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I'm seeing an increasing number of websites that appear to allow the 
code to trump the design under the guise of ease of navigation. And, of course, there continues to be lots of talk about "flexible" layouts that morph to accomodate the device on which they are viewed. 

The "but" is this: We've got to be careful not to allow expedience to 
displace the qualities that distinguish one design from another. Yes, aggregating data and packaging it is useful, but if you extract the design nuances, you've defeated (in many cases) much of its purpose. 

It's a delicate balance.

Hope you are well.



Have you seen my 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...  

Meet illustrator Keith Negley 

The first time I saw Keith Negley's work I thought, "What medium is he using to create his illustrations?" They seemed too organic to be fully digitally produced and too digital-looking to be completely hand-painted or drawn. 

When I asked him, Keith explained that he uses lots of different mediums -- pencil, charcoal, tempera, cut paper, collage, and so on, -- but that, more often than not, he uses ink and acrylic paint in combination with parts and pieces he creates using Adobe Illustrator.

No wonder they have such an unusual, storybook quality to them.

Example 1... Here 

Example 2... Here 

Example 3... Here

Negley's website... Here

His blog... Here

What every graphic designer needs to know about money illustrations 

As the United States Secret Service says, "The law sharply restricts photographs or other printed reproductions of paper currency, checks, bonds, revenue stamps and securities of the United States and foreign governments." 

Yet, occasionally, I see advertisers using photographs and illustrations of currency in a size and proportion that is a violation of the law. These links point to the seriousness of the issue.

Official guidelines from the United States Secret Service... Here

A cautionary story about how an innocent promo went wrong... Here  
An interesting aside: The design changes made to United States Currency in the last decade... Here

Ready to upgrade to Adobe CS 6? 
An exercise in design perspective

Imagine you are Gerardus Mercator, the cartographer who produced the world map in 1569 that forever changed the world of navigation. The map was the Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigantium Emendata: the "new and augmented description of Earth corrected for the use of sailors".

Now take a few minutes to watch the video below. It is a composite of a series of time lapse sequences of photographs taken by the crew of International Space Station expeditions in 2011.

A composite view of the Earth from NASA images edited by Michael König... Here

Next, take a look at Gerardus Mercator's 16th century map... Here
My point is this: The video reveals the amazing details of the terrain Mercator was attempting to map. By comparison, his map was, in large part, inaccurate.

It got me thinking about how much I think I know and how potentially inaccurate and uninformed my efforts could be. I mention it because I think it's occasionally necessary to step back and acknowledge the limitations of our experience and knowledge. And to make a renewed effort to dig deeper and do better.

Mercator's work, of course, was genius. Maybe your's is too. But let's not forget that we all have much to learn, and even more important, that we don't know what we don't know.

An indepth, fascinating Wikipedia article on the Mercator 1569 world map... Here

A surprised mind 

It doesn't happen often, but occasionally I see something that surprises my mind -- such experiences are, to me, creative sustenance. I hope these images by photographer and artist Murat Germen have the effect on you that they did on me. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Murat Germen's Muta-Morphosis... Here

Asif Naqvi's Living Design offers a less complete but easier to access showing of Germen's work... Here

An earlier post about Living Design... Here

A designer (and portfolio) worth following 

If you're interested in user interface design, here's a rather extraordinary portfolio. Jason Wilson has participated in a few projects you might recognize. 

For Apple... Here
For Adobe... Here 

For Facebook... Here 

About Wilson... Here

Have you collected your free week of 
To me, it is THE venue for learning how to use all of the top design-oriented software programs and for discovering more about the design business and its community. 
Why design education must change 

The older I get the more I realize how little I know. It's a fact of both my life and my profession. That said, I think what makes me a decent designer is that I'm always willing to learn and, for the most part, am unconcerned with making studied mistakes.

Today I want to point you to a couple of articles on Core77 by Don Norman, one of the founders of the Nielsen Norman group. They discuss the growing complexity of the design professions and a warning that we need to improve design education.

But here's the takeaway: don't wait around for the ship of education to make its slow turn. To be a great designer you're going to have to know something about design and science. Norman points to the fact that there is plenty of misinformation about our trade -- lots of it being propagated by design schools.

Why Design Education Must Change... Here
Design Education: Brilliance Without Substance... Here
About Don Norman... Here

Norman is an author of Living with Complexity... 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