Thanks for subscribing!

This is Briefing 64: An overview of stuff of interest to the design mind.

Chuck Green

P.S. Please check out my template collections:

For InDesign >
For PageMaker >
For QuarkXPress >


Illustration > Meet three talented product and process illustrators

It is, "the run-of-the-mill stuff that keeps the mill running." That's not a dig--I say it with great respect and affection. This is the type of work that rarely commands the recognition high-profile advertising work does, but that is often more consequential because of the much needed information it imparts. Hats off.

Here > Jim Kopp...

Here > Joe Saputo...

Here > John Hartman...

Here > Have a thought about this post, comment to all here:


Illustration > Have you seen these bold, colorful images by illustrator Don Cosgrove?

I love how he recasts this type of retro style with vivid colors, hard shapes, and surprising perspectives.

Here > A dreamlike bon voyage ...

Here > Another surprising perspective...

Here > Drama!...

Here > Have a thought about this post, comment to all here:


Design-It-Yourself: Graphic Workshop...


Graphics Tech > The next big transition: "assisted" graphic design?

In less than 25 years we have moved from pasteups and X-acto knives to simplistic desktop publishing to the advanced graphic design systems and software of the moment. The transition from the board to desktop publishing software made it possible for the designer, who once spent a day assembling the parts and pieces of an advertisement, to produce the same product in an hour. In doing so, it allowed them to increase their work load and/or to devote more time to substance.

I'm guessing that transition will pale in comparison to the transition we now face. "Assisted" design further automates aspects parts of the production process. Instead of inventing your own systems for moving tasks forward you adopt a process built and perfected by others. Assuming it is equal to or better than a system you could create, why wouldn't you use it?

Content management systems are one example of how this transition is manifesting itself, EightShapes Unify offers another. Unify is a comprehensive collection of (primarily) Adobe InDesign templates and graphic elements you can use to present and prototype web pages. I point you to it not only because it is a very cool (free) product, but because it appears to me as another signal of a shift.

As the tools are improved, expectations increase, process is diminished, more resources are devoted to substance, and (in most cases) quality and effectiveness improves. You can easily see how each step prepares us for the next--the question is: where are we headed?

Here > An overview of EightShapes Unify...

Here > Samples of the results...

Here > Download Unify...

Here > The EightShapes web (the folks who created the templates and libraries and released them to the community)...

Here > Nathan Curtis, one of the founders of EightShapes, has a book coming out this summer--Modular Web Design...

Here > Have a thought about this post, comment to all here:


Ideas 101 > What is the purpose of graphic design?

I recently read an excerpt from Adolf Loos essay, Ornament & Crime (1908). He posed that, "The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from objects of daily use." He believed that "style" and "ornament" was "wasted manpower."

One-hundred years hence, to what I am sure would be Loos' great dismay, we are awash in graphic design--some ornamental, some practical, much of it both.

Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, one of the world's leading architectural firms, offers some good examples of the degree to which graphic design is integrated into every level our lives. Their web site features everything from articles detailing the design of multi-million-dollar buildings to an article detailing the design of carpet: "Three individual carpet patterns derived from the random graphic appearance of landscape, traffic, and water."

It got me thinking, what ARE the best purposes of graphic design? Is our best work ornamental? Functional? Essential? Instructive? Timeless?

Here > The SOM carpet design...

Here > SOM Graphics Projects...

Here > The SOM Ideas page...

Here > The SOM home page...

Here > Have a thought about this post, comment to all here:


Communicating with Color...


Recently on

Designer confessions: The best clients recognize the difference between requesting a re-design and designing it themselves.

Great typographic inspiration

An important heads-up for educators from Seth Godin (to me, not marketing-exclusive)

Reminder to self: money does not promise peace, safety, health, love, happiness, or fulfillment. Nor is it a trusted gauge of... anything.

Designer confession: Client push-back is almost always valid--even on aesthetics. Their unique perspective is formed by immersion.


Illustration > There is graphic design inspiration everywhere

I'm sure you've read about Tokyo street style. And that the world fashion industry keeps an eye on how young people are dressing there--that it is one of those places from which designers draw inspiration.

Anna Rusakova reminds us that we need to keep our eyes open for inspiration everywhere. Though this might not be your style, I doubt you would disagree that she has a wonderful sense of her's. She creates fascinating illustrated Moleskine notebooks and presents them within an eclectic kind of color palette-interior design-fashion environment kind of thing that makes it all work.

I just found it very interesting that all these pieces, even the way she has organized and photographed a selection of candies, seems to establish a very clear sense of style.

What do you call this mix of design, illustration, fashion, place, and typography? Is there a better description than simply "style?"

Here > Candies...[email protected]/2368544098/

Here > Anna Rusakova's Moleska...

Here > An interior design vibe...

Here > And a fashion component...

Here > Have a thought about this post, comment to all here:


The Copywriter's Handbook...


Shopping > Very cool gift for a graphic designer or illustrator--just forty bucks

When it comes to illustration, Bob Staake is the top tier. His list of corporate clients includes names such as Sony, Disney, and Hallmark; Publishers such as Random House, Simon + Schuster, and Scholastic; Publications such as The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Barron's.

His finished color illustrations command thousands of dollars, but you can buy an original, signed Staake doodle that you design for $40? Yup, no kidding. To me, one of the coolest, most unusual gifts you could get or give. (I know this sounds like an advertisement but nope, no commission, don't know Bob Staake.)

Here > Bob Staake's Doodlekaboodle samples...

Here > The order form...

Here > Some examples of Staake's work...

Here > Have a thought about this post, comment to all here:


Learning > The future of graphic design--in fast-forward

If you are interested in technology, you have likely already heard about the three new tools announced in the last week--WolframAlpha, Wave, and Bing. I've included the links to each--each is a very interesting story--but my point is more about the environment in which those technologies are made possible than the technologies themselves.

It's not rocket surgery. Advances such as these are the result of the rapid expansion of knowledge made possible by the World Wide Web--historically speaking, a newborn that was just delivered moments ago. It stands to reason that as more people have access to knowledge, there will be more innovation. My point is: it seems we have begun to move in fast-forward.

What does this mean to graphic designers? I suspect that if you are talented at the craft and/or art of communicating ideas you are about to become very popular and quite valuable. Why? Because I believe that a talent for successfully instigating, facilitating, and improving communication is going to be in high demand. That the ability to break through the clutter and to identify and promote worth will be highly prized.

Stand by.

Here > WolframAlpha: A computational knowledge engine...

Here > Bing: Microsoft's "decision engine"...
Here > Wave: Google's new model for communication and collaboration...

Here > Have a thought about this post, comment to all here:


Looking for a prior issue of the Design Links Briefing?

Here >


Enjoy the Design Links Briefing? Invite a friend to subscribe...

Here >


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