Archive for May, 2010

[design funnay] Superheroes Only Think They Have It Tough. Now, Designers …

Posted in Graphic Design, teh_funnay on May 31, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2426.A good friend pointed me to Evil, Inc, a comic that I didn’t read before … but now, I’ll have to, with humor like this:

With that crowd, Daddy probably does the superhero gig just to take the pressure off.

When I saw the dude say You know this is all fake text, right? I had to laugh out loud. Someone actually said that to me once.

Thanks, Z!

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[design] I Like Windows 7 – But I Still Prefer Mac OS X. Here’s Why.

Posted in designtools, digital design, resources on May 31, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2425.Just like a lot of people trained in design, I love Apple. And the previous post where I solicited public comment on the idea of using a Mac Mini as my design center made me think about why I was so set on staying Mac.

I love Apple.

Well, let me qualify that a bit.

I like the company. Jobs sometimes leaves me with that “uh-oh” feeling. But I love Mac OS X.

I’ve had a foot in both the Mac and PC worlds almost ever since I owned a computer. I’ve known friends who swore by their Macintoshes while we were piecing together Windows machines before we could finally own a Mac. I’ve seen and used Windows 7 and I’ve got to say that, within the Windows paradigm, all the upgood press you’ve heard about it is dead on the money: Win 7 looks good, works good, and is the most well-behaved Windows yet.

But, given my choice I’ll stick with the X.


One word: Darwin. Another word: architecture.

Installing applications in X is a breeze and, even though the under-the-hood works has changed since the days of the earlier Macintosh OS’s, the basics are still the same: for most applications, uninstalling still remains a matter of simply dragging the file to the trash.

I’ve just never been able to do that in Windows, even Win 7. And what dependencies there are are pretty easy to find. I don’t need a “wizard” to install or uninstall a lot of things. That’s simplicity because I can see what’s going on. DLL? What’s that?

The organization of the file system makes a great deal more sense to me. It’s more intuitive. I also know Unix … not as a pure power user, but enough of a power end-user that if I need to find something, I can break open Terminal and go looking. To me, the command shell of DOS is was always like a kind of poor-mans Unix, that doesn’t quite work the way it ought to. Unix command line cryptic? I took one look at DOS Power Shell and my eyes instantly glazed over. And, unlike Windows, since Darwin is a flavor of Unix, it has a bunch of nifty and useful things installed that I’m well familiar with – vi, ftp, rlogin, ssh, all sorts of stuff that I learned to use effectively a long time back.

So, it’s my hat’s off to Win 7. It is indeed everything they’re selling it as. But I’ll stick with the X, because the X makes a whole lot more sense, and I feel a lot less lost in the Darwin environment.

It just works … for me.

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[logo design] BP Logo Satire – Beyond Petroleum Logos

Posted in current events, design, Graphic Design, logo design, satire on May 31, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2424.The relentlessly-unfolding BP-Deepwater Horizon environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico influences minds and the public discourse in unpredictable ways. And, in the case of graphic designers, they unleash a humor as dark as the crude that’s invading the Gulf waters.

Greenpeace UK is holding a competition called “Behind the Logo”, an agitprop effort to come up with a new version of the now-somewhat-awkwardly tagged BP logo that more accurately, they feel, reflect what they see as, if not the company’s vision, suggestive of what they feel the company’s vision may result in.

Interestingly enough, the competition wasn’t brought on by the Deepwater Horizon disaster but BP’s effort to develop Canadian tar sands. It has, however taken a turn in that direction, and given the outlook, how could it not have?

The Beyond the Logo competition’s Flickr stream is at, along with a link to the contest for those so inclined to find out about it (If you’re a USAian, I doubt you’re eligible for entry, but who knows?). Also, I’ll remind the less left-leaning amongst my reader that this is Greenpeace, and if they’ve irritated you in the past, they won’t make you any less mad here.

But the Gulf of Mexico tragedy is so remarkable … who can tell what anyone thinks anymore? Maybe you just like your thoughts challenged about such a thing. Herewith, a selection of the ones that caught my eye.

They go from the obvious:

… and …

This image suggests what the maker thinks perhaps what the energy company is selling the public:

Others combine wordplay and juxtaposition:

Still others are cheeky and abstract:

And it was a matter of time, I think, before someone came up with something downright nasty:

… those who understand what the word “goatse” means will get this joke. Those who don’t, count yourself lucky. Don’t put “goatse” in teh Google. You will regret it. No, I’m not actually daring you here. I’m serious.

And, they didn’t forget the retro:

And this one just made me say “wow”:

Another listing is available via TwistedSifter here: Has several from the flickr stream and some I didn’t see there.

Interesting times, mah peoples.

Once again, the link to the Greenpeace UK flickr stream is

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[type] Picking On Comic Sans Some Moar

Posted in teh_funnay, type, typography on May 31, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2423.Old typographer’s funnay joak, proving once again that when a designer runs low on blog material, there’s always comedy gold in bashing Vincent Connare’s niche in history some more:

Via here. Apparently from here, but I couldn’t find it there.

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[design tools] A Mac Mini for Graphic Design?

Posted in design, designtools, digital design, Graphic Design on May 29, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Special Update! 30 May 2010 Z1637: I am quite suddenly (and delightfully) getting merrily hit by MacSurfer’s Headline News page, an am already on the way to having the biggest Sunday this blog’s ever seen! Nifty, and gratitude obtain! Whoever loved me enough to put me at the top of the opinion section – words cannot express!

I am seriously interested in the opinions of designers about using the Mac Mini for everyday use, so if you have any opinions, please, sound off! I like the information I’m getting so far! – Samuel John Klein

2422.Presently, an opportunity might present itself for me to upgrade my equipment.

Not that I’m all that dissatisfied with the old stuff. But it is, as they say, old.

My design center has, for a long time now, consisted of a dual-processor PowerMac G4. It’s a lovely thing. It has (in two versions, thanks the the donations of a few angels back when the first one let me down about two years back … thanks to you all, I still appreciate this boon) served me very well.

Actually, it’s not so much as it’s showing its age as the world is moving on. It’s a 1.25 Ghz 2-processor machine, mounting standard 80 GB hard drive (and a couple since added), and runs Creative Suite 3 pretty well (unless I want to try drawing in 3D in Illustrator, which makes it cry like a schoolgirl).

In particular the moving on has been in the move of Apple to Intel, and the move of software away from the old Power PC. Snow Leopard – if I could get it, wouldn’t run on this machine. Adobe Creative Suite 5 – forget about that. In the tech editing job I’m doing right now, I’m borrowing a Windows 7 laptop (and it’s a nice OS, that – almost like using a Macintosh).

So, however successful I  do get, even though the old Macintosh is running quite well right now, I’ll have to try to keep up.

As budgets go, I could move up to a 13″ MacBook Pro, or something like that. And then more than one acquaintance suggested I look into the Mac Mini. I’d heard of them some time ago and loved the idea but I didn’t know how they would support graphics apps. But looking at the specs of recent models has caused me to consider it seriously.

For less than $800, I can get a Mac Mini that has this amazing-looking SuperDrive, more than three times the OEM online storage of my original G4, and a clock-speed that’s more than 2x as fast – and something that only consumes 14 watts when idle and uses no fan. That’s something that turned my head. It’s like getting more than twice the computer I have now for less than half the price I originally paid for the old warhorse G4.

And they’re not making software I need for the Power PC anymore.

So, I’m wondering – is the current brand of Mac Minis worth it to do design work on? They make excellent economic sense for me, and would get me back closer to the cutting edge, where I need to be.

If anyone has anything to say, especially users of Mac Minis who may right now be using them to do design work, I’d be interested to hear it. Sound off in the comments.

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[webdesign] Web Pages as Posters

Posted in design, digital design, Graphic Design, typography, web design on May 29, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2421.There are at least two main rationales for how to lay out effective web pages that I can think of.

The first, which leans toward sheer functionality, depends on the observation that people tend to read web pages in a capital “F” pattern: along the top, then down the left side, scanning right as interest or necessity or interest directs.

The second depends on a sense of play. I’ve recently noticed a trend in web page design that takes precisely this antic approach to amp up the interest, and it works quite well.

A good example, pointed at by this article at Sean Nieuwoudt’s blog, is the Carsonified “Summer Camp” event, whose web pages looks very much like a poster. As a teen I covered my room with them: posters are teh awesoem, providing witty decor, in many cases, long after the event they promote has faded into history and memories:

This could work very well as a poster in a public place, or decorating your studio or bedroom wall, or being framed as a kind of an ironic objet d’arte. It’s cool style and simple touches provide a lot of fun for the eye: you remember it.

And, even though the event happened in 2009, you still like looking at it. It transitioned from information delivery into a kind of art work, in a nifty way.

Your eye pretty much eats up the charming imagery. The amusing “Sign Up Here!” sticker, looking as though it was picked at by some mysterious bored finger at some point, is a visual bonus. The hand-crafted-looking type speaks for itself.

In Sean’s article, Design Posters Not Landing Pages, the principles of poster design are made relevant to web page design, allowing for an alternative way to present over the intartuebz: You can have your sober, ordered, pinstriped-navigationerly web page where it’s appropriate. But, where it’s possible to have the fun, you can think of your web page as a poster, imagine what it would look like on your wall & and design it accordingly.

It dovetails very nicely with the trend toward “hand drawn and lettered” looks in web page design that we seem to see in so many places these days. It’s kind of a breath of fresh air, mixing it all up.

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[pdx] Broken Down Farmhouses and Turbulent Skies over Washington County

Posted in liff in Cascadia, liff in oregon, PDX photos on May 26, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2420.Broken down farmhouses …

I’ve always wondered … I’ve been more prone to see barns and old farmhouses slowly returning to the earth along the state highways in Washington and Yamhill counties than in Marion and Clackamas.

As mentioned elsewhere, I don’t think it has anything to do with the character, health, or wealth of the east side of the Willamette Valley vice the west. But it is a truthful observation.

The weather this day, as many will remember, was trying to be more springlike. The Wife” was awestruck over the turbulent sky. She said it would make a great painting, and I agree; though she would use acrylics, where as I would do watercolors, or maybe dare with oils.

The above house, BTW, was from Highway 47 a couple miles north of Forest Grove. This picture was off Highway 6 between Banks and the US 26 merge:

Oregon does, just like every other season, Spring in a way that no other region does, and I happen to think better than anywhere else.

But then, I’m a native-born Oregonian.

If a bigger view is wished, clicky your way over to Posterous, here:

Let me know what you think of in comments.

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