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Digital Advent Calendar: The Christmas Experiments

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 20, 2013

Now in its second year, the Christmas Experiments continues to showcase the quirky, fantastic holiday musings of coders and digital artists.  Christmas Experiments functions as an online calendar, with a new offering revealed every day up through Christmas Eve. The submissions range from fun animations, such as “The Christmas Playlist” by David Donut, to winter landscapes, dancing Santas, interactive games, and a singing moose. Each project is a unique creation showcasing the talents (or providing a canvas for some experimental work) of the coder or artist.

One forewarning: some of the projects do not function well in Firefox or Safari. For the best user experience, we recommend downloading the latest version of Chrome – it’s worth your while.

Below: December 9-12 offerings on the Christmas Experiments website. Image © Christmas Experiments.

Christmas Experiments

Crafting a Portfolio for Licensing Your Art

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 29, 2013

J'net SmithJ’Net Smith, owner of All Art Licensing, recently featured an article on “5 Top Portfolio Tips for Art Licensors.” In the articles, she shares her tips on the size of the portfolio, how to organize the portfolio by theme and create flow from piece to piece, and how to select work for an online portfolio. She advises artists to select work that fully represents their style while being relevant to the current market. She also recommends that the work be organized keeping in mind how manufacturers approach their collections so as to minimize frustration when wading through a portfolio.

Smith recently completed a series of new classes on Art Licensing Essentials, Collections and Presentations, Marketing and Sales Techniques, Negotiations and Contracts, and PR and Promotion Essentials. While the live classes concluded in mid-November, she's offering two classes as downloadable audios with over 70 slides, details, and a presentation. The classes, "Art Licensing Essentials — Creating Collections, Presentations and Websites" and "Developing Marketable Art Licensing Portfolios that Sell!" can be purchased from the All Art Licensing website. Smith will be offering new classes in 2014 — we'll keep you posted on her schedule.

New Avenue for Publicizing Logo Theft

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 27, 2013

Logo Thief logoA newly-minted website is already having an impact. Logo Thief was conceived to display egregious examples of logo design infringement, and began publicizing examples in late November. Unlike many blogs which complain of copyright infringement, Logo Thief documents examples of logo infringement, providing links to the original creators’ websites and portfolios, as well as the posts by the infringing designers. The links are given in a list at the end of each article, forming a rough timeline of when the logo was original posted to the creator’s portfolio and when it appeared on the infringing website or materials. The LogoThief blog even shows overlaid examples of the original and infringing work — compelling evidence of outright copying.

In one case, a logo infringement showcased by Logo Thief came to a satisfying conclusion independently from the website. As reported in Steven Heller’s column, The Daily Heller, designer Felix Stockwell noticed that the new logo for one of his favorite eateries, Marie’s Cafe and Deli, was a direct ripoff of a logo created by Louise Fili, the renowned designer of many restaurant identities. Stockwell notified the restaurant’s owner, who was shocked and immediately removed the logo from their materials. As it turned out, the owner had purchased the logo for $25 from an offshore logo shop. Logo Thief reported on the positive development.

Other cases appearing on the LogoThief website have yet to be resolved in such a satisfying manner. In one case, a designer’s creation was copied from his LogoPond portfolio. Upon contacting the apparel company which reproduced a lightly altered version of his logo on their clothing, the company demanded proof of copyright ownership from the creator. Since then, the company modified the logo slightly, but the original structure is still clearly visible.

Sunrise: Font Aid VII Creates a Collaborative Typeface for Typhoon Haiyan Relief

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 25, 2013

The Society of Typographic Aficionados is doing it again: in response to the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan, they’re reissuing their Font Aid fundraising model. Font Aid VII calls on designers and typographers to create glyphs based on the eight-rayed sun featured on the Phillipine flag. The glyphs will be arranged in a typeface that will be offered for sale on the SoTA website; proceeds from the sale will got to Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, December 1st. Participants are asked to submit vector artwork in black and white, to fit within a 10” square. The artwork cannot contain gradients, color, open or stroked paths, embedded images, or glyphs from existing typefaces. Submission guidelines and instructions are posted on the SoTA website.

SoTA has a long history of creating Font Aid initiatives. The original Font Aid project was spearheaded by Swedish designer Claes Källerson in 1999. It raised funds for UNICEF to aid victims of war and national disasters. Since then, Font Aid has been resurrected to meet other disasters: Font Aid II: September 11 (2001); Font Aid III: Fleurons of Hope (2005 – Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis); Font Aid IV: Coming Together (2010 – Haitian earthquake); Font Aid V: Made for Japan (2011 – Japanese earthquake and tsunami); and Font Aid VI: Aster Effects (2012 Hurricane Sandy). The typefaces created for Font Aid VI: Aster Effects and Font Aid V: Made for Japan are still available for sale on the SoTA website. Aster Effects features a glyphs created from astersixes and star symbols, whereas Made for Japan features symbols inspired by Japanese popular culture and historic imagery.

Artist Dies of Exposure: Tim Kreider on Working for Free

Posted by Rebecca Blake on November 10, 2013

© Tim KreiderThis October cartoonist and writer Tim Kreider had a particularly galling week, in which he received no less than three requests for his services, for free – in exchange for “exposure.” The experience drove him to issue a manifesto via The New York Times Op-Ed page, in which he calls upon his younger colleagues to not give away their work. In fairness, Kreider admits that many of the requests come from struggling organizations or publishers. But in his article, "Slaves of the Internet, Unite!" he accurately describes a cultural shift which has occurred, in which creative work has been devalued and demoted to “content”, and in which the ease of digitizing and accessing that work via the Internet has lead to stagnant income increases.

Kreider concludes his article by pointing out that businesses wouldn’t keep making the “free work for exposure” pitch unless it worked on somebody. In response he offers a bit of writing he’s willing to donate: a template for a polite refusal to send in answer  to the next request for free labor.

Tim Kreider splits his time between New York City and the Chesapeake Bay. He is the author of We Learn Nothing: Essays and Cartoons (Simon & Schuster), and his cartoons have been collected in three volumes by Fantagraphics.  He is a contributor to numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Men’s Journal. He is also the creator of the cartoon, The Pain–When Will It End?, which appeared in the Baltiimore Sun from 2000-2012.

Image © Tim Kreider

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