Archive for the 'Information Design' Category

Mr. Zero Punctuation

Mr. Zero Punctuation

I was a little late in catching onto Mr. Zero Punctuation [Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw], an English video game reviewer for The Escapist magazine. A few scant months back, a co-worker of mine played Croshaw’s review of The Orange Box for me (knowing that I was a huge fan of the game) – and I found myself really not only bowled over by the quality of the review itself, but in the funny and unique presentation. Obviously, the guy gets his moniker from his verbal delivery… he snarkilytalksreallyfastandgetsinalotinaveryshortamountoftime – but the accompanying minimalist / information graphics-style animations are so simple, subversive, and friggin’ fast that you NEED to be paying very close attention to be getting all the jokes, cross-references, jabs, and barbs.

Hell, I’m even not the world’s biggest gamer (in fact, I remain blissfully unaware of most of the games he reviews), but whatever… I could watch this guy review breakfast cereal.

Check him out either via The Escapist or his blog.

You Can Never Leave Dripbook. Ever.

Dripbook
I’m updating this blog post after a few e-mails with Dripbook. They are a group of people trying very hard to make an excellent service. Most of my reasons for writing this post could have been dealt with better communication on their website. I suppose that’s been done by now.

Photographers, illustrators, hair stylists etc are typically a little crap at keeping their websites maintained, if they exist at all. I appreciate any efforts to help these busy creative people show their work to the world. Dripbook is one of those efforts. I found out about them through a comment in one of the Virb art groups and Mashable have written about them too. I’ll check anything out and it seemed like a good project. Easy portfolio tools combined with a social network aspect to help you connect and promote. So I sent them an application. I had to apply because… they’re pulling the exclusivity card as a marketing stunt really. I said I’m handsome and make nice work and sent them my portfolio site (ironically). Thank goodness I was let in or my street cred would have collapsed like an underfed model. The feature I wanted to explore was their ability to publish to third party sites. Widgets that create a bit of code that refers to your dynamically updated portfolio instead of you having to create the books on your own site. I use viewbook.com for a site I built for a photographer which does that exactly. Unfortunately I never did get to trying that feature.

Most of Dripbook is fine even if it’s a bit dull in the design stakes (a web 2.0 phenomenon apparently). The upload of images was easy enough, the networking idea is a good one. After I uploaded I found that my images came out looking soft. Which is odd considering they were sized down for web use and were sharp, black and white images when they left my desktop. Even that I could figure out given enough patience. My irritation is that the site is not recognizing that I have “published” a book of drawings. It says it’s published. But it’s not visible to anyone else it seems. I’ve tried every “publish” button three times and now I’m bored. If you can’t publish, you can’t promote and then the social network is useless.

Turns out that because I put a “Mature” marker on my book because it contained drawn nudity, I encountered a legal fix:

You followed the instructions exactly and did exactly what you were supposed to do. When a user goes to look at your book, he / she is asked whether he / she wants to look at mature content. Then a cookie is places on that user’s computer, and the warning does not show up again.

 A fact that would have been good to know a few days ago.
Not wanting to spend any more time on the site I figured that I’d cancel my hard won account and focus my efforts on other tasks, like my real job. Except I can’t find anywhere to cancel, suspend, deactivate, kill my account. Really. I’ve looked pretty hard. The FAQ neatly ignores the fact that anyone would be brazen enough to leave their services. I wonder what happens when you buy a premium account ($9 per month)?

Dripbook have informed me that they hadn’t got to that detail yet.  It’ll be done now.
Dripbook is in Beta phase which may excuse any screw ups and my decision to leave their site is based on a few personal impressions, not only some basic technical glitches. The site is slow, I don’t like their presentation options and I don’t like their design.

I‘d leave, but I can’t.

ps. Turns out that no one had ever asked to leave. I have that dubious honour. My apologies, Dripbook, for being that guy.

 I have been deleted. After the short e-mail chat with Dripbook I appreciate that I was rather harsh on their Beta site. I only wish they had been a bit more forthcoming with how Beta they were. I mean, who doesn’t have a delete account button?  If you think I was a putz let the comments fly.

Inscribed in the Living Tile

TTC meets 1%

This article, plain and simple, blew me away. Presented at the ATypI Conference (Brighton, U.K., September 2007) by Joe Clark, a Toronto-based Accessibility Consultant, designer, and writer, this well-researched and comprehensive dissertation on the triumphs and foibles (but mostly foibles) of the inconsistent use of signage throughout Toronto’s city-wide transit system opened my eyes to so much happening around me (and I don’t just mean in regards to the TTC).

Everything from information design, accessibility, clarity, font usage, and branding comes into question throughout the article, taking into account history, opportunity, hegemony, possibility, and bureaucratic politics. It’s a bit of a long read, but I promise you’ll learn something.

Bad Signs

Why Can’t Every Site Be Lateral?

 Lateral

Sometimes I despair of social networking sites. They have a promise of interesting connections and influences and then fall a bit short of the dream. Much like any kind of technology I guess. I’m thinking that Virb is not going to live up to it’s designer promise. The pages dedicated to Art, Photography and other creative output have not arrived, despite months of promises. I’m sure they’re busy and music is the easiest way into this business, but c’mon! Most of the people I chat with on the site are designers of some sort and how awesome would a chart of top illustrators on Virb be? Anyways, every now and then I’m surprised by someone that wants to be friendly and what they’re attached to.

The other day a guy called Franks contacts me on Virb. And it turns out he is the Head of Design (and a damn good drawer) at a company called Lateral, based in London. They’re an interactive type of agency who’ve done boat loads of work on Nintendo DS and Levis. While their portfolio is impressive, it’s their website that caught my attention. It’s a damn clever piece of information design. Slick, simple and fast. The expandable blocks provide excellent bite size pieces of information and the colour work is fun and intuitive. I think it’s built in Ajax.

It’s a lesson in how a single page can be an entire information architecture.

Lateral 

Bite Me

 Bite

I’m always on the looking for talented people who make ad guys appear to know what they’re doing (I need all the help I can get). Bite Animation are one of those crews. They’re a small motion graphics & design studio in Johannesburg who’ve done some impressive work for some very picky creatives. They’ve just relaunched their website so go visit them.  If you’re a fan of heavily layered illustration you’ll enjoy the experience.

Bite Animation 

MyCuppa Promises That Perfect Blend of Coffee + Cream

MyCuppa 1

Now this is a cup I could wake up to every morning. Beautiful typography. Simple, clever, and functional design. A great gift for any graphics freak, whether they drink coffee or tea. (via information aesthetics)

MyCuppa detail

Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism Are A Similar Diversity

Similar Diversity

Similar Diversity is an information graphic which opens up a new perspective at the topics religion and faith by visualizing the Holy Books of five world religions. Communalities and differences of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism are shown up in this datavisualization.

The visual’s basis is an objective text analysis of the Holy Scriptures, and works without any interpretations from the creators’ side. Despite – or even because of this abstraction, the artworks are not only working on an informal but also on an emotional level. The viewers should be inspired to think about own prejudices and current religious conflicts.

you

Those five graphics are showing the positions and the frequency of the word “you” in the different Holy Scriptures. “You” acts in most cases as a request to abide codes of behaviour or moralities, and so aims most directly at the reader.

Read more about the details here.

Yann Le Coroller – Angels In The Sky

 Carl on a cloud in the kitchen

Yann is a French digital designer plying his trade in NYC. His character design is totally charming and he’s made them available as desktop downloads.  As I was digging through his work I found his Product & Interface Design page, projects he does in his spare time because he apparently can’t help but try and make the world a better place. And we have nothing but respect for people who design a better iPod like object.

Link 

Your Underwear Drawer Is Nothing Compared to DIZZIA

We all have friends who obsess over relationships. Some of us are guilty of it ourselves. But it might be a good idea to avoid befriending a budding information designer if you don’t want your relationship dissected, contrasted, compared, and then published for the world to ruffle through. Gregory M. DIZZIA has recently uploaded a ‘Relationship Project’ which “is the documentation of every intimate relationship [he has] ever had. The data spans 23 years.”

According to the ‘data’, Gregory was in 19 different relationships in 2002, 17 of which were sexual. In October of 2004 he finally got tested for STDs. He’s been engaged 3 times, and has possibly fathered 4 children (but he’s not certain). His ratio of breaking hearts versus having his heart broken is 7:4. And it goes on.

Whether this is fact or fiction is irrelevant, since any autobiography is bias in its very nature, but this is an interesting distillation of emotion and experience. Gregory is currently working on sketches to add to the names.

Relationship Expermiment


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