Archive for October, 2005


Monday, October 17th, 2005

CameratossGet ready to throw your cameras up in the air, folks, and… well.. do your best to catch them. If not, well, that sucks. But hey! It’s all for the sake of art, so… :)

From the Cameratoss page at Flickr:

This is a “technique” group, and the technique here is regarded by some as insanity. For we are the reckless folks on flickr that enjoy the abstract, chance, generative, physical photography that results from throwing our cameras into the air (most often at night in front of varied light sources).

It is about trading risk for reward in the pursuit of art. It is not about being a photographer, it is about enabling the photography that happens naturally when you let go of the process, give up control, and add a hell of alot more variables. It is about physics, gravity, angular momentum, acceleration, direction, chaos, and timing… most of which you have tenuous control of at best!

Very interesting stuff in the gallery. Dare to take the risk?

Apple Nostalgia

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

Ever wondered how the original Mac screen fonts got those city names? Well, I found a nice site a few days ago: is a web site devoted to collective historical storytelling. It captures and presents sets of related stories that describe interesting events from multiple perspectives, allowing groups of people to recount their shared history in the form of interlinked anecdotes.

Currently, the site only has one project running, and that is about the development of the original Macintosh computer.

World Class CitiesAmong the countless nostalgic stories by Apple (ex-)employees, I found this nice little tidbit: World Class Cities. The short article describes how the fonts had originally had different names but were changed upon persuasion by Steve Jobs.

On a side note, have a look at The Pirates Of Silicon Valley if you want to see the history of Apple and Microsoft. It’s a documentary film but it’s all acted out like a regular movie. Saw it the second time today.

Fake vs. True Italics, Pt. II

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

ITC Avant Garde Gothic ProIn a quick follow-up to my recent post, Fake vs. True Italics, I’d like to point you to an article over at Typographica: “Ain’t What ITC Used to Be“. Mark Simonson presents us with the release of the new ITC Avant Garde Gothic Pro, an OpenType remake of their original 1977 font. For some reason, ITC decided to release a slanted version of the font instead of providing a real oblique version. Apart from the fact that this is an unexpected “easy way out” move for a font foundry of such status, it’s especially strange considering the fact that they had gotten it right the first time back in ’77. The article is followed by an interesting discussion.

Maintainable CSS

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

The more we rely on CSS to layout our websites, the more complex the CSS gets. The files get larger and the cascade gets more difficult to oversee. The lack of a good structural system can quickly lead to chaotic stylesheets, and can make it a real pain to debug when encountering strange browser behavior. Instead of fixing the problems at the root, we are often tempted to fork our CSS for different browsers, or to just add patch after patch, which can often break other things.

The need for a clean structure, for our own sake, is obvious. Over at the css-discuss wiki, there is now a collection of insightful articles concerning Maintainable CSS. Since it’s a wiki, you are free to extend the collection if you have links or information on the subject you deem worthwhile.

Click the Color / 30 vs. 60 FPS

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Hey designers, here’s a tricky little game to train your visual senses, color recognition and reaction skills (oh, and it’s fun, too): Click the Color. It could do without the soundtrack, though, in my humble opinion. ;)

A little off-topic, but rather close none the less, is the following noteworthy article*: 30. vs. 60 FPS. Joshua Walrath smashes the common notion that the human eye can’t distinguish more that 30 FPS. In this insightful article, he explains a few interesting facts about how our eyes work and interact with the brain and highlights our built-in “motion blur” system. Definately worth a read.

*It’s actually the third section of the article but I find it to be the most relevant. The full things starts here.

The Million Dollar Homepage

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Million Dollar HomepageSo you’re going to study, but you have no idea how you’re going to pay for it? Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, here’s an interesting concept: provide a space of 1000×1000 pixels on a website, and sell each of those pixels for a dollar. That’s 1 million dollars. Sounds nuts?

21 year old student Alex Tew did exactly that. The Million Dollar Homepage lets you buy pixels in 10x10px units ($100) and advertise whatever you want in that space. Doesn’t sound like something many people would play along with, does it? I’d agree if it weren’t for the fact that Alex has already sold space worth $340,400. Even a major world-wide corporation can be found in the midst of what can only be described as a crazy patchwork.

So what’s Alex going to with all that money? Why, buy socks, of course! :)

Brands of the World

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Brands of the WorldTo most designers, this will sound familiar: you need the logo of a certain company. Googling will bring up plenty of tiny logo.gifs, but none of them are really very usable. Wouldn’t it be sweet to have the logo in a vector format?

What I usually do is search for PDFs on the company’s website, and then extract the vector logos from the PDF via Illustrator. Your best bet would be to search for an annual report, that’s how I found the logo for Cosmopolitan lately. I had to research the publisher, via their site find the Cosmopolitan media kit, and on that site then find a suitable PDF. It works, but it takes precious time.

Enter Brands of the World. The site lets you search for logos of any company, and if it’s there, you can download it in a high-quality vector format. You can also upload your own logos, or any other official vector logos you might happen to have laying around. I was surprised to see that searching for the logo of one of my company’s customers not only turned up the logo, but a whole round of their certification marks. I even found the logo of our local soccer team. The site really is packed full.

As a nice extra feature, the site also lets you download a number of official logo guidelines.

I could have saved a lot of time if I had known about the site earlier, as a quick search turns up the result I needed.

The New Face of Flash?

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

In a recent post titled The New Face of Flash, Andy Budd provides some insight into how Flash has been developing in a positive manner over the past years, away from the scenario in Jakob Nielsen‘s famous article “Flash 99% Bad“. Especially noteworthy is the approach of separating content from presentation, a practice most of us have been preaching with modern XHTML+CSS design.

“Flash still seemed like a very clunky way to build applications. This is when Aral introduced me to MXML, an XML user interface language much like XUL. Rather than building his interface in Flash, Aral was editing XML files. Adding a <mx :TextInput /> tag would create an input box, adding a <mx :Button /> would create a button element. Aral explained that the MXML file was really intended for presentation only, and all the data and logic were dealt with elsewhere. Hmm I thought, separating presentation from data sounds familiar, I wonder where I’ve heard that before?”

The Man Behind the FedEx Logo

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

FedEx LogoThe Sneeze has an interesting interview with Lindon Leader, creator of the FedEx logo. Leader talks about the challenges he was presented with at the time of creation, the subtleties in the logo such as the hidden arrow, and the effects designing one of the world’s most famous logos has had on his life. Also an interesting note is how his agency managed to change the communicative name of the company from “Federal Express” to the much catchier “FedEx” – which shows a surprising amount of flexibility on the client-side.

Creating a Pure-CSS Star Rater

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

CSS Star RaterThere’s a nice tutorial on creating a pure-CSS star rater with lists on Komodo Media. See the example here. It uses a rather clever trick with the background-repeat property to achieve the effect.

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