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Here’s a fun little Flash Java application that grabs text that you enter or from an RSS feed and then randomizes the main words into an graphically appealing way. You can customize the display to use any colors that you want, and also change the typeface so that it displays in any number of interesting, quirky faces.

Here’s one that I created using the Extensis blog’s RSS feed.

Word art using the Extensis blog\'s RSS feed

And here’s yet another that I created using some common Extensis keywords, like font management, Universal Type Server, Extensis Portfolio and so forth.

word art created by using common Extensis keywords

Try it for yourself over at www.wordle.net.


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One of the great things about modern software is that it’s fairly configurable. Purchase something and if you want to you can make it look and function to best fit your needs. And, now it seems that people want to change the application icon used to launch our applications, including Suitcase Fusion.

While I happen to like the current incarnation of the Suitcase Fusion icon, some people think that it’s a bit busy when displayed at smaller sizes. Check out these two examples just released over at the Complex Labs blog.

Intersting redesign of the Suitcase Fusion application icon

They’re a bit more simplified than the current icon, shown below with the Extensis Portfolio and Universal Type Server application icons for comparison.

Standard application icons for Extensis products

What do you think?

NOTE: I still haven’t been able to download samples of the replacement icons from the Complex Labs site. For some reason it always wants to give me replacement icons for Nero


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We’ve changed our look. Yup, after a year and a half with our “tornado” blog banner, we’ve updgraded to an entirely new banner. I’m very pleased with how the new banner changes the look of the blog.

As you can imagine, with any creative project there are always a number of ideas that are thrown around that are never used. We thought that it would be fun to open the door into the lofty, gilded room where our designers work and show you some of the blog banner mockups that were created by the team along the way. It’s an interesting view into the design process.

Manage This Extensis blog header

This was the first, plain option

A second try at the blog header that includes some graphic elements

The Extensis blog header mockup of chairs with a sunbeam motif

Extensis Blog header mockup including hands in green

Orange Hands in a Manage This header mockup

Orange Swirl Extensis Blog Banner mockup

Manage This blog header mockup with green stripes

New July 2008 Manage This Extensis Community Blog header


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Matchbox collecting is called philumenyLast weekend I was introduced to the world of Phillumeny (the collecting of Match Boxes (their Labels) and Match Covers (Books of Matches).

In the 1960’s my parents moved into an old house in Stamford, Lincolnshire. After a few months they went to install central heating/electricity and on lifting the floorboards discovered a box of matches.

The house itself was built in 1842 and we had thought that the match box had been under the floorboards since it’s construction however a little research later suggests that they (the box of matches), were lost in the early 1900’s.

Having done some research into finding out the potential value of such a piece to a collector I’ve been amazed to at the shear number of designs and producers over the world. The designs themselves are as varied as they are beautiful, with interesting uses of typography and to frame images (which seems to have been something commonly favoured to Moreland).

My father wrote to the manufacturer (Moreland), in the early 70’s and whilst he had a reply expressing an interest to buy the piece sadly the company closed it’s doors in 1976.

The label is printed black ink on white paper with an illustrated leopard taking centre stage. The label only appears on the front of the box. As English matchbook label art progressed the labels became increasingly patriotic with Moreland’s more famous brand being “England’s Glory”.

The box label is printed black ink on white with an illustrated leopard taking centre stage. The label only appears only on the front of the box. At the top of the label and framing the picture of the leopard are the words “THE  LEOPARD” and underneath the illustration are the words “PARAFFIN MATCH”.  Bottom left corner is the name “MORELAND” and bottom right the name  “GLOUCESTER”.

The box itself is made out of very thin pieces of wood covered with an even thinner layer of paper. Proportionately similar in size to modern day match boxes, inside there are 12 un-struck matches with bright pink heads. The box measures: 58mm long, 38mm wide 19mm deep and in terms of it’s dimensions presents the artist with the perfectly proportioned miniature canvass.

For more information on matchbox art check out http://www.phillumeny.com/


Fireworks Typography

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Huge tower of fireworks at a stand in Vancouver WashingtonPeople in the US love their fireworks on July 4th. For some that means going to a professional fireworks show, yet others prefer to take the risk and create their own show. I happen to fall in the later category (ask any of my friends) and have a good time selecting and creating my own fireworks display.

Since it can be difficult to determine what the actual firework will look like when it’s lit, firework companies tend to make the packaging as out there as possible to draw people to their product. This includes some pretty “interesting” product names and use of typography.

I stopped by a stand in Vancouver, Washington last week to check out what was available – and it was quite an experience. Check out the tower of Roman Candles to the right – it must be about 25 feet high!

Here’s just a selection of the many flammable products. I think that the snowboarding penguin is my favorite. Nothing says “Happy Independence Day” like a flaming penguin!

Penguins and fireworks - a match made in heaven

I wonder if the band Deep Purple was consulted over this one?

I think of 80s heavy metal bands when I see High VoltageI bet that the Twitter Glitter sounds nothing like a songbird

Megatron 3 was the third in the series

Minefield was one of the many military themed fireworks

Apparently at Redneck Parties we burn down the house

Totally Jacked is from the makers of \'Pro\' - somehow I\'m not comforted

Yes, you can buy flaming happiness!

Not Halloween yet, but scary stuff was about a foot tall

The triple whammy looks a bit like a castle

More heavy metal looking type here

The Big Finish is over a foot in diameter - that\'s big.


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I left my Blackberry smart phone at home this morning. I was nearly into the office by the time I realized what I had done, making it futile to double-back for a rescue. It’s now more than an hour later and I still feel lost, even though I’m fully plugged in and have phone, email and internet access here at my desk.

We all seem to have our vices in this electronic age, it could be an MP3 player, a Wii, or perhaps a digital camera. My sister for example has a constant blue blinking light attached to her ear. I can’t recall a time I’ve seen her in the last three years without her Bluetooth.

What about software? Do you have software on your system that you find indispensible? Digital photography and computer photo illustration guru, Jim DiVitale has two:

“If you told me I could have only two software programs on my computer, I would give up everything I have except Adobe Photoshop and Extensis Portfolio. They are the only two programs I can’t live without.”

Jim DiVitale uses Extensis PortfolioJim’s photography has been featured in all the leading photography/creative publications from Professional Photographer to Print Magazine. He is also a favorite lecturer and presenter at events including Photoshop World, Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, HOW Design Conference and American Society of Media Photographers.

If you are interested in hearing what Jim has to say about digital imaging (and perhaps how he uses Extensis Portfolio), you can attend his 3-day workshop in Atlanta at the end of this month. He will also be conducting a multi-city, Adobe sponsored tour across Canada this August. It would be worth your while to check him out if you have the opportunity.


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The temperature hit 99 degrees Fahrenheit this past weekend in Portland. So, to escape the heat as well as celebrate our anniversary, my wife and I took a short jaunt out to the Oregon coast. I took the opportunity to take a few photos of some typography in use on the coast. Most of these photos were taken in Newport, Oregon.

Immerse yourself - Passages of the deep - Oregon Coast Aquarium

It\'s not often that you see serif type on a street sign

graffiti advertising a souvenir shop

Anything and everything for felines and their friends

Fresh from the Pacific Ocean

Script wood letters take talent to create

The Rogue Brewery tasting room entrance

More woodcut signage from the Oregon Coast


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Got an interest in typography as well as a a poker face that could bluff the socks off of your grandmother? Well, have we found something for you!

Type foundry P22 has produced yet another deck of playing cards featuring some really fine type.

P22 typography playing cards - deck #2

Designed by a wide variety of guest artists, selected through a competition, this deck has some pretty nifty type that will keep your friends amazed. Well, they may be amazed that you purchased these over those naked lady cards that you favored in high school, but I digress. Heck, who doesn’t appreciate the fine curves of a nice swash? I sure do! 😉


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Logobama logo using KidrobotYou know I love these things-creative and seemingly useless. But if it gets you talking/blogging, then isn’t it valuable? Well, we could get into the merits of marketing techniques, but that’s not nearly as much fun as Logobama.

Upload an image, pick your background and foreground colors, and this tool will deliver you many different sizes to save up to twitter, youtube, myspace, digg, facebook, etc.

Logobama.com custom image

You might think it is frivolous- and it is. It is also VERY good marketing.

(Image courtesy of Kidrobot. His name in Muno Yo Gabba Gabba.)


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seen.by international fine art websiteSo, say you’re a fashion designer or illustrator and perhaps you’d like to take advantage of this new Web 2.0 thingy to get more exposure and perhaps drum up some business. There are many places to start off, but a decent place to start would be the newly launched seen.by site.

Supported by the German publishing powerhouse Spiegel, seen.by has garnered interest and participation from a wide variety of artists including Wim Wenders. Primarily, this is a good site for displaying and sharing your work, as well as for surfing portfolios looking for contract artists, photographers and designers.

There other sites out there that serve this market, such as Deviantart, Photosig, etc. but who knows which one will end up on top. When marketing, it’s typically best to cast a wide net, and I’m willing to bet that you’ll catch a few fish here.


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