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We should call this the "science edition" of the newsletter because at least three of the subjects draw a direct line between design and science. I find that angle endlessly fascinating. Hope you enjoy it too.
Thanks for your interest,
Check out Chuck's Adobe InDesign Ideabook:
315 template files in 19 different categories -- Everything from brochures, newsletters, and direct mail to packaging, calendars, and books (one CD works with both Mac and PC). Use two or three files and you'll pay for the entire book and disc...
See a particularly powerful example of combining video imagery with type and graphics
The Test Tube with David Suzuki is a rich, interactive experience produced by the National Film Board of Canada to promote The David Suzuki Movie. Follow the link, answer the question: "If you could find an extra minute right now, what would you do?" (any answer) and you're on your way.
I was particularly taken by the vibrant, film image of Suzuki on a bold black background. It's a particularly powerful example of combining photographic imagery with type and graphics.
The Test Tube with David Suzuki... Here
A further look at The David Suzuki Movie... Here
David Suzuki's story is one of many works produced by the National Film Board of Canada - "Interactive works, social-issue documentaries, auteur animation and alternative dramas that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective." The main website... Here
Design is a scientific discipline
Yes even graphic design is, at its core, as much science as it is art. Those who see design as a pursuit of style miss the point. Design is about solving problems, communicating ideas, moving people to take specific actions, immersing audiences into new experiences, and so much more.
If you want a sense of what a broad, important discipline design is, take a few moments to explore these links. They are both inspirational and challenging. Lots of us flounder around in an attempt to find our place in the wonderfully rich profession of design. I have no doubt there is a place for anyone with a passion for the creative process and an open mind.
Let's start with Paola Antonell, senior curator in the Department of Architecture and Design for the Museum of Modern Art. A few years ago, at the first 5D Conference she talked about design and science... Here
The 5D Conferences are about "immersive design" for narrative media (film, TV, and so on) and the construction of imaginary worlds. This is the conference website... Here
Organizations like OBLONG, think big - that's what great designers (and scientists) do. Instead of narrowing one's focus, their mission is to "fundamentally change how humans use computers". Design is a scientific discipline... Here
Each of this illustrators works is a swirl of story
Meet illustrator Victo Ngai (Ngai Chuen Ching). As her bio says, "Victo's cultural background is hard to nail down: she speaks Chinese (Both Cantonese and Mandarin), English and Japanese. She attended Christian schools, but is not Christian. She holds a British National (Overseas) passport but is not truly British. She is a Hong Kong citizen but does not have a Chinese ID card. Her parents live in Hong Kong; her grandparents are Chinese American living in the west coast of the States; and Victo went to Rhode Island School of Design on the east coast."
Each of her works is a swirl of story - at once, complex and artistic.
An interview from Escape From Illustration Island... Here
Check out these fonts from MyFonts.com
In the name of food: An amazing feat of technology and graphic design
When you're designing information, you've got to articulate the message, gather the facts, and present it in a way that enhances the understanding and appreciation of it.
Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, Maxime Bilet is a mind-bending six-volume, profusely illustrated set of books that reveals science-inspired techniques for preparing food. It has been touted by some in the culinary world as a work destined to reinvent cooking.
I point you to it because I think it is an extraordinary example of information design.
In his spare time, author Dr. Nathan Myhrvold is the CEO of, what is arguably, the most famous invention capital system on the planet: Intellectual Ventures
As its website defines it, "We build, buy, and collaborate to create inventions. We supply those inventions to innovative companies through a variety of licensing and partnering programs. We believe an active market for invention and ideas will energize technological progress, potentially changing the world for the better."
You may also recognize his name as being the former chief strategist and chief technology officer of Microsoft...
An introduction by Nathan Myhrvold... Here
An illustrated PDF: The Story of This Book (5MB PDF)... Here
Nathan Myhrvold talks about the use of cutaway photography... Here
The Modernist Cuisine website... Here
Dr. Nathan Myhrvold is the CEO of Intellectual Ventures. Here
More from the Ideabook.com Design Store
Tintbook CMYK Process Color Selector: A palette of 25,000 CMYK process colors in print... Here
Color Harmony Guide: From French designer Dominique Trapp... Here
Communicating With Color: Based on Leatrice Eiseman's seminars on the psychology of color... Here
Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to Graphic Design: One of my favorite design books... Here
Brief posts from Chuck's Twitter and Facebook pages...
Once a year my friend Fred Showker at the Graphic Design & Publishing Center presents a list of woman designers, painters, and illustrators -- here's the 17th Annual Designing Women feature... Here
Nice package design by Kick for Mom's Best Naturals... Here
Expert designers ask lots of questions
More than once, I've fallen into the trap of speculating about why a particular design isn't working rather than doing the research necessary to find out the real reason why. It's part ego and part stupid.
The reality is, an expert designer knows what they don't know. They are always willing to question, are forever learning, and will readily admit when someone else has a better way of doing things. (Someday I hope to be such an expert.)
Steve Krug, author of the web design classic, Don't Make Me Think, A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition (2005) offered up a new look at his theories and practices for evaluating websites and user interfaces in 2009 titled Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems.
Krug describes it as follows: "Rocket Surgery explains everything you need to know to start testing, in the same non-technical-but-informative style as Don't Make Me Think. Like Think, though, it assumes that testing isn't your full-time job, so it tells you only what you absolutely need to know. I've even boiled down the most crucial points into six "maxims" so they're easy to keep in mind."
If you haven't already read it, I recommend you do. Krug processes are plain smart, no getting around it. If questioning makes you an expert, anyone who reads this will be one step closer to that status.
Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug: Usability Demo... Here
A sample chapter (PDF 533KB)... Here
One of the designer's most powerful tools is one many of us take for granted
Are you a search expert? You should be. Search engines are a critical tool for a designer in 2012. They are the gateway between you and the vastness of digital space. If you're not using Google and other resources at an expert level you're conceding one of your most powerful design tools.
I realize it might seem as if I'm stating the obvious but I hear plenty of designers (and other professionals) who seem to ask questions that could easily be answered with an informed search. If that's the case, you can imagine all the other information goodness they're missing out on.
Searches can be as complex as you want them to be. To me the key has always been about putting yourself in the place of the person who produced the information you're looking for. It's about word order and "operators" and context.
If you're wondering if you know what you need to, take a look at this gem of a webinar from Stephan Spencer, author of Google Power Search published by O'Reilly.
The blurb about the webinar, Become an Expert Google Searcher in an Hour, explains it like this, "Do you use Google every day? Mastering Google's powerful search refinement operators and lesser known features could, over a year's time, save you days scouring over irrelevant results. Even more enticing is the promise of elusive nuggets of market research and competitive intelligence out there waiting to be discovered -- IF you know how to wield Google."
Stephan Spencer and Become an Expert Google Searcher in an Hour... Here
Spencer is an author of Google Power Search... Here
Spencer is also the author of The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization (Theory in Practice) also published by O'Reilly... Here
An archive of Spencer's articles... Here
Here's the big list of Google Search features... Here
A consolidated list of advanced operators for web search... Here