Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

design

sep
09
2011

The Dark Art of Pricing | Jessica Hische

Really useful post about things to consider when pricing illustration / lettering freelance work.

sep
07
2011

U-Haul SuperGraphics

A collection of vintage and modern illustrations printed on the sides of U-Haul trucks and trailers.

sep
02
2011

U.S. Unemployment: A Historical View | WSJ.com

Track the national unemployment rate since 1948 — the first year in which the government provides data that can reliably be compared with the current rate. Numbers are seasonally adjusted.” Nice heatmap / timeline treatment.

aug
31
2011

Inkling

This evolution of the Wacom tablet looks really cool. Clip a special sensor onto your sketchpad of choice, draw with a Wacom-supplied, pressure-sensitive pen, and the contraption will capture your sketch and import it in vector format to your computer. …

aug
26
2011

Words have meaning. Type has spirit. And the combination is spectacular.

— Paula Scher, on typography (source)

aug
25
2011

Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.

— Steve Jobs, in a 1996 interview with Wired (source)

The Secrets Hidden Inside Apple's Most Famous Icons | The Atlantic

Nicholas Jackson writes, “The virtual Easter egg has been around for more than three decades now. Coined — as far as anyone can tell — by Atari’s Adventure, which was released in 1979, the virtual Easter egg is a hidden message or in-joke built into a computer program, icon, or video game. Apple has been playing along since the very beginning, building small Easter eggs into many of their most famous icons.”

aug
24
2011

Overdone | Slate Magazine

Farhad Manjoo asks, “Why are restaurant websites so horrifically bad?”

aug
21
2011

Fauxgo

Fun Tumblr blog collecting logos designed for fictional companies in television / film. (Via Swiss Miss)

aug
17
2011

The Man Who Got Us to 'Like' Everything | WSJ.com

Geoffrey A. Fowler reports, “A product designer for Facebook Inc. since 2005, [Soleio] Cuervo is part of the team that introduced the thumbs-up Like button to the site. Now Like is the main signal of approval on the world’s most popular social network and has spread to more than 2.5 million other websites.”

aug
08
2011

How Star Trek artists imagined the iPad … 23 years ago | Ars Technica

Chris Foresman writes, “One interesting characteristic of Star Trek: The Next Generation — one that separated it from the original series and most of the early films — was its widespread use of smooth, flat, touch-based control panels throughout the Enterprise-D. This touch interface was also used for numerous portable devices known as PADDs, or Personal Access Display Devices. These mobile computing terminals bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s iPad — a mobile computing device largely defined by its smooth, flat touchscreen interface.”

jul
10
2011

Animated Paint Chips

Paint-maker Sherwin-Williams is running a lovely series of ads in which paint chips come to life in vibrant animated scenes. Beautifully done.

jul
09
2011

Cartography's Favourite Map Monster: The Land Octopus | Strange Maps

I never knew octopi were a thing in historic maps. Frank Jacobs writes, “Real octopi are sea creatures, of course. But the Cartographic Land Octopus - CLO for short - need not worry about being in the right ecosphere. Being fictional, it is not restricted to the sea. It can (and need) do only one thing: instill map-readers with fear and revulsion.” Also: I cannot now un-see Octopus Stalin.

Little Monster Dude

I found a new monster friend at the Ballston Arts and Crafts Market this morning. He was too cute to pass up. Sculpture by Red and Main.

jul
06
2011

Harry Potter Comes of Age One Hedcut at a Time | Speakeasy | WSJ

We went deep into our Hedcut Archive — our internal database of those iconic stipple portraits that appear in the Journal every day — and pulled out these drawings, all created by long-time Journal artist, Randy Glass, and dating from 2001 to 2007.”

jul
04
2011

By The Numbers: Today's Military

To go with a series of NPR stories about “who serves” in the U.S. military, I worked with editor Erica Ryan and news librarian JoElla Straley on a very large infographic about military demographics and casualties. The number of Americans …

jun
23
2011

Letterpress Step-by-Step

I enjoyed this letterpress how-to video from Naomie Ross. (The Mark Mothersbaugh soundtrack doesn't hurt, either.) And the printing is done on a Vandercook Universal I — the same press I use at Pyramid Atlantic.

jun
18
2011

Rainbow Roller

I headed up to Pyramid Atlantic on Wednesday for another Letterpress Happy Hour. I love that they’re incorporating mini-workshops into the happy hour programs now. This time, Julia and Melanie went over “rainbow roller,” a technique where you put different-colored …

jun
17
2011

If you ever need a crash course in color theory, ride ‘It’s a Small World’ repeatedly.

— Designer Sean Adams, on color palettes (source)

jun
15
2011

Horribly Photoshopped Squirrels | Design O'Blog

Newspaper ads featuring squirrels photoshopped into various situations. It’s ridiculous, hilarious and kind of awesome. (Via Pamela)

may
11
2011

OXO's Favorite Mistakes | Fast Company

The company behind some of the best-designed kitchen tools learns the most when it does something wrong.”

New York Subway’s Long Dance With a Typeface | NYTimes.com

Alice Rawsthorn writes, “Clean and easily readable, Helvetica was a perfect match for the city’s jumble of subway lines. It just took city officials a few decades to realize it.”

may
10
2011

You Are Solving the Wrong Problem | UX Magazine

Aza Raskin writes, “When you are solving a difficult problem re-ask the problem so that your solution helps you learn faster. Find a faster way to fail, recover, and try again. If the problem you are trying to solve involves creating a magnum opus, you are solving the wrong problem.”

An infographic is, by definition, a visual display of facts and data. Therefore, no infographic can be produced in the absence of reliable information.

— Juan Antonio Giner and Alberto Cairo, on ethics in infographics (source)