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As a kid, we always had a copy of the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine on the coffee table in our living room. I doubt I ever read a story, but I loved looking at the covers and the cartoons. 


Have you ever dreamed of seeing one of your work on the cover of The New Yorker? If so, be sure not to miss the post at the bottom of this edition of the Briefing.

Tell me if you make the cover!



Have you collected your free week of

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A lesson about how we perceive photographic imagery 

In the early 1900s, Russian chemist and photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii conducted a photographic survey of the Russian Empire. Between 1909 and 1915 he captured images from eleven regions of, what is otherwise, a thinly documented area of the world. What makes the images so unique is that he photographed them using an elaborate system that allowed him to reproduce the final images in color. 

What I find instructive is how eerie they seem. Though they were taken 100 years ago, these vivid, high resolution photographs of people and places look as if they were taken on a movie set last week. Eerie, perhaps, because I'm just not used to seeing images from this long ago in natural color and my brain has a hard time finding them believable.

It's somewhat analogous to how the filtering effects applied to Instagram images inflence our perception of photographs folks are taking today. In that case, the effects remove the images from reality. (In case you're interested, here's a look at some new filters Facebook plans to offer now that they have acquired Instagram.)

Thanks to Russel Lacy for pointing us to it.

Example 1... Here

Example 2... Here

Example 3... Here

The complete gallery via the Library of Congress... Here


There are several venues that have edited and compiled some of the more interesting images in various forms. This is one of those compilations... Here 

How it was done... Here


A rare look inside Apple headquarters 

Years ago I was a member of the Microsoft Small Business Council, a group of six or eight authors and business owners chosen to put a face on Microsoft's small business efforts. For the announcement Microsoft flew us all to Redmond where we met its marketing team and got a look inside the headquarters. 

Since then, I've always been interested in the culture of the big software and hardware companies. So I couldn't help myself when I saw this link from offering a look inside Apple headquarters.

I've been through Cupertino and the surrounding valley several times but I've never visited the Apple headquarters. Suffice it to say, what I have seen is fascinating - it's an intellectual, technological theme park. If you've never been, be sure to put it on your list of places to visit.

Inside Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California... Here

A bird's eye view of the Apple Campus... Here 

The Apple organization chart from the May 23, 2011 issue of Fortune... Here 

Sadly we won't see another image like this... Here 

Haha... the Microsoft Small Business Council... Here

Meet illustrator Chris Gash 

Chris Gash's illustrations regularly grace the pages of The Times, The Globe, The Post, and other prodigious publications. To me, he draws like a designer - meaning his work is clear and purposeful. 

Example 1... Here

Example 2... Here

Example 3... Here

A nice little animated piece... Here

Gash's blog talks a lot about his process... Here

And his Tumblr page with some different perspectives... Here

Today, a new website from The British Monarchy 

Today my friend Grahame Berney points us to a website that just went live. It is, "A new website about Queen Victoria's life, using material from the Royal Archives, has been launched by Buckingham Palace, as an educational and public resource to mark the Diamond Jubilee." 

I thought you'd want to take a look.

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook... Here

And while you're in the neighborhood:

The official website of The British Monarchy... Here

The official website of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee... Here

The Royal Collection... Here

Two must-have tools for gathering intelligence about online technology use 

If you design websites you're always looking for the next best technological solution and ideas for matching your client's needs with available products and services. 

The BuiltWith Search and Trends tools offer a good way to gather data about who's using what and what the trends are. BuiltWith analyzes a specific website and returns information about the technology that drives it. BuiltWith Trends, among other things, tracks the number of websites using each technology within specific groups - widgets, email hosts, payment providers, and so on.

Both of those are free. For a subscription, you can sign on for an even more powerful set of tools for finding and refining similar types of data.

If you're responsible for recommending online products and services, BuiltWith will surely become part of your toolset.

An example: What are the top content management Systems?... Here

And another: Which e-commerce platforms grew the fastest last month?... Here

Analyze a specific website using the BuiltWith search tool... Here

There are also free BuiltWith browser extensions that make it easy to analyze pages as you move around the web...

For Chrome... Here

For Firefox... Here

For Safari... Here

The advanced tools... Here

And a website optimizer... Here

Ever dream of seeing one of your illustrations on the cover of The New Yorker? 

As a kid, we always had a copy of the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine on the coffee table in our living room. I doubt I ever read a story, but I loved looking at the covers and the cartoons. 

I grew up thinking, one day, I'd have one of my drawings on that cover. I figured I could draw more realistically than lots of the artists who illustrated New Yorker covers so why not? I guess it didn't occur to me, at a young age, that it was not that the artists couldn't draw realistically, it was that they were actively avoiding such realism.

In any case I've always been interested with the process so I was excited to find, subtitled the "New Yorker covers you were never meant to see". In hosts a weekly cover design contest juried by none other than Françoise Mouly, the current Art Director of The New Yorker.

Ms. Mouly explains the submission guidelines:

"The themes on the Blown Covers website closely mirror what I suggest to the New Yorker artists I already work with. This blog and contest are informal and not affiliated with the magazine but I'm always on the lookout for ideas."

"The theme for each weekly cover contest will be posted Monday mornings. To enter, please send sketches on the week's theme through the submissions page or email your sketches to blowncovers at gmail dot com. I prefer sketches to finished work and good ideas to good drawings. The deadline is Thursday at noon."

"Please keep submissions confidential in case they are selected for later publication. The winning sketch (according to my own subjective whims) will be posted on this site on Friday."

If you too have thought your illustrations deserved the attention of The New Yorker's worldwide audience, you have only to grab Françoise Mouly's attention and convince her of it. Good luck.

Past Themes and Winners... Here

The next week's theme... Here

About Françoise Mouly... Here

An example of an actual cover... Here

2012 cover archive... Here

2011 cover archive... Here 

2010 cover archive... Here

A noteworthy minimalist website design 

I like the simplicity of this site created by the London design studio Spin for furniture designer and manufacturer Matthew Hilton. 

The Matthew Hilton website... Here

Its journal/blog... Here

The site was designed by Spin in the UK... Here


About this newsletter

I try to remain as objective as possible about the information I share here. Unless I tell you otherwise, I receive no compensation from the organizations and people mentioned except for occasional product samples. I am an affiliate of and -- that means, if you purchase something from them, I get a small commission. Comments? Suggestions? Write me at [email protected] -- Chuck Green