30 June 2006

Showcase of Sebastien Chevrel

We love Sebastien's portfolio and the way he presents his most recent work, art projects, and music.

Check it out: Sebastien's Site

Graphic Design Rules

Know the rules before you break them!

Design is informational
Though form and function does not necessarily improve the content of your message it can improve the ease with which it is accessed--and design can effect how well it is understood.

Design is a visual language
Use icons as prompts - On paper, scissors mean to cut something out, a clock means time-sensitivity, a knife and fork means food, and so on. Think of innovative ways to spare words and prompt action with illustrations.

Design makes a statement
Make it informational - A book typically contains editorial information--to entertain or to educate--not to sell. You can do the same by mixing your selling message within the editorial coverage of your subject.

Design leads the viewers eye
Guide the reader - Use subheads and visuals to draw the reader through your booklet. Words and visual cues tell the reader where they are and help them focus on one subject at a time.

Use icons instead of words
People from any language can understand them. Plus, you don't need to read anymore, instead you lead the viewer's eye to what is important.

Design follows rules such as balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, rhythm and unity.
Be stylistically consistent - Try to stick to one illustration style throughout. Using images from different sources can degenerate into a patchwork. You can for example double your image - The small version of this illustration conveys the message it was designed to. The large version is a design element used to echo the idea and add interest to the page.

Things to keep in mind:

Everything on a page should align with something else
Repetition reminds the viewer
Use enough white space
When space is a premium, drop smaller and less important graphics
When in doubt, don’t use it
Don’t let graphics distract from the message
Use few fonts (preferrably no more than two different fonts on one page)

29 June 2006

More Ad Pitches Could Get Embedded

The already hazy line between entertainment and advertising is about to get blurrier.

Commercial products could pop up more frequently than ever in TV shows, movies, music and video games with the introduction of an eBay-like website that gives buyers and sellers a simple, one-stop marketplace for deals.

"To date, product placement has been opportunistic and Rolodex-based," says Hamet Watt, CEO of NextMedium, which launched the product placement marketplace it calls Embed. "We're trying to create a real business. Our goal is to establish brand integration as an ad category."

His Los Angeles-based firm is hitching its star to one of the hottest forms of entertainment advertising. Lots of companies see product placement - the product appears on and might be written into a story or game - as an effective way to reach consumers who increasingly use digital video recorders and other devices to avoid commercials.

Content makers like the extra revenue. David Norton of Reveille - which makes and distributes The Biggest Loser, Nashville Star and The Office - says the company assigns a producer to each show specifically to be sure brands are treated well.

The number of broadcast TV product placements in prime time grew 30% in 2005, vs. 2004 says Nielsen Media Research's Annie Touliatos. The time devoted to them rose 21%. While the price is generally not disclosed, she estimates that companies' placement airtime would have cost nearly $2.3 billion last year if it sold for prices comparable to conventional commercials.

NextMedium says that it's providing the first marketplace where producers can let a broad array of potential buyers know what kinds of placements they're willing to take. For example, they might allow products to appear as props or part of a character's wardrobe, to have them mentioned in dialogue or given away as a reward in a game show. They also can offer sponsorships.

Buyers can check out data such as a TV show's ratings and what other products are already being featured in a production.

Buyers and sellers then can indicate what they think a given opportunity is worth.

Embed is open to those who pay a subscription fee. NextMedium also gets a fee for each transaction.

Watt says the site will keep deals confidential. "To feel organic, it can't be publicized that the brand paid for placement," he says.

That's exactly what worries critics of this trend.

"Undisclosed product placement is dishonest advertising," says Gary Ruskin, executive director of activist group Commercial Alert. "We're trying to get Congress to pass legislation prohibiting undisclosed product placement."

28 June 2006

Artists Shown as Romantic Outsiders

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - From Lord Byron to Sid Vicious, artists have lived fast, sparked outrage and died young.

A new exhibition opening Wednesday at Britain's National Gallery traces the image of the artist as rebellious loner from its Romantic roots through works by Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Edgar Degas and others.

Co-curator Alexander Sturgis says "Rebels and Martyrs" explores "the romantic myth of the genius suffering artist" that arose in the early 19th century and is still going strong 200 years later.

The unmade bed that bears the corpse of boy-poet Thomas Chatterton — a suicide at 17 — in Henry Wallis' 19th-century portrait prefigures the messy-bed installation that made Brit art star Tracy Emin famous in the 1990s. The pale skin, disheveled hair and staring eyes in self-portraits by Gustave Courbet and Alexandre Abel de Pujol are echoed in elegantly wasted rock stars from Keith Richards to Pete Doherty.

In art, everyone loves a bad boy — or a wild woman.

The show demonstrates that this was not always the case. The exhibition opens with a room full of solid, sober 18th-century self-portraits by artists who desperately wanted to be part of the establishment and set up self-regulating bodies such as Britain's Royal Academy to protect their status.

By century's end, more romantic notions were taking hold. Artists often depicted themselves as lone geniuses, ostracized by society but fired by an inner flame. In one of the show's most striking self-portraits, French painter Courbet stares at the viewer, wide-eyed and tousled, looking for all the world like an emotional Johnny Depp.

Sturgis said the works in the show express a belief that "it is the fierce individuality of the artists that is the wellspring of art."

This notion was partly a reaction against the 18th-century's Enlightenment philosophy, with its emphasis on rationality and science — replaced, Sturgis said, by "an emphasis on the spiritual, the intuitive, the internal."

Partly, he said, the cause was economic. When the growing middle class replaced state and church as the main buyers of art, "artists became much less secure. The poor, struggling artist was an economic reality."

The show brings together an eclectic collection of more than 70 paintings and sculptures, many of them on loan, that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Wallis' iconic picture of Chatterton sits next to a satirical painting by Leonardo Alenza in which a demented artist prepares to hurl himself off a cliff — even in the 19th century, the self-important artist was a ripe source of humor.

As the bohemian image of the artist took root, even the most successful depicted themselves as outsiders, or likened themselves to tormented mythic or historical figures. The gallery's exhibition includes Camille Pissaro's portrait of Paul Cezanne, bearded and dressed in peasant coat and hat. Eugene Delacroix's mammoth "Ovid Among the Scythians" shows "the artist in exile, surrounded by barbarian hordes who don't understand him."

The works span the 19th century and nudge the 20th century — there's a 1903 portrait by the young Pablo Picasso of his friend, Angel Fernandez de Soto.

For some artists, the pressure of being an outsider proved unbearable.

The exhibition contains two works by Paul Gaughin and van Gogh, painted in the same year, in which each artist likens his own agonies to those of Jesus Christ. Gaughin's "Agony in the Garden" shows a suffering Christ with the artist's own features. In van Gogh's "Pieta After Delacroix," the pale, dead figure of Christ has the red hair and beard of the painter.

Van Gogh, with his breakdowns and ear-severing, remains for many the epitome of the tortured artist. But he was far from the last. Sturgis said the image of the tormented outsider "is fantastically persistent — and now frustratingly difficult to see behind."

"We can't look at Rembrandt or Caravaggio except through post-Romantic glasses. Caravaggio was forever trying to get a knighthood, but we see him as this romantic rebel."

"Rebels and Martyrs" is at the National Gallery in London until Aug. 28 and will not travel.


Whatever Happened to Thank-You Notes?

Perhaps Brad Morris' friends just weren't that thankful.

Sure, their marriage ceremony in Las Vegas went off without a snag. Morris journeyed there from Frisco, Texas, and gave the couple, his pals from work, a generous gift: a crisp $100 bill.

About a month later, he got an e-mail - a mass message from the bride's Yahoo account addressed "Dear friends," or some such. It thanked the group for attending the wedding and for "all the nice gifts," Morris recalls.

That was it - no monogrammed Crane stationery, no ballpoint pen signature, not even a stamp. The e-mail was his thank-you note.

"It was cheap and pitiful," says Morris, 34. "I would just as soon have received no thank-you as to receive that."

In fact, that's what many generous Americans will receive during this season of giving: absolutely nothing in return. This time of year, when virtually everyone owes someone a thank-you, many people assume that if they open a present in the presence of the giver, no formal thank-you is required.

Even when it comes to expensive baby shower and wedding gifts, the thank-you note increasingly is becoming the thank-you not. Putting fountain pen to ecru eggshell has just about gone the way of plunking IBM Selectric keys onto onion skin.

It's not just that people don't write as many personal notes as they used to. Today, when gratitude is expressed in writing, it's often done grudgingly, as obligation rather than art - via a casual card or e-mail with a generic, hastily scribbled message: "Thank you for the present."

The trend is a reflection of how Americans' short attention spans and electronically wired lives - combined with a diminished mindfulness of etiquette - have made the USA, well, a pretty ungrateful nation.

Faced with such transgressions of taste, what would that guru of good manners, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, do? "Faint," says Shelly Branch, co-author of What Would Jackie Do? An Inspired Guide to Distinctive Living.

The impersonal nature of the mass e-mail that landed in Morris' inbox would drive Onassis - who was legendary for dashing off her thank-you notes within 24 hours - to the smelling salts, Branch says.

Such e-mails amount to nothing more than confirmation of a gift's delivery, she says. Instead of conveying appreciation, the sentiment screams, " 'Yes, I got it! Routing number XYZ!' It's horrible."

Since the hip elegance of President Kennedy's Camelot, "we've seen a decline in formality," says Tom Farley, editor of Town & Country Modern Manners: The Thinking Person's Guide to Social Graces. Dressing up for dinner and verbal courtesies such as "sir" or "ma'am" are all but obsolete, to the relief of many.

But standard civility also is being challenged. A 2002 Public Agenda survey found that a plurality of adults (48%) only "sometimes" encountered people who made an effort to say "please" and "thank you"; 16% said they saw such behavior "practically never." In a 1998 Gallup Poll, 30% of adults said they made a point of expressing thanks or gratitude to others only "some of the time."

Fill-in-the-blanks thanks

The thank-you note is another casualty. People use today's informal culture as an excuse to avoid something they simply don't want to take time to do, Farley says. "But there are certain niceties worth holding on to."

One argument why gift-thanking has become so rote, if not rare, is that gift-giving itself has become so mechanized. (Consider the ubiquity of online registries and gift cards.)

That's no excuse, Farley says: "You get this image of (a gift-receiving couple) sitting assembly-line style, the husband licking the envelope and his wife handwriting messages, and it's the same message for all 200 guests. That's not acceptable.

"If you're going to do that, you really shouldn't bother."

The busy schedules and hectic pace of modern life also complicate the tradition of thank-yous.

"People just multitask to the extreme," says Brandi Morrigan, 30, an advertising graduate student in Memphis. "There's not a lot of time to actually sit down and write things" - be it a love letter or thank-you note.

Morrigan says she has received one such note in the past decade, three years ago for a wedding gift of a couple of bottles of wine and some wine glasses. She says the note was on a party supply-store card - "no quality stationery here." Meanwhile, she has given five or so other wedding gifts, to no response.

Americans' obsession with saving time also has fueled another phenomenon that makes traditionalists cringe: The Mad Libs-style, fill-in-the-blank thank-you card: "Dear (blank), Thanks so much for (blank). I love it! From (blank)."

Farley says they're fine for youngsters who can't yet put together a noun and verb. "If this is training wheels for a real thank-you note, I applaud it. If the child is 7 and still using this formula, it's like they're still in diapers. It's the lazy way out" - for kids and adults.

A company called Knock Knock - in a nod to today's fast pace and the plummeting position of manners on our collective priority list - offers "Etiquette the easy way!" with its Multiple-Choice Correspondence. With a wink, Knock Knock says its cards show recipients that "someone cared enough to check off just the right phrases for you."

The company's cards thank gift-givers for, say, "the unexpected surprise" or "the cold hard cash." They're a fun and cheeky way to thank a neighbor for feeding the cat for a weekend, Farley says, but not to show gratitude to Grandma for a hand-knit sweater.

Indeed, elegant writing supplies are getting harder to find, says J.A. McErlean, 51, known in his social and professional circles as the last aficionado of fountain pens (always black ink, often Montblanc) and embossed paper.

Since his local fine stationery store closed several years ago for lack of business, McErlean, a physician from Farmington Hills, Mich., has had to buy his name-engraved paper in Chicago or St. Louis.

His two college-age daughters? "I don't even know if they know how to write a thank-you note," McErlean says.

"My wife is always on their case when their grandparents send them Christmas presents. About a month later, after a lot of arm-twisting, it gets done."

The scourge, some say, is technology. Tethered to computers, "we're so used to just tapping out everything from the serious to the banal," Branch says.

Note-writing becomes "a little bit scary," Branch says. "You look at it, your penmanship's bad, your lines are crooked, you have to start all over. ... It's somehow safer to send something electronic, even if it's not appropriate."

To Farley, an e-mail is "only remotely" better than sending nothing.

But in a 2001 survey by the Emily Post Institute, 70% of the respondents said e-mailing thank-you notes was appropriate, especially to acknowledge a small gift or gesture.

Much appreciated

Even if they're seldom executed, thank-you notes still are expected in other arenas. A survey in August by CareerBuilder.com found that nearly 15% of hiring managers would reject a job candidate who neglected to send a thank-you letter after the interview; 32% said they would still consider the thankless prospect but that their opinion of him or her would diminish.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of managers prefer handwritten thank-yous, the survey said; 21% seek a typed hard copy, and 19% want e-mailed thank-yous followed up with a snail-mailed letter.

And those e-mail thank-you cards you can get at Hallmark.com or BlueMountain.com? "A big no-no," says Sue Callaway, co-author of What Would Jackie Do? "You have to click through to a website and it's playing some jingle and you're watching a dancing puppy on the screen and you think, 'Why did this person go to the trouble to send me this?' "

Would that Anna-Marie Ganje received one of those musical missives. In the 23 years that she has been sending gifts to her now seven nieces and nephews, she has never heard or read a peep - not a "Thanks, Aunt Anna-Marie!" let alone a "Yes, I got the package, Aunt Anna-Marie."

"Oh, it's totally bad," says Ganje, 41, of Minneapolis, who habitually handwrites her thank-yous, even if only for a tin of cookies.

So this Christmas, she threw down the gifting gauntlet. She tucked into each family's shipping box a note, hand-printed in Sharpie: "If I do not hear a reply from you on receipt of this package, do not expect another gift." Not for Christmas, not for birthdays - nothing. She has yet to get a response, and she doesn't expect to.

"I've just had it," says Ganje, who works for a music distributor. "They should know better, especially when they're old enough to tell you what they want for Christmas." She says she has tried dropping heavy hints to her three younger siblings, asking one of her brothers, for example, whether his kids had received a package of hers. His reply? "Oh, you'll have to ask my wife."

Ganje is incredulous. "My dad always says: 'You were all raised by the same people. Why does one send thank-yous and not the rest?' " Her father, meanwhile, knows that his grandchildren received their gift money only when his checks clear the bank. "It's ridiculous," Ganje says.

Or reasonable, if you're Carolyn Crawford. "Sending a thank-you note that has no thought behind it but to let your relatives from California know that you received the package that they sent the week before through UPS is just as impersonal as not sending one," says Crawford, 23, of Massillon, Ohio.

She was reared by a mother who, the day after Christmas, "would physically sit me down at the kitchen table, put a pen in my hand, and supervise me while I wrote the same thank-you note over and over, only substituting the names and corresponding gifts." The text felt like a script. "I remember thinking, 'They have to realize this says the same exact thing every year.' "

The other day Crawford's mother reminded her to stock up on thank-you notes. But Crawford doesn't plan on it, and she doesn't think her high school students (she's a life-skills teacher) will send them, either.

Crawford recently attended a co-worker's baby shower. "She opened (a photo album), she said, 'Thank you,' and I was satisfied with that." No note necessary.

But a month ago, Crawford received a letter from another co-worker, thanking her for her help with a student project. "I was very surprised," Crawford says. It felt sincere. "It wasn't obligatory and I didn't expect it. She did it because she wanted to."

For Sarah Cowan, the stationery store is her candy store. The thank-you note devotee trawls San Francisco's paper boutiques four times a year, to restock her supply and simply to browse.

"I don't ever want to get a present and feel blasé about it," says Cowan, 25, who works in communications. "Because it's an act of generosity."

Still, when she hands a gift to someone, "part of my present is that I say they don't have to write a thank-you note, because I appreciate that most people don't like to write" them.

Cowan attends a lot of bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, and she's "cheerfully surprised" when she receives a note that's genuine, or at least appropriate - unlike the one her sister got that indicated she was "the only guest who didn't bring a present." (For the record, the gift was in the mail.)

Or the doozy that landed in a friend's mailbox: "Thanks so much for your present. I returned it and got something else and I'm really excited about that." (OK, the author was about 7 years old.)

Too much thanks?

Still, there are signs of a pendulum swing. One of FamilyFun magazine's top 10 toys of the year was a 21-card stationery sampler from American Girl that, the editors say, "may even inspire timely thank-you notes."

But for toddlers, the solution is trickier. Callaway's 2-year-old daughter is on the birthday-party brigade - five in the past three months. The hosting mom often writes a long thank-you "as if it were from their child to my child," says Callaway, of Laguna Beach, Calif. " 'Thank you for coming to my third birthday party. It was so much fun playing in the sandbox. Thank you so much for the books. I didn't have Make Way for Ducklings!' They've gone absolutely overboard" by standing in for their kids.

"I don't think Jackie would have done that."

27 June 2006

How to Pull an All-Nighter

Blogger Christian Montoya has posted several do's and don't's for pulling an all-nighter.

I happen to have a lot of experience in the area of sleep-deprivation, and I'd like to share my techniques. We must first, however, define the term. An all-nighter, at least in my book, is any night where the sun comes up before you go to sleep. If the sun comes up at 6:30 am and you go to sleep at 7:30 am, then that's an all-nighter. It's also very unsettling.

The intended audience is students, but the tips are pretty universal. Ideally, if you've got all your ducks in a row, you'll never need to pull an all-nighter - but let's be honest, sometimes the unexpected will happen. Christian offers some pretty good tips for successfully getting through a cram session. What are your all-nighter tricks? Let us know by posting in this forum.


26 June 2006

10 Design Mistakes to Avoid

Don't use all your fonts in one document.
While it's tempting to use all those pretty fonts, it can be distracting to the reader and you probably won't get your message across. Try sticking to different fonts within one typeface, or one font for text and one for headings.

Don't put in a paragraph space by pressing enter twice.
Almost all word processing programs ? and definitely all page layout programs ? allow you to choose how much space you want after a paragraph. Use this instead. You're more likely to get a consistent look (not to mention even paragraph spacing) using this method.

Don't use two spaces after a period.
Two spaces after a period is a holdover from the days of monospaced fonts, like Courier and typewriters. They helped signal a pause. With proportional fonts, it's unnecessary and can make text downright hard to read.

Don't use straight quote marks.
Page layout programs, and most word processing programs, give you the option to use "curly" quotes. These may also be called smart quotes or typographer's quotes.

Don't leave large text unkerned.
Page layout programs allow you to manually kern your text (increase or decrease space between specific characters). This is a good idea, especially as you use larger fonts (around 24 points and above), since the spaces between characters tend to be more pronounced the larger the font size. In word processing software, you normally can't manually kern text, but you can turn kerning on over a certain point size. Kerning in word processing programs isn't normally on by default; I suggest you find out how to turn and on ? there's no reason not to let the software kern what it can.

Don't center large amounts of text.
Centering is fine for a few words or a headline. But it makes paragraph after paragraph of text very difficult to read. It's hard for your eye to find where the next line begins.

Don't use all capitals – especially if you're using a calligraphic font.
Nothing screams amateur like a headline set in all caps in a calligraphic font. Upper and lowercase letters help people read faster. All capital letters should be used sparingly.

Don't leave widows and orphans.
A widow is a paragraph whose last line is at the beginning of a column of text. An orphan is a paragraph whose first line starts at the bottom of a column of text. You can usually set how many lines must be in the beginning of a paragraph of text, or how many lines must be at the top of a column of text.

Don't use every box and line available in your software.
You look at your document. Looks a little boring. A light bulb goes off! "I'll just throw in some rules and boxes; that'll liven things up". Overuse of rules and boxes only confuse the reader; they don't know which information is the most important, and it makes it hard for readers to skim for the information they're interested in. Use boxes and rules sparingly.

Don't rely on your software's automatic leading feature.
Leading is the space between lines of text. Many programs default to a straight percentage for leading, often 20%. So 10 point text would always be set with 12 point leading, 12 point text with 14 point leading, and so on. But all fonts are not created equal: longer lines of text need more leading; sans serif text usually needs more leading; fonts with a large x-height may need more leading; and headlines typically need less.

reference: about.com

25 June 2006

Give your client a better understanding of their print files

I highly recommend every designer educate their client. If that means printing out a sheet with file explanations do it. It will make your client happy and let's not forget a returning, paying, customer!!

Everything you wanted to know about logo files, but were afraid to ask

Since the onset of computer-aided graphic design, most logo designs have been and continue to be created on the computer. One of the side effects of this groundbreaking transition has been an alphabet soup of graphic file tags like EPS, TIFF and JPG, the lot of which can be terribly confusing to the uninitiated.

Having worked for ad agencies and design firms for many years, I’ve received all sorts of questions from clients about the graphics files prepared for them. Here are the most common:

Which graphics files am I supposed to use for what?
What files are essential?
Which are best for printing?
Which are best for on-screen uses such as Web sites and PowerPoint presentations?

To best answer these questions, it’s first necessary to discuss the five primary types of graphic files used and then to make recommendations as to which ones you can and can’t do without. I will start with the highest resolution files and work downward.

AI Files
AI stands for Adobe Illustrator, one of the most widely used graphic design programs in the world. Usually a file with the tag AI is an original design file, meaning that this is the file the designer created when originally developing your logo design. AI files can only be opened using the Adobe Illustrator program and cannot be pulled into other applications.

EPS Files
EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript. PostScript is the universal language used by computer printers as well as professional printers. This type of graphics file can be pulled into almost any other application – from Microsoft Word and PowerPoint to layout-based programs such as Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress. It can easily be reduced or enlarged without loss of resolution and is the best file to give to a professional printer for reproducing your logo on the printed page.

TIFF Files
TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. This type of graphics file is compressed, meaning that it has been paired down to contain only vital information. Like an EPS file, a TIFF file can also be pulled into almost any other application. However, a TIFF file cannot be enlarged without loss of resolution; it can only be reduced.

Guide note: TIFFs normally are not compressed, although they can be. And while they can be reduced in size, you may lose some quality if you do reduce it.

JPG Files
This graphics file is also compressed and can open into almost any other application. JPG files are typically used for on-screen purposes such as on Web sites and PowerPoint presentations; this is because the files are smaller than EPS or TIFF files. They are not ideal for printing and cannot be resized without significant loss of resolution.

Guide note: Some printers do indeed accept JPG; it's not usually the file of choice, though, so you should ask your printer first. In fact, you should always ask your printer what file types they support.

GIF Files
These are used in the same fashion as JPG files but are compressed even more, making them ideal for graphics with solid fields of color; because of their high compression, these files should not be used for graphics with gradients (such as photographs).


When you are having designs professionally created for you, make sure your designer provides you with, at the least, the following files:

AI file- This file provides you with the original artwork in case you ever switch designers or need your design modified or updated.

Guide note: It is rare, except in the case of logos, to be provided with the original file (which may or may not be an Illustrator file). The file belongs to the artist; if you do need the original file, expect to pay more. An EPS of your work should be sufficient. For example, in order to use an Illustrator file you must have Illustrator -- and it must be at least as recent a version as the designer used. With an EPS, it should plug into any design program (but you'll still need the design program).

EPS file- You will need this file for any printed and promotional materials.
JPG file- You will use this file for posting your design on the Web and in electronic presentations.

24 June 2006

Networking Tips – Are you the shy, bashful type?

by Mark Monlux

Are you the shy, bashful type? Have you ever found yourself going to a business event only to find yourself back at the office a few hours later wondering why you have nothing to show for it? And, it's not that you are a business wallflower either. You went, you chatted, you heard the speaker. But, as you parked the car back in the office parking lot you have a nagging feeling that you left your coat behind.

Your disgruntled feeling might be your instincts making you aware that you missed a networking opportunity. Well, before you berate yourself too badly and convince yourself never to step a foot outside your office again (thus insuring the demise of your business and career) allow me to provide some helpful networking tips.

1. Take Business Cards
Yeah, it sounds obvious, doesn't it? But you know you're guilty of leaving them behind. So be sure to grab a dozen before heading out. We will get into how to hand out a card in #4.

2. Go Early
Not only will this afford you a better parking spot, but it will also allow you more time to network effectively. The folks who usually show up early are key group members who tend to know everybody and the speaker who you came to hear anyway.

3. Wear that Nametag.
Not everyone has a photographic memory. Most of them can't remember their in-laws' names let alone yours. Do everyone a favor and wear your name where it can be clearly seen and if you get the chance to write your name, go big. Most of us wear glasses.

4. Card Etiquette
--Do not drop your cards on plates throughout the room. For one thing you want to meet people, not plates and for another, the group hosting the event may reserve the right of table distribution for the speaker or sponsors.

--Have your cards ready in an easily assessable pocket or cardholder. Digging around in your wallet or purse makes you look like you're getting ready to tip somebody.

--When you receive a card, take the time to read it over. Confirming the information is a nice way to engage and assures that you won't get a fax tone in your ear when you call later.

--Write the date and any notes on the back of the card. You'll be glad you did later.

-- Have a pocket ready to slide the incoming cards. You may need to refer to it before the meeting is over and keeping them in one place will lower the odds they end up in the laundry.

5. Remain Engaged
-- A common mistake is to travel around the room, seeking to hand out and collect business cards as quickly as possible. Your objective is not collecting cards to wallpaper your office; it is making connections. You don't want to take on the desperate air of a lonely single in a bar on Friday night. Take your time speaking with others.

--Ask "feel good' questions like, "How did you get started?" or "What do you consider a challenging project?" You will learn more about your contacts' business than asking, "Hey, you got a job for me?"

-- Look for a familiar face who is talking with a stranger. Waiting for their acknowledgement will smoothly lead to an introduction.

--Do not be dissuaded by small groups. Think quality rather than quantity.

-- Don't hog a person. Yes, you lead a highly sheltered life and meeting a person who deeply interests you can be very intoxicating. But get a grip; they're here to mingle too and you don't want to be remember as cramping their style.

6. Go with a Goal
If you go with just the goal of listening to the speaker, that is okay. But, if you want to take the most advantage of your "shmooze" time, give yourself an objective. Seek out a potential resource for yourself or tell yourself you want to meet three new people.

7. Follow Up
Establish an informal communication quickly after the meeting. This is important because it is outside of meetings you will want to maintain ongoing conversations. Business groups may come and go but the connections you work at establishing will remain.

Follow these tips and you too can become a social butterfly.

23 June 2006

Cash pours in for student with $1 million Web idea

This is such an interesting story...if you haven't already heard about it, this is a must read!

LONDON (Reuters) - If you have an envious streak, you probably shouldn't read this.

Because chances are, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old student from a small town in England, is cleverer than you. And he is proving it by earning a cool million dollars in four months on the Internet.

Selling porn? Dealing prescription drugs? Nope. All he sells are pixels, the tiny dots on the screen that appear when you call up his home page.

He had the brainstorm for his million dollar home page, called, logically enough, www.milliondollarhomepage.com, while lying in bed thinking out how he would pay for university.

The idea: turn his home page into a billboard made up of a million dots, and sell them for a dollar a dot to anyone who wants to put up their logo. A 10 by 10 dot square, roughly the size of a letter of type, costs $100.

He sold a few to his brothers and some friends, and when he had made $1,000, he issued a press release.

That was picked up by the news media, spread around the Internet, and soon advertisers for everything from dating sites to casinos to real estate agents to The Times of London were putting up real cash for pixels, with links to their own sites.

So far they have bought up 911,800 pixels. Tew's home page now looks like an online Times Square, festooned with a multi-colored confetti of ads.

"All the money's kind of sitting in a bank account," Tew told Reuters from his home in Wiltshire, southwest England. "I've treated myself to a car. I've only just passed my driving test so I've bought myself a little black mini."

The site features testimonials from advertisers, some of whom bought spots as a lark, only to discover that they were receiving actual valuable Web hits for a fraction of the cost of traditional Internet advertising.

Meanwhile Tew has had to juggle running the site with his first term at university, where he is studying business.

"It's been quite a difficulty trying to balance going to lectures and doing the site," he said.

But he may not have to study for long. Job offers have been coming in from Internet companies impressed by a young man who managed to figure out an original way to make money online.

"I didn't expect it to happen like that," Tew said. "To have the job offers and approaches from investors -- the whole thing is kind of surreal. I'm still in a state of disbelief."

Read his latest blog postings at: www.milliondollarhomepage.com/blog

22 June 2006

Why Good Design is Infectious

In 1995 Milton Glaser wrote that graphic designers would need to create a “new narrative” to restore respect for their existence. And indeed since Mr. Glaser penned that essay there has been no shortage of proposals outlining what that narrative might be. Author, communicator, strategist, tactician, marketer, anthropologist — these are just a few. The profession of “graphic designer” has been in the midst of a huge identity crisis — grasping for some new analogy to explain what it is we do. The problem is largely driven by shifting technology. First we embrace the Macintosh which tricks us into doing our own production work. Fine! But, then along comes the internet, and who wants to do the production work for that — writing code for goodness sakes! It has become more about manipulating the tools than the creative process.

So here I am throwing yet another hat into the ring. As if there weren’t enough ideas flying around out there already declaring what this “new narrative” should be. I would like to approach it from a different and I believe unique perspective. In 1976 Richard Dawkins wrote about memes in his book “The Selfish Gene”. For those of you who may have never heard of memes let me briefly explain what they are. A meme is an idea that spreads through society just like a biological virus. In much the same way that a virus uses a host cell – a meme uses minds. They both use a host to replicate themselves. When I discovered memetics in the mid 90s I was completely blown away. Memes are idea viruses and what is a designer if not a creator of ideas. Some in our field may dispute that, but, at the very least a designer is a processor, translator or packager of ideas. Examine for a moment the lowest denominator here. If we are the packager of ideas then what that really makes a designer is a memetic engineer or an engineer for idea viruses – viruses of the mind.

In order to fully understand this analogy a fundamental understanding of viruses is in order. A basic biological virus exists for one purpose — to spread as many copies of itself as possible. In order to do so it is made up of two components — a protein shell and a code which is housed inside the shell. The sticky protein shell is formed with uniquely shaped nozzles covering its surface. When the right host cell is found, these nozzles link the virus to the cell and inject the viral code into the cell. Once inside the host this code reprograms the host, turning it into a virus making factory. Memes function in exactly this way — they are ideas that, once attached to our minds, use us to replicate and spread themselves through the populace.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of design

We are in a unique position as designers. While it is our job to see that our client's message spreads as effectively as possible – we also have an opportunity to enhance or add to that message. At the very least, our design should act just like the protein shell of a virus. A bad design, a design which ignores the content and the target, may sometimes help an idea to spread simply because it has a “cool factor”. This kind of design works, but not well and not for long. A properly engineered collateral virus is content and target relevant. In other words it takes into consideration the ideal host that it is targeting, as well as the message that needs to be spread. Ultimately design can (and should) go one step further and actually become part of the message being delivered to the targeted host. While “good” design is content relevant, “great” design will actually merge with the content to communicate something about the client, the message and the audience. Content delivered without design is just like a viral code without its protein shell — ineffective and short lived. Design is a crucial element in helping a company to spread its message. Whether the bearer of that message is a logo, business letter, brochure, package or Website — if it is poorly designed, it is much less likely to be taken seriously by its target (i.e. the protein shell sticks poorly, sticks to the wrong target or doesn’t stick at all).

The spectrum of viruses that a designer may engineer for clients is broad. Good design by definition (well my definition anyhow) is design that addresses the clients needs. It is content-relevant as well as target-focused and as such may be referred to as a horizontal marketing virus. But there is another form that we commonly generate. Intentionally or inadvertently, we sometimes create a viral message that is separate from the clients. It is the design itself — a “design virus” which propagates vertically. Watch graphic design publications for about two minutes and you will see style treatments that spread rampantly amongst designers. I’m sure that this in a way is a real ego stroke for the designer who originated the form. But more often than not it happens at the expense of the client. It is unfortunate that this type of virus is often developed with complete disregard for the needs of the client. It is irresponsible design, executed without regard for content and/or target.

One of the most interesting and sometimes dangerous characteristics of a virus is its perpetual drive for mutation. This is particularly the case with a “design virus” which spreads vertically. A graphic designer takes a design idea that they’ve seen elsewhere and riffs off of it to produce something of their own (happens all the time). Often this is very flattering but sometimes it is infuriating. If mutation does not occur or if it is not extreme enough then frankly it is plagiarism. In addition to the theft factor another danger when this happens is that often it ignores the project's intended purpose. It may spread through the design community just fine this way, but, at the same time build a very bad reputation for graphic designers as the objectives of the client are completely ignored. If a virus is propagating vertically, mutation should be seen as absolutely essential. The client's best interests should be fully addressed — which nearly always necessitates a major mutation.

Sometimes the mutation factor is planned for from the beginning. Establishing brand standards does exactly that. It can be a very cool and strategically positive thing. Certain mutations will introduce characteristics that prove beneficial or even essential for the propagation of the newly formed virus. After several rounds of mutation the virus may have evolved into something completely different than the original virus. In the biological world, the virus you had last year probably doesn’t even exist today. If a biological virus does not mutate it quickly becomes extinct. Wouldn’t it be exciting if design evolved at that same rapid pace. That would require us as designers to be vigilant in our efforts to generate ever more relevant form. Unfortunately there are a lot of dinosaurs still out there in the world of design!

Call us what you may — I honestly believe that we are engineering viruses of the mind. The next and larger question, if we are doing our jobs and producing viral materials to let lose on the world, regards ethics or morals. But that is a topic for another article.

Original article: graphicdesign.about.com

21 June 2006

June 06: Resources & Inspirational Links

If you're looking for a fresh way to market your logo, you have got to visit this site. It shows creative uses of their logo in different poster designs.

Awesome photography of travel, adventure, landscape, and nature.

Graffiti at its finest.

We like this guy's work and the way he presents his most recent work, art projects, and music.

This is very funny! These people really do look like their dogs.

A Digital Artist: On the Road in China. Amazing artwork, panoramas, and other inspirational information.

Brandon Bird's Bird-O-Rama. Paintings, drawings, writings, etc. Unusual artwork. Beautifully created.

Cool images of people...and lots of them.

National Museum of Photography, Film & Television. Great resource.

3D artists.

Cool illustrations and artwork by Andrew Bell. We love this guy's style...thick lines and humor...great characters. You won't be disappointed by the site either.

The Dreamer is a simple inspirational catalog, where some works are selected and divided in categories. You can interact with The Dreamer sending your inspiration in the fields on the site. It then will be evaluated and could be added to the database.

1000 Journals from around the world. Very interesting site...great site for design ideas and what others are doing in the field of design. This is a must see.

Mixed media & shadowbox paintings.

Visual artists. We love the illustration work on this site!

More inspiring photos.

This site is so cool. The images practically come to life! Click on spring, summer, autumn, winter...

Need some inspiration? This site has incredible graphics that is sure to please the mind.

Inspiration in a photograph. Instead of text, each daily post is a single (beautiful) photograph taken by amateur enthusiast David J. Nightingale of Blackpool, England.

Lots of info on art, galleries, museums, etc.

Origami site.

Peter Gric Fine Art – Surreal paintings & illustrations. This is such a cool site. Awesome animation and art.

DJ and underground links.

Street art. This rocks!

Amazing murals.

Photo Sharing, free wallpaper, and screensavers.

Picture of Walls – very cool!

TVM Studio. Great portfolio.

Site which showcases photography from around the world. Includes contest and pictures of the year.

Cool pixel illustrations where designers add on to the building...this project was terminated but it's still worth a look.
View the world's tallest virtual building...

20 June 2006

2006 Design Events & Exhibitions


The ArtSpark Festival
Spring/Summer/Fall 2006
Austin, Texas

A creative incubator in which teams of artists and innovators in various disciplines (Theatre, Electronic Games, Film, Music, Design, etc.) spend 12 weeks in the ArtSpark Building creating new works which will then be showcased for the public. Visiting Artists come to share their work and experience, and the teams have the opportunity to interact and learn from each other.

Aspen Design Summit
June 20-23, 2006
Aspen, Colorado

Design-minded leaders from around the world will gather in Aspen, Colorado to make positive, measurable impacts on the social and cultural concerns of today.
The Aspen Design Summit, a partnership of IDCA and AIGA, is a multi-disciplinary retreat where design thinking and the design process will be used to craft solutions and commit participants to actions that improve the quality of life worldwide. At the Summit, design will be presented as a tool to inform and inspire innovative leadership across society.

Design Science Lab 2006
June 21-30, 2006 (New York, New York)
July 19-28, 2006 (Asheville, North Carolina)

The Design Science Lab offers a unique opportunity to develop solutions to global and local problems using present day technology and known resources. It features hands-on training experience in complex problem solving employing an approach pioneered by R. Buckminster Fuller and others called comprehensive anticipatory design science.

Mission:Possible - A Mutual Strategy for Creatives and Printers
June 20, 2006 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
June 27, 2006 (San Francisco, California)
June 29, 2006 (Dallas, Texas)

This newly developed seminar will help design/creative professionals and print professionals improve their collaboration and performance. After all, the relationship between the two groups is symbiotic, but unfortunately often becomes confrontational. Through the use of various instructional techniques, the seminar will explore the technical issues that can eliminate the confusion and mistrust that frequently surface. Design/creative professionals will learn how to avoid unnecessary production compromises and delays, and print professionals will learn techniques for helping creatives accomplish their goals in a more cost-effective and trouble-free manner.

Icograda Design Week: Defining Design on a Changing Planet
July 9-15, 2006
Seattle, Washington

Icograda Design Week in Seattle is an international forum for discussion about the role of design in the face of incredible change in the world. It will address how designers can contribute to a healthy world economy while being mindful of the cultural, environmental and political impact of design.


Aesthetics of Ecology:
Occupying Space for Sustainable Living

November 16, 2005 - December 8, 2006
Oakland, California

This juried exhibition features work with an emphasis on sustainable living. The exhibition includes works by Teri Claude Dowling, William and Elizabeth Hathaway, Douglas Jacuzzi, Daniel Krivens, Matthew Laughlin, Anthony Marschak, Gail McDowell, Hector Dio Mendoza, Michele Pred, Wesley Ramirez, Jessica Resmond and John Colle Rogers. The alumni exhibition series, a project of the CCA Alumni Council, promotes awareness of CCA and its community of artists.

Live the Dream, The Future of Responsible Living
April 27 - August 1, 2006
Material ConneXion
New York, New York

To extend the celebration of Earth Day, Ingeo(tm) and Material ConneXion have teamed up to create an exhibition that features products that are made from 100 percent sustainable materials. All products in the exhibition are currently on the market and range from a bamboo bicycle to everyday fashion. We invite you to come look, feel and experience the future.

For more event & exhibition listings please visit: www.areaofdesign.com/community.htm