Friday, January 27, 2006

HISTORY
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.
GRAPHIC DESIGN
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

WEB DESIGN
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.
DezWozHere.com
Look Ma, No Tables!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

WEB DESIGN
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

HARDWARE
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 MyBookmarks.com. 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 iKeepBookmarks.com, and I launched a blog on Blogger.com, 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

SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE
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.