Notebook

Design Swap

So after months of deliberation, Phil Coffman and I finally decided what to do for our “design swap“. We thought it might be fun to give each other full access to our respective twitter accounts to do custom themes for each other. At first I was thinking I would try to do up something really nice for Phil. Maybe work in some of his amazing photography, or do something that revolved around his logo. Something professional.

Phil had other plans.

Game on. ( And I believe that’s 4 words Phil. )

Authentic Jobs 5 Year Anniversary ~ Part 2 

Just sign in with your Twitter or Facebook ID, and select which gift you’d like to receive. Worth visiting just for the design and interactions alone.

Virb Gets a Facelift by Weightshift 

Later this month, we begin the long battle of reforming people’s perceptions of what Virb is (website builder) and what it is not (social network, Facebook/MySpace competitor, etc.). Leading that charge is a new brand as re-imagined by our good friends and design champions, Weightshift.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what the Virb team puts together with the restructuring of their site. So far so good.

Aerial Capture 

Aerial Capture is a lightweight digital camera with a built-in 3 foot balloon allowing families of all ages to take great playful aerial photos from 20 metres high that are colourful with a stylistic contrast.

Love love love this idea.


Prototyping with Keynote

For my first iPhone app (which is yet to be released) I relied heavily on Apple’s Keynote application in order to build out very functional prototypes. I thought about writing up a blog post about it, but it seems as though several others have beat me to the punch. Here’s a good list of resources that sum up the process better than I could:

The only suggestion that I might add (and one that helped speed up my workflow considerably) is to tweak the keyboard shortcuts of Keynote to make them behave more inline with Adobe’s apps. Shortcuts for resizing text and grouping objects is hardwired into my brain. By taking 10 minutes and changing those shortcuts in the system preferences, I’m sure I saved hours of frustration.

Recognizing Beauty 

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.

Steinway and Sons Redesign

Over the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working with New York based piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons. They’re not just any old piano manufacturers. We’re talking pianos that take almost a year to make by hand, and retail at close to what I bought my house for. Seriously.

The whole project came together fairly smoothly, and included a variety of different mini-projects that really kept things interesting. There were some print ads, dealer site designs, and even some internal cms and crm design tweaks done. The first thing the client wanted to tackle though, was the home page.

Having never worked with this client before, I wasn’t quite sure how much creative liberty I would have, so I played it safe and started off with a design that closely followed a wireframe that they provided (I can’t track down that wireframe right now, or I’d post it as well).

Along with that comp, I also showed a variation that was a little more dynamic and something I felt fit the Steinway brand a bit better.

Steinway liked the second approach… and wanted to go with it. I was pretty happy with it too, but continued to refine it as I worked on the rest of the site. The first change I made was to the secondary content section.

This was better, but I felt that it was still a bit too top heavy… and could be balanced a bit better. I cut the height of the background image a bit, and let the piano pop up over the top in an attempt to make it stand out more.

From there it was just a matter of tweaking the colours and typography to bring it all together…

Overall I’m very happy with how this project turned out. One of my personal goals for this project was to get away from relying on the same techniques that I’ve become comfortable with over the years… and it was actually harder than I thought it would be. I found myself resorting to the same button styles, shading techniques, etc… and having to force myself to go back and change things up. I figured that if these guys can spend a year making a single piano, I could probably spend an extra couple hours here and there on refining these details.

Along with the website redesign, I also had the opportunity to work on a metronome application for the iPhone. I just added that one to my portfolio today, and if you want to see some of the process on that one, you can check it out on Dribbble.

homewrk 

homewrk is a collection of workspaces, art studios, craft rooms, offices and all the little beautiful things that fill them up.

Makes it tempting to move the office back home.

iPhone GUI PSD Version 4 from Teehan + Lax 

Previous versions of this file we’re riddled with issues like blurry edged buttons and incorrect “bevels”. These issues have been addressed as best they can using Photoshop’s shape layers and layer styles.

Invisible Status Bar Safari Extension 

Save display space or appeal to your own sense of minimalism by hiding Safari’s native status bar, and using the Invisible Status Bar instead. Only shows up when you hover over a link, i.e. when you need a status bar.

My favourite safari extension so far.

Lobster Font 

The new Open Type fonts give us the possibility to have multiple versions of each letter, and that’s exactly what we are going to do: Instead of compromising the design of our letters to force connections, we will do what lettering artist do. We will draw a lot of different versions of each letter and a hell lot of different letter-pairs (aka “ligatures”) so we can always use the best possible variation of each letter depending of the context of the letter inside each word.

Via @bpotstra


Font of the Week - Champion Script Pro 

It is based mainly on the manuscripts of the 18th century English calligrapher Joseph Champion. Developed over a period of two and a half years, each one of the 2 weights is loaded with 4280 glyphs(!)


50% Off Authentic Jobs Posting 

Authentic Jobs is kicking off their Spring/May Flowers/Whatever-You’d-Like-To-Call-It Promotion. They typically do only one 50% off promotion each year, so this is a pretty big deal for them.

Get 50% off any listing-full-time, contract, or freelance-as by using the promotional code 50THREE. Valid Monday, May 3 through Friday, May 7.

Design Swap - Spreading camaraderie through good design 

We want to bring the web community together by encouraging people to show the ultimate sign of creative respect – letting someone else design on your website. Whether it’s a blog post, banner image, or even a tiny footer doodad, we’ll be inviting creatives to pair up for a Design Swap.

I’ll be paired up with Phil Coffman to swap some design in the coming weeks. He’s already promised to set at least one of my butterflies on fire.

LiveView for iPhone 

LiveView is a specialized remote screen viewing application intended as a tool to help designers create graphics for mobile applications, it has also proven to be useful for creating quick and dirty simulations, demos, and experience prototypes.

If you’re doing any design for the iPhone, this is definitely worth checking out.

Some current postings at Authentic Jobs 

eWedding.com – Web Designer

We’re looking for a designer to work on banners (static and animated) for our wedding related web sites.

R2integrated – Expression Engine Developer

We need a developer ASAP with heavy understanding and experience with Expression Engine. Indidivual can work remotely, but is needed on a on-call basis for current project.

The New York Times – Web Designer

This person will design new editorial and application areas of New York Times digital products, including NYTimes.com, mobile properties and applications for alternative platforms

Anthropologie – Interactive Designer

Anthropologie.com is looking for an enthusiastic greenhorn to assist in the production of compelling online marketing campaigns in a dynamic workspace that brims with natural light, loyal dogs, and young talent.

Font of the Week - Clarendon Text 

The rich, full-bodied style of Clarendon Text takes its primary inspiration from the classic 1953 Hoffmann/Eidenbenz polishing of the mid-nineteenth century English slab serifs originally conceptualized by extraordinary craftsmen like Vincent Figgins and Robert Besley. The italic styles of Clarendon Text take their cue from Aldo Novarese’s 1955 Egizio typeface, which was the very first to attempt a true italic companion to the Clarendon roman.

You can’t go wrong with Clarendon.


Helveticards 

Designed with both the typophile and card player in mind, Helveticards are the beautiful, usable alternative to the traditional deck of cards that both Vignelli and Brunson would be happy to deal.

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