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SKETCHEE IDEAS: A Creativity Blog

Entries in Design (60)


Google Reader Redesigned

Google Reader has launched a new interface design. I never really liked the old design of Google Reader. I had criticized the overuse of boxes, rules, lines and terminologies. Most of this has been fixed in the new version. The settings now says "Folders and Tags", but is it more clear what a tag is and what a folder is? I'm not sure. I guess it doesn't matter in practice.

The white backgrounds and the more simple design fits inline with usual Google offerings although not as simple as they've made search. It looks a lot like Google Docs. You can now hide elements that you don't want to see and the friend's shared social feature have been given more prominence. You can even hide the feed counts which can be useless if you have a lot of feeds that you don't plan to read thoroughly. There are bundles to get you started quickly with the recommended feeds and feed topics to fit your taste.

If you didn't know, Reader is a way of subscribing to web sites such as this one, news sites, audio and video programming, etc. You can reader more about the new design at the Official Google Reader Blog.

This post is a follow-up to Google Reader’s Design Kinda Sucks

Gifts for Graphic Designers: A Wish List

Whether you're getting ready for the holiday season, a birthday or even without an occasion here's some graphic design related gifts that are on my wish list.

PRINT Magazine

The gift that keeps on giving. What could be better than a subscription to PRINT: America's Graphic Design Magazine filled with trends, commentary, reporting and ideas.

"STEP Inside Design" Magazine

Another magazine subscription worth considering is STEP Inside Design which tends to be a topical look at the current state of design. Each issue highlights creative people, design in the business world and hot design topics.

Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet

The Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet is an interface made perfectly for designers which allows you to access features and techniques in programs like Photoshop that you can't access any other way. This tablet includes shortcut keys and a five button mouse.

Pantone 100 Top Colors

Pantone 100 Top Colors is an affordable (under $30) set of colors for quick reference. For the price you get a pretty decent set of 1,114 colors.

"Hillman Curtis Designer Series"

The "Hillman Curtis Designer Series" has short films featuring Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister, David Carson, James Victore, and Pentagram Design

"How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul"

The book "How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul" by Adrian Shaughnessyis a business guide to being successful in the field. This book isn't about effects or visual tricks, but the business of being a commercial artist. New designers are often surprised at how important the business side of their career is and how little they learned about this in their formal education.

"Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students"

"Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students", a book by Ellen Lupton, isn't about fonts but working with type effectively on the page. Update: Read the full book review.

In "Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop" by Timothy Samara the topic discussed is one of the most important aspects of design: grid layout. It seems like many designers are unprepared to deal with the grid and there is always more to learn. It's essential to learn how to handle the many elements you will be asked to include in your designs. Learn the rules and how to break them effectively.


Publication Design: Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift & Entertaining Guide 2008 is a design project I've just completed at work—Patuxent Publishing, the Baltimore Sun Media Group's community targetted print division. It contains product recommendations and seasonal tips targeted at Baltimore County, MD and Howard County, MD residents to be distributed in papers such as The Howard County Times and Towson Times with four distinct and customized editions with targeted editorial content.

Cover for the Holiday Gift Guide, a newspaper supplement

Outside of the cover, there is intentionally limited holiday graphics. The cover had to be approved by the higher ups and they wanted it to clearly reflect the holiday focus.

Coffee Lovers Delight is a photo spread of coffee related gifts.
"Coffee Lovers Delight" is a photo heavy style page. Some photos were acquired from the manufcaturers, but for others we had a photo shoot

The project contains four types of stories. Photo heavy stories have large images of the product with a description right with the product. Hybrid stories have a few large photos tagged with an item name and a text block discussing the items pictured and a few others mentioned but not shown. The regular stories have one or two photos and a magazine style stories and for some of these I did original computer illustrations.

Teacher Gifts is a story by our staff writer with a file photo. (This photo originally appeared in Maryland Family Magazine)
"Teacher Gifts" is a story by our staff writer with a file photo. (This photo originally appeared in Maryland Family Magazine). It's a prime example of the story format used in conjunction with photo heavy gift pages.

The inside pages were given brackets on each side for several reasons. Since a bleed was not an option, the brackets gave a place to cut off the edges of images and give the illusion of bleeds. They also are intended to unify the piece, give a distinct separation between advertising and editorial and help clearly define the color of the piece. The headlines reuse the typeface (Meridien) of the cover logo with the second font (News Gothic) being the body text font.

This stories were from our syndicated feed along with an original computer illustration I created

The 2008 editions can be found in The Howard County Times, Columbia Flier, Northeast Booster, Northeast Reporter, The View from Ellicott City, and The View from West Howard the week of November 20.

Design is done in Adobe InDesign CS in a Apple Mac OSX environment since that is what our corporate environment currently supports. Actual size is 11.5" high by 11" wide printed on premium 80 paper

Take a look at the gallery page view all of the designs online.

New Publication: Fall Home & Garden 2008

The new edition of Patuxent Publishing Company's Home & Garden is out. The Spring Edition which I also designed was a lot more conservative. In the same tradition as that issue, it's very colorful, fun and literal. I did custom illustrations for the pages and was even allowed to do a full illustrative cover, possibly the first in the publication's history.

Fall Home & Garden Cover

"Front Porch" is the feature story by our staff writer. The design has a kind of free element along with the necessary product shots that go along with the text. The inside pages adopted the character of the cover illustration into the editorial space.

"Front Porch"

"Lawn & Order"

"Fall for Flavor", a story about window herb gardens with a fun and literal interpretation of the text.

"Clean Sweep", about proper fireplace care.

Fall Home & Garden is a supplement to the Howard County Times, Columbia Flier, Catonsville Times, Arbutus Times and Laurel Leader.

Camp Guide design mock ups

Some upcoming cover options for camp guide 2009. Its about summer camps for kids.