Getting at Your Web Stuff

HTML code in Text Wrangler. Want a piece of this action?

HTML code in Text Wrangler. Want a piece of this action?

Hello everyone who may or not be paying attention.

I know it’s been a while but I was a bit distracted by some very consuming system issues with my workstation. But that cautionary tale is a subject for another post. Seriously. Cautionary. Tale. But not now.

One of the requests that I often get from clients is that they want to know how to do simple revisions and update their web site content for themselves. Of course they are concerned in this difficult economy about paying my fair, but non-trivial designer’s rate for what might be a trivial update or minor correction. I do have a minimum quarter hour charge. Which is seriously, just about how long it takes to read the email, take the call, jot a note or two, fire up Dreamweaver or a text editor, an FTP client, log into the hosting provider’s Control Panel, upload the fix, revision or update and then log it on the timesheet. So I do see their point. Or you might just want more control of your own content. Continue reading

When do you need a Graphics Pro?

Banging one out in InDesign. Yeah, I know what Im doin

Banging one out in InDesign. Yeah, I know what I'm doin'. Look! CMYK colors!

With the market shifting as rapidly as it has been in the Electronic Age – this is a question that often pops up in my dealings with clients, my colleagues, and especially potential clients.

When is it time to hire a Designer?

There was a time, it seems long ago now, when everything printed, from annual reports and catalogs, to matchbook covers and little league flyers, required the hands of creative pros – designers, draftsmen, illustrators, layout artists, darkroom technicians, typesetters, color separators, film strippers, platemakers, printers and pressmen.  But that was circa 1980, B.C. – Before Computers. In the Mid 80’s the PostScript Programming language was being developed by John Warnock of Adobe, and Steve Jobs and was developing the Apple Macintosh computers. Eventually the combination of the Macintosh, the LaserWriter II and Aldus’s ground breaking page layout program, PageMaker, changed the publishing landscape forever.

Continue reading

Credit Crisis – Awesome Flash Vid

While I take a moment from pushing a large, lengthy, lingering and LATE project out of the Studio, in my Live Journal  friends list is Scott McCloud, the well regarded Comic Artist who is the writer/artist of Zot, Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics and Making Comics. He turned me on to this.

The Credit Crisis Visualized by Jonathan Davis


The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

“The goal of giving form to a complex situation like the credit crisis is to quickly supply the essence of the situation to those unfamiliar and uninitiated. This project was completed as part of my thesis work in the Media Design Program, a graduate studio at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. For more on my broader thesis work exploring the use of new media to make sense of a increasingly complex world, visit my website here. or email me at: jonathan.jarvis@gmail.com

Visit The Crisis of Credit Visualized.

I sometimes (um… actually, routinely) rag on Flash, for being mostly used for the internet equivalent of dressing a whore as a Lady, essentially being …well…” flashy.” Mostly shiny objects and pretty lights, web 2.0 ooooh-shiny and little substance. It is also a very challenging application to master. Frustrating to both designers and programmers, as a development platforms that is decidedly schizophrenic, requiring both artistic and design skills on one hand and programmer and coding skills on the other hemisphere.

But this is possibly one of the best, and most useful uses of the application that I have ever seen. Aside from being graphically tight and beautiful, it also gives an overview of a complex, and lately emotional topic with amazing clarity. And furthermore it isn’t selling sneakers or dressing up another sketchy blockbuster film site, it’s providing useful social purpose!

“The Crisis of Credit Visualized distills the economic crisis into a short and simple story by giving it form. It is also argues that designers have the ability to see a complex situation, then turn around and communicate it to others. By giving graphic form to the credit crisis, it becomes comprehensible. Not only do economic activities take shape, but new relationships can emerge between these shapes.” – Jonathan Davis

If ever I pray to the gods, it’s to get to do work this good! **Applause**

Barrier to Entry

Grab this end. Ancient graphic design tool. An X-Acto kniife.

Ancient graphic design tool. An X-Acto knife. Grab THIS end.

I had alluded to this subject in my earlier post about Adobe Creative Suite.  I did get a bit rantish about it. So I decided that I might clarify where I was coming from this time around. Now for a little background, I entered the field in 1980, yes that would be B.C. — Before Computers.  Moving right along, If someone had told me in 1989 that in a few years I would be replacing 90% of my professional tools every three to five years, I would have looked at them like they were out of their minds. Seriously, I made it a point to buy good quality pro gear and took good care of it. I had a steel t-square that I would be able to leave to my grandchildren, nearly indestructible. I had a lovely oak drafting table. A sweet little Badger airbrush and compressor. Red Sable brushes. A set of very slick and pampered technical pens. And seriously, a drafting instrument set I actually inherited from my grandfather.

Then “Desktop Publishing” happened.

The advent of the Apple Macintosh Computer, PostScript, PageMaker software, and the LaserWriter II printer changed everything. Forever. That was a weird time, when many companies tried to jettison their Agencies, Design Studios and Art Directors for low paid operators with Mac SEs. But after a few years, they decided that they needed people who actually knew some Design Principles operating the computers. So a lot of us went back to school, helloooo Continuing Ed., to learn more about this “Computer Stuff. ” A lot of good and talented people gave up and left the field, and some of us made the transition and picked up the mice, wondering, “what the f**k is this?”Continue reading

Adobe Creative Suite 4

Adobe Creative Suite 4 - Design Premium

Well, I went down into NYC for an Adobe Creative Suite 4 Launch Tour seminar last Friday. And got a reminder of why I took the bus when I had a NYC day job… it was 50 min inbound at 7:00-8:00 yesterday… but over TWO hours outbound at the height of the evening Rush Hour. Left the Javits Center at around 5:30… pulled into the driveway between 7:30 and 8:00.. OUCH. But the very evil part was walking the block or so from the parking lot to the Javits Center into the wind off the River… AIEEEEEEE!!!!! Oh my FACE! So you can see why I was less that excited about walking down from Port Authority in the Artctic Blast. Which put me rather out on hiking off to 8th or 9th avenue for lunch. So I ended up having very overpriced very blah and ordinary concession food at the center. FEH. On the other hand, I scored an $14 Early Bird rate at a lot LESS than a half mile from the Javits, so I think I’ll call it even and move on.

That said, Creative Suite 4 is pretty frakkin’ awesome, with lots of clever enhancements, with many peeves addressed and wish list items suggested by users added. This is of course a FAR superior approach than Microsoft, that just DOES STUFF to their apps, usually Office or Windows itself, and then shoves the “enhancements” down your throat. Often this breaks things that might have actually worked well in some of their products. So yes, I WANT IT. Very shiny. As Tim Taylor once said.. “More POWER! Utt! Utt! Utt!”
Continue reading