Tuesday, November 29, 2005

design.05 Miami Design Talks Concurrent with Art Basel

design.05 Miami will present a series of panel discussions regarding art and graphic design this Friday, Saturday and Sunday to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach. For dates, times, locations and prices, click the links or call 305-572-0866. The Moore Building, where tickets are available, is located at 191 NE 40th St., Miami (Mapquest Map).

Monday, November 28, 2005

New Zealand Graphic Designer Invents Presentation Device for Race Cars

Kai Teng Lim poses in front of his invention, a presentation screen for motion graphics advertsing that wraps onto the surface of race cars.It's already Tuesday in New Zealand. That's why this Wanganui Chronicle story is dated November 29th. Kai Teng Lim, Masters in Computer Graphic Design from the Wanganui School of Design, invented a presentation screen that mounts on Formula One race cars. His invention is expected to revolutionize the world of sports advertising.

The $25,000-$35,000 per square metre OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology screen wraps around the car and displays motion graphics of sponsor advertising and identity. The total cost to wrap a car would be in the range of $100,000 to $200,000. The screen weighs about the same as the normal amount of paint on a racing car (about 13 pounds), is durable and can be exposed to all weather.
New Accessibility Guidelines Published by the W3C

The World Wide Web Consortium (or W3C), an organization of Internet technology researchers whose goal is to develop the Web to its full potential, published November 24th in Spain working drafts of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, HTML Techniques for WCAG 2.0 and Understanding WCAG 2.0. Web accessibility makes it possible for everyone, including visually-challenged individuals, to enjoy all the benefits the Web has to offer.

From the W3C site:

WCAG 2.0 is organized around four design principles for Web accessibility:
1. Content must be perceivable.
2. Interface elements in the content must be operable.
3. Content and controls must be understandable.
4. Content must be robust enough to work with current and future Web technologies

Friday, November 25, 2005

Semantic Typography is Really All About Hierarchy

Mark Boulton's blog ran a posting on November 22nd on the subject of Semantic Typography in XHTML coding. The informative article essentially explains hierarchy in web design: what is most important, second-most important, third-most important, etc.? What design decisions direct the viewer's eye through this hierarchical structure? Size? Font? Colors? Spacing? Once these desicions are made, all that's left is to write the XHTML code.
AIM Jumps on the Bandwagon and "Rebrands its Avatar"

A November 25th blog post appearing in BigBlueBall.com reveals AIM's new logo, incorporating an orange word balloon with... shading and dimensionality! (What a surprise!)

What's next? Read this November 22nd blog post appearing in Ramblings of a Graphic Design Professor. The Target logo is done tounge-in-cheek, but then again, maybe someday it won't be...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Reaction to New AT&T and UPS Logos

Nate Voss posted a November 22nd blog entry in Be A Design Group reacting to the new logo designs (now called "brand identity avatars") for AT&T (now, at&t) and UPS. They rely on dimensionality and shading to take advantage of flexibility afforded by new media outlets--internet, wireless phone, high-definition television, etc. Traditional graphic design has forever been changed by technology. Many of the traditional rules still apply but are being ignored by the non-designer branding specialists churning out these new avatars.

He writes, "My advice to the graphic designers of the world: Look at UPS and AT&T. Get used to that. Get ready to execute like that. And by god get ready to do it better than the people doing it now."

A journal article written by Lazar Dzamic and appearing in the November 22nd AIGA Voice describes the growing use of shock in advertising. Shock can be a positive way for a product to reposition itself, Dzamic says, but more often than not, young creatives, eager to make their mark quickly, push the envelope of good taste, depicting overtly inappropriate content. The journal article features several examples of shocking ads.

Jack Fund, Creative Director from California, says, "a student once sent me a spec campaign for mattresses featuring a boy in a coma. I suggested that he bring the campaign to an intensive care unit at a local hospital and ask family and staff members if they thought it was funny."

Although Dzamic states that shocking images might actually be appropriate when the intrinsic subject of the ad is shocking (such as in the case of the ASPCA), this November 1st blog entry describes a campaign where the art directors avoided such shocking images, resulting in a powerful and unsettling--but not nauseating--message.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Modern Artist Jonathon Keats Creates Extraterrestrial-Inspired Abstract Art for Cell Phones

"I don't know anyone who claims to have seen little green men--little gray men, yes--but no little green men."
--radio talk show host Kevin Smith (website)

A November 15th press release appearing in CreativePro.com announced that Modern Artist Jonathon Keats (website) will produce artwork inspired by signals received by Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory. The signals come from a tiny patch of the sky between Aries and Pisces, and are labeled SHGb02+14a (Google search). Keats will produce his artwork to be sold for downloads to cell phones at a cost of $1.99 per download on StartMobile.net. The gallery has not yet launched but asks for your cell phone number to notify you when it does, so watch out. Keats says:

If I were an extraterrestrial trying to communicate with beings elsewhere in the universe, I certainly wouldn't transmit [Boyle's Law or the Pythagorean theorem], I'd try to express something about myself, as profound as possible, in the most universal language I could imagine: I'd send art.
What Do You Think of the New AT&T Logo?

Check out this November 21st article appearing in Corporate Identity Documentation and write your comments. Get an idea of what I think by reading my October 13th post on simplicity in logo design.
Browse the AIGA Design Archives

The AIGA Design Archives site contains over 1000 archived examples of graphic design works from their annuals. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

onOne Software Releases Free Genuine Fractals Reader for Photoshop CS

[Blog Author's Note: I visited this site and have not been able to find the free software download. If anyone knows where it is, please leave a comment.]

In a press release dated November 15th, onOne Software, a Portland, Oregon-based company, made available today a free Genuine Fractals reader plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS. The plug-in enables users to open and print any image compressed with Genuine Fractals 4.1 (full version for $159.99) and saved in the .STN (pronounced "sting") format. The format enables lossless compression of graphic information without sacrificing quality. Genuine Fractals uses a patented fractal-based scaling algorithm to enable users to upsample Photoshop images so that they can be enlarged up to 800 percent without image degradation.

Vince Versace, fine arts photographer said, "I've been a digital photographer for so long my first digital camera was wood burning. In all that time I have always saved and scaled my files with Genuine Fractals."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Museum of Online Museums

Like museums and galleries, but don't like driving to them? Check out the Museum of Online Museums at the Coudal Partners website. To that list I would like to add The Matchbook Museum, Ron Wise's Geographical Directory of World Paper Money and the Wacky Packages Web Page.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Breaking The Rules: Who Says Billboard Copy Can't Be Longer Than Five Words?

KNX1070 News Radio's new billboard campaign, by WongDoody's Creative Director Tracy Wong, conveys the ramblings of an opinionated, chatty radio host. This story appeared in the November 10th issue of AdCritic.com's Print and Design email newsletter. The billboards, meant to be read while stuck in traffic, are placed at Los Angeles's traffic bottlenecks. This concept breaks the conventional limit of five words on a billboard. Obviously, it couldn't be read if traffic flowed smoothly, but in this situation, it works. And it promotes the station's traffic reports.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Put your Portfolio Together and Land that Gig!

Good advice for putting together your graphic design portfolio comes from two sites this week:

DesktopPub.About.com offers a five-page article by Jacci Howard Bear that appeared November 10th with advice on what to put in your portfolio, what to do if you don't have enough work for inclusion in your portfolio, what kind of case to buy, how to organize your work and how to practice for that interview.

The other article is from CMYK Magazine's website. It is an essay titled 10 Words for Your Book by Breda McGing that explains the 10 qualities of a portfolio that are most likely to land you that gig. She writes the following on "imagination":

This is the one and only time the work you're doing is completely yours. There is no client influence or account service person to stand in your way. Have fun and release your imagination.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Art of the Pencil Comp

This informative article appeared in issue 16 of CMYK Magazine and is available as a downloadable PDF from their website. Doyald Young writes a comprehensive analysis of the value of pencil sketches and comps.

It is more difficult to tweak the computer's formulae into a desired shape than to draw the shape by hand. A curve drawn on a computer with Bezier points is formed with algorithms automatically and does not require the same analytical skills as drawing the same curve by hand.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Interview with Erik Spiekermann

In an October 31st interview that appeared in PingMag, Erik Spiekermann discussed issues of relevance to graphic designers. He mentioned that the industry is becoming more production-oriented with less collaboration, tighter deadlines, and more reliance on technology.

[Technology] brings everything in house and the deadlines have totally shrunk. What basically happened is that the productivity has gone way up, deadlines gone way down and we're all much, much busier with technology. No more sharing of labour.

Spiekermann states that he always begins his designs by sketching.

I spend about 2 hours sketching to develop the basic essence of it and then it becomes technical. All good type designers I know sit down with a pencil first, no matter how fast they are on the screen.

He believes that "cheap design" software or "cheap designers" that are available tend to bring more prestige to professionals in the industry with formal education and training.

There is a market for fast food--I don't eat it but, there is nothing wrong with it. There are lots of people who are probably well served with it. In fact, the more of that cheap stuff is out there, the higher we get pushed.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Creative Stretching Book by HOW Design Books

HOW Design Books will publish Creative Stretching early next year. For now, visit their site and suggest a creativity stretching exercise.
SVA Grad Student Redesigns a Prescription Packaging System

Soon we'll see a new design for prescription pill bottles at Target. The design, called ClearRx, is the product of School of Visual Arts grad student Deborah Adler. Her challenge was to organize existing chaotic pill bottle labels to help patients avoid errors in taking medication, which might result in aggravating their illness or even death.

Adler's design was approved by the FDA and adopted by Target, which sponsored her master's thesis. It provides a clear hierarchy of information for the patient, and is a stylish design worthy of Target. Adler's story, including concepts, research and initial designs, can be found at designforall.target.com.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

XO Create! Wins National Graphic Design Award

XO Create! won a National Graphic Design Award issued by Graphic Design USA Magazine according to an October 23rd press release appearing in Dexigner.com.

The concept for the winning entry was "a gift of time," and it was titled "Take 5." The promotional piece consisted of a red box containing cocktail glasses, coasters, a music CD, recipe book and a tic-tac-toe board game. Its goal is to encourage recipients to find a friend and take five minutes to chill and reflect on the moment.
Building a Successful Graphic Design Business

An October 18th article by Katrina Rauch for WebProNews.com reported on how to build a successful graphic design business. Rauch places strong emphasis on internships, echoing the sentiments of graduating graphic design students reported in a previous post to this blog. Rauch says freelance graphic designers should build a graphic design library; what sets one graphic designer apart from another is the knowledge gained from reading and from internship experience.

She also states that a freelance graphic designer's main job is to look for jobs:

You can never stop selling, no matter how busy you are, you have to keep marketing in the forefront of your mind. Every person you meet is a possible client.

She also recommends emphasis on customer service--be available when clients call or return their calls as soon as possible.

A successful graphic design business can be run from the home with minimal investment in hardware and software. Proofs, invoices, contracts and estimates can be sent to clients via email, and local coffee shops make great meeting venues.
Upscale Beer Bottle Designs Win Recognition

A November 2nd article in CSP Daily News reported that Anheuser-Busch's design for its upscale beer packaging was named the overall 2005 Foodservice Package of the Year in the fourth annual QSR-Foodservice & Packaging Institute (FPI) foodservice packaging awards competition. The package itself is a 16 oz. aluminum bottle (!) covered top-to-bottom with a graphic label. It stands out among traditional packages and enables unique outside-the-box label designs. The package also won first place in the competition's "WOW! Factor" category.

Renowned typographer Erik Spiekermann explains the emotive aspects of several typefaces in this amusing video produced in the 1980s by the BBC.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

New ASPCA Campaign Denounces Animal Cruelty While Avoiding Graphic Images

The ASPCA has launched an animal-cruelty prevention campaign incorporating a new logo, print, outdoor and online elements as stated in the October 27th issue of AdCritic.com's Print and Design email newsletter. Saatchi & Saatchi Copywriter Jake Benjamin and Art Director Mark Voehringer were faced with a challenge: how to portray animal cruelty without showing suffering animals? A literal representation of animal cruelty, although accurate, would not be strong enough to make the point, but avoiding graphic details means a weaker message. Their solution was to let the viewers' imaginations fill in the blanks. The result is a strong, shocking message, without relying on the kinds of images that nauseate readers.

ASPCA's new logo consists of cold, gray lettering, contrasted by a warm, orange "P" to emphasize "Prevention." The Helvetica typeface projects straightforward truth and honesty, while acknowledging the organization's 140-year heritage.

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Photoshop TV a Big Success

Photoshop TV launched on October 24th as a free video podcast available under the iTunes Music Store. It immediately climbed to number 2 on iTunes Top 100 Podcasts chart. Photoshop TV offers the latest Photoshop and digital photography news by Scott Kelby, Dave Cross, and Matt Kloskowski of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). To view Photoshop TV, install iTunes version 5 or newer. Go to the iTunes Music Store and browse for Photoshop TV under the Podcast Directory. New 30-minute episodes come out every Monday, and episode 2 is now available.