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Procrastination hits all of us from time to time. When the creative spark doesn’t seem so bright, there are a great number of places that I like to visit on the internet. You could call it “wasting time,” but I think that I’d rather call it “recharging my spark.” Here are the top internet locales that I use to get that boost.

Veer

The Veer folks from Calgary and have really pulled their stuff together. Their site always presents reams of creative ideas and resources for projects — fonts, images, graphics and more. It’s all good stuff and always presented in a fun interactive way. Their blog rocks too.

Veer

Forums

Forums can be a great source of troubleshooting information, and also a great place to generate a community around specific topics. It’s through those community connections that I often find new ways of solving a problem, new creative techniques, and even sometimes an idea for a new project. There are many quality forums out there, here are a few to get you started:

Also be sure to check our our larger list on the Forums page of this blog.

Desktop Publishing Forum

Screenalicious

This site contains thumbnailed screen shots of websites. You can click on one, rate it, and even leave a comment for the designer. Use it as a source of website design inspiration, or as just a fun way to randomly browse the net.

Screenalicious

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Portland Blogger Meetup

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We’ve been blogging about font management, digital asset management and all things creative for quite some time now. So, I suppose that it’s about time that we ventured out from the virtual world. Last night a few of us who write for Manage This! had the pleasure of visiting one of our local television stations to meet other local Portland bloggers.

Portland contains a slew of interesting folks with blogs about everything from art, ghosts, mustaches, journalism, surfing, real estate, technology, knitting and all sorts of other creative endeavors. About sixty of us showed up to check out the studios and dine on the very generous spread provided by KATU.

The event really gave me an insight into what other writers use as inspiration. Whether it’s work related, or a personal interest, all that it takes to get a blog going is some creative juice and a bit of drive.

I was impressed with the amount of creative work that went into the meetup by KATU. They created a great logo and then splashed that across all of their materials – the signage pointing bloggers into the station, the name tags, and even in these fun little goody-bags that everyone received as a parting gift. Some poor intern probably went to great effort to unwrap candy bars and re-wrap them with their fun logo – a nice touch. Thanks go to the intern!

KATU Blogger Meetup goodie bag

Here’s a shot of all of us. You should have seen what it took to get us corralled into one area for a picture. With all of the shiny technology, robotic cameras and chromakey weather screen it was quite a challenge!


KATUMeetup: Portland bloggers group photo, originally uploaded by Brian M. Westbrook.

Perhaps my favorite part of the event was a tour of the KATU archive basement where they store all of their past tapes, scripts, film and such. It got me to thinking about archival strategies… but I’ll save that for another post.

 


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movie typo

I love Netflix. But I realize that the DVD economy has done an injustice to the designers who labor over the opening credits to a film. We are so are eager to get into the film that we often skip right past the good stuff- the stuff that sets the stage, begins the process of telling the story: the opening title sequence. 

I’ve defined a rule: If there is a genre that does this best, imo, it would be thrillers. Anything Alfred hitchcock, to be specific: Psycho, Vertigo, North By Northwest (Panic Room mimics this one a bit). 

And, while I firmly believe that the movies of generations past seemed to take more pride in this level of detail… Here are my picks for the best, should-be-award-winning opening typo sequences in recent years:

thanks for smoking3- ALIEN

2- Catch me if you can

1- Thank you for Smoking

I’ve admired them, so I just have to give the designers their due recognition.  Honorable mention goes to: Casino Royale.  Any other favorites out there?


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cws_765.gifIf you win a baseball game, someone might want a picture of your team. If your team happens to be the Chicago White Sox and you just won the 2005 World Series, everyone wants a picture. No one is more painfully aware of this fact than the marketing department behind the championship baseball team. After the big win, they were bombarded with photo requests from journalists, fans, advertising agencies, etc… Luckily for them, they already had a management system in place to ensure that all 30,000 images from the series were properly organized and instantly accessible.

An Extensis customer since 1999, the White Sox organization implemented of Portfolio as a solution for the team photographer to manage the hundreds of images collected during each game. Before long, Portfolio Server was installed, enabling dozens of additional users to access the photographs without requiring the photographer to spend time finding and manually filling those requests.

In addition to facilitating the internal distribution of images, Portfolio is also used for external distribution of images to partners, sponsors, and members of the press. Using Portfolio’s email feature, it is easy to email original files, or dynamically generate low-resolution preview files, directly from within the program. So when the requests started rolling in following the 2005 championship game, the marketing department was able to easily locate and then distribute any image within their catalog. *Whew!*

Let’s wrap this with a bit of trivia: I was curious what font the White Sox use in their logo (shown above) so I did a search and found one site that claims it is Old English….anyone know if that’s correct?


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declare yourselfI don’t know about you, but I never imagined that approximately 4 million 18-yr-olds would be newly eligible to vote in the 2008 election. By 2015, generation Y voters will make up 1/3rd of the electorate. That’s a group worth reaching out to early.

Declare Yourself is a national campaign to “energize and empower every eligible 18-year-old in America to register and vote in the 2008 presidential election.”

They recently launched a poster contest to further their cause. Since everyone has an opinion, go vote for your favorite poster, all of which are designed to get the ‘newly ordained’ involved. The site also has some other interesting features, like a comprehensive voting FAQ and the ability to register to vote in any state from the home page. Good design for a good cause.


Wow! But what is it?

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I got passed on a link to one of the most amazing videos I’ve ever seen. This is spectacular on ANY scale. I was so impressed with it, and I feel compelled to link it again in case you missed the first one. It’s about 8 minutes long and trust me, you won’t care.

However, it’s in a language I don’t understand, and I can’t quite determine any of the factors besides Samsung and soccer. I don’t think it’s for the next World Cup which is still a while off, and it seems a bit early for Olympic fanfare. Any assistance on this would be appreciated! Whether or not you understand the language being spoken, it’s a spectacle even with the sound off. (I recommend the sound being on though, otherwise you could totally miss out on the foreign-language interpretation of Go West!

(This is the first time I’ve embedded a Metacafe video in the blog, so if you have any trouble with it please let me know.)


Samsung Dance


Typecon T-Shirt Roundup

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Typographers are a fun bunch. Though you might think of a type designer being a reserved, quiet individual who ponders the beautiful curves of certain font glyphs, I’ve heard more f-bombs, rough language and rock music in presentations than in any other conference that I’ve attended. It makes for a interesting environment.

One of the great side effects of all of this fun chaos is that there are a bounty of really great font-related t-shirts at the event. It seemed like every time I turned around that there was another good one. Here are just a few that were given out as prizes, promotional items, sold in the fund raising auction or at the SOTA store.

The Microsoft design guys came up with this one:

Battlestar Helvetica

I love cheese, and this cheesy shirt that was in the SOTA fund raising auction works for me:

Helveeta - one of only 36 in the world, as far as I know.

Here’s one with a quote from Adrien Frutiger:

Adrien Frutiger Shirt at Typecon

Adobe’s new Arno Pro was all over the place – on t-shirts that all Typecon attendee’s received in their goody bags, as well as on a nifty little poster.

Typecon Arno Pro t-shirt

And, of course this is what I wore to the 1980’s themed party on Saturday night. And yes, that’s Frutiger 75 Black on the first line. The other lines are stretched appropriately to match the 80’s style:

Fruiter Say Relax

The following shirt was given out to participants of the type contest on Saturday night. I like the type city concept.

Type City shirt was given to participants of the type contest

Font Bureau gave out these shirts as well as a great type specimen book to all attendees of Saturday evening session where David Berlow was honored:

Font Bureau shirt


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Top This! It’s witty, but not as witty as Manage This!Heinz has challenged surfers to create their own video submissions in a contest to create the best commercial. Ever since Doritos drew so much attention with their SuperBowl advertisements this
year, it seems like there are many others jumping into the fray. With so many contests to choose from, will we continue to see the same type of attention? My bet is no.

Yes, user generated content is cool, but having people consistently generate entire commercials with some modicum of broadcast quality is a pipe dream. While video editing software is affordable, and everybody and his brother has a video camera now, the skills to create a quality product just aren’t all that rampant. The guys who won the Doritos contest were aspiring film makers. While I’m sure that there are a few others budding directors out there like them, my bet is that the pool of quality talent isn’t all that large.

The idea of jumping on the social media bandwagon is very tempting for many companies. Yes, it can be a fun arena to dabble in, but in the long run, it doesn’t even begin to compete with the need for talented, well-trained professionals. This goes for still media as well as video. What do you think? Would you jump into this type of thing, or would you rather leave it to the “weekend video warriors?”


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Blanka and Candy - 50 fine art prints

In honor of Helvetica’s 50th birthday, Blanka & Candy in association with Veer have commissioned 50 graphic designers to create 50 works of art that are 50 x 50 cm, cost 50 pounds to purchase, of which only 50 of each will be created. Each designer was given a specific year from Helvetica’s life as inspiration.

An exhibit of the results runs at the Design Museum in London through September 2nd, and it looks like it’ll travel around the UK thereafter. Haven’t seen anything about it coming to the US just yet.


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Everyone likes a view to the inside. Note the trend Jim posted on re: software companies bringing their code names to market: Panther, Leopard, Vista…

It’s intriguing. When the brand is established, anything you bring to market without a ‘telling’ name is somehow curious. And curiosity breeds intrugue. Suddenly, you’ve started something.

doritos

This is the first I’ve heard of a consumable product getting in on the act. Its a fun idea: Doritos X-13D. You get to try it, and name it.

And of course they’ve wrapped a contest around it. Visit http://x13d.doritos.com/for an interactive experience about…chips? Anyway- there are some hints on the site to clue you in to the flavor.

I have not purchased- only because I have not seen it on the shelf yet. But rumor says it tastes like….cheeseburgers? See- Now that’s curious!


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