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.
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.
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.
Travel and lifestyle photographer Jens Lennartsson understands the magic of putting a physical reminder of your work in the hands of your prospects.
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.
Have thoughts about Design Briefing 178? Here's the place to share—just preface your comment with the subject of the post.
Have thoughts about Design Briefing 177? Here's the place to share—just preface your comment with the subject of the post.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There's plenty of controversy about whether parallax scrolling has replaced the drop shadow for the most overused web effect, but (to me) these examples were worth seeing.
BTW, the piece I pointed you to last week, Ken Burns On Story, includes some of the signature parallax scrolling he has used in so many of his documentaries. So much so, in editing circles it is known as the Ken Burns Effect...
A new royalty-free image collection has sprouted up that is offering, what looks like, a very attractive deal—it's called the Dollar Photo Club.
Membership, they explain, is simple: "...just $10 a month gives you unlimited access to our images, all royalty-free and available for any project or document with absolutely no limits on time, region, or print runs."
The collection is from Fotolia.com and includes access to over 25 million images. So far, I'm impressed by both the selection and the quality.
Thanks to Lee Garvey for pointing us to it.
In this wonderful short piece by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason, Ken Burns talks about the craft of storytelling.
In the late 1800s, the new technology of the day, factory manufactured metal type, required hot metal, heavy machinery, and massive people power.
The Lanston Monotype Machine Company was founded in 1887 and was played a key role in the development of metal type--which, in turn, changed the very nature of the dissemination of information. The books, newspapers, and other collateral that factory-produced movable type made possible shifted the course of communication in ways so profound that we (in my never to be humble opinion) can no longer clearly gauge what the world would have looked like without them.
Here's an introduction to Monotype and an exhibit on it's history titled, Pencil to Pixel.
I'm the odd man out on this one. I like the new Olive Garden logo. To me, it is somewhat "Jessica Hische-ish," though she would probably want me to make clear that she was not the designer.
That said, the overall response to it seems to rank right up there with the response to the new Coke.
How often do you see truly unusual objects? If you spend WAY too much time exploring online, not terribly often. I found the collection of items featured on the website of this unconventional Italian company to be wildly original.
I must have been in the principal's office the day Kirby Ferguson introduced his Everything is a Remix series—somehow I missed it.
Since 2010 he has published a four-part video series making the case that we have lost sight of the original copyright laws from which the concept of intellectual property grew.
Ferguson says, "The belief in intellectual property has grown so dominant it's pushed the original intent of copyrights and patents out of the public consciousness. But that original purpose is still right there in plain sight. The copyright act of 1790 is entitled 'an Act for the encouragement of learning.' The Patent Act is 'to promote the progress of useful Arts.'"
"Nobody starts out original." He explains, "We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding. And after that... things can get interesting."
Matthew Weiner, the creator of the advertising epic "Mad Men," chose graphic designer Milton Glaser to imagine the show's signature image for its final season.
This is the most interesting graphic design, illustration, photography, and intellectual property news I've read in the last five years: Today, Getty Images announced a new policy that allows users to embed millions of its images for non-commercial use.
I believe this has the potential of changing the whole face of image use.
Thanks to Lee Garvey for pointing us to it.
To me, what identifies a truly talented type designer is their ability to create organic-looking shapes and curves. Australian designer Bobby Haiqalsyah has a particular gift for creating compositions of letters and filigree that look as if they grew from magic ground.
Have thoughts about Design Briefing 176? Here's the place to share.
Knowing who our decedents are, where they came from, what they contributed, and what their lives were like, to a degree, helps us put our own lives in perspective. The same holds true about understanding your craft—knowing some history about graphic design and some of the players has, to me, always seemed a worthwhile pursuit. When, for example, I look back at a particularly handsome nameplate for a magazine, knowing how it evolved potentially helps me identify the steps that might reveal ways of producing a similarly impressive outcome.
To that end, here is a piece of typographic news that is worth knowing, noting, and appreciating: Mike Parker died Sunday. If you have not heard the name, I hope the following parts and pieces will begin to help you appreciate the gravity of his life—and his influence on ours.
Thanks to my friends Jessica Mills Jones and David Frenkel for alerting me to the news. They have many good remembrances of their friend Mike's passion for the art and science of typography.
We've discussed storyboarding before—a storyboard is a kind of visual script for a TV-spot or motion picture.
Today I want to point you to a wonderful source of insight on the subject from a talented and experienced animation storyboard artist, Mark Kennedy.
Through his blog, Temple of the Seven Golden Camels (named as an homage to Carl Barks, the author and illustrator of Donald and Scrooge McDuck comics), Kennedy discusses drawing and filmmaking from the perspective of a storyboard artist.
Wondering how many people it takes to create a full length animated feature?
I was struck by this post about famous landmarks under construction. It reminds me of how much of design is about simplifying the appearance and function of the subject--and how often good design masks its real complexity.
The sleek, gentle curves of the Eiffel Tower, for example, are deceptively elegant and simple. I did not fully appreciate the complexity of its structure until I began looking at the original plans.
I think graphic design works the same way. Our job is to take a complex mix of facts, opinions, and imagery and translate them into a seamless, easy-to-understand action.
Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann of Zim&Zou create, among other things, three-dimensional paper sculptures. Their clients include Hermès, IBM, Le Monde, Washington Post, and others.
As physically crafted illustrations and installations become less common, I feel as if I value them more.
Michael Flarup designs app icons and is kind enough let the rest of share in his workflow. His "templates" for presenting icons are more than a shape and shadow. His Photoshop resource files allows you to add your basic design and automatically generate all the various sizes required on iOS and Android. The PSD also includes a collection of built in textures and colors.
Have a comment about one of the ideas from Design Briefing 175? Here's the place to comment.
In the late 1940s illustrator Albert Dorne invited a group of fellow members of the New York Society of Illustrators to create a correspondence course which came to be known as the Famous Artists School.
What follows is an example of each illustrator's work. Some showing the type of material they contributed to the effort.
An impressive, media-rich website created by ad agency Mullen.
This is very smart design. "Automated micromarketing" provider Nimblefish creates a series of video snippets that address specific, individual issues. It then produces multiple variations of its client's presentations—each to address a specific set of choices the user provides.
For example, if the user selects A, B, and C, they are shown presentation 1. And if the user selects A, C, and F, they are shown presentation 3.
You don't need a hybrid system to do the same thing. You simple ask questions and produce a version of the video for each set of answers.
Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.
To me, branding coffee is a lot like branding wine. There are lots of wine and coffee connoisseurs but there are also many of us who, all other things being equal, look for style and packaging.
So when a recent article from Roast Magazine listed the 10 most popular coffee shops in America, my eyes perked up. It's interesting to see how differently each company (the REALLY successful ones) markets its product.
It's easy to forget all of what it takes to produce print materials. Here's an interesting look at how ink is made featuring Peter Welfare, the head inkmaker at the Printing Ink Company, one of the manufacturers licensed to produce Pantone inks....
This is a favorite illustration: The Road to Success. I believe the original was published in 1913 in a music magazine titled, The Etude.
I was commenting that I wasn't "feelin" the graphics from the new H&R Block ad campaign. It is a rather plain-looking border (everything is "flat" these days) with a clown-like bow tie symbol. I not only didn't understand the style, I didn't understand the bow tie reference.
When others began to speculate what the bow tie might mean, my interest was piqued and I dug a little deeper. I discovered that, if you look close, that the spokesperson for the ads, H&R Block preparer Richard Gartland, is wearing a brightly-colored green bow tie in the four spots that make up the campaign.
And that reminds me of how important it is to avoid getting stuck in the account cocoon. Where you see the whole of what you're doing but others don't. Where you, because of your daily involvement, see nuance that the average viewer (who sees a single spot on one occasion) does not.
I forget where I heard this but it has always stuck with me: When creatives present full page newspaper ads to a group, they typically hang or project them on a wall. The problem with that is that standing six feet away from an ad and holding a newspaper in your hands 12 inches away is a very different experience.
My point is, we've got to continually remind ourselves of who we are trying to reach—who they are, where they are, what we can realistically expect they understand about our subject, and how involved they will actually, realistically, become in it.
This is a powerful idea. Chino Otsuka has taken a series of childhood photographs and Photoshopped her current self into them. It is done so subtly, you'd think they were mother and daughter.
Genís Carreras counts among his clients, Sony Music and Fast Company. A while back he gained attention by creating a collection of posters, each of which explains a philosophic idea—he calls them "Philographics."
I point you to this because it I love the idea of seeing real life through a paper veneer. To me, it's a metaphor for graphic design.
What follows is a fascinating example of how one group of artist's pulled parts and pieces of the work that preceded them and recast it as their own. It is not about relative unknown, in this case it is a side-by-side, shot-by-shot comparison (by StooTV) of George Lucas and Steven Speilberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and 30 other adventure films produced between 1919-1973.
My point is, questions of intellectual property are complex. When does borrowing become stealing? When is imitation, transformation? What is the difference between the idea and the expression of it?
An aside, two more interesting, related links...
The creative world is not without its controversies. Design is opinion and those who have strong opinions often disagree.
But I was surprised to learn of the lawsuit type designer Tobias Frere-Jones has filed against Jonathan Hoefler for, "not less than $20 million."
The name of (arguably) the world's most prestigious type foundry is, "Hoefler & Frere-Jones." Though the name would lead one to believe it was a partnership between its principals, it evidently is not. And that, as it turns out, is the rub.
I am certain of one thing: on the face of it, Jonathan Hoefler looks very bad...
Google Search (01/18/2014): "Jonathan Hoefler" about 28,100 results; "Tobias Frere-Jones" about 39,200 results
I have been wondering why the posts I create using images, links, and text on my Ideabookfb Facebook page seem to "reach" significantly fewer readers than those without images and links.
So I tried an experiment prompted by an article by Shelly Palmer, a Tech Expert for WNYW-TV in New York. He posed that Facebook posts created using text, images, and links reach far fewer of your potential readers than those without images. And, if you read through Palmer's article, it appears the folks at Facebook agree (with the expected provisos).
In any case, I did a simple (albeit unscientific) test of my own and what he says certainly seems to be the case. If you've made the same mistake as I have (using images with my text and links) I think you'll find this quite interesting.
To be fair, I don't believe the numbers "lie" but I do think, if you are not aware of this issue, the way it works is counter-intuitive and something I wish had been made more clear.
I received an email recently from a PR firm asking me to look at a product that requires a Facebook login as criteria for participation in the use of its service.
I wrote them back to say, "I've got to admit that I have a problem with services that use a Facebook login as criteria for participation in the use of a service. That makes me a bad candidate for an positive outcome."
Do others feel this way? Honestly, I simply don't want anyone looking over my shoulder any more than they already do, feeding me what they think I want to hear.
It recalls an article which appeared in a local newspaper a couple of weeks ago. It discussed what they labeled "junk mail" and featured a reader who had collected a years worth of mail and done an analysis of how little of it addressed any of their real, personal needs. The article went on to ask, "...when is enough, enough?"
To me, these are two stories about the same issue. An important one.
When is enough, enough? My hope is never. Slow or shut down direct mail? To the contrary, I believe it's critical, at this particular place in time, to defend, even encourage, the sharing of products, services, and ideas through advertising (direct mail, newspapers, magazines, television). It not only provides opportunities to buy, sell, and win others to our way of thinking, it is fundamental to the creation of commerce and jobs.
Why so critical now? Because the universe of many Web users is fast becoming, what internet activist Eli Pariser has dubbed, a "filter bubble."
I've mentioned this before. He is referring to the fact that many online services now operate using algorithms that determine, because a particular user has shown interest in "A," that they will, necessarily, be interested in "B." And that, based on the accumulation of that data, the services begin to feed the user more and more of what they have determined to be the user's interests to the exclusion of other, perfectly valid and useful information. Ultimately, the known exceeds the unknown, and the user is isolated in a commercial, cultural, or ideological bubble.
That's why I told the PR firm I didn't like services that require a Facebook login (for example) as criteria for participation in the use of a service. And why we should hold dear what many demonize as "junk mail" and other forms of non-invasive media that provide us opportunities to see, read, and hear offers and ideas. Yes, these forms of communication require you to exert the energy to accept or decline such invitations, but that seems like a small price to pay for the good that free, unfettered commerce and sharing provides.
Matthew Butterick, the author of Typography For Lawyers, Essential Tools For Polished & Persuasive Documents, has published a second book for a wider audience titled, Butterick's Practical Typography.
In its Forward, type designer Erik Spiekermann explains, "A few hundred years of type and typography have established rules that only a fool would ignore. (Or a graphic designer keen to impress his peers.) For all those who need to communicate clearly and even add a modicum of aesthetic value to their messages, this publication provides everything you always wanted to ask but didn't know how to."
I point you to it because I think it is a solid, straightforward text for learning the fundamentals of type composition and a useful introduction to Butterick's particular, workman-like approach to design and usage.
It would be particularly useful to anyone who has an interest in typography but not a lot of experience with it. And to those who write, edit, and compose pages for publication online or in print who want to learn some of the basics do's and don'ts.
Though the book is free to access, the author asks for a donation (yes I did).
Thanks to Russ Mitchell and Cool Tools for pointing us to it.
This new generation of Photosynth is used to stitch together high resolution images shot with D-SLR or a point-and-shoot camera. It, "combines the tactile smoothness of a stitched panorama with the kind of motion through space that you see in video from a moving platform."
The synth of Mount Everest, was created from a series of high-resolution photographs shot from a helicopter. As you will see, you can pause at any point and zoom in on parts of the particular photograph you paused within.
Thanks to Jeff Green for pointing us to it.
Frank Soltesz represents the old school, storytelling illustrators whose advertising and editorial work graced the pages of magazines great and small throughout the twentieth century.
Promotional/retail signs are a real design challenge. When you're charged with attracting the attention of folks driving by a business on a very busy road, you've got to strip away all the pretense.
This article by Robert Wilson for Psychology Today points to the simplicity of the concept necessary to produce a effective sign.
(To be precise, I realize billboards and signs can be different animals, but often, the content and visibility basics are similar.)
SignsNow.com offers a good overview of signage basics including...
Once a week Adobe and FWA award The Cutting Edge Award to "the project that best highlights the newest capabilities of the modern web."
Rama Hoetzlein is a Media Artist. I stumbled on his timeline of 20th century art and new media recently and I thought it was particularly interesting. He shows us various movements in the arts and media against the backdrop of time, technology, event, population, and so on.
I point you to it for both the information and his technique of presenting it.
There are countless paths to mastering the arts of marketing and graphic design—I know of at least three: via the classroom, through a mentor, and on-the-job.
In the classroom, a teacher uses their knowledge of the subject, a curriculum, and supporting materials to lead you through theories and explain practices. Ultimately, you find a job and use what you are taught as a foundation for figuring what works and what doesn't and building your own mix of practices.
You learn from a mentor by going to work for a design studio, an advertising agency, or some other entity. The individual or the group that leads it, presumably, has already built a repertoire of practices that you ultimately amend and adopt as your own.
Perhaps the most challenging way to learn about marketing and design is on-the-job (to work on the engine while it's running). In this case, you are thrust into real marketing situations and invent solutions in response to the problems you are presented with. Ultimately, through trial and error, you cobble together what works for you and your clients. It's a tough, long-way-around learning process, but the fact that your ideas are proven by experience gives you the confidence that comes with that type of certainty.
Today I want to point you to a book and website produced by a designer who learned his craft that last way, on-the-job. His name is Dan Antonelli and the name of his book is Building a Big Small Business Brand. I point you to it for two reasons. First, because it offers a thoughtful look at small business branding, and second, because he provides an excellent model for promoting and selling marketing and design services.
First, the book.
As I said, Antonelli learned his craft on-the-job and Building a Big Small Business Brand is a blueprint for what, he found, works for real clients in the real world. His primary message is this: In small business branding, the logo is the hub around which all marketing revolves. The book presents a smart, clearly explained approach to branding that should be required reading for anyone planning to open a small business (or turn around a failing one).
"Most businesses make a critical error," he explains. "They never really consider a brand or logo for their business, they don't understand how important it is, so they opt for the expensive way to move forward. They've exhausted most of their funding on equipment, rent, furniture, etc. Ironically, they've spent all their money on getting into business, and they have little left to actually market their business."
The book lays out broad, foundational ideas, discusses specific approaches to naming, logo design, and branding, cites real-world marketing case studies, and explains how and where to get help.
Secondly, and what I think other graphic designers and marketers will find particularly interesting, is how Antonelli's uses the book and his website to promote his studio's design and marketing services.
The book presents the studio's philosophies, reveals its process, and shows examples of its work—and the web site fills in the details (displaying the book prominently throughout). I'm not suggesting that every designer or marketer need write a book, but when you view it as a package, you'll see the value of how the book and the website are used together to establish credibility and attract new business.
This article attributes the introduction of Art Nouveau to the Exposition Universelle 1900 (the Paris World's Fair. (Dr. Perry [my art history professor in college] would give me a well-deserved tongue lashing if she knew how little art history I can recount.)
For those of us who are art challenged, a reintroduction to the "new art" of the late 19th and early 20th century.
While the images are fresh in your memory, I'd like to visit the colorization issue again (I hear you, "Enough already!"). You undoubtably noticed that many of the images of the 1900 fair are hand-painted (with a very heavy hand). That, seemingly, was the practice.
Here, in an homage to the beauty and clarity of black and white is my before and after, UN-colorizing of the Grand Palais...
Images: Brooklyn Museum Archives. Goodyear Archival Collection.
I had last week with a photographer friend who wanted to know if I knew how much of a difference there was between saving a RAW file (out of Photoshop) as a JPG or a TIFF file. As I researched it, I realized it was more complicated than I thought.
In short, there are lots of "buts" and "ifs." I can tell you this: A RAW, a JPG, and a TIF can all be saved as either 8-bit or 16-bit files. This workflow seems to make the most sense: adjust the image in RAW and save it as 16-bit RGB file, edit it in Photoshop, and then convert it to CMYK and save it as and 8-bit TIFF or (some say) JPG file. The point being, if you knock a 16-bit file down to 8-bit before you edit it, you will likely remove necessary information from the original that could result in a less than optimal reproduction.
As with most color workflows, you're best off asking the commercial printer that will reproduce the finished project, the workflow they are most qualified to tell you exactly what type of files will work best within their workflow and how to configure the associated settings.
Amit Agarwal writes how-to guides about web apps, software, and gadgets. I think you'll find his site, Digital Inspiration, offers a very unique mix of useful and interesting information.
David Plunkert is a guy who likes to mix it up. Unlike most illustrators, I'd be hard-pressed to guess that one illustrator created all three of the examples I'll point you to. Yet he seems to have perfected each medium.
Chris Miller recently sent me an email to tell me there was a new "camera lucida" device, a NeoLucida, available from Amazon.com (they had previously sold out when they were initially offered through Kickstarter.com). The name was familiar, I used a Lucigraph for years to size and trace various elements of illustrations—the same basic idea. But I had not heard of the NeoLucida.
As I looked into it, what caught my ear was mention of the controversy created by the book Secret Knowledge written by British artist David Hockney. His thesis is that, beginning in the early 1400s there was a rather dramatic rise in the quality of realism in paintings. He poses that a number of artists came onto the scene whose work was almost photographic in nature. They were reproducing patterns, reflections, the folds in fabric, focal length and so on, in ways previously unknown or rarely seen.
It's a very interesting, understandably controversial story.
As I said, I owned and used a Goodkin Lucigraph for many years. You would place the subject (typically a Polaroid or other reference photograph) on the plate below the bellows and a sheet of tracing paper on the glass above. The cranks on the left and right were used to focus the image being projected on the paper.
I had a discussion this week with a photographer friend of mine. He wanted to know if I knew how much of a difference there was between saving a RAW file (out of Photoshop) as a JPEG file or as TIFF file. As I researched it, I quickly realized it is a fairly complicated question and was reminded that there is virtually nothing easy about color workflows.
To fast-forward, I can tell you that there is no one good answer. You are always best off going to the commercial printer who will print the final piece and asking them what workflow they recommend for a specific project being reproduced using the specific process/equipment they use. They are most qualified to tell you exactly what type of files will be best and how to configure the settings.
There is, however, a good rule of thumb: RAW, JPEG, and TIFF files can all be saved at different bit depths. And one, common sense workflow would be to adjust the original image in RAW, save it as 16-bit RGB file, edit it in Photoshop, convert it to CMYK, and save it as an 8-bit TIFF or (some say) JPEG file. Why? Because if you knock a 16-bit file down to 8-bit before you edit it, you will likely remove critical, necessary information from the original.
I met another designer online today and immediately pointed to a typo on his website. Yes, I know it's obnoxious, but as I've always said, I'd rather find out sooner than later. Fortunately, I believe he felt the same way.
It reminded me of a campaign that ran a bunch of years ago for a large state economic development agency. They ran a series of ads in business publications, I believe multiple times, before someone noticed that, in the headline of the ad, the name of the state had been misspelled.
What was so extraordinary was the no one seemed to notice. Perhaps an indication of the quality of the ad's impact. Perhaps one of those quirky typos that your brain fixes automatically. In either case, I doubt the account executive enjoyed making that call to the client.
Someone mentioned recently, the technique of reading text backwards for proofreading purposes which prompted me to search out a more comprehensive list of tips. Here are few useful style and proofreading resources I found.
Forbes magazine and its Contributor Avi Dan asked 1,850 CMOs and other marketing executives to rank the top advertising agencies. And they voted those below as the top ten.
Why list them here? I think it's important to keep track of the most visible work and these big agencies clearly have tremendous influence on our business.
Though I worked as a freelancer for The Martin Agency and others earlier in my career, when I started my own company, I did not pursue big clients. I became, instead, a small business designer—and, over the years, I've come to think of it as an almost entirely different business.
Thanks to Diane CookTench pointing us to the article.
Why do we establish and impose systems and rules? Primarily to regulate behavior and to set performance standards, right? But, before we design and implement them, we need to consider the degree to which systems and rules can stifle creativity and innovation.
Back in the 1980s, International Paper ran what remains one of my favorite advertising campaigns of all time: The Power of the Printed Word. It was, at once, informative, interesting, and featured input by celebrity-status experts at the top of their game.
You'll not only find it interesting reading (the copywriting is exquisite), you'll doubtlessly find some excellent ideas for structuring and presenting your own information.
The Power of the Printed Word series:
How to make a speech by George Plimpton
How to write a resume by Jerrold G. Simpson, Ed.D.
How to spell by John Irving
How to enjoy poetry by James Dickey
How to read an annual report by Jane Bryant Quinn
How to enjoy the classics by Steve Allen
How to use a library by James A. Michener
How to write with style by Kurt Vonnegut
How to write clearly by Edward T. Thompson
How to improve your vocabulary by Tony Randall
How to write a business letter by Malcolm Forbes
How to read faster by Bill Cosby
When Doubleday published the campaign in book form, the New York Times, in this article detailing its creation (1985), pointed to the fact that the campaign had generated requests for 27 million copies of the ads...
Here's the beginning of an excellent collection of print finishing and special effects resources compiled by the Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA) at FinisherFinder.com.
It includes sources for...
Cast and Cure UV
Foil Stamping (Leather)
Foil Stamping (Plastics)
Foil Stamping/Embossing/Diecutting (Sheet Fed)
Glitter UV Coating
Label Printing/Foil Stamping
Plastic Coil & Wire-O
Rotary Foil Stamping/Embossing
I am an affiliate of several services. If you use these links to make purchases, I get a small commission. Thanks in advance for your support.
Typically I'd describe an illustrator's work by comparing it to something I've seen before or a feeling it provokes. Though I definitely like Longo's work, I'm having a hard time identifying either.
What do you think?
Nature Valley is the brand name of a granola product line first introduced by General Mills in 1973. It's nice to see company's get creative about giving back.
We've debated the ethics of the colorizing of black and white photographs recently—so I was interested when my friend Martin Bounds pointed to the fact that the New York Times chose to use a black and white photograph on its November 22nd cover commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.
Both color and black and white film was in wide use by November of 1963 (obviously) but very few newspapers had the presses for or inclination to print color. In fact, you might be surprised to recall that the New York Times didn't print a color image on its frontpage until 1997.
All this got me wondering how other newspapers handled their coverage of the anniversary and whether they chose to use color or black and white. Here's a sampling and some further discussion.
Design is everywhere. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes not. Clearly, one of the places that regularly develops, fosters, and establishes all manner of design is the motion picture industry. From the storyboards, to the posters, to the props, to the costumes, and beyond—the industry has long been a harbinger of design change.
So it is with wide-eyes and a touch of envy that I share an opportunity some will have next week to own some truly iconic motion picture design pieces by way to an auction curated by Turner Classic Movies.
Unfortunately and fortunately, it is all clearly out of my league.
Herman Miller has been issuing a yearly report (since 2006) that addresses its efforts on the fronts of environmental performance, inclusiveness and diversity, health and
well-being, and community service. It is titled, "A Better World Around You."
I point you to it because it struck me as a particularly elegant solution. It features a series of bold, iconic illustrations created by Brent Couchman.
As website designs and apps get simpler looking (the trend), it's more difficult to make your work visually distinctive. Very subtle stuff that requires a very delicate touch.
One way of distinguishing your design from others is how it functions—subtleties like how menus open and text appears. While that certainly isn't a revelation, the tutorials, articles, and the playground at Codrops is.
As they explain it, "Codrops is a web design and development blog that publishes articles and tutorials about the latest web trends, techniques and new possibilities. The team of Codrops is dedicated to provide useful, inspiring and innovative content that is free of charge."
And they're doing it. This is exciting stuff.
Thanks to Chris Miller for pointing us to it.
At the risk of hurting your brain (this kind of stuff sometimes hurts mine), I point you to Adobe Web Platform team's blog.
As they explain it, "The Adobe Web Platform team is committed to providing better features for the web by working with the community to develop new standards and make them possible by contributing to Open Source projects such as WebKit and Chromium. We're just one of the several teams working on some amazing Open Web technologies at Adobe."
I found this collection of photographs very interesting. It's titled 19 Days In Japan and it's a travelog created by photographer and teacher Lena (Akane Kinomoto) and photographer and design engineer Filipe Varela.
What struck me is that, rather than showing us lots of idyllic sights (there are some), they treat us to a kind of behind-the-scenes look at everyday Japanese life — the passengers on a train, the shelves of a grocery store, a cat laying on a porch — the type of subjects that give you a sense of a place.
It's a good example of how talented photographers offers a very specific, unusual point of view. Here's how they describe it:
"We come from a long line of travelers and adventurers and we can not deny our origins: we like to travel, we like to eat and we like to capture moments. 19 Days in Japan is not intended to simply be a website or a blog, but our voice, an expression of our adventures and struggles in a place so far away from home."
Something over 20 percent of all websites use WordPress as their content management system (W3Techs)—roughly six times that of the next runner up, Joomla. Yet, until now, I did not know the story behind its development or the names of the people who developed then and contribute to it today.
Nielsen Norman Group, the firm made famous by Jakob Nielsen (the usability expert), offers this thoughtful piece on website carousel design. It's my favorite type of design insight: an examination of the details that make a real difference.
To me, though he looks like a fairly young guy, Matthew Tapia is an old-school lettering artist. The best way I can think of describing it is, though it has a feeling of being free-form, when you look at it closely, his work is methodically organized.
I've been a big fan of and contributor to Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools since the early 2000s. To my delight (and perhaps to your's), he has announced the upcoming release of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities—a best of Cool Tools in book form.
Already commanding a rank of 1300 in books on Amazon (pretty good for a title that won't released until December), the book is being billed by reviewers as a modern day Whole Earth Catalog.
If you're not as old as X-Acto knives and pasteup, the Whole Earth Catalog was a book that took the publishing world by storm in 1968. Its function was defined in these words:
"The WHOLE EARTH CATALOG functions as an evaluation and access device. With it, the user should know better what is worth getting and where and how to do the getting.
An item is listed in the CATALOG if it is deemed:
1) Useful as a tool,
2) Relevant to independent education,
3) High quality or low cost,
4) Not already common knowledge,
5) Easily available by mail."
If Cool Tools is even remotely like the Whole Earth Catalog, it's the type of book that redefines the category by introducing you to some of the most interesting, unusual, useful tools (and ideas) in the world. I'm thrilled to have at least one of my articles included.
It's called Niice and it is a search engine for creative inspiration. I've played with it for a while now and am impressed by the quality of what it finds.
As the designers of Niice explain it, "The internet is full of inspiration, but since Google doesn't have a 'Good Taste' filter, finding it means jumping back and forth between blogs and gallery sites. Niice is an inspiration search engine, letting you search across multiple hand-picked sources (Behance, Illustration age, Designspiration, SiteInspire & Fonts In Use for now, but we're working to add more)."
By the way, I very much like the idea that the sponsor of the site is given top billing at the top left, just below the search window.
Essayist and cartoonist Tim Krieder struck a blow for creatives Sunday in the New York Times. As he explains it, "People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost will ask you, with a straight face and a clear conscience, whether you wouldn't be willing to write an essay or draw an illustration for them for nothing."
As of noon Sunday there were already over 400 comments, including this gem from Max Alexander: "With every new book I write, the publicist of the moment earnestly advises me that the best way to get publicity is to do lots of free blogging and tweeting. Then she sends me a bill."
Thanks to Jessica Mills-Jones for pointing us to it.
Out of Berlin, Ariane Spanier produces unusual and interesting everythings.
And we know that rarely happens. But I l-o-v-e the new interface and design of Square Cash. It is a new service offered by Square Inc.—the folks who make Square Register, the device and app you've seen being used for completing credit cards transactions using an iPhone.
Square Cash allows you to transfer money from your debit account to another person's debit account—for free. Yes, for free.
Square's Creative Director is Robert Andersen, formerly a product designer at Apple. I must say, I admire his ability to oversee a project of this magnitude and arrive at such a simple-looking solution. Stand by, I've asked who should be credited with the design and I'll share it with you when (and if) they share it.
In the meantime...
I love good, different—Laura Plansker is all about good, different.
Before you read further, click on this photograph and see if you can figure out how it was produced. Then come back and read on...
I never would have guessed that what I was looking at was a model set in front of a real background.
It is a fascinating technique used by designer, illustrator, and model maker Michael Paul Smith. I point to it because I think it's such a smart idea to blend fiction and fact together.
Hoefler & Frere-Jones, by any measure, one of the world's premiere type foundries has introduced Cloud.typography, a new, impressive webfont solution.
Thanks to Rob Green for pointing us to it.
As you know, I'm always looking for interesting ways to approach design and marketing problems.
AmericasPrinter.com is doing something I haven't seen before. Each of their sales managers has produced a video and its website offers them up as a way to choose who you would like to be your rep. I'm curious to know how many people make the choice and whether there are a few people who have gotten the most conversions because of their presentation.
If you've got a few minutes, tell me what you think about the process and who you would choose.
In any case, its easy to think of lots of ways to use a similar appeal.
This is brilliant. Photographer Gabriele Galimberti traveled the world capturing images of grandmothers and the dishes they prepare using their best recipes.
Brilliant on two levels. First, from a design standpoint, I love how he produced something that, in separate parts, might be considered unremarkable: a photograph of a person, a photograph of a plate of food, and a brief text explaining the experience and the recipe.
Yet, as a whole, it is storytelling at its best. Imagine the personal and professional skills it took to just to pull it off: to find the subjects, to assemble the ingredients and prepare the food, and to make the grandmothers involved comfortable enough to exude such pride and energy. It is that set of difficult to define skills and talents on the part of the creative, that differentiates great designers and photographers from average designers and photographers.
Please, do not miss the stories behind each photograph and its recipe (click "Info" under the image). My favorite line from the text I read is from Regina Lifumbo's Finkubala: "After about 10 minutes, add the maggots to the sauce and a spoon of salt."
The second level on which this work is brilliant is that Galimberti discovered a way to justify traveling the world eating free, grandmother-quality food, using photography as a cover.
Thanks to George Fincke for pointing us to it.
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I met Jay when we both served on the Microsoft Small Business Council back in the 1990s and he was among the most genuine, lovely people I've ever met.
In those days he was at the top of his game, an author selling hundreds of thousands of books and enjoying enormous success. Yet he had time for everyone.
I remember, in particular, one occasion before a meeting, sitting with him and showing him some designs I had prepared and how interested and engaged he was.
It was that selflessness that, I believe, made him such a special person. He was, after all, the only person I've ever known who worked his way out of the upper echelon of big advertising--into the complex, individualized world of small business marketing.
And he did enormous good. His benchmark collection of practical, accessible insights helped countless organizations to see the logic in, and reap the benefits of, producing great products and services, treating people fairly, and improving the world around them.
Here's an interesting idea to add to your illustrative repertoire.
As part of its campaign for Brandermill Woods (a retirement community), Five19 Creative created a series of illustrations that feature real faces amongst illustrated backgrounds.
I can think of lots of ways to employ that technique. Cool idea.
As I have said before, I believe a photograph is a creative work that should be protected from this type of defacement—ethically, if not legally.
I can't image anyone having the temerity to colorize Ansel Adams' The Tetons--Snake River. Or Pablo Picasso's Guernica. And I doubt most would look favorably on a budding writer who decided to add a chapter or two to Joyce's Ulysses and republish it.
Is this any different?
What concerns me is not just the practice of editing/colorizing, but society's willingness to tacitly accept the appropriation of a creative work by a person other than its author and the assumption that their unrelated information/opinions/vision are attached in a way that implies a level of unearned credibility.
This retoucher, I'm guessing, has the best of intentions. But our acceptance of the practice leaves it open to anyone with the digital tools to likewise alter the images. That is why, across the world, so many fight to maintain the integrity of intellectual property.
With the permission of all involved, I have transcribed the comments folks made via the Facebook post that got this started. If you'd like to add your voice to the conversation, please add your comment below.
Yes it is. You have to ask yourself if Matthew Brady had been able to take color photographs in the Civil War would he have? Of course he would. Photos like Ansel Adams' Tetons and Full Moon Over Half Dome were purposely taken in B&W. They are studies in contrast and part of their allure are the clean, well-defined lines in the photos.He was not trying to bring out colors but shapes As far as Picasso, I'm pretty sure he used every color he wanted to painting Guernica.
To that point, art archivists restore old paintings all the time in order to bring them back to their original color palette. I've seen these colorized civil war era photos referenced in the article. They are a far step ahead of the kind of block color typical of the first 30's and 40's film conversions that appeared about 20 years ago. To my eye they get the color and lighting almost perfectly. There is a further benefit to seeing this done in that it helps the viewer to better see these historic figures as people they might recognize today it helps to deromantisize our view of the past. I think they are fantastic and I think Matthew Brady rather than being enraged at the bastardization of his work would be enormously grateful that viewers are able to see more exactly what he saw 150 years ago.
This has been argued to tedium in photo forums I frequent, with about equal numbers fervently on both sides. Martin, your distinction that colorizing a photo done before the widespread availability of color film but not afterward seems a good compromise. There are some I hate to see colorized into mere prettiness, such as a colorized version of Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" which I thought was an abomination of a great image.
Martin, unless you talked to Matthew Brady (which would be a whole different conversation), you simply don't know if he would have used color.
In the "skeptics" section of an article on "color photography," a Wikipedia author points out that Harold Baquet, "a photographer known best for documenting New Orleans civil rights--was not keen on color. He preferred, to take pictures mainly using black-and-white film. When asked about his reasoning for this preference during an interview, he replied 'The less is more thing. Sometimes the color distracts from the essential subject.'"
Jim (above) mentions Dorothea Lange's iconic "Migrant Mother." Her photographs, which are typically characterized as documentary in nature, were shot (in large part) for a government agency, the Farm Security Administration (FSA)--yet she used black and white. And, I believe, "Migrant Mother" was photographed in 1936 a year after Eastman Kodak introduced Kodachrome.
Well, Matt and me go way back but.... I get that many photographers will use B&W because it fits the subject. Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Gordon Parks are well known for their B&W photos of depression era and Southern poverty. No coincidence that Parks was the cinematographer for Woody Allen's B&W "Manhattan" But the operative thing here is that Lange, Evans and Parks "chose" to use B&W even though color was available.
Maybe Matthew Brady would have preferred to use black and white but given the subject matter, especially armies encamped and in drills where flags and dress were so much a part of the spectacle I think not. I just don't think, in this case, it's a violation of his art to add color when you can do it so well and to such dramatic effect. In my opinion it more closely achieves what he wanted to do which was to bring the spectacle of the Civil War which in scale and violence surpassed any war prior to it, to a public far away from the battlefield. When you know the original work was purposely done in B&W that's a different case which is why I hope never to see a colorized version of "Raging Bull" or Walker Evans "colorful" view of the South.
I've seen it done really well, and not so well. These fall into the latter.
Whaddaya think Von? http://www.shorpy.com/node/6597?size=_original
I don't see why we shouldn't have both. Those past time photos are not only to be seen under an artistically aspect. For people interested in history or the biographies of the depicted person it is surprisingly different how one relates to the story in that picture. In my opinion b&w photos often look "far away, long ago". And that creates a feeling of distance and detachedness from real live. It also puts them on a pedestal where you can look at it from a safe distance and forget about the content the photograph wanted to show.
From an artists viewpoint I can understand why for example "Migrant Mother" shouldn't be colorized. But under the aspect of making the hardship and sorrow of this mother and her kids come alive not only in front of the eye of the beholder but making it almost painfully palpable within him - that is for much more people possible through the colored photo that lifts it out of being an icon of art. You immediately understand that you can walk out of your door and find people that are in a similar situation right now in front of you. NOW - poverty and sorrow have not left us since 1937.
I realized the power of colorized photos when I first saw colorized historic films from the Nazi regime / WW II in my country. Being german I have seen b&w photos all of the time since my childhood in school, newspapers, TV. But seeing for the first time those same films and pictures in color... you can't imagine how different that was for me. All of a sudden those historic people became "neighbours and fellows" so to say instead of historic figures. And seeing those rows and rows of marching soldiers raising their arms to greet Hitler as everyday life so to say makes them much more painful - it has much more impact seeing those situations "as real life".
Linda Barger Bonneau...
B&W excellent media for showing time, emotions better than color which tends to soften those edges.
@Silvia If I could triple like your post I would
@Silva You've made my point. The colorization changed your perceptions about the subject. Changed them not with a truth, but by mimicking a truth.
This colorization may be somewhat accurate, we'll never know. What we do know is that the image is now misquoted and, because we sanction the misquotation, it will compete with, or perhaps even usurp, the credibility of the original going forward.
It may sound on the surface as "harping," but I believe it is one of those small things that has large consequences. Not because of this distinct case but because of our acceptance of the practice over time--by anyone with the tools, for any whim or objective.
It is clearly going to happen, but, to come full circle to my original point, now even the prestigious Smithsonian Institute seems to be condoning the practice--and that, I honestly believe, is a significant occurrence worth discussing.
Chuck, I disagree. Putting the same picture on a pedestal of being an artistic original, in case of the Migrant Mother even an iconic artistic original, is also mimicking the truth. It covers the fact we do only have our perception of "the truth", be it in b&w or color, historic picture or contemporary.
Yes, the color changed my perception of the subject. But the b&w photo of Migrant Mother is also "only" an interpretation of reality and delivers it's own truth - and there is no chance of having an exact scientific decision of what the true truth is. So we do now have two perceptions of the same thing (and even more are possible) - which one is more valid?
One can argue the b&w picture is historically more valid because the photograph delivered the image that way. But that is it...
Some months ago I saw a report about the photos published in mass media after the twin towers crashed. The pictures of those people jumping off the skyscrapers. And the report put the text comments and interpretations side by side not only with the one picture they were originally printed with but with the whole series where you could see the situation develop over seconds or even minutes. It was hard stuff, really hard to take. It was a lesson in how our reality is created. Everything published is mimicking a truth, more or less visible. Unbiased truth is not delivered in photography, not in news reports, not in science. Where humans deliver something there is always a human factor and never unbiased truth.
Chuck, glad you did not let this sleeping dog lie, I wanted to add one other thought to this issue and you have sort of addressed with your post here. If there was as standing prohibition against altering existing imagery I think that would act to unnecessarily to suppress creativity and would leave us a bit poorer for it. The copyright laws protecting intellectual property exist in part to protect aesthetic value but also to protect their commercial value as well. The basic idea is that the original artist (creator) is given enough time to benefit from their original work; the same concept that protects drug formulas. That used to be 35 years, now thanks to Disney's need to protect their cannon, it's 70.
But, many of these images that you have been referring to are iconic. Meaning that they have become fixed in our imaginations and most importantly they define how we think about, process and feel about the subjects they address. Altering them does more than simply offer another version of the image in many cases it challenges the accepted concept of the issue that these images have done so much to shape.
I think Silvia's comment is a perfect example of that. B&W accents the context of the image, color accents the people in it. Viewing lines of marching Nazi youth in B&W has an historical feel to it, seeing it in color helps you to better identify with the people involved in it, helps you to transfer that experience to current time. The reason I had such a strong like for Silvia's comment was I had a similar reaction looking at the colorized portrait of Lee (one which I have seen innumerable times in its original composition) it made me think a bit differently about it than I have before.
A good example of the effect of a overall ban would have might be to think about Warhol's Campbell's soup can painting. What if Warhol had been afraid of doing that for fear of being sued? (they actually did sue him later) Warhol's point in painting that was to make a statement about the ubiquity of commercial imagery in the modern environment verses say religious painting. He was using an icon to make a point. The prevention of that kind of work (and the response exemplified by Silvia's comment is why I think your blanket prohibition is not a good idea.
Let's not get hung up on legal protection--I am absolutely clear there is no legal argument here--I never claimed there was. I'm pointing out that as we sanction this type of "anything goes" editing, the "truth" of the original photograph gets more and more blurry. Yes Silva, there is truth in expression. The original author established it.
Okay. Good hashing this out even though we don't agree.
Chuck, sorry, I really don't want to look smart or keep the last word. But how can there be a truth in expression when there can't be a truth in perception? A picture is nothing except someone looks at it. And when someone looks at it there is no truth without the beholders... imagination, personality, experience, expectations, interpretation... This and more forms what the beholder is seeing.
It is a bit like with Heisenberg indeterminacy principle. You can't separate the object of observation from being observed. Similarly you could only establish a truth of expression as long as no human is watching the picture. The moment a human is looking at the picture the truth of expression is "spoiled" by the beholder.
And if there would be a truth in expression established by the original author, let's assume it for a moment, then it is right that he would have been established it for the original picture. And the one colorizing the old photo establishes the truth for the new colored version.
I can understand that a photographer has a certain notion about what it is that he publishes. Otherwise he would not be an artist-photographer. But I believe there is a reality - or let's call it truth - that is attached to the content of what is shown and that lies not exactly within the form of the piece of art nor in the interpretation/expression of the artist.
Haha Silva, I'm no match for a metaphysician.
"Call me Chuck. Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely -- having little or no money in my wallet, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."
As an aside -- I think the examples of the colorizing in this Smithsonian article are so badly done that it almost makes the argument against itself by its own execution. As a person who could be open-minded about a dialog re: the pros/cons of colorizing old photos -- seeing the amateur (harsh/non-realistic) way that these were done makes me want to say hell no.
I like the colorizing. I agree with Martin and Silvia and Von. No, this person didn't do a great job, but hey. This is photojournalism, right? Nothing precious about it. If color were as easy then as it is today, money says these pix would have been shot in color. And NOT POSED, which is merely a necessity of slow shutter speeds.
How many black & white portraits were hand-colored BACK THEN? It was a whole profession. People choose color. It's what life looks like. Virtually all photography today is in color; only "art" is deliberately shot black & white.
Ansel Adams is a special case; coloring his pix would remove the drama and make them ordinary. Colorizing Civil War pix makes the past real. As for the migrant woman, early color photography was a pain in the darkroom and on the press; black & white was for decades more convenient for documentary, not to mention cheaper.
And besides all that, the colorized version does not destroy the black & white original, so the purists can stay happy.
OMG... Someone must have hacked John McWade's FB account!
I think there are certain things about the past that should be left alone... and one of it is the originality of how it was then. It is fine to have some fun and put some colours, but it should just stay that way.. for some fun, but if it has seep into places that should protect the past as it was, then it is time to draw the line.
wow ... what a a thread ... quotable for sure . . . and note how many colorization experts are represented. LMAO easy to criticize -- but I like John McWade's base sentiment : "Colorizing Civil War pix makes the past real." I agree -- strengthens the message for the intended audience -- the challenge for all designers. . .(And John's hidden message - ie: it's all about the money! )
compare to the colorization above . two different messages -- two different results. BOTH are valid. Except somehow the BW says "a photograph of a condition" and the color says "sad condition" ??? Hmmmmmm high res of original http://upload.wikimedia.org/.../54/Lange-MigrantMother02.jpg
Another view... Fact and Fiction - Some Questions on Documentary Photography
As discussed earlier in (Re)Defining Documentary Photography - Then and Now, the very nature of photography is subject to manipulation and thus, questions are raised regarding our concept of "fact" and "fiction."
Another aside... I remember hearing Joan Crawford talk about how dress (etc) colors were sometimes chosen for black-and-white movies based on the shade of grey that they would reproduce as on film, and not because they were good colors for people to wear in general or whether they matched the couch, or other such stylistic decisions.
By coloring images to make more contemporary, there is much license-taking by the digital artist, and I can imagine those images going forward through time and the Internet to take on a life of their own, and future assumptions being made that those colors were accurate to the time/situation... when in fact, they would have been just random preferences/guesses. That bothers me. But I've also colored my share of old photos -- so I'm not saying that there isn't a time and a place for doing so. I just think that digital artists should be mindful of the big (historic) picture.
I have to side with the "don't f with someone else's work" faction. it's a horrible disgrace, and to justify it by saying that the original creator 'would have wanted it that way' is absurd. the original photos ARE real. colorizing them doesn't make them more real, it makes them less so, because they are not genuine. they may as well be reenactment photos in color if color is what will 'bring the past to life.' and after working half of my life in journalism, i take PARTICULAR OFFENSE to anyone who would say, "This is photojournalism, right? Nothing precious about it."
Zoe Heimdal... that puzzled me... how did the hand colorist know the lady's dress color or the kids hair, or other detail. See how deep the density is of the left side kid's neck, and background. The hand colorist has to predict all that. In this side-by-side comparison, it looked for the densities in the original and how they were matched up in the color version. I had to lower the overall histogram to get closer to the densities of the black and white. I think the lady's shirt was RED tablecloth plaid NOT blue. Blue "feels" better to the colorist, but would not have photographed as dark as the plaid in the original. Once you really start comparing, it gets really interesting. Right-click and open the link in a new window, then right click again to view the largest version.
I'll side with Woody Allen, Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and many others who have spoken against the process of colorization.
With director John Huston, who argued, regarding the colorization of "The Maltese Falcon," "I shot it in black and white the same way a sculptor chooses between clay, bronze or marble."
And Frank Capra, who said, regarding the colorization of "It's a Wonderful Life," "They ruined it--splashed Easter egg colors all over and ruined it."
Can't happen here? Have a look at this lovely rendition of an Ansel Adams Classic.
Linda Barger Bonneau...
Total dislike Ansel pic colorized. I did a paper on him in my art class in college and can't imagine changing a thing about his amazing work.
Illustrator extraordinaire and curator of the The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, Lou Brooks is promoting his custom designed lampshades.
It led me to Lamp-In-A-Box, a fun website that allows you to purchase lamps with shades designed using every imaginable type of imagery.
Printing is an art, but it's also a science. Here's an inside look at the installation of one of the biggest, baddest sheetfed presses I've ever seen: the Heidelberg VLF (Very Large Format) Speedmaster XL 145.
I had no idea the installation of one of these big presses was this involved (I've always shown up in the plant after the fact). It gives me a new appreciation for something most designers (me included) take for granted--the technology, equipment, and people it takes to transform that file into a tangible product.
Want to stay busy, feel wanted, turn heads, make a difference? Think differently.
What distinguishes an identity from a brand is one's desire, ability, and stick-to-itiveness to do remarkable things.
Steve Bland, a talented retoucher, enlisted Interbrand Australia to recast him as "The Great Blandini."
Look at history. The Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke's Special Collection Library, "Acquires and preserves printed material and collections of textual and multimedia resources and makes them available to researchers around the world."
Here's an introduction:
Duke Ad Access: An image database of over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.
They have an extensive collection of the personal papers of a growing number of advertising luminaries.
Ad Views: Thousands of television commercials created or collected by the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) advertising agency, dated 1950s-1980s.
Emergence of Advertising in America: A database of over 9,000 advertising items and publications dated 1850-1920, illustrating the rise of consumer culture, and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry.
Medicine and Madison Avenue: A database of over 600 health-related advertisements printed between 1911 and 1958, as well as 35 selected historical documents relating to health-related advertising.
ROAD: Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions: A database of over 50,000 descriptions of images of outdoor advertising dating from the 1920s through the 1990s, pulled from four outdoor advertising collections including the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA).
Outdoor Advertising Association of America Slide Library, 1891-1994: More than 11,000 images of outdoor advertisements and slide presentations from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, the primary professional organization in the field.
There's plenty more. For example this Russian Posters Collection: A collection of 20th-century Russian posters spans almost the entire history of the Soviet Union (1917-1991).
Just seventy-some years ago, Television was just being introduced to the public. This wonderful short from RCA is a must see for anyone who doesn't appreciate the science fiction world of 2013.
Moonbot Studios is about trying to do things that we've never done before. In one piece I watched, William Joyce, its co-founder says, "The less qualified we are the more excited we are to take something on."
Moonbot Studios bills itself as a multi-platform storytelling studio specializing in feature-quality animation, traditional publishing and mobile app development.
Here's another out-of-the-ordinary brand-builder from the restaurant chain Chipotle. It is uses a beautifully crafted digital animation piece to tout the release of a game for the iPhone and iPad.
You can look at it as a strike against factory farming or, as Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post so glibly puts it, "This ad is like asking you to eat the cast of 'Toy Story.'"
So much of what is labeled as "information graphics" isn't. To me, most of it is simple charts, graphs, and lists with colorful headlines and pictures.
These two examples from waitbutwhy.com illustrate fairly unremarkable data in a way that makes it remarkable—they reveal ideas and help you see the data in a light you did not anticipate.
Thanks to Clarke Green of scoutmastercg.com for pointing us to it.
I received this email September 17th...
I wanted to get in touch with somebody I could compliment for this amazing site & blog - I love your demonstrated work, tips, tricks, and professionalism. I think it is absolutely amazing. In the topic of graphic design, I thought you should know that we, [company name], are having a Logo Design contest! This contest is viewed by us as a career-making opportunity for a freelance designer to potentially have their work seen nationally by millions of people on TV and on the Internet, driven by one of the largest advertisers in the country...plus the winner will receive $1,050.
I thought this would be a great opportunity to mention on your blog for your aspiring graphic designers and followers to see. This is such a big opportunity that it can't be missed! It started today, Sept 17th and ends on Sept 23rd.
Instructions are as such:
The logo should communicate that [company description].
Follow [logo contest website] to register for a free account and to post your design. For more information on [company name], please do not hesitate to visit our website (contestants are encouraged to do so, as well).
Excellent--perhaps [company name] would like to have a contest amongst new accountants to see who can do the best job of filling out its 2013 tax return (with $1050 going to the winner!) or maybe amongst fledgeling manufacturers to see who can come up with the best new product (with $1050 going to the winner).
Better yet, perhaps [company name] could change its business model. You and your competitors each complete a project [they provide an expensive product and service], the customer chooses their favorite, and the winner gets $1050!
"It's not the same thing," you argue?
It is. If you think a brand designer's time, training, equipment, software, office space, and so on, are somehow less expensive or less important than those of any other profession, you are simply mistaken.
Be clear: Such "contests" are not participated in by any designer who respects his or her profession and are not offered by any organization that appreciates and understands the value of excellence.
If you're not a design nut, you might not understand why I'm doing a blog post about a letter of the alphabet. With that proviso, I gotta say, the cap "R" from Alcala Roman stopped me in my tracks.
It was designed by Damien Gautier and Quentin Margat of the French foundry 205 Corp. Just when I think its all been done, I am surprised by yet another typographer who discovers a new way of seeing a terminal, a bowl, a finial, a loop, and so on.
Thank God for diversity of thought.
They called it the 2013 Easter Bunny Apology Tour and it was designed for UNREAL Candy, a company out to "prove that candy tastes better without the junk."
Crunch Brands, the ad agency that developed the campaign describes it like this: "UNREAL was entering a crowded candy category saturated by mega brands with colossal budgets. In order to succeed, UNREAL had to make people aware of how much junk the candy industry puts in its candy that just doesn't need to be there. And then offer an alternative that's in the same aisle as traditional candy, and with equally great taste."
This, to me, the quintessence of smart marketing—educational, engaging, a little self-deprecating, and, at its heart, seemingly economical (or could be). I think it's a great model for other folks who have a good story and need to break through the clutter.
I guess I've been using Photoshop for about 20 years now. So I was interested to see this interview with Thomas Knoll, co-inventor with his brother John, of Adobe Photoshop.
It is interesting to note, we are only roughly 25 years into the design revolution.
Thanks to Jeff Green for pointing us to it.
For quite some time a group of writers, editors, publishers, designers, and engineers have been building and fine-tuning a new collaborative writing platform tagged, Editorially. It's a clean, simple, system that is well worth a look.
Here's the lineup of the folks behind Editorially: Mandy Brown, Founder & CEO; Jason Santa Maria, Founder & Creative Director; David Yee, Founder & CTO; Rob Brackett, Engineer; Garann Means, Engineer; Susan Robertson, Web Developer; Ethan Marcotte, Founder & Advisor.
You can tell James Provost loves what he does. He has at least three websites (that I know of) where he shows his work and shares his expertise.
I particularly like his line illustrations and motion graphics.
The dimensions of profile, cover, and other miscellaneous images are constantly changing. Here, from Raidious (a social media marketing firm), are the latest image dimensions for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube...
While we're on the subject (Friday's post on the Sign Painter movie) here is a library of old school books and guides on the craft of sign painting.
Among other things, Ruslan Khasanov dabbles in liquid calligraphy and studies of color. If you wonder where the next frontier of design is, or want to create it, you've got to experiment. I found Ruslan Khasanov's work particularly interesting.
We live in a time when we've got to continually adapt to new, fundamental shifts in what we see and what we understand. It is as interesting and exciting as it is, at times, disconcerting and disruptive.
Here's a 600,000 x 300,000 pixel, 320-gigapixel photograph of Tokyo by Jeffrey Martin produced by stitching together roughly 8000 images (print it out a normal photographic resolution and it would measure 328 x 164 feet).
Sometimes, you don't think of adding something to the marketing mix until you see the source of producing it. For me, such is the case for the fabrication of vehicles and props that are used, in large part, for extending the brand.
These folks have a big, interesting portfolio.
It's easy to not like the post office. They've gotten a lot wrong in recent years and some of the derision is deserved.
But some of it isn't. There appear to be a core of folks at the USPS who are trying to bring it up to speed with the new age. I empathize with them because I survived a similar fundamental technological reorder of things in the eighties and nineties. Remember the sea-change called desktop publishing?
It also happens that my grandfather was the assistant Postmaster in a town where he lived—a position of no small amount of influence in the twentieth century. Even today, achieving the rank of Postmaster in a good-sized town is a big accomplishment. (And, to fully disclose my bias, I also have a client with connections to the USPS.)
So I'm rooting for the Postal Service. And I was happy to see that they have rolled out another new campaign for Priority Mail and a new tag line: "Priority: You." I like the line, the ad, and the new packaging (all, I assume, by McCann Erickson Worldwide) and I'm hoping it takes them another step toward turning the massive organization in a new direction.
Remember this: direct mail volume is way down in recent years. But there are still millions of businesses sending billions of mailpieces annually. It still belongs in the mix of many marketing plans.
Sean McHugh is an artistic scientist—to my thinking, a rare bird. So when he began offering tutorial and insights into digital photography, it caught on.
He explains the philosophy of his tutorials like this, "Our tutorials typically focus more on concept than procedure, are highly visual and often interactive, and cover each topic thoroughly but concisely. We also try to keep them as independent of the type of camera or software as possible."
Photoshop's Layer Style feature really has changed the world of design in profound ways. It makes it possible to simply copy and apply styles that instantly, fundamentally transform the artwork. It also makes it possible to create new effects by looking at how someone else as constructed a style and taking it a few steps further.
Thanks to my friend Chris Miller for pointing us to Graphic Burger, the home of Romanian designer and illustrator Raul Taciu who offers a growing collection of PSD layer style resources.
Thanks to Raul Taciu for sharing his expertise.
I got started on this little design journey when I came across a wonderful illustrated map titled, "A cartograph of Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate International Exposition."
Which led me to an excellent Wikipedia article about the event and an immense collection images and print materials compiled by photographer and urban explorer, Jon Haeber.
The exposition or "World's Fair," was going on at the same time as the 1939 World's Fair in New York and its primary purpose was, as I understand it, to showcase west coast products and companies.
I'm finding it provides lots of interesting retro design inspiration.
This is a great example of how a designer with a specific set of skills has turned his passion into a business. Simon Vernon combines his artistic skills for drawing and painting with his understanding of surveying and mapping to create, print, and package illustrated maps of estates.
I don't know if he thinks of himself as a designer, but you can certainly see all of a designer's skills at work.
Lettering artist and designer Gunnlaugur SE Briem invited a long list of "letterforms practitioners" to contribute work samples and notes to The Briem Report, Letterforms 2012.
As he explains, the 250-page book, deals with everything from pyrography and stonecarving to low-resolution hinting and handwriting therapy.
More than anything, it will give you an idea of the many, many angles from which artists, designers, and technicians approach the world of typography.
I thought this illustration was of note, first because it's ann interesting illustration, and secondly because of the use of 3D.
Walk down the streets of most cities and towns and, if you've been around for a while, you'll note that something significant missing: hand-painted signs. If there are signs at all, they are typically flat, bland, digitally manufactured banners that seem to drone names and marketing messages in monotone.
I'm not saying all banners and vinyl lettering are bad, I'm just saying a sign painted by a talented sign painter has more soul.
So I was excited to receive a book from Princeton Architectural Press titled, Sign Painters by Faythe Levine and Sam Mancon. It offers a fascinating look at the craft of sign painting and features interviews with some of the most storied sign painters working today.
It is the prelude to the Sign Painter movie which is now touring to selected venues around the world.
Casey Neistat is a filmmaker and THIS is where he works—proof that design is (in many cases) an expression of organization.
When you share content in an online social network, who is listening?
That is the question posed (and answered in part) by a paper on the publications page of the Stanford HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) Group publications page. That paper, titled, "Quantifying the Invisible Audience in Social Networks," is the product of HCI and scientists from Facebook's own Facebook Data Science team.
Why point to it?
Because it offers some good insights, in particular about Facebook, but also, it and the links below are an important reminder of how much marketing, advertising, and graphic design is now and will be, directed by data.
By that I mean, we can't afford to operate in the vacuum of yesterday's research models and professional intuition. Does your client's competition understand the systems, networks, data sources, and options better than you do? We should be concerned.
Here's an interesting collaboration between a client (Steamworks Brewing), a design firm (Brandever), and two illustrators (James Ng and Michael Halbert).
To me, a good idea seems so obvious. But would this have occurred to someone who was not so comfortable seeing life through a lens? Kudos to photographer Tom Hussey.
For years, the marketing community has been criticized for the mere notion of subliminal messaging. Yet, that idea pales in comparison to the way consumers are researched, prodded, corralled, and branded in 2013.
Haha... most, I think, would not be comforted to hear two of the folks from Google's Android Apps team describe how developers should view the user. They present a kind of "emotional framework" (my term) for UI design that employs principles such as "touch their hearts," "sprinkle encouragement," and "only show what I need when I need it."
Is it just me or does it sound somewhat foreboding?
If you're a designer who uses an application like Photoshop or Premiere Pro, you can appreciate the amazing technologies these programs equip you with.
This software and super-sophisticated programs like Pixar's Renderman are built using ideas developed, in part, by networks of researchers and scientists working recruited by corporations and universities.
Today, a look at one little-known (to most of us) organization that is contributing to the development of many type of future tools—Disney Research.
This poster for Starbucks caught my eye. Why?
1. It drew me in. The large circle and then the white circle within a circle is almost a target. It led my eye to the message the poster is meant to communicate: riding a bike.
2. It juxtaposes nostalgia with modernism. The the modern layout with bold shapes and the smooth, extra-condensed typeface make it unexpected.
3. It uses shapes for emphasis. Note how the designer repeats the shape of the wheel. I particularly like the cropping of the large photograph—wheels within wheels.
4. It uses color in a literal way. I like how the poster is a half-filled cup of coffee.
5. It uses multiple types of images to add interest. There's the small, full-color (big) apple, the straight black and white photo, the high-contrast, diagram-like image of the smaller bike, the distressed, coffee-colored overlay, and the isolated logo.
Nicely done by IAAH / iamalwayshungry.
In 2013 a camera is an appendage for most of us. It is almost always at hand, costs little or nothing to use, and increasingly, it is becoming a powerful tool for marketing.
This piece from the Wall Street Journal looks at how restaurants are encouraging customers to take photographs of their meals for the purpose of advertising.
It got me looking for advice about perfecting food photography—much of which translates well to the smart phone camera.
Robert Mankoff has been the cartoon editor of The New Yorker for over thirty years and is a student of humor. Here's an interesting piece where he tackles the subject of "Making sense of humor."
I'm going to take some of what he says (here and elsewhere) to see if there are ways of using his insights in graphic design. One point that might be translated to marketing communications:
For something to be funny it is both wrong and okay--both a violation and benign. The message is rude and the form is polite.
Here's the scenario: You've been asked to produce a flyer, poster, or other marketing collateral that will be printed by the recipient on an office or home printer. Many would urge you to make your PDF printer friendly.
What's printer friendly? It doesn't use large areas of solid color, ultra-bold and color-saturated headlines, large areas of background colors, and so on.
Here's an example of what not to do. I picked this piece at random and my intention is not to demean or embarrass those who produced it—we've all made the mistake of not remembering the context of everything we do.
It may seem like an insignificant issue, but here's what the August issue of Consumer Reports calls the inky truth: "Even the cheapest ink, at about $13 an ounce, costs more than, say, fine Champagne, while the priciest, at about $75 an ounce, is more costly than, say, Chanel No. 5 perfume."
Thanks to Jim Green for pointing to the need.
It is time to begin shifting our thinking about people over 65 and the web (Earth to marketers: Pigeon-holing consumers as "senior citizens" will come back to bite you—to many it is a derogatory term).
What got me thinking about the subject is a summary of a Nielsen Norman Group report titled Seniors as Web Users. The tone of which seems to tag most older users as somehow unable to handle changes in color (seniors easily lose track of where they've been), no less navigate a complex user interface.
When nothing could be further from the truth. People now reaching the age of 65 are not a generation of clueless users—many are the folks who imagined the world wide web to begin with, who built the internet, who developed the codeing platforms, and invented the content management systems.
These were the first adopters and, in many cases, know as much or more about how technology works, what's new, and what's trending than many of their younger counterparts. Bill Gates, for example, was born in 1955, Walter S. Mossberg the WSJ technology expert is 66, Rob Enderle the renowned technology analyst is 58. Oracle's Larry Ellison is 68--these are not people we would consider out of touch.) Young or old, there are enthusiastic adopters and reluctant users, it just depends on where your interests lie.
For those reasons, from a marketing standpoint, I think we need to be very careful about treating these users like we would the generation before them—those who, in fairness, did not use computers for a significant number of years before they reached the same age.
My point is the marketing community has long used age as the gold standard for predicting behavior. As we approach a time when most affluent consumers have spent much of their adult life on computers and online, we need to reconsider if categorizing computer users by age is as relevant as it once was.
As we have discussed in recent weeks, the design world is experiencing a new trend, for lack of a better, all encompassing description, lets call it the rise of simplification. Here is an interesting, useful take on defining what some are calling flat design and an explanation of the principles behind it.
People and their stories.
How can a small business compete with its big competitors?
By showing us people and telling us their stories.
Why might I pay a little bit more for a product or service?
Because I know the players and I identify with their story.
Below is a link to the "About Us" page of a website that reminds me of the importance of this point. When I want to buy something from a new source, I always look around to find clues about who (or what) I am dealing with. I want to avoid, whenever possible, the robotic aggregators created by people who seem intent on remaining anonymous.
There is no right way of getting personal (thank goodness), and this is just one organization's attempt to present its story. But it tells me that the folks who run it think of themselves as something different and special and I like the idea that they're attempting to tell me why that makes a difference.
Does it work? You may never know. But I can't see how it hurts. With literally millions of ways to purchase goods and services on the web, you've got to understand that a sleek, easy-to-use, nicely designed store is only the minimum requirement. If you're selling the same type of stuff as the next guy, you're going to have to do things that set yourself apart. Introducing real people in real places is one way of doing it.
BTW, I love the idea of showing photographs of real stuff in a real warehouse. It makes me want to see some pictures of the people.
Learn to write headlines.
I recently came across this wonderful two-page newspaper ad by Schwab and Beatty Advertising credited to Victor Schwab and dated 1958. It is titled, "100 advertising headlines--and why they were so profitable."
For a headline to be effective, to paraphrase, it must be read by someone who is interested in the subject and promise the reader a worthwhile reward for reading it.
Lot of what is said here is as true today as it was fifty-plus years ago. Thanks to the Lawrence Bernstein and InfoMarketBlog.com for providing the scan and transcribing its contents.
The headline is a play on one from the list, "To people who want to write--but can't get started."
This is a rather tortured description, but I think of Dan Craig's illustrations as neoclassic paintings with (in many cases) a wayward sense of humor. By that I mean, the precision and beauty of his work provides the perfect springboard for making fun of it.
Saw this post today by Brad Huffman, "When I laugh at stuff on the Internet, I don't really laugh out loud. I just blow more air out of my nose than usual. So it's not like LOL, it's more like BMAOOMNTU."
It reminded me that whenever I want to use an onomatopoeia (I think he has coined a new one here), I end up having to look it up to see what the popular spelling is—"atishoo" is a good example.
Here are some resources...
I was watching a news program the other day and it occurred to me how one-dimensional news set design seems to be. By that I mean there seem to be very few sets that don't look like the flight deck of the Star Ship Enterprise.
And that got me to looking. Here are some sources that will get you started at looking into this fascinating field. Whether it's the graphics used to represent specific stories or the design of the sets themselves, it would seem to be a burgeoning field for graphic designers.
It is certainly one close to my heart. I started my design career working at WTTG in Washington, DC creating the graphics for the 10 0'Clock News. It was, in those days, an exciting place to be. Not only because I was designing on the fly for the evening's newscast, but because I part of a newsroom team of dedicated writers, technicians, and talent that focussed on getting a one-hour program on the air every night—as you can imagine there was rarely a dull moment.
What was it like for me? This article on Television New Graphics from a 1978 issue of Broadcast Programming & Production discussed the Vizmo rear projection system we used to present graphics in prehistoric times.
Julian Frost, the animator of this wonderful little piece, said: "What an odd thing it is for a company to pay us to joyfully remind you that their products may kill you. I read somewhere that train accidents have gone down since the video. I hope that's true!"
Mumbrella.com quotes Chloe Alsop, marketing manager of Metro Trains, as saying: "This campaign is designed to draw people to the safety message, rather than frighten them away."
"The Dumb Ways to Die: devised by John Mescall and Pat Baron of McCann Melbourne, lyrics by John Mescall, music by Ollie McGill, vocals by Emily Lubitz, and characters and animation by Julian Frost...
I guess we've been talking about this for a decade now—that there would come a time when you would no longer buy boxed software but use it as a service. If you subscribe to Adobe's Creative Cloud, you know that time has arrived.
With this new way of working, you log in one morning (as I did this morning) and a new set of features is available and if you choose to, you can download and begin using them on the spot.
Today, I find a whole new set of desktop applications labeled "CC." They are the new Creative Cloud versions of Adobe's software suite—products such as InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
And that, for all intents and purposes, marks the end of an era for Adobe. Now, if you want the next best thing, you'll have to sign onto the Creative Cloud solution. And, for what it costs, I don't see why you wouldn't.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I have signed on as an Adobe Affiliate. That means, if you are kind enough to use one of the links below to sign up for the service, I get a small commission. I can already smell the salted air of the beach house those commissions will buy... in the year 2185.)
Here's the drop down menu that awaited me this morning...
Apparently so. A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology seems to lend some statistical validity to the idea that darkness promotes creativity.
• Dim illumination and priming darkness improve creative performance.
• Perceived freedom and a creativity-supportive processing style explain the effect.
• Light setting and the stage of the innovation process limit the effect's emergence.
For me, I think there's some truth to it. Darkness, to me, generally minimizes distractions and light within darkness allows me to focus on what I choose to light up.
I'm not big on beer—anything that dulls your senses makes it more difficult to make sense of things. But that's just me. That said, it's fun to watch how the owners of an iconic brand like Budweiser periodically re-invent their flagship products. To that end, the latest incarnation of the Budweiser can takes on the shape of its bowtie logo. I like it.
(It helps that I'm a sucker for complex, medicine bottle-like package labels).
Apple announced a major redesign of it's mobile operating system a few days ago which is, in some ways, analogous to the changes in Windows 8 that Microsoft thrust upon the market last year.
They call it simplicity. And as we discussed with the Microsoft redesign, the goal it to find an alternative to what some see as the heavy-handed nature of a skeuomorphic interface.
Whether you like the changes of not (I'm good with it), it occurs to me that, in cases such as this, design has become a dictate. With many of us getting antsy about how much control the digital world is wielding these days, I wonder how long we'll accept having a major shift like this thrust upon us at the whim of the provider?
In any case, here is the new design and some discussion about it.
Michael Senoff is a pitchman—and I mean that in a nice way. I say, pitchman because Senoff not only promotes the art of marketing (his site offers a large cache of in-depth interviews with well know marketing experts and copywriters), he presents it with unabashed passion, spoken in a causal, quick voice perking with superlatives. His is the old school of "Act now," "FREE," and the "money-back guarantees" where everything sounds almost too good to be true.
But often it is not. It may all sound a little over the top, but much of what Senoff and the people he interviews discuss is fact. Jay Conrad Levinson, for example, hasn't sold over 15 million Guerilla Marketing books because Guerilla Marketing doesn't work, he's sold them because they include lots of smart, useful tactics.
I point you to it because I find his interviews to be worth hearing. Though the recording leaves something to be desired, Senoff asks the type of questions I'd ask myself.
The Economist is a British weekly that covers international news and politics. Kevin "KAL" Kallaugher recently celebrated his 35th anniversary as its primary cartoonist. Below is an indepth discussion with Kallaugher regarding his process and a business in transition.
Thanks for Grahame Berney for pointing us to it.
Though Steve Jobs and Apple are credited with the introduction of the iPad, it was not a new idea. Roger Fidler, the Director of Knight-Ridder Information Design Lab, and his team had mocked up a very similar-looking and working tablet fifteen years earlier. And, before that, Arthur C. Clarke spoke about a "Newspad" device early as the 1960s.
Which brings to mind the fact that an idea or design is just a small part of a complex equation. To succeed in launching a new product or service, you, more often than not, will draw on the insights, inventions, and skills of many others. I dare say it should humble us.
Though tablets were clearly not a new idea when they first showed up in the early 2000s, making the iPad a reality required much new and innovative technology, the development of a groundbreaking interface design, ramping up of a massive manufacturing chain, a worldwide of sales and distribution network, and much, much more.
Is there value to intellectual property? Of course. But this is a great reminder of the fact that just thinking of an idea doesn't make it a success.
Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.
Design, copywriting, photography, illustration, video production, and so on, is ALL about WHO is doing the work--not how much it costs. Hence, it is not out of the realm of possibility to buy the best work for next to nothing or to spend a near-fortune on pablum.
And I mean that in no uncertain terms. When you buy work for branding, advertising, and marketing, you are buying the interest, talent, insight, and experience of the individual--that's why the creative's portfolio of work is so important.
Here's my point: We have entered a time when aggregators are working hard to convince buyers that design is more of a transaction than an interaction. They want buyers to believe that using a middleman is the way to produce high-quality work for a set price.
And they are dead wrong. Creative work always has been and always will be a complex, personal interaction between the sponsor, the artist, and the audience.
So fellow creatives, let not your heart be troubled. Smart buyers will not be fooled, they will learn that to get good work, you must seek out and work with dedicated, talented people who have a passion for the process--and that what it costs is a mere aside.
Retailers of housewares and furnishings clearly have an enormous impact on the ever-changing design aesthetic. What people buy is, in large part, the vision of a designer—and the combination of decisions they make regarding functionality, materials, textures, color, and so on. People see a vision they like and adopt it as their own—and I believe graphic design is much the same.
I thought about the importance of such influences when I received the 2013 Restoration Hardware Catalog(s)—five parts, 1300-plus pages, roughly 8 lbs of highly opinionated design. Unlike some mass marketers, RH is not shy about asserting its vision, so much so that I suspect most who see it are either for it or against it.
I don't love it all, but I like lots of it. What intrigues me most about its most recent offerings is the "Objects of Curiosity" catalog. An eclectic collection of accent pieces, sculptures, and such. I don't recall ever seeing anything like it.
Stephen Gordon founded Restoration Hardware in 1979, "...I put together photocopied catalogues of fittings and fixtures, hung a sign advertising, 'Restoration Hardware,' outside my house, and invited people in to look at binders and order things."...
In 2001 Gary Friedman joined the company and, by at least one account, saved the company from bankruptcy. It would appear that Friedman was the one to cast RH's current creative vision...A profile of Friedman from the Wall Street Journal...
In his book Iron Fists: Branding the 20th-Century Totalitarian State, author Steven Heller points to four pivotal examples of how design was used to establish and propagate horrific brands for Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, the USSR, and Communist China. Their respective leaders — Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong — were directly responsible for the death and/or suffering of hundreds of millions of human beings.
And unfortunately, among the minions of these figures, were many talented designers. My point is simply this: Designers wield enormous power. Though I doubt many of us are thought of as powerful people, we understand the influence of story and image. We know how to present ideas with authority and emotion.
On this Memorial Day, the day the United States of America, remembers the men and women who died while serving in the Armed Forces, I want to remind my design friends around the planet that with talent comes responsibility. Let's pledge to use our talents only for what we personally believe is good.
That's a quotation credited to Frank Chimero, one of many from The Designer Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom researched and edited by Sara Bader. A few more examples:
Vince Frost said, "In hindsight, I think I've always been a designer. I was always inquisitive. Even when I was delivering newspapers I wanted to do it quickly, accurately, and make sure the paper landed on the doorstep in a nice line.
Stephen Doyle is credited with this insight: "I try to staff our studio with people who have curiosity and passion. And you must keep a constant lookout for who you might want to hire next, because often the curiosity of our team leads them on to other things. You can't keep brilliance; you let it shine, and then you have to let it go."
And Paul Rand said, "It is important to use your hands. This is what distinguishes you from a cow or a computer operator."
I found that Bader also speaks through Quotenik.com, the mission of which is...
"To preserve the integrity of quotes by confirming their accuracy... Every entry added to this collection--whether published hundreds of years ago or today--is verified and properly sourced."
And, "To gather and expand the inventory of quotable thoughts in our conversations and cultural consciousness so we have fresh material to consider and share."
I particularly appreciate reading the insights of a number of relatively young designers.
Kraemer does an interesting riff on real. You get a sense that you're looking at something real but you know by its warm, slightly gauzy, feel that it is, instead, the artist's impression.
I've read that he started using an airbrush but has graduated to 3D digital. If any of his portfolio is old school.
I had a discussion recently with another designer about which file formats to use when saving graphics and photographs for websites. As the discussion progressed, I realized that I have adopted ways of saving images over the years, but that it has been a long time since I read anything on the subject.
So I did some looking (to support the way I do it) and I thought I'd share what I found.
I am anxious to hear if this jives with the way you handle it.
Somewhere way back I read that PNG-24 should only be used on rare occasions—it makes big files that don't really buy you anything over JPEGs unless you're dealing with alpha transparency.
Instead, I would typically use JPEG/High/60 for photographs and photographs that include graphics such as text.
For straight graphics, such as a logo, I use PNG-8 which is, basically, a replacement for GIF. In this article about PNGs. you'll notice, in his list of "When to use what formats," that the author only favors using PNG-24 over JPEG when he needs to use alpha transparency.
Finally, Tammy Everts wrote an interesting article for Web Performance Today titled, "Are we optimizing our images like cavemen?" If you're a total design geek, you might what to read through it—she offers some interesting insights.
Wow, here's a new low...
The Dallas Mavs are offering $1000 for the design of a their NBA uniform—$600 for first place and $400 for second.
It is pure exploitation. Hey Mavs, how about asking a bunch of players to play for a season and promise to pay the one who makes the most points a fraction of what you'd normally pay each player?
These folks clearly have no understanding of the research and work that goes into producing an identity. Nor do they respect the need of other professionals to make a reasonable return for their work.
Pretty interesting. StreetArt Agency out of Ekaterinburg, Russia has developed a corporate identity for Malina.am, a new Internet TV channel. The art director is Andrei Kolokolov.
I like these unusual photographs created for SuitSupply by Carli Hermes. They were used in a nicely designed insert from the Wall Street Journal.
I featured one of Peter Hoey's illustrations in The Desktop Publisher's Idea Book more years ago than I would care to recollect. And he has remained a mainstay of many top publications in the years since.
So I was pleased, but not surprised, to open the Wall Street Journal recently to find an illustration in his signature style on the front page of a special investment section.
The headline reads, "New Product Innovation to be Delivered Exclusively Through Adobe Creative Cloud." In short, what they're saying is that Adobe Creative Suite 6 is the last edition of the CS and all future products will be available by subscription only.
The press release says, "...The company will focus creative software development efforts on its Creative Cloud offering moving forward. While Adobe Creative Suite 6 products will continue to be supported and available for purchase, the company has no plans for future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products. Focusing development on Creative Cloud will not only accelerate the rate at which Adobe can innovate but also broaden the type of innovation the company can offer the creative community."
My reaction is, "Good!" I signed up for the program a couple of months ago and I don't see a down side for anyone who uses the CSs on a regular basis — for $600 per year ($49 per month) you have access to the entire suite of Adobe products. $600 compared to buying or upgrading to a new product every couple of years for hundreds more.
This, eventually, will save Adobe hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue lost to piracy — and that, hopefully, will keep the cost to subscribers reasonable. Again, "Good!," you and I have been subsidizing that piracy for for long enough.
Adobe also announced (Wacom ain't going to like this) its first hardware device, a pressure sensitive stylus and an electronic ruler (below).
Louise Fili not only produces great work, she has a knack for hiring great talent — Jessica Hische got her start there. But today, I want to point you to a few projects produced by another terrific designer, John Passafiume.
First is a series of ten book covers art directed by Louise Fili and executed by Passafiume that commemorate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.
Describing his hand-drawn thesis, Passafiume explains, "I developed a debilitating case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome heading into the spring semester of my senior year. I was forced off of the computer--faced with a difficult task of graduation without the crutch of technology. This prompted the hand-drawn (Process), which visually documents 700+ hours with a Bic mechanical pencil over the course of 90 days."
I suspect most designers have seen an episode or two of the AMC series Mad Men. It provides us with a pulp fiction-like look inside a 1960s, Madision Avenue advertising agency (hence "Mad Men") against the backdrop of a rebellious time in United States history.
Today I want to point you to a behind the scenes look at the making of the opening sequence to the show. As Cara McKenney, the producer of the piece for Imaginary Forces, puts it, "This was a new show and a period drama at that, with no-name actors, on a network with no success in developing original content."