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Here's the best of April--don't miss the Wine Find label, Blueprint CSS
Framework, and the stunning animated spots by Alexander Petrov.
P.S. Do you use InDesign, Quark, PageMaker? See the my ideabooks 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 > How to see the same thing everyone else sees-in a different way
There is a great lesson here. Photographer Andrew Zuckerman photographed animals commonly seen in the wild and brought them into a studio and photographed them on an infinity cyc (a seamless, white cyclorama used to focus all attention on the objects placed on it). It helped him to capture images that are very different than what you normally see.
My point is this: when you take a subject and isolate it from the normal ways in which it is described and shown, you are likely to find a new way of communicating it.
Creatures by Andrew Zuckerman...
Here > http://www.creaturebook.com/
Here > http://www.andrewzuckerman.com/
In the Ideabook Design Store: Design-It-Yourself: Graphic Workshop...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_graphic_workshop.html
2 > Free Photoshop?
Well, kind of. Now you can introduce your friends and family to the magic of Photoshop. The link leads to a test drive of Adobe Photoshop Express, a scaled back, happier version of the tool so many of us have grown to know and love. You simply double-click an image to access basic Photoshop tools for editing Basics, Tuning, and Effects.
But the real value of this offering is the opportunity it affords us to recount the heights and valleys of our own experience with the "real" Photoshop (don't forget to warn your audience that using the real version requires decades of study and membership in stuff like professional guilds and unions-no sense stirring up a bunch of unnecessary competition).
Think of the hours you'll spend explaining layers, recalling the day you applied your first drop shadow, and communicating the anguish of creating 86 layers you didn't bother to label.
To friends and family-run.
Go here and select "My Photos"...
Here > https://www.photoshop.com/express/index.html?bypass&wf=testdrive
More details from the blog of Photoshop's Senior Product Manager, John Nack...
Here > http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2008/03/photoshop_expre_1.html
In the Ideabook Design Store: Before & After: Graphics For Business...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_business_graphics.html
3 > I'm a sucker for the red, white, black palette
UNIQLO is a company based in Japan that is fairly new to the United States. It positions itself at a provider of "high quality, basic casual wear at the lowest prices in the market." Their site was designed by Yugo Nakamura who employs the color palette Roger Black made famous (at least to me): red, white, and black. It relies heavily on a combination of stark contrast, powerful typography, and bold images. Love it.
The is the company's site...
Here > http://uniqlo.archive.tha.jp/us/index.html
This is the site used to tease the arrival of the store in NYC...
Here > http://uniqlo.archive.tha.jp/teaser/index.html
In case you missed it previously, Roger Black's page...
Here > http://www.rogerblack.com/
In the Ideabook Design Store: Getting It Printed...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_getting_it_printed.html
4 > Who the heck is Fabien Barral?
I'm slightly depressed. It seems as though, at every turn, I come upon a designer whose work knocks me into next week. This time it's Fabien Barral, a guy who claims to be living in the middle of the French countryside-no comment. Seriously though, his deft mix of typography and old/new design elements is very interesting. Another one for my "when I grow up I wanna design like" list.
Here > http://www.imoments.org/work/2007/pensee.htm
More Fabien Barral...
Here > http://www.imoments.org/work/2007/anatolie.htm
Okay Fabien Barral, you're starting to get on my nerves...
Here > http://www.imoments.org/images/blog/08-02fev/organic-couv.jpg
In the Ideabook Design Store: The Copywriter's Handbook...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_copywriters_handbook.html
5 > Design: Define a problem, invent a solution
This simple example, to me, represents the best of design. These folks are experts at designing wine labels-a fairly narrow niche. But they studied their subject and found room to innovate.
The idea is "Wine Find"-a loose, perforated portion of the label that can be removed by the seller or customer as a reminder of the exact brand and vintage of the bottle they purchased.
That's the type of jolt thinking that gets me pumped-I can immediately think of several ways to translate the same concept to other media and formats.
The Wine Find label (450KB PDF)...
Here > http://www.collotype.com.au/pdf/WineFind.pdf
Stellar label designs and a better photograph of a Wine Find label (1MB PDF)...
Here > http://www.collotype.com.au/pdf/BNJune07.pdf
New in the Ideabook Design Store: Creative Advertising...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_creative_advertising.html
6 > Alltop.com: A links list with a brain
Guy Kawasaki makes it look easy. This time he, Will Mayall, and Kathryn Henkens (all principles of Nononia, Inc.) have birthed Alltop-a table of contents to "all the top" stories on the web.
What type of semantic computational algorithm could possibly make such a subjective judgment? The human brain. Yup, these industry innovators propose that what we need is not another regurgitation of every other machine-picked list, but a lineup selected by people.
"The bottom line,'" as they describe it, "is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you're already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn't know existed. In this way, our goal is the 'cessation of Internet stagnation.'"
We are honored to be included on the Design page.
The home page with all the categories...
Here > http://alltop.com/
The Alltop.com Design Category-LOOK, there's pageplane.com next to the kid with the circle on his shirt...
Here > http://design.alltop.com/
In the Ideabook Design Store: FontHead Typefaces...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_fonthead.html
7 > Art versus illustration
Illustrator is to artist as reporter is to poet. The reporter uses words to communicate news-the poet defines his own purpose. To my function-focused mind there is nothing quite so compelling as an illustration that communicates the idea more persuasively than words could. David Gothard is an illustrator with a wonderful talent for marrying concepts to images.
Here > http://www.drawger.com/dgart/images/copyright.jpg
Here > http://www.drawger.com/dgart/?section=gallery&gallery_id=7&
Here > http://www.drawger.com/dgart/?
In the Ideabook Design Store: Tintbook CMYK Process Color Selector...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_tintbook.html
8 > "What if the Hockey Pokey IS what it's all about?"
The photographs at Notes from the Road are stunning-they're captured using a traditional large format sheet-film camera. But the layout is why I'm pointing to the site. Though the understated, neutral palette and the type treatments are well worth noting, what caught my eye was how the bottoms of the anchor photographs are feathered into the article text-a simple but effective technique for integrating two dissimilar elements. (You'll have to dig deep to find the context of the Hokey Pokey bumper sticker.)
Erik Gauger's Notes from the Road...
Another nice example...
Here > http://www.notesfromtheroad.com/pacificnorthwest/pacificnorthwest.htm
About the author, designer, illustrator, photographer...
Here > http://www.notesfromtheroad.com/about/about.htm
In the Ideabook Design Store: Moleskine Notebooks...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_moleskines.html
9 > Craft lives
It wasn't long ago that graphic design was as much craft as it is intellectual exercise. You could argue that there is craft to using computers and software, but the physicality of most designer's daily work is not what it once was.
So it is refreshing (and nostalgic) to see great craft being practiced. Thank you to my friend Sheila Hanchard who points us to the work of Russian animator Alexander Petrov. Though he is best known for his artistic achievements-among others, his adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea-he is the director of several much-acclaimed, anti-conventional spots for United Airlines.
One of the United Airline spots-titled The Rose...
Here > http://www.pascalblais.com/it_petrov_01.html
A clip from The Old Man and the Sea...
Here > http://www.pascalblais.com/it_petrov_04.html
The Canadian animation studio Petrov works through, click Welcome > Directors...
Here > http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=b_kjEJrJc-g
And a fascinating documentary of Petrov's pastels on glass technique...
Here > http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=b_kjEJrJc-g
In the Ideabook Design Store: Task Force Clip Art...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_task.html
10 > Commercial graphic design is not self-expression
I have two very talented sons in design school-in the last few years their education has been the catalyst of many interesting conversations. As they unfold the intricacies of the business of communications design and ask questions, I must think through and articulate theories and practices I have long taken for granted.
This month on ideabook.com I want to share one of the more controversial issues with you-regarding the concept of self-expression. Even if you don't think this is something you would normally take the time to read, please take a few minutes to read it through and to share your thoughts about it with me.
Commercial graphic design is not self-expression...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/tutorials/1_view/commercial_graphic_design_is_n.html
In the Ideabook Design Store: Brenner Pricing Tables...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_brenner_pricing.html
11 > Buying illustration art
I have an affinity for illustration. I can't count the times a talented illustrator has made me look like I knew what I was doing.
Truth be told, I am more likely to hang a poster than a painting. Here are two sites where you can buy originals and prints of published and unpublished works by both well-known and not-so-well-known illustrators.
Here > http://www.illogator.com/go2.php
and Thumbtack Press...
Here > http://www.thumbtackpress.com/browse/
In the Ideabook Design Store: Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_ethical.html
12 > Start you next web with much of the work already done
If you design web sites and have not come across the Blueprint CSS Framework, I recommend you take a look to see if any of its parts and pieces could be of use to you. The framework includes a layout grid, basic typographic styles, and underlying code contributed by a coalition of high-powered CSS experts.
I know there are folks who think that if you don't create everything from scratch that you are somehow "cheating"-I'm not one of them. To me, a well designed grid or template is like any other tool-a smart way to amplify productivity.
The Google Blueprint CSS framework...
Here > http://code.google.com/p/blueprintcss/
An introduction by Jeff Croft, one of the original contributors...
Here > http://blueflavor.com/blog/2007/oct/24/blueprint-css-101/
A demonstration of the web framework (all of which can be edited)...
Here > http://files.bjorkoy.com/blueprint/tests/parts/sample.html
A demonstration of the typographic styles...
Here > http://files.bjorkoy.com/blueprint/tests/parts/elements.html
In the Ideabook Design Store: Creative Business CD-ROM...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_business_creativity.html
13 > Chuck's big list of delusions: tilt-shift photography
Great. I have a new addition to my list of delusions-next time you see a photograph of a tiny little, toy-like model of a "real" scene, look again. It may not be a model at all, it may be the real thing edited using the "fake tilt-shift" effect in Photoshop ("real" tilt-shift is accomplished using a camera lens by the same name).
This is an illustration technique you will definitely want to add to you toolbox. The effect is achieved by changing the depth of field (among other things).
A set of examples...
Here > http://www.flickr.com/photos/automatt/119040637/in/set-72057594078648378/
Here > http://www.pingmag.jp/2006/03/07/10-tiny-tokyo-photos/
A Photoshop tutorial...
Here > http://www.tiltshiftphotography.net/photoshop-tutorial.php
In the Ideabook Design Store: The Color Harmony Guide...
Here > http://www.ideabook.com/store_color_harmony.html
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]