Best of the Blogs: March 31, 2011
In each installment of the Best of the Blogs column (see the debut here), I'll divide the things I find into categories; for example, Typography, Photoshop, and Web. When appropriate, I'll also include links to the blog where I first saw an item.
If you have a suggestion for a blog I should be checking, let me know by posting the URL in this article's Comments.
From basic selection tips to avant-garde Helvetica, type accommodates all.
Stymied about typeface selection? Read How to choose a typeface at Smashing Magazine.
When choosing those typefaces, be glad you didn't have to choose from the 1923 American Typefounder's Catalog, linked to by Coudal Partners. It’s a fascinating specimen.
Learn type history with Mike Parker's Story of Type posted at The Font Bureau. The timing is apropos as Parker, who worked in both metal type at Linotype and digital type at Bitstream, will receive the rarely bestowed Type Director's Club Medal on April 6.
Another titan of type, Meta designer and FontShop founder Erik Spiekermann, is being honored with an exhibition at the Bauhaus-Archiv Museum of Design in Berlin in light of his receiving the German Design Lifetime Achievement Award, notes The FontFeed. If you can't get to Berlin, watch this video of Spiekermann articulating how type serves society, via Design Observer.
See the world rendered completely in type in this Typographic World Map posted by Fast Company Design.
Wonder if that typographic map includes Chartwell, the infographic font from kottke.org.
Dig deep with this explanation as to why the point size and the em square are not what you think by Thomas Phinney.
Helvetica is the typeface you either embrace or reject. In the former category is this "LiveType" font in which Helvetica reinvents itself based on what the other letters do (at least I think that's what it does). Thanks to Coudal Partners for the link. In the latter category is this tongue-in-cheek Helvetica Detector, via Aqua-Velvet.
InDesign & Quark
These InDesign tips range from the essential to the esoteric.
"Adobe Indesign Tips I Wish I'd Known When Starting Out" is a nice primer—or reminder—about some "gotchas" in InDesign. Thanks to Smashing Magazine.
You may also want to check out "5 Things You May Not Know About InDesign CS5" by Terry White.
Here's a fun tip about how to draw concentric shapes in InDesign, from InDesignSecrets.
Wrestling with how to make copy fit in your InDesign layouts? See how one expert copy fits text from Gilbert Consulting.
Now here's an esoteric tip about the oe ligature in InDesign CS5. Who knew?
And for you QuarkXPress users out there, Planet Quark looks more closely at the new ShapeMaker feature in the upcoming QuarkXPress 9.
These links can help you make pretty text or write scripts—kind of a left-brain/right-brain thing.
Learn how to "Tug and Twirl Text" among other Illustrator Must-Know Text Effects via Noupe.
Mordy Golding tells you how to create a script that will convert PDF pages to Illustrator artboards, posted on the Real World Illustrator blog.
Photoshop and Lightroom
Can you ever know too much about Photoshop? I thought not.
First off, our go-to-guy John Nack assures Mac users that OS 10.6.7 and Photoshop CS5 have resolved their conflicts.
Here's a simple but valuable tip about color coding Photoshop layers from the divine Julieanne Kost.
Photoshop CS5 boasts impressive HDR features, as Peachpit Press points out in "Understanding HDR toning in Photoshop CS5".
If you want to go deeper into Adobe Camera Raw, you may like these new video tutorials by George Jardine, former Photoshop and Lightroom evangelist at Adobe.
Print this out and tack it above your desk: It's a Photoshop etiquette manifesto for Web designers via designer-daily. Even print-centric Photoshop users should take this to heart.
I love black-and-white photography. If you do too, click over to "Making Beautiful Black-and-White Images in Lightroom 3" via Jules Café.
This handy round-up of "30 Awesome Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials" comes from DesignM.ag. I find it amusing that the tutorial "Create Colorful Ornamental Text Photoshop" is accompanied by an image with "I'm a Loser" as sample text.
There's a bunch of good advice for photographers here, so read on.
The great thing about a digital SLR camera is that you can change lenses. But if you're new to DSLR, how do you know which lenses to get? Beyond Megapixels lays out which three lenses you should buy first.
Another camera option that also lets you change lenses is a compact interchangeable-lens camera. Macworld reviews the best.
Once you've figured which camera and lenses to buy, watch this podcast for 10 tips for packing your camera bag by Derrick Story at The Digital Story.
If you're confused about exposure—what it is, how it works, etc.—you'll want to read "Back to Basics: Exposure Explained", from Beyond Megapixels.
Digital cameras don't capture images in black and white—that conversion happens in image editing software—but it might be helpful to shoot as if you were shooting in black and white. This post from Digital Photography School explains.
Gear up for a busy summer of shooting by learning how to find clients for your photography business. Already got clients? Get more cash with these 20 ways to increase sales in your photo business. Both posts are from GoingPro.
With graduations, weddings, and other festivities, spring and summer are high seasons for portrait photography. Make that grad glad and that bride blush with these 10 techniques for amazing portraits from Digital Photography School.
Holga and Lomo toy cameras that capture images on film are all the rage. Want to get that analog look with your digital camera? Digital Photography School says that Alien Skin's Lo-Fi software bridges the gap.
For digital photographers there are few things worse than a flaky or failed memory card. Here's one way to rescue images from a damaged SD card via Jules Café.
Less-is-more Web design and do-more-with-less coding are some recent blog topics.
These 35 minimalist Website designs from youthedesigner feel like a breath of fresh air in a crowded room.
Even sparsely designed websites can have densely packed code. These ideas from Design Festival help you prevent a bloated homepage.
See how typographic hierarchy affects the meaning and design of your web page. This post on TypeKit's blog has exercises and examples that illustrate the point.
Hongkiat compiled an informative and thorough beginner's guide to CSS3.
Looking to spiff up your email newsletter? Noupe's free HTML newsletter templates could help.
If straight quotes bug you, here's the code to add curly ones.
Clear advice and hidden messages rise up from the design community.
When I clicked through this post on Neatorama, I was surprised and mesmerized by these hidden messages in popular logos. I will never look at a Tostitos bag the same way again.
Speaking of packaging, see what Dieline deemed its top 10 package designs.
The amount of data isn't what makes a good chart. Design is. Check out these lively examples of how to design charts for better typography and color, courtesy of Noupe.
Long before Twitter, design legend Massimo Vignelli spoke his own pithy words of advice. At a recent gala honoring him, Pentagram's Michael Bierut designed a program featuring Vignelli's maxims. (Fun coincidence: the Helvetica Detector mentioned above lists Vignelli as a Helvetica Criminal.)
Go to page 2 for links to blog posts about creative professionalism, books made into Kindle covers, Adobe's museum, and much more.
Even though some of the tips below are geared toward certain disciplines (e.g., photography or Web design), every creative will benefit from them.
We all need career advice occasionally. Lateral Action drew up a list of 12 inspiring career guides for creative people. Interesting to think that you can find creative insight for your career in The Hero with A Thousand Faces.
Another way to get creative career advice? Twitter. Design Informer asked its Twitter followers for their favorite design advice distilled into 140-character nuggets. The response was overwhelming and the result was... well, read for yourself.
Social networking helps your career only if you put something into it. Here’s how one photographer makes use of his LinkedIn network, via Creative Freelancer.
You can either have freelancing foisted upon you or you can choose to go freelance. In either case, here are your first steps to freelance freedom, from Freelance Switch.
Here's a good question: As a freelancer, how do you know when you've been fired? Noupe has some ideas.
Tax time can be agonizing for freelancers. This list of 29 financial articles for freelancers will help not only at tax time but throughout the year as well, via Creative Freelancer.
There are a couple of good discussion threads on Core77 pertaining to the business of being creative:
- Does it make sense to take a pay cut for a job that gives you more experience?
- What to put on the "teaser" page of a Web portfolio.
"Seven Basics to create a good design brief" is from WebDesigner Depot.
Crediting content can get messy in this interlinked, multi-sourced world. Swiss Miss features a flowchart poster that shows how to credit images.
Enjoy these interesting tidbits from around the blogosphere.
Here's a handy link for anyone who uses Adobe Creative Suite 5: Instead of rooting around for the link to the online manual for each CS5 application, just refer to Design Geek's quick links to the PDFs of Adobe CS5 online help.
Old books never die; they just become iPad or Kindle covers. Thanks to eBookNewser for these. (Egads, I may have that Rod McKuen book in a box somewhere!)
Here's another printing technique adapted to the digital age: flipbooks. Via Workflow:ePub.
A wonderful, amazing, informative video from Encyclopedia Britannica circa 1947 shows how books were made. Posted by Core77, this brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye.
Watch a video of street artist Eine paint giant antiquated letters on buildings in San Francisco, via PSFK.
An "exhibit" about and lecture by visionary designer John Maeda has opened at the Adobe Museum of Digital Media. Here's how the Adobe blog describes it: "Maeda discusses how today’s designers are connecting the worlds of digital creativity and analog (or handcrafted) creativity." Sounds interesting--and you can visit the museum in your pajamas!
Finally, a new file format has emerged that may just help save the planet. If you have a PDF that doesn't really need to be printed, save it in the WWF format. Swiss Miss has the scoop.