Best of the Blogs, June 6, 2011

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True story: I was doing a final blog-check to see if anything new had come in since the morning, and I noticed a post that seemed to take issue with Paul Rand, revered designer and creator of logos for such companies as ABC, IBM, and Westinghouse. I thought, Who on earth could question Paul Rand? Intrigued, I clicked on the link. I quickly realized that the subject of the blog is Rand Paul, the U.S. senator who, as far as I can tell, has not designed any logos.

Typography
Adobe's Myriad typeface has become the go-to font for corporate communication, graphic design, even logos. Has it become the next Helvetica? You be the judge. Take a closer look at Myriad—learn its history, compare it to other sans serif faces, and see it in use. Interesting post from idsgn.com.


Attending a type conference is a wonderful experience for designers of all stripes, but especially those who are interested in type design and development and how it affects our world. Judging by the post-event materials online, TYPO Berlin 2011 was a good one. You can see an impressionistic video of the event and watch interviews with designers on FontShopTV and look at designer Eva-Lotta Lamm's amazing sketchbook journal of conference sessions, thanks to FontFeed. See some of the new typefaces introduced at the conference in a first-person report at I love typography.


The Linotype machine turned 125 in May. Coudal Partners links to the Atlantic's wonderful essay on Mergenthaler's marvelous invention. The photos of composing rooms are fascinating, too.

Photoshop
Photoshop has tools for creating panoramas, but the result isn’t always what you hoped for. That's because panoramic photos require you to think about the result as you take the photo so you can get even better results in Photoshop. Photoshop maestro Deke McClelland shows you how in this Lynda.com video.

The clone stamp tool is an old workhorse in Photoshop; in fact, it can be something of a nag compared to coltish features in newer versions of the application. But this old mare still has a few tricks in its oat bag. A video from Tip Squirrel shows how to change the attributes of Photoshop's clone stamp, including rotating and flipping it.

One way that pros finesse color correction in their images is to adjust levels on a per-channel basis. This video, via Photoshop Roadmap, shows how.

Photography
This MIT study says that photos without people in them are forgettable. Skeptics will note it was a computer algorithm that detected this preference, but when I sift through mountains of my vacation snaps of nothing but desert rock formations, I get bored. Via Wired.

Post-capture sharpening in Photoshop can only do so much. Here are 15 In-Camera Tips For Sharper Photos from Photofocus.

You may want to invest in new camera gear before hitting the road this year. There's a right and wrong way to buy photo gear, says PhotoShelter. The post reports that "photographers spend $10,000-$15,000 in equipment expenses every 2 years." Yikes!

Illustration
Once upon a time, there was a vector-based illustration application that competed head-to-head with Illustrator, often boasting features ahead of Adobe's product. Many designers preferred it, in fact. But thanks to company mergers, FreeHand ended up in the hands of Adobe, which effectively killed it. Now a group of die-hard users called Free FreeHand is suing Adobe in an effort to prod the company into updating or selling the application. Thanks to Macworld for this one.

Stuck in a drawing rut? Is your mojo a no-go? This list of ideas about things to draw is sure to rev up your creativity. Pencils ready? Then let's begin. Via Coudal Partners.

Web
Sometimes it's easier to create good design by looking not at what to do but by looking at what not to do. I think that approach will be pretty obvious when you check out 10 Web Design Mistakes to Avoid, via Design You Trust.


There's nothing like a power outage to remind you of the joys of print publishing. Smashing Magazine posted this thoughtful essay on the nature and future of print and Web publishing. Rounding out the piece are the opinions of several top designers who work in both media.

Creative Business
Social networking can be a great way to market yourself and your work. Now there is a new social networking site for creatives, Ardist. SocialTimes.com takes a look.

The crowdsourcing debate continues unabated. A new post entitled How does crowdsourcing affect your freelancing? was sparked by crowdsourcing pioneer 99design's recent $35 million venture investment.

The project's over. Let’s move on to the next one. Errrkk! Don’t move on until you've run through this one-page project debrief, a free download. Via DesignM.ag.

There are a lot of options for publishing material these days. If you're considering the self-publishing route, read this post about the pros and cons of DIY.


If you own an iPad, you'll want to download the Society of Publication Designers' new app. It's essentially the "director's cut" of the design annual SPD 45, which includes Magazine of the Year and other goodies. Just beware that at $19.99, it's a bit pricey. Via Cover Junkie.

Some people dive deep into one medium, others paddle around on the surface, never staying in one place for long. If you have multiple creative interests that pull you in different directions, I suggest reading Are You Torn Between Different Creative Ambitions? on Lateral Action.

Design
PSFK recently ran a series of interviews with 13 designers. Their responses have been distilled into short statements of design philosophy, such as, "Influence your work by observing things, details, moments, or people's behaviors in everyday life."


If you're a coupon clipper or just appreciate old-school design, read 45 Classy Examples of Vintage Coupon Designs on Design You Trust.

As the weather warms, it's tough to sit at your computer while butterflies flit by your window. Instead of riding your bike, you hit a creative roadblock, one that seems to offer no off-ramp. Try these 14 Ways to Destroy Designer's Block from Tech King.

As a result of bad communication by me and unclear directions from the client, I layed out an entire book only to learn that the client wanted a smaller trim-size. To say I was p.o.'d every time I reflowed text is an understatement. Wish I had read Keith Gilbert's post, How to resize pages in InDesign.

Miscellaneous
While my text messages are not racy or even interesting, I don't think I'd want them plastered on a building for all to see. Others aren't so shy, apparently. There's a contraption that, in conjunction with an Android smart phone, prints your SMS messages on vertical surfaces. Neatorama has a video of this unusual wall-writing device in action.


Look at this beautiful packaging created entirely without ink. Instead, it relies on embossing, die cutting, and laser engraving. Clever and memorable. Seen on The Dieline.


These custom book jackets look great in small clusters, but just imagine your shelves filled with books covered in color-coded jackets. Spiffy and organized! Via Design-Milk.

Google has decided to end its project to digitize old newspapers. Since it began in 2008, the project scanned nearly a million pages from 2,000 newspapers. Via The Atlantic.


Too bad Google didn't get around to scanning The Musalman, the last hand-written newspaper in the world. Gizmodo hosts this fascinating video about The Musalman.

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