Thanks for subscribing! Below is a review of the inspirational, idea-generating links I found in my travels of the Web in June 2007.

Enjoy,
Chuck Green

P.S. The June 2007 bestseller in the ideabook.com store is still the InDesign Ideabook (there are also versions for PageMaker and Quark). If you don't have a copy yet, check it out here > http://www.ideabook.com/ideabook_templates.html

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1 > Design ideas > Mixing fact and fantasy

Such a nice idea. This designer overlays fantasy (illustrations) with fact (photographs). The effect is warm and welcoming--a traditional look with a contemporary bent.

Mixing illustrations with photographs...
http://www.darasgarden.com/

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2 > Design ideas > Black to white

Two interesting ideas from designer Nathan Borror. Note his unique icon menu and an the dramatic effect as he switches from black to white backgrounds.

The home page is black...
http://www.playgroundblues.com/

Article pages are white...
http://www.playgroundblues.com/posts/2007/apr/11/bringing-back-personal/

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3 > Illustration > A feat of illustration

There are some really nice things happening with the illustrations at tnvacation.com. I particularly like the screen dot pattern in the backgrounds of many of the images, the woodblock type, and the subtle changes in color and content as you rollover images. My hat is off to the illustrator. I was unable to nail down a name.

One of many illustrations...
http://tnvacation.com/agritourism/

Note how the main photographs are overlaid with graphics...
http://www.tnvacation.com/sports-recreation/

You could design a site around this type of image alone...
http://www.tnvacation.com/images/nature/cabins_campgrounds.jpg

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In the Ideabook Design Store: Design-It-Yourself: Graphic Workshop...

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4 > Design ideas > Video banners

There are a number of interesting ideas incorporated into the recent makeover of the Earthbound Farm web. A time and temperature stamp for Carmel Valley (I have always liked the idea of giving your web a sense of place), an elegant vehicle for presenting still photographs (below), and some very cool motion pictures used in the place of static title images.

The time/temp stamp (upper right) and the video banner...
http://www.ebfarm.com/

To see the elegant presentation of still photographs, click the "WHY ORGANIC" drop down menu and select "VIRTUAL FARM TOUR." (note that if you wait a few seconds, the images within each category circulate...

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5 > Marketing PR > Real people?!

What House Industries is doing here is unprecedented. They are showing the faces of their employees and inviting us contact them directly. Will the earth spin off its axis? I doubt it. They may be subjected to some unwanted contact with spammers but, to me, the positive impression far outweighs the potential annoyance.

Organizations-small, medium, AND large-need to realize that the days of building walls between yourselves and your customers are numbered. To me, hiding the names and contact information of key players is a critical marketing mistake.

Some real people at House...
http://www.houseind.com/index.php?page=contact

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6 > Web Design > Packaging usability

Packaging is a fascinating design discipline. The content of the One80Design.com site demonstrates the innovation you would expect but the way the site is structured offers some lessons on usability. For example, watch how they reveal project details in stages:

They begin with a menu of projects...
http://www.one80design.com/business_impact.php

Give you an overview...
http://www.one80design.com/businessimpact/clorox.php

And offer a one-page case study of the project in PDF format (212KB)...
http://www.one80design.com/businessimpact/pdf/Gladware_Case_Study.pdf

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In the Ideabook Design Store: Before & After: Graphics For Business...

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7 > Print Design > Show and tell at House Industries

I'm a sucker for a photographic record of how a project was produced. I guess you don't see more of them because it takes a certain amount of discipline to pause during the process and record the step you just completed. Here is an excellent little animation of how the folks at House Industries produced the cover artwork for Communication Arts Magazine.

Play the animation here...
http://www.houseind.com/showandtell/index.php?id=314

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8 > Typography > A notable new (to me) typeface

This typeface, designed by Eduardo Rodríguez Tunni, caught my eye for two reasons: First, because of the unusual mix of hard angles and slopes, and second, because it is so finely rendered. The examples show that the most dramatic effect is achieved through the use of the complete set of alternative characters.

The Titulata typeface...
http://www.tipo.net.ar/tipo_titulata_eng.html

A specimen brochure (228KB PDF) ...
http://www.tipo.net.ar/pdf/Titulata_v1.0.pdf

Another beautifully cut face from the same foundry, Malena...
http://www.tipo.net.ar/tipo_malena.html

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9 > Ideabook.com makes the How Magazine Top Ten List

Ideabook.com is on HOW magazine's Top 10 Web Sites list for July.
http://www.howdesign.com/links/index.asp

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In the Ideabook Design Store: FontHead Typefaces...

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10 > Design ideas > Subject/design contrast

This site, dedicated to the response and recovery of the Red Cross following September 11th, (to me) demonstrates that there are no hard-and-fast rules about matching a design to its subject. My inclination would have been to make this site "warm" but the designer chose "cold." An insightful choice I think. Using a rather technical looking, nothing-but-the-facts layout under girds the presentation of an unusual mix of information--the human story, the nitty-gritty of the services provided, and the controversy over funding.

With great respect...
http://www.redcross.org/911legacy/

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11 > Reference > Looking back for inspiration

None of us lives in a vacuum; we are all influenced by the sparks of concepts, imagery, color, configuration, and typography we see in the world around us. Early books on advertising and design are an excellent source of inspiration-they show the seeds of today's crop. Optos Books is a rare and out-of-print bookstore that specializes in books on design and the decorative arts. Find something interesting? You'll also find a fair number of these titles on amazon.com-some reprints and some from other resellers under the "Used & new" option.

Here is the graphic design and typography category...
http://www.optosbooks.com/cpCommerce/category.php?c=12+

An example of a title on early 20th century signage (click to maximize the illustration)...
http://www.optosbooks.com/cpCommerce/product.php?p=1353#

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12 > Web Design > Is background art dead?

Background art and patterns were big in the early days of Web design. Today? Not so much. I suppose the idea lost favor because is made pages so visually dense. This application (for the School of Visual Arts) works for me, it adds to the design's "work-in-progress" feel.

To get the full impact, expand your browser to maximum width...
http://www.schoolofvisualarts.edu/ce/index.jsp?sid0=3

The isolated background image...
http://www.schoolofvisualarts.edu/img/Coned_BG.jpg


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About the briefing

I try to remain as objective as possible about the information I share here. Unless otherwise stated, I receive no compensation from the organizations and people mentioned except for occasional product samples.

Comments? Suggestions? Write me at [email protected]

> Chuck