee-Wee's Big Adventure illustration on the cover of Alternative Movie Posters II: Film art from the Underground by Matthew Chojnacki, and I dug a little deeper. He has several different core styles and a well-developed sense of humor.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Dressler's website...

Alternative Movie Posters II...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Nov 30

Web Design

Material Design: Google's opinion about how to design stuff »

This creeps me out a little—take a look at this video and tell me what you think.

Apple and now Google are in the business of interface design. Is that good? Maybe. There is a clear advantage to the adoption of recognizable, universal user interfaces, but (I believe) there is some danger in allowing the elephant in the room to sit in the same chair with you.

Yes Google has the resources to bring together a group of smart folks who come up with a consensus opinion about how a their version of a good user interface should look and function. But that, I hope, will remain just one institutional opinion.

Should we simply say thank you and step aside or should we be a little paranoid about an institution as powerful as Google grabbing the reins?

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What is Google's Material Design?...

The details...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Nov 27

Typography

Is it too late to improve your handwriting? »

Haha... for me, yes—I'm a lost cause. I took a mechanical drawing class in school that converted me from a handwriter to a printer. Are we losing something significant as handwriting "fades"? IS handwriting fading?

Some interesting ideas, examples, and a look at the old way of doing things...

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Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms : A guide to correct writing...

Old school handwriting characters...

Theory of Spencerian Penmanship...

From the New York Times: What's Lost as Handwriting Fades by Maria Konnikova...

From The Atlantic: How The Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive by Josh Giesbrecht...

Then there's Jake Weidmann...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Nov 25

Graphics Tech

A set of powerful, free tools for prototyping websites and apps »

Here's a wonderful set of tools for prototyping websites and apps. You can take any set of images (.psd, .sketch, .pdf, .png, .jpg, .gif), and link them together in sophisticated ways that simulate a user interface then share with others you want to collaborate with or test your design.

If you ever present website or app ideas—be sure to see this.

Thanks to Rob Green for pointing us to it

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Here's a brief introduction...

And the InVision homepage...

How a few customers use it...

Some inside baseball: The InVision Dribbble board...

Designer Derek Torsani shared one of his InVision prototypes on Dribbble.com...

Derek Torsani Dribbble board...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Nov 23

Photography

A source of free-to-use for anything images »

I'm not a lawyer but the license sounds as it you can use Unsplash images for just about any purpose without a fee. (I suggest, of course, that you read the Unsplash license, their FAQ, and ask questions if you plan to use the images.)

That said, there is some excellent material in the collection—well worth a look.

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The Unsplash website...

The Unsplash license...

The Unsplash FAQ...

The Unsplash Book...

The Creative Commons "Zero" license...

Examples of projects created using Unsplash images...

Supply your email address and you'll get 10 hi-res photos delivered to your inbox every 10 days...

Unsplash was created by the folks at crew.co...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Nov 20

Graphics Tech

Is assistant-as-app the next big UI design trend? »

Nir Eyal recently wrote a couple of provocative posts that wonder if an assistant-as-app interface is the next big UI design trend. The idea is to have human intervention (or artificial intelligence intervention) to help users navigate systems and processes. He shared this list of situations—those he thinks would be best suited for the idea...

"When a user wants to accomplish a singular goal but has too many options.
When a user does not enjoy browsing through the options.
When data entry is easy but processing and analysis is hard.
When the traditional screen interface is too complicated or small.
When a trusted relationship helps.
When a request does not have to be completed immediately."

Like many great ideas, it seems obvious. But if you're in the business of communicating ideas to people, you might want to watch Nir Eyal and Tony Aube kick around the possibility.

Thanks to Lee Garvey for pointing us to it.

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Why 'assistant-as-app' might be the next big tech trend by Nir Eyal...

Human + A.I. = Your digital future by Nir Eyal...

No UI is the new UI by Tony Aube...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Nov 18

Graphics Tech

Designers: Welcome to the world of small manufacturing »

Virtually anyone can open a small business, but manufacturing has typically been big business territory. Until recently anyway. We're now seeing machines capable of cutting, engraving, 3D printing, carving, even assembling, available for not much more than the cost of a 1990s laser printer.

Here is a new laser cutter/engraver that is worth your attention. Thanks to Fred Showker for pointing us to it.

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Glowforge...

The Glowforge website...

Another mini-manufacturing idea: Makerarm...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Nov 16

Print Design

How Posters Work »

How Posters Work is an exhibition at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum which shows, "How dozens of different designers--from prominent pioneers like Herbert Matter, Paul Rand, Philippe Apeloig and M/M (Paris), to lesser-known makers—have mobilized principles of composition, perception and storytelling to convey ideas and construct experiences."

If you're in New York before January 24, 2016 you can catch it at the museum. Or you can explore the exhibition using the links below.

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Example 1: "Light/Years," 1999 by Michael Bierut...

Example 2: "Him" at The Public Theater, 1994 by Paula Scher...

Example 3: "ADDO-X," 1958 by Ladislav Sutnar...

Explore the exhibition...

The exhibition website...

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum is at 2 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128...

You can also take advantage of a Skillshare session: Demystifying Graphic Design: How Posters Work presented by Ellen Lupton, who curated the exhibit...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Nov 13

Typography

In appreciation of handwriting »

To me, good handwriting represents a level of personal investment and a subject interest that is above and beyond the normal. And because we see it less often than in years past, I think its use is that much more impactful.

Brian Willson is a type designer that specializes in creating, reviving, and refining handwriting typefaces. His work is studied and meticulous. He is also the author of "The Antique Penman," an occasional blog that offers a wide view of the subject.

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A letter from 1837, written by Emily Margaret Austin Perry...

The post from The Antique Penman regarding the letter is titled Sharpening the Penknife: A Letter from 1837...

About OldFonts.com, Three Islands Press, and Brian Willson...

What does it take to make a handwriting typeface look like handwriting? In the case of Douglass Pen, more than 800 glyphs (17KB PDF)...

Here is the OldFonts.com Type Tester...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Nov 11

Print Design

Print is not only still alive, it's feeling a damn sight better »

I sound like a broken record about this but print is NOT dead. Here, in the form of a fresh white paper from HubCast (a global, commercial print services provider network), are some compelling reasons.

What percentage of your work is print?

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10 Reasons Why Print Isn't Dead (1.6MB PDF)...

The HubCast website...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Nov 9

Marketing PR

My new motto is, "Learn the difference between mottos, slogans, taglines, catchphrases, vision statements, and so on..." »

The words you choose to define a brand and how you go about presenting those ideas is a subject of great contention. So contentious that I doubt many of us will even agree on the definitions of the elements involved no less the best recipes for concocting them.

I was reading about the subject last week and it got me curious about the many terms used to describe words that define. I've listed those I know followed by definitions from various sources in the hope that, in creating a list, that I would better understand the meaning of each.

Here's my list. (Have any others? Want to refine a definition? )

Advertising slogan

A short, memorable phrase that draws attention to the distinctive nature of the product, service, or idea to which it is attached.

Source: Derived from The Free Dictionary and Wikipedia

"Some slogans are created just for specific limited-time campaigns; others are intended as a corporate slogan, to be used for extended periods."

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_slogan > Wikipedia contributors. "Advertising slogan." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Sep. 2015. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Catchphrase

A phrase that, because of its repeated use, becomes popular within a particular culture.

Defining Phrase

A phrase of five to fifteen words that defines nature of a product, service, or idea and the benefit of it's use to the consumer.

That's my definition.

Headline

Abbreviated text that introduces, categorizes, or otherwise defines and/or distinguishes an article or advertisement.

Source: Derived from The Free Dictionary, Wikipedia

Mission statement

"An official statement of the aims and objectives of a business or other organization" The Free Dictionary

A mission statement is a statement which is used as a way of communicating the purpose of the organization. Although most of the time it will remain the same for a long period of time, it is not uncommon for organizations to update their mission statement and generally happens when an organization evolves. Mission statements are normally short and simple statements which outline what the organization's purpose is and are related to the specific sector an organization operates in.

Properly crafted mission statements serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not, clearly state which markets will be served and how, and communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organization. A mission is different from a vision in that the former is the cause and the latter is the effect; a mission is something to be accomplished whereas a vision is something to be pursued for that accomplishment. Also called company mission, corporate mission, or corporate purpose.

The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides "the framework or context within which the company's strategies are formulated." It is like a goal for what the company wants to do for the world."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_statement

Source: Wikipedia contributors. "Mission statement." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 Nov. 2015. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Motto

"A maxim adopted as an expression of one's guiding principle." The Free Dictionary
"A brief statement used to express a principle, goal, or ideal." The Free Dictionary
"A principle of behaviour etc." The Free Dictionary

"A motto (derived from the Latin muttum, 'mutter', by way of Italian motto, 'word', 'sentence') is a maxim, a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of an individual, family, social group or organization. Mottos are usually not expressed verbally, unlike slogans, but are expressed in writing and usually stem from long traditions of social foundations, or also from significant events, such as a civil war or a revolution."

Source: Wikipedia contributors. "Motto." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Tagline

A phrase used to extend, define, or otherwise modify the organization, product, service, or idea name to which it is attached.

Vision statement:

"A fairly detailed statement of what a company wishes to accomplish in the course of its operations. A vision statement may be placed in a business plan, on a website or nearly anywhere else. While brief, it explains the company's goals and how it intends to accomplish them to potential investors and other interested parties. It is more detailed than a mission statement." The Free Dictionary

"A vision statement is a declaration of an organization's objectives, ideally based on economic foresight, intended to guide its internal decision-making.[1]

A vision statement is a company's road map, indicating both what the company wants to become and guiding transformational initiatives by setting a defined direction for the company's growth."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_statement

Wikipedia contributors. "Vision statement." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 Aug. 2015. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Do you have a term and definition to add to my list?

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My own take: Create a Defining Phrase (81KB PDF)...

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Nov 6

Shopping

Some of my favorite graphic designs hang in movie theaters »

With the holidays in mind, let me point you to MoviePoster.com, a wonderful source of movie poster originals and reproductions.

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Example 1: 1927—Metropolis...

Example 2: 1961—West Side Story..

Example 3: 1977—Star Wars...

Example 4: 1987—Manhattan...

Example 5: 1958—Attack of the 50 Foot Woman...

The MoviePoster.com website...

Collector information...

An article about collecting posters...

Another excellent source of posters and other ephemera is Miscellaneous Man...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Nov 4

Illustration

Remember the Dover royalty-free clip art books? »

They were filled with interesting, eclectic illustrations (some better than others), made to be used in the processes of print and web design. Good news: they're still around.

A couple of years ago, Dover launched DoverPictura.com: An online store that lets you search the Dover archive of images, find what you need, and purchase them by the page or in collections.

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Example 1: Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s (note that previews are shown in low resolution)...

Example 2: Full-Color Art Nouveau Floral Designs...

Example 3: 1100 Pictorial Symbols...

Dover Pictura categories...

How would you use them? Here's an example...

Dover books and discs are also available through the Dover Publications store...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Nov 2

Typography

What typeface should I use for my résumé? »

That's as loaded a question as loaded questions get. When someone asked me that recently it got me thinking about résumés and the industry that has grown up around them.

The web is rife with so-called authoritative articles about every aspect of résumé writing and design. But, to me, it's like most other types of marketing and design—complex. Honesty, there are very few easy answers when it comes to marketing and graphic design.

How you would design a particular resume would be dependent on factors as divergent as the applicant, the time it is submitted, the places involved, the area of interest, the job level, and so on. And that doesn't even touch on the all-important aspect that, to be noticed, you sometimes need to swim against the tide.

Have you ever designed a résumé for a client?

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By Dan Schawbel: You're Better Off Writing A Book And A Case Study Over A Resume...

By Andy Preisler, 15 Mistakes People Good At Resume Writing Never Make...

By Matthew Butterick: Butterick's Practical Typography...

If you're just looking for inspiration, Pinterest is a good place to start: ...

That said, laying out a page of type is tricky. Asked what he does all day, Milton Glaser, a design icon said, "I move things around until they look right". This post demonstrates my meaning.

The readable page...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Oct 30

Learning

Are you familiar with The Society for Experiential Graphic Design? »

In a recent presentation to members of The Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) futurist David Zach quotes Eden Phillpotts who said, "The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."

The SEGD is a "multidisciplinary community of professionals who plan, design, and build experiences that connect people to place. We are graphic and information designers, fabricators, architects, exhibition designers, technology integrators, interaction designers, brand strategists, students, wayfinding specialists, teachers, and others who have a hand in shaping content-rich, experiential spaces."

I was not familiar with the SEGD until I stumbled on their website recently—it's on my radar now (and your's if you so choose).

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The SEGD covers the following practices: Wayfinding...

Placemaking and Identity...

Exhibition...

Strategy, Research, and Planning...

Public Installation...

To give you a further flavor of what SEGD covers, here's futurist David Zach from the 2015 SEGD Conference...

The Society for Experiential Graphic Design also publishes eg Magazine, digital versions of which are available here...

The SEGD website home page...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Oct 28

Typography

Some lettering design that stopped me in my tracks »

I found Kevin Cantrell's work through The Type Directors Club which named him its member of the month in August of 2015. What stopped me in my tracks was this stationery suite for a law office.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Kevin Cantrell's Website...

Cantrell's dribbble page...

From The Type Directors Club...

An interview with Cantrell from PaperSpecs...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Oct 26

Photography

More thoughts about and examples of compositing images »

To extend the theme of my October 16th post—one more look at compositing images to capture the essence of a brand. Amazing what folks are doing these days.

This time let's look at the work of photographer Clint Davis for Mercedes-Benz.

Thanks to Jeff Green for pointing us to it.

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From PetaPixel.com: Creating Photoshop Composites for a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 Brochure...

From Clint Davis' website (you can slide the vertical line in the photograph to reveal the changes)...

One of the images, at a large size...

See the images in action: The Mercedes-Benz Van Brochure (9.6MB PDF)...

New to compositing? Here's an overview...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Oct 23

Print Design

The state of the direct mail arts »

From Cat nip paper to Near Field Communication, this page from the United States Postal Service points to some of the recent innovations in direct mail. Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.

Are you producing much print these days?

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From the USPS: Irresistible Mail...

Cat nip paper...

Enhancing Mail for Digital Natives (830KB PDF)...

Near Field Communication (1.4MB PDF)...

More direct mail projects via Behance...

And Pinterest...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Oct 21

Copywriting

Have you ever used a career consultant? »

This recent article from HOW caught my eye. "Is Freelancing Right for You?" focuses on the 10 skills and traits, marketing mentor to the creative stars, Ilise Benun suggests you need to be a successful freelancer.

Benun specializes in helping creative professionals brand and market their services.

Have you ever used a career consultant? If so, how did it work?

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Is Freelancing Right for You?...

The Marketing Mentor Podcast...

The Marketing Mentor Blog...

A client case study...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Oct 19

Ideas 101

Remember Best Products? And their logo? And their art and architecture? »

A post on Quora asks, "Which is world's most expensive logo ever?" and that got me thinking about Best Products. I was working as a freelance designer at (among others) Webb & Athey (their advertising agency of record at the time), when Best Products hired the New York design firm of Chermayeff & Geismar to create a new logo.

I seem to remember someone saying they paid the astronomical sum of one million dollars for the logo—but I must tell you, it was just a rumor and I have no idea whether or not it was true. Suffice it to say, the top branding companies have always commanded impressive fees for developing brand strategies.

Best Products was one of the first companies to popularize the "catalog showroom" in the 1970s—a retail model that came and went in the course of roughly 20 years. But the company's real claim to fame was the interest its owners had in art and architecture and how they helped to pioneer the collaboration between business and creative.

Anyone recall the actual cost of the Best Products logo?

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The Best Products logo was designed by Chermayeff & Geismar...

Some insight on the logo design from: Identify: Basic Principles of Identity Design in the Iconic Trademarks of Chermayeff & Geismar...

It includes this passage: "What we came up with was a self-referential typographic logo that was a literalization of the company's name and business model: each letter larger than the preceding one, just as each product model was better than the last. We presented only a few variations of the same concept of the Lewises, as the idea seemed unassailable he right."

An article about the architecture...

From FailedArchitecture.com: The Ironic Loss of the Postmodern Best Store Facades...

About Sydney and Francis Lewis and their art background...

From SITE, the architectural firm that designed the buildings...

The original question from Quora...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Oct 16

Photography

Capturing a brand image »

Much of design, marketing, and advertising is about how you see a thing. It is the job of the graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, copywriter, and others involved in that process, to develop a brand—the overall sense of how they think the product, service, or idea would be most favorably perceived by its intended audience.

Here, from the point of view of one photographer—Mike Kelley—is a look at the extent to which creative craftsmen go at each level of that process.

When does a favorable perception become a deception?

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How To Photograph Real Estate Houses At Dusk and Sunset...

From fstoppers.com: Mike Kelley: Where Art Meets Architecture...

Here, form Kelley's website are a series of before and after images (you can slide the vertical line in the photograph to reveal the changes)...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Oct 14

Web Design

Introducing the Facebook "Unlike" button (kind of) »

Looks like this is as close as we're going to get to an "Unlike" button on Facebook. Here's a fascinating article from Wired that looks at the roll-out of "Reactions".

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From Wire: The Surprisingly Complex Design of Facebook's New Emoji...

A chart of the Unicode emoji characters, with images from different producers...

USA Today tries using them in print...

Chris Tosswill is the Product Manager at Facebook mentioned in the Wired article and, I assume, responsible for implementing "Reactions"...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Oct 12

Print Design

An iconic poster that never saw the light of day »

I never quite understood the KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON poster phenomena of the last decade or so. I've certainly seen the poster and its many knock-offs but I didn't know the story behind it. As it turns out, the poster, of which 2.5 million were printed in 1939, never saw the light of day. To the contrary, today there are just a handful of originals known to exist.

It was a 1997 thesis and a discovery in an English bookstore in 2000 that led to the resurrection of a poster that has, since, had a life of its own...

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An introduction to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON...

From the Type Writing Blog: Stop Keeping Calm And Carrying On...

Barter Books, the folks who resurrected the Keeping Calm And Carrying On poster...

The poster was profiled in a thesis by Dr. Bex Lewis titled "British Government Home Front Posters of the Second World War: The Fourth Armament?"...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Oct 9

Ideas 101

How does creativity at work impact relationships at home? »

In this article from the Boston Globe, Ruth Graham points to a new study by Spencer Harrison and David T. Wagner titled, "Spilling Outside the Box: The Effects of Individuals' Creative Behaviors at Work on Time Spent with their Spouses at Home."

She says the study suggests, "People who exercise unbounded creativity on the job, it seems, spend less time with their spouses at home, and the time they do spend with their spouses is of lower quality. An associate professor of management and organizing at Boston College, Spencer Harrison, and his coauthor conclude that workers who spend the day doing things like generating new ideas have fewer cognitive resources left by the time they get home."

The abstract reads, "Most research on creativity describes it as a net positive: producing new products for the organization and satisfaction and positive affect for creative workers. However, a host of anecdotal and historical evidence suggests that creative work can have deleterious consequences for relationships. This raises the question: how does creativity at work impact relationships at home? Relying on work-family conflict and resource allocation theory as conceptual frameworks, we test a model of creative behaviors during the day at work and the extent to which employees spend time with their spouses at home in the evening, using 685 daily matched responses from 108 worker-spouse pairings. Our results reveal that variance-focused creative behaviors (problem identification, information searching, idea generation) lead to a decline in time spent with spouse at home. In contrast, selection-focused creative behaviors (idea validation) lead to an increase in time spent with spouse. Further, openness to experience moderates these relationships. Overall, the results raise questions about the possible relational costs of creative behaviors at work on life at home."

Interesting. Your thoughts?

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From the Boston Globe: The unbearable loneliness of creative work by Ruth Graham...

From the University of Oregon website: Spilling Outside the Box: The Effects of Individuals' Creative Behaviors at Work on Time Spent with their Spouses at
Home (800KB PDF)....

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Oct 7

Learning

Twitter on politics (and business) »

I think this link is interesting on two levels:

First, from a political standpoint, I see more and more companies mixing their political asperations with their marketing efforts—why would you potentially alienate a significant part of your audience? For one reason: the principals must view their business as more of a ministry than an enterprise.

Second, from an informational standpoint. There is much to be learned from this type of self-examination. By that I mean it's valuable to understand how Twitter sees itself and how it perceives people will and should use it.

Do you consider Twitter an important part of your social marketing efforts?

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The Twitter Government and Elections Handbook (18.5MB PDF)...

Twitter also publishes other, less political, guides: Twitter For Business Toolkit (3.3MB PDF)...

Twitter For Small Business (4.8MB PDF)...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Oct 5

Illustration

Fired up with logo ideas... »

I don't know if you've ever spent time looking at a good matchbook or matchbox label collection, but they are more than fun to look at. They hold lots of nuggets of ideas for logo and symbol design—a matchbook cover designer had very limited space to work in so they had to condense ideas to their essence.

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From Just Something I Made...

From Jane McDevitt: Example 1...

From Wackystuff: Example 2...

From Karen TenEyck: Example 3...

That top link is from Cathe Holden's Just Something I Made website. She is a first class designer and crafter...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Oct 2

Illustration

Will Eisner believed in the teaching power of comics »

"...From 1951 to 1971 he produced PS magazine for the U.S. Army. This Preventive Maintenance Monthly (called PS because it was a postscript to the standard technical manuals) was aimed at teaching American soldiers everything about weapons safety for vehicles, aircraft, firearms, and electronics. Eisner illustrated these vital lessons in drawings, pinups, step-by-step guides, and comic strips."

I stumbled on these recently and it reminded me that the popularity of this presentation technique is far less popular now than it was then. Eisner used illustrations and visual themes to carry the reader though the process of learning about otherwise dry, instructional material.

Today, these would be videos or instruction sheets. Then it was storytelling.

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From the VCU Libraries Digital Collections: PS magazine...

An introduction...

An example of using illustrations to communicate dry information...

Eisner's bio on Wikipedia...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Sep 30

In the future, books will... »

...be made of paper? Yup, apparently a lot of them anyway. That's right, reports of the demise of books in print may have been premature. According to this article from the New York Times, E-book sales are slipping and print is making a comeback.

"...The digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.

Now, there are signs that some e-book adopters are returning to print, or becoming hybrid readers, who juggle devices and paper."

Have a personal preference?

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From the New York Times: The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Sep 28

Learning

Everyone is A/B testing everything »

At least it seems that way. Why? Because it works. You doing it? If not, these pages offer an inkling of what is possible.

What do you A/B test? How's it working?

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From Wired: A/B testing websites...

From Amazon: A/B Testing APPs...

From Draft Revise: An A/B testing service ...

From Smashing Magazine: A guide to testing ...

From MailChimp: About A/B testing email campaigns...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Sep 26

Illustration

Meet illustrator Ben Wiseman »

I really like Ben Wiseman's simply-told stories.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Used for an online story in the New York Times...

Ben Wiseman's website...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Sep 23

Typography

Regarding Adrian Frutiger and the signs for the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris »

Adrian Frutiger died September 10, 2015. I'm certain most here are familiar with his namesake typeface, Frutiger, which he designed in 1968 for the development of signage at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. What you may not know is that the same man designed Univers, OCR-B, Avenir, Linotype Didot, and many others.

When I asked typeface designer and calligrapher Michael Clark if he had any lasting impression of Frutiger, he said, "I always go back to this quote (from Frutiger) when I prepared a font: 'A letter follows the same canons of beauty as a face: A beautiful letter is in perfect proportion. The bar of a 't' placed too high, the curve of an 'a' too low, are as jarring as a long nose or a short chin.'"

Thanks to Jessica Jones for pointing us to it.

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From The New York Times: Adrian Frutiger Dies at 87; His Type Designs Show You the Way...

From Linotype: Adrian Frutiger—Traces ...

From Eye: An interview with Frutiger ..

Renowned graphic designer and lettering artist Mark Simonson shares how Frutiger influenced him (18.3 MB PDF)..

From Fonts In Use: Frutiger in use...

Many of the typefaces Frutiger designed...

Adrian Frutiger—Typefaces: The Complete Works...

Typeface designer and calligrapher Michael Clark's website...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Sep 21

Marketing PR

How to attach visual theatre to products »

Carefully considered design can have a dramatic influence. House of Antique Hardware took something as potentially uninteresting as house hardware and turned it into theatre.

They specialize in authentic antique and vintage reproduction hardware for period homes. And they know how to present it in a way that makes it look like jewelry.

Imagine the same individual pieces of hardware shown in a typical catalog style without the association of styles. Instead of relying on the customer to envision a story, they present each product in the context of the others.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

About House of Antique Hardware...

Take a look around, they have lots of interesting groupings that will get you thinking about how to organize and present products...

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Sep 18

Illustration

I so admire an illustrator who can make such a dramatic transition from old to new »

Meet illustrator Doug Panton. As you will see by this first illustration, Doug Panton has been around for a while (I'll take a wild guess that this illustration is from the 1980s). It was good for it's time, but look a where Mr. Panton is today. His work is light years ahead, every bit as interesting and vibrant as anything I've seen this year.

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The Doug Panton of yesterday...

The Panton Today, Example 1...

Example 2...

(The completed illustration of example 2)...

Example 3...

More of Panton's "old school" work...

Panton's Behance space...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Sep 16

Marketing PR

Design is, in part, the perfection of minutia »

To me, the audio element can be just as important to a design as the visual element. Here's another example of how design concerns itself with minutia and how important that minutia is to good design. Meet Lee Crooks: the voice of the Chicago Transit Authority.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

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Lee Crooks...

Lee Crooks: The Voice of the Chicago Transit Authority...

Lee Crooks' website...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Sep 14

Web Design

How do user interfaces become simpler to use? »

Because talented designers and developers put a huge amount of work into the minutia of the interface. Here, Gabriel Tomesc shares some excellent insights into the complexity of thinking that goes into a form seemingly as simple as that used to choose and use a credit card.

Thanks to Jessica Jones for pointing us to it.

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The anatomy of a credit card form by Gabriel Tomesc...

Gabriel Tomesc works for Wave...

Tomesc's portfolio...

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Sep 11

Print Design

The Carrington Albums are stunning examples of grand illumination »

These albums were created in tribute to Lord Carrington, a Governor of the state of New South Wales in Australia in the late 1800s. There are 14 albums in all—each one a real treat to see.

Wouldn't you love to see a modern version of this type of work come back into style?

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Example set 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

From BibliOdyssey.com: All Hail Lord Carrington!...

The full library of Lord Carrington albums...

An article from the organization that houses the albums...

About one of the firms said to have produced the albums: John Sands Ltd...

Some photographs from and exhibition of the albums...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Sep 9

Marketing PR

I love style guides. I hate style guides. »

I love brand style guides (graphics standards) because they are meant to maintain the integrity of the designer's vision. I hate them because they limit that vision to what can be foreseen. They also are notoriously selfish. They insist on maintaining a brand's prominence even when such prominence is inappropriate.

Here is a recent batch of style guides...

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The Skype Brand Book...

Boy Scouts of America Style Guide (6.9MB PDF)...

Facebook Product Assets and Identity Guide (10MB PDF)...

The VERY complete Graphic Standards Manual for the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) (9.7MB PDF)...

Walmart Brand Guide (4.3MB PDF)...

Organizationsbuch der NSDAP (the graphics standards manual for the Nazi Party)...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Sep 8

Graphics Tech

Mapmaking and visual perception research »

With all of the improvements in mapmaking in recent years you'd think there was little room for innovation. Then someone like Penn State geographer Cindy Brewer steps forward with tool that incorporate visual perception research.

Wired says, "Brewer's best-known invention is a website called Color Brewer, which helps mapmakers pick a color scheme that's well-suited for communicating the particular type of data they're mapping. More recently she's moved on to other cartographic design dilemmas, from picking fonts to deciding what features should change or disappear as the scale of a map changes (or zooms in and out, as non-cartographers would say). She's currently helping the U.S. Geological Survey apply the lessons she's learned from her research to redesign its huge collection of national topographic maps."

Thanks to Wendy Kalman for pointing us to it.

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From Wired: Thank This Geographer for Making Sure New Maps Aren't a Total Mess...

Wired's first story: The Cartographer Who's Transforming Map Design...

ColorBrewer...

ScaleMaster...

Ben Sheesley's TypeBrewer...

Brewer's Resources page at Penn State...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Sep 4

Basic design

Is there an effective design formula? »

I've said it before: There are so many variables in any particular design that I am skeptical that following any set of rules will guarantee success. But I'm always open to the idea. And I think that Nick Kolenda offers some interesting ideas in his article: The ideal characteristics of a visual advertisement.

Do you have a design formula that you've found useful?

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The ideal characteristics of a visual advertisement...

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Sep 2

Basic design

Google has a new logo »

It is simple and to the point.

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Horse's mouth...

From Brand New: New logo for Google done in-house...

From Fast Company: The branding gods (mostly) love Google's new logo...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Aug 31

Learning

Are you a freelancer or a business consultant? »

Nick Disabato shares some interesting ideas about repackaging your freelance business.

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Following the Hunch: How to Make Freelancing Into a Durable Business by Nick Disabato...

Disabato runs Draft...

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Aug 28

Copywriting

For writing, I use a skin-and-bones text editor »

I have no interest in formatting text until I get it into either an online content management system or into Illustrator or InDesign. If someone sends me a word processing or presentation document, typically, the first thing I do is select all the text and paste it into my text editor to remove all the formatting (unless, of course, there are lots of attributes that need saving).

On my Mac I use TextWrangler, on the PC Notepad++. What's your writing workflow?

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TextWrangler...

Notepad++...

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Aug 26

Typography

Meet the new Apple system font: San Francisco »

It's called San Francisco and it's kinda beautiful.

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From Apple: Introducing the new system font San Francisco...

From Gizmodo: Trust Us, Change Your Yosemite Font From Helvetica to San Francisco...

From Fast Company: Apple Releases Its Most Important Typeface In 20 Years...

From Gigaom: Looking back at iOS 7 and the fuss about Helvetica Neue...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Aug 24

Graphics Tech

Snagit/Screencast is a great way to communicate with your clients »

Of all the productivity tools I've ever used, Snagit is the most usefulAnd I use lots of different tools.

Snagit allows me to sit at my computer and easily record the screen (or a portion of it) and create a voice-over. In a matter of seconds, I publish it to Screencast (another Techsmith tool), a link is automatically copied to my clipboard, and I paste the link into an email or text message for forwarding to my client. The process itself takes a matter of seconds.

The fact that I can speak my point and record the screen, rather than type it out and attach images, saves me countless hours.

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For example...

An overview of Snagit...

Snagit provides the tools to capture video and images, Screencast is a place to post them for others to see (for free)...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Aug 21

Learning

Exploring 20th-century advertising »

Here's a fun, fascinating look at vintage advertising from the University of Virginia Alumni News. Some of it seems to do a better job of telling a product story than the typical ads of 2015.

Thanks to Deborah Green for pointing us to it.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

From BackStory: New & Improved: Advertising in America...

You Deserve a Break Today!: An exploration of 20th-century advertising...

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Aug 19

Photography

The science behind creating a powerful profile picture »

If you're designing social media profiles for clients (or you need some help convincing them to make a change), you might want to check out this article about the science of profile pictures and facial expressions.

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The Research & Science Behind Finding Your Best Profile Picture...

If you're interested, here's the data: Modeling first impressions from highly variable facial images (1.1MB PDF)...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Aug 17

Graphics Tech

Have you used Processing? »

I see some interesting examples of how artists and designers use this software but I know nothing about it. I'm sure many who read these posts would appreciate hearing from folks who have used it.

From "Processing is a flexible software sketchbook and a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts. Since 2001, Processing has promoted software literacy within the visual arts and visual literacy within technology. There are tens of thousands of students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists who use Processing for learning and prototyping."

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An introduction to Processing...

The processing website...

An exhibition of projects created with Processing...

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Aug 14

Web Design

Cast your logos in motion »

The trend is motion. Watch how designers are adding new depth to static marks.

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A collection from HOW Design...

Another excellent collection from BP&O...

From Alexandre Azevedo's Pinterest page: Motion Graphics-Logo Animation...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Aug 12

Print Design

The reports of paper's death have been greatly exaggerated »

The Paper and Packaging Board, a group of paper manufacturers, is making the case for paper. Here's how they describe the big picture:

"Paper and packaging products are an integral part of our lives. They give us an outlet for our creativity. They help us solve problems and learn about the world around us. They connect us in personal, meaningful ways. And they help us make important contributions to a more sustainable future."

Yes, this is a commercial promotion, but the argument has merit. As I have said (ad nauseam), there is more to marketing that digital ads, apps, and analytics. When fewer people are using a medium such as direct mail, there's an opportunity to make a bigger splash with fewer dollars.

Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.

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The How life unfolds website...

The Paper and Packaging Board's Annual Back-to-School Report (3.5MB PDF)...

The Paper and Packaging Board website...

From the Washington Post: Take note: The paper industry is planning a big comeback...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Aug 10

Marketing PR

What the current crop of presidential candidates (and their campaign operatives) know about branding: »

[Crickets chirping]

I'm trying to figure out why the 2016 Presidential campaign logos are so poorly designed—every one of them (to me) has significant problems.

Is it because the politicians are making the choices? Are their grade school kids doing the designing? Do they think its unimportant?

What's your theory?


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Aug 7

Web Design

Are you a graphic designer? You owe it to yourself to keep up with these rumblings of new copyright reforms... »

To that end, I received this message fro the American Society of Media Photographers regarding their efforts to be sure the next go-round represents small businesses.

"ASMP Responds to Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry

Late yesterday, ASMP submitted our response to the April 24, 2015 U.S. Copyright Office Notice of Inquiry, which set out to review "how certain visual works, particularly photographs, graphic artworks, and illustrations are monetized, enforced and registered under the Copyright Act."

Our response focused on several critical areas including:

The need for effective remedies, such as a specialized Copyright Small Claims Court, to counterbalance the rampant infringement of photographic works that involve sums too small to justify litigation in federal Court.

Flaws in DMCA take-down procedures that protect infringers while placing an undue burden on rightsholders.

The aggregation of visual content by technology companies that amass venture funding and advertising revenues without returning any share to the visual creators whose work they are capitalizing on.

The reliance on expanded interpretations of the Fair Use doctrine as justification for widespread appropriation and misuse of copyrighted works.

Extensive client, event and venue demands for Work Made For Hire and Copyright Transfer as contractual workarounds to bypass the intent of Copyright and traditional licensing models.

Challenges posed by the registration process including the confusing rules surrounding the separation of and distinction between published and unpublished works and the lack of an effective API that would allow third party software developers to create drag and drop registration from within photo editing applications."

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The ASMP Advocacy Alert page on Copyright Reform...

The Next Great Copyright Act by The Next Great Copyright Act by Maria A. Pallante (311KB PDF)...

Copyright Society of the USA's New York Chapter presents: If I Ran The Zoo: Probing The Contours Of "The Next Great Copyright Act" (video)...

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Aug 5

Illustration

Meet illustrator Minna Sundberg »

Minna Sundberg is know for her online "comics" but here I want to point you to her talent for composition and great skill with typography. She is a true graphic designer.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Minna Sundberg's "Stand Still. Stay Silent" website...

She also authored and illustrated "A Redtail's Dream"...

A detailed look at here coloring process in Photoshop...

From Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kiddig...

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Aug 3

Illustration

Are you proofing the science of what you show? »

A saw yet another example of this same problem last week—an illustrator used gears to symbolize how uniformly a process was working when, in reality, they were showing a set of gears that were locked tight.

I point you to these examples of illustrations that are not scientifically feasible as a reminder that you've got to proof the concepts and ideas as vigorously as you proofread the words.

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Gears that won't turn (the top three)...

The whole article: Whoops! Blunders and Mistakes of Science and Engineering compiled by Donald Simanek...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Jul 31

Photography

Could all this have really been captured by an amateur photographer? »

As the years go by I am continually astounded by the amazing images photographers are able to capture. This is some epic work.

What is even more astounding is that it was captured by police officer Jeff Boyce during his time off. In his first year of doing time lapse photography.

"This entire timelapse sequence," Boyce explains, "was recording between May and June of 2015. During this time, I managed to arrange about 5 weeks off from my regular job as a Police Officer in California, and set out in my truck with no particular destination in mind. I had only picked up photography as a hobby within the last couple years, and this was my first year ever recording or producing timelapse videos. Having always been very interested in severe weather, nature, and traveling, I picked up storm chasing during spring of 2014. I spent a few weeks in 2014 traveling and photographing storms, but without a solid goal or understanding of the concepts of photography. My interest in timelapse photography of storms stemmed from seeing Nicolaus Wegner's "Stormscapes" videos around this time..."

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

A video compilation titled: Edge of Stability (be sure to read the accompanying description on Vimeo...

Nicolaus Wegner's "Stormscapes" referred to in Jeff Boyce's introduction...

Also from Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Jul 29

Copywriting

Are you in search of a career niche? »

Here's an excellent example of someone who carved out a niche and made a career of it.

Meet copywriter Valerie Haboush. Her B.A. in Journalism led to jobs in public relations, corporate communications, advertising copywriting and, ultimately, she found her way into the specialization of writing about real estate.

Is there some aspect of design, writing, marketing, photography, or illustration (that you are particularly good at) that might provide a similar opportunity for specialization?

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Valerie Haboush's website offers many examples from her portfolio...

I found her when searching for real estate agent marketing copywriting examples. Here's one (546K PDF)...

An article about Haboush from the New York Times: The Poet of Property...

Also from Chuck Green: Check out the biggest, best place on the web to find and buy fonts...

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Jul 27

Illustration

Is this an infographic or worthless misdirection? »

I see lots of "infographics" that are anything but. When I first saw "Deconstructing Successful Logos," on the Adweek.com website, I was hoping it would hold some valuable insight. But having read it, I think it is meaningless—its assertion is, to my way of thinking, tantamount to claiming that having a list of the individual notes used in last years top selling songs will somehow equip you to compose next years hit.

The fact that a greater percentage of logos are rectangular, for example, does not necessarily mean that making a rectangular logo would somehow result in a "better" solution. How would you apply that piece of trivia? By designing all of my logos combining the top attributes? Of course not.

Why do I care? Because this is misdirection—filler content, published by a seemingly respected source, that holds out that there's some magical shortcut to doing the complex work of creating a useful, memorable mark for a specific company. It doesn't clarify the process, it confuses it.

Why would Adweek.com of all places publish it? I have no idea.

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Deconstructing Successful Logos...

The associated article: Here's What the Most Popular Brands' Logos Have in Common Deconstructing successful insignias to see what customers like best By Katie Richards...

From Chuck Green: Use the leading online learning company, Lynda.com, FREE for 10 days—no kidding...

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Jul 24

Ideas 101

The future of advertising is in innovations such as this... »

If you agree that marketing is about inviting people to step into your world, Graubunden Tourism knows marketing.

This spot, "The Great Escape", created a live feed with a man in the mountains. Watch what happens.

Thanks to my friend Bruce Schneider for pointing us to it.

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The future of advertising is in innovations such as this...

The agency is Jung von Matt/Limmat AG...

The state of typography...

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Jul 22

Print Design

Is "Bond" a brilliantly conceived new service or a 1990 spoof on life in the future »

"Bond" could be a brilliant idea—a service that converts your text into a fountain pen-on-paper note that is mailed to the anyone you choose.

Or it could be 1990 comedy that speculated about what the world would be like 25 years in the future, when we've digressed to the point that we're too lazy to (or are incapable of), handwriting a note.

Haha... in the Bond promotional video the CEO actually says, "An organization can add the personal touch that they've never been able to do before." Which makes me wonder if that's just a poorly turned phrase or if he's too young to remember a time when handwritten were a common occurrence?

The big question, of course, is: if a robot writes it, is it a personal note?

All that jabbing done, it does seem like a useful, well executed service.

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The idea...

The Bond website...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jul 20

Copywriting

How to master the use of bullet points »

I'm fascinated by the various formulas writers us to communicate marketing messages. As of late, I'm obsessing about bullet points. A brief introduction...

Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to the VITO letter.

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Tony Parinello's VITO (Very Important Top Officer) Letter presents benefits in bullet form...

The VITO Letter formula...

Mail Online, one of the most often visited websites on the planet, begins each article with summary in bullet form...

Brian Clark talks about bullet points here...

And here...

Typeface playground...

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Jul 17

Print Design

"What will you make today?" »

That's the tag line of Mohawk, a paper manufacturer that's been around since the early 1930s. They publish The Mohawk Maker Quarterly, "...Stories of small manufacturers, artisans, printers, designers, and artists who are making their way in the midst of the digital revolution."

If you love print, you're going to want to sign up to receive it by mail (free to designers and others). Thanks to Jim Deady for pointing us to it.

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Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #1: Heritage and Innovation...

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #2: Mastery of Materials...

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #3: Pride in the Details...

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #4: Community...

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #5: Perception...

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #6: Impressions...

Sign up to receive hard copy versions of The Mohawk Maker Quarterly publications...

A history of Mohawk...

The Mohawk Fine Papers website...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jul 15

Typography

A very unusual typeface design... »

Print Magazine recently featured the work of Shiva Nallaperumal which includes the a typeface under development with the working title of "Labyrinth".

As Nallaperumal describes it, "The typeface is pseudo artificially intelligent and the design process was equal parts design and programming. For the project I collaborated with and was guided by Tal [Leming], who created the advance opentype features while I designed the system of glyphs. We have been working on it for almost two years now, and [it] will soon be published commercially."

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Shiva Nallaperumal's typeface...

He was Print's designer of the week in March of 2015...

Nallaperumal's Tumblr page...

And his Twitter feed...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jul 13

Print Design

Affordable offset printing of 4-color magazines and books »

I ran across PrintNinja.com a while back and though I have not used them, I've read enough positive press about their services to recommend you take a look.

The nut they crack, in particular, is the 4-color printing of books and magazines that can be case bound (hardcover), perfect bound (softcover), or wire bound—for prices you'd typically have to print in large quantities to get into the reseller range of profitability.

They are, for the most part, a gateway to printing in China. Why China? Because it is affordable. They can deliver a competitively priced, high quality product while they eliminate the complexities of language barriers, customs, quality control, and so on.

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About PrintNinja...

Their cost calculation process is simple, straight-forward, and immediate...

Frequently asked questions...

If you do decide to print overseas, be certain to read this...

Need some typography ideas?

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Jul 10

Illustration

Meet illustrator John Dykes »

There are other illustrators whose overall style seems similar to Dykes'—but look closely—I feel like you can pinpoint the originals from the also-rans by looking at their body of work. John S. Dykes is an explorer.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

John Dykes' website...

Dykes on Illoz.com...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jul 8

Graphics Tech

Add another dimension to your design »

Years ago I wrote a book exploring the scope of what you could do with a new set of graphics tools referred to as "desktop publishing". Today we've graduated to printing 3-dimensional objects from vector drawings produced using widely available 3D Authoring tools.

Shapeways is, as they describe it, "Giving anyone the ability to quickly and affordably turn ideas from digital designs into real products, Shapeways is fundamentally changing how products are made and by whom."

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The process and product...

What people are making...

About creating 3D designs...

3D printing materials...

Supported 3D authoring tools...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. (A little tip: Look closely at the listings, some include one or two weights or widths you can add to your cart for free)...

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Jul 6

Marketing PR

Watch the latest TV spots, see who's running them, and find out what's working (and what isn't) »

iSpot.tv offers a sophisticated platform for the, "real time tracking of paid TV media and the related earned digital activity across social, search, and video." They score current spots and measure their activity.

Don't care? Then use it to see what everyone else is up by industry categories across 110 broadcast and cable networks.

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Browse the current lineup...

Top 10 most engaging tv ads of the week...

How the paid service platform works...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jul 3

Packaging

About the graphic design of board games »

I've always found this niche particularly interesting. More than a book, the success of a board game is tied directly to the quality its look and feel. Even a superb game idea needs a reasonably successful, understandable visual presentation. And it some cases, I think great style can bring a marginal idea to life.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The center of the board game universe, Board Game Geek...

Are you interested in board game design. Here's a forum and a BIG list of resources...

An interesting article from Quora: What are some underlying principles in designing board games?...

Must have?...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jul 2

Web Design

I'm keeping my eye on Medium.com »

Wikipedia defines Medium.com as a blog-publishing platform (founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone) that has evolved into a hybrid of non-professional contributions and professional, paid contributions—an example of so-called, "social journalism".

I'm keeping my eye on it because some designers who have some excellent insights on UI/UX are using it as a forum for their articles.

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Jowita Ziobro on 7 future web design trends...

Rebecca Ussai on The Principles of UX Choreography...

Erik Klimczak on Designing Data-Driven Interfaces...

Thanks for visiting. Do you need some display font ideas?

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Jun 29

Illustration

Infographics and the use of shapes to depict abstract data »

Alberto Lucas López, the Graphics Director at South China Morning Post, has a real gift for finding interesting ways of interpreting abstract data.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

An illustration and some detail of how it was produced...

López's Website...

Try Lynda.com for free...

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Jun 26

Print Design

The legal side of graphic design: ethics, copyright, trademarks, intellectual property, information accuracy, advertising claims, confidentiality, to name a few... »

Occasionally I'll run into someone doesn't quite understand the do's and don'ts of advertising and marketing. It got me thinking about all of the rules and regulations a graphic designer needs to be be aware of--ethics, copyright, the various types of trademarks, other types of intellectual property, the accuracy of information, advertising claims, confidentiality, and so on.

For me, becoming aware of such things has been a cumulative process--but the scope of it is wide and deep. Something design and marketing programs should be including in their curricula.

Here are some examples of what happens when someone doesn't understand the legal side of graphic design...

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From AdAge.com: Nine things you can't do in advertising if you want to stay on right side of the law...

An example of a recent National Advertising Division finding...

Some examples of how not to use an organization's identity...

It's a damn font festival...

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Jun 24

Marketing PR

When it looks this easy... »

I'm always complaining about the fact that so few people outside our field understand the many steps it takes to write, design, and produce a website or a print piece. After reading this article on the production of two recent Super Bowl ads, I tend to think we have it easy...

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The Snickers—Brady Bunch spot...

The article about its production...

The production shop was O Positive in cooperation with The Mill—and the agency was BBDO New York...

RSA produced the Mercedes spot for the Merkley & Partners agency...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jun 22

Photography

Reid Miles was the Norman Rockwell of photographers »

And I mean that literally. Back in the 1970s and 80s Reid Miles made a name for himself creating photographs that conjured up the very distinct, iconic style of illustrator Norman Rockwell.

I wish I could find more of his work to share with you. The detail of the images was extraordinary.

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A representative example of the style...

A 1986 article from Step-By-Step Graphics...

Another mention of Reid Miles...

In his heyday...

All that said, believe it or not, Miles is for his earlier work...

He fashioned his photographs after the very distinct, iconic style of illustrator Norman Rockwell...

The latest from MyFonts.com...

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Jun 19

Illustration

Telling stories in different voices »

Gentleman Scholar is a production shop in Los Angeles that has managed the rare feat of creating high-quality work in many different styles.

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Example 1: HP Manifesto...

Example 2: Community for PNC Bank...

Example 3: Technical Breakdown for the WDC...

The Gentleman Scholar Website...

The co-founders of Gentleman Scholar, Will Johnson and William Campbell are interviewed by Communication Arts magazine here...

Learn now... Learn more... Get a free trial at Lynda.com...

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Jun 15

Learning

12 Questions on the future of design »

This is an interesting exercise. The folks at Medium.com asked, "A list of clever thinkers and interesting friends in the design world," 12 questions on the future of the general practice of design.

Ask yourself the same questions—the answers may well give you some insights into where to head in your own life as a designer.

1. What do you do, make, or design?

2. What three key works or ideas set the stage for what you're doing now?

3. What's the most under-appreciated idea in design right now?

4. What idea is most overhyped?

5. What recent tool do you think has had the biggest impact on how your field works and what you create?

6. Who's the most important person in your field right now?

7. What's the most important design to come out of your field in the past 10 years?

8. What's the biggest challenge, problem, or question your field needs to tackle right now?

9. What piece of pop culture has the most interesting notion of what the future might look and feel like, design-wise?

10. Ten years from now, will design in your field look and feel more like the natural world, or more artificial? More complex and ornate, or more spare and minimal?

11. What new thing do you wish technology could do in order to open up the potential of your work?

12. What one word would sum up your predictions for where design in your field is headed next?

Thanks to Chris Miller for pointing us to it.

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The answers from Medium's survey...

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Jun 15

Illustration

Maps, design, and quilts »

Three things I love all in one. As the story goes, architect Emily Fischer, "...Made her first quilted maps to be wayfinding tools for the visually impaired".

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Example 1: Constellation Quilt...

Example 2: The Chesapeake Bay Coastal Quilt...

Example 3: The London Throw...

The Haptic Lab Website...

The Haptic Lab Blog...

A Creative Mornings talk with Emily Fischer...

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Jun 12

Web Design

Some recent examples of experiential marketing »

In an article from AdAge, Shareen Pathak defines experiential marketing as, "Messaging you can touch, feel or view in a physical space." Is "experiential marketing" the 2015 equivalent of "engagement marketing"? There are certainly some similarities.

What is clear is that experiential marketing is getting lots of play these days because, in many cases, it deserves lots of play. Creative people are finding imaginative, engaging ways of introducing and perpetuating brands.

Here are some recent examples...

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Examples from Econsultancy.com...

More examples from Econsultancy.com...

Examples from XStudios.com...

Examples from Pinterest...

From AdAge.com: Just what is experiential marketing, and how can it be measured?

Check out the latest typefaces at MyFonts.com...

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Jun 10

Marketing PR

How is psychology used to manipulate and influence people in their daily lives? »

That was the question posed to begin this fascinating, free-wheeling discussion of psychological manipulation at Quora.com.

Are graphic design, marketing, and advertising forms of manipulation? Sure. But is that necessarily a negative? Tell me.

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A fascinating, free-wheeling discussion of psychological manipulation at Quora.com...

Check out the latest typefaces at MyFonts.com...

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Jun 8

Web Design

The next challenge for the graphic designer: "responsive logos" »

You're probably already creating them—variations of logos for different applications and/or at different sizes. Ever created a "favicon"? The little website brand icon that shows up on the browser tab? Yup, you've created a responsive logo.

Graphic designer Jeremy Frank has created a nice little demonstration of how it works...

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ResponsiveLogos.co.uk...

From Jeremy Frank: Responsive Logos, Part 1: Tips for Adapting Logos for Small Screens...

Responsive Logos, Part 2: Making Logos Truly Responsive with Inline SVG...

Joe Harrison designed the ResponsiveLogos.co.uk...

Get a free trial of graphic design training at Lynda.com...

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Jun 5

Typography

Hermann Zapf in all caps, bold »

Today, one highly respected type designer brings us some sad news about another—Roger Black Tweets, "RIP Hermann Zapf. With sad and complete respect, we're remembering the designer who raised the bar for all of us in the type world."

Every graphic designer knows the name Hermann Zapf. He was a calligrapher without peer and a typeface designer who had an a truly appreciable effect on the entirety of modern day typography.

I've been fortunate to hear a few stories about Mr. Zapf from calligrapher, and typeface designer Micheal Clark—who, if I remember correctly, met Zapf when Micheal worked at Hallmark.

Hermann Zapf died yesterday at 96.

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The Art of Hermann Zapf...

Zaph's lifestory form Linotype...

My first appreciation of Zapf came through my subscription to U&LC...

Fred Showker reviewed Rick Cusick's book What Our Lettering Needs: The Contribution of Hermann Zapf to Calligraphy & Type Designs at Hallmark Cards...

You'll find many of his typefaces on MyFonts.com...

Lorenzo Caputo edits a Hermann Zapf Pinterest board...

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Jun 3

Illustration

If you love witnessing the creative process »

If you love witnessing the creative process, don't miss this interesting post about Saul Bass' design of the poster for Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining".
"Dear Stanley:

Here are the five designs which surfaced out of the work done since I returned. I am excited about all of them, and I could give you many reasons why I think they would be strong and effective identifiers for the film. But the one I think is strongest is No. 1. It's provocative, scary and emotional. It has size, and promises a picture I haven't seen before."

Thanks to Bob Staake for pointing us to it.

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The designs and correspondence...

Film of Jack Nicholson preparing for "The Shining"...

Yes, of course, there is an entire website dedicated to the movie (caution, some of it is not for the weak of heart)...

Can't identify a typeface? Try "WhatTheFont" at MyFonts.com...

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Jun 1

Typography

A typeface designed for coding? »

In the description of Input on his website, David Jonathan Ross talks about its origin, "My boss, David Berlow asked: 'Are monospaced fonts really the only solution for presenting computer code in a world with so much type technology?' Input was my response."

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The story of Input...

A very cool, interactive preview of the coding typeface "Input"...

Input is free for private/unpublished use...

About David Jonathan Ross...

I've been a customer (and fan) of Font Bureau for many years, it was founded in 1989 by Roger Black and David Berlow...

Here's a free trial of Lynda.com...

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May 29

Typography

Reading, listening, watching, and (oh yeah) driving »

My new car is testament to how much of a media experience driving a car has become. Two cameras show blind spots, multiple text screens show vehicle stats, organize entertainment, offer directions via maps and voice commands, APP support, even a plug for HDMI—and, oh yeah, there's that little thing about driving.

Here's an interesting study that looks at typeface characteristics and "glance time". (We're going to need self-driving cars because there's just going to be too much to read and watch.)

Thanks to Jessica Jones for pointing us to it.

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From MIT, reported by Gizmodo: This Typeface Makes You a More Alert Driver By Distracting You Less...

Here is an Abstract and the actual paper: Assessing the impact of typeface design in a text-rich automotive user interface...

Learn more for less at Lynda.com...

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May 27

Ideas 101

Have you ever considered using a 3D object as a logo? »

When I saw this wonderful piece of fine art recently, I thought, "Wow, that would make a wonderful logo."

A three-dimensional object as a logo—why not? You could photograph the object from various angles and drop it out of a white background—as shown here. You could plant it inside all your marketing photographs. Include it in images of people who work for the company. Use it as a promotional tool and so on, the possibilities seem endless.

In order to trademark it, you could license an existing object from the maker, modify an existing object by adding something to it that changes its meaning, commission the creation of an object from scratch by an illustrator or sculptor, and so on.

I can only think of one other example of this right off: the troll used by Travelocity—but it isn't their logo. Why haven't I seen more organizations use objects as logos?

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The piece I saw was an elephant sculpted by William Sweetlove titled "Cloned Red Father Elephant"...

More of Sweetlove's work...

While you're here, check out these font specials from MyFonts.com...

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May 25

Illustration

Meet illustrators, designers Violaine & Jeremy »

The Paris-based illustration and graphic arts studio Violaine & Jeremy is the territory of Violaine Orsoni and Jeremy Schneider. Schneider's pencil work is beautiful/quirky and their collaborative designs are fresh and interesting.

The posters for the National Orchestra of Lorraine Illustrated stopped me in my tracks.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Barbara Majsa of hypeandhyper.com interviewed the team here...

Have you tried Lynda.com? Here's a free ride...

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May 22

Illustration

Here's a smile about the design of city flags »

Roman Mars, host of "99% Invisible, a tiny radio show" points us to the often sad state of city flags and leads us through, "the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything."

(That's our Richmond, Virginia city flag below. It features a silhouette of a person navigating a James River bateau—a river craft from the 1700s.)

Thanks to Wayne Belvin for pointing us to it.

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Roman Mars: "Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you've never noticed"...

He describes his radio show, "99% Invisible, as a tiny radio show about design, architecture and the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world"...

A list of 99% Invisible Radio Episodes...

Got you interested in vexillology? Flags of the World (FOTW) offers 58,000 pages about flags and more than 115,000 images of flags of countries, organizations, states, territories, districts and cities, past and present....

Have you checked out the new fonts at MyFonts.com?

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May 20

Illustration

Phenakistoscopes of the future? »

Illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, printers—virtually all those associated with commercial imagery—have experienced a massive shift from paper to pixels in the last 30 years. But I sense we are seeing the beginnings of some settling back to legacy media as the dust settles and we recognize that digital screens are not necessarily the best hammer for every nail. (Especially considering the fact that, in most cases, digital erases any semblance of privacy.)

When you dig into how photographic and illustrative media have been used in the past, you can begin to conjure up some of the ways it might be modernized to work in the future.

Whether it's a conical mirror anamorphose, a lithophane transparency, or a myriorama picture-card, I think you'll find this amazing collection offered by Richard Balzer and Brian Duffy is a wonderful catalyst for ideas.

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Example 1: A circle panorama...

Example 2: Shadow work...

Example 3: A phenakistoscope...

The Richard Blazer Collection website...

Balzer's blog...

From Wired: These Incredible Animated GIFs Are More Than 150 Years Old...

A video composed with works from the collection...

Looking for fonts? MyFont.com offers typefaces from most of the popular foundries in the world...

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