January 2013 Archives
Having played around a little with Fontello, the easy icon font composer, we can confirm that it is assuredly easy, and useful to boot. Pick the icons you need and compile them into a customised web font, you can even edit the names and symbol codes for individual glyphs to match them up to suitable keyboard character(s).
As we approach an era where bitmapped images no longer provide the preeminent solution for the variety of devices, resolutions and bandwidths we’re targetting, solutions like this one are most welcome.
Valentino Braitenberg was an Italian neuroscientist and cyberneticist who wrote a book called, Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology. In the book, he describes hypothetical vehicles comprised of motors, sensors and other components. Each vehicle inherits components from the previous until they exhibit identifiable behaviors such as aggression, cowardice and love.
The ongoing project’s objective is to build and animate Braitenberg’s vehicles, the result is a beautiful, enigmatic experience.
ITV has rolled out a major rebrand featuring a new ‘colour-shifting’ logo that’s very nice indeed, featuring lovely typography courtesy of the folks at Fontsmith.
In what looks set to be a welcome addition to the educational landscape, Andy Clarke and Anna Debenham have teamed up to create Unfinished Business, “a weekly discussion show about the business end, the sharp end of web, design and creative industries.”
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the untimely death of Aaron Swartz, late last week.
Where do you begin to summarise Swartz’s achievements? The list is a considerable one, spanning a wide range of outcomes, but impacting almost everywhere and everyone. Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification (at age 14), was one of the three co-owners of the popular social news site Reddit, and - more recently – founded Demand Progress, which launched the hugely successful campaign against the internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA.
Swart’z How to Get a Job Like Mine should be required reading for anyone young who wants to learn from another who has travelled the well worn path of life’s achievements, outlining the journey he embarked upon which - unsurprisingly – involved a considerable amount of hard work and effort. Swartz summarises the article with three sound pieces of advice. Firstly, nurture an inquisitive mind:
Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. I think a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.
Secondly, say yes, throw yourself in at the deep end and learn:
Say yes to everything… I attempt a lot and even if most of it fails, I’ve still done something.
Finally, and this more than anything rings true in an age that’s moving so fast it’s often hard to keep apace:
Assume nobody else has any idea what they’re doing either. A lot of people refuse to try something because they feel they don’t know enough about it or they assume other people must have already tried everything they could have thought of. Well, few people really have any idea how to do things right and even fewer are to try new things, so usually if you give your best shot at something you’ll do pretty well.
Sage advice from a gentleman who will be sorely missed.
Brandon Martin-Anderson’s Census Dotmap is a lovely piece of cartography-meets-data-visualisation. A map of every person counted by the 2010 US and 2011 Canadian censuses, the map has 341,817,095 dots, one for each person.
As Martin-Anderson puts it:
I wanted an image of human settlement patterns unmediated by proxies like city boundaries, arterial roads and state lines… Also, it was an interesting challenge.
Very nice indeed and available in print too.
Design Jargon Bullshit collects – unsurprisingly – design jargon bullshit, effluvium that slips into design company’s web site copy from time to time. Gems like: “We create monopolies for brands by employing supercharged creativity with memorable and adaptive executions.” Or: “In today’s harsh, hyper-competitive landscape, strategy and creativity need to be applied synergistically.”
The best part of Design Jargon Bullshit? All the bullshit’s linked up to the bullshit in action.
If you’ve found yourself overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of Google Analytics, Handsome Stats looks like it might be just the ticket for you. Offering, “an understandable snapshot of your Google Analytics,” Handsome Stats connects with your existing Google Analytics account and creates beautifully crafted visualisations of your analytics data.
As its creators put it:
Handsome Stats is a very clever and rather dashing view of Google Analytics. It’s superb for highlighting trends in your web traffic.
As Kris Sowersby, Director at Klim Type Foundry, puts it:
[Handsome Stats] cuts through the bewildering complexity of raw Google stats.
Created by Batch Goods who are, “making handy and handsome digital products,” (including The Responsinator, which you might have also heard of), Handsome Stats is well worth a look to cut through the analytics confusion.
If you’re already falling behind on all those new year’s resolutions, Lift might be just the ticket for you. Backed by Obvious (an incubator created by Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams) Lift is created by Jon Crosby and Tony Stubbleline (who, between them, count Path, CrowdVine and Odeo as past achievements). As Lift’s site summarises neatly:
Lift is a simple way to achieve any goal, track your progress, and get the support of your friends.
The process is simple: identify good habits (choose from popular habits or invent your own); track your performance (a simple checkbox ticks off your progress); and chart your progress… Lift takes care of the heavy lifting and creates some lovely visualisations to help keep you motivated and on track.
As one of Lift’s testimonials neatly summarises it: “Lift is a sticker chart for the iPhone age.” Better still it’s free.
If you weren’t fortunate enough to be in the audience at the first Inspire Conference in late 2012 have no fear. Mr Eerhart, generous to a fault, has uploaded all the speakers’ presentations to the Inspire Conference Vimeo Channel.
If you’re looking for a spot of inspiration from a wealth of speaking talent – including Brad Frost, Simon Collison, Tim Brown and, of course, Jeffrey Zeldman – set aside a morning or afternoon and soak up some knowledge.
We particularly enjoyed Chris Shiflett’s presentation on Craftsmanship and Purpose which was summarised neatly by the fact that, as he put it, “When craftsmanship and purpose come together, magic happens.” (Or, more succinctly, “Give a shit. Work hard. With purpose. And on purpose.”) Wise words indeed.
If being back at work’s been getting you down, fret not, the folks at The Verge have just the thing to cheer you up. Set aside a couple of minutes to watch their supercut of the best moments of Qualcomm’s utterly bizarre CES 2013 keynote. As The Verge put it: Experience the madness one more time. It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
If you’re looking for a minimal wireframing tool, look no further, Wireframe has you covered.
Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the London underground, The Guardian collects a wonderful series of tube posters from 1911-2003.
Rising once again to the challenge, everyone’s favourite illustrator Paddy Donnelly has created a unique and lovely Penguin Print as a prize for one lucky winner at last year’s annual Open Book Exam. As Mr Donnelly puts it:
Like last year’s The Hunt, I based the illustration on a random animal chosen by the prize winner.
This year’s winner chose ‘Penguin’ and I decided to experiment with something more typography focused rather than illustration based. [A] quote by British scientist Bernard Stonehouse seemed to fit perfectly.
If you’re looking for an illustrator with a keen eye for detail and a vivid imagination, look no further than Mr Donnelly, he’s a talented chap indeed. (In the interests of full disclosure, he’s one of our alumni and a very good friend.)
Great news if you’re a typographer, The Responsive Web Will Be 99.9% Typography.
Looking for icons? Look no further, Iconmonstr has you covered with 1,073 free icons. Nice.