Fixing Your Lousy Photos

26 04 2007


So the picture you took of the sunset with your $100 digital camera is under developed, I’m shocked. We’ll we need to fix it before we upload it so it doesn’t look like all the other millions of sunset photos on flickr.

We can fix it in two steps. First dupe the layer. Second set the overlying layer to Screen. If it’s too bright, reduce the opacity of the top layer; too dark, dupe yet another layer and set it to Screen.


Helvetica – the documentary

25 04 2007


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the most overused typeface in the history of man, director, Gary Hustwit has filmed a documentary about Helvetica to capture the cultural impact of our venerable san serif. Shot in locations around the world, the film interviews Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Hermann Zapf {yes that Zapf), Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, David Carson(!) to name a few.

Keep an eye out for a screening coming to a film festival near you or watch the trailers. May Helvetica destroy Arial and reign over all that is decent and good on Earth.

[Helvetica – a Documentary]

lazy dot org

25 04 2007

So let’s say you meet someone at a party or shindig and they discover you are a designer. “Oh I’ve been meaning to get a nice website. My current site was built by my second cousin twice-removed for my yoga lessons and I’m not happy with it.”

Ok what’s your budget? “I’ll have to check under the couch cushions and see what I can dig up.”

{sigh} So logic and finances be damned you still want to give them great site. Maybe they have connections to better business, maybe you want them to practice their yoga moves naked in your living room, maybe you’re just a good person. I don’t care, what ever lies get you up in the morning is fine by me.


Well there are shortcuts to good design, without actually doing design. Open Source or Freeware websites, if nothing else it can give you a bit of grid and color scheme inspiration when you have Designer’s Block.

The best site is Open Source Web Design, stick Open Source in front of anything and it’s automatically better.

Also is Free Programming Resources list of free web template sites.

Ars Technica Review PS CS3

25 04 2007


Ars Technica does a comprehensive review of Photoshop CS3 new features, and faults. Photoshop has inhaled ImageReady wholly, but managed to burp back up a few features that will be sorely missed. Oh and for Mac users it’s universal, but no surprise there.

High praise for the new interface features and Smart Filters. Also new Clone Tool features rise to the top of “Why didn’t they have this before?” Nice touch being able to select sampling from “Current Layer; Current and Below; All Layers”, but I already think they should have taken that farther with “All Selected Layers”. No?

Well looks like a lot of new toys in PS3, can’t wait to pirate it.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 [Ars Technica]

Go Comic Sans…and Take Courier with You

24 04 2007


I stumbled across this gem of a site by Dave Combs I hate Comic Sans too, not as much as Arial, but it’s up there. I am reminded of a quote, “There are no bad fonts, just bad context” Except for Comic Sans, Hobo and Giddyup. Some fonts have one purpose in life and any other usage just suck eggs.

Take Papyrus, if you own a store that sells wicker or handmade paper, great. If you think Papyrus is gonna add some humanity or softness to your greeting card, wrong and you are a complete hack for thinking that way.

Check out Ban Comic Sans and the interview with Dave Combs at Earz Magazine.

[Ban Comic Sans]
Why Ban Comic Sans [Earz Magazine]


20 04 2007

Wow, that headline is one of the worst puns I’ve ever written. Honest. But I’m not a copywriter so suck it up. Came across this innovative ad on Ads of the World


Using syrup made from the sugar-free product, the agency, Rediffusion DYR, essentially drew the message with ants. Brilliant!

Check out this video of ants in action.

Sucky Clients

20 04 2007

Designer’sMind has a great article titled Five reasons to turn down a potential client.

I don’t have any money, but this will get you some great exposure!

I’m not sure what I want, and I won’t pay if I don’t like it.

I have a few other designers in mind, can you create a few mock-ups and maybe I’ll pick you?

The have a pretty good writeups on why you turn down clients who say these things. What isn’t addressed the part if this dialog that is the designers’ responsibility, client communication.

I’ve always said that 80% of successful design is client communication, the creativity you should have already had down pat or you’re in the wrong business to begin with. You have to learn to no only ‘sell’ the design but teach the client the value of the design. If they bought a truck for $60,000, the value and investment is very tangible. When the client is shopping around for a $60,000 website value is a capital investment as much as a truck. That’s the hardest part about design is showing a client why clear messages and identity positions them for future growth, creating a sustainable consumer market.

What you should take from wisecrack advice in DesignersMind is always work raise the value of your design and all creative work. Work on Spec, ‘pro-bono’ work for clients with money, and overly-cautious clients damage that, but remember it’s also up to you to find ways to teach the client along the way. If the client doesn’t feel they are part of the process, all you’re doing is student work.

Five reasons to turn down a potential client [DesignersMind]