Monday, December 11, 2006

Barry University Graphic Design Students to Design Christmas Card
In a first time event, students from ART 445-01, “Advertising Design & Production,” had the opportunity to participate in designing this year’s Barry University Christmas card. Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD visited the class yesterday to recognize the students and announce which design had been chosen.

Although the holiday card goes out every year, this is the first year students have had the opportunity to design it.

“Sister Linda approached Steve Althouse after noticing the student graphic design work being utilized around the campus,” said associate professor of Graphic Arts, Tom Rockwell.

All 15 students in the class participated in the assignment, which asked students to draw on a word or image of “Peace.” The students, most of whom are graphic design majors, approached the job individually – beginning with ideas in their sketchbooks and then transferring these to computer designs.

Sister Linda chose Adriana Rullan’s design, an image that features a dove and a message reading, “Peace & Joy.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

Guess The Logo Game
Think you can tell Amazon, YouTube, IMDB, Yahoo, Google, Netflix and other well-known Internet logos from some pretty cheap imitations? Try this fun game and see!
"Speaks English and Spinach"
That little typo, slippery and sly, that makes its way past your proofreading, could cost you your next job opportunity. A New York Daily News article, dated today, describes the importance of error-free resumes and cover letters. Although true of any profession, the fields of graphic design, web design, marketing, advertising, journalism and public relations, require employees with exacting skills in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Before posting that next resume, get a friend to help you proofread it.

A third of the hiring execs in a new survey said the most common mistakes they see on job seekers' résumés and cover letters are typos or grammar errors. For many of them, those tiny mistakes are big red flags that disqualify you instantly.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Running a Design Business in your SOHO
The field of graphic design enables talented artists easy entry. With the small investment of a computer, scanner and printer as well as graphics software, it's possible to run a successful graphic design business from your studio or home office (SOHO).

Students, take advantage of special pricing offered by software manufacturers such as Academic Superstore, Diskovery and JourneyEd. For training, Miami Dade College offers classes in graphic design and many popular graphics software applications. For training beyond the classroom, or if you're a self-learner, visit the graphic design books section of Barnes & Nobles or Borders; have a coffee while you're there. Two helpful books to look for:

Your Perfect Home-Based Studio offers several case studies from freelance professionals working out of their SOHOs. The Graphic Artist Guild Handbook is a long-running book on what to charge clients and how to avoid getting taken advantage of. In an October 18th, 2005 article for, Katrina Rauch reported on how to build a successful graphic design business, including how to minimize expenses by using email extensively and holding client meetings at coffee shops.
North Carolina Design Firm's Posters Spotlight Women's Achievements
Flywheel Designs, a Graphic Design Firm in Durham, NC, completed a series of 25 large-format posters for NC Mutual Life Insurance Company. As reported today in an article appearing in Carolina Newswire, the posters highlight contributions women have made to the company over the last century. Visit Flywheel's website where you'll be treated to the firm's creative online portfolio.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Ugly Barcode Gets a Makeover
A new graphic design firm in Tokyo, Japan called Design Barcode is creating innovative designs for barcodes used on product packages. According to a Cannes Lions Live 2006 Titanium Lions Competition web page, Design Barcode has created some 200 different barcode designs, which are showcased in their new book, also called Design Barcode, and one of its designs has already hit the Japanese marketplace. Check out their video while you're there.

Students, barcodes are not design elements. Don't feel compelled to insert one into your portfolio project. However, if you must, please take a hint from Design Barcode's creative barcode treatments.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hillman Curtis Videos of Famous Graphic Designers
Check Out Hillman Curtis's short documentaries on Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmaister, David Carson, James Victore and Pentagram.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Kissimmee Utility Authority Honored for Multimedia Annual Report
In a September 1st press release, PRWeb announced Graphic Design: USA Magazine awarded Kissimmee Utility Authority a 2006 American Graphic Design Award of Excellence for its multimedia annual report. The presentation features a '50s-vernacular film reel spotlighting the Florida utility's 104 years of service.
The Birth of Superman
Here's the original June 1938 Action Comics No. 1 introducing Superman to the world for the very first time! A collector scanned and uploaded all the pages of this rare and valuable item for our edification and enjoyment! It's not exactly in mint condition, though, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

Superman didn't exactly fly in this strip, he could only run fast and jump far. The verbal interchange with Lois is enjoyable and reminiscent of Chris Reeves' performance in Superman The Movie--a real treat!

Surprisingly, comics were 64 pages long in those days--and only two of those pages were ads! The ad on the back cover is familiar to me as it was still being published in the '70s when I was a kid.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Helvetica turns 50, and to Celebrate...

Swiss type designer Max Miedinger created Helvetica in 1956 for the Haas Typefoundry. Fifty years later, it has become one of the most popular typefaces of all time. To celebrate Helvetica's silver anniversary, film director Gary Hustwit has produced a documentary on the popular font, simply titled Helvetica. Typographica reported on August 6th that the film will spotlight some of the biggest names in typographic design today: Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Michael Bierut, Hermann Zapf, Stefan Sagmeister, Jonathan Hoefler, and Tobias Frere-Jones, among others.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Edouard Martinet Sculpts Animals from Scrap Metal
View Edouard Martinet's incredible sculptures of birds, insects, frogs and fish crafted from found objects fixed without welding.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sculpture in Vatican Museum Courtyard Seems Out of Place

Such an unusual place to find so modern a work of art! The 13-foot bronze kinetic sculpture created in 1990 by Arnaldo Pomodoro, titled Sfera con Sfera (Sphere Within Sphere) seems too modern and technological for its setting, the Vatican Museum. Considering the Vatican's religious traditions emphasizing spirituality and the human condition, what could they be trying to say by displaying it?

Sfera con Sfera by Arnaldo Pomodoro

The work, which freely rotates on its axis, is a statement that the world we live on and the celestial sphere above it are divine constructions. The minute details express the perfection of the universe's inner workings from the large scale down to the microscopic scale. The rough, jagged edges expressing breakage allude to a catastrophist prophecy detailed in Revelation 21: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away."

In the birthplace of the Renaissance, surrounded by the works of Michaelangelo and others, a modernist sculpture such as this one seems an unusual choice. Perhaps whereas more traditional works represent the past, a modernist aesthetic is well-suited to represent a future event such as the apocalypse.

Pomodoro's work expresses creationism, catastrophism, and prophecy--all within a modernist design, and helps to reinforce the Church's teachings of the nature of the universe. Perhaps its selection and exhibition are not so unusual after all.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Just Enough Is More: The Graphic Design of Milton Glaser
Milton Glaser's work will be exhibited at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art through October 7th, as reported in a June 24th Salt Lake Tribune article. The title of the exhibit comes from a quote by the 77-year-old icon of graphic design, who is best known for his I (Heart) N. Y. logo:

Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. 'Less is more.' One morning upon awakening I realized that it was total nonsense. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realize that every part of that rug, every change of color, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. I have an alternative proposition that I believe is more appropriate: Just enough is more.

Admission to the exhibit is free. For more information, call 801-422-8287 or visit

Previous postings relating to Milton Glaser:
Milton Glaser: Art is Work, December 5th, 2005

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Silent Hill and Marc Ecko
Two stories relating to that urban environmental art form known as graffiti are in the news.

First, the horror film Silent Hill's promo poster suggests an old, cracking Dutch-style oil painting of a girl without a mouth and eye pupils. Graffiti artists around the country have added the missing features on many of the posters on display. Download a pdf of more examples from the May 11th issue of Creativity's Print and Design email newsletter. Sign up for's free Print and Design newsletter by clicking this link:

Fashion entrepreneur Marc Ecko, is fighting a New York city law that prohibits graffiti. In a May 25th Reuters article, Ecko was reported as planning on asking permission to sponsor lecture exhibitions of graffiti around the country to gain critical acceptance of this fringe artform that is typically regarded as vandalism. His website,, offers a video showing Ecko "tagging" Air Force One. Later, he explained it was a hoax; he had rented a 747 and painted it to resemble the Presidential airplane. His cinema verite shooting technique captures the rush of excitement he feels when performing his "art." Ecko's website, promoting freedom of expression, states that he does not condone vandalism, and that graffiti artists should respect people's private property.
Not a Bus Shelter, But a $600 per Month Studio Apartment with Lots of Outdoor Space.
IKEA Decorates Bus Shelters

Check out this May 19th entry appearing in the Manhattan real estate blog Curbed. How do they keep people from walking away with a free couch?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Which Direction Does Type "Face"?
Part 2 of "Why Stacked Type Just Doesn't Work."

The collection of 26 symbols known as our alphabet appears unified because each letter is made up of repeating primary strokes--vertical strokes are called stems, horizontal strokes are called arms, curved strokes are called bowls, etc. Sometimes letterform strokes are known by the same names as parts of the human body--the curved main stroke of the "S" is called a spine, the counterform of the lower case "e" is called an eye, the serif at the top of a lower case "g" is called an ear (and the short stroke that connects its upper bowl to its lower bowl is called a neck). With so many visual clues that guide the viewer's eye around the page, it's not too surprising to note that individual letters appear to face in a certain direction, much like actors on a stage or a band marching in a parade.

Most of our letters, such as the "E," the "F," the "C" and the "G," contain visual clues that guide the reader's eye to the right, reinforcing our conventional Western left-to-right reading direction. The letters all seem to be "facing" to the right, as if each one were trying to talk to the letter immediately to its right.

Even the more vertically symmetrical letters, such as the "A" and the "H," contain horizontal strokes that help reinforce horizontal eye movement.

The vertically symmetrical letters that do not reinforce this horizontal eye movement are relatively few: the "I," the "O" and the "U."

The two remaining letters, "J" and "Z," contain visual clues that guide the reader's eye back to the left. But the point is most letters in our alphabet contain visual clues that reinforce eye movement in a conventionalized Western left-to-right reading direction.

Stacking letters vertically, one atop the other, ignores this fundamental attribute of our alphabet, and creates an awkward-appearing type layout--another reason why stacked type just doesn't work. Resist the temptation!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why Stacked Type Just Doesn't Work
As a graphic design instructor, I often see projects in which students stack type. That is, they vertically stack letters one atop another as in the vintage neon signs shown at left (fig. 1). The format was used because it was readable from a perpendicular angle to the storefront. Stacking the type enabled the signmaker to make the letters very large while enabling a secure attachment to the side of the building.

In print however, the format appears awkward. The first issue is that we are used to reading individual letters from left to right. Stacking type forces the audience to read the type in an unaccustomed to manner (fig. 2). The resulting jerky eye movement draws undue attention to itself.

Secondly, our eyes are drawn to the varying set widths of each letter (fig. 3). This is especially true if the word contains both the letters "I" and "M." An agreeable solution might be to rotate horizontal type 90 degrees. When set horizontally, all capital letters are more consistent because they are of the same cap height (fig. 4). Similarly, upper and lower case lettering is unified by a consistent x-height (fig. 5), and even the greenest students are sensible enough to avoid stacking upper and lower case type. (Ugh!)

The resulting arrangement of type suits tall, narrow layouts and avoids the problems resulting from stacking type. An example is type set on a book spine.

So students, the next time you are inclined to set stacked type for a project, think again. Keep these stylistic considerations in mind. Chances are, stacking type is not the strongest solution to your graphic design problem.
History of the Typeface Cooper Black
Inspired by VH1's series Behind the Music, the folks at Veer produced this interesting video called Cooper Black: Behind the Typeface.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

January 24, 1984
Check out this video of Steve Jobs introducing the first Mac 128K more than 32 years ago. I'm amazed at how quickly he is able to boot it from a totally powered-down state stored inside a duffel bag. Once he connects it to power and boots it from a 400K floppy, it's off the porch and running with the big dogs.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Expressive Impressive Humanity Art Exhibit @ the Delray Beach Public Library
The Delray Beach Public Library at 100 West Atlantic Avenue (Mapquest Map) is proud to present a new art exhibit of two local portrait artists starting April 3rd through June 30th, 2006. The theme of the exhibit is “Expressive Impressive Humanity” and features the work of artists Renee Plevy and Alexandra Lane.

Ms. Plevy has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Boston University as well as graduating from The School of Visual Arts in New York City. She had also studied at the Art Students’ League, and Parsons studying under a number of nationally known portrait artists. Noted clients are former Mayor Ed Koch, International B’nai Brith V.P.’s wife and many others. She has exhibited her oil paintings here in Florida as well as in New York and New Jersey for the past 25 years. She won a first prize award in 2005 at the Boca Raton Museum Guild and Artist of the Year at the Bloomfield Art League. She is a member of the Boca Museum Professional Artists Guild as well as the Women in the Visual Arts.

Alexandra Lane has an Associate’s degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She works at the YWCA Harmony House domestic violence shelter as a Children’s Service Advocate and volunteers for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit. She has participated in art festivals around South Florida since 2001 exhibiting her collection of over 200 original paintings along with prints and greeting cards. Alex has donated her artwork for a number of charities including an outdoor exhibit for the Renfrew Center’s Healing Garden. The Renfrew Center is dedicated to the healing of eating disorders. Last year, Alex was interviewed by Liz Quirantes for ABC News during a function with Denise Brown about domestic violence. She works in acrylics, watercolors, and pencil.

For further information on the many programs and art exhibits on display at the Delray Beach Public Library, please visit our website at or call the Director of Community Relations at 561-266-9490.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

First They Wreck Your Hearing, Then They Try to Save It.
Apple iPod HiFi and iPod Software Update 1.1.1

Apple introduced a new $349 iPod Hi-Fi stereo speaker system. According to a March 21st Washington Times article by Mark Kellner, "The iPod Hi-Fi [sounds] like a high-fidelity unit. The sound can fill a room or even overfill it, if you crank up the volume sufficiently. It is rich, the bass is deep and the treble trills quite nicely."

For parents concerned that too much loud music might be hurting their children's hearing, Apple is providing the iPod Software Update 1.1.1. It enables parents to set a maximum volume limit on their child’s iPod and lock it with a pass code. For further information on safe listening with iPod, visit

Friday, March 24, 2006

Publix's Private Label Designs featured in Trade Magazine
The January/February 2006 issue of Package Design Magazine featured a story on Publix's designs for its private-label products.

Creative Services, Publix's in-house graphics department located at the chain's Lakeland, Florida headquarters, consists of about 50 creative associates, including supervisors and production artists. The team recently completed its re-design for all of Publix's private-label products. The diversity of products, as well as their container shape and materials, made for a challenging job. Creative Services Director Tim Cox said their goal was to create a design that looks dramatically different than the majority of the other packages on the shelf.

The variety of shapes, materials and sizes of Publix Traditional brand products are unified by a plain, white background, featuring a graphic of the product. A colored bar runs along the top of the package with a black circle, containing the Publix logotype in white, centered on the bottom edge of the bar. The main display type is set in the same color as the bar. Their solution is elegant and clearly communicates the product contained within.

"We can successfully adapt our design to any package because we develop design systems with built-in flexibility," says Cox. "We try to anticipate every type of package we'll encounter and consider that as critical criteria when designing our systems." The consistency of the Publix private-label package design cements in the shopper's mind expected levels of quality, and builds a strong brand identity across its entire product line.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Six Months is a Good Life Span for a Logo, Right?
Quark has re-designed its logo (again!).

September 2005, March 2006.

Read the previous posting, "Quark's New Look..." September 12, 2005.

Monday, March 20, 2006

If Microsoft Designed the iPod
Thanks to Claudio for sending me this video.

Friday, March 10, 2006

My Favorite Graphic Design-Related Podcasts
Feel free to suggest others, but my favorites are:
Be A Design Cast,
Design Matters with Debbie Millman,
Effective Edge,
The Prepared Mind,
Photoshop Killer Tips, and

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Three New Design Projects I've Worked On
Here are three projects that I've worked on recently. You can see my style is clean, modern and open with generous negative space. It's my feeling that one of the most visually-engaging elements of graphic design is contrast. I like to arrange dominant, subdominant and subordinate positive and negative shapes. I push contrast by greatly increasing the difference between the largest and smallest shapes. Each downloadable pdf is between 600-700Kb.


The first item is a one-sheet flyer for Miami Dade College's School of Entertainment and Design Technology. I integrated the type with the image by mimicking the angles formed by the girl's arms.

The second item is a program book for the Entertainment Industry Incubator's Collaboration... Short Film Competition and Gala Dinner program book. It's their eighth annual event, so I emphasized the 8 on the cover. The circles also connote discs or spools of film.

The third item is a small ad for Florida International University's School of Journalism and Mass Communications. It's an interesting play on the similarities between the letter "l" and the number "1". Once again, I pushed contrast and arranged plenty of negative space.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

PODCASTS Announces New Podcast Series
In a February 15th press release, announced a new podcast series offering breaking news and upcoming events in the graphic design, photography, audio/video, and web design industries. The series also presents weekly updates about's newest training titles. The podcasts answer real-world questions from software users, and offer tips and shortcuts for many popular applications. To subscribe to the podcast, visit the iTunes Music Store.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Olympic Medals Exhibit Modern Design
The Torino 2006 Winter Olympics medals exhibit an elegant, modern design. The round medal has a hole in its center, through which the ribbon is looped. The elegant simplicity of its engineering does not require sewing. Its design reflects pure geometry and ribbon topology. The front of the medal includes the symbol of the games and the back features pictograms of the specific sports discipline in which the ribbon was won. Its relief surface has carefully been textured with shiny and satiny areas.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Importance of The Visual
Visual communicators often place more emphasis on the visual rather than the verbal. It is believed images hold an audience's attention more readily than does a great deal of text to read or a talking head on TV. I came across the following passage recently. It relates to a current trend in news reports to convey stories visually by means of re-enactments.

Long, complicated stories don't work well on television because a viewer might change channels. Similarly, images are dramatic and emotional to rivet the viewer to the content of the program (so the viewer will be ready to watch the ads)...As economic pressures become greater and advertising dollars become scarcer, the tabloid journalism mentality--the idea that anything can be aired as long as there are pictures--becomes a part of mainstream journalistic practice.

Lester, Paul Martin (2006). Visual Communication. Images With Messages, 4th edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education. p. 87.

Almost the same day as I read this, I watched a TV news report of a tragic drunk driving accident, which confirmed Dr. Lester's statement. Michael Sanchez had just graduated high school and his entire future lay ahead of him. Sadly, his life was cut short by a car wreck following a celebration in which he and other people drank alcohol.

The news video shows a low camera angle from the car's point of view as it jumps a curb and collides with a tree. Then the video cuts to actual news footage of the wrecked car. A fast music track and quick video editing imparts an MTV-music-video quality to the report. The story flashes back to a re-enactment of the celebration. Blurred video communicates the intoxication of the celebrators. The next re-enacted scene cuts to a close-up shot of the young man's legs as he staggers to his car.

See the video for yourself at It's in Spanish, but the message is clear. You have to register for free, and see the video via Windows Media Player 10.

Ten years ago, news stories relayed information verbally. A reporter would verbally state the details. For variety, witnesses were interviewed, and they conveyed information verbally as well. Video or film footage was gold, but journalistic integrity was prized above the ability to show a video. Staged re-enactments were considered unethical, as the videographer might color the story from a biased point-of-view. Whenever someone staged a re-enactment, it was clearly labeled as such. Notice the lack of such a label in the news story linked above.

Today, there is a controversy as to whether the importance of visuals outweigh the importance of an unbiased presentation, or even if literacy is on the decline due to heavy reliance on visuals. We must keep in mind that as communicators, we are responsible for the roles our individual hands play in shaping society. Give audiences credit for thinking. It would be a self-fulfilling prophecy to dumb-down mass communications, as the result would be dumber audiences and a dumber society.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Super Bowl Commercials
If you missed the Super Bowl, you can still catch all the commercials at

My favorites are all the ads laden with special effects--the FedEx caveman, the Motorola PEBL, MacGyver's Mastercard, Toyota Tacoma Invincible and ESPN Mobile Sports Heaven. As for the ads that don't rely heavily on CGI or SPFX, my favorites are Leonard Nimoy advertising Aleve, CareerBuilder's Monkey Party, Sprint--A Song for Every Ocassion, Fidelity Federal and Paul McCartney, and Michelob Ultra Touch Football ("You were open, but now you're closed!!!").

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Glenn Lowry, Rethinking the Modern
Glenn Lowry, the Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, will present a lecture on the recent renovation of the museum and his perspectives on the historical progress of the modern art movement.

The lecture will be held Friday, February 17th at 8 p.m. in the Green Library of Florida International University's University Park Campus, room GL100, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum. (Mapquest Map) The lecture is free and open to the public. For information, call 305-348-2890.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Swiss Have a New Banknote Design

European currency designs are works of modern art that deserve to hang in museums, but instead sit folded in your wallet. In a November 23rd, 2005 press release (PDF, 70K), the Swiss National Bank announced the winners of a competition for the artistic design of their new banknote series. Twelve artists were invited to present their designs for all six denominations on the theme "Switzerland open to the world."

The participants were:

Manuel Krebs, 1st Prize Winner
Manuela Pfrunder, 2nd Prize Winner
Martin Woodtli, 2nd Prize Winner (ex aequo)
Davide Ackermann
Andre Baldinger
Markus Galizinski
Hans Gruninger
Aude Lehmann
Andreas Netthoevel
Sabina Oberholzer
Michael Renner

Switzerland is not a member nation of the European Union, and does not circulate Euros, but rather Swiss Francs.
Get Your Daily Dose of Photoshop Killer Tips
Is once-per-week Photoshop TV not enough to satisfy your craving for tips, tricks and techniques? Matt Kloskowski hosts a new three-minute daily video podcast called Photoshop CS2 Killer Tips, produced by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Milton Glaser in BusinessWeek
A January 4th article appearing in BusinessWeek describes the life and work of Milton Glaser, who is perhaps most renowned for his I (Heart) New York logo, designed in 1975. It has captured the imagination of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world. "Part of my job is to make things look simple," says Glaser. "To achieve a look that's inevitable, that, when you see it, you think it's the only thing that could have been done."

Glaser is a true Renaissance man, achieving distinction in the fields of graphic design, publishing, interiors, and others. He calls upon his rich repertoire of graphic styles in his work--everything from African art to Japanese watercolor to Modernism to Dada. His famous 1967 Bob Dylan poster was inspired by a self-portrait of Marcel Duchamp, while incorporating elements of Islamic painting, perfectly expressing the style of the psychedelic '60s.

At 76, Glaser has no plans to retire, creating work more prolifically than ever in his 50-year career for such big name clients as Target.

Related Articles:
Milton Glaser: Art is Work, December 5th, 2005.
SVA Student Redesigns Prescription Packaging System, November 3rd, 2005.
Heller and Lupton Debate Over Democracy in Design
The January 24th issue of Voice: The AIGA Journal of Design contains a debate over the democratization of graphic design tools. Steven Heller argues that making graphic design hardware and software accessible to the general public diminishes the profession. Ellen Lupton states that bad design has always existed, and that democratization helps people gain an appreciation of the work graphic designers do.

I feel that democratization is a good thing as long as people are given the theory and disciplines as well as the tools and skills. Make them think, "why does my invitation look so crowded? Why does my small business brochure look so unorganized? Why does this flyer not command attention?" To me, graphic design is as much about thought and consideration as it is about putting images in print. Creativity is inside everyone. Books, like Lupton's DIY: Design it Yourself, help readers understand the "whys" as well as the "hows."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Intelligent Web Design
It's becoming more and more obvious that simple HTML doesn't cut it anymore for web design. Blogs dedicated to web design cite CSS as the way to go. Web design students and professionals (and teachers) must bring their skills up to date in order to be competitive in the field. Start your research by reading the following blogs:

The Path to Intelligent HTML, Graphic Push. January 18th, 2006.
It's In Your Job Description, Graphic Push. November 17th, 2005.
Look Ma, No Tables!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Canadian Study Reveals Surfers Decide a Site's Worth in a Fraction of a Second
A January 22nd article by the Canadian news website Canoe cites a study by Ottawa's Carleton University in which researchers determined it only takes web surfers 1/20th of a second to decide if a site is worth their attention.

Gitte Lindgaard, professor of human-computer interaction in the university's psychology department, and one of the study's authors, said people made up their minds very quickly whether a site felt good. "The message to web developers is, at this point in time, you better make sure you don't offend people visually," she said.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Backup, Backup, Backup

You live, you learn. Often, the data stored on mass storage devices such as hard disks, CDs and flash drives is more valuable than the price of the hardware itself. The solution is to get real good at backing up your work--develop strategies to prevent the loss of your important data. But there are places other than in your computer where important data is stored that you might not think of as a potential data black hole. Here are some examples to get you thinking:

1. RAM memory--the working memory for applications--is volatile, and only holds data as long as the power is on. A brief flicker in the electric current is enough to erase it. A software crash usually requires a restart, which also erases RAM. The solution is to save your work every five minutes. In the event of a crash or flicker, the most you can lose is five minutes worth of work.

2. Your data is not safe if you only have one copy of it on a storage device. Your computer's internal hard disk can crash, your CDs can get scratched or lost, your external hard disk can fall off the desk and your flash drive can get wiped out if you don't remove it properly. Murphy's Law says that if anything bad can happen, it usually will. The solution is to make backups of your important files. Burn one copy onto CDs, copy your files onto other physical storage devices, and save files to a server (such as .Mac), or email them to yourself and leave them in your email server (if capacity allows). The point is to always have more than one location where your files are stored. If one location goes down, you have a backup.

3. You might think online storage locations such as web sites or Internet servers are secure, but I've lost much valuable data on them. I had accumulated over 300 bookmarks in an online bookmarks website called One day the server crashed, and I had to build my bookmarks over again from scratch. The solution: after I spent time rebuilding my bookmarks, I backed up the list to my computer's hard disk, another bookmarks website called, and I launched a blog on, where I stored my bookmarks as well.

4. Cell phones can be easily lost, stolen or damaged. If you've accumulated a long list of addresses, back it up. If your phone permits syncing (most Motorola phones do), sync the phone's address book to your computer's address book. If syncing your phone is not possible, write down your important phone numbers in a paper address book.

Even though I preach this in all my classes, I often fall victim to not heeding my own advice. It's easy to feel safe and comfortable knowing that your data is in a certain location, but don't be lulled. Remember Murphy's Law. Don't wait for the worst to happen before you consider backing up your valuable data.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Apple Unveils Two Intel-Based Macs, Quark 7 to Run Native

On January 10th, Apple unveiled two Intel-based Macs, the 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo iMac and the 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro. The new iMac is available in a 17-inch, 1.83 GHz model for $1,299, and in a 20-inch, 2.0 GHz model for $1,699. The MacBook Pro is available in a 15-inch, 1.67 GHz model for $1,999 and in a 15-inch 1.83 GHz model for $2,499. Apple partnered with Intel last year to develop computers that could break the 2 GHz speed barrier.

Also on January 10th, Quark, Inc. announced in a press release that QuarkXPress 7, due later this year, will run natively* on the new Intel-based Macs as well as on G-series Power Macs. "The availability of this software shows that we're serious about delivering on our commitment to become a more open and customer focused company," said Jurgen Kurz, senior vice president of desktop products. Quark customers might remember that Mac OSX rolled out while Quark 4 was current (in 2001). Even Quark 5 was not OSX-native, and had to run under the Classic shell. Quark 6 was the first version to run natively under OSX (2003), but two years too late. Releasing an on-time version compatible with new hardware is a big step in the right direction for Quark.

*Software written for G-Series Power Macs run on Intel-Macs under a shell called Rosetta. Software written for the new Intel-Macs run natively in the Intel-Mac's operating system. Quark 7 will use a Universal Bit encoding that will run natively under G-Series Power mac and Intel-based Macs.