Friday, December 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!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

MyFonts.Com interview with Type Designer Jeremy Dooley

Blue Goblet

From MyFonts.Com: A short interview with type designer Jeremy Dooley.

Jeremy, please tell us a little about your background and experience.
I was born to a military family in the United States, and spent most of my childhood overseas. My family did a lot of traveling, and I am sure that my exposure to other cultures has given me a broader perspective on design that many do not get to experience. I completed an undergraduate degree in graphic design, and still wanting to hone my skills even further, I was accepted into the graduate program at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I completed a master’s degree in graphic design there, and then moved to Atlanta, Georgia to work for a small medical lab startup as the communications coordinator. For the past few years I have been designing fonts in my spare time.

How did you get started in font design?
I would say I had an epiphany while working on my undergraduate degree in graphic design. I was working on a poster project; the requirements were basic – it had to feature a typeface, and use only characters or components of characters from that typeface. I chose Univers. At first, I struggled with the project, but soon stumbled on the idea to use part of the U as brackets to frame the piece. I was amazed when studying that simple U form; just one point in either direction would have made for a much less effective design; it was perfection. After that realization, I wanted to work with type till I too could design forms as well as that. I started small, trying to complete a typeface design per project to develop a more original and effective solutions. Eventually, I released some of these through MyFonts.

You’ve just released two very popular script fonts that have a Middle Eastern feel to them. How do you decide on the kind of typeface design you want to develop?
Sometimes when I am out driving around town, walking through a mall, I see just brief flashes; starts of ideas that are unique and interesting. I write these inspirations down, and they eventually become typefaces. Some of my typeface ideas have come from reading about how the dyslexic mind works, a sign seen from the wrong angle, and theories from art history.

Can you tell us the process you go through in designing a font?
Once I have the basic idea, from one of the “flashes” I mentioned above, I sketch out just a few characters. Through a process of abstraction, erasure and addition, I eventually have the forms I need to start developing the other characters. I set parameters, or rules for the design, (rounded forms, a specific tail, etc.) and go from there. I find that I like to keep the forms as simple as possible. You can even see this in my script face, Yevida.

You started out as DooleyType but just recently re-invented yourself as Insigne Design. Can you tell us what led you to make this decision?
As my typefaces have grown in popularity, I have tried to increase the quality of my offerings and work towards launching a full time operation. The change in name from DooleyType to Insigne is a way to signify this new, more intense focus. There is something for everyone at Insigne, but right now, I especially want freelancers and other self-employed design professionals to be able to use our unique, high quality typeface designs. As such, all of our faces are very affordable.

What happened to the font Jon Cary?
A casualty of the “reinvention” above. It just didn’t fit with where I wanted to go.

What typeface designs are you working on now? When can we expect to see them at MyFonts?
I have a list of ideas that I keep. I reorder them based on criteria like what the market is looking for, but primarily, I try to look for new challenges and break new ground. So far, my offerings include sans serifs, serifs, futuristic looking faces, grungy faces and a few scripts. I don’t like to do similar faces or ideas back to back – I want to work on new challenges, and return to ideas with new knowledge learned from those other projects.

What’s your favorite typeface, and why?
Ever since the poster project I mentioned earlier, I have been a huge fan of Adrian Frutiger. Of his typefaces, I like Frutiger the best, but am also a fan of Meridien and Vectora.

What font do you never, ever want to see used again?
Well, there are many overused (but still amazing) fonts that I was going to pick on, but I guess I will have to jump on the bandwagon and go with Arial. Arial has few redeeming qualities and it’s an easy target.

Do you work full-time as a font designer?
On December 5th I will be leaving my job in a medical laboratory to design typefaces full time. Expect more high quality designs from Insigne, and a lot more of them than in the past.

Thanks, Jeremy! We look forward to seeing your new typeface designs soon!

New Today: Daily Podcast is the InDesign Podcast #35 - good tips for your InDesign usage. Daily Video is more great motion graphic demo reel goodness.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mac-Case Messenger Review

Any of you guys who plan on continuing through the communication design program and working as a graphic designer are likely to buy a macbook or macbook pro (why haven't you already?) As soon as you dig it out of Apple's awesome packaging you'll realize that you need some new kind of package to put it into - something to protect the laptop as well as carry any cables and other extras, plus all of your other gadgets, and pens, and paper, and whatever you find yourself carrying around. For my freelance work I tend to try to carry anything I might need in a meeting or while working in the coffee shop so that I won't be stuck when I really need to get something done. I recently received a messenger bag from Mac-Case called, appropriately enough, the Mac-Case Messenger, and it is definitely meeting my needs for a mobile-office-in-a-bag.

When I set out to find the right bag for me it was important for it to do have a few particular features: 1) some sort of iPod integration, since I can't leave home without one. 2) a sleeve that would protect my MacBook. 3) Ample organization pockets so that I would have places for things like a digital camera, my power adapter, other cables, flat-files, CD-Rs, a small notebook, and a place to put a bottle of water and 4) handles and straps that make the bag easy to carry and move around. Finding a bag that provides all of these features was a bigger job than I expected, especially if you are looking for something that is Mac-specific in terms of the sleeve sizes, iPod-specific pocket, etc.

The Mac-Case Messenger meets many of these desires head-on, and leaves a couple of them lacking. A few of the features that drew me to the Mac-Case bag right away were the provided MacCase Sleeve and the iPod pocket with headphone passthrough. I was also curious to see how the dayglo green BrightSight interior would work to make the bag easier to navigate on the inside.

The MacCase Sleeve is perfectly fitted for my 13" MacBook, keeps it snuggly protected, shows the sweet Apple logo through the small logo-window on the front of the bag, and fits perfectly into the "sleeve-sleeve" sewn into the inside of the bag that keeps the MacBook held safely against the padded back side of the bag, so that as I swing the bag around like a madman trying to get in and out of my car, the laptop isn't swinging around wildly inside the bag, and when it does bang into something, the Mac is secured against every piece of padding available. This is the highlight of the Mac-Case bag in my opinion - top-quality Apple specific care of your laptop.

The built-in iPod integrated pocket is also a bonus, as it allows quick and easy access to the iPod (The pocket is on the outside of the bag) and easy access to the music in the iPod via a small hole in the pocket that allows your headphone cable to pass through. The BrightSight interior of the bag is equally impressive - the dayglo acts a reflector and sends light into all corners of the interior of the bag, so that you can clearly see the cracker that you dropped into it.

The Mac-Case Messenger's pockets are not as helpful as I had hoped. There are a number of pockets under the flap of the bag, only one of those actually zipperable, and one large pocket on the flap of the bag. This did not satisfy my hope for pockets for cables, digital camera, power adapter, CD-Rs and flat-files - but maybe I should take the hint and think about carrying less in my laptop bag. As I tried to include all of that junk into the bag, I resorted to placing all of my cables into a large zippable plastic bag and storing those inside the inner zippered pocket along with a couple of other odds and ends. I did not have room in the Mac-Case pockets for either my power adapter or my digital camera.

I was also surprised to see that the zippered pockets are just barely big enough to hold a letter size magazine, and not quite tall enough for a letter size file folder with a tab on top, so carrying flat files for me has to happen on the interior of the bag, not inside any of the individual pockets. With that said, once I did get everything tucked away into the pockets that were there, I was left with the ample amount of storage space inside the bag, which give plenty of room to carry flat files, power adapters, cameras, books and magazines, and even a small dog if you have one to get rid of.

My gripe with the Mac-Case Messenger is the lack of a handle on the top of the bag. The only thing on the outside of the closed bag to get a grip on is the shoulder strap. The strap is well padded and easily adjustable, but for everyday use in my case it is extended to a fairly long length. This works great when the bag is over my shoulder, but when I need to pick it up and put it into my car, or take it out of the car, the lack of a small handle on top of the bag leaves me grasping for a handhold where there isn't one. I suppose since it is called a "messenger" bag - as in bicycle messenger - then I shouldn't gripe about problems getting it in and out of the car, but it seems that most of Mac-Case's products do include a sturdy top-of-the-bag handle, and adding one of those to the messenger bag would make it more functional for my use.

All in all the Mac-Case Messenger is well worth the money, well constructed, well thought out, and nicely designed to integrate with mac-specifics like your MacBook and your iPod. I would recommend it, especially if they add a top-handle down the road. If you do purchase one, you might also want to buy one of their Mac-Case Power Pouches so that you have a place to put the cables that I'm carrying around in a ziploc bag. If you're in the market for a bag and considering the Mac-Case Messenger, let me know and you can take a look at mine to help you decide.

New Today: The Digital Photography Podcast #26 is the Daily Podcast - Daily Video is a cool stop motion music video for Heart Made of Sound.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Super Font Families from Fonts.Com

Fonts.Com discusses the value of super font families: typefaces that include a plethora of additional weights and styles that allow you to create more interesting and varied design without overdoing it with different fonts.

New Today: Band of the Week this week = The Drones. YouTube this week is a sublime video of pinstriping. If you've never seen this type of artwork being created before, you should give it a look. I bet these guys stay away from caffeine. Daily Podcast today is Piet Schreuders part 2 on Type Radio. Daily Video is Photoshop Master Bert Monroy giving his secret for adding some bling to an illustration in Photoshop.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Unique, Affordable Apartment / Apartments For Rent in Roanoke, Va

Please spread the word - if you or anyone you know is looking for a place to live, watch the video above to get the youtube tour of the apartment I have for rent in Old Southwest. It's cute and cheap, but the landlord is a real pain in the neck. You can get more information about it at

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Veer's Top Ten Type Stories

Check out these fine fonts from Veer
- not inexpensive, but some are beautiful.

Also check out this email from Natasha Taylor, Advisor to the Student Newsletter Editors and Staff:

The Student Newsletter is in search of student editors and staff for the
Spring 2007 semester and beyond. This is a great learning experience and
resume builder. I'm looking for students to work in the following positions:

*Creative editor - Designs newsletter and lays out stories. Could also
illustrate or help with images/photographs. Perfect for a graphic
design/art student.
*Copy editor - Corrects grammar and style.
*Managing editor - Assigns news stories to staff. Schedules meetings and
organizes/determines content of newsletter.

You can contact her here if you are interested in any of these positions.

New Today: Daily Video is a tutorial for using the Adobe Web Gallery feature, Daily Podcast is part two of the Rookie Designer's interview with Ken Barber

Design Matters Season Four Announced

Check out the line-up for the fourth season, the weekly radio show al about design and hosted by Debbie Millman. If you have never listened to the show you need to check it out - great guests and great design-related discussion.


January 5th Season Premiere: Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink; and Joyce Gladwell, author of Brown Face, Big Master

January 12th: Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow and All Marketers Are Liars, among others

January 19th: Ze Frank, host of The Ze Frank Show

January 26th: Design & Magazines: Joyce Rutter Kaye, Editor-in-Chief, Print; Michela Abrahms, Publisher, Dwell; Barbara DeWilde, Design Director, House Beautiful; Laetitia Wolff, Editorial Director, Surface

February 2nd: Doyald Young, Master Typographer and author of The Art of the Letter and Logotypes, and Letterforms: Handlettered Logotypes and Other Typographic Considerations

February 9th: Elliott Earls, Designer, Performance Artist, Designer-in Residence and Head of the Design Department at Cranbrook Academy of Art

February 16th: Marty Neumeier, author of Brand Gap, Zag and The Brand Dictionary

February 23rd: Minda Gralnek, Executive Vice President, Creative, Target Corporation

March 2nd: Andrea Deszo, Designer, Artist and Educator

March 19th: Jakob Trollback, Designer and Filmmaker

March 23rd, Maira Kalman, Designer, Illustrator, Educator, Author and National Treasure

March 30th, Luba Lukova, Designer and Illustrator

April 6th: Jeffrey Keyton, Senior Vice President, On-Air Design and Off-Air Creative, MTV

April 13th: Barbara Kruger, Artist

April 20th: Janet Froelich, Creative Director, The New York Times Magazine

April 27th, Louise Fili, Designer, Illustrator, Educator, and author of Typology: Type Design from the Victorian Age to the Digital Age, Design Connoisseur: An Eclectic Collection of Imagery and Type and the recently published Stylepedia: A Guide to Graphic Design Mannerisms, Quirks and Conceits (all with Steve Heller)

May 4th, Steve Heller, Art Director, Educator and Author of over 100 books on Design

May 11th, Luke Hayman, Designer, Partner at Pentagram Design

May 18th, Alice Twemlow, Design Critic, Eduator and Author of What Is Graphic Design For?

May 25th: Jan Wilker and Hjalti Karlsson, karlssonwilker, inc. Designers and Authors of Tell Me Why

June 1st: Alan Dye, Design Director, Apple

June 8th: Josh Liberson and Ethan Trask, Designers, Helicopter, Inc.

June 15th: Bad Boys of Design IV: Marc Alt, Mike Essl, Alberto Rigau and others

June 22nd: Dave Eggers, Founder of McSweeney's and author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, YouShall Know Our Velocity! and the recently published What is the What

June 29th: Season Four Finale: Shepard Fairey, Designer, Illustrator and author of Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey and Shepard Fairey: Post No Bills

New Today: Today's daily video is some of the most cativating animation I've seen in a long time - Viking Kittens... Daily Podcast is the 2 minute Photoshop Tip - depth of field.

R.R. Donnelley Jobs and Internships

For those of you who were in the classes that took the trip to R.R. Donnelley to tour their book printing facility (who knew that all of Marvel's graphic novels were printed in Salem?) you might be interested in what type of jobs or internships might be available there. Job opportunities are posted on the R.R. Donnelley web site - and currently there are three available in Salem, although they require experience that nobody reading this web site has I bet.. Temp work at Donnelley is handled through Kelly and they would be the best people to check with, their number is 540-774-8300. I'll let you know if I find out about any internship opportunities there or anywhere else.

New Today:Daily Podcast is the Digital Photography show #25, Daily Video is Parasol Island - make sure you watch the movie - I can't believe people get paid to do that stuff. That kind of job didn't exist when I was in college - and I am NOT old enough to be your father - so you guys are lucky because you have these choices for careers that look like loads of fun - punks...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ads of the World and more...

Ads of the World
is one of many web sites popping up around the net that showcase some of the most creative and interesting advertising being created. Another good one is The Ad Feed. There are many more, great places to look for inspiration or just to see what's rising to the top of the ad blitz.

New Today: Cold War Kids is this weeks band of the week - YouTube is a great video about Typography School - Daily Podcast is InDesign Secrets podcast #34, and Daily Video is a wild animated music video for Out on the Water.