Tag Archive for 'design'
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I completed a three-day intensive newsroom orientation last week, in which the new faces at the Times are trained on policies, practices, and quirks of the paper. It’s an onboarding procedure the likes of which I’ve never gone through in my career, and I think it’s a credit to the organization that they care so much about its traditions and culture to invest so much time and energy welcoming new people.
In addition to the seminars on sourcing, ethics and background, it was especially interesting to meet all of the Desk Editors and learn how they run their teams both online and in print. One-by-one, they filed in from National, Style, Travel, Foreign, the Magazines… it was a whirlwind 3 days.
Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech, updated April 23, 2007
One of the most interesting half-hours was presented by Archie Tse, a Graphics editor. Archie explained how the Times Graphics Desk is really unique among news organizations, in that they go out and do reporting before sitting down at their computer.
When you consider that newspapers are cutting back on coverage of everything these days, this is remarkable.
While we were in Boston this past weekend, we stopped by our friend Lindsey Warren’s studio at BU, where she is just completing her MFA in painting. She just sold a bunch of work at the graduate student show a few weeks back, and still has some amazing stuff left. We also got to see some works in progress – including some interesting printmaking.
But, the best thing about the visit was that we purchased an amazing painting, 405 Sunset:
This painting was featured in the Boston Globe Magazine last summer:
Lindsey Warren uses lurid colors and a surprising range of textures to evoke a world shimmering on the edge of dissolution, from the woodsy, dappled ‘Power Outage’ to the crisp, sun-stroked ‘405 Sunset.’
So we’re excited to get this piece to Brooklyn, but that will take some time since it measures 4′x 5′– we’ll have to get it crated and shipped.
Can a typeface truly represent a presidential candidate? Yesterday on the Times’ Campaign Stops blog, Steven Heller invited several designers and critics to comment on John McCain’s use of Optima for campaign collateral.
Is it dated? Classic? Does it convey strength? Or, quirkiness? The replies run the gamut; many of them funny or tongue-in-cheek. Michael Beirut notes the font’s resemblance to the one used to carve the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Matthew Carter muses about how the typeface will hold up with the addition of a running mate this summer. But, my favorite judgement comes at the end, from Rudy VanderLans:
What does Optima say about Senator McCain? Nothing. It probably says more about the designer than anything else. Who, except designers, would judge a candidate by the typeface?
Oh, and earlier this month, Heller did a similar discussion with branding expert Brian Collins, on Obama’s Gotham-heavy design scheme.
I’ve been playing around with the new Google Chart API, released earlier today. The API enables easy creation of charts, dynamically:
The Google Chart API returns a PNG-format image in response to a URL. Several types of image can be generated: line, bar, and pie charts for example. For each image type you can specify attributes such as size, colors, and labels.
My example is shown below. I can think of a lot more convenient methods of creating graphs, especially when chartable data is usually already in Excel or Numbers spreadsheets. Still, pretty fun to play around with – check out what Brian Suda makes of it, on 24ways.
I love this typographical poster of Brooklyn neighborhoods, by Ork Posters of Chicago.
It won’t help me figure out the “official” boundaries of Carroll Gardens, but it sure is pretty.
The new look is much wider, open, and easier to read. The Globe page especially shines, though they could better distribute some of the paper’s content across the columns. (And, I wish that they’d ditch the awful curvy logo for something less whimsical.)
Some sections on the site remain unchanged for now – which, according to the redesign FAQ, was intentional:
Different features and sections of the site are scheduled to debut on different days. While we realize that this might be confusing in the short-term, we’ve studied our options carefully and believe that the gradual switch we have planned will ultimately result in a better user experience.
Err, or that was a lot to roll out at once. Still, great improvement.
timothytipton.com is using a slightly modified version of my K2 stylesheet, without atttribution.
The post layout is the same, and he’s using the same exact sidebar modules, in exactly the same arrangement. His CSS is full of my custom selectors/classes, and is still hot linking to images on my domain.
It’s one thing to take someone else’s work, pick it apart, and learn from it. It’s quite another to just take someone’s work, remove attribution, and tweak it just enough so that it has your name on it.
My site is built-off of the K2 framework, which is the work of a lot of excellent designers and developers. The difference is that I’m upfront about attribution, AND, I’ve taken the time and care to fashion something new.
So, Timothy, might I suggest reading Greg Story’s post on How to properly steal the design of a website?
I ran a diff on the two stylesheets, and took some screenshots:
I saw that over at Brand New today, that Business Week magazine has done an interesting rebranding and redesign.
Nothing major on the logotype – gone are the serifs. But, between the covers is the real treat:
It’s inside that the magazine feels more relevant with a clean design and consistent typographic treatments that sway you from beginning to end. Simple size shifts from front of the book to feature stories to back of the book are enough indicators that you are changing sections without resorting to extra fancy opening spreads for the feature stories.
It has a very crisp and modern look, reminding me a bit of CNN International’s on-screen design. I wish other American publications and media would take this approach. The worst offenders are sport broadcasters, who use tickers, graphics, and picture-in-picture interviews to do everything but show you the game.
UPDATE: David Sleight takes a look at the typography behind the redesign.
It’s been nearly 24-hours since I relaunched this weblog, and the feedback has been encouraging. Thanks to everyone who emailed or left a comment.
I talked last night about my desire to use a typographical grid for this design, but I also knew that this had the potential to look quite antiseptic and sterile. I thought of the comment that David Carson makes in the Helvetica film, as he points to the word “caffeinated” that has been printed out in Helvetica Black and hung on the wall next to other identical looking words: “This doesn’t say ‘caffeinated’!” To avoid the trap, I needed to work in a design element that would make things a little more interesting.
Today, I’m launching version 6 of nedward.org, a typographical grid-based layout, with heavy use of Helvetica Neue. This site has always used a similar shade of green, so I wanted to maintain that bit of consistency with the past, while introducing something very different. I also wanted to bring together my content from twitter, flickr, del.icio.us, and last.fm, while keeping it distinct from the weblog content – yea, I’ve gone back on my post is a post comments.
The last major revision of this site was launched on May 1 2005, but even that was somewhat of a realignment of the previous design, which dated back to 2001. I’m a big proponent of Cameron Moll’s realign not redesign rule – so I spent the past few years tinkering away, refining the same basic layout.
Now that I have 2 days left at my current job, and a big move to NYC coming, I’m going to attempt to post more often. A new design for the weblog is also in the works, but not sure when I’ll get to it.
In that spirit, I found myself reading and re-reading Khoi’s recent post about how we value objects that deteriorate in a cool way. Khoi is far more eloquent than I can be, so just go there and read it:
So far, I’ve resisted the urge to get a case for my iPhone, but I know that regret will set in the moment that i drop the thing for real.
Also, I used to just have del.icio.us dump my bookmarks into a post on the Weblog, but once a day is way too much… and, there are plenty of things that I don’t want/need in my weblog.
Apparently, I’m not the only one feeling that way – Andre Torrez came up with a nice filter between del.icio.us and our weblogs –
I customized his work a bit, which you can see here. Well done.
Now, I’ve got to make this thing worth checking in on (or subscribing to) again.
4 restless hours of sleep, and 1 Jetblue direct flight from BOS to AUS, and I found myself in Austin. Checked into the hotel and met up with the EchoDitto folks, and other friends. There are like 4 Jasons, 2 Justins, a John (me) — so it gets confusing.
70 degrees here, 55 or so at night. This festival totally takes over the city. Met some cool people last night, and the first panel this morning was cool — i started in “why XSLT is sexy”, but bailed for “emerging social and technology trends”. Next up, “How to Bluff Your Way in Web 2.0”, with Andy Budd & Jeremy Keith… which I expect to be hilarious.
Only complaints are that the hotel is a bit of a walk, across the river. And, i’m sick… so i’m completely groggy and don’t feel like talking to anybody. but, i’ll get over it.
Another problem is trying to explain my job, and what the Localization industry is. It comes off sounding really lame, considering everybody I talk to works small design shops…
So if you have any ideas how to punch it up a bit, let me know.
Things have been so hectic with work lately, there’s been no time to update.
I’ll be attending the SXSW Interactive Festival this year in Austin, TX. I just couldn’t let another year go by.
It looks like the new ICA on the South Boston waterfront has to delay it’s September opening:
In interviews yesterday, ICA officials, architect Ricardo Scofidio, and construction company manager John Macomber said that the remaining work was not major. Among the pending tasks—termed “minutiae” by one ICA trustee—was the need to test the building’s ticket counter and climate control system.
As we looked at our goals for Flash Player 9, however, we realized that it would be too limiting to continue to evolve the existing engine. We wanted to create a watershed moment in the history of Flash Player, and to deliver it we needed to be able to innovate without constraint.
As a result, ActionScript 3.0 is essentially a full rewrite of the ActionScript engine. ActionScript 3.0 executes in a new, highly-optimized virtual machine known as AVM2, which we built for efficiency and performance. Although AVM2 will be the primary virtual machine for ActionScript execution going forward, Flash Player will continue to support the older AVM1 for backwards compatibility with existing and legacy content.
However, in order to take advantage of the new features, we’ll have to wait for the release of Flash Professional 9, (or play around with an alpha patch for Flash 8), according to the FAQ:
Designers and developers interested in using new Flash Player 9 features are welcome to explore the public alpha of Adobe Flash Professional 9 ActionScript 3.0 available on Adobe Labs.
It’s curiously timed… isn’t it unprecedented for Macromedia/Adobe releasing Player 9 almost a year in advance of Flash Professional 9? And, I don’t think that we’ll see wide-spread adoption until there is actually some Flash 9 content out there on the web. I’ll start paying attention in 2007.
The new homepage of NYTimes.com.
Khoi has the details on his weblog:
I think it’s a sterling piece of work, a great example of how to evolve a user experience rather than reinvent it: the best reaction it could receive from readers (those not among that vanishingly small subset of the general populace who can be called “design savvy”) would be something along the lines of “The new design looks just like the old design.” That would suit me fine, because it would signal a continuity that I think is completely appropriate for such a closely watched site like The New York Times’, and besides, I know for a fact that it’s more elegant and more useful than it was before.
And though Khoi says that he is not responsible for the design, it’s clear to me that whoever is was heavily influenced by his work – especially the recent re-launch of The Onion. Bravo!
What didn’t amuse me, was the 20 minutes of frustration last night, trying to get a freakin’ Boddingtons at The Burren in Davis Square. I had to order twice, from the same woman, (as she must’ve forgot the first one)… and finally I grabbed a second bartender to go check on things. And, HE was the one who brought me my freakin’ beer. I realize that a lot of bartenders double-pour Boddy’s, (much like Guinness), but you’re not supposed to forget me!