Friday, March 31, 2006

Virginia Western Career Center

While we're talking about jobs - make sure you check out the Virginia Western Career Center. Last week I received this email from Sandra McMinnis who is a Job Placement Officer at the center:
Good News!! Employers in the Valley are realizing that our programs and our students are great. We now have over 200 employers who are registered and posting jobs on our Website. Unfortunately, we don't have enough students to fill the jobs we have. Some of our jobs are part time, but many of our jobs are full time with the potential to build a successful career. Employers want our May graduates.

I need your help. Please encourage your students to register to post their resumes on our Website and take advantage of the many opportunities available through the Career Center. There are employers who want our students and want to give them the opportunity to earn a good living. For example, I have an employer who wants to hire two full-time employees to help with staffing this is a great chance to learn human resources from the ground up and receive training and a great beginning salary. This company does not require a specific degree, only excellent communication skills and initiative. There are other openings for electricians, CAD operators, engineering trainees, receptionists, police officers; health care providers, and a Systems Analyst; I won't go on and on with examples. Our students have choices and options at this time.

City of Roanoke "young adult job seeker database"

Roanoke, VA - The City of Roanoke's Division of Economic Development, in conjunction with the Department of Technology, has created a database to connect young adult job seekers with Roanoke businesses. Individuals are urged to visit the city Web site and complete the registration process at

"We hear all the time people saying ‘keep me in mind if you hear of anything or I sure would like to stay in this area, or my daughter is looking to come back'. What has not occurred is some entity capturing the contact information of those seekers and later following up when the opportunity does indeed exist," said special projects coordinator Stuart Mease.

Mease was hired by the city in January to create programs and events geared toward retaining and attracting young adults in the city/region. Between 1990 and 2000, according to U.S. census data, the Roanoke MSA lost nearly 8,500 young adults between the ages of 21-34 or 15% of that age group's population.

"We want to accommodate all people who want to work, live and play in Roanoke, but are having a difficult time making the transition because they have incomplete job data," he said. "Ultimately, we want everyone's children and grandchildren to have a future in Roanoke."

The database is being populated with five major categories of people - two-year and four-year college students living in the region, college alumni not living in the region, young adults currently living in the region, native sons and daughters not living in the region, and a broad other category capturing all ages and people who have no connection to the region. By obtaining the contact information of job seekers from one of these segments, the city will be able to link individuals when job opportunities exist in Roanoke.

The first stage of the process is to populate the database with job seekers. Once a critical mass is formed, Roanoke businesses will be able to tap into this resource.
"It seems the perception by young adults is that there are limited job opportunities in the region and recruiters will tell you they cannot find the talent. The two sides are not connecting through normal communication channels. Therefore, this site was created to bridge the gap."

For more information, contact Mease at

Part Time non-design job for Landmark Communications

Jessica Ulm, who works in advertising at the New River office for the Roanoke Times passes along this link to a courier job at said Christiansburg office. This isn't a design job, but if you need a part time job that might lead to a full time design job, this might be a way to get your foot in the door. Landmark is known for hiring from within, so this could be a good way to put your face in front of the right people - and design jobs open very regularly in the Roanoke office.

Lit Fuse Design

Lit Fuse Design is an interactive design studio composed of a couple of guys who seem to have a real talent for interactive motion video for the web - check out their very interesting although repeat-visit-averse web site here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Floatutorial - CSS tutorials about Floats.

is a group of nine simple tutorials concerning the use of floats in CSS layouts. We haven't touched floats in the CSS portion of Comm Design II, so for those of you who'd like some extra credit, in any of my classes, work through any of these tutorials and show me your finished work.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Curves vs. Levels in Photoshop

This recent post on Designorati discusses the benefits of using Curves over Levels for color and tonal range corrections in Photoshop. There is no question as far as I'm concerned that Curves gives you a more specific ability to control the presence and contrast of individual ranges of each color channel in an image, but the important question to ask yourself as a student is: "Am I using either?" If you don't have an opinion about whether curves or levels is the adjustment for you, then it's a sure bet that your images are not looking the best that they possibly can.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The International Type Index

The International Type Index
is an Index of possibly all existing fonts in the world. This database is named the International Type Index (I.T.I.), and includes freeware, shareware and commercial fonts. Any individual can add fonts to the database, review them, and search the database to view the fonts, rate them, read reviews, and to find a link to a download for the font. There are also a few valuable tutorials, including this one about the history of bitmap fonts.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

If You Can Point And Click With A Mouse, You Can Make $100,000 A Year Or More As A Desktop Graphic Designer!

"You don’t even have to be able to draw a straight line —
the computer does everything for you.

You can work from home, set your own hours, and have every job be different and challenging.

I make a six-figure income even raising
three children at home!

Read this letter and see if this career suits you, too. If it does, we might even give you your first job…"

There ya go!

Ironic Sans and the Pre-Pixelated T-Shirt

Ironic Sans is an interesting blog filled with all sorts of ideas and observations, as well as a series of posts about animated manhattan. The image on the left is from a post about an idea for "pre-pixelated clothing for reality shows" which is too funny and an idea I wish I'd thought of first.

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards '05

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Each year since 2000 the museum has awarded the best design with the National Design Awards. Check out the site for the '05 awards.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Polaroid Photography Collective

The Polaroid Photography Collective
is pretty self explanatory - a collective of polaroid photography. There are, though, some amazing photographs on this site. Check it out.

Debbie Millman of Design Matters

Debbie Millman is the host of Design Matters - the weekly radio show that I regularly post as a podcast of the day. She is also the managing partner and president of the design division at Sterling Group, (recognize that logo anyone?) one of the US's leading brand identity firms, as well as many other things - just take a quick look at her profile to get an idea of how varied her talents and experience are. If you haven't listened to an episode of Design Matters yet, you should, as there are not many other ways to listen to so focussed and relevant an interview as those that she conducts each week on her show.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

20 Best Photography Websites.

The Favourite Website Awards is a site that showcases the best of the web, including a daily site of the day. They also post articles collecting categories of sites that are notable, including this one listing the top 20 photography sites on the web. Jimmy McGrath is a very interesting one of the twenty for graphic designers, but the list as a whole is varied enough to appeal to anyone.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A mini magazine about type

The Thinkbox. hidden somewhere in the depth of the site for typebox, a group of graphic and font designers, was an apparantly short lived but very interesting mini-magazine about type and typography. If you're taking typography this semester, check out Typographic History at a glance.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pix Channel

Pix Channel
serves up free video documentaries with some of the world's best photographers. I count 19 available so far, with more slated to come in the future.

Photoshop tutorials and other info

Photoshop Support
features free Photoshop tutorials and links to free Photoshop brushes, plugins and resources.

Select hair in Photoshop

One of the most valuable techniques for selecting a person in Photoshop, this tutorial shows you the secret for making a quality selection of whispy hair. Must read.

Tweak your CSS, freak

CSS Tweak is a web page that shrinks your CSS files for you. I uploaded the CSS for this page and its file size shrank by 23%.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The dangers of Spec work.

The launch of the No-Spec campaign reminded me of an experience I've had that points to the danger of speculative designing. In 1999, after moving to Roanoke from Radford to work as Art Director for Leisure Publishing Company, I decided it was time to dive head first into the freelance world as well. I was new to town and didn't know anyone, so I hit the street looking for freelance clients.

At the time one of my friends from college was working downtown at a small restaurant called "Chris' Big Dog" which had recently opened and had no visual identity. I met with the owner, who had also attended RU and who I'd met on several occasions, and we discussed the possibility of my putting together a brand identity for his business. I let him know I'd bring him some ideas in a week and he could decide whether or not he liked what he saw.

With very little experience in branding or logo creation, I set out to create what in hindsight was a mighty rough looking logo for the Big Dog business. After creating an Illustrator file from my initial sketches, I placed the cleaned up logo on a number of speculative uses for his new identity: bumper stickers, business cards and the like. I met with the Owner (Chris) again and showed him my work, and left the mock ups with him so that he could suggest any changes that he felt might be needed for the work to suit him.

One week later I stopped in for a hot dog and to check in to see if he'd reached any conclusion about the work. It turned out that he had.... the logo I had created was displayed ubiquitously throughout the place: on the menus, on the wall, on the door, on table fliers.. everywhere. I had no idea what to do, and Chris was nowhere to be seen.

In the end, my inexperience and eagerness caused the loss of my own creative control and product, and my only payment was the 150 or so hot dogs that my sympathetic friend slid across the counter every time I stopped in to look at the stolen work (Thanks Christian!) While some of the dangers of Spec work are a bit hard to visualize, this one is easy to see. Creating Spec work can render your work completely worthless, and give a dishonest businessperson a free ride.

This experience poses two questions: How can a young designer get enough work to establish a strong portfolio and a solid foundation of clients? And what would you do in the above situation to deal with the theft of your work?

Friday, March 17, 2006

360º Panoramas

The above image is the Yulonghe river at Yangsuo in Guilin, China. From the site where this is posted: "Guilin was originally a vast expanse of sea until about one hundred and ninety million years ago, when, owing to the movement of the earth crust, the whole area rose and became land. The Limestone, weathered and eroded by water, became today's fantastic stone forests, peaks, underground streams and caves, thus giving unique features to Guilin's scenery.It is the typical Karst formation."
Click the image to see a 360º panorama of that scene.. really cool.. from, a site loaded with tons of these 360º images.


A short but informative explanation of what the Anti-Aliasing functions in Photoshop are there for. If you're not sure what Anti-Aliasing is, this is a good read.

Layout Gala

The Layout Gala
is a collection of 40 CSS layout templates that are ready to be customized with your text and graphics. No point in redesigning the wheel if you only need a two or three column layout. This is a good resource to bookmark.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Well look at that...

Second new logo for Quark in six months: “Quark listened to the feedback we received from the design community in relation to our re-branding initiative in September and decided to create a new logo that is both an evolution of our visual identity and a strong representation of the new Quark,”

From QuarkVsIndesign

25 Best Free Quality Fonts

German designer Vitaly Friedman scoured the web for the 25 best free, professional looking fonts. Great list with links to download them all here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Lost World of Joseph Pulitzer

A glimpse of newspaper page layout and illustration of 100 years ago: "But what made this vivid copy sing was its graphic and typographical presentation. Pulitzer's people bulldozed the dreary, gray newspaper design template. The World ran headlines across a couple of columns, not just one, or completely across the page if it really wanted to provoke readers. Halftone photos, dramatic and comic illustrations, inset graphics, hand-lettered headlines, and buckets of color enlivened these artful pages."

Read it here.

My digital picture frame/jukebox

You know you want one...


No-Spec is an initiative to educate designers and people who hire designers about the dangers of Spec work. If you're not sure what Spec work is, here is a good description. This blog was just launched last week, so it is still in its infancy, but it's already gotten a lot of attention including this interesting post by Debbie Millman, host of Design Matters.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Typography Zoo

Bembo's Zoo is straight out of typography class - an animal for all of the letters in the alphabet, created completely out of the letters in the animal's name.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Holy sidebar blogman!

I added a pile of stuff to the sidebar to the right over spring break. I think maybe I got a little obsessed, but anyway.. the new stuff is:
The Daily Podcast, which will be a new design related podcast every school day - probably not on weekends.
The Daily Video - a new design related video every school day
The band of the week - a new band, um, every week..
Link Resources - the newest design related sites I've bookmarked, as well as a link to all of my bookmarks, categorized by keywords.
New Flickrs - Shameless self promotion #1 - the newest photos I've added to Flickr
Hit The Road - Shameless self promotion #2 - the newest posts on the Hit The Road web site, either this week's list for Inside Out, or hopefully a music video every day... we'll see...
Reading List - the newest books I've added to the Reading List (updated soon) and a link to the rest of the list (updated already.)

I'm doing a lot of work every day to make this site valuable to whoever happens to be interested enough to stop by and look. If you like what I'm sticking up here, please send me an email and let me know, because eventually the novelty will wear off, and it would help to know people dig it.

Sign Shop Design Job

Graphic Designer & Vinyl application. Previous sign experience a plus. Software includes Illustrator, PhotoShop, & Flexi7. Competitive pay & benefit package. Call between 8-4:30, 345-4031.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Design Job in Chicago

Position: Art director
Date posted: 2/25/2006
Company: Arc Worldwide, Chicago

Job description/requirements:
Arc Worldwide has 42 offices in 37 countries and is part of Paris based Publicis Groupe, the world's fourth largest marketing and communications company.  Arc is currently looking for talented Art Directors to join the interactive practice at our Chicago Headquarters. We seek an individual with a strong foundation in graphic design, and a comprehensive understanding of interactive marketing. The ideal candidate will be able to effectively partner with account management partners, to deliver work that is on-strategy and inspiring.  

• BFA or BA in graphic design/visual communications or interactive media
• Minimum of 2 years experience in interactive design
• Expert knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator
• Working knowledge of Flash and HTML

Friday, March 10, 2006

Design Job from Roanoke Times Classifieds

Now accepting applications for full-time position. Experience and/or degree required. Working knowledge of Corel, Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop. Competitive pay and benefits. Seeking individual looking for long term employment with a well established but growing screen printing company. Apply in person, application deadline March 15.
Eleven West, 6598 New River Road, 639-9319

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Downtown Roanoke Miniature

Downtown, originally uploaded by idzyn.

Tilt-Shift Fake of Downtown Roanoke.

Hit The Road for March 9th

If you like to see live music and are dissapointed with what the local music scene has to offer, then check out Hit The Road, which is a column I write for Inside Out in the Roanoke Times every week. This is the rough version I send to them, so it may include events that were cut during production of the printed version.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Media Boom

Media Boom is an internet design firm based in Guilford, Connecticut. They have an impressive portfolio and clientele, but I'm most impressed by the slick navigation of their web site. Ch check it out.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Design Matters 3/3/06

Design Matters for last week. Debbie Millman interviews book cover designer Carin Goldberg. Link to it in iTunes here or just click here to listen.

Style Linked Fonts

As you should know, simply clicking the "B" or "I" in Quark's Measurements Palette or in the Style menu is not an acceptable way to style text with bold or italics. If you don't understand why this is the case, check out this article from

Monday, March 06, 2006

Band of the Week: Innaway

From Spin: "Southern California's Innaway makes slippery music; the kind that's difficult to classify and relaxing enough to let you slip in and out of attentiveness and fall into a perfect ambient state. Their self-titled album is a mixture of old fashioned psychedelia with electronic influences and bluesy riffs that give Innaway its unique sound." Link to them on iTunes, MySpace, or click here to listen.

Design Meltdown

Design Meltdown is a site that divides and discusses web design by focussing on individual trends in design and gives specific examples of how those trends are addressed. Examples include: Green, 3d Worlds, Ornate Elements, Web Typography, Columns.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

the Art of DeTouch

The Art of DeTouch shows some very interesting comparisons between an original photo and its retouched counterpart. Some of this is really incredible. Watch the change in the eyes of the first example. Before and After images are compared algorithmically pixel by pixel to generate visualizations of the alterations.

Real Life Simpsons Intro

Check out this real life version of the Simpsons intro. Looks pretty good, but they missed Maggie's price at the grocery store...

Archive Type

Archive Type finds 19th century type in old books and prints and digitizes them so that you can use them in all of their old-school looking glory.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tilt-Shift Photography

Here's my shot at a tilt-shift photography fake. This is a shot taken from the Walnut Avenue bridge when Roanoke flooded in September '04. Does it look like a photograph of a train-set model? A very informative site about how real tilt-shift photography works is here. Examples of other tilt-shift fakes here and instructions on how to do it here.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hillman Curtis Portrait Series

You've all probably seen this work by Hillman Curtis, but I thought it would be fun to have these guys staring out of the page all weekend. Also it looks like Hillman has added a whole pile of videos to his web site, and he's recently put out a book about creating short films for the web, as well as been interviewed on Design Matters. Good stuff. (geez check out the interviews page of his site: a ton of great interviews including this one which is an audio interview packaged in a very interesting multimedia format.)

Ten Things you need in your Portfolio

From Be A Design Group: A list of Ten Things Every Student Needs in Their Portfolio. How does your portfolio hold up to this list?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

MS iPod packaging

Microsoft Redesigns the iPod package.
Rumor is this was crashing browsers - so now you gotta click to get it: Get a better browser, michael.

Creativity in Quark

I'm a little late on this one, but Quark in the not too distant past released their new branding identity, a green Qish shape that is no doubt one component of their effort to finally come around and try to compete with the InDesign upstart. Shortly after that many different comparisons began to be drawn between Quark's new logo and several other logos. This link takes you to an article on about the snafu and shows the many logos that are nearly identical to Quark's "new" one. What do you guys think about this? Should Quark trash the logo and start over? Did one of the most prominent companies in the design industry rip off someone else's logo? And isn't appropriation a long standing tradition in Design and in creative arts in general? Here's a link to a discussion about precisely that topic.

New Apple toys

Apple yesterday released a couple of new products. If you haven't already heard: The new Intel Mac Mini is now available and up to 4 times faster than the previous mini. If you've never looked one over, the mini is perfect for people who don't want to spend a whole lot of money on a new computer, and already have a USB keyboard and Mouse as well as a display from a previous computer. If you are serious about graphic design you need a Macintosh, and for as little as $600 a Mini might get you started. Apple also released the iPod Hi-Fi - a speaker system built exclusively for (any model of ) the iPod. It even works on batteries or AC so you can rock the iPod Ghetto-blaster style on your shoulder if you want. See it below: