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I was watching the live rollout of Adobe's latest Creative Cloud announcements and got to thinking that the elephant in the room is the fact that Adobe is in the unusual position of somewhat undermining the businesses of the creatives who have made it so successful.

By that I mean, as they provide more and more tools to make it easier and less expensive to do bread and butter tasks, they are lowering the barriers to entry and in so doing, creating more competition amongst their audience.

This is neither a complaint or an indictment--it is simply the inevitable effect of technological change and we as creatives will simply have to find our place within the new framework and make it work.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. It gets us all back to core ideas: Storytelling, writing, designing, marketing, and so on. But it will, undoubtably, kill off a class of creatives who can no longer compete on a professional level. (As it did those who were unable to navigate the transition from paste-up, typesetting, and the darkroom.)

All that said, the good news is, the exploding, design-oriented consciousness of the everyday world will ultimately reward the competent designer.

Be well, Chuck


What do you learn about design in a design school?

I'm always curious about what we are currently teaching about marketing and design at the university level. Why? Because I think it's useful to understand that perspective. I don't know about you but I've been at this for a while so I find it useful to pull in other perspectives to ensure that my approach to things takes current, conventional thinking into account. (Not to imply that I necessarily knew all of this to begin with.)

To that end, here, from the publisher's website are two chapters from Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications, by Kenneth E. Clow and Donald Baack.

Advertising Design: Message Strategies and
Executional Frameworks (287KB PDF)...
Promotions Opportunity Analysis (1.5MB PDF)...
If you were so inclined, you could purchase the book here: Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications (6th Edition)...
What do typically you call the process of designing digital and print materials...

Art direction?
Commercial art?
Communication design?
Design?
Graphic design?
Marketing communications?
Visual arts design?

Photographs are the air we breathe

Transparent film and film processing were not available to the public until the late 1880s, so I think it's safe to say it was around that time that photography first became a part of human consciousness.

Today, photographs are the air we breath. In 2013 one source estimated Facebook users alone were uploading an average of 350 million photographs PER DAY.

How has that, how will that change our consciousness and impact our orientation to the visual and design.

The earliest surviving photograph showing a person...
The first permanent photograph was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce...
How many photos have ever been taken?...
Milestones in early photography (Kodak)...
The statistics about Facebook photography uploads comes from a white paper about Internet.org, "A global effort to make affordable Internet access available to the next five billion people." (972KB PDF)...
If you use InDesign (or QuarkXPress), you might find this useful

The idea is simple. Modifying a well-designed template is far easier than starting from scratch. My InDesign Ideabook includes 315 researched, designed, and meticulously formatted documents in a clean, simple style that it easy to build on.

The Ideabook lets you breeze through time-consuming document setup and get right to the important stuff. Instead of spending 15 minutes to create a simple layout, you'll spend 15 seconds. For complex projects-books, newsletters, catalogs, reports-you'll save HOURS.

"If you need to create winning design and your time is important to you, there is no better investment than Chuck Green's Idea Book. I write copy and create marketing materials for small business, and Chuck's world class layouts have me up and running in minutes instead of hours. I can't recommend this book enough!" Kory Basaraba, Copywriter and Consultant, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

For Adobe InDesign
For QuarkXPress
If you don't find punctuation scintillating, look no further

If primes, ampersands, and solidi don't float your boat, move on -this post is not for you. If, however, you find such minutia interesting and useful, you have a great treat in store. Meet Keith Houston, enjoy his wonderful blog, order your copy of his book, Shady Characters-The secret life of punctuation.

Thanks to Jim Green for pointing us to it.

The blog...
Where else will you find a three-part article on the pilcrow?...
About Keith Houston and Shady Characters...
A review of the book by Kory Stamper, a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster (the plot thickens)...
My tutorial on the 256 characters found in most fonts, The language of type...
You can purchase the book here: Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks...
Graphic design inspiration abounds in nature

Nikon's Small World website identifies itself as, "the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope."

Here's a challenge. Next time you're stuck for a stylistic direction, choose an image from Small World and use it as inspiration for the shapes, textures, and/or color palette of the project.

Small World...
Example 1...
Example 2...
Example 3...
How agencies talk with clients. A MAJOR lesson.

It's very difficult to know what's going on between Apple and its ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, but it's safe to say all things are not well between the two.

Why should we care? Because there's something to learn here. To read some of the back and forth between a mega-client and the folks it is relying on to move its message.

Apple's response to what it views as a lack of fresh work has been to bring more of its work in-house and that, to me, is an interesting idea. Does a powerhouse like Apple really need an outside business to create its advertising?

I've always thought that the justification for using people outside the organization to build the message was that they bring the insight of the outsider. But, at some point, if all you do is work on a particular account through an agency or studio, are you really an outsider?

So, for Apple, the question becomes: If you can afford to acquire all the creativity, marketing expertise, and vision money can buy, can you also buy the insight necessary to keep an independent perspective?

The Wall Street Journal article that got the party started...
Some of the emails exchanged between Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, and James Vincent, then President of TBWA/Media Arts Lab...
The result? Apple pulls more work in-house...
Other Apple insights revealed in court documents...
A court document revealed Apple's concerns about other smartphones (632KB PDF)...
Paper weights demystified

Here's a helpful chart that shows common paper weights and their equivalents in various terms. Not necessarily earth shattering, but a welcome and useful addition to my toolbox.

Paper weights demystified (448KB PDF)...
thepapermillstore.com...
Here > http://www.thepapermillstore.com/

Web designers: A few, somewhat esoteric, things you should include in your website design...

Here's an excellent post by Amit Agarwal regarding some, somewhat esoteric, components you should include in your website design.

The list...
Your photograph stinks. And you're ugly too...

Just kidding. Through his podcasts, photographer David duChemin offers, among other insights, assessments of the creative concepts and technical prowess his readers employ to compose and capture photographs. The line above is not meant as a dig, it's a compliment. I learn far more from criticism than I do praise.

As an aside, as I was watching Episode 12, it occurred to me that photographs of exotic places and unusual or adverse conditions have a kind of built-in advantage. It seems to me that the photographer's (and for that matter, the designer's) roughest challenge is to show their audience how to see something familiar differently. By that I mean, revealing life in a distant world is certainly a challenge-but if you really want to stretch, a greater feat is to produce a compelling photograph in familiar surroundings.

It's akin to design-crafting something memorable for a small business on a shoestring is tougher than building on a successful brand with a big budget.

Thanks to Chris Miller for introducing us to David duChemin and Craftandvision.com

A representative episode of About The Image...
duChemin's portfolio...
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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 Lynda.com and MyFonts.com -- that means, if you purchase something from them, I get a small commission. Comments? Suggestions? Write me at [email protected] -- Chuck Green