Thanks for subscribing! Below is a review of the inspirational, idea-generating links I found in my travels of the Web in October 2007.
P.S. The InDesign Ideabook is the bestseller in the ideabook.com store (with versions for PageMaker and Quark). If you don't have a copy yet, check it out here >
For InDesign > http://www.ideabook.com/indesign_templates.html
For PageMaker > http://www.ideabook.com/pagemaker_templates.html
For QuarkXPress > http://www.ideabook.com/quarkxpress_templates.html
1 > Color > Pantone and the frozen french fry color standard
There is some news in the world of color worth noting. Pantone, keeper of the keys to the industry standard color matching system, is introducing the first significant upgrade of its 45 year old system-the Pantone Goe System. It includes a new range of solid colors, software, new color guides, and so on.
The other side of the news is that Pantone is being acquired by x-rite, a color conglomerate traded on the NASDAQ. Among their products are all manner of color calibration software and hardware used by many different industries around the world. I thought it was particularly interesting that one of their holdings is the Munsell Frozen French Fry Color Standard for the USDA.
Seriously though, these are the types of transactions that effect us as designers in significant ways-not the least of which is the cost of upgrading to a new system.
The Pantone Goe System...
The xrite press release...
The Frozen French Fry Color Standard...
2 > Web Design > New look at Barnes & Noble
The site makeover of bookseller Barnes & Noble is worth some study. They are now using a classic serif/sans serif combination-a flavor of Bodoni and a condensed sans serif (it looks close to several but the fact that I can't find an exact match makes me wonder if it isn't a custom face. Comment below if you have an idea).
I particularly like the color palette of bronzes, teals, greens, and gold. Each of the sections-the cover, B&N Review, B&N Media and so on-has its own distinctive look yet they all clearly fall comfortably within the family.
Barnes & Noble has been carving out this "modern elegance" style for a while now, this makeover really cements it for me.
The makeover at Barnes & Noble...
A New York Times-like review section...
And B&N Media...
3 > Illustration > For love of complexity
Asked to choose from two doors, one labeled "simplicity" and one labled "complexity", I'm guessing most of us would choose the simple side. Complexity has a poor reputation. A trip to visualcomplexity.com, a creation of information architect Manuel Lima, may not change your perception, but it can't help but boost your appreciation for the art of defining concepts and expressing data through imagery.
An example: The Mammal Supertree...
Manuel Lima's portfolio...
In the Ideabook Design Store: Tintbook CMYK Process Color Selector...
4 > Illustration > The world according to Hal Mayforth
Hal Mayforth has been building a universe of characters for a bunch of years. What is so interesting about his work is how it continues to evolve. He pushes and experiments and changes direction in ways that keep his characters and concepts fresh. Hope I can do that when I grow up.
Hal Mayforth's site...
His blog at Drawger...
5 > Print Design > The Tate Brand
To me, the very nature of a logo is singular-a visual signal that comes to represent the entity it is tied to. But great design sometimes redefines the application. Wolff Olins designed the Tate identity back in 2000 and opened (some argue re-opened) a different chapter in logo design. Instead of one version the created several. Instead of one color, they chose eighteen. It is as fluid as the institution it represents.
Click the logo in the upper left to see several variations...
A case study by the designers, Wolff Olins (PDF) ...
How Tate explains its brand...
6 > Mind Vacations > Shout it from the rooftops
Hats off to Jesse Vig for noticing that some buildings looked like letters of the alphabet when viewed from above. He goes on to explain, "This is the point where I should have just said 'hmmm, good observation' and gone on with my life. But I didn't and that's why this website is here."
My customized greeting...
Do it yourself...
In the Ideabook Design Store: Color Harmony Guide...
7 > Illustration > Mike McConnell's view of the world
This is going to sound over the top but Mike McConnell's illustrations leave me with a sense of well being. They look as if he honestly enjoys his work and that, to me, is an enormous accomplishment.
Way to go...
8 > Web Design > A form to function rollover
Here's a nice use of rollovers. The designer highlighted the form of the products using outlines. Then, as you rollover them, the outlines change into full color examples of how they are actually used. Nice color palette too.
Rollover the outlined products to see the transformation...
9 > Web Design > A web that sells one product
With so many wonderful tools and techniques available to us, it is easy to lose focus and to get overly complicated with a design. This web, though it sells a whole line of products, shows them in a singular way. It puts the product front and center in a neutral, gallery-like environment and sells on the merits.
Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates...
In the Ideabook Design Store: Design-It-Yourself: Graphic Workshop...
10 > Illustration > A look inside Kevin Hulsey's brain
I was blathering on about the intricacies of technical illustration to friend and client Gil Chotam recently when he pointed me to Kevin Hulsey's site (guess Gil knows a little about the subject as well). I am new to Hulsey's work, it is extraordinary. And his site is the embodiment of that work--a virtual cutaway of his thought process. Even the layout is info-centric, to the extent that he lists contact details at the top of the page (makes sense to me) and includes the monitor color calibration settings under which the images are proofed.
An example of his work...
To me, the best part is the tutorials...
And his comprehensive approach to sharing information...
From a business standpoint, these pages are worth a look...
Get a cup of coffee, here's the sitemap...
11 > Print Design > 300 posts on Pageplane.com blog
Today we mark a bit of a milestone. This post makes 300 on PagePlane.com -some originated with my Design Links Briefings in years past, the rest were posted directly on the PagePlane blog since it launched last year.
It has been a great encouragement to discover so much great work by so many talented folks. I hope it has been interesting and encouraging to you as well.
If you haven't yet, I invite you to comment on the posts and to introduce yourself via email (write me at email@example.com).
Here's to the next 300. Chuck Green
12 > Learning > The sense of Japanese design
There is no better place to get a sense of the Japanese design aesthetic than PingMag -an online design magazine based in Tokyo. They say, "Defining the term design as broadly as we can, PingMag writes about ideas and inspiration coming from both world class designers, and from the little store on the corner."
13 > Reviews > Identity Crisis is a rare book
Rare because so many graphic design books rely so heavily on "creampuff" projects-stuff for multi-billion dollar corporations and skateboard park coffee houses. The former have design budgets equal to the GNP of mid-sized countries, the latter award extra points for the pseudo-extreme.
In reality, most graphic designers work with clients who simply want a smart solution at a reasonable price. (I found out early on that most of my clients were not as interested in my quest for self expression as they were their own quest for remaining solvent.) Identity Crisis is a book about real organizations and realistic solutions.
Author Jeff Fisher is a designer who has been in the trenches (if don't believe me, check out his portfolio). In Identity Crisis he presents case studies of organizations with established identities that need refreshing. He tells us the story of each, shows a logo before and after, provides examples of how the new identity is implemented on brochures, web sites, packaging, and so on, and reveals interesting insights and project details about and by both client and designer.
If you are a graphic designer who has real-world clients-I suggest you add this book to your toolbox. If you are a business owner or marketer who wants to see how others make over and leverage their identity-Jeff Fisher's Identity Crisis is a good place to start.
Jeff Fisher's Identity Crisis...
An excerpt from the publisher, HOW (2mb)...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org