Jul 24

Ideas 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

The state of typography...

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Jul 22

Print Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

tags

The idea...

The Bond website...

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Jul 20

Copywriting

How to master the use of bullet points »

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

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

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

The VITO Letter formula...

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

Brian Clark talks about bullet points here...

And here...

Typeface playground...

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Jul 17

Print Design

"What will you make today?" »

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

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

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

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

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

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #4: Community...

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #5: Perception...

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue #6: Impressions...

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

A history of Mohawk...

The Mohawk Fine Papers website...

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Jul 15

Typography

A very unusual typeface design... »

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

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

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Shiva Nallaperumal's typeface...

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

Nallaperumal's Tumblr page...

And his Twitter feed...

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Jul 13

Print Design

Affordable offset printing of 4-color magazines and books »

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

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

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

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About PrintNinja...

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

Frequently asked questions...

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

Need some typography ideas?

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Jul 10

Illustration

Meet illustrator John Dykes »

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

John Dykes' website...

Dykes on Illoz.com...

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Jul 8

Graphics Tech

Add another dimension to your design »

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

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

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The process and product...

What people are making...

About creating 3D designs...

3D printing materials...

Supported 3D authoring tools...

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

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Jul 6

Marketing PR

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

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

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

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Browse the current lineup...

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

How the paid service platform works...

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Jul 3

Packaging

About the graphic design of board games »

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

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

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

Must have?...

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Jul 2

Web Design

I'm keeping my eye on Medium.com »

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

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

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Jowita Ziobro on 7 future web design trends...

Rebecca Ussai on The Principles of UX Choreography...

Erik Klimczak on Designing Data-Driven Interfaces...

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

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Jun 29

Illustration

Infographics and the use of shapes to depict abstract data »

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

López's Website...

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Jun 26

Print Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's a damn font festival...

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Jun 24

Marketing PR

When it looks this easy... »

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

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The Snickers—Brady Bunch spot...

The article about its production...

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

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

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Jun 22

Photography

Reid Miles was the Norman Rockwell of photographers »

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

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

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A representative example of the style...

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

Another mention of Reid Miles...

In his heyday...

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

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

The latest from MyFonts.com...

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Jun 19

Illustration

Telling stories in different voices »

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

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Example 1: HP Manifesto...

Example 2: Community for PNC Bank...

Example 3: Technical Breakdown for the WDC...

The Gentleman Scholar Website...

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

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Jun 15

Learning

12 Questions on the future of design »

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

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

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

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

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

4. What idea is most overhyped?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Chris Miller for pointing us to it.

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The answers from Medium's survey...

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

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Jun 15

Illustration

Maps, design, and quilts »

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

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Example 1: Constellation Quilt...

Example 2: The Chesapeake Bay Coastal Quilt...

Example 3: The London Throw...

The Haptic Lab Website...

The Haptic Lab Blog...

A Creative Mornings talk with Emily Fischer...

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Jun 12

Web Design

Some recent examples of experiential marketing »

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

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

Here are some recent examples...

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Examples from Econsultancy.com...

More examples from Econsultancy.com...

Examples from XStudios.com...

Examples from Pinterest...

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

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

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Jun 10

Marketing PR

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

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

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

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

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Jun 8

Web Design

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

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

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

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ResponsiveLogos.co.uk...

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

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

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

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Jun 5

Typography

Hermann Zapf in all caps, bold »

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

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

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

Hermann Zapf died yesterday at 96.

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The Art of Hermann Zapf...

Zaph's lifestory form Linotype...

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

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

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

Lorenzo Caputo edits a Hermann Zapf Pinterest board...

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Jun 3

Illustration

If you love witnessing the creative process »

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

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

Thanks to Bob Staake for pointing us to it.

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The designs and correspondence...

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

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

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

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Jun 1

Typography

A typeface designed for coding? »

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

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The story of Input...

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

Input is free for private/unpublished use...

About David Jonathan Ross...

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

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May 29

Typography

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

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

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

Thanks to Jessica Jones for pointing us to it.

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

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

Learn more for less at Lynda.com...

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May 27

Ideas 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

More of Sweetlove's work...

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

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May 25

Illustration

Meet illustrators, designers Violaine & Jeremy »

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

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

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May 22

Illustration

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

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

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

Thanks to Wayne Belvin for pointing us to it.

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

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

A list of 99% Invisible Radio Episodes...

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

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

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May 20

Illustration

Phenakistoscopes of the future? »

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

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

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

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Example 1: A circle panorama...

Example 2: Shadow work...

Example 3: A phenakistoscope...

The Richard Blazer Collection website...

Balzer's blog...

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

A video composed with works from the collection...

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

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May 15

Marketing PR

Imprinting your logo on a ballpoint pen just doesn't cut it anymore »

It wasn't too many years ago that the extent of custom promotional products was to have your logo printed on a coffee mug or a tote bag. The digital age has certainly changed that.

Customizing and branding products is easier and, in many cases, more affordable than ever before. Republic Bike offers some compelling examples.

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An example of a branded bike made for Nike...

The bike above is a Socrates Cargo Bike, one of Republic's Promotional and Marketing models...

They also brand bikes for hotels...

You can design your own here...

The Republic Bike blog shows many more examples of how clients are using bikes to brand their businesses...

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May 13

Books

"When you guys came up with this project I thought you are totally insane." »

One more Kickstarter-related link while we're in the neighborhood (last time we discussed Harald Geisler's Albert Einstein typeface project).

Fans of the 1961, Ladislav Sutnar: Visual Design in Action are leading an effort to create a Facsimile Edition—an exact reprint. When presented with the idea, publisher Lars Müller's reaction was, "When you guys came up with this project I thought you are totally insane."

An exact reproduction will be no small task. The idea is to replicate specifications exactly—in this case, 10 Pantone colors plus black, variations in paper, solid colors, a cloth cover and so on.

Thanks to Wendy Kalman for pointing us to it.

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Facsimile reprint of an iconic 1961 book by modernist graphic designer and pioneer of information design Ladislav Sutnar...

About Ladislav Sutnar...

From Wired: The Master Designer Who Gave the Area Code Its Parentheses...

The publisher, Lars Müller...

More from that era...

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May 11

Typography

Swirling, lunging quills »

In "The Confusion", novelist Neal Stephenson describes the physicality of handwriting, "The quill swirled and lunged over the page, in a slow but relentless three steps forward, two steps back sort of process and finally came to a full stop in a tiny pool of its own ink."

If you don't pay close attention today, you'd think that the fine art of writing by hand had all but disappeared. Not so. Lots of folks still maintain a beautiful hand, and people like Harald Geisler are going to keep us reminded of the richness of handwriting by reproducing the handwriting of the past.

In 2013, Harald Geisler captured the spirit of Sigmund Freud's hand, and now, he is working on a similar project to create a typeface that captures a sense of Albert Einstein.

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Harald Geisler's Albert Einstein Typeface on Kickstarter...

In 2013 Geisler produced the Sigmund Freud typeface...

You can purchase the Sigmund Freud typeface here...

A few other faces in the same vein include Notera, Germinal, and Cezanne...

Geisler's website...

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May 8

Graphics Tech

A primer about Dots Per Inch »

Sebastien Gabriel, senior visual designer for Google Chrome, has created the Designer's Guide To DPI. Here's how he defines it, "This guide is designed as a 'get started' or introductory read for the starting to intermediate designer who wants to learn or get more knowledge about cross-DPI and cross-platform design from the very beginning.

No complex math and un-parseable graph, just straight forward explanations ordered in short sections for you to understand and apply directly to your design process."

The DPI, PPI discussion has made my brain hurt for years. Join me in seeing if designer Sebastien Gabriel can make images/screen resolution make sense.

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The Designer's Guide To DPI...

He is kind enough to make it available in ebook form...

Gabriel's website...

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May 6

Illustration

The amazing stories and pictures of places »

Graphic Designer Tom Schifanella has assembled a very large, very impressive collection of luggage labels produced between (roughly 1900 and the 1960s. So much to learn. So much inspiration.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The entire collection—each of these is a set of images...

An interview with Schifanella about the collection...

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May 4

Typography

A type system you can only admire »

Sadly, you can't purchase the Noticias Type System designed by DSType and Dino dos Santos. It is a collection of custom typefaces that were designed exclusively for the Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Noticias.

The good news is Santos designs typefaces you can purchase.

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A bold, well designed presentation of the system...

The Newseum shows us how the typefaces are being used—today...

An interview with the designer behind DSType: Dino dos Santos...

This is some beautiful typography...

The DSType collection on Myfonts.com...

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May 1

Typography

Nick Fasciano and the California Job Case »

When you're finished with this post you'll know the key role Nick Fasciano played in the rescue and restoration of a piece of typographic history referred to as the Gastrotypograhicalassemblage. In 1966, nothing short of an innovation.

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The original Gastrotypograhicalassemblage...

You'll find an in depth photographic record of the restored project at the top of this article from the ADC...

Lou Dorfsman discusses the creation of the Gastrotypographicalassemblage...

About the renovation...

About type cases...

Did you know? Nick Fasciano is the designer of the logo for the musical group, Chicago...

Fonts designed by Herb Lubalin...

Fonts designed by Tom Carnase...

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Apr 29

Illustration

Meet Graphic Artist and Illustrator Javier Jaén »

The first piece of Javier Jaén's work below is from The Money Issue of The New York Times Magazine. If I didn't know better, I'd look at the second piece, a cover for Dinero Magazine, and think it was designed by a different person.

He describes his work as "related to a symbolic language with double meanings". I like the fact that he confident enough in his thinking to reinvent his approach and technique for each project.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Javier Jaén's website...

Here's an interview with Jaén in his studio. If you don't speak Spanish, you can still get some insight by resetting the YouTube caption translation...

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Apr 27

Copywriting

Some of the most interested, inventive people I've known are copywriters »

I've known a lot of copywriters. A few that pop to mind are Andy Ellis, Leslie Clark, Sean D'Souza, Mel Bryant, Susie Burtch, and Dick Grant—what do they all have in common? They are interested and inventive. You have to be to make a living immersing yourself in a subject so completely, that a client is willing to pay you for YOUR storytelling about THEIR product.

It does not surprise me then, that when I stumbled on this unique collection of greeting cards, that it turned out that they are an invention of a very talented copywriter. No less than the Creative Director of Copy for iPhone and iPod at Apple, Inc.—Lane Foard.

He calls them Squibnocket Cards. Simple design, nice ideas.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

You can read more on Pinterest...

You can purchase the cards through Arcadia...

An interesting sidelight about Foard...

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

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Apr 24

Marketing PR

No matter what you think about the Apple Watch, THIS is advertising »

No words, no flash, just people demonstrating the uses of an Apple Watch in everyday life. Three spots, three themes, beautiful...

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"Rise" is about beginning the day...

"Up" is about the dimension of physicality...

"Us" is about communication..

From MacRumors.com: Apple Debuts Three Apple Watch Ads: 'Rise', 'Up'. and 'Us'...

The Watch page on the Apple website...

Got free time? EveryAppleAd on Youtube...

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Apr 22

Typography

Designer Ed Fella was crazy before crazy was cool »

In or around 1987, having spent 30 years in advertising, designer Edward Fella retired from doing commercial work (almost entirely). He would become, what he called "exit level" designer. As he explains in a recent interview with Typeradio, "That meant I would no longer do and kind of professional, or commercial or remunerative work. But I would still stay in the profession, and just do personal work (but not client work), and teach and inspire, enable, help, everything for the next generation but not compete with them for jobs or money."

To that end, I think of him as more of an artist than a graphic designer. His typographic experimentation and collage work is an exercise in expanding the boundaries of a profession that, by its very nature, require lots of work within very defined boundaries. A little crazy before crazy was cool.

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Three examples of his "exit level" work: Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Fella was a commercial artist between 1957 to roughly 1987...

Ed Fella's website...

Fella's bio (16.6MB PDF)...

The first of a two-part interview with Fella on Typeradio...

He designed two typefaces for the equally eccentric type foundry Emigre...

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Apr 20

Packaging

The wonderful (and somewhat strange) world of Victor Vaissier »

Illustrator and typographic designer Daniel Pelavin points us to an exhibition of packaging and products produced under the tutelage of Victor Vaissier in the late 19th century.

Now, having read a good deal about Victor Vaissier I remain unsure if he was himself a designer, or if the Victor Vaissier packaging was create by a staff. Clearly, even if he did not have a hand in its design, Vaissier had an eye for it.

On Wikipedia, under the Trademark listing, I read that, "The first modern trademark laws emerged in the late 19th century. In France the first comprehensive trademark system in the world was passed into law in 1857 with the 'Manufacture and Goods Mark Act'." It occurs to me that Vaissier's products must have been among the first branded for consumers in ways similar to current branding practices.

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Daniel Pelavin's post from Drawger: Victor Vaissier, Le Roi du Congo...

An in-depth look at Vaissier's business, an extensive collection of its packaging, Vaissier's castle, and his life...

A letter provided by the City of Roubaix Digital Library (Bibliotheque Numérique de Roubaix)...

In case you'd like to have an original, this seller on Ebay has a collection...

A post about Pelavin from 2010...

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Apr 17

Typography

Roger Black is terrifying »

In his recent talk on "The Reading Experience" from the Quo Vadis Editorial-Design Conference 2015, in Munich, Roger Black, seems to still be asking questions. And I find that terrifying. How, I ask myself, is a designer with my comparatively minuscule skill set going to discover the answers to contemporary design questions if a guy who knows more about publication design than any other designer on the planet, still hasn't nailed them down. Answers to questions as foundational as...

How do we keep readers reading?
What is a workable publication business model?
How do we make advertising work?

The reason, of course, people like Roger Black are who they are is because they are forever asking questions—not presumptive enough to think that they have all the answers. But, that said, I sure wish we (collectively), had a clearer idea of where publication design and all other things digital, were headed.

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Roger Black on "The Reading Experience"...

Don't know Roger Black? (Seriously?)...

His Twitter feed...

Black, of course, co-founded Font Bureau with type designer David Berlow...

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Apr 15

Illustration

Mixing the best of digital and the best of traditional drawing techniques »

This is SO smart. Architect and illustrator Jim Leggitt, FAIA, shares his techniques for making computer-generated architectural drawing, look like they were hand drawn.

Why would you want to do that? Because hand drawn renderings leave something to the imagination. They leave room for the warmth of story and interpretation that is not apparent in the rather stark lines of a SketchUp or CAD drawing.

He puts it this way, "I went ahead and spent 10 minutes or so adding a splash of colored marker and a little bit of colored pencil to just soften it up and give it a little more of that in-progress look. Some clients are scared when they see a SketchUp model and they think you've pretty much finished the design. And so by backing off of that just a little bit and adding a little bit of pencil work you can take the SketchUp and give it that real hand drawn look."

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Here's and in depth piece with lots of examples...

And a very specific step-by-step look at how he transforms a SketchUp model...

In case you are not familiar with SketchUp...

Here is Leggitt's website...

And his book, Drawing Shortcuts: Developing Quick Drawing Skills Using Today's Technology...

This booklet explains the services offered by visionINSITE, an in-house studio attached to Leggitt's firm, studioINSITE, that is focused exclusively on producing effective 2D and 3D graphics. (1.3MB PDF)...

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Apr 13

Illustration

Who's stealing what design from whom? »

This post by Juli Clover for MacRumors.com tells us, "Pop artist Romero Britto last week filed a lawsuit against Apple over its "Start Something New" campaign, for using Craig & Karl artwork that allegedly mimics the design style that Britto is famous for."

Evidently, Mr. Britto believes he invented bold lines, dot screens, and bright colors. He must have been absent the day the teacher covered that thought from Bernard of Chartres (circa 1130), which asserts, "We are like dwarfs standing upon the shoulders of giants, and so able to see more and see farther than the ancients." You decide.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

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The lawsuit...

After Romero Britto (Born: 1963) sues Apple and Craig & Karl...

Peter Max (Born: 1937) could sue Guillaume Cornelis Beverloo...

Then the estate of Guillaume Cornelis Beverloo (Born: 1922, Died: 2010) could sue Roy Lichtenstein...

And the estate of Roy Lichtenstein (Born: 1923, Died: 1997) could sue Pablo Picasso...

Then the estate of Pablo Picasso (Born: 1881, Died: 1973) sues one of his predecessors...

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Apr 10

Typography

Type design with reason »

In some ways, type design looks easy. Then you look at the curriculum vitae of Laura Meseguer, a type designer from Barcelona, Spain and teacher of Advanced Typography at Eina Escola d'Art i Disseny, and you begin to appreciate the knowledge and skill necessary to make it look easy.

I like that most of her work is casual looking, but has a professional finish to it. There is seemingly, nothing out of place or added without reason.

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Laura Meseguer's CV (300KB PDF)...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Laura Meseguer website...

Meseguer also contributes typefaces to the Type-Ø-Tones digital foundry...

She also has some fonts on Myfonts.com...

Meseguer's Pinterest feed...

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Apr 8

Typography

This is your brain. This is your brain on type. »

The Type Directors Club claims to be the "the leading international organization whose purpose is to support excellence in typography, both in print and on screen." That would sound a little obnoxious if it wasn't true.

Here's a treat: the club posts recordings of its recent events on Livestream.

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Redesigning Vanity Fair: Chris Dixon and Christian Schwartz...

The Livestream: Redesigning Vanity Fair...

Grafica della Strada: Louise Fili...

Livestream: Grafica della Strada...

The Crossroads of Should & Must: Elle Luna...

Livestream: The Crossroads of Should and Must...

The Type Directors Club Livestream...

The Type Directors Club website...

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

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Apr 6

Illustration

Meet illustrator and caricaturist Tiago Hoisel »

Tiago Hoisel's primary software tool, at least as of the interview I'm pointing you to, is Photoshop. Who'd have guessed that? Not me. It goes to show that someone this gifted begins with a sense of what they want the tool to do, not necessarily how most folks use the tool conventionally.

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A video portfolio...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Hoisel's creative process...

Hoisel's CGSociety portfolio...

An interview with Tiago Hoisel...

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

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Apr 3

Print Design

An introduction to engraving »

Here's a nice introduction to engraving from the folks at Neenah Paper. In this context, engraving, refers to an intaglio printing technique accomplished by cutting groves into the surface of a copper (or another metal) plate, inking it, and transferring the image to paper.

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About the engraving print process...

Example 1: From Blanchette Press...

The stationery...

Example 2: From Bernard Maisner Calligraphy & Fine Stationery...

Example 3: From Arzberger Stationers...

The Beauty of Engraving website....

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Apr 1

Marketing PR

Taco Bell gets ugly with MacDonald's »

I don't get how this is effective.

Who recommends that their client go around bad-mouthing and demonizing its competition? It makes Taco Bell look manipulative and angry. "We can't compete so let's berate the leader." (I assume MacDonald's is the leader.)

I believe this kind of stuff, ultimately, becomes intertwined with the brand that creates it. That after people see the message a few times, that they'll start associating the negative imagery with Taco Bell as much as they do with MacDonald's.

Obviously, Taco Bell's agency wants to position it as the little guy, the David who slays Goliath. But that seems like a pretty tough spot to grab when you're part of Yum! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and others) and you have 6000 Taco Bell restaurants.

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Demonizing MacDonald's...

From Adweek's Ad of the Day: Taco Bell Launches Cold War Against McDonald's With Propaganda Imagery...

Stats on Yum!, Taco Bell's parent...

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

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Mar 30

Typography

The ultimate typographic inspiration: The American Type Founders Company 1923 Specimen Book and Catalogue »

I have a copy of this book and have always thought I'd get around to scanning it and putting it online. Thank goodness David Armstrong at Sevanti Letterpress beat me to it.

Here, in all its glory, is what some consider the "culmination of specimen printing,"—1148 pages of typefaces, typeface accessories, printing equipment, and insights into the era.

Sixty thousand copies were produced at a cost of three hundred thousand dollars and they said, "The opinion is ventured that in no other work of such magnitude can there be found as high a degree of good craftsmanship—an incentive to all who study it.

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The 1923 American Type Founders Company Specimen Book and Catalogue...

About digitizing it...

A Wikipedia article about American Type Founders...

Others have digitized earlier and later versions (via Wikipedia): The 1896 ATF Specimen Book...

1897 ATF Specimen Book...

1900 ATF Specimen Book...

1912 ATF Specimen Book...

1917 ATF Specimen Book...

1934 ATF Specimen Book...

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Mar 27

Graphics Tech

Up Periscope »

Twitter launched its recently acquired "Periscope" APP today. It allows you to create or watch broadcasts by other Twitter users from around the world in real time.

The audience sees and hears what the broadcaster is shooting and they can make comments and ask questions via a built in text message feature.

Theoretically, you alert your Twitter followers (and anyone else who wanted to join in) that you were going live and then begin the broadcast.

I think it has the potential to be a serious tool--a form of live social networking. Yes, initially there will be lots of people showing us what they're eating and showing us their apartments, but there's also real potential for on-the-scene news coverage, real-time teaching, other interactions were live input from watchers helps direct the content and flow.

A competitor, Meerkat created lots of buzz at the recent SXSW conference, but it looks like Twitter, with the introduction of Periscope, will end its short reign.

Thanks to Jeff Green for pointing us to it.

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A demo of Periscope on TechCrunch...

The Periscope APP in the APP Store..

The announcement from the Periscope team...

Coverage from Wired...

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

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Mar 25

Typography

Meet illustrator Linzie Hunter »

Linzie Hunter specializes in hand lettering and illustration. But I want to point you to her lettering. It's outlandish!

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Her lettering portfolio...

Here, from Print is A Way With Words: Linzie Hunter's Illustrated Resolutions by Scott Kirkwood...

Hunter's Flickr account...

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Mar 23

Illustration

If you appreciate the design and illustration of movie posters »

Hindi Film cinema, often referred to as "Bollywood" (some consider the term demeaning) has, like the U.S. film industry, created movie posters since the early 1900s. I'm fascinated not only by the subjects, but by the diversity of designs and illustration techniques.

I have no clue what the films from these examples are about, I just love the artwork. Perhaps some of my Indian friends will share their thoughts on how this type of work figures into India today.

Interested? Below are some examples and few links to whet your appetite.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Here's a large collection on Pinterest...

From the New York Times: Hindi Cinema, in Poster Form, at a Mumbai Shop...

Indian Hippy is a collective of old-school movie poster artists and billboard painters in India who, among other things, will create a poster on a subject of your choosing...

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

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Mar 20

Illustration

Life before halftones »

Photographic halftones were not in mainstream use in newspapers, magazines, and books until the late 1800s. Before that, if you wanted to illustrate an idea or a product, it was produced by hand, in most cases using copper or wood engraving.

I was at Whiting's Old Paper (a shop that specializes in ephemera) a couple of weeks ago and was browsing through some magazines from the late 1800s and all I could think was how many gifted illustrators there were back then. The images they scraped into the surface of copper and wood are mind boggling in their detail and realism.

If you're unfamiliar with the process, following are some links that explain the process and show examples.

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Here's an issue of Scientific American from 1873. Note, not only the detail and realism, but the sheer number of illustrations in just on magazine...

Martin2001 Antique Prints has a comprehensive terminology page...

Steve Bartrick Antique Prints & Maps offers a good overview of line engraving...

The store I mentioned, Whiting's Old Paper, is a local collector and reseller of ephemera. It's a good bet that you have a similar resource on you part of the planet...

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

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Mar 18

Learning

Candide vs clip art: Tracking down the origins of a logo »

I happened on an image recently, labeled "haunted house" on a clip art website, that looked an awful lot like the Random House logo. So, out of curiosity, I tracked down its origins. What I found offers a little insight into the complexity of intellectual property AND turns out to be a pretty interesting story.

(Name drop alert: My first book, The Desktop Publisher's Idea Book was published by Random House [Bantam] so I'd seen the logo fairly often.) Yup, it's still for sale > here. <

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I happened on an image that looked an awful lot like the Random House logo...

About Random House...

On Voltaire and "Candide" (and the derivation of the Random House logo)—A discussion with Dr. Paul LeClerc...

About the 2013 merger of Random House with the Penguin Group and how they are handling the branding...

The logos behind the Penguin Random House logo...

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Mar 16

Typography

Who created the first italic typeface? »

On the 500th anniversary of his death, there is some recent recognition of printer and innovator, Aldus Manutius. (Also, of course, the namesake of the Aldus Corporation, developers of the PageMaker desktop publishing program, and others, that were folded into the Adobe suite of tools when the two merged in 1994.)

Who created the first italic typeface? In her article on Aldus and the exhibit from the New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler tells us...

"Most of Aldus's contributions to the art of printing are more subtle, like that first italic typeface, which he created with the type cutter Francesco Griffo, a shadowy fellow who broke with Aldus acrimoniously and then slugged a man to death with an iron bar before reputedly meeting his own demise at the end of a hangman's rope. Italics, which were intended to mimic the humanist handwriting of the day, first appeared in a modest five words in a 1500 edition of the letters of St. Catherine and soon spread to other Aldines, and beyond."

Thanks to Roger Black for pointing us to it.

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The exhibit, "Aldus Manutius: A Legacy More Lasting Than Bronze," is at The Grolier Club in New York City...

In case you're in New York City, the exhibit runs through April 25, 2015...

About the Grolier Club...

A Tribute to the Printer Aldus Manutius, and the Roots of the Paperback by Jennifer Schuessler at the New York Times...

From John Hockenberry's The Take Away, a discussion about Aldus Manutius: The Steve Jobs of the Renaissance: Meet The Man Who Set Books Free...

Yes, there is an Aldus typeface...

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Mar 13

Learning

What is/is not visual plagiarism? »

That's the subject of a thoughtful post from the Society for News Design (SND) by Paul Wallen, senior designer at ESPN magazine. I found particularly interesting, the varying opinions stated by some of the artists, designers, and art directors he invited to contribute.

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Design plagiarism: Myth or reality? by Paul Wallen...

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Mar 11

Web Design

Test your website to see how Google's next generation algorithm (April 21st) will like it... »

Google has announced some significant changes in its search result algorithm. First of all it is including, "content from indexed apps more prominently in search". And second, beginning April 21st, it is, expanding its use of "mobile-friendliness" as a ranking signal.

In other words, whether it applies or not (some complex apps clearly do not lend themselves to a mobile interface), you need to have a mobile solution of some kind to achieve the highest search engine optimization.

Thanks for Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.

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Google's Mobile-Friendly Test page...

Official news regarding, "Finding more mobile-friendly search results"..

A couple of provisos via Search Engine Land: The algorithm is on a "page-by-page basis and runs in real-time, which eases the concerns of many webmasters"...

I buy most of my fonts from MyFonts.com...

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Mar 9

Illustration

Regarding the enormous, unsung influence of design on young minds »

Take, for example, the case of Harry Wingfield, a somewhat obscure English illustrator who lived between 1910 and 2002. Certainly presidents and potentates influence the lives of children, but imagine the enormity of the influence this man, who illustrated children's books that sold 80 million copies worldwide, had on those readers.

Not that they all know Wingfield's name—but that they see the world, in some small way, through his eyes. The realistic images he created through his idyllic minds-eye allowed the reader, not to experience the reality of the situation, but to imagine what it might be like.

While researching its publisher, Ladybird Books, I stumbled on an article by John Grindrod from his blog Dirty Modern Scoundrel, dedicated to the rebuilding of postwar Britain. In a discussion of "Ladybird Books obsession with modernism," he writes, "With their warm and sensible illustrations and no-nonsense prose, Ladybird has an incredible knack of bringing together the historical and the contemporary, the fairy-tale and the starkly realistic, taking the fear out of everything and showing a unified, positive and optimistic vision of life. And so this selection of images portrays a top ten in that mould: The Ladybird Book of Postwar Rebuilding."

Now imagine the influence today of the people who are conceiving the ideas, creating the user interfaces, and doing the illustrating. What enormous, unsung influence they have.

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

John Grindrod...

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Mar 6

Ideas 101

Building a brand is not always about money »

Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, talks about, "looking for those tiny things that may or may not work, but which, if they do work, can have a success absolutely out of proportion to their expense, their efforts and the disruption they cause."

I love this. Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

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Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff...

Sutherland's website...

And his Twitter feed...

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

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Mar 4

Print Design

Celebrating graphic design pioneer Paul Rand »

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

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

Working With Rand...

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Mar 2

Learning

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

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

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A list of competencies...

Designer of 2015 Trends...

Defining the Designer of 2015...

Defining the Studio of 2015...

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

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Feb 27

Mind Vacations

How the world perceives you as a graphic designer »

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

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FYI I'm a Graphic Designer...

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

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Feb 25

Illustration

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

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

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

Thanks for Chris Miller for pointing us to them.

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

2015 Production Design Nomination Title Sequence...

Partial of the original screenplay frames...

Hobson's bio from IMDb.com...

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

Hobson's website (and portfolio)..

An interview with Slate...

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

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Feb 23

Graphics Tech

I used Photoshop before it had colors... »

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

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

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

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A history of the Photoshop icon...

The Photoshop toolbar (via PetaPixel)...

The Photoshop splash screen...

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

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

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

An in depth tribute by Lynda.com...

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

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

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Feb 20

Learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Hollymatic Corporation makes hamburger patty presses...

(The Hollymatic website)...

The Horween Leather Company is a tannery...

(The Horween Leather Company website)...

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

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

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

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

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

Free trial Lynda.com...

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Feb 18

Ideas 101

How to commit to a creative life »

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

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

Ashton on the Internet of Things...

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

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Feb 16

Basic design

300 Awesome Free Things (for graphic designers) »

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

Thanks to Chris Miller for pointing us to it.

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

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Feb 13

Graphics Tech

Making big graphic design files small »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Feb 11

Illustration

Meet illustrator Lesley Barnes »

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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Feb 9

Copywriting

Need help with your grammar? »

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

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Grammarly.com...

The Grammarly Blog...

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

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Feb 6

Learning

SEO for 2015 »

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

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

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

SEOBook...

SEOmoz...

Search Engine Watch...

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Feb 4

Illustration

Meet illustrator Malika Favre »

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

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

A video profile...

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Feb 2

Ideas 101

If you believe design is a way of life »

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

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

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

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

design is a way of life

Norman Rockwell: Painting is a New Adventure...

The Politics of Design by Paul Rand...

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Jan 30

Illustration

Meet illustrator and typographer Gemma O'Brien »

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

Gemma O'Brien

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

A video featuring Gemma O'Brien...

And on Instagram...

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Jan 28

Learning

What do you do when someone steals your content »

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

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

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

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

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

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Jan 26

Learning

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

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

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

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

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

I think it's worth a look.

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

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

Leonhardt's website...

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

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Jan 23

Packaging

Two VERY different packages »

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

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The packaging...

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

A recent interview via Designboom...

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Jan 21

Marketing PR

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

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

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

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

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

For your information...

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The contest...

The controversy...

Graphic Designers of Canada petition the government...

Mark Busse's Twitter feed...

Shall we invite contest entrants to do your job?

Ask Mark Cuban how this worked out...

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

The University of California logo controversy...

The Gap logo controversy...

The Pepsi logo controversy...

The Quark logo controversy...

The 2012 Olympic Games logo controversy...

The 2016 Olympic Games logo controversy...

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

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Jan 19

Illustration

Meet illustrator: Andrew Fairclough »

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Andrew Fairclough's website...

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

He sells some prints here...

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Jan 16

Illustration

Meet illustrator and artist Cathie Bleck »

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

2rise

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Her Drawger page...

Bleck's website...

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

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Jan 14

Web Design

Website architecture: Shallow or deep? »

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

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

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

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Jan 12

Copywriting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jan 9

Copywriting

"Is It Plagiarism Yet?" »

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

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

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

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

The Citation Machine...

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

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Jan 7

Marketing PR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another planner featured by Vogue is Easton Events...

Some recent stats...

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

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Jan 5

Ideas 101

An amazing timeline of art history »

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

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

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

heilbrunn timeline of art history

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

The timeline home page...

The Metropolitan Museum of Art website...

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Jan 2

Graphics Tech

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

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

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

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

To me, they are gold.

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

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

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

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

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

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Dec 31

Web Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sample article...

The Mail Online US Home page...

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

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

The folks who designed the site are Brand42...

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Dec 29

Ideas 101

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

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

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

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

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

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Dec 26

Photography

Life before Photoshop »

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

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

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

charles white III

The article about the Adams Retouching Machine...

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

Charlie White's website...

The Airbrush Museum...

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Dec 26

Photography

See WIRED's Top 10 Special Effects of 2014 »

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

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

The fxguide.com home page...

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Dec 22

Illustration

Meet the animated infographic »

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

Thanks to Wendy Kalman for pointing us to it.

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

Example 2: 3 Different Ways To Breathe...

Example 3: How To Build a Human...

Tabletop Whale's guide to making GIFs...

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Dec 19

Photography

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

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

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

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The Photographer's Guide to Twitter...

The Photographer's Guide to Facebook...

The Photographer's Guide to Instagram...

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

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Dec 17

Print Design

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

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

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Dec 15

Photography

Feel the pulse of current photography and design »

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

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The Saveur Best Food Blog Awards for 2014...

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

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

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

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Dec 12

Photography

An idea for an unusual, memorable promotion »

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

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

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The supplier is Image3D...

Another supplier...

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

And interesting article on View-Master...

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

The View-Master reel list...

A big list of stereo viewers...

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Dec 10

Illustration

Meet Illustrator Don Moyer »

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

That playfulness will be obvious in short order...

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Moyer's Flickr collection...

Moyer's blog...

The Calamityware website...

New on Kickstarter: BADbandanas...

Moyer works for ThoughtForm, Inc...

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Dec 8

Packaging

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

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

packaging of the world

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Packaging of the World (POTW)...

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

and LovelyPackage.com...

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Dec 5

Illustration

Check out these unusual animated icons »

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

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Icons 1...

Icons 2...

Icons 3...

Within the context of the website...

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

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Dec 3

Photography

Mind-boggling Photoshopped fashion surrealism »

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

surreal fashion

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Surreal Fashion Collection...

A video of the production...

More about the idea and the process...

An article from My Modern Met...

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Dec 1

Photography

In the name of documentation, something extraordinary happened »

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

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

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

photogrammar

Photogrammar...

A brief profile of Arthur Rothstein...

Walker Evans in his own words...

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

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

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

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

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

By Dorothea Lange...

By Walker Evans...

By Arthur Rothstein...

The entire Photographer archive on Shorpy...

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

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

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange...

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Nov 28

Typography

Are you in a typeface rut? »

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

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

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

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

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Nov 26

Learning

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

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

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The Art Director's Guild...

Three random members...

Example 1: Lori West..

Example 2: Marc Vena...

Example 3: Chad S. Frey...

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

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

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

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Nov 24

Illustration

IBM Thinks »

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Within the context of the presentation...

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

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

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Nov 21

Learning

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

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

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

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

set decorators society of america

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

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

A fascinating collection of links of Decorator Resources...

The home page of the SDSA website...

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Nov 19

Illustration

Meet illustrator Gary Pierazzi »

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

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Gary Pierazzi's website...

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Nov 17

Learning

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

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

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

mit michael bierut

Some of the parts...

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

More discussion via Brand New at UnderConsideration...

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

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Nov 14

Print Design

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

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

kit-hinrichs-american-flag

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

And about patriotic memorabilia...

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

Studio Hinrichs website...

About Hinrichs...

A representative portfolio...

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

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

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

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Nov 12

Marketing PR

Embrace the retail revolution »

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

the robin report

Malls are the New Anchors by Robin Lewis...

Some of the ideas explained in more depth...

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

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Nov 10

Illustration

Meet illustrator Michael Newhouse »

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

newhouse design

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Michael Newhouse's website...

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

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

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Nov 7

Illustration

Meet Illustrator Michael Waraksa »

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

tags

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Michael Waraksa's website...

More of his collage work...

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

To my way of thinking, Lynda.com is one of, if not THE best way to learn the tools of the design trade. Sign up for a month and tell me what you think...

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Nov 5

Marketing PR

Can you automate product research? »

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

youeye

An overview...

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

And a few interviews...

The YouEye website...

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Nov 3

Reference

A terrific source of signage hardware »

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

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

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

The Sign Bracket Store

Sidewalk signs and sign stands...

Banner brackets...

Sign blanks...

The Sign Bracket Store website...

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

If you're looking for an e-commerce solution, I have used and highly recommend Big Commerce. Sign up here and I earn a small commission...

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Oct 31

Illustration

Celebrate the design of Halloween »

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

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First some funky old halloween costumes from 1963...

The whole collection of retro halloween designs...

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

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

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

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Oct 29

Illustration

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

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

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A close up...

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

Others can be found online...

My favorite (so far) is Oceanie...

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

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Oct 28

Learning

Does an art school education pay off? »

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

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

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

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project SNAAP

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

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

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

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

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

The SNAAP Shot Dashboard...

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

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Oct 24

Marketing PR

Shared experiences are amplified »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Oct 22

Illustration

Rare and important travel posters »

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

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Example 1: Walton On Naze...

Example 2: Go Pullman...

Example 3: Imperial Airways...

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

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

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

The Swann Galleries homepage...

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

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Oct 20

Marketing PR

Achieving on the highest level and for the right purposes »

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

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

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

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

There are 15 episodes.

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Seth Godin's Startup School...

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

Seth Godin's world...

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

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Oct 17

Marketing PR

Marketing insights from someone who knows »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Oct 15

Web Design

A behind the scenes look UX problems and solutions »

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

2014 User Experience Awards

The 2014 User Experience Awards...

Example of a submission case study...

The User Experience Awards website...

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

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Oct 13

Graphics Tech

An introduction to the design and application of vehicle wraps »

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

vehicle wrapping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Oct 10

Illustration

An amazing collection of art forms in nature »

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

Thanks to Eric Gjerde for posting it.

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

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

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

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

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Oct 8

Illustration

Meet illustrator, artist Rudy Gutierrez »

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Rudy Gutierrez's website ...

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

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

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

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Oct 6

Ideas 101

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

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

briefly Bassett & Partners

The video: Briefly from Bassett & Partners...

About the video...

The websites of those who contributed to the program.

Frank Gehry, Gehry Partner...

Yves Béhar, fuseproject...

John C Jay, Wieden + Kennedy...

Illustrator Maira Kalman...

David Rockwell, Rockwell Group...

John Boiler, 72andSunny...

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

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Oct 3

Illustration

Meet illustrator and designer Marty Blake »

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

Interesting stuff.

marty blake design

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Marty Blake's website...

Work in progress...

Blake's Facebook page...

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

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Oct 1

Illustration

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

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

vintagraph

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Vintagraph website...

A Time Magazine article profiling Shorpy.com...

My first post about Shorpy.com...

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

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

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Sep 29

Marketing PR

The email design guide »

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

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

email design guide

From Mail Chimp: The Email Design Guide...

Some examples of Really Good Emails...

From AWeber: A History of Email Changes...

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

The Constant Contact blog...

The Emma blog...

The AWeber blog...

The ExactTarget blog...

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

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Sep 26

Illustration

Meet illustrator and designer Martijn Rijven »

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

martijn rijven

The Fox Unleashed...

The work was done for Wolff Olins...

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

An interview with the designer...

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

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Sep 24

Photography

The mother lode of vintage signs »

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

too much fire Corey Miller

The sign mother lode...

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

A breakdown of the sets...

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

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Sep 22

Marketing PR

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

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

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

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

pillpack design

The PillPack website...

IDEO's case study...

Coverage from Wired Magazine...

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

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Sep 19

Typography

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

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

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

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Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

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

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

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

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

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

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Sep 17

Marketing PR

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

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

Here, in each of 33 media categories...

clio-awards-2014

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

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

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

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

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Sep 15

Web Design

Is Washington ready for the digital age? »

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

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

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

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

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

Providing accountability to ensure agencies see results.

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

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

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

Thanks to Lee Garvey for pointing us to it.

digital-services-playbook Mikey Dickerson

A brief video about the rollout...

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

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

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

Mikey Dickerson's LinkedIn account...

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

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Sep 12

Learning

A continuing education model for typography design »

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

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

type ed typography

Here's TypeEd...

Michael Stinson is the lead instructor at TypeEd...

That AIGA interview with Stinson...

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

Some reviews of TypeEd from Yelp...

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

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Sep 10

Marketing PR

Marketing/advertising self-regulation run amuck »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

advertising regulations

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

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

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

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

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Sep 8

Illustration

Meet illustrator Christian Montenegro »

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

christian montenegro illustrator

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Montenegro's website...

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

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Sep 5

Print Design

Is digital dead? Introducing Ikea's Bookbook »

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

Thanks to Karla Humphrey for pointing us to it.

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Introducing the Ikea Bookbook...

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

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Sep 3

Graphics Tech

How long will your printouts last? »

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

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

wilhelm-research

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

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

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Sep 1

Marketing PR

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's pretty cool idea.

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

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

Kolenmolen de Zandhaas (Flour mill)...

Saint Patrick's College...

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

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

Explore Google Maps...

Behind the Scenes Street View...

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

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Aug 29

Illustration

Another huge, visual resource for design inspiration »

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

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

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Example 4...

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

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Aug 27

Print Design

The nuance of the magazine cover »

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

These pieces are well worth your time.

Robert Newman magazine cover reviews

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

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

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

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Aug 25

Illustration

Meet illustrator Peter Donnelly »

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

peter donnelly

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

Peter Donnelly's Website...

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

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Aug 22

Print Design

Mucca Design: A food-oriented design house »

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

mucca design

Example 1...

Example 2...

Example 3...

The Mucca Design Website...

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

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Aug 20

Illustration

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

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

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

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

best dish

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

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

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Aug 18

Copywriting

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

native advertising

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

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

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

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

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

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Aug 15

Web Design

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

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

typecast

Typecast in action...

A video demonstration...

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

The free Google fonts portal...

The Typecast Blog...

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Aug 13

Print Design

For lovers of advertising ephemera »

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

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

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

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

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Aug 11

Print Design

The original design is not necessarily the best design »

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

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

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

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

From the designers, GrandArmy...

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

The USPS Priority Mail page...

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

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

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Aug 8

Illustration

Using cartoons in marketing »

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

tom fishburne marketoon studios

His work...

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

His website...

His Marketoon Studios website...

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

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