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The best of the month includes:
> How do we decide?
> A must-have for your graphic design toolbox: Color Scheme Designer
> The art of presenting for graphic designers
And much more...Enjoy! Chuck Green
P.S. Do you use InDesign, Quark, or PageMaker? See the bestseller 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
The mark of a good designer: anonymity »
This post from the faceoutbooks.com blog points to a dramatic book
cover Timothy Goodman designed for Scribner. Take a look and then take
a few minutes to browse his portfolio--he does some nice work.
What really strikes me is how different (generally speaking) one
piece is from the next. I know I harp on this but I really do think it
is one or the fundamental qualities of a good designer--someone who is
able to get so absorbed in the client's need that they are able to shed
their own identity.
The designer's portfolio...
Can design save the newspaper? »
Our local newspaper (The Richmond Times Dispatch) laid off 59
employees yesterday. One in a long series of recent reports that would
have you believe that nothing can save the newspapers.
Nonsense. To my way of thinking, the reason this and so many other
newspapers are struggling is not simply from "a loss of advertising
revenue," "changes in the classified market place," and "the difficult
economic environment." What is killing newspapers is an extraordinary
lack of creativity. Extraordinary because unlike other institutions
that continually reinvent themselves to remain relevant to their
audiences, city newspapers (generally speaking) seem to be paralyzed by
The lords of news and knowledge need to wake up. We are in the midst
of a fundamental shift in the control and distribution of knowledge. A
kid with a computer in a remote corner of the planet can monitor a
lecture at MIT. And I can sit in my chair and navigate my way, block by
block, through the streets of Paris. To imagine that a publication,
designed, written, produced, and delivered in much the same way it was
20 years ago, can continue to flourish, is not short sighted, it's
Shutting down creativity is a destructive reaction to success.
Instead of continuing to innovate--the very thing that lead to our
initial success--we often cling to our original notions. Instead of
devoting the research and resources necessary to take the next step we
opt to carefully, cautiously, incrementally dabble around the edges of
the old ideas--at times, beyond all good reason.
I have no doubt innovators in the newspaper business will survive
and thrive. The resulting product may have little resemblance to the
newspaper of today but a reinvented model that capitalizes on what
works and lets go of what doesn't will surely emerge. It will come from
those who, rather than fight the profound technological shift we are
witness to, recognize how lucky we are to be living at such a seminal
time in history and jump in head first.
The pursuit of making the world a better place is what makes life
such a blessing. I find a real glimmer of hope in discussions such as
From a recent talk at TED: Can design save the newspaper?...
About reinventing newspaper classifieds...
The local story. Could this web site be any more nondescript?
Design comedy »
his blog, you can view the photograph of Daniel Will-Harris--hands
clasped across his forehead--as an artsy portrait of an urbane
intellectual, or the final attempt of a defeated soul to keep his brain
from exploding. Whichever you presume, I encourage you to read this
laugh-out-loud design review of what Daniel crowns the worst of all
hotel web sites.
Bad design at a design conference...
Screen-to-screen navigation »
another version of the "infinite canvas" idea articulated by Scott
McCloud. This time, we move screen-to-screen, box-to-box. I just wish I
could isolate and point you to a specific frame--that, to me, is the
big negative of Flash development.
Hawaiian Modern, The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff...
The death of DOS word processing and the birth of WYSIWYG »
happened on a site this week that caused me to glance back at the road
behind us. It is tempting to always be looking forward, but a dose of
history from time to time doesn't hurt. The page I point you to offers
the reflections of a man who ran THE most successful software company
of its day--Pete Peterson and WordPerfect.
There are many points to be made about marketing, program
development, competition in the industry and so on, but what I recall
most by my encounter is the dramatic transition between the stark,
code-like programs of the DOS era and the what-you-see-is-what-you-get
(WYSIWYG) programs of today.
Want to feel really old? Did you use any of the original versions of
these: WordStar, Ami Pro, MultiMate, DisplayWrite, WordPerfect.
An all-encompassing design project »
is an interesting case study of how industrial design firm Kerr &
Co. teamed up with Hahn Smith Design to create a new line of Gourmet
Settings utensils that could stand out in Costco's bare-bones retail
I find it particularly interesting to contemplate being involved in
the entire cycle--identifying the audience and distribution point,
developing the product, and then marketing it appropriately. As you
know, communication designers are typically involved with just one or
two steps of the process.
The Gourmet Settings Case Study (860KB PDF)...
A better view of the work begins of page 29 of the Hahn Smith Design Capabilities Brochure (8.5MB PDF)...
Hahn Smith Design's web...
New in the ideabook.com store: The Web Designer's Idea Book »
did not write this book--but I sure wish I had. As someone who actively
searches the Web for great design, I can testify to the thousands of
hours it must have taken Patrick McNeil (of DesignMeltdown.com) to
locate, categorize, and assemble such a large cross-collection of
superior web ideas. Simply having a snapshot of these hundreds of sites
at this time in the history of the Web is well worth the price.
The Web Designer's Idea Book by Patrick McNeil...
How do we decide? »
I could promise you that for a mere $500 I could explain how
(literally) the brain works to make decisions, would you pay it? I
would. But here it is, an entertaining little book that purports to
reveal at least some of the answers so many marketers seek--for less
than the cost of a modest restaurant meal.
Here is the fascinating interview that introduced me to Jonah Lehrer and How We Decide and The rational rider atop an elephant.
With Robert Krulwich at the Strand Bookstore in New York...
at the 2008 AIGA Business and Design Conference: Why the Sciences Need
Art: Or, What a 19th-Century French Chef Can Teach Us About the Brain...
Frontal Cortex is his blog on scienceblogs.com...
Jonah Lehrer's web...
I'm posting an occasional tweet on Twitter »
General design topics...
For Adobe InDesign users...
Do you use Adobe InDesign? Be sure to read this. »
is easy to underestimate the dimensions of the communities that exist
to support and promote individual software products. I created a
Twitter page in March to share tidbits about InDesign (Adobe's desktop
publishing program) and, in doing so, have met hundreds (on Twitter
alone) who have a similar interest in its workings.
In the course of my research I have been tracking down the
experts--authors, trainers, and InDesign insiders. If you are a fan of
InDesign, allow me to introduce you to some folks who have a similar
Rufus Deuchler, Adobe's Senior Worldwide Evangelist for Creative
Solutions (by chance, the first follower of the indesignstorm twitter
Meet Michael Ninness, Adobe's Senior Product Manager, InDesign...
Meet Bob Bringhurst, Adobe's Senior Technical Writer for InDesign...
Meet David Blatner, editorial director of InDesign Magazine and author of (among other titles) Real World InDesign CS4...
Meet Michael Murphy, author and InDesign Certified Expert...
Meet Anne-Marie "HerGeekness" Concepcion, author, trainer, and consultant...
Meet Pariah S. Burke, author, speaker, trainer, and host of quarkvsindesign.com...
Here is the InDesign Brain-Storm Twitter page...
Creativity is not a stage of life, it is a mindset. »
don't know where or when it began, but there is a terrible
misconception lurking out there that creativity has something to do
with youth. While younger people might seem to be more creative
(perhaps because they are less encumbered by established rules)--I
can't imagine any thinking person would actually try to claim that
If you need proof, you have only to examine the 65-year career of
one of the world's most talented and prolific designers--Milton Glaser.
Now in his 80th year he seems (to me) every bit as bold and interesting
as he did during his days at Pushpin Studios in the 1950s and 60s. He
was an innovator then and he is an innovator now.
What gets me on this rant is when I talk to a designer--sometimes as
young as 40 or 50--who seems to think their creativity is somehow used
up. Ridiculous. To me, what they have misplaced is their appreciation
of the craft--the privilege of participating in the exploration of new
ideas and projects--and the joy of helping others to communicate them.
Whether you're designing a brochure for an industrial manufacturer
or a web site for a leading edge start up, it is entirely up to you
whether your work is drudgery or grace.
A sampling of Glaser's work...
Some of his iconic posters...
As Glaser explains it, "The possibility for learning never disappears..."
laughed out loud when I found a press release dated April 21, 2009
extolling Glaser's his latest project--he remains "on the case..."
Insight on perception from design industry icons »
strikes me about this collection of interviews is not only how
different the disciplines of illustration, communication design, and
fine art are (they are all represented here), but how differently each
person sees himself and his craft. (I particularly like what Michael
Lebowitz has to say about the fundamental changes we are in the midst
Passion is the genesis of genius...
Meet illustrator Chris Gall »
Love how each of Chris Gall's idyllic, rich illustrations tells a story.
Example 3 (Beautiful lighting)...
Example 4 (Interesting contrast between the background and foreground)...
Chris Gall's site...
The art of presenting for graphic designers »
When new designers ask for advice, I tell them to master their presentation skills:
"If your presentation skills are weak, you must improve them. Not
should--must. Today, as you are reading this page, there are thousands
of truly brilliant ideas being generated in the minds of timid people.
They will never see the light of day because the artists are unable to
sell them--they are too nervous, too intimidated, or simply lack the
skills to communicate their ideas with clarity and enthusiasm."
Graphicology.com has produced an excellent series of interviews with
industry pros (in PDF form) that speak about the art of presenting.
Nigel Holmes, Principle of Explanation Graphics (PDF -150KB)...
Debbie Millman, Managing Partner, Sterling Brands (PDF -150KB)...
Sally Hogshead, Creative Consultant (PDF -150KB)...
Peter Coughter, Jr., Owner, Coughter & Company; Professor, VCU Adcenter (PDF -150KB)...
Bart Cleveland, Creative Director, McKee Wallwork Cleveland (PDF -150KB)...
And, you'll find others listed in the right-hand column on Graphicology.com...
My post "Advice for new designers"...
A must-have for your graphic design toolbox: Color Scheme Designer »
elegant tool by Czech designer Petr Stanicek allows you to create color
schemes using monochromatic, complementary (contrast), triad (soft
contrast), tetrad (double-contrast), analogic, and accented analogic
models. It also offers presets, adjustments, reporting, and even
simulates various forms of color vision deficiency. (via a mention by Jim Dudley through LinkedIn)
The Color Scheme Designer...
Petr Stanicek's site...
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