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Website Design

The Digital Hearth: Yule Log 2.0

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 24, 2013

Yule Log 2.0 logoThe Yule Log, that broadcast of an endless loop of a crackling fire that first played on WPIX-TV in New York City in the 1960s, has become a beloved holiday cliché.  After having been cancelled for a number of years, the parent company of WPIX, Tribune Broadcasting brought back  the broadcast, and numerous knock-offs have been spawned. The most creative is Yule Log 2.0, a collection of short films and animations submitted by both up-and-coming and well-known artists. The collection is curated by animator and illustrator Daniel Savage, a 2012 ADC Young Gun, who has created work for Comedy Central and Google. The Yule Log 2.0 website was created by Wondersauce, a New York based web design studio.

Yule Log 2.0 showcases a lovely range of illustration styles. Both Frank Chimero and Leta Sobierajski created whimsical flames from wiggling fingers. Josh Parker’s stick-figure embers are reminiscent of early cartoons, and Michael Fuchs, Daniel Leyva, and Bianca Meier illustrated a hapless marshmallow who sits too close to the fire. Visitors to the website can either view each video in sequence, or, in true Yule Log spirit, set one animation to play over (and over and over and over).

Yule Log 2.0 offerings include submissions by (clockwise from top left) Michael Fuchs, Daniel Leyva and Bianca Meier; Yussef Cole; Greg Gunn; Matthias Hoegg; Josh Parker; and Frank Chimero. Screenshot courtesy of Yule Log 2.0.

Yule Log 2.0 screenshot

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

Butterick’s Practical Typography

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 19, 2013

Butterick's Practical TypographyLawyer and type designer Matthew Butterick has self-published a treatise on typography: Butterick’s Practical Typography. Although the book is targeted to non-designers, it is a clear, easy-to-follow overview of the basics of typography that even designers well-versed in type layout will enjoy revisiting. Butterick builds a solid basis on typography best-rules, starting with “Why Typography Matters,” and proceeding with thorough discussions of type composition, formatting, font choice, and page layout. He concludes with an appendix of valuable features such as a meaty bibliography, a list of bad typewriter habits, and keyboard shortcuts for common accented characters.

Butterick’s Practical Typography is not only a well written treatise on the fundamentals of sound type usage, but also an experiment in web-based book publishing. Butterick created Pollen, the publishing system used for the book, using the programming language Racket. The result is a simple, elegantly designed online publication which is easy to navigate and free. Butterick intends to keep the book ad-free, but requests that users support the expensive project by buying Butterick’s fonts, sending a donation, or buying his previous book, Typography for Lawyers.

Butterick comes by his expertise through a career built on design and typography. After receiving his BA from Harvard in visual and environmental studies, he worked as a type designer and engineer at the Font Bureau, and created Herald Gothic, Wessex, and Hermes. After founding the web design firm Atomic Studio (later bought by Red Hat), he went to UCLA Law School and joined the California Bar.

You Are What You Kern: Beautiful Web Typography via HTML5

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 30, 2013

web typography from Amy PapaeliasFor the AIGA Upstate NY Portfolio Workshop this past February, Amy Papaelias created and coded an online resume, “You Are What You Kern,” showcasing beautiful web typography. She welcomes visitors to “poke around” and see how she put it together. The resume was finessed in straight HTML5, using CSS to create section IDs and classes to assign web fonts and control the layout. Such fine tuning is problematic in content management systems such as WordPress and Expression Engine, which make it difficult to override their own CSS structure. However, “You Are What You Kern” is well worth a visit to see what mastering CSS can yield. To make the visit even more worthwhile, Papaelias has included a list of links to some of her favorite typographic resources, from grids and stylesheets, to a how-to on hanging punctuation.

Amy Papaelis is a self-proclaimed type nerd and design educator. She is an assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Foundation at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she teaches web and interactive design, typography, and 2D design.

The Challenge: Draw a Letter a Day

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 28, 2013

Draw a Letter a Day, © The Weekend Lab

 

Need a quick creative break (and coffee just won’t do it)? The Weekend Lab is hosting a fun project, Draw a Letter a Day. Visitors to the site are invited to draw a designated letter on screen, download it to their computers, and submit it to either The Weekend Lab’s tumblr page or tweet it to @TheWeekendLab. The project’s tmblr page shows a charming range of letter ideas, from a stick-figure A to a Dino-the-dinosaur D. Since the letters are drawn on screen, each has a wonderful hand-drawn quality.

The project was designed by Savannah College of Art and Design graduate Andrew Herzog, and has already appeared on Best CSS. If you’re interested in participating, dive in soon. The project launched on October 23 and, with one letter appearing per day, is due to complete by November 17. As of Monday, October 28, they were already up to the letter F.

Images © The Weekend Lab.

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