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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.

CARE for Sandy, One Year Out

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 25, 2013

Care for Sandy before & afterOn the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, it's fitting to revisit one of our favorite charities — one which creatives with good Photoshop skills can assist. CARE for Sandy (Cherished Albums Restoration Effort) was started by creative director Lee Kelly in response to a web post about a wedding photo which washed ashore after the hurricane devastated Staten Island. While tracking down the photo's owner and offering her restoration services, Kelly realized she could tap into her network of colleagues to organize assistance for other owners of damaged photos. On November 10 — 11 days after the hurricane slammed the metro-New York City area — CARE for Sandy was launched.

In the year since then, the organization has conducted numerous scanning events in Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, accruing a backlog of thousands of photos in need of repair. Over 550 volunteers have contributed their services so far, removing spots, grime, and scratches, repairing heavy water damage, and even rebuilding entire areas of the photos that have flaked or torn off. To date, over 1,100 photos have been adopted for restoration by volunteers. While CARE is not at the moment running scanning events, families or individuals can submit scanned photos to the organization by following their submission guidelines.

The CARE for Sandy website offers numerous resources for potential restorers or those with damaged photos. Amateur restorers intent on building their skills should visit the website's Restoration Toolbox. It features a number of how-to videos on clone and heal tools, color correction for restoration, and masking tips, as well as guidelines on avoiding painted or noticeably artificial results. For those with photos that are  stuck to their frames, or have become "photo bricks" – photos that are stuck to each other once dried, or maybe even still moist, creating a solid “brick” of photos — the website has posted Salvaging Tips.

Moving forward, CARE for Sandy faces significant challenges. One is finding restorers with advanced retouching skills; as the website’s before and after gallery demonstrates, many of the photos require restoration skills which verge on the magical. Another obstacle is the abandonment of restoration projects (often with no communication) by volunteers who either become too busy or realize that their projects are too advanced for their skill set.

As an incentive to lure volunteers, the build-your-own-website company (and Kelly's webhost) virb has extended a discount of 50% for three months to CARE for Sandy volunteers. An additional incentive is a commemorative exhibition being planned for as early as this Spring, which will showcase the volunteers’ retouching skills. (CARE has received an impressive amount of press coverage – yet another perk for volunteers.)

While CARE has about 150 active volunteers at any one time, they are actively looking for more assistance from qualified individuals. Individuals interested in assisting can register online. For those wanting to see a sample of the kind of restoration work which is required, the website has posted ten “Adopt Me” galleries categorized by priority and skill level.. Kelly can also use help for a number of activities beyond photo restoration, from printing and framing photos for families, to creating content for CARE's news blog and contacting photo recipients. After countless hours of running CARE for Sandy, Kelly could also use a bit of personal assistance. As an experienced freelance creative director, she's always looking for paid work herself. After all, someone needs to pay the bills.

Above and below: some samples for CARE for Sandy photo restorations. Images © CARE for Sandy.

Adobe Reports Cyber Attack Breached Information for 2.9 Million Customers

Posted by Rebecca Blake on October 04, 2013

On October 3, Adobe reported that cyber attacks enabled attackers to download the customer data of about 2.9 million customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, and expiration dates. Adobe does not believe that decrypted credit or debit card information was removed from the Adobe systems.

The attacks also permitted the removal of source code information on Adobe products, including Adobe Acrobat, ColdFusion, and ColdFusion Builder. While Adobe isn't aware of any "zero-day exploits" targeting Adobe products, they recommend the use of only supported versions of the software.

Adobe is resetting the passwords of affected customers, and has sent an email notification to those users with instructions on changing passwords and Adobe IDs. Adobe is also contacting customers whose credit or debit card information may have been compromised, and has notified banks processing Adobe customer payments. Federal law enforcement has also been contacted by Adobe.

Adobe has posted a security announcement on their website, as well as a blog post on the illegal access to their source code.

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