Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Designing Ironic Sans

David at Ironic Sans
, one of my favorite blogs based on both design and content, has posted a walkthrough of the process he used to design the look of his blog. I really like the way his site looks, so getting the chance to see how he put it together it a real bonus. Check it out.

New today: Daily Podcast is the Rookie Designer talking about coyright, and Daily video is another one of these crazy showreels - this one for Dstrukt.

Monday, October 30, 2006

See all of your typefaces on paper.

Click the image or follow the link at the bottom of this post to a post on creativetechs.com listing a couple of type specimen book utilities. These softwares will allow you to print examples of all of the typefaces in your collection, or of just a few of them if you want to. There are lots of ways to do this, but these offered have some features that improve the ease and the design of vreating a font book for your desk.

New Today: All sorts of stuff - Band of the week is Hand on the Plow - the MP3 is a podcast interview with them thta showcases some of their music. YouTube this week is a unique time lapse video of a week's worth of drawing on a wall. Daily Podcast is part 2 of the Type Radio Chip Kidd interview, and Daily Video is Photoshop TV episode 50.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Photojojo shows you how to make your own planet

is a super cool web site that helps you do cool stuff with your digital photos. This tutorial shows you how to use photoshop to turn your photographs into a little tiny pluto sized non-planet like the one above.

New today: Daily Podcast is Be a Design Cast 23 - interview with Kit Hinrichs from Pentagram in San Francisco. Daily video is an Indesign Conference podcast showing you how to work with prices in In Design.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Working on campus while in college

Follow this link
to a post titled "How to get the most from a college job" on the "getting rich slowly" web site. I worked a student job whil in college as a computer lab attendant, and it was a great way to earn money while learning to use the softwares used in design. There are students job opportunities available on campus - anyone interested in an art department job should send me an email.

New Today: Daily video for today is Photoshop TV Episode 49, Daily Podcast is UsedWigs Radio with Greg Hy of Happy Cog.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The 25 best free fonts

As a student with a new Mac you guys are probably looking high and low for free fonts to fill up your font menu with. As you might have already noticed, or will notice soon enough, you often get what you pay for when you get a font for free - poorly designed typefaces or font files that don't always cooperate with your computer. Vitaly Friedman, in his excellently designed blog, shares a list of the 25 top free fonts. Check'em out.

New Today: The daily podcast is part one of a three part interview with Chip Kidd on TypeRadio, Daily Video is another Photshop Tutorial, this one for fixing an old and faded photograph.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Three job opps and other new stuff.

Lots of design related jobs over the weekend in the Roanoke Times:

As a key member of our team you''ll design, develop and maintain websites for one of the Southeast''s leading regional publishers. Working knowledge of Adobe software such as Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop a must. Must be
able to develop database integrated web applications with an understandin of SQL. Also, functions as email administrator. Must be able to troubleshoot and handle other technical concerns. Permanent Full Time.
Experienced only send cover letter and resume to smayhew@leisurepublishing.com or by fax 989-7603.

Web Designer
Roanoke, VA marketing company is seeking a creative and energetic Web Designer to create and implement designs for company eCommerce web site as well as ongoing email marketing campaigns. Ideal candidate will have 2 or more years of web and email design experience, be well-organized, knowledgeable about search engine optimization, highly creative, tech savvy, have excellent communication skills, and thrive in a fast paced environment. Email resume to webdesigner817@yahoo.com

Virginia Candle Company is currently seeking an experienced, talented, versatile and highly organized Graphic Design Specialist to manage a diverse range of projects, including print, Web, advertising, signage and other initiatives, from concept through execution.

Manage graphic design, layout, printing and production catalogs, brochures, postcards, product labels, sales flyers, box designs, hangtags etc.

Research and interface with vendors

Strong interest in product and packaging design

Manage advertising schedule & deadlines

Web design

Working knowledge of graphic design software such as Quark, Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand, Adobe Acrobat, PowerPoint, In Design

Project management skills highly desired to join New Product Development team
Ideal candidate must be an upbeat professional with a can-do attitude. We are seeking an individual who can meet new challenges with an optimistic response and professionalism. Self-motivated, team player attitude is essential to this position.
Virginia Candle offers competitive salary and comprehensive benefits including health, dental, life, company matched IRA, employee discounts, paid holidays and vacation. Please forward resume with salary history and portfolio samples to Virginia Candle Company Attn: HR, 1000 Dillard Dr. Forest, VA 24551 or email to HR@virginiacandle.com. Or fax to 434-385-6300 No calls pls. EOE

New Today: American Dumpster for Band of the Week - they are playing the Coffee Pot the first weekend in November. Youtube this week is an important video for any of you taking math courses: Maths. Today's podcast is the Digital Photography show and a discussion of color space, and the daily video is a tutorial for Photoshop's histograms.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tech Squared Web Hosting - where are you?

For more than a couple of months now I have been working on a web site redesign for on of the major tourist destinations in Roanoke, a complete overhaul of their site including the introduction of a gift shop for online shopping. The web site is to be hosted by a local web hosting provider, Tech Squared. Or at least that's what they say they are going to do. The site is completely developed, completed by myself and a partner and with the help and cooperation of the entire staff at the tourist destination - however Tech Squared has stalled the whole project. The Shop aspect of the site requires software to be installed on the server at Tech Squared - and for more than three weeks now they have failed to respond to emails, phone calls from myself and the client, and all-in-all completely failed to provide the type of support that one would expect from a company who provides this service. This will be the last web site that I work with that is hosted on their servers - and I'll have a compelling and straightforward story to share with clients in the future who might choose to use Tech Squared for their hosting. There are far too many options for hosting out there to settle for the kind of service I have received from Tech Squared. Be warned!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Photoshop Brushes
Grunge, textures and tons more

The PSBrushes web site
offers free downloads of a pile of free additions to your photoshop brush palette. A nice, easy, and free way to add some individuality to your photoshop work.

New today: The Daily Podcast - 50th episode of Rookie Designer - when's that guy gonna go back to the basics? And a great demo reel from Chico Jofilson for the Daily Video.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Science of Sleep

This looks like a good movie - has anyone seen it? Lots of homegrown typography in all of the material I've seen for it so far.

New Today: The Art Directors Club Podcast on Designism - Graphic Design for Social Change - for the Daily Podcast and the Daily Video is the Honey Reel - a short animation - scroll down to see it - an hour of music on the same page too. Kind of weird

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Read this Read this Read this - Excellent advice for students from Core77

Here's a great post from core77 - the "What I wish I knew when I was in college" kind of thing. Also new today a must see animation called the Tale of How for the Daily Video - and a must hear Herbie Hancock set for the Daily Podcast.. Check'em out!

All You Ever Needed to Know You Learned in...
1000 words for design students
by Allan Chochinov

There are a million things to learn in design school, but what about the things you need to know "about" design school? In an effort to be clear and concise—something your teachers are always bugging you to do—here are exactly 1000 words of advice for design students (clichés included):

Keep your ear to the ground.
The best gossip is any gossip. Start there and then do your homework. If a course or a teacher is reputed to be great, odds are that there's something there. Same for the inverse, but don't be dissuaded by advance reviews of a difficult or challenging teacher or course—sometimes the best fit is a tight one.

Do your homework.
There is no question that in design school, what you put in is what you get out. It's not exciting and it's not revelatory, but it really does turn out that the students who work the hardest and commit themselves the fullest end up with the best stuff. Inspiration and perspiration. You need 'em both.

School is expensive. Come on time. Stay late.
College in many countries is prohibitively expensive, so make sure you're getting your money's worth. Arrive on time and insist that your teachers do too. Stay after class and ask questions; find out about more than just what the class covered. Don't be a pest, but don't be a pushover either. Why? Here's why:

We work for you, not the other way around.
Teachers have an annoying habit of setting up the power dynamic to make you feel like they're in charge. I hate to roll out the "you are consumers of an educational product" argument, but the reality is that teachers, administrators, librarians and deans are all there in the first place because you decided to attend. And they really do work for you. So be clear about what you want and need, and team up with other students to make sure that those desires are communicated to the people in power. Use the library; ask for help. Make us work for you. You've already paid, right?

Hone your presentation skills.
Walking the walk and talking the talk are different skills. And no matter how good a designer you are, without a certain level of presentation skills, nobody will ever know. Practice public speaking, present your head off in class, and write, write, write. There is no underestimating the harm to your future that bad presentation skills can unleash. Really. You could stop reading this now and you'd have the best stuff.

Photograph everything.
If you do one thing in preparation for the new school year, buy a camera. We miss the old 35mm SLRs, but we're realists and recognize the irresistible benefits, instant gratification and economies of digital. Buy as many megapixels as you can, and if you can swing one of those sweet prosumer SLR digitals, do it. Make sure you bring your camera to class (not the expensive one though—your roommate's) and have fellow students photograph you presenting your work, conducting interviews, that kinda thing. Finally, have others take pictures of you making your models up in the shop. When you've looked at enough portfolios (car, toothbrush, chair, toy, form study, car, toothbrush, toy…), those "process" photos are positively the most exiting thing in your book to a jaded interviewer. "Did you make this model?" Well, yes. I did.

Do more; consider auditing a class.
"The people who do more are people who get more done." Duh. It's no secret that busy people often get a lot accomplished, and this is the same for students. Take an extra-curricular, non-design class (especially if grades aren't important/necessary for you), or, at the very least, consider auditing one course per semester. (Auditing a class means attending and doing the reading, but not taking up the teacher's time with homework, or taking up the class's time by asking questions. Get the word on the street, sit in during the first couple weeks of the semester, charm the pants off the teacher, and bask in the rays of someone telling you something you didn't already know. Most students aren't familiar with auditing, but it's offered in most schools.)

Read the paper.
This is the single best way to be and stay connected with the outside world. A killer-talented designer with nothing so say isn't much use to anyone (though the marketplace would expose the idealism of that argument!), and there's nothing more dangerous than an ignorant mass producer. If you live in a city that has a good newspaper, subscribe. If you don't, find a good one at your library, or read countless ones on the web for free. What's a good newspaper? The New York Times. There. That's a good one.

Get off campus.
School is great, and, after all, that's what you're doing there in the first place. But school design programs are kind of like the "official" program—the real stuff is happening by people who finished school (or often ignored it altogether), and your best investment is to connect with the communities of creative people who are doing design for a living and a life. Training in school is only part of the equation. Being submerged in the culture of design practice is where the real action is.

Don't work alone.
I know you know that design is a collaborative effort, so there's no reason why you shouldn't practice getting along with others while you're still in school. But that's not the real benefit of doing design homework with others: It's more fun. If you don't already know this, then you haven't done design work with others.

Take almost any job.
There is absolutely no replacement for the real thing, and practical experience in any design related field is more than you already have. So don't spend six months after you graduate looking for the perfect job. And, certainly, don't wait until you graduate to look for your first design job. You should be doing everything in your power to get some practical training onto your résumé and into your brain and hands before you graduate. That means helping out somewhere once a week, or bagging that summer internship. Do anything design-related. You'll be respected more by future employers, and have some chops by the time you get out.

Well, that's it for me. 1000 words of advice. But there's more out there, so with the ball rolling, why not share your own advice. Don't be shy:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Check out this very unusual web site

This Website
is really amazing, but I'm not sure where I'm going when I navigate through it - very cool though.

New stuff today: The Digital Photography Podcast, a very unusual Tetris-like Design Video, and if you didn't notice already from Sunday - Spiral System for Band of the week, and a video on You Tube about how to set type.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Digital Camera Megapixel Chart

This Chart
is related directly to a digital camera's megapixels and how large of a photo that will allow you to print, but the site also gives some good information about how to figure the printable size of any digital image.

Make a font from your handwriting - or anything else...

is a web site that allows you to print out a template, write down or create in any other way all of the letters in the alphabet, scan the temlate and send it back in so that they can create a custom typeface for you. You can now type letters in your own handwriting!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Be a Web Producer for the Roanoke Times

Web Producer
Job Code: 874
Division: The Roanoke Times
Location: ROANOKE, VA US
Travel Involved: None/Not Specified
Job Type: Full Time
Job Level: Experienced
Education: Bachelors Degree
Category: Publishing

Position Summary:
Roanoke.com, winner of ONA’s General Excellence award in 2006 and named the 2006 Best Overall Newspaper-Related Web Site by Editor and Publisher and Mediaweek magazines, is seeking an innovative and talented web producer to help us pursue journalistic and storytelling excellence.

The producer will be expected to work with reporters and editors from The Roanoke Times, as well as producers and developers from the Web site to create compelling and cutting-edge projects for Roanoke.com. When breaking news hits, this position will ensure our online coverage puts us ahead of the competition. The online content team works in the newsroom and collaborates with print staffers.

Candidates for this position will be expected to learn quickly, provide creative ideas, work collaboratively with others, and develop innovative means to attract and retain new users.

The Roanoke Times is a 97,000 circulation daily owned by Landmark Communications, which also owns The Virginian Pilot, the Greensboro News & Record, The Weather Channel and dozens of smaller dailies, weeklies and broadcast outlets. We work in a team environment and offer excellent pay, health and dental insurance, 401(k), pension plan, life insurance, tuition reimbursement and outstanding growth opportunities within Landmark.
We're located in a city that offers a great quality of life and the majestic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Roanoke Times is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Please send a letter of introduction, work samples and resume to Online Editor John Jackson, The Roanoke Times, PO Box 2491, Roanoke, VA 24010 or via email at john.jackson@roanoke.com.

Exceptional computer skills, especially with Photoshop, (X)HTML, Flash and CSS.
Familiarity with audio and video editing.
Attention to detail and a proven ability to meet multiple deadlines in a daily production environment.
An interest in emerging technology and trends and seeking creative means to apply them to the Web site.
Ability to work flexible hours, including mornings, nights and weekends.

Apply online.

Skills Desired:
Web Development -> HTML
Graphics Design -> Adobe Photoshop

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Careful with those Flickr images in your Graphic Design work

Check out this article
about a photographer who posts his work on Flickr, and a huge advertising agency that is using Flickr to find photography for their design work. The image in question in this case was never even used in an ad, only in an internal comp for an ad, but the photographer is claiming that the image was stolen from him and that the agency owes him for the commercial use of the image. What do you think that means for your use of a Flickr image in the work that you do? (Thanks to Suzanne Salzano for finding the story)

Who Needs Cable - You Tube Video Takes Over - Google or not..

How not to design a package

Via the Roanoke Times: Check out those bottles on the left - half of them are sports drinks, the other half are toilet cleaners... this is a great example of the effect that package design can have. According to the story, in the first four months of the product's availability, 94 people mistakingly drank the cleaning solution, mistaking it for a delicious beverage. Yikes!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Holy (non)Smoke!

This is a really captivating web site - not sure who put it out but it seems to be based in Colorado - hard not to keep exploring it...

Bad Book Covers

Most of the book covers on this "Bad Book Covers" website are pretty bad - most of them except for this Letters to ET cover. It's so romantic...

Perfect Entry Level Design Job in Salem

Arts GRAPHIC DESIGNER Main Street Newspapers is looking for FT or PT graphic designers...
Source: Classified Ads
Location: Roanoke, VA
Date: 10-08-2006
Main Street Newspapers is looking for FT or PT graphic designers to do ad layout and page design in our Salem office. Candidates must have strong MAC computer skills and experience with both QuarkXpress and Photoshop
Ability to meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment is a must! Enjoyable working atmosphere, good pay and full benefits package
available for FT position. Send salary requirements with resume and work samples to:
Tonya Hall Bowyer
Main Street Newspapers
PO Box 1125
Salem VA 24153
or email tonyabowyer@

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Here's a chance to get a web site design under your portfolio belt

Today I received an email from James Gardner, who is the creator of one of the sites that shows up under the "Design Blogs" section of the sidebar to this site over on the right. James lives in Boston and works for Aquent, and wrote to thank me for linking to his blog, but he also wrote to ask if I knew any eager young designers who would be interested in helping him improve the quality of the design of his site. I know lots of eager young designers, and I know a lot of you check this site fairly regularly. If you think you have the skills to help James out, and would like to give it a try, email him and see what you can work out! Great chance for a portfolio builder.