December 2010 Archives
Jessica Hische has created a handy, one page guide to Twitter - Mom, this is how Twitter works. - which you might also like to share with non-moms.
In case you missed it, there are just 24 hours left to avail yourself of the opportunity to purchase a copy of Khoi Vinh’s lovely Basic Maths WordPress theme at a 30% discount.
From the hands of Matt Dempsey comes Comic Sans Criminal, a nice set of slides with the aim of ‘helping people like you learn to use Comic Sans appropriately’. With such an important message (which we are long-standing advocates of), and copy as well crafted, not making the site a sumptuous showcase for web typography, relying instead on text-as-graphics feels like somewhat of a missed opportunity.
Splendid work nonetheless, and for an excellent cause.
It should come as no surprise to regular readers to discover that we enjoyed Paul Annett’s contribution to this year’s 24 Ways, Sketching to Communicate, immensely. As ardent promoters of the Sharpie and Flip Chart Combo™ we wholeheartedly concur with Mr Annett’s sentiment:
The best way to build confidence and improve your sketching technique is, obviously, to practise. Grab a pen and some paper now, and notice how you improve within even a short period of time.
A4 (or, for our American friends, US Letter) paper and a few well chosen tools 1, 2 are all it takes to get your ideas down at the start of a project. An efficient process that should be stage one of any thinking designer’s process.
If you haven’t already read it, pop over to 24 Ways and read Mr Annett’s article now and, when you’re done, embrace the festive spirit and pick up a copy of this year’s 24 Ways Annual. With all the proceeds from sales going to UNICEF to assist with their global charitable projects with children you’ll be entering into the seasonal spirit and, along the way, picking up a lovely annual to boot.
The esteemed Mr Gavin Elliot has announced the line up for DIBI 2011 and it’s, pardon the festive pun, a cracker. With contributions from, amongst others, Yaili, Jeremy Keith and Brian Suda, not to mention a keynote courtesy of none other than Mr Zeldman, it’s one not to miss.
If you haven’t booked your ticket already, do so when tickets go on sale in January to avoid disappointment. We hope to see you there.
The hugely talented Khoi Vinh - who we have long admired and, for quite some time, signposted to our students - has written a book on grid systems applied to the web, entitled Ordering Disorder. Subtitled ‘Grid Principles for Web Design’, it’s essential reading, and - if you’re in any way involved in the field of communication design (whether it be on or offline) - you really should get a copy.
Mr Vinh has been an intelligent voice in the field of design thinking for over a decade and, until recently, was the design director of the New York Times’ elegant web presence. We’ve just started to make our way through ‘Ordering Disorder’ and can’t praise it highly enough for its systematic approach to the design of grid systems in a web design context.
Expect a comprehensive review shortly, but for now, we urge you to pick up a copy.
From Obama to O’Brien, via Haiti and the Gulf of Mexico, Twitter’s The 10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010 makes an interesting < 1,400 character look at 2010.
If you appreciate fine web typography, you’ll doubtless appreciate Ampersand, a web typography conference organised by the fine folks at Clearleft (who are also, as you should know by now, behind Fontdeck). Scheduled for 17 June, 2011, in Brighton, it looks set to be one not to miss.
For those of us who have been trapped by our elders asking us to help out with their computer trouble, Teach Parents Tech should come as some much sought-after relief. For instance: by simply checking a few boxes, the site, made by some folks at Google, allows you to send your Mum a video where a nicely dressed young hipster explains copy and paste, so you don’t have to.
Should you have missed it earlier, we’re delighted to announce that our debut article for 24 Ways, Good Ideas Grow on Paper, is now available for your perusal. We’re honoured to have been invited to contribute to a publication we admire greatly, and we very much trust that you’ll enjoy our piece.
In a curious and ironic twist in the ongoing WikiLeaks saga, Amazon - days after denying WikiLeaks access to its S3 cloud hosting platform - is now selling content from the WikiLeaks’ cables as a Kindle book.
112 One Star reviews can’t be wrong.
Celebrating the seasonal spirit, our friends at Field Notes have just released Balsam Fir Gift Sets, perfect for your loved one or significant other this Christmas.
Helping you to be, “the awesome gift-giver you know you are,” the Gift Sets include: three foil-stamped memo books, a letter-press gift card and a custom-converted envelope all ready for you to address and mail. Easy.
As if the above weren’t incentive enough, the generous folks at Field Notes have provided comprehensive instructions on How To Give Field Notes, Step By Step (complete with a little something for Mr Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame). Now all you need to do is buy some.
Courtesy of the WWF, WWF is a new green file format designed to avoid unnecessary printing. Essentially a PDF format with printing disabled, it’s an interesting idea, designed to save trees. As the WWF put it:
Every day, entire forests are cut down to make paper. Paper that’s senselessly used to print out documents all over the world. To stop unnecessary printing and encourage a new awareness about the use of paper, we’ve developed a new, green file format. Decide for yourself which documents don’t need printing out – then simply save them as WWF.
You can find out more about the format here. As WWF put it, “Save as WWF, save a tree.”
We were both delighted and honoured to discover that we are included at Support Web Standards, an initiative to ensure web professionals produce quality websites that are compatible and accessible with the largest possible audience. (Something we don’t need to tell you is close to our hearts.)
As an initiative masterminded by the twin talents of Messrs Zeldman and Rainsford, we owe them both a very big thank you (and, when next they’re in Belfast, a pint or two of the black stuff). There, if ever there was one, is an incentive to visit Belfast.
It’s a very real privilege to be listed alongside a number of hugely talented individuals who we have both personally admired and championed for a number of years. To see our name alongside Jeffrey Zeldman, Andy Clarke, Jeremy Keith and Eric Meyer is, indeed, a very special honour.
With Christmas around the corner it’s time to get that letter to Santa written (assuming you haven’t sent it already).
In an effort to ensure the festive spirit unwraps in an ordered manner for you this year, we’ve rounded up a list of links for you to share with your loved ones or significant others to ensure they’re on the right track when they’re stuffing your stocking.
Though we’re never partial to posts that focus on lists, we’ve made an exception to pull together 30 gift ideas from a top ten of different vendors. We suggest you open the links below in tabs, fetch a pen and paper and write a – long, long – list to Santa (you’ve earned it after all, and you’ll thank us for it come Christmas Day).
So, without further ado, here are our choices.
A perennial favourite, House Industries offer much, much more than finely crafted fonts. With a growing range of Objects, which include accessories, books and prints, they’re guaranteed to have something that will fit your fancy. (You won’t be surprised to discover that they have a lot that fits our fancy.)
Our favourites? Top of the list is the Cast Iron Ampersand, at a mere $250 we ask for a couple every year (and though we’ve yet to receive any, you can’t blame us for trying). We urge you: buy one for your loved one, it will seal the deal. No. 2? If $250 is beyond the budget, why not avail of the $75 Agent Provocateur Logo Book and Knickers. In their own words:
Agent Provocateur started accosting … then House Industries entered.
The deal. Sealed.
If tie-side knickers aren’t your cup of tea, our No. 3 is an Eames Three Serigraph, an elephantine Eames’ ‘3’ that will afford you endless conversational fodder. Enough said.
Swiss Legacy Holiday Gift Guide
Courtesy of Xavier Encinas, Swiss Legacy focuses on typography, graphic design and, as Mr Encinas puts it, “inspirational matters.”
Rounding up, “objects that Encinas has had his eye on throughout 2010,” the Swiss Legacy Holiday Gift Guide is international in style and contains a cornucopia of temptations. Our favourites include: Unit Edition’s ThreeSix (U:D/R 03), designed and written by Hamish Muir and Paul McNeil; The Entente’s Aperçu Specimen, a two colour catalogue that offers an overview of the Aperçu family; and the Mash Creative 2011 Calendar, a limited edition print of 100 calendars printed with glow in the dark ink (for the inner child amongst you).
Core77’s 77 for < $77
Considering the small things in life, industrial design magazine Core77 has collected 77 items that range from bottle openers to bubble wrap, all weighing in under $77.
Its Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide features a number of gems, not least: the Make-Your-Own Mechanical Music Box, going for a song at $15; the Sharpie of Sharpies, a steel chassis that’s a snap at just $7.29; and the Muji Envelope Template, which not only supports sustainability, but is - curiously - priced in pounds sterling (that’s £2.95 to you Guv’nor).
Anyone we’ve taught will be well aware of our appreciation of the paradigm-shaping work of Susan Kare. Her icons for the original Macintosh computer have truly stood the test of time, establishing themselves as design classics, distilled down to their essence and making their mark on many a Macintosh user, not to mention culture in a wider sense.
As Kare puts it, “They are more like road signs than illustrations, easily comprehensible … not cluttered with extraneous detail.”
Kare states, quite astutely: “Just because millions of colours are available, every one need not be used in every icon.” Wise words indeed, that are taken to heart in her Kare Prints. Printed as Giclee Prints, our favourites are, no surprise: the Bomb; the Dog Cow; and the ever present Trash.
Design Museum Christmas Gift Ideas
Every year we make at least one pilgrimage to the Design Museum in London with our students. It’s no exaggeration to state that we collectively spend a fortune in its shop. This Christmas nothing looks set to change with museum’s helpfully compiled Christmas Gift Ideas. As you spend your hard-earned money, you’re entitled to feel philanthropic, as all proceeds help support the museum.
Regular readers won’t be surprised to see a Moustache Badge in our list, this one designed by Macon and Lequoy ensures – male or female - you have no excuse not to sport a little facial hair. Next up, from our friends at Plumen, ditch the shade and witness a beautifully designed, low energy Plumen Light Bulb, wear it completely naked. Finally, should you have little ones (or just use the excuse of little ones visiting), the Rosa Rocking Horse designed by Wolfgang Sirch and Christoph Bitzer is a beautifully minimal and sculptural addition to any home.
In ‘Gifts Up to £25’, our vote goes to the Bonk Bag, contrary to what you might be thinking a ‘bonk’ is, in fact, a ‘a sudden loss of energy’. In ‘Gifts Up to £100’, our vote goes to the Merino Boxers 3-Pack, wooly and warm. Finally, should you be feeling generous, in ‘Gifts Over £200’, our vote goes to the Tweed Softshell; sartorial tweed, need we say more?
Bag of Bees Ts
A collaboration between the fine folks at Paperjam Design and Magic Marker Design, both based in our fine city of Belfast, Bag of Bees is a one-stop-shop for, as they put it, “lovely tees with nice stuff printed on them.”
The scribblers at Bag of Bees have some lovely tees lined up for the festive season. Our favourites include: the Sid James & the Jazz Spasms, a shirt imagined up for a non-existent, early 60s garage band from Kilburn; the Literally, a well-thumbed little rascal; and the Libre… Hola 8-Bit señor!
Jez Burrows Is Selling You Things
The talented Mr Burrows finely wrought all of this year’s branding collateral for Build 2010 and lovely indeed it was. Should you have missed the event 1, Mr Burrows’ has a shop to sell you things Get your skates on though, orders need to be placed by 10 December to guarantee Christmas delivery.
We’d certainly welcome any of the following finely crafted prints under the tree: Lost Town, an image originally created for Kitsune Noir’s Desktop Wallpaper Project 2; Celestial Feats (Redux), an inky blue fragment of the heavens; and Arms II, a fine piece of contemporary heraldry.
Reward Your Hard Graft
Our penultimate choice, from purveyors of fine lifestyle accessories hard graft, covers all the bases. Carefully selected from The Full Range, we recommend: the Shoulder MacBook Sleeve; the XII iPad Case; and the XI iPhone Case.
Should you have been well-behaved all year, why not encourage your your loved one to buy you all three? They make a fine matching set.
The Standardistas’ Choice
We round up our selection with three idiosyncratic choices that we’d very much appreciate finding stuffed in our stockings come Christmas morning.
First up, who wouldn’t want a Revo Heritage digital radio? Beautifully designed, it combines classic looks with a cornucopia of contemporary features. If that doesn’t float your boat, why not consider a Cyril R Salter Pure Badger Shaving Brush for the gentleman in your life (or if you have no gentlemen, feel free to send a couple to Standardistas’ HQ). Last, and by no means least…
Our final stocking suggestion is that you pick up a copy of The 24 Ways Annual 2010. Featuring contributions from, amongst others, Dan Mall, Simon Collison, Richard Rutter and Yours Truly, it looks set to be a classic. With all proceeds from sales going to UNICEF, you’d also be doing a spot of good too, nothing could be more appropriate during the season of goodwill.
If your interests are anywhere near aligned with ours you could definitely do worse than checking out Justin O’Beirne’s blog, 41Latitude, exploring ‘Ideas About Maps, Technology and Usability’.
Heavily linked to over the last few days, although sadly unavailable for a good part of that time – thanks to Tumblr’s day off – O’Beirne’s thorough investigation into why Google Maps are so much more readable than the the competition, is nothing but a great place to start.
Our friends at Poke London are in search of a spectacular copywriter. To aid in this quest, they’ve created a carefully crafted single serving site: Poke Wants a Writer. As they so elegantly put it:
Words are easy. This is only our second sentence and we haven’t even blinked yet. But using words to sculpt experiences, make sense of the unfamiliar, reassure, excite, guide or surprise people – that’s an art.
If you fancy a chance of occupying the space in their studio they’ve reserved for “a very special human” put some thought into the series of ‘seven challenges’ they’ve conjured up and drop them a line. No. 3 is especially exigent.
Google Books’ Whale Fail is a clever word play and a nice touch.
Designed by Ondrej Jób (whose work we have featured before), Ico is a dingbat font inspired by icons used on classic monochrome LCD displays. Featuring monolinear symbols with rounded corners, painstakingly distilled and refined, Ico is available via MyFonts in three families: Weather, Time and Phone. More themes are in development, or planned, but for now these will do just nicely.
If you’re looking for Alternatives to Georgia to brighten up your font stack, Stephen Coles – Type Director at FontShop and resident writer at Typographica and The Mid-Century Modernist – has you covered. In a comprehensive roundup of serifs on offer, Coles runs through a number of possible substitutes (including a firm favourite of ours Fedra Serif Screen).
It’s worth pointing out, however, that in a testament to Matthew Carter’s sterling work on Georgia, which has admirably stood the test of time, Cole concludes that, “Unfortunately, there are still few worthy replacements, and none are more readable in all environments than Georgia itself.”
That said, Mr Coles’ work is not in vain, Alternatives to Georgia is a meticulously researched read (as you’d expect from a gentleman of such pedigree). Do yourself a favour and set aside twenty minutes with a cup of tea to read it, you’ll find it time well-invested.
Last, but not least, for those of you of an HTML5 persuasion, why not take a look at HTML5 Adventure Calendar. In their own words: “24 days of killer demos, tutorials, community buzz and other stuff that Steve Jobs would love.”
Should PHP take your fancy, have no fear, there’s an Advent calendar for you too. Messrs Shiflett and Coates have, once again, provided a host of goodness underneath the Advent tree at PHP Advent 2010.
Good news. If you’re not content with content of a solely digital nature, 24 Ways have partnered with the fine folks at Five Simple Steps to offer The 24 Ways Annual 2010, to create something tangible and beautiful to read offline, throughout the rest of the year.
Not only is it the perfect stocking filler for your favourite geek, but all the proceeds from sales will go to UNICEF to assist with their global charitable projects with children.
Everyone’s favourite ‘advent calendar for web geeks’, 24 Ways is back for another exciting year. This year, like every other, promises to be another exciting one with contributions lined up from, amongst others, Dan Mall, Simon Collison, Richard Rutter, Cennydd Bowles, Sarah Parmenter and Veerle Pieters. We’ve also heard mention that some other exciting authors are confirmed, watch this space for details.
Though ‘This Site is Optimised for Safari’, it’s nonetheless beautifully designed, featuring a masterful use of CSS3 transforms.
Safari users would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t click on the Munsell switch on the right. The result, as with Ono’s other works (WebKit Clock, for example), demonstrate a designer pushing the envelope of possibilities to deliver crafted user experiences that are both memorable and, dare we say it, appropriate uses of what is possible.
Seth Godin has some insightful thoughts on the rise of ‘clutter’ in the digital age. Stating: “Digital media expands. It’s not like paper, it can get bigger.” Godin urges digital marketers to eschew the drive to, “add more clutter,” hitting the nail firmly on the head:
Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.
And it’s hard to go backward.
More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.
A truer word never spoken.