BoyDog Design
Design and more…

April 12, 2012

Just about every day I spend some time on my computer searching for interesting, helpful, and inspiring information related to design. I’ve been posting those links on Delicious and StumbleUpon for a while now. So many helpful links… It occurred to me that it might be useful to let you all know when I add new links to those sites. Starting today I will be posting my new links each day.

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

20 Beautiful Free Fonts for Vintage and Retro Style Website Design

30 Logos of Professional Designers / Inspiration

Toying With the HTML5 System API

The Current State of HTML5 Forms

FontShop Releases Adobe PhotoShop Plugin

15 Hot & New Fonts That You Should Use

Photoshop Mastery: 25 More Techniques Every Designer Must Know

Usabilla – collect design feedback as you build a website

Ron Paul's "What If?" speech - Remastered

I came across this video via a Rachel Maddow post on Facebook. All politics aside – I find this video interesting. In an odd way. There is something just a little bit off with this video. Typographically, it’s a masterful design. The music adds an additional layer. The speech flows to match the ever-changing typographic design. But, there’s something here that bugs me and I can’t explain it just yet.

First off, let me give you some background information about this speech. It was given February 12, 2009 on the House Floor. The actual speech can be viewed on YouTube. As for this video, the font used is Bleeding Cowboys and the music used is Metallica’s “To Live Is To Die”.

I think I’m going to explain my immediate feelings about this video and then come back and add to this post… as I stated up front, I’m not sure how to explain what’s “off” to me yet. But in the interim I would love to hear some commentary. What do you think?

Let’s get started — As a fan of typography, this video caught my eye from the instant I clicked it on. It wasn’t the music or the speech that I was paying attention to, it was the black, white, and red type. Using a very ornate font and putting it through its paces. Using every angle. Smooth movement. Precise timing with the speech. I think I would have been totally satisfied with the typographic experience without the speech included. Just dancing type with a musical accompaniment. Oh, I think I’m hitting on something here… let me run this around in my head a bit more…

Added on top of this typographic ballet is the speech given by Ron Paul. I have no commentary to offer about its content and prefer to view the speech only as an integral part of a designed piece. Do you think the added typographic display makes it easier to understand the contents of this speech? I think I’m at a “which came first” moment. Did the speech inspire the type? Or, did the type inspire the inclusion of the speech? (Duh, I know the speech is the source for the words used, but perhaps any words would have worked as well for this typographic ballet.) When you are concentrating on the type does the content of the speech truly resonate? Do you get its full meaning? Are you able to walk away and remember the speech for its content? Right now, I’m thinking – no. I think this video works more as performance art than political ad.

In order for this video to be considered an ad it would have to be somewhat apparent who it was being marketed to. I find it difficult to come up with a singular target market that includes people who would be compelled to engage in the design, musical background, and of course, the message. Is it possible that a singular market exists for this video? More likely, the piece is an attempt to hit all the buttons at once. Something that rarely proves successful. And if it is not an ad at all then there is no concern for the message in and of itself. What matters then is the perfect balance of each design element. The result being a pleasing display of type as it dances across the screen aided by the tempo of a musical layer. If you happen to engage in parts of the message as well, that is a bonus. I would then say the main focus is to catch your attention and provoke a conversation afterwards. Just as I’m doing here…

My apologies as this is not a typical post. A bit rambling perhaps. I did warn you upfront that I have not formed my thoughts fully. I rarely come across examples like this video and would love to hear some feedback. What do you think?

I continue to be impressed with the willingness of the design community to share information. Links, tutorials, books, samples, templates, fonts – you name it and it can be found online. I’d like to contribute to this stash of information by making my bookmarks available to anyone who browses my blog.

Delicious offers bookmarks collected by its members. The range of interests are vast. For me, you will find that my bookmarks coincide with my interest in graphic design, advertising, web design, marketing, industrial design, and the range of software used in those pursuits.

Please, feel free to browse the bookmarks. You just might find the information you need. I would also like to encourage you to add to my bookmark list via email, posting to my blog, or sharing via your delicious account.

The best thing about delicious bookmarks is that they are always available to you as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection. I started using delicious because I wanted to have my bookmarks available to me wherever I was and on whichever computer I might be working on at the time.

Give a try. Browse my bookmarks. I hope you find something of interest. Maybe you’ll find some answers for things that have you stumped. Enjoy!

A continuing fascination of mine is how we perceive what we see. The biology of it all amazes me. A recent article by Steven Bradley (via vanseodesign), explains the process in a way that is easily understood. He recommends the book, “Visual Language For Designers” by Connie Malamed.

His article has definitely sparked my interest. I plan on reading the book and will let you know what I’ve learned. In the meantime I thought I’d pass along this book suggestion and the related article.

Many businesses feel compelled to create a presence on Facebook. Most will create a Facebook page and promote it to their target market. Sounds like a simple process, but the expected results are not always that simple to achieve. It seems that most of us, business users of Facebook, don’t really have a grasp of why we’re there and how to utilize Facebook to communicate with our customers. In the rush to join the social media frenzy we’ve all been caught up in many of us have created a Facebook page without full consideration of our goals and expectations. And even worse, we haven’t communicated to people what they might expect in return for declaring that they “Like” us.

I never really thought about this lack of clarity until I read a recent article by Jay Baer, “Why You’re Pissing Off Half Your Facebook Fans,” I came away understanding that if you don’t know your demographic and what they expect from you, there’s a good possibility that you will actually do more harm than good to your relationship with them. Take the time to define your market. Research until you understand their expectations of you. Finally, let your Facebook fans know what to expect from your page. A more knowledgeable approach to your Facebook identity should result in enhanced communication. Learn to use Facebook to establish a direct line of communication that meets everyone’s expectations.

We communicate on so many levels. Some obvious, some inherent without notice. Communicating via the deliberate use of design is a language unto itself. It is a universal language that sparks an emotional connection between the source and its audience. The impact of the message can vary based on the methods used to deliver it and the makeup of the target market. A better understanding of how we communicate visually, verbally, by sound and touch can empower a designer with the ability to tailor a message utilizing the best media with a balance between the stimuli that attract an audience.

I’ve written previously about how each of us favors one sense over another, “How Do You Communicate? Sight. Sound. Touch,” To add to this understanding of how we communicate it is important to understand how to balance visual and verbal communication. Leaning too heavily toward one or the other can hamper comprehension. A recent article by Steven Bradley, “Do You Know When To Communicate Verbally And When To Communicate Visually?,”, breaks down the differences between verbal and visual communication.

As a designer I recognize the importance of understanding how humans communicate with one another. In order to connect to a wider audience it is important to develop the capacity to know when you have achieved a balance between verbal and visual and how the senses receive and process the media you choose to use.

Good news for those of you who have struggled with the decision to add social media to your marketing mix. According to the Small Business Success Index small business adopted the use of social media at twice the rate of 2008 in 2009. These businesses are finding that social media offers them access to their market – enabling them to build their brand, engage their current customers, and attract new customers as well.

Here’s a link to useful information summarizing these finding:

It’s never too late to add social media to your marketing plan. BoyDog Design can assist you in sorting through the various social media sites, blogging options, directories, and more. Is it time to hone the social media persona of your business?

I just came across these links and thought I’d share…

2010 Online Marketing Influencers: Trend Predictions in 140 characters by Trendsspotting

TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Consumer Trends Influencers

TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Social Media Influencers – Trend Predictions

A recent post on FishbowlNY (“FishbowlNY Readers Respond: What You’ll Pay For”, 12/29/09, explores responder’s views on paying for online content. As someone who has struggled on a personal and professional level with the virtues of print versus digital sources of information I find the results of their poll in line with my own preferences. However, the more I think about this I realize that perhaps I am not evaluating the benefits and flaws of both media in a totally balanced manner.

Like most of you, I come from a predominantly print background. I learn by reading books. I acquire information about current events or areas of interest via magazines, both subscribed to and purchased based on need/want. I was educated in design and how to apply that knowledge to a print medium. Flash forward and I have had to re-educate myself to know how to utilize the vast amount of information and ideas that are readily available online. Professionally I have had to acquire the skills and knowledge that allows me to successfully navigate, filter, and utilize the tools needed to provide online content and to determine legitimate and worthy content from irrelevant fluff, spin, and misinformation.

It just occurred to me that perhaps I’ve been too swift in coming to the conclusion that I prefer receiving my information via a digital source versus a print one. I’ll use newspapers as my example. I’ve been a regular reader of newspapers. Before the advent of instant info via the web, I was happy to glean the facts about local, state, national and world news from my hometown paper. Whatever wasn’t covered in print would surely show up on the daily news on television. How simple life used to be… With the breadth of a tsunami wave online content has taken over as the main distribution channel for news. I can’t say I was adverse to the thought. I happily awaited the time when I could sit down in front of my computer and peruse the news of the day, research for information, and eventually have the ability to participate on a personal level with the addition of access to online content. At that point it seemed that the circle was complete. I could see what was going in, I could pull out what I wanted, and I could add to that circle of information at will. What a perfect setup!

Time passed and I began to realize that some of the information I was reading in the newspaper was “old news”. Why should I care to take the time to read about an event that was already covered online? How could the newspaper expand on what I thought I already knew? Little by little the articles started to shrink in size. The pages were being filled up more and more by ads for local businesses and the like. That’s perfectly o.k. if you have a need for that info, but for me, it started to look more like “fill” and less like substance. I will admit I became disinterested in the newspaper. It “didn’t get it” anymore… My days of relaxing and reading the paper were numbered.

Not to be left behind in the dust cloud of the progression to digital format I readily accepted the challenge. What I hadn’t prepared for was the volume of information at my fingertips. Literally at my fingertips. With a few key strokes I could access information from virtually anywhere in the world. I could zero in on commentary that matched my point of view. I could choose to disregard anything I deemed inappropriate, inaccurate or irrelevant to my needs. It didn’t take long to realize that I had not considered the amount of time and attention this channel of information required. Now, I had to source the media outlet I would choose to receive the latest info. Now, I had to sift through volumes of online pages and determine if I found the “facts” to be just that, factual or fiction. Now, I had to scutinize the source of information to determine who the messenger really was and did they have any particular point of view or allegiance that put a spin on their material. Of course, that scrutiny applies to printed material too. Perhaps I’m naive, but I think it’s easier to hide your true allegiances online.

At this point the flow of information appears limitless. As long as you leave the faucet open there will be a continuous flow of whatever you choose to tap into. How could this be a bad thing? In and of itself online content appears to be no detriment to society. I actually hope it develops into a trustworthy, reliable, accurate, unbiased, and predominantly positive source of information. I am in no way knocking its current and potential benefits. I do, however, wish to step back from my previous line of thought that I had to choose between print or digital – one OR the other. After more consideration I am inclined to reverse my intention to drop printed media in favor of online. Perhaps it’s too soon to jump ship. Instead I think I might paddle back to printed media if for nothing else but to balance my sources. Traditional printed media has been honed from years of service to the public to offer reliable, documented, timely, unbiased, and easily verifiable news. At least that is the presumption. Until the time comes when I can know with certainty that online content follows the same parameters in the presentation of information as print, I will continue to access whatever is offered but with a degree of increased scrutiny. Online content is our present. It is our future. Until I know it adheres to the ethical legacy of print media I think I will be splitting my attention between print and digital media. As the pendulum swings I know that eventually I will be saying goodbye to the print world I’ve come to know and respect. I hope that time doesn’t arrive too soon. Online content deserves the time required to incubate and develop into the potentially premium source of information we all hope for.

Do you ever have difficulty getting your point across? Have you ever received the following responses to your attempt to communicate? “I see what you’re saying…” “I get it, loud and clear…” “What a touching story…” We all receive information through a dominant sense.

Some of us are more receptive to visual stimulation. Communication would be most effective using visual media – color, photos, video, and movement. Then there are those who receive information through sound. They listen with focus and can perceive every inflection in a voice. It’s imperative that the sound of your presentation match the information you wish to pass along. And finally there are people who feel what you’re trying to communicate. They internalize information and translate it into an emotion. For them a rich dialogue filled with descriptions that translate emotion would work best.

It might seem that knowing this would make your job more difficult. Actually it’s to your advantage to recognize that you need to communicate on multiple levels through multiple media. Without this knowledge you could easily be cutting out an important sector of your market. An avoidable disconnect simply because you haven’t supplied the proper medium of communication. Your message won’t be effective if it can’t be seen, heard, or felt.

When developing a marketing plan, an advertising campaign, collateral materials, or your brand’s image it’s imperative that you incorporate all of the senses. Utilize the media that’s available to you to reach out to everyone. There is no set rule to follow. You will need to review the way you currently approach your market and critique the way you communicate. Is there something for everybody?

By carefully constructing your communication to be seen, heard, and felt you will reach every sense with clarity and comprehension. A sight oriented ad will imprint vivid images with your corresponding message. A well spoken presentation with the correct inflection and tone will influence the sound dominant person. An emotionally rich and descriptive ad, brochure, or commercial allows someone to feel your message. All senses will be receptive and the dominant sense will aid in comprehension and retention. The outcome should be more successful communication that requires less explanation and is processed and retained with greater impact.

I ask you now to think about this… See if you get it. Do you hear what I’m saying? Do you feel how important this can be when communicating with your target market?