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Here is my list of design ideas and resources for December. Some very interesting finds.

Enjoy,
Chuck Green

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


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1 > Print Design > Spiritual calculation

"Similar Diversity is an information graphic which opens up a new perspective at the topics religion and faith by visualizing the Holy Books of five world religions." As I understand it, they used a programming tool to search the texts and to calculate the connections between them-the number of times particular terms are used and so on. What I want to point to is the overall design-how the artists use proportion and color to communicate the results.

Similar Diversity...
Here > http://www.similardiversity.net/details.php

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2 > Illustration > The high-end of clip art

The story goes like this: Charles S. Anderson inherited a substantial collection of original artwork from retired commercial artist Clyde Lewis. Lewis had spent his career producing advertising illustrations for everything from matchbooks to menus. That collection was the catalyst for what today is one of the most unusual and lauded stock art libraries. Much of it is rights-managed versus royalty-free (meaning the licensing cost of images is calculated on the basis of how you intend to use it). But even if you don't have a project in mind, do yourself a favor and take a look. Keep it in your back pocket for future use.

The collection...
Here > http://www.csaimages.com/

Switch over to Anderson's design studio to see some of the images in use...
Here > http://csadesign.com/pack.html

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3 > Graphics Tech > Online, collaborative word processing-for free.

My word processor is heavy-bloated with all types of complexities that I never use. In fact, I seem to spend more time finding and disabling features than I do enabling them. Enter Buzzword. Adobe just bought this elegant little gem so it may be going somewhere. Not only can you perform all the basic word processing tasks, you can also invite others to collaborate.

Buzzword...
Here > http://www.buzzword.com/

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4 > Typography > The three designers. Meta Serif.

As publisher FontFont tells it, "It took three years and three designers to develop FF Meta Serif. ...Erik Spiekermann made several attempts at designing a counterpart for his groundbreaking FF Meta. He recommended Swift, Minion, FF Clifford, and others, until he realized that he should just buckle down and draw his own serif Meta. True to his principle of collaboration, Spiekermann enlisted the help of accomplished type designers Christian Schwartz and Kris Sowersby." Gimme.

Meta Serif by Spiekermann, Schwartz, and Sowersby...
Here > http://www.fontshop.com/features/newsletters/nov2007_a/

Spiekermann's blog...
Here > http://www.spiekermann.com/mten/

Schwartz's site...
Here > http://www.christianschwartz.com/

Sowersby's site...
Here > http://klim.co.nz/

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5 > Illustration > Frank Maier's clear concepts and imagery

If you've been reading for a while, you know I'm a big fan of "different". Frank Maier's illustrations are so familiar, they look different. Reminds me of early vector drawings that, because of the limitations of the software, were necessarily simplistic. No limitations here, just interesting, clear concepts and imagery.

One example...
Here > http://www.fm-illustration.de/02_psycho/content/Bilder/70integration.gif

Maier's portfolio...
Here > http://www.fm-illustration.de/

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6 > Web Design > A rather bizarre Christmas message

Appears that the stress of the Christmas season has reached the folks at FutureMedia. If you have anything to do with web design, you'll appreciate this rather unconventional interactive holiday card.

It's a bit different...
Here > http://www.futuremediainteractive.com/holiday2007

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7 > Typography > A simple way to experiment with CSS type

Here is a handy little CSS generator for playing with typefaces, sizes, and colors. You adjust the settings until you find just the right combination then click "Generate CSS" to create and capture the code.

Typetester...
Here > http://typetester.maratz.com/

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8 > Illustration > John Grimwade: Show and tell graphics

John Grimwade is among the top information illustrators on the planet. You may have seen his diagrams in Condé Nast Traveler, his icons in Fortune, or his maps in Popular Science.

A diagram example...
Here > http://www.johngrimwade.com/D33.html

A map example...
Here > http://www.johngrimwade.com/M11.html

A rough sketch of a project in the works...
Here > http://www.johngrimwade.com/RR3.html

John Grimwade's front door...
Here > http://www.johngrimwade.com/

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9 > Print Design > Mixing the real and unreal

I like the way the illustrator integrates the real with the unreal. The question I ask myself is, "How can I use the same idea in my own work?"

The studio is SifonDG in Argentina (you may need to click the image to enlarge it)...
Here > http://www.sifondg.com/beta/trabajos/02-SENUELO-B.jpg

Their portfolio (nice stuff)...
Here > http://www.sifondg.com/

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10 > Color > A "less is more" palette

Black and white is beautiful. The limited use of color combined with a series of powerful black and white images builds the story-quality of this site.

A great example of a "less is more" palette...
Here > http://www.originlogistics.com/index.htm

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11 > Illustration > How to create a scratchboard illustration

Easier said than done. Why would an illustrator of the caliber of Michael Halbert share the secrets of creating scratchboard illustrations? I suspect because it will convince you to hire someone like Michael Halbert-he demonstrates that it isn't easy. These in depth tutorials are a real treasure.

Michael Halbert's Scratchboard tutorials...
Here > http://www.inkart.com/pages/Tutorial/index.html

Halbert's portfolio...
Here > http://www.inkart.com/index.html

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12 > Web Design > How to organize a web catalog

McMaster-Carr boasts over 450,000 products. Their site is a great example of simplicity and usability. The austere design and limited use of images gives it a matter-of-fact look and feel. Be sure to play with it to see how subcategories, listings, and ordering are handled. Yes, it is extreme but I admire their willingness to stay lean.

The McMaster-Carr catalog...
Here > http://www.mcmaster.com/

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13 > Web Design > An innovative way to highlight text

Move the mouse cursor over the text that reads "GRAMMY NEWS"-instead of highlighting the text, the designer applies a soft glow to the background. A very subtle, effective technique I have not seen before.

Move the mouse cursor over the text that reads "GRAMMY NEWS"...
Here > http://www.grammy.com/

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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