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Date: Tuesday, 25 Sep 2007 20:31

VizThink is a visual thinking conference and XPLANE is proud to be part of it. It happens Jan 27-29 in San Francisco and these are just some of the folks lined up to speak and facilitate:

Scott McCloud
Nigel Holmes
Christine Martells
Neil Cohn
Nancy Duarte
David Sibbet
Eileen Clegg
Robert Horn
Stephen Few
Dave Gray
Karl Gude
Dan Rose

Who are visual thinkers? Visual thinkers are people who use graphic design, images, pictures, video, animations, sketches, and other forms of visual art for communications and learning. VizThink will bring together several hundred participants from the best of the best in our industry with participation by trainers, marketers, presenters, executives, planners, strategists, and managers, just to name a few. While each approach may be different, the attendees all share the same philosophy in the power of visualization for learning and communication. We believe that by bringing these diverse groups together, we’ll create a community that can take the industry to a new level and invite you to take part.

Take advantage of the early registration discount by heading over to VizThink.com now!

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Visual thinking, XPLANE"
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Date: Monday, 24 Sep 2007 15:51

“Graphicology is the continuing education of a mulitdisciplinary designer. Here, you’ll find resources, inspiration, current events and material that challenges what it means to be a strategic & creative communicator in today’s world. Art directors, graphic designers, engineers, photographers, typographers, writers, producers, cinematographers and others are encouraged to comment and check in regularly.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Communications, Graphic design"
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Date: Monday, 24 Sep 2007 15:44

“…if you are working on an engraving, you will probably find there are a lot of grey areas where the lines were close together. Assuming you used at least 1200dpi for the scan, and preferably 1600 or 2400, there should be at least four or five pixels between the lines, which should be at least two or three pixels wide…”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Illustration, Photography"
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Date: Thursday, 20 Sep 2007 16:40

“Data charts and diagrams are used when statistical data has to be presented in the most convenient and usable way. Visual charts are clear, visually appealing and easier to perceive than some simple enumerations or tables — mainly because users don’t have to analyze the meaning of presented facts, but can perceive main tendencies through the visual weight of the facts — directly.

You can create charts in graphic editors or use special applications (software or web-apps) which can help you to create your charts in few minutes. However, once you’d like to update an old chart, or create a new one, you have to run the application and create new images over and over again. That’s not flexible. Or maybe you just want to offer your visitors not a simple image, but a powerful dynamic chart.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Information graphics, Web graphics, Data..."
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Date: Thursday, 20 Sep 2007 13:42

“For our special 50th issue we asked 50 of the most influential architects, designers and thinkers to tell us what they believe in.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Architecture, Graphic design, Industrial..."
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Date: Wednesday, 19 Sep 2007 14:36

“Web minimalism has come back as a trend in the summer of 2007. Rainfall Daffinson adores the concept of minimalism, zen culture and the essence of things. We chose 24 moments of minimalism web interface design in the last decade, selected several quotes to easily define the minimalism and represent some of the best new minimalism websites.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Web design, Interface design"
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Date: Wednesday, 19 Sep 2007 14:34

“Anybody who listens to the BBC’s online radio service will have noticed that their brands have been up-dated. This post is a quick review of what they’ve done and an assessment of if it works.

I find that brand portfolios are always a tricky subject. You find that with any large organization who develop a brand portfolio that they normally start off with little or no regard for the over-all styling in regard to each other. New products or services (shall we call them ‘ventures’) develop as a law unto themselves.

Suddenly, one day a marketing manager wakes up and realizes that the umbrella brand identity (in this example the ‘bbc brand’) seems alien to its children. Then steps are made to bring the portfolio into line so that a consistent style is met across all of them.” (Thanks Monoscope!)

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Branding, Logos/Symbols"
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Date: Wednesday, 19 Sep 2007 14:29

“Maybe someone can explain this to me. On the one hand, there are frequent complaints in the fine-art photo community about the (perceived) poor quality of the photography over at Flickr. On the other hand, ‘vernacular photography’ (the kind of stuff that people would have put up on Flickr — had it existed fifty years ago) is becoming ever more popular. I must be missing something.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Photography"
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Date: Friday, 14 Sep 2007 19:14

Hey! It’s back! September 28! Shaun Inman vs Kevin Cornell! Coudal’s Photoshop Tennis returns as Layer Tennis with Adobe as a sponsor — and I love that ad, btw. Wonder if they’ll repost the old archives someday (I was lucky enough to play in the 4th match of the original set of games back in 2001).

Starting in just two weeks we’ll be hosting a series of live design events on Friday afternoons called Layer Tennis. We originally called the game “Photoshop Tennis” but these days there are a ton more tools that can be used alone and in combination to create things and we wanted to open these games up to millions of new possibilities.

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Art, Graphic design"
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Date: Thursday, 13 Sep 2007 20:16

“Let’s be plain about it: Design is business. We can’t go on with suspicious…accountability. Designers, who excel at making hard things easy to understand through an interface, need to be part of the business discussion. Giving them Word docs and telling them to “make it look good” won’t cut it anymore. There is no accountability there, and worse, at that point much of the potential for really giving users what they need is already lost. If the Word doc is garbage, then no matter what the designer does will fail. Garbage in, garbage out. The scope of possibility is cut down to a narrow fraction of what it could be…of what the designer could come up with if they only had some time to think about how the strategy affects the design. As Peter Merholz says: Experience is the product.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Business of design"
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Date: Thursday, 13 Sep 2007 11:57

“In early August, the medical supplies and drug firm Johnson & Johnson sued the American Red Cross over the right to use the red-cross emblem. Most of us had assumed that the red cross, seen on ambulances and first-aid kits, was a universal symbol of succor to the suffering. But like any graphic symbol, the red cross turns out to have more meanings and more history than would at first appear. And the rights to use this symbol are equally complicated—a reminder that many graphic symbols have more complex stories than we expect.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Branding, Copyright/TM, Logos/Symbols"
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Date: Thursday, 13 Sep 2007 11:37

“Researching the Human Genom[e], they say that all present humans are very close; and perhaps started from a family in Africa. But taking a hundred thousands years in different locations on the earth, their cultures and the languages have diversified; now communication difficulties happen among them. Humans are social animals; can’t survive without communication. In the beginning era, how did people make a mutual understanding? Looking back at the ways and taking their wisdom would help to build natural EL. Because the ways work even now when a language is useless. My proposal for the concrete EL system is referred to the primitive methods and ideas of main writing/communication systems worldwide…”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Communications, Visual thinking"
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Date: Thursday, 13 Sep 2007 02:25

“Regrettably I don’t have as much time as I’d like to author this article in polished format, but I wanted to put my thoughts out there while they’re fresh. You’d think I’d have time to slow down now that the book is done, but with running a job site, preparing material for several presentations before the year is over (including a ginormous workshop), maintaining this site, oh and a family and full-time job, “busy” is a severe understatement… I could probably summarize my thoughts in one sentence: The process of self-publishing isn’t as glamorous as some (myself) thought it would be.

One evening shortly after the book was published, I recounted with Suzanne everything I had done over the last 10 months to go from an idea for a book to a finished, published book. Having already co-authored one book through a publisher, I compared the experience of self-publishing, and here’s roughly what I described…”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Books, Internet"
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Date: Monday, 10 Sep 2007 15:49

“The other day we got a telephone call from a guy that wanted to ‘exponentially increase’ his Internet performance. He had an existing, custom built CMS and he wanted a complete re-design and re-build. We met with him, and he explained that he would like us to ‘design everything, ready to program’. He would then send our ‘detailed plans’ to India and let a cheap team program the whole site.

His budget? $1000.” (Thanks Airbag!)

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Business of design"
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Date: Monday, 10 Sep 2007 15:07

“The emerging field of visualization studies examines the use of pictures to improve the access to information, the quality of software, or the communication of knowledge. Prominent research fields in this area are information visualization (a domain of computer science), scientific visualization, or software visualization. Other highly relevant research sectors for the understanding of pictures in communication are design studies and the psychology of perception.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Information design, Information graphics..."
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Date: Monday, 10 Sep 2007 15:03

“This application example uses live questions from Yahoo! Answers to generate an overall, up-to-the-minute impression of people’s raw feelings and thoughts on the network. Typically such language visualization applications screen out common words, such as our Answers Cloud. When we look at such pronoun words and see how often they are used on Yahoo! Answers, an overall pattern of common meaning and usage emerges.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Internet, Language, Data visualization"
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Date: Thursday, 06 Sep 2007 14:15

“This article introduces the mental process, analysis and evaluation applied by designers during their work on the Warsaw subway signage system project. Users’ points of view were predominant in the design procedure. Establishing the groups of potential information receivers and their needs allowed designers to define the scope of the system and areas it was to cover. Envisioning the street-train-street ‘path’ of users allowed designers to build the conceptual model that defined the design problems and solutions.” (Thanks Doug Wilson!)

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Logos/Symbols, Mapping"
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Date: Wednesday, 05 Sep 2007 18:57

“This is an excerpt from the book ‘How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer:’ The first time I saw James Victore, he was wearing a gorilla suit. And no, he wasn’t trick-or-treating. He was headlining a talk for the New York chapter of the AIGA, the professional association for design. Titled “Mad As Hell,” the presentation was classic Victore: brash, brilliant, and unbridled. Victore didn’t focus on his impressive client roster or his singular talent, but rather crafted a presentation that discussed the designer as a master communicator who had an obligation to inspire social change. The second time I saw Victore, he was speaking at an event, along with Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, for students involved in an AIGA mentorship program. Unfettered by conventional norms, James addressed the students with raw honesty, enthusiasm, and quite a few expletives.” (Thanks Coudal Partners!)

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Graphic design, Business of design"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 Sep 2007 17:54

From Khoi Vinh and Liz Danzico: “A Brief Message features design opinions expressed in short form. Somewhere between critiques and manifestos, between wordy and skimpy, Brief Messages are viewpoints on design in the real world. They’re pithy, provocative and short — 200 words or less.”

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Communications, Graphic design, Web desi..."
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Date: Monday, 03 Sep 2007 12:15

Congrats to the fine folks at Smashing — it seems like it’s been much longer than a year since the magazine launched, considering all the comprehensive roundups they’ve published. Anyway, your humble xBlog editor is happy to be participating in the anniversary festivities so be sure to check out Smashing every day this week.

Turn on the music, break out the champaign, get out the balloons and whistles, but — more importantly — keep track on what will be happening this week on Smashing Magazine.

World’s leading designers, developers and graphic designers will be celebrating with us. We’ll also have some giveaways for each and every one of you.

Be prepared. This week we’re going to smash you big time. Really.

UPDATES:
7 Sep: Smashing Freefont and Wordpress Theme (free downloads for all)
7 Sep: 170+ Expert Ideas From World’s Leading Developers (part two of the piece I contributed to)
6 Sep: 1st Anniversary Giveaway (48 free software packages, licenses, accounts and credit giveaways)
5 Sep: 50 Designers x 6 Questions (part one of the piece I contributed to)
4 Sep: 40+ Books For Professional Design & Development (free book giveaway)
3 Sep: Get Out The Balloons: Smashing’s 1st Anniversary (celebration announcement)

Author: "Bill" Tags: "Books, Graphic design, Web design, Web d..."
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