watch-type

Why should I pay for fonts when there are so many free ones?

Designer Tim Brown makes great points about why good typography and professional typefaces are an investment. He compares it to good furniture, but I like to think of it as the impression a well-fitting or tailored suit makes. In business would you wear an ill-fitting, poorly made suit to impress a client or potential employer? Probably not. But poorly designed and crafted “free” fonts used by clients and designers sends this message. Click here to read the entire essay on Medium.

Pencil Sharpening 101

Have you ever wondered how professionals sharpen pencils? Now you can learn from an expert and true craftsman in this lost art.

HOW TO SHARPEN PENCILS from Pricefilms on Vimeo.

BLOG-INVENTION

The Brilliantly Mad Ideas of Dominic Wilcox

elderly-icon

Ways Older People Use Digital Technology Differently

One of the largest groups using tables are seniors. But often because most tech developers are much younger they forget this. Smashing Magazine has a great list to help developers understand these users and what the challenges are in developing apps and websites for them. Click here to read the full story.

Twelve Shortcuts Designers Should Never Take

Designers can be tempted to cut corners to get the job done. Whether you’re a designer–or a CEO, a product manager, or an engineer who works with designers–you’ll want to watch out for these shortcuts. Great designers don’t need the dark arts to succeed.

The shiny object
Distracting a decision-maker with fancy effects to wallpaper over a mediocre solution. “Don’t worry about the user flows… check this out this sweet parallax effect!”

The mirage
Using ideal photographs, perfect-length names, and carefully written descriptions to make an interface look immaculate.

The under-the-radar
Sneaking design past decision-makers: “Oh boy, if we make any changes we’ll miss our launch date by three weeks. So how about we just launch and see?”

The horse trader
Making trade-offs that have nothing to do with the project at hand: “Sure, we can squeeze another ad in there if you agree to improve the signup flow, too.”

The designer’s veto
Playing the “I’m the designer” card to veto a decision. It’s tempting to shut down a product discussion simply by dint of your job title, but if you can’t explain a design decision in language that other people will understand, you don’t deserve to wear your Ampersandwich T-shirt.

The false facade
Designing a single screen in isolation and getting approval before you’ve really thought things through: “Great, we have sign off! Now we just have to figure everything out.”

The moody artist
Sometimes designers have a reputation akin to artists–passionate geniuses who delve deep into their souls to find creativity. Some designers think this gives them license to act like children. If you have to raise your voice to win a debate, you’ve already lost.

The used-car salesman
Some designers can convince you their work is genius even though it’s going to fail when people use it. “This interaction I’ve invented is genius! Once people get used to it they’ll never look back!”

The fast talker
Not letting people get a word in edgewise during a critique. It’s like skating on thin ice–if you keep moving fast enough, you’ll never fall through.

The jargon master
Using kerning, color theory, UX, IA, HCI, GUI, TLAs, cognitive load, Swiss grids, Fitt’s Law, multivariate tests, and other silly terms to isolate people from the debate. “Trust me, I have an HCI degree and it all makes sense because the leading in the action sheet reduces cognitive load.”

The statistical manipulator
There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. “Our [almost impossible to use] mobile site only has 15% month-over-month growth, so let’s jettison it and focus on the thing I’m passionate about!”

The passive aggressive
“Suuure, I’ll try your idea.” Sure you will.

Shared from Co.Design http://www.fastcodesign.com/

These alphabets, made from naked men to Beyonce, take the artistic potential of the letterform to its limit.

Check them out on Co.DESIGN

I remember doing print design. I still do some, but it’s mostly specialty work. Now I mostly do online work. One thing I’ve seen is online has really dumbed down beautiful design. With print we may have had a consistent underlying grid, but each page had a unique design and it was thought out as both an individual design and part of the big picture. Web design seems to have thrown this attention to detail out in the name of cost-savings and “efficiency”. It often seems like engineers, who I see as overworked and not the most visually creative creative (nor should they be), driving the design process. The funny thing is it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m amazed that when folks see good web design that follows more traditional design workflows in producing the end product, they say it’s beautiful or amazing. That type of work takes a huge design effort and programmers who don’t whine at everything being a unique element.