Mar 4

Print Design

Celebrating graphic design pioneer Paul Rand »

It's a joy (and an education) to look back at the work of one of the pioneers of modern graphic design—Paul Rand. His combinations of ideas and bold illustrations started a new era in design. His influence is everywhere.

(Think he'll run for President in 2016? Oh, that's the other Paul Rand.)

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Example 1...

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These are just a tiny sampling of ads. There is a massive amount of work here—The Paul Rand website...

Working With Rand...

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Mar 2

Learning

What do you need to know to be a designer in 2015 »

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and Adobe have published some interesting insights into (via its Designer of 2015 project), among other things, the necessary competencies of a designer. Don't miss it.

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A list of competencies...

Designer of 2015 Trends...

Defining the Designer of 2015...

Defining the Studio of 2015...

Need help with your grammar (who doesn't)? Try Grammarly for free...

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Feb 27

Mind Vacations

How the world perceives you as a graphic designer »

This short by Ellen Mercer & Lucy Streule present the Cinematic Portrayal of Graphic Designers in Film & Television.

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FYI I'm a Graphic Designer...

Try a 10-day free trial at Lynda.com...

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Feb 25

Illustration

Did you notice the nominee title sequences at this year's Oscars? »

I'm sure millions of folks who watched the Oscars last week paid no special attention to the graphic design of the title sequences used to introduce nominees. In a case like the Achedemy Awards, with so much visual imagery, graphic design is like the soundtrack of a movie—you might not notice it, but without it, you'd certainly sense that something about the experience was missing.

But I'm guessing most of the folks reading this, couldn't help but notice the 2015 title sequences, created under the guiding hand of Henry Hobson—they were stellar.

Thanks for Chris Miller for pointing us to them.

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This year's Best Picture Oscar Nomination Title Sequences by Henry Hobson...

2015 Production Design Nomination Title Sequence...

Partial of the original screenplay frames...

Hobson's bio from IMDb.com...

Also from his portfolio: The Walking Dead title sequence...

Hobson's website (and portfolio)..

An interview with Slate...

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Feb 23

Graphics Tech

I used Photoshop before it had colors... »

Just kidding—it has always had color. But, believe it or not, it once did not have layers or history. And I recall, with some degree of pain, how long it took me to simply grasp the concepts involved in making the transition from analog to digital in the late 80s and early 90s.

This month we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Photoshop—along with programs like PageMaker, among the most world-changing software applications yet invented. Desktop publishing certainly, completely redefined graphic design, typography, printing, and photography.

To celebrate, let's take a look back...

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A history of the Photoshop icon...

The Photoshop toolbar (via PetaPixel)...

The Photoshop splash screen...

An interesting thread from Reddit—Thomas Knoll (who co-founded Photoshop with his brother John), discusses Photoshop and how it has affected his life over the last 25 years...

From Adobe, a post on the anniversary from the Photoshop blog...

About Photoshop in architecture (via ArchDaily.com)...

An in depth tribute by Lynda.com...

From the Computer History Museum: Adobe Photoshop Source Code...

Need help with your grammar (who doesn't)? Try Grammarly for free...

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Feb 20

Learning

If you've been in business for 25 years, you're probably doing something right... »

If you appreciate good insights into business and marketing, you'll appreciate The Distance—an online magazine established and sponsored by 37signals (makers of Basecamp).

This is not a promotion for Basecamp. As a matter of fact, the companies profiled are not 37signal customers.

Here, in part, is how Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37signals, introduced "The Distance" in an article from the July/August issue of Inc. Magazine.

"I recently decided to actively seek out private companies that have been in business at least 25 years and see what we could learn from them. We're going to share their stories on a new website we launched (funded by Basecamp) called The Distance. Some of the companies we'll be writing about have been around for 100 years or more. Some are still run by the original founder. Some are run by a longtime employee or a third-generation family member. We have no plan for selling ads or making a lot of money from The Distance, only gathering wisdom."

Just to get you started, here are three companies that have gone "The Distance"...

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The Hollymatic Corporation makes hamburger patty presses...

(The Hollymatic website)...

The Horween Leather Company is a tannery...

(The Horween Leather Company website)...

Thermal Bags by Ingrid makes (and invented) insulated pizza bags...

(The Thermal Bags by Ingrid company website)...

Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37signals (makers of Basecamp), introduced "The Distance" in the July/August issue of Inc...

BTW, I am a long time user of Basecamp...

Hey, come to think of it, I started my company, Logic Arts, in 1990.

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Feb 20

Marketing PR

If you've been in business for 25 years, you're probably doing something right... »

If you appreciate good insights into business and marketing, you'll appreciate The Distance—an online magazine established and sponsored by 37signals (makers of Basecamp).

This is not a promotion for Basecamp. As a matter of fact, the companies profiled are not 37signal customers.

Here, in part, is how Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37signals, introduced "The Distance" in an article from the July/August issue of Inc. Magazine.

"I recently decided to actively seek out private companies that have been in business at least 25 years and see what we could learn from them. We're going to share their stories on a new website we launched (funded by Basecamp) called The Distance. Some of the companies we'll be writing about have been around for 100 years or more. Some are still run by the original founder. Some are run by a longtime employee or a third-generation family member. We have no plan for selling ads or making a lot of money from The Distance, only gathering wisdom."

Just to get you started, here are three companies that have gone "The Distance"...

tags

The Hollymatic Corporation makes hamburger patty presses...

(The Hollymatic website)...

The Horween Leather Company is a tannery...

(The Horween Leather Company website)...

Thermal Bags by Ingrid makes (and invented) insulated pizza bags...

(The Thermal Bags by Ingrid company website)...

Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37signals (makers of Basecamp), introduced "The Distance" in the July/August issue of Inc...

Now that I think of it, I started my company, Logic Arts, in 1990.

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Feb 18

Ideas 101

How to commit to a creative life »

From his new book on creativity, How to Fly a Horse, Kevin Ashton discusses how great creativity requires a moment when you commit to the craft.

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How to commit to a creative life by Kevin Ashton...

Ashton on the Internet of Things...

Buy How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery...

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Feb 16

Basic design

300 Awesome Free Things (for graphic designers) »

This is pretty amazing. Many of the resources on this list will be of interest to, in particular, graphic designers.

Thanks to Chris Miller for pointing us to it.

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"A Massive List of Free Stuff Made by Awesome People"...

While we're on the subject, Lynda.com is another excellent resource for designers. Sign up for a month on me...

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Feb 13

Graphics Tech

Making big graphic design files small »

When I share files publicly or with a client, I want them to be streamlined. Without the remnants of all I did in creating them. And, to minimize the download time and storage space, I want to reduce their size.

Just to get you thinking, here are some good insights on reducing file sizes in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign/PDF.

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The Best Tricks to Reduce Photoshop File Size from Creative Market...

9 ways to minimize file size in Adobe Illustrator by Iaroslav Lazunov...

Quick tips for making a small PDF file size by David Blatner via Lynda.com...

While we're talking about streamlining content, may I suggest Grammarly for proofreading?

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Feb 11

Illustration

Meet illustrator Lesley Barnes »

Vector lines, shapes, and fills. It's so interesting to see how one artist uses the same tools as others but manages to create something so unique.

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Example 1...

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Feb 9

Copywriting

Need help with your grammar? »

Who doesn't profit from grammar checking and proofreading? That said, I will minimize the length of the rope for this post in the hope of avoiding a hanging. Let me simply suggest you try the wildly popular grammar checker: Grammarly.

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Grammarly.com...

The Grammarly Blog...

As with all things internet, here' the beatdown...

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Feb 6

Learning

SEO for 2015 »

I was discussing search engine optimization (SEO) with a colleague today—and how it remains a moving target. Which drew me back to a few sites to read what the experts are saying about SEO trends in the coming year. The first two links are articles, the rest are top SEO blogs where you'll find more as the year progresses (and everything continues to change).

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The New Age of SEO: Why Your Approach Must Change...

6 SEO Myths You will Be Taking into 2015...

SEOBook...

SEOmoz...

Search Engine Watch...

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Feb 4

Illustration

Meet illustrator Malika Favre »

You'll quickly see why Malika Favre describes her approach to illustration as, "...paring things down as much as possible."

To me, what makes her illustrations so distinctive, is the precision with which she creates the shapes, shadows, and reflections—they are dreamlike but technically believable.

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Example 1...

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Malika Favre's portfolio (warning, a few of her illustrations are a bit racy)...

A video profile...

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Feb 2

Ideas 101

If you believe design is a way of life »

If you believe design is a way of life, then you'll love this quote by one of the 20th century's greatest illustrators, Norman Rockwell: "The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back."

If I may be so bold, let's restate it like this: The secret to so many designers working so long is that every design is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.

That, to me, is the core of why, design is a way of life. But, of course, there's more to it. Paul Rand said, "Design is a way of life, a point of view. It involves the whole complex of visual communications: talent, creative ability, manual skill, and technical knowledge. Aesthetics and economics, technology and psychology are intrinsically related to the process."

Two great creatives. Two great insights into why design is a way of life.

design is a way of life

Norman Rockwell: Painting is a New Adventure...

The Politics of Design by Paul Rand...

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Jan 30

Illustration

Meet illustrator and typographer Gemma O'Brien »

Two things that strike me about Gemma O'Brien's work: First, I love the diversity of the techniques she uses—she seems willing to try anything. Second, I greatly appreciate the fact that so much of her work is done live, at full size. I think that brings a different dimension to it.

Gemma O'Brien

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

A video featuring Gemma O'Brien...

And on Instagram...

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Jan 28

Learning

What do you do when someone steals your content »

I know a lot of folks who work very hard at producing content for blogs, websites, and social network platforms. Most of them do it because they love doing it. But they also do it to earn a living. Taken post by post, page by page, and comment by comment, it might not seem like much, but add it all up and it is, in many cases, a substantial body of work.

There is a small group of people who don't seem to understand exactly how destructive it is to appropriate that content and call it their own. Or, to simply rework the content slightly, and feel justified in calling it original.

We have discussed what plagiarism and copyright infringement is, but I don't think we've ever discussed what to do when someone steals your content.

I was hashing this out with a friend recently who discovered someone copying his work and who was preparing to take steps to stop it. In my search for further insight to share with him, I stumbled on this excellent discussion of the subject by "blog evangelist" Lorelle VanFossen.

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What do you do when someone steals your content...

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Jan 26

Learning

Ted Leonhardt shares 10 interviewing and negotiating tips for creatives... »

Mr. Leonhardt, introduces his video with this: "You're a creative professional, a photographer, designer, web coder, event producer, etc., and you've spent your career developing your creative skills. But, if you're like me, and thousands of other creatives, you are a terrible negotiator.

We creatives love doing the work, and we know its value. But when it comes to asking for money we often roll over, give in or just plain don't ask for what it's worth.

So, I've created these ten-simple-tips to help you ask for, and get the compensation you deserve.

Remember...you....are...worth it."

I think it's worth a look.

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Ted Leonhardt shares 10 Tips For Creatives: Interviewing and Negotiating...

Ted Leonhardt's book is Nail it.: Stories for Designers on Negotiating with Confidence...

Leonhardt's website...

Ellen Shapiro interviews Ted Leonhardt for Print Magazine under the title: Design. What's It Worth?

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Jan 23

Packaging

Two VERY different packages »

Here are two packaging projects created by Hong Kong designer Ken Lo, as I understand it, to promote papers produced by Polytrade Paper. The first, for Camellia, seems soft and understated, the second, for Hilary is vivid and forward. Very simple, very nice.

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The packaging...

More of Ken Lo's work can be found at his design studio: Blow...

A recent interview via Designboom...

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Jan 21

Marketing PR

Public and private leadership needs to educate itself about graphic design »

Attention President, CEO, Chairperson, General, Chancellor, (and so on): Design missteps can do significant damage to your brand, get you lots of bad press, create a backlash in the creative community, and otherwise, cost you a lot of energy and money.

As you will see by the articles below, the consumer world holds organizations of all kinds to a ever increasing standard--especially regarding the design of logos.

The latest example has the Canadian Government running a student contest, believe it or not, to design the logo for the upcoming, multi-million dollar celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Confederation in 2017.

They are offering a prize of $5000 to the design student who creates the winning logo. Which sounds like a super idea until you apply the same logic to, for example, offering $5000 to the law student who does the best job of rewriting Canada's Constitution.

For your information...

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The contest...

The controversy...

Graphic Designers of Canada petition the government...

Mark Busse's Twitter feed...

Shall we invite contest entrants to do your job?

Ask Mark Cuban how this worked out...

This, of course, is one of a long list of logo controversies. Among them...

The University of California logo controversy...

The Gap logo controversy...

The Pepsi logo controversy...

The Quark logo controversy...

The 2012 Olympic Games logo controversy...

The 2016 Olympic Games logo controversy...

The 2020 Olympic Games (we gotta stop meeting like this) logo controversy...

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Jan 19

Illustration

Meet illustrator: Andrew Fairclough »

Andrew Fairclough has said, "I've always been fascinated by the tactility of printed matter..." and his work shows it. He creates an idea in his comic book-like style and uses grain and screens and color offset to make his illustrations look as if they were photocopied, silkscreened, or otherwise reproduced in the real world.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Andrew Fairclough's website...

An interview of Fairclough with CX.CITY (caution, a couple of the illustrations would be considered racy)..

He sells some prints here...

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Jan 16

Illustration

Meet illustrator and artist Cathie Bleck »

In recent years Cathie Bleck is recognized more as a fine artist than an illustrator. But I still think of her as a graphic design oriented illustrator. She is adept at using her dreamy, swirling scratchboard compositions to evoke all types of moods.

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Example 1...

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Example 3...

Her Drawger page...

Bleck's website...

An interview with the artist by Irene Hardwicke Olivieri...

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Jan 14

Web Design

Website architecture: Shallow or deep? »

Here's an interesting article from the Nielsen Norman Group addressing the two basic structures for organizing content.

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Flat vs. Deep Website Hierarchies by Kathryn Whitenton...

Hortense Soulier tackles the same subject, from the SEO angle...

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Jan 12

Copywriting

Some handy text tools that prove there IS a better way »

There are lots of text tools online. Those that compare two different versions of your text and point to the differences, sort lists alphabetically, by word order, and length, that remove duplicate lines, that number each line, and so on.

That's just a glimmer of the possibilities. If you ever perform some form of tedious manual text edit and think, there must be a better way, these handy text tools prove there is.

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TextMechanic.com includes a long list of basic text tools and so on...

DiffNow.com lets you compare two different blocks of text and highlights the differences...

Unit-Conversion.info does a little bit of everything...

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Jan 9

Copywriting

"Is It Plagiarism Yet?" »

That is the rather foreboding headline of an article on Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL). I point you to it because as we create materials for public consumption, we need to be aware of the rules of the game. And there are lots of rules a graphic designer should be aware of—copyrights, trademarks, licenses, other intellectual property—and the ethics of giving credit where credit is due.

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Let's start by reading Is It Plagiarism Yet? From the Purdue OWL...

The Citation Machine uses a three step fill-in-the-form process to create citations to four different standards—the APA (American Psychological Association), the MLA (Modern Language Association), Chicago (Chicago Manual of Style), and Turabian (Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations). Here's the citation it created for its own page:

"Citation Machine Automatically Generates Citations in MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian." Citation Machine: Format & Generate Citations in APA, MLA, & Chicago. Accessed January 8, 2015. http://www.citationmachine.net/.

The Citation Machine...

And here's another good source piece on citing sources à la Wikipedia...

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Jan 7

Marketing PR

"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you a wedding designer..." »

I don't need to tell you how sophisticated wedding design has become. What gets's designed? Well, for starters: The invitations, the dress, the ring, the cake, the flowers, the photographs and videos, and that's just the obvious stuff.

The annual number of weddings in the United States is 2,077,000 (CDC, National Survey of Family Growth) and the wedding industry is measured in the tens of billions of dollars. That spells opportunity for folks who specialize in storytelling. And storytelling is what weddings are all about.

Have you considered how you might get your piece of the cake? Have a look at a few of these sites and think creatively.

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Once Wed features "the world of unconventional weddings"—one of many wedding resource sites...

Lucky Luxe, among other pieces, designs and prints invitations in the vein of, what they term, "couture correspondence"...

Vogue Magazine named Mindy Weiss as one of the top wedding planners...

Another planner featured by Vogue is Easton Events...

Some recent stats...

After all this time, as many times as I've watched this video, I still get choked up by its pure happiness...

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Jan 5

Ideas 101

An amazing timeline of art history »

There are at least two reasons to check out the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. First, because the craft of graphic design, in some ways, mirrors fine art—and this is a very interesting, comprehensive overview of art history.

And second, because of how the information is presented. There's an amazing mount of information here (300 timelines, 930 essays, close to 7,000 objects) and the UI makes it possible to view it in many different ways.

The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History is a reference, research, and teaching tool hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art—the largest art museum in the United States and one of the ten largest in the world.

heilbrunn timeline of art history

The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History at The Metropolitan Museum of Art...

The timeline home page...

The Metropolitan Museum of Art website...

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Jan 2

Graphics Tech

What can we learn from the everyday habits of the people we admire? »

Generally speaking, I believe I tend to learn as much from the mundane, everyday rhythm of life as I do from its more dramatic events. So, if you were to ask me if I'd rather meet someone I greatly admire at a big, formal occasion or sit next to them on a train, you'd probably guess that I'd choose the train.

Andy Orin is the author of a series for Lifehacker titled, "How I Work" and "How We Work." Each article profiles an accomplished professional from any of many walks of life, and details the habits and gear they use to maximize their productivity.

What phone does that person use? How is their workspace set up? What are they reading? What's the best advice they ever received? Those are the type of insights these interviews provide. The run of the mill stuff that keeps the mill running.

To me, they are gold.

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How I Work: Animator and illustrator Aaron Blaise...

How I Work: Writer, storyteller, host of This American Life, Ira Glass...

How I Work: Articles editor at Wired Magazine, Adam Rogers...

How I Work: Technology blogger, Amit Agarwal...

How I Work: Writer and CEO of The Aspen Institute, Walter Isaacson...

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Dec 31

Web Design

A look under the hood at the design of one of the world's most popular websites »

I am enthralled with the design of MailOnline, the world's most popular online newspaper website. It was designed by London based creative agency Brand42 for Associated Newspapers Ltd, is part of the Daily Mail, and is said to have generated revenues over 90 million dollars in 2014.

The Design Business Association (UK) annually presents the Design Effectiveness Awards using commercial data as a key judging criteria. MailOnline was the recipient of its top prize in 2013, the Gold, Grand Prix Award.

Below is a look at the site and insights from a case study published as part of the Design Effectiveness Awards. Clearly, key to the sites effectiveness are the long-form headlines and lead-ins, the bullet point summaries that precede each article, and the abundant illustrations and images.

Those mechanics, of course, are just supporting players to the real star of MailOnline, the tremendous amount of fascinating information written and aggregated by the newspaper's staff and its contributors.

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Here's an article about the website from the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, ...

A sample article...

The Mail Online US Home page...

The By the Numbers page—Mail Online website statistics...

MailOnline: Designing a global success (2.9MB PDF)...

The folks who designed the site are Brand42...

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Dec 29

Ideas 101

Creatives: "We're comparing our insides with other people's outsides." »

That's part of what writer Oliver Burkeman lays out in this brilliant little piece about the creative process. He says, we should never, "take other people's facades as reliable evidence of what's going on within."

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Nobody Knows What The Hell They Are Doing by Oliver Burkeman...

Burkeman's blog is filled with equally interesting insights...

Burkeman's latest book is The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking...

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Dec 26

Photography

Life before Photoshop »

Back in the olden days (1970s), if you wanted to remove (for example) a telephone wire from a photograph of a building, you'd send a print of the photograph to a photo retoucher who would physically paint over the wire using an airbrush—exactly reproducing the background the wire was covering. By that I mean, if the wire was against the sky, they would reproduce the sky along the path of the wire, as if the wire were not there. Today, I use the Airbrush tool in Photoshop, but back then, we'd pay a specialist to airbrush the photograph.

What got me thinking back on airbrushing was an article from the Daily Mail about another photo retouching device (I have not heard of) called the Adams Retouching Machine.

And that got me thinking about some of the great airbrush artists, the one I most remember is Charlie White III (I've included a link to an example of his work below).

charles white III

The article about the Adams Retouching Machine...

An example of old school airbrush art is the 1974 poster create by Charlie White III for Levi's...

Charlie White's website...

The Airbrush Museum...

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Dec 26

Photography

See WIRED's Top 10 Special Effects of 2014 »

Why discuss movies and visual effects on a blog that is primarily about graphic design? Because graphic design is about storytelling--and movies do storytelling in a way that people pay to see. To that end, here's a look at WIRED's Top 10 Special FX of 2014 via fxguide.com, a blog that covers the production, post, and visual effects industry...

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WIRED's Top 10 Special FX of 2014...

The fxguide.com home page...

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Dec 22

Illustration

Meet the animated infographic »

Watch how designer and neurobiologist Eleanor Lutz shows and tells how the human body works.

Thanks to Wendy Kalman for pointing us to it.

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Example 1: A User's Guide To the Human Body: The Muscle Edition...

Example 2: 3 Different Ways To Breathe...

Example 3: How To Build a Human...

Tabletop Whale's guide to making GIFs...

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Dec 19

Photography

Marketing your photography (and graphic design) through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram »

PhotoShelter is a platform for marketing photography. But I think graphic designers will find some interesting ideas here as well. They are both, after all, about marketing visual ideas.

Take a look at these three guides: to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I think you'll find some smart thinking that applies to both fields.

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The Photographer's Guide to Twitter...

The Photographer's Guide to Facebook...

The Photographer's Guide to Instagram...

There's more where that came from. Check out PhotoShelter's other resources...

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Dec 17

Print Design

Haha... Am I just a hopeless romantic? »

Or are these ads actually pretty wonderful. I remember reading about someone saying that the reader should look at an ad an ask themselves, "What's going on here?" I love to see more modern equivalents of this type of storytelling.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Thanks to TotallyMystified for posting this HUGE collection of vintage ads and illustrations of Flickr...

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Dec 15

Photography

Feel the pulse of current photography and design »

If you want to feel the pulse of current photography and design, touch an artery, in this case, the Saveur.com Best Food Blog Awards. And in particular, the Best Photography category.

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The Saveur Best Food Blog Awards for 2014...

Example 1: From HortusCuisine.com by Valentina Solfrini...

Example 2: From LocalMilkBlog.com by Beth Kirby...

Example 3: From last year, V.K.Rees is a NYC based photography studio...

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Dec 12

Photography

An idea for an unusual, memorable promotion »

I recall a promotion piece, from years ago, designed by (then) advertising agency Siddall, Matus & Coughter. If I remember correctly, it was for a real estate developer promoting a large planned community. The piece consisted of a box (with a headline) that held a View-Master photo viewer and a slide reel.

When I stumbled on this slide reel producer, it got me wondering it that same idea might be just retro enough to make it a possibility for 2015 promotions. It's a little pricey, but it's also a pretty impressive, whimsical way of showing your product, service, or idea.

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The supplier is Image3D...

Another supplier...

There's also a service that will produce slide reels from your Instagram photographs..

And interesting article on View-Master...

View-Master brand now belongs to Fisher-Price...

The View-Master reel list...

A big list of stereo viewers...

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Dec 10

Illustration

Meet Illustrator Don Moyer »

Don Moyer grabbed my attention with his Calamityware plates and his current Kickstarter projects: BADbandanas. His Flickr profile, in part, tells us, "I'm a big fan of self-inflicted projects. I like to define some playground and then explore it."

That playfulness will be obvious in short order...

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Moyer's Flickr collection...

Moyer's blog...

The Calamityware website...

New on Kickstarter: BADbandanas...

Moyer works for ThoughtForm, Inc...

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Dec 8

Packaging

How many times have you purchased a product because you loved the packaging? »

When you have two equal products, packaging can have a dramatic influence. PackagingOfTheWorld.com is another great site for browsing ideas from around the world.

packaging of the world

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Packaging of the World (POTW)...

If you like POTW, chances are you'll also like TheDieline.com...

and LovelyPackage.com...

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Dec 5

Illustration

Check out these unusual animated icons »

Mobelux is a developer in Richmond, Virginia that specializes in mobile apps. Full disclosure, my son Rob Green designed them.

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Icons 1...

Icons 2...

Icons 3...

Within the context of the website...

I've got two sons who are talented designers—Jeff is a giant in the field...

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Dec 3

Photography

Mind-boggling Photoshopped fashion surrealism »

Natalie Dybisz (aka Miss Aniela) shoots fashion images and uses them to build dream-like, surreal scenes with Photoshop.

surreal fashion

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Surreal Fashion Collection...

A video of the production...

More about the idea and the process...

An article from My Modern Met...

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Dec 1

Photography

In the name of documentation, something extraordinary happened »

Between (roughly) 1935-1946 photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein crisscrossed the United States for the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) to document the results of government programs.

What resulted is "The File," an amazing collection of 170,000 storied images that are nothing short of a national treasure.

Photogrammar is a web-based platform that organizes that collection by places on a map.

photogrammar

Photogrammar...

A brief profile of Arthur Rothstein...

Walker Evans in his own words...

An 1961 interview with Dorothea Lange discussing here work as a photographer (minute 17:30)...

A few examples: "Snowy night" by Marion Post Wolcott. Click on the "Call Number" to access high resolution images from the United States Library of Congress...

I find this image particularly peaceful. Titled: Washstand in the dog run and kitchen of Floyd Burroughs' cabin. Hale County, Alabama by Walker Evans...

Another heartwarming image": A corner of the (T.P.) Schrock kitchen in their new home. Washington, Yakima Valley by Dorothea Lange...

You'll find other examples of the work of these and many other photographers on Shorpy.

By Dorothea Lange...

By Walker Evans...

By Arthur Rothstein...

The entire Photographer archive on Shorpy...

In case you're interested, here's an interesting look at one of Dorothea Lange's masterpiece, "Migrant Mother"...

Recognize the woman sitting inside the tent? She is the subject of Lange's masterpiece, "Migrant Mother." Here's that photograph......

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange...

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Nov 28

Typography

Are you in a typeface rut? »

Stuck using five or ten primary typefaces all the time? Been there.

So I invite you to join me in reading designer David Hyde's blog series titled, From Albertus to Zapf Dingbats: The 52 fonts that you could use instead of Helvetica. His idea being, to remind us of some solid alternatives to everyday typefaces and to break the habit of using just a favorite few...

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From Albertus to Zapf Dingbats: The 52 fonts that you could use instead of Helvetica...

Haha... Hyde also shares such things as the state of his Pantone Color Specifier
It's been a colourful career, so far....

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Nov 26

Learning

More on the influence of design on movies and television: The Art Director's Guild »

Last week I pointed you to the Set Decorators Society of America (SDSA) in an appreciation of the vast influence design has on everyday life. This week, let's visit another center of design influence, The Art Director's Guild, a union of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE). It represents roughly 100,000 entertainment industry Art Directors, Graphic Artists, Illustrators, Matte Artists, Model Makers, Scenic Artists, Set Designers and Title Artists.

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The Art Director's Guild...

Three random members...

Example 1: Lori West..

Example 2: Marc Vena...

Example 3: Chad S. Frey...

Fascinating: Perspective magazine, The Journal of the Art Director's Guild...

An introduction to film Art Direction and Production Design...

A list of some of the members and their websites...

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Nov 24

Illustration

IBM Thinks »

I happened on this presentation of "IBM's 100 Icons of Progress" and I thought the execution of the illustrations was well worth a look. It's also a good reminder of what a significant role IBM has played in the evolution of computing.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Within the context of the presentation...

I assume the work was done by powerhouse brand and marketing firm VSA Partners...

As IBM's first chairman and CEO, Thomas John Watson, Sr, said....

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Nov 21

Learning

A non-designer may not appreciate the vast influence design has on life »

For example, does the normal TV viewer fully appreciate the fact that the chair a character is sitting in was chosen by a decorator whose job is to dress the set?

The Set Decorators Society of America (SDSA) defines the role of set decorators as being, "key members of the design team for film, television and commercials. Working closely with the Production Designer and the Director, the Set Decorator must research, resource, and acquire all the objects required to dress the sets. Typical examples of this set dressing may include furniture, drapery, lighting fixtures, art and other decorative objects. However, the Set Decorator is also charged with large scale items, which could include machinery or robots, sidewalk window dressing, street items (such as street lamps and mailboxes), even rubble and debris."

Design is everywhere and I find this application and this type of website highly enlightening—yet another out-of-the-ordinary way in which design is expressed.

set decorators society of america

This representative "Spotlight" profile features set decorator John Dwyer...

One of many articles on the decor for specific television programs and movies...

A fascinating collection of links of Decorator Resources...

The home page of the SDSA website...

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Nov 19

Illustration

Meet illustrator Gary Pierazzi »

As Mr. Pierazzi describes it, "Over the years I have developed 3 distinctive illustration styles. One animated and fun, the second brushy and painterly, and the newest style consisting of simple clean images with a flow of graphic lines and patterns."

I really like his use of bright, flat colors and smooth, distinct shapes.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Gary Pierazzi's website...

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Nov 17

Learning

A design that illustrates how even the best designers can lose their way »

Michael Bierut is, by all measures, a highly successful, well respected designer. So when he was commissioned by MIT Media Lab to remake its popular identity scheme, you'd think it would be a sure bet that he would produce something interesting and innovative.
But this one leaves me cold.

While a grouping of the marks might generate some visual interest, I wonder about, for example, the Social Computing group's mark (below). When the dust settles and they are left to deal with their particular piece of the larger puzzle, I can't help but think they'll find it difficult to reconcile. Do you disagree?

mit michael bierut

Some of the parts...

From fastcodesign.com: Pentagram's Michael Bierut Rebrands The MIT Media Lab...

More discussion via Brand New at UnderConsideration...

By the way, here's a nice new handwritten typeface called CoalhandLuke...

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Nov 14

Print Design

One of America's great designers on the United States of America's most prominent symbol »

One of America's great designers, Kit Hinrichs, is also an avid collector of American flags and patriotic memorabilia

kit-hinrichs-american-flag

Martha Stewart talks with Kit Hinrichs about the design of the American flag...

And about patriotic memorabilia...

Hinrichs' book on the subject: Long May She Wave: A Graphic History of the American Flag...

Studio Hinrichs website...

About Hinrichs...

A representative portfolio...

An aside: When I was a kid, I was a Boy Scout and we were taught to have great respect for the flag. The United States Flag Code is the U.S. federal law that establishes the rules for its display and care (don't worry, thanks to the First Amendment, there's no penalty for failure to comply with it).

First and foremost, "The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing,"--it is not a decoration. The law states, for example, that the flag should not be used for commercial purposes, on any type of apparel, flown at night without illumination, and so on.
In honor of all the people who have sacrificed so much to build and maintain this country and our way of life, I figure the least I can do is to demonstrate respect for its most prominent symbol.

For those interested, here's "Our Flag" a publication of the Joint Committee on Printing, United States Congress (11MB PDF)...

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Nov 12

Marketing PR

Embrace the retail revolution »

Robin Lewis, a long time retail/consumer products consultant, has some ideas about why many retailers are in trouble and what they can do about it. If you have clients who are struggling, this may provide some valuable insight.

the robin report

Malls are the New Anchors by Robin Lewis...

Some of the ideas explained in more depth...

FYI—Sneak peek on Lynda.com: Storytelling for Designers with Stacey Williams-Ng...

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Nov 10

Illustration

Meet illustrator Michael Newhouse »

Michael Newhouse is my kind of designer—he's all over the place. Someone else called him a "jack-of-all-trades,"—what we're getting at is he has a talent for adapting to the project.

newhouse design

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Michael Newhouse's website...

From earlier this year, an interview with Workbook...

On the font front: Verb by Yellow Design Studio...

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Nov 7

Illustration

Meet Illustrator Michael Waraksa »

Michael Waraksa is a master of reinvention. Watch how he jigsaws old parts and pieces (plus colors, and shapes) into new ideas.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Michael Waraksa's website...

More of his collage work...

Mr. Waraksa shares several interesting sets of images on Flickr...

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Nov 5

Marketing PR

Can you automate product research? »

The folks at YouEye thinks so. It offers a new platform for research that automates in-person interviews of digital product users. Here's what it's all about...

youeye

An overview...

Example of a competitive analysis (4.7MB PDF)...

And a few interviews...

The YouEye website...

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Nov 3

Reference

A terrific source of signage hardware »

If you have the occasion to design signage, you have probably searched for the hardware used to display it. I happened on this resource recently and thought you might be interested.

So, for example, I could design a corrugated plastic sign and have two copies printed for roughly $75 (plus shipping). Then purchase an Blank A-Frame Folding Sidewalk Sign to hold them (one on each side). Total cost, roughly $200 (plus shipping).

For the right client, that's very cost effective marketing.

The Sign Bracket Store

Sidewalk signs and sign stands...

Banner brackets...

Sign blanks...

The Sign Bracket Store website...

The parent website is Hooks and Lattice (pretty interesting too)...

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Oct 31

Illustration

Celebrate the design of Halloween »

Just for fun I'm devoting today's post to the design of costumes and theatrical makeup.

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First some funky old halloween costumes from 1963...

The whole collection of retro halloween designs...

Tour the studio of one of the top makeup artists of all time, Rick Baker...

And finally, peruse some film costume and prop history—from the "Don Corleone" assassination overcoat Marlon Brando wore in The Godfather to William Shatner's "Capt. Kirk" space suit from Star Trek (from "The Tholian Web" episode) (This is a large file but well worth a wait—384 page, 60.2MB PDF)...

By the way: I have used Build A Sign a couple of times in recent months (to create banners for a client). The quality of the product is is quite good and the prices, to me, seem almost unbelievable......

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Oct 29

Illustration

I am in love with these French school wall maps from the early Twentieth Century »

This series of French school wall maps was produced by Vidal-Lablache, what I assume is a company that was founded by geographer Vidal de la Blache. I first saw them on the walls of the Washington, D.C. furniture store, Room & Board.

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A close up...

Here's how the maps are displayed at Room & Board...

Others can be found online...

My favorite (so far) is Oceanie...

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Oct 28

Learning

Does an art school education pay off? »

It's a VERY broad question that the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) is attempting to answer. To do it, they have surveyed tens of thousands of art school graduates to determine where they are and if and how they are putting their art education to work.

Its latest report, "Shows that America's most recent arts graduates are using skills learned in school combined with internship experiences to find work, forge careers and engage their communities, despite higher student debt levels than older alumni."

I'd be interested in knowing how many designers (like me) do NOT have an art degree (I made it through two years).

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project SNAAP

Making It Work: The Education and Employment of Recent Arts Graduates (6.4MB PDF)...

An Uneven Canvas: Inequalities in Artistic Training and Careers (7.8MB PDF)...

Painting With Broader Strokes: Reassessing the Value of an Arts Degree (2.7MB PDF)...

A Diverse Palette: What Arts Graduates Say About Their Education and Careers (7.7MB PDF)...

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) website...

The SNAAP Shot Dashboard...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

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Oct 24

Marketing PR

Shared experiences are amplified »

In a recent study titled, "Shared experiences are amplified", Erica J. Boothby, Margaret S. Clark, and John A. Bargh pose that the mere act of sharing an experience with someone else, amplifies the participants feelings about it.

As they put it, "Every day, people spend time together in the absence of explicit communication. Lives unfold socially but often silently. Yet even in silence, people often share experiences, and the mental space inhabited together is a place where good experiences get better and bad experiences get worse."

I'm fascinated by this type of research. I think as marketers, it is our responsibility to continually educate ourselves about the ever-changing nature of communications and to discover positive ways of incorporating it into our work.

Any idea how you'd employ this idea in a design project?

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From the Association for Psychological Science: Sharing Makes Both Good and Bad Experiences More Intense...

The study: Shared Experiences Are Amplified, Erica J. Boothby, Margaret S. Clark and John A. Bargh, Psychological Science (439KB PDF)...

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Oct 22

Illustration

Rare and important travel posters »

Last week, Swann Galleries in New York City auctioned a large collection of what they characterized as "rare and important travel posters." Wow, what an amazing collection of stunning graphic designs.

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Example 1: Walton On Naze...

Example 2: Go Pullman...

Example 3: Imperial Airways...

The full catalog of Rare & Important Travel Posters...

While you're here, another collection of Vintage Posters...

Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books..

The Swann Galleries homepage...

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Oct 20

Marketing PR

Achieving on the highest level and for the right purposes »

Haha... Seth Godin certainly doesn't need my endorsement. But I can tell you, in my few dealings with him (and in being a long time follower), that I sense he is one of those "top few" human beings. Top few meaning one of the elite folks on the planet who seems to be operating, thinking, and achieving on the highest level—and most importantly, for the right purposes.

Yeah, he knows lots about marketing, but what he knows most about is human nature and human behavior. Not from a the angle of some kind of master manipulator but from the angle of someone who honestly wants the world to be a better place. He is clearly doing what he does because he loves learning—and he sharing everything he's learned with anyone else who's hungry to know.

That said, somehow I missed the hours of great insights he shared through a series titled, Seth Godin's Startup School. He describes it like this...

"In the summer of 2012 I had an amazing opportunity to spend three days with a group of extremely motivated entrepreneurs—people right at the beginning of building their project/launching their organization. During those three days I took them on a guided tour of some of the questions they were going to have to wrestle with, some of the difficult places they were going through to stand up and say, 'This is me. This is what I'm making.'"

There are 15 episodes.

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Seth Godin's Startup School...

Kevin Evans has transcribed the discussions here (2MB PDF)...

Seth Godin's world...

So much of what Seth has written is available for free...

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Oct 17

Marketing PR

Marketing insights from someone who knows »

I was doing some research for a client and I came across Trey Ryder, a marketing advisor who specializes in marketing the services of lawyers. As you might expect, the articles on his website are addressed to his legal audience, but take a closer look and you'll find that much of his thoughtful advice applies to anyone marketing a product, service, or idea.

There is, of course, plenty of generic marketing advice online, available for the taking. But I find Trey Ryder's advice is worth special note. It is comprehensive, detailed, and articulates some ideas I had not heard before.

His website is super-simple and his opinions are straight-forward and thought-provoking. Nice.

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Scroll down the page for a list of articles...

An example of the articles offered: How to Troubleshoot Your Marketing Program...

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Oct 15

Web Design

A behind the scenes look UX problems and solutions »

The UXies is an award program that showcases the best in UX design: the designers, the clients, and the outcomes. I particularly appreciate the case studies which give you a behind the scenes look at the problem and solution.

2014 User Experience Awards

The 2014 User Experience Awards...

Example of a submission case study...

The User Experience Awards website...

By the way: I have used Build A Sign a couple of times in recent months (to create banners for a client). The quality of the product is is quite good and the prices, to me, seem almost unbelievable......

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Oct 13

Graphics Tech

An introduction to the design and application of vehicle wraps »

I didn't know anything about vehicle wrapping but was interested in adding it to my design repertoire (clearly, I will rely on professionals to install it). If you'd like a basic introduction, here are some helpful links I compiled through my research.

vehicle wrapping

Here's an introduction to the steps of the process...

About designing the artwork: 10 Tips for Designing Vehicle Wraps with Adobe Illustrator (from ImageSmith)...

About designing the artwork: Let's Talk Shop--Vehicle Wrap Templates (From Sign & Digital Graphics Magazine)...

Some ballpark ideas of pricing from a random signmaker...

Last year I introduced you to Dan Antonelli and his book, Building a Big Small Business Brand. Dan and his crew are experienced vehicle wrap designers. Here's how he sells his vehicle wrap services...

My earlier post about Dan Antonelli and his book, Building a Big Small Business Brand...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

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Oct 10

Illustration

An amazing collection of art forms in nature »

Kunst-Formen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature) is a book that features lithographic prints created by biologist Ernst Haeckel around the turn of the twentieth century. It is an amazing collection of vibrant, graphic illustrations.

Thanks to Eric Gjerde for posting it.

Kunst-Formen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature), by Ernst Haeckel, 1898

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The full book: Kunst-Formen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature), by Ernst Haeckel, 1898...

Eric Gjerde has also posted The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, 1853...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Oct 8

Illustration

Meet illustrator, artist Rudy Gutierrez »

What little I know about Rudy Gutierrez hints that he is the best of both worlds—artist and illustrator. By that I mean he has the sensibility of an artist and a talent for channeling his work to practical ends.

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Example 1...

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Rudy Gutierrez's website ...

The Jimi Hendrix piece was commissioned by the United States Postal Service for a stamp. The artist's story and demonstration of his technique...

There's also a section of Rudy Gutierrez's website that shows more of his technique...

Gutierrez has been teach at the Pratt Institute since 1990...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Oct 6

Ideas 101

"Every project starts with a brief. But very few projects end up with exceptional results. Why?" »

Tom Bassett, Director of Bassett & Partners interviewed an impressive list of well known creatives to discuss creative briefs and how they do (and don't) contribute to the design process.

briefly Bassett & Partners

The video: Briefly from Bassett & Partners...

About the video...

The websites of those who contributed to the program.

Frank Gehry, Gehry Partner...

Yves Béhar, fuseproject...

John C Jay, Wieden + Kennedy...

Illustrator Maira Kalman...

David Rockwell, Rockwell Group...

John Boiler, 72andSunny...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Oct 3

Illustration

Meet illustrator and designer Marty Blake »

Marty Blakes work is an interesting mix of collage and illustration. Her website describes the process like this, "Marty's illustration is grounded in collage, most often executed digitally. Her pictures are composed of scraps from her extensive library of old books, magazines, ephemera, and a prized set of 1939 wallpaper swatchbooks. She uses her own photographs and stock photography when needed."

Interesting stuff.

marty blake design

Example 1...

Example 2...

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Marty Blake's website...

Work in progress...

Blake's Facebook page...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

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Oct 1

Illustration

Vintage design from World War I, World War II, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) »

Vintagraph produces posters and prints from scans of artwork and illustrations found in the vast collections of the Library of Congress. Not a surprise, it is run by the same folks who brought us Shorpy.com—one of my all-time favorite websites, an ever-growing collection of restored photographs from the same sources.

vintagraph

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Vintagraph website...

A Time Magazine article profiling Shorpy.com...

My first post about Shorpy.com...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Sep 29

Marketing PR

The email design guide »

My son Jeff knows one hundred times more about the design and development of broadcast email than I ever will. So I took particular notice when he pointed me to MailChimp's Email Design Guide web page. It is smart, simple, and concise—everything you want an email to be.

And that got me looking for other similar sources of information and inspiration about email design and coding. Here's a sampling...

email design guide

From Mail Chimp: The Email Design Guide...

Some examples of Really Good Emails...

From AWeber: A History of Email Changes...

Mail Chimp's own email newsletter: The UX Newsletter...

The Constant Contact blog...

The Emma blog...

The AWeber blog...

The ExactTarget blog...

By the way: I have used Build A Sign a couple of times in recent months (to create banners for a client). The quality of the product is is quite good and the prices, to me, seem almost unbelievable......

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Sep 26

Illustration

Meet illustrator and designer Martijn Rijven »

Martijn Rijven is Bolt Graphics in Amsterdam. I was struck by the energy in his wonderful drawings of the Mozilla FireFox. Here's the story of the project...

martijn rijven

The Fox Unleashed...

The work was done for Wolff Olins...

Design firm Dress Code created an animated version of the images...

An interview with the designer...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Sep 24

Photography

The mother lode of vintage signs »

Cory Miller has photographed and shared hundreds of vintage signs under the name Too Much Fire. He's done the future a favor by preserving these grand designs on film before they, inevitably, pass away...

too much fire Corey Miller

The sign mother lode...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

A breakdown of the sets...

Photography is not Corey Miller's day job, he is a TV writer...

Lynda.com is a learning machine—one of, if not THE best way to learn about using the tools of the design trade. Click here and try it out free for a week.

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Sep 22

Marketing PR

The workflow of the future: Part designer, part client »

The design firm IDEO, it is reported, did the design thinking on a PillPack in return for an equity stake in the business. PillPack is a next-generation pharmacy that "...pre-sorts prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and vitamins into personalized packets, organized by date and time. This makes it easy to take the right meds at the right hour."

I point you to it for a couple of reasons, first because of the elegance and (seeming) simplicity of the concept and its execution. And secondly, to emphasize that more and more design firms are trading their services for a piece of the action.

It is a particularly elegant combination of an idea, branding, systems, packaging, and a web presence.

pillpack design

The PillPack website...

IDEO's case study...

Coverage from Wired Magazine...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Sep 19

Typography

When we were reliant on handwriting, handwriting was hugely important »

I don't know about you but my penmanship is awful. A decade or so ago, my brother bought me a beautiful fountain pen that, lately, I'm almost embarrassed to use. Early in my career I wrote and sketched daily, now handwriting is a secondary skill.

As an devotee of good penmanship, my jaw dropped when I started going through the The Zaner-Bloser, Inc. / Sonya Bloser Monroe Collection at The Weinberg Memorial Library at The University of Scranton—it documents the history of American penmanship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through a company that, "...prepared students for careers as penmen. Penmen often worked in business, preparing ledgers, writing correspondence and creating documents before the invention of the typewriter."

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Example 1...

Example 2...

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The Zaner-Bloser Collection is housed at The Weinberg Memorial Library at The University of Scranton ...

Zaner-Bloser is still around in 2014 teaching, among other things, handwriting...

An earlier post, What we can learn through the relationship between penmanship and typography...

By the way: I have used Build A Sign a couple of times in recent months (to create banners for a client). The quality of the product is is quite good and the prices, to me, seem almost unbelievable......

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts in one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Sep 17

Marketing PR

Laugh, cry, think. The best of advertising, design, and communications circa 2014... »

The Clio Awards have been around since the 1960s (and through many incarnations). But they're generally viewed as a legitimately prestigious award these days so it's interesting to see what a "jury of our peers" think are the best of the best for 2014.

Here, in each of 33 media categories...

clio-awards-2014

Use "Select a Medium" to choose a category...

Before the Clio Awards re-attained their current prestige, they a rough spot in 1991—read John Follis' The Most Bizarre Evening In Advertising History...

If you ever what to claim to be "award winning" you'll need an award of some kind (a hapless distinction anymore). But do advertising awards really matter?

Lynda.com is a learning machine—one of, if not THE best way to learn about using the tools of the design trade. Click here and try it out free for a week.

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Sep 15

Web Design

Is Washington ready for the digital age? »

All politics aside (please), this is an interesting experiment. In August, Mikey Dickerson, formally the Site Reliability Manager for Google, went to work for the United States Government as the Administrator of the newly formed United States Digital Service.

"The team has one core mission:," explains the fact sheet announcing the service, "To improve and simplify the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government by:

Establishing standards to bring the government's digital services in line with the best private sector services;

Identifying common technology patterns that will help us scale services effectively;

Collaborating with agencies to identify and address gaps in their capacity to design, develop, deploy and operate excellent citizen-facing services; and

Providing accountability to ensure agencies see results.

Hopefully, almost a month in, the players are beyond all the references to the cliche that Dickerson doesn't wear a suit and tie (it makes the politcos and reporters sound like dinosaurs).

It will be interesting to read (a few months from now) how the bureaucracy has received its new experts. And whether the people that invited the changes are willing to implement them.

From a design and marketing standpoint, take a look at the playbook. It offers a thoughtful outline of the design and development of large-scale web development, some of which could be clearly be applied to smaller projects.

Thanks to Lee Garvey for pointing us to it.

digital-services-playbook Mikey Dickerson

A brief video about the rollout...

Here's a first take on the U.S. Digital Services Playbook...

The Fact Sheet: Improving and Simplifying Digital Services...

From The Washington Post: White House launches 'U.S. Digital Service,' with HealthCare.gov fixer at the helm...

Mikey Dickerson's LinkedIn account...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Sep 12

Learning

A continuing education model for typography design »

This is an interesting idea. As explained in an AIGA Los Angeles interview, designer Michael Stinson started TypeEd because he thought there was a learning gap between design school and professional practice.

I point you to it (even if the courses it offers are not online) because I like the model (you might think of other applications) and I like the design of the website—the UI and the aesthetic.

type ed typography

Here's TypeEd...

Michael Stinson is the lead instructor at TypeEd...

That AIGA interview with Stinson...

Stinson is a partner at Ramp Creative—here are some examples of their work...

Some reviews of TypeEd from Yelp...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

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Sep 10

Marketing PR

Marketing/advertising self-regulation run amuck »

Today I want to point you to the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) in the United Kingdom. They write and maintain advertising regulatory codes that are administered by a group called the Advertising Standards Authority. They explain their mission like this:

"The UK advertising industry is respected and emulated around the world, not only for its creativity and effectiveness, but also for the well-established system of self-imposed controls it has developed for advertising.

The advertising self-regulatory system is based on an agreement between advertisers, agencies and media owners that each will act in support of the highest standards in advertising, to ensure that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. The Codes reflect requirements in law, but also contains many rules that are not required by law at all.

The advertising industry has chosen to exercise this self-restraint not only to make further legislation unnecessary, but also as a public demonstration of its commitment to high standards in advertising."

I point you to this labyrinth of regulations because I think it presents a rather frightening model of how a public/private organization, under the guise of good, can grow into what seems like a potential censor of free speech.

No, of course I don't want illegitimate organizations to be allowed to bamboozle the public. But, at the same time, I don't want well-meaning people to dictate what we can and can't design, and write, and publish within, what seems to me to be, such a nebulous framework.

For example, a few quotes from the materials these two organization provide:

"Advertisements must reflect the spirit, not merely the letter, of the Code."

"The ASA Council is the jury that decides whether advertisements have breached the Advertising Codes."

Under a publication titled, "Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims... 13.12.1 Nothing in an advertisement may seem to encourage children to pester or make a nuisance of themselves."

Under a publication titled, "The BCAP Code: Faith, Religion and Equivalent Systems of Belief... 15.9 Advertisements must not refer to the alleged consequences of faith or lack of faith. They must not present the advertiser's beliefs as the "one" or "true" faith."

Under a publication titled, "Introduction and Dating Services... 27.3 Advertisements must not dwell excessively on loneliness or suggest that people without a partner are inadequate."

Is this the purview of a self-elected organization? Must designers, writers, and other creatives become lawyers forced to interpret and apply a catalog of requirements and regulations to every project? In a world where we are increasingly relegated to the status of an audience, this language seems dangerously vague and this organization's powers seem expressly presumptive.

advertising regulations

You tell me. Read the BCAP Code for yourself...

"Making ads responsible: A guide to the ASA and CAP Legal, decent, honest and truthful" (3MB PDF)...

Advertising Standards Authority Committee of Advertising Practice Annual Report 2013 (1.9MB PDF)...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

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Sep 8

Illustration

Meet illustrator Christian Montenegro »

Christian Montenegro is doing something different here. I love the bold colors, the flat shapes, and his insightful ideas.

christian montenegro illustrator

Example 1...

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Example 3...

Montenegro's website...

By the way: I have used Build A Sign a couple of times in recent months (to create banners for a client). The quality of the product is is quite good and the prices, to me, seem almost unbelievable......

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Sep 5

Print Design

Is digital dead? Introducing Ikea's Bookbook »

I love Ikea's Applesque approach to marketing its new catalog: The Bookbook. High definition, easy scrolling, multiple users, indefinite battery life, and so on. (I'm contemplating writing the "missing manual" for it titled, The Bookbook Book.)

Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.

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Introducing the Ikea Bookbook...

Need a font? I buy most of mine from MyFonts.com...

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Sep 3

Graphics Tech

How long will your printouts last? »

Ever print out images for yourself or your clients that need to last for a long time? Here's EVERYTHING you need to know about the stability and preservation of traditional and digital color photographs (and motion pictures).

The Wilhelm Research Archives - Vol. 1 is a 1,487-page, free publication that addresses the permanence and preservation of photographs—a beast of a resource that includes years of research and information produced by one of the premiere concerns in the field, Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc.

wilhelm-research

The publications are available here (for free)...

A while back, the principle of the firm, Henry Wilhelm endorsed Canon's Pro-1 Printer...

Lynda.com is a learning machine—one of, if not THE best way to learn about using the tools of the design trade. Click here and try it out free for a week.

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Sep 1

Marketing PR

Does your marketing involve the selling of place? Show customer's what you've got through Google Business View... »

There are times when I hesitate to enter a business because I'm not quite sure what I'm going to find.

Ever enter a store without display windows? If so, you know what I mean. For example, my wife Leslie and I were recently in Washington, D.C. and visited a store that had a big, very interesting selection of italian food products and wines. The catch was, it was situated within a row of nondescript warehouse offices with no clue as to what we would find behind the front door. Fortunately, Leslie had done some detective work beforehand and we had an idea it was worth visiting.

I have discussed this phenomenon with store owners. If the buying public can't see inside your shop, I tell them, there's a whole group of folks who won't travel out of their way, or even approach the front door if they think they might open the door and themselves in the middle of a place, for whatever reason, they don't want to be. (I'll never forget the time we went to a cheese maker in the middle of a small town. It was a tiny little room with a bunch of the folks who worked there sitting around drinking coffee. And they didn't seem happy to see us.)

Anyway, Google is hoping to spare us from that awkward moment with Google Business Views. A feature of Google Maps and Street View that allow you to virtually enter the place of business beforehand.

Now, if you have the type of place that people don't really appreciate until they get inside (in my experience, the vast majority of the most interesting shops) you can hire a photographer to create a Business View, 360 tour of your operations.

It's pretty cool idea.

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A brief intro by one companies that specializes in producing Business View image captures...

Three examples of 360 Business Views: Brood- en Banketbakkerij Ben Vreman (Bakery) (you click and drag the image to look around the space)...

Kolenmolen de Zandhaas (Flour mill)...

Saint Patrick's College...

ExampleTours.com is a searchable selection of published Google Maps Business View tours...

An interview with a photographer who shoots Google Business Photos...

Explore Google Maps...

Behind the Scenes Street View...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

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Aug 29

Illustration

Another huge, visual resource for design inspiration »

Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It contains imagery in the form of books, periodicals, maps, and other materials containing countless type treatments, illustrations, and photographs.

Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (the National Library of France)

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Example 4...

Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

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Aug 27

Print Design

The nuance of the magazine cover »

I love to read someone who knows what they're talking about, talking about what they know. And you have only to read the first line of Robert Newman's credits to know you're going to learn something every time you read one of his reviews of contemporary magazine covers. He is currently a creative director and media consultant and formally, the design director of Real Simple, Fortune, Vibe, New York, Details, Reader's Digest, and Entertainment Weekly. (So what does he do in his spare time.)

These pieces are well worth your time.

Robert Newman magazine cover reviews

An example of one of his cover reviews for Folio.com the magazine about magazines (print and digital)...

More, deeper, better, from Newman's own website...

In case you don't know Folio, here's the home page...

Lynda.com is a learning machine—one of, if not THE best way to learn about using the tools of the design trade. Click here and try it out free for a week.

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Aug 25

Illustration

Meet illustrator Peter Donnelly »

I saw this wonderfully different cover by Peter Donnelly for Organic Gardening magazine and I tracked him down. Here is the cover and some other examples of his work.

peter donnelly

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Peter Donnelly's Website...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

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Aug 22

Print Design

Mucca Design: A food-oriented design house »

Food isn't all they do, but Mucca Design does some lovely, food-oriented work—menus, signage, websites, packaging, table elements, and so on.

mucca design

Example 1...

Example 2...

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The Mucca Design Website...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

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Aug 20

Illustration

Best Dish app: Something to eat versus somewhere to eat »

My son Rob Green, Johnny Hugel, and their firm Mobelux have launched an interesting new app that helps you find something to eat versus somewhere to eat.

Best Dish is a perpetual, user-judged competition that allows folks to vote for the best dishes in a particular community/city. So, for example, everyone votes for the best pizza in Richmond, Virginia and those who check-in can look up "Pizza" in "Richmond, Virginia" and easily see the dishes that currently hold the top spots.

I like it. Best Dish is fun to use and has none of the complexity of an UrbanSpoon or Yelp (though I like and use those too). I can see how Best Dish could become a go-to forum for those who are more interested in finding a new favorite dish than searching out the best-rated places to eat (clearly a more time consuming task).

best dish

Here's the online version of BestDish.co. They're just getting started, but you can see how it works and admire Rob's illustrations (you don't have to be his Dad to love those)...

They've got some buzz going: A story from the Richmond Times Dispatch...

Lynda.com is a learning machine—one of, if not THE best way to learn about using the tools of the design trade. Click here and try it out free for a week.

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Aug 18

Copywriting

Is "native advertising" a marketing strategy or a grand deception? »

I'd begin the discussion with a definition of "native advertising" but it seems its definition is one thing everyone is having a difficult time agreeing on.

Suffice it to say, the concept has to do with the practice of mixing paid-for content with informational and editorial content. And, to my way of thinking, it's a pivotal issue graphic designers need to know about and understand.

Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine.com said, "Today, under many ruses and many names -- sponsored content, native advertising, brand voice, thought leadership, content marketing, even brand journalism -- advertisers are conspiring with desperate publishers to erase the black lines identifying ads."

In case you're new to the controversy, here's an orientation.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

native advertising

From BuzzMachine.com: In the End Was the Word and the Word Was the Sponsor's...

From the Interactive Advertising Bureau: IAB Native Advertising Playbook (1.2MB PDF)...

From Guardian News: Changing Media Summit 2014 panel: Native Advertising...

From the Federal Trade Commission: Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content? - An FTC Workshop on Native Advertising...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Aug 15

Web Design

A tool for experimenting with web typography, layouts, and prototypes »

Among other things, Typecast lets you layout, size, and combine fonts from Typekit, Fontdeck, Fonts.com, Webtype, MyFonts, and Google Web Fonts. It is free for use with Google Fonts and has a charge for including the other type providers. (You can test drive it free for two weeks--without using a credit card.)

typecast

Typecast in action...

A video demonstration...

Use the front door to get an overview and to sign up for a 14-day free trial (no credit card required)...

The free Google fonts portal...

The Typecast Blog...

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Aug 13

Print Design

For lovers of advertising ephemera »

I was in a shop recently, that specializes in paper ephemera, and I found an early advertisement (1910s) for an interesting contraption—a centrifugal cream separator. What does this have to do with graphic design? I think it's a pretty sophisticated example of a classic mail order ad. Note the letter within the layout, the "30 Days' FREE TRIAL," the "Double Guarantee," the mail-in coupon, and all of the wonderful copy.

I thought it was interesting enough that I would frame and hang it. In case you'd like a printout, the link is to an 11 x 17 inch version that I scanned in high resolution.

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The Sharples Genuine Tabular "A" Cream Separator (8.29 MB PDF)...

Some history of the Sharples Cream Separator from West Chester University...

Lynda.com is a learning machine—one of, if not THE best way to learn about using the tools of the design trade. Click here and try it out free for a week.

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Aug 11

Print Design

The original design is not necessarily the best design »

Jeff Fisher points us to an article addressing the recent redesign of the packaging for the United States Postal Service.

I agree with the many others who prefer the revised versions. The originals certainly set the direction (and that designer should be credited for the theme), but the revised versions are, to me, more sophisticated, cleaner, and the typography is a step tighter.

Also, let's be realistic, there was never a chance the USPS was going to use those ominous-looking eagles. The designs are either a bit contrived or surprisingly naive in that sense. There are some brands that require a certain amount of restraint because of the scope of their use and the USPS would seemingly be the preeminent case.

tags

From Fast Company: The Badass Postal Service Branding That Could Have Been...

From the designers, GrandArmy...

From Dieline: Before & After: USPS Priority Mail...

The USPS Priority Mail page...

In the unlikely event you are unfamiliar with designer Jeff Fisher, here is LogoMotives...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

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Aug 8

Illustration

Using cartoons in marketing »

Tom Fishburne specializes in using cartoons to market products, services, and ideas. An interesting strategy to keep in mind.

tom fishburne marketoon studios

His work...

How the idea (and Tom) evolved: Be careful what you wish for...

His website...

His Marketoon Studios website...

Sean D'Souza is another marketing expert (and cartoonist) who advocates the use of cartoons and uses them to illustrate some of his own articles...

While you're in the neighborhood: Have you subscribed to my Design Briefing? The Briefing gathers a couple of weeks of these posts one place and delivers them to you via email twice a month...

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Aug 6

Marketing PR

How to price graphic design »

Pricing, methods of pricing, the philosophy behind pricing, and so on, is a great controversy and quandary in the field of graphic design. Here are just a few views on pricing—an indication of just how little experts agree about how to do it.

tags

The Dark Art of Pricing by Jessica Hische...

The Art & Science of Pricing by Ilise Benun for HOW Magazine...

Selling Your Value Instead of Your Hours by Tim Williams for Communication Arts Magazine...

Pricing Models by Shel Perkins for the AIGA...

Why You Don't Publish Pricing by David C. Baker...

AIGA Survey of Design Salaries 2014...

By the way: I have used Build A Sign a couple of times in recent months (to create banners for a client). The quality of the product is is quite good and the prices, to me, seem almost unbelievable...

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Aug 4

Web Design

Show and tell: The Venables Bell & Partners website »

I came across a website I wanted to share with you and I thought I'd try something new: a quick show and tell. It's a simple-looking design but it has a lot of visual interest. And thats what its all about isn't it?

venables bell and partners

Show and tell: The Venables Bell & Partners...

The website...

Webtype.com...

FYI: Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

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Aug 1

Illustration

A few eyeopening interactive data maps »

My friend Wendy Kalman knows that I love maps and thought I might find this first project interesting, thanks Wendy, I do.

It is an excellent example of how visualizing data can bring data to life and effect us in significant ways. If you were to see this 2010 census data on the geographic dispersal of individuals people by race, as a chart, you'd interpret the information in a one way—see it mapped out, city by city, is something else entirely. (I can't help but hope, when I see the distinct racial divides in some areas of the country, that they will blur over time.)

That got me looking and I have included some other interesting, interactive data maps below.

eyeopening interactive data maps

Dustin Cable's Racial Dot Map...

An article from Wired about the maps...

The Census Explorer...

National Geographic MapMaker Interactive...

1940s New York...

In case you're interested, I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com. A little tip: Look among these listings and you'll find that many of the typeface families include one or two weights or widths for free...

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Need an E-commerce website? I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce...

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Jul 30

Graphics Tech

Virtual reality is coming (very) soon, and it could be a big part of marketing »

This is a heads up for graphic designers and marketers. If you're not paying attention to the field to virtual reality, we need to.

If you look at the current lineup of stories involving virtual reality, you'll see that many of them are dated in the last year or so. That's because, in part, there's been some breakthroughs in the technology. The big story is about Palmer Luckey and Oculus...

tags

From Popular Mechanics: Palmer Luckey and the Virtual Reality Resurrection...

From Advertising Age: Virtual Reality: Advertising's Next Big Thing?...

The Oculus VR website...

Jaunt has developed an "integrated suite of hardware and software tools to produce the highest quality immersive content"...

Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University...

How to virtually "possess" another person's body using Oculus Rift and Kinect...

BTW: Lynda.com is a learning machine—one of, if not THE best way to learn about using the tools of the design trade. Click here and try it out for a week free.

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Jul 28

Illustration

Meet illustrator Roz Chast »

I'm betting, even if you don't recognize the name Roz Chast, you know her work. Her cartoons look a little like they were drawn by a right-handed person with their left hand—to me, it gives them a, "I'm definite about being unsure," feel. And that's what I love about them and Chast's wonderful sense of knowing.

I typically don't point to illustrators who don't do commercial work (I don't see any in her portfolio), so this is the rare exception.

Roz Chast

Maria Popova's thoughtful review of Roz Chast's latest book Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir...

Interested? Here's the book...

An interview with Roz Chast from NPR...

Chast's website...

In the unlikely case you are unfamiliar with Maria Popova's website, Brain Pickings (one of my all-time favorite web places)...

BTW: I have used Build A Sign a couple of times in recent months (to create banners for a client). The quality of the product is is quite good and the prices, to me, seem almost unbelievable...

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Jul 25

Photography

More on the legal side of photography »

Last month we discussed the logistics and etiquette of taking photographs and I heard from a few folks who shared their experience. I though you'd appreciate, this fascinating story from Ed Lain at Lazer Grafix"

"For anyone interested in history, here's a brief article about a Philadelphia photographer turned Sci-fi writer who took a picture of the Liberty Bell...

Also, somewhat related, do a search of YouTube for "recording police" or "photographing police" and you'll see that the laws are different from state to state and that not everyone even knows what the laws are."

lazer graphix liberty bell

The Liberty Bell story and how Ed's granddad fits in...

This is interesting: Carlos Miller's The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook...

Haha... The shirt...

From the ACLU: Know Your Rights: Photographers...

From the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP): Frequently Asked Questions About Privacy And Libel...

ASMP: Frequently Asked Questions About Releases...

ASMP: Property And Model Releases...

The two recent posts that got the conversation started, one: What you can and can't photograph for commercial purposes...

and two: What you can and can't photograph for commercial purposes...

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BuildASign.com

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Jul 23

Illustration

Illustration trends for 2014 »

Here's a new-to-me feature of iStock, a look at trends in illustration. From "paper effects" to "vintage print techniques," some of the recent trends they are following.

illustration trends

iStock Illustration Trends 2014...

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Jul 21

Typography

More Frere-Jones, less Hoefler »

Typeface designer Tobias Frere-Jones, formally of Hoefler & Frere-Jones, is now blogging.

Tobias Frere-Jones

Tobias Frere-Jones' blog...

While we're at it, his Twitter account...

The BIG design world lawsuit...

Three gorgeous typefaces designed by Tobias Frere-Jones: Griffith Gothic...

Interstate...

Niagara...

An interview from the current issue of Surface Magazine (925KB PDF)...

All about Frere-Jones...

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Jul 18

Illustration

Meet illustrator Harry Anderson »

They call this old school. Harry Anderson, a member of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, had that loose, realistic illustration style that became so prevalent in the first half of the twentieth century. But he was special. His light and shade, his idyllic-looking characters, and the story quality of his illustrations put him in the master class.

tags

This tribute website was set up by another illustrator, Jim Pinkoski...

Another collection can be found on the Leif Peng Flickr feed...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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myfonts top 50 typefaces

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Jul 16

Learning

The Google Cultural Institute is growing »

Familiar with the Google Cultural Institute? I wasn't.

It is an initiative, begun in 2011 to, "...Allow the cultural sector to display more of its diverse heritage online...digital exhibitions that tell the stories behind the archives of cultural institutions across the globe."

Wikipedia says, "As of June 2013, the Cultural Institute included over 6 million items—photos, videos, and documents."

What strikes me (yet again), is how little I know.

Google Cultural Institute

The Google Cultural Institute...

The "Collections" view...

On YouTube...

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big commerce store

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Jul 14

Print Design

The graphic art of making globes »

When so many things are digital, it's nice to see people marrying digital content with craft.

Peter Bellerby The Globemaker

The Globemaker...

The Bellerby website...

Their blog...

On Pinterest...

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Jul 11

Print Design

A curated collection of imagery and story in the public domain »

There are many repositories of photographs, illustrations, film, audio, and writing the feature work that has fallen out of copyright. Material that is free to use without restriction or with some provisos but without cost.

Public Domain Review says, "Our aim is to help our readers explore this rich terrain - like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond."

It definitely belongs on your list of resources.

public-domain-review

The Public Domain Review website...

Example 1: Picturing Pyrotechnics...

Example 2: Princess Nicotine (1909)...

Example 3: Rhapsody In Blue - Paul Whiteman and George Gershwin (Original 1924 recording)...

About The Public Domain Review...

The Public Domain Review on Facebook...

Rights labeling...

A previous post: THE big list of public domain image sources
...

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Jul 9

Web Design

How do we translate old ways of doing things to new ways of doing things? »

I like the idea Eye Magazine has here. They translate the practice of leafing through a magazine off a magazine rack into the online world simply by shooting a video of someone leafing through the pages. It certainly gives you enough information to decide whether or not you're interested. Without giving away the content.

In case you're new to Eye, it is a graphic design journal, that offers, "...Informed writing about design and visual culture."

Eye before you buy

Eye before you buy, Issue 85...

The Eye Magazine website...

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Jul 7

Copywriting

"Utilize" is a junk word »

Thinking on the word, "utilize" led me to Ken Smith's article discussing his book, Junk English. As he admits himself (add me to the list), "I make plenty of Junk English mistakes myself." But that doesn't mean we shouldn't continually remind ourselves of what he labels...

"Fatass Phrases"
"Artificial Vocabulary"
"Cheapened Words"
"Re-Verbs"
"Abominations"
"Threadbare Phrases"
"Invisible Diminishers"
"Warfare English"

Read on fearless writer...

junk english

Junk English by Ken Smith...

You can purchase the book here: Junk English 2...

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Jul 4

Basic design

OK Go and the proliferation of graphic design »

Good news: graphic design is becoming more and more prominent as each day passes—it is as an increasingly important way of differentiating one organization, product, service, idea, and so on, from the next.

It shows up everywhere. I was particularly struck by the most recent music video created by OK Go and the richness of its design elements (no surprise that Damian Kulash, OK Go's lead singer is a graphic designer).

tags

The Writing's On the Wall...

The OK Go website...

The OK Go YouTube Channel...

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Jul 2

Ideas 101

Commercial graphic design is not self-expression »

A friend who teaches a college-level design course bought a walls-worth of small frames and invited fifty designers to contribute a piece of work. The idea being, to provide future students with nuggets of motivation and inspiration. This phrase, an opinion near and dear to my heart, is one I would like every young designer to hear. (I wish someone had told me early on.)

To that end, I have created a 8.5 by 11-inch sheet that includes the phrase and a few tips on keeping your solutions new and fresh.

Agree? Print it out and hang it up. Disagree? Print it out, hang it up, and throw stuff at it.

tags

Commercial graphic design is NOT self-expression (45KB PDF)...

Lots of folks have commented on the article here...

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Jun 30

Photography

What you can and can't photograph for commercial purposes »

While we're on the subject of legality and photographic rights (Friday's post). Let's visit a few resources that will help you figure out whether or not you can photograph a specific product, person, building, and so on, for a particular purpose.

What you can and can't photograph

For general rules check out the Legal Requirements section of the iStock—Stock Photography Training Manual...

For specific cases, see the Getty Images Intellectual Property Wiki...

An interesting look at intellectual property...

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Jun 27

Photography

The etiquette and the law of taking photographs in public »

Cosmic Christian Kevin Kelly posted some photographs he shot in Tibet recently, some of which appeared to be candid shots of people he encountered while moving through the countryside. That got me curious, and I asked him. "When/how do you ask permission to photograph a subject?"

His reply was, "I generally shoot first and ask permission later. This trip I tried handing out Fuji Instant prints to win permission; seemed to work."

That got me thinking about the law and the etiquette regarding the taking of photographs in 2014—here are a few ideas and angles...

tags

From EverydayAperture.com: Street Photography and The Law...

The Photographer's Right, Your Rights and Remedies When Stopped or Confronted for Photography by Bert Krages...

From AndrewKantor.com: Legal Rights of Photographers by Andrew Kantor (344KB PDF)...

That collection of photographs by Kevin Kelly...

Kelly's multi-faceted domain...

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Jun 25

Marketing PR

Logo trends, logo insights, logo design, logo comedy »

I LOVE logo design, always have (a few of my own designs are pictured below). This post features a few odds and ends on the subject that have crossed my path lately.

logo design 2014

Bill Gardner's always interesting summary of the year's trends in logo design for LogoLounge.com...

More from Gardner at Lynda.com...

An interesting take on logo design from a printer's angle...

More about branding than logo design: The Psychology And Philosophy Of Branding, Marketing, Needs, And Actions by Susan Gunelius...

When you're starved for some logo insight, you can always stop by Brand New for the latest opinion on corporate and brand identity work...

Michael Bierut suggests that pop icon will.i.am, lost a bet and "was forced to make a preposterous video about logo design."

The Step-by-step logo article has long been one of the most popular on ideabook.com...

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Jun 23

Print Design

The origins of menu design »

Henry Voigt collects menus and tracks down the stories behind them on his blog, The American Menu.

As he explains it, "Menus aid our cultural memory. They provide unwitting historical evidence--not only of what people were eating, but what they were doing and with whom they were doing it; who they were trying to be; and what they valued. Deciphering the particular story behind each menu requires great sleuth-work."

As any designer will tell you, menu design in 2014 is a sophisticated marketing and design process. The collections of Voight and the Culinary Institute of America give us a look at the broad field from which modern day menus originated.

origins of menu design

The menu collection of the Culinary Institute of America...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Henry Voigt's fascinating blog, The American Menu...

My earlier post, What graphic designers need to know about restaurant menu design--some preliminary research...

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Jun 20

Copywriting

Wow, "normal" copywriters (as if there were such a thing). »

I've been looking for a link like this for a long time. For a site that features "normal" copywriters (as if there were such a thing), versus those who write "killer direct mail" and whose every page ends with an "Add to cart" button.

Modern Copywriter is the home of Jason Siciliano, an ad agency copywriter and creative director who explains, "I started Modern Copywriter as a way to keep track of all the fabulous copywriters out there and, possibly, as a way for us to connect. That's really all there is to it."

Well, as far as I'm concerned, it's gold.

modern copywriter

Modern Copywriter...

I especially appreciate the idea of posting links to portfolios of new creative entering the workforce...

Modern Copywriter on Twitter...

About Jason Siciliano and his portfolio...

This is a hoot: What you see when you click the "Awards" link on his website...

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Jun 18

Books

What do you learn about design in a design school? »

I'm always curious about what we are currently teaching about marketing and design at the university level. Why? Because I think it's useful to understand that perspective. I don't know about you but I've been at this for a while so I find it useful to pull in other perspectives to ensure that my approach to things takes current, conventional thinking into account. (Not to imply that I necessarily knew all of this to begin with.)

To that end, here, from the publisher's website are two chapters from Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications, by Kenneth E. Clow and Donald Baack.

pageplane-design-school-curricula

Advertising Design: Message Strategies and
Executional Frameworks (287KB PDF)...

Promotions Opportunity Analysis (1.5MB PDF)...

If you were so inclined, you could purchase the book here: Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications (6th Edition)...

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Jun 16

Photography

Photographs are the air we breathe »

Transparent film and film processing were not available to the public until the late 1880s, so I think it's safe to say it was around that time that photography first became a part of human consciousness.

Today, photographs are the air we breath. In 2013 one source estimated Facebook users alone were uploading an average of 350 million photographs PER DAY.

How has that, how will that change our consciousness and impact our orientation to the visual and design.

Boulevard du Temple by Daguerre

The earliest surviving photograph showing a person...

The first permanent photograph was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce...

How many photos have ever been taken?...

Milestones in early photography (Kodak)...

The statistics about Facebook photography uploads comes from a white paper about Internet.org, "A global effort to make affordable Internet access available to the next five billion people." (972KB PDF)...
)
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Jun 13

Books

If you don't find punctuation scintillating, look no further »

If primes, ampersands, and solidi don't float your boat, move on —this post is not for you. If, however, you find such minutia interesting and useful, you have a great treat in store. Meet Keith Houston, enjoy his wonderful blog, order your copy of his book, Shady Characters—The secret life of punctuation.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

shady characters

The blog...

Where else will you find a three-part article on the pilcrow?...

About Keith Houston and Shady Characters...

A review of the book by Kory Stamper, a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster (the plot thickens)...

My tutorial on the 256 characters found in most fonts, The language of type...

You can purchase the book here: Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks...

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Jun 11

Photography

Graphic design inspiration abounds in nature »

Nikon's Small World website identifies itself as, "the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope."

Here's a challenge. Next time you're stuck for a stylistic direction, choose an image from Small World and use it as inspiration for the shapes, textures, and/or color palette of the project.

pageplane nikon small world

Small World...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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Jun 9

Marketing PR

How agencies talk with clients. A MAJOR lesson. »

It's very difficult to know what's going on between Apple and its ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, but it's safe to say all things are not well between the two.

Why should we care? Because there's something to learn here. To read some of the back and forth between a mega-client and the folks it is relying on to move its message.

Apple's response to what it views as a lack of fresh work has been to bring more of its work in-house and that, to me, is an interesting idea. Does a powerhouse like Apple really need an outside business to create its advertising?

I've always thought that the justification for using people outside the organization to build the message was that they bring the insight of the outsider. But, at some point, if all you do is work on a particular account through an agency or studio, are you really an outsider?

So, for Apple, the question becomes: If you can afford to acquire all the creativity, marketing expertise, and vision money can buy, can you also buy the insight necessary to keep an independent perspective?

apple TBWA Chiat Day

The Wall Street Journal article that got the party started...

Some of the emails exchanged between Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, and James Vincent, then President of TBWA/Media Arts Lab...

The result? Apple pulls more work in-house...

Other Apple insights revealed in court documents...

A court document revealed Apple's concerns about other smartphones (632KB PDF)...

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big commerce store

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Jun 6

Reference

Paper weights demystified »

Here's a helpful chart that shows common paper weights and their equivalents in various terms. Not necessarily earth shattering, but a welcome and useful addition to my toolbox.

tags

Paper weights demystified (448KB PDF)...

thepapermillstore.com...

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myfonts top 50 typefaces

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Jun 4

Web Design

Web designers: A few, somewhat esoteric, things you should include in your website design »

Here's an excellent post by Amit Agarwal regarding some, somewhat esoteric, components you should include in your website design.

Amit Agarwal web design

The list...

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Jun 2

Photography

Your photograph stinks. And you're ugly too. »

Just kidding. Through his podcasts, photographer David duChemin offers, among other insights, assessments of the creative concepts and technical prowess his readers employ to compose and capture photographs. The line above is not meant as a dig, it's a compliment. I learn far more from criticism than I do praise.

As an aside, as I was watching Episode 12, it occurred to me that photographs of exotic places and unusual or adverse conditions have a kind of built-in advantage. It seems to me that the photographer's (and for that matter, the designer's) roughest challenge is to show their audience how to see something familiar differently. By that I mean, revealing life in a distant world is certainly a challenge—but if you really want to stretch, a greater feat is to produce a compelling photograph in familiar surroundings.

It's akin to design—crafting something memorable for a small business on a shoestring is tougher than building on a successful brand with a big budget.

Thanks to Chris Miller for introducing us to David duChemin and Craftandvision.com

craft-and-vision

A representative episode of About The Image...

duChemin's portfolio...

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May 30

Illustration

Meet illustrator Sebastien Feraut, aka Niark1 »

Sebastien Feraut also known as Niark1 is one of those "skull" guys. (There are lots of illustrators that love skulls for some reason—honestly, I don't get it.)

But this guy is the best skull guy I've seen. And a damn fine illustrator otherwise. He seems as comfortable using a computer to produce his work as he is painting it.

tags

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Feraut's website...

His blog provides some insight into his process...

The Flickr albums are a retrospective..

An interview from ApeOnTheMoon.com...

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May 28

Typography

"Truth is not typeface dependent, but a typeface can subtly influence us to believe that a sentence is true." »

That's a provocative idea laid out (in detail) by Errol Morris in his article from the New York Times. I've posted the article and some related links.

Thanks to Lee Garvey for pointing us to it.

tags

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

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

An early Baskerville specimen...

Web Design 101: How Typography Affects Conversions by Ankit Oberoi...

The Secret Lives Of Fonts by Phil Renaud...

Want to try Baskerville? You've got lots of cuts to choose from...

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May 26

Photography

Visual storytelling at its best »

Montreal photographer Vladimir Antaki calls subjects of The Guardians series "guardians of urban temples." It is visual storytelling at its best.

guardians

The Guardians...

You can find more of Antaki's work here...

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May 23

Copywriting

The seven characteristics of commercial storytelling »

I like Tom Albrighton's thinking on what makes a good story. He makes the case that, "most effective commercial stories share seven closely related characteristics: drama, familiarity, simplicity, immersion, relatability, agency and trust in the teller."

what-makes-a-good-story

What really makes a good story by Tom Albrighton...

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May 21

Illustration

Meet illustrator and designer Matthew Allen »

Matthew Allen's work has a sense of craft to it—I picture a studio filled with pens, brushes, inks, paper, squeegees, gouges, and so on.

tags

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Matthew Allen's website...

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May 19

Marketing PR

This leaked internal New York Times document reveals the marketing challenges of the institutional organization »

Last week someone leaked an internal New York Times report regarding its challenges in the digital age (dated March 24, 2014), that included this declaration: "Of all the tasks we discuss in this report, the challenge of connecting with an engaging readers -- which extends from online comments to conferences -- has been the most difficult."

Clearly, the entire report is worth reading as it relates to technology, design, and marketing. But what struck me, from what I've read thus far, is the particularly difficult issue of personalizing (socializing) a large organization. It is the element of the equation that has made it possible for tiny little startups to big-bang their way into the marketplace—and in doing so, challenging the standing of institutional organizations like the Times.

How, as it applies to reader interaction, do you transform a big organization into a small one? And, after the dust settles, is it even possible?

New-York-Times-Innovation

From the New York Times: Innovation, March 24, 2014...

BuzzFeed broke the story...

The Nieman Journalism Lab posted an assessment...

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big commerce store

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May 16

Marketing PR

From creative excellence to content excellence »

If you had unlimited resources to determine the direction of advertising and marketing, what would you conclude? Coca-Cola, a company that spends more on advertising in a day (10 million) than I will make in a lifetime, decided a few years back that it's all about content marketing.

First is Coca-Cola's strategy followed by a recent article that questions whether the strategy is working.

creative excellence to content excellence

Coca-Cola Content 2020 Initiative Strategy Video...

Should Coca-Cola quit its content marketing journey?...

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May 14

Print Design

If you have a grand idea, these companies have the technology to bring it to life »

To create the best design, you've got to understand the scope of what is possible. I must admit I have not kept up with the changes in what is called, "grand format" printers. "Grand format" or "super-wide" printers are defined as those that print on substrates over 100 inches. One printer, the "Infinitus" built by Big Image Systems, is in fact, capable of printing a 40 by 150 FOOT seamless backdrop.

So, in the event you need a solution for printing very large images, here are some examples and resources to get you started. (Do not miss the Big Image Systems Flickr Photostream—it is certain to kick you into creative mode.)

grand-format-printing

A building wrap from Britten Studios...

The world's largest poster from Macro Art...

An example of a grand format printer...

The Flickr Photostream for Big Image Systems provides an array of large format printing examples that will knock your socks off...

Haha... while we're on the subject of re-thinking the bounds of imagery...

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May 12

Photography

The science (and art) of determining what is in the public domain »

If you read my blog regularly (optimism), you know I'm interested in copyright law. Not only because I want to be sure I establish and maintain the intellectual property rights of my work, but because I occasionally like to find and re-use photographs, illustrations, and other types of ephemera in the public domain.

If you think determining what is and is not in the public domain is easy, you haven't dug deep enough. This link points to an excellent article by the Senior Policy Advisor to the Cornell University Library on such topics, Peter Hirtle.

He explains some of the complexities of what he calls the science and the art of determining what is in the public domain and what is not.

tags

When Is 1923 Going to Arrive and Other Complications of the U.S. Public Domain by Peter B. Hirtle, Senior Policy Advisor, Cornell University Library...

The 2014 version of Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States...

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May 9

Copywriting

An old school copywriter: smart, certain, hardened, and a wee bit cynical »

I've always gotten along better with copywriters than art directors. Copywriters, to me, have the real power in the art director/copywriter relationship. That's because, logically, most projects are born from ideas and words verus designs and illustrations. Yes, yes, I understand that designs are ideas, but the words used to express them fall to the copywriter.

Dave Trott reminds me to some of the old school copywriters and agency principals I have worked with. They are (generally speaking) smart, certain, hardened, and a wee bit cynical.

tags

Dave Trott: Predatory Thinking For Copywriters...

Trott points to Bill Bernbach as the man who "invented good advertising"...

An interview with Trott from CreativeBrief.com...

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May 7

Color

Can technology best creative feeling? »

A couple of folks have pointed me to a recent post from The Colossal regarding a 700-plus-page, handwritten and illustrated, "peek into the workshop of 17th-century painters and illustrators."

In Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l'eau, Dutch artist and author A. Boogert, "describes how to make watercolour paints." As you will see, it would seem to be the predecessor of modern color matching systems such as the Pantone Guide.

I think what make it so interesting is the exactness and subtlety of the artist's color shade interpretations. I don't know if we can say, anyone alive today "knows" color any better than this artist who lived almost 300 years ago—or whether technology will ever replace such feeling.

treaty-of-watercolors

Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l'eau...

Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel helped bring the book to our attention..

The Colossal post...

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May 5

Graphics Tech

Here comes CENTR: an interactive 360-degree panoramic video camera for $300 »

A few ex-Apple engineers are working on the next big thing in cameras—a $300 360-degree panoramic video camera.

centr-interactive-panoramic-video

The idea...

The Kickstarter proposal...

The CentrCamera website...

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May 2

Reference

For your toolbox: A database of ad agencies and their clients »

Yes, this is a boring link. However, free information about the subject is not all that easy to find and, when you want to know which agency currently services which clients (or vice-versa), it can come in pretty handy.

Agency ComPile is, "the most current, comprehensive and powerful directory of North American marketing communications agencies."

tags

AgencyCompile.com...

Pile and Company, a company that specializes in agency search, performance evaluation, compensation, and so on, maintain it...

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Apr 30

Web Design

Good design is the sum of many subtle, strategic decisions »

Here's a good example of how many small design decisions contribute to a subtle, but effective style. For example...

The navigation controls at the top right.

The "HERE TODAY" "GONE TODAY" text icons to the left and right.

The GIF animations.

The diversity of thumbnail accent images.

Nice.


tyler-deeb

Designer and illustrator Tyler Deeb's website...

And his product store...

About Deeb's Kickstarter project...

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Apr 28

Marketing PR

"If direct mail is dying, it's sure taking its time about it" »

That's what Lois Geller said in the article she wrote for Forbes on catalog mailing during the 2013 holidays.

Now, the Direct Marketing Association's 2014 Statistical Fact Book has been published and it seem to point to a marked increase in direct mail overall.

direct mail is not dead

From Forbes magazine: If direct mail is dying, it's sure taking its time about it by Lois Geller...

From Laurie Beasley, president of Beasley Direct Marketing, a Silicon Valley direct marketing agency, some initial stats from the DMA 2014 Statistical Fact Book...

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Apr 25

Illustration

Meet illustrator Rod Hunt »

Rod Hunt's fascinating isometric drawings seem to make sense of a seemingly cacophonous world.

rod hunt

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

For those interested in illustration as a career path: An in depth interview with Hunt...

Ron Hunt's Blog...

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Apr 24

Ideas 101

The magic of the retail store brand »

To restate the obvious, retails store brands are, in part, about gathering together a collection of products and the associated services and serving them up to a defined audience. The magic happens when the folks in charge fund the design and development of products that fill a gap in the mix that others have not.
Hand-Eye Supply, the retail arm of the popular industrial design website Core77 is doing this with verve. Its mix of products, its substantial list of items I have not seen elsewhere, and the brand that wraps it into a philosophical/stylistic package demonstrates the core ideas of branding.

Plus, these stuff is pretty cool.

hand-eye-supply

The Adjustable Clampersand...

Sonnenleder Simmel Pencil Case...

X Man vs. Ink X Mary Kate McDevitt Bandana...

Ben Davis Long Sleeve Hickory Stripe Shirt...

Hand-Eye Supply is the retail operation of Core77...

Core77 is the very popular industrial design website...

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Apr 21

Ideas 101

Is brainstorming a waste of creative energy? »

Broadly speaking, I believe, yes. Certainly, there are certain situations in which, I am sure, brainstorming has produced a product that was superior to that the individuals were able to produce on their own. But, to me, it has always been a rather tortuous process.

My mind works by associating one thought with the next and brainstorming does nothing more than form a roadblock to my moving to the next logical conclusion. No, not because my idea is always the best idea, but because I don't think like a group—I think as an individual.

In any case, another piece of research is just now surfacing that seems to take another few steps toward proving that brainstorming is not the creative outlet so many think it is.

tags

From the Daily Mail: Brainstorming is POINTLESS: New study finds you're better off focussing on a single good idea...

The paper: Brainstorming versus creative design reasoning (420KB PDF)...

The roots of brainstorming...

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Apr 18

Typography

Jim Parkinson calls himself a "typographic artist." »

He is best known for his iconic Rolling Stone nameplate but that, as far as I am concerned, is a mere footnote to his real contribution—typefaces including Modesto, Roswell, Poster Black, and so many others.

He's the real deal, a hand lettering artist whose work has the added dimension that comes with knowledge of the physical craft of typography—the composition of characters with pencils, pens, and ink.

tags

Jim Parkinson interview, part 1 of 2...

Jim Parkinson interview, part 2 of 2...

The Parkinson Typo Design website...

Parkinson's typefaces...

Another biography...

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Apr 16

Marketing PR

Movie, game, or advertising? »

It's difficult to say exactly what this work most reminds me of—it looks like a movie, it has the feel of a game, but I know it's an advertisement.

Legendary Biru and Sapporo

Legendary Biru...

Details about the spot...

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Apr 14

Learning

Architects talk too much »

That is the reason Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham give for creating a presentation format dubbed "PechaKucha 20x20." It is explained on the Pechakucha website like this: "Give a microphone and some images to an architect—or most creative people for that matter—and they'll go on forever... PechaKucha 20x20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images."

On PechaKucha Nights, worldwide, creative people from all walk so life, gather to share their ideas in the PechaKucha 20x20 format.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

PechaKucha 20x20

Example 1: I Became an Artist and So Can You by Luis Mendo...

Example 2: Myst Opportunities by Chuck Carter...

Example 3: Design and Technology by Diana Arrambide...

The PechaKucha website...

See if there's a PechaKucha event near you...

The website of PechaKucha founders Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham...

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Apr 11

Marketing PR

There are more ways to a client's heart than through a portfolio »

Travel and lifestyle photographer Jens Lennartsson understands the magic of putting a physical reminder of your work in the hands of your prospects.

jens-lennartsson-action-figure

A look at the project...

Unwrapping the finished piece...

From My Modern Met: Photographer Self-Promotes by Mailing Out 400 Action Figures of Himself...

Details about the process from Jens Lennartsson's website...

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Apr 9

Photography

Photographer Vivian Maier and her secret life are back on the radar »

What I love most about Vivian Maier's photographs is that they were discovered after her death. Not that I, in any way, am glad she did not gain notoriety for them, but that such a large body of work, was kept a secret from the world. That, you could say, is the true definition of artistry—that its creator was so wrapped up in it, that they didn't seem to have the need or desire to share it with others.

Vivian Maier first appeared on my radar in 2011. Recently a film about her work premiered—and I can't wait to see it.

finding-vivian-maier

Finding Vivian Maier trailer...

The film's website...

The Vivian Maier website includes a wonderful gallery of her work...

From the New York Times Lens column: New Street Photography, 60 Years Old...

Maier first appeared on my radar in 2011...

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Apr 7

Design Briefing 178: Sound off... »

Have thoughts about Design Briefing 178? Here's the place to share—just preface your comment with the subject of the post.

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Apr 7

Design Briefing 177: Sound off... »

Have thoughts about Design Briefing 177? Here's the place to share—just preface your comment with the subject of the post.

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Apr 7

Marketing PR

Graphic designers: What do you know about marketing? »

My answer to that question is, "Not enough."

If you want to keep up on trends in marketing one excellent source is The CMO Survey, a report compiled by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business with the support of the The American Marketing Association (AMA) and McKinsey & Company.

As Duke defines it, "The CMO Survey collects and disseminates the opinions of top marketers in order to predict the future online casino of markets, track marketing excellence, and improve the value of marketing in firms and in society."

The latest results reports were released in February.

While we're at it, a couple of useful definitions (approved by the American Marketing Association Board of Directors):

Marketing: "Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."

Marketing Research: "Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information—information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications."

the CMO Survey

The current report...

The CMO Survey home page...

The latest results page...

The CMO Survey Blog...

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Apr 4

Illustration

Meet illustrator (plus) Kate Bingaman-Burt »

Kate Bingaman-Burt makes drawing look easy. Perhaps it is. It is her intensity of purpose that makes her work so out-of-the-ordinary. Here, you'll soon see what I mean.

kate-bingaman-burt

Kate Bingaman-Burt's website and bio...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

From The Great Discontent: An in-depth profile...

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Apr 2

Basic design

A movie for the art director in you »

I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel over the weekend and it is a feat of design. As the world becomes more and more design-centric, it is this type of film that will satiate our hunger for rich visual style and substance.

If you love ephemera and visual energy, put it at the top of your list.

grand budapest hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel website (with numerous clips)...

From The Credits: The Grand Budapest Hotel Production Designer Adam Stockhausen goes handmade...

From The Dissolve: Art director Adam Stockhausen on creating the world of The Grand Budapest Hotel...

From Creative Review: An interview with the lead graphic designer Annie Atkins...

The movie centers around a painting titled "Boy with Apple"...

From the Art Directors Guild: The role of Production Designers and Art Directors...

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Mar 31

Print Design

The provocative headline from the CNN story reads: "Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions." »

It points to a story, reported last week, about 14-year-old student Suvir Mirchandani who published an article that the United States Government could save over $136 million per year by changing the typefaces it uses to Garamond. What surprised me was, when I mentioned the same on Facebook last week and it reached more people than any other post I've ever written.

What the on-air story failed to mention was, while it is a good idea on the student's part and a good reminder, that it was, by no means, a revelation. Having dug a little deeper, I found a large number of initiatives in and outside of government that address this very issue.

But what really piqued my interest was, how easily restating your case in a different context can so dramatically revive interest in a topic. It got me thinking about other issues and ideas that I could help clients recast in different terms.

Here is the original story followed some examples of what anyone can do to save money on paper and ink.

Thanks to Matt Hanna for pointing us to it.

change typeface save money

The CNN report about student Suvir Mirchandani's article...

The article: A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction by Suvir Mirchandani and Peter Pinko...

This report from the EPA demonstrates how to reduce the use of ink AND paper using a combination of reduced margins and line spacing, changes in fonts used and their size, using "shrink to fit," deleting advertisements from web articles, and so on.

From the Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) (revised in 2012): Reducing Paper and Printer Ink Usage (383KB PDF)...

The differences between legibility and readability by Allan Haley at Monotype Imaging...

There's even a font designed to address ink usage —:"Ecofont" (I have not tried it)...

From 2009: Measuring Type...

PrintWise is a government-wide awareness campaign designed to help federal employees print less and make cost-cutting print decisions across the U.S. government through simple behavior changes...

The other side of the coin, from June of 2013: Consumer Reports points to the most efficient printers under the title, The high cost of wasted printer ink...

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Mar 28

Web Design

Newspapers are searching for ways to reinvent journalism »

Newspapers have been upping the ante the last couple of years by publishing in depth, illustrated features that include stills, video, audio, animation, maps, and so on—a form of interactive journalism. It seems to be catching on.

interactive journalism

From The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Six:01...

From the Washington Post: The Prophets of Oak Ridge...

From the New York Times: Snow Fall...

From The Guardian: Firestorm...

From The Wall Street Journal: Trials...

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