Rotring Isograph Pen Drawings

I really do like these technical drawings of Rotring pens.

A Technical drawing of a Rotring pen

Web Design Survey Results Released

The results of the web design survey conducted by A List Apart in April have finally been released. A staggering 33,000 people responded to the survey and the final report tops out at 81 pages.

Overall the report is quite interesting. It seems to confirm a lot of suspicions about the industry as a whole. The industry is in fact male-dominated; only 16% of the respondents said they were female. Almost everybody in the industry has a blog, but not necessarily any prominence for it. There are a lot of self-employed people, with varying salaries and levels of job satisfaction/unsatisfaction.

I’m quite impressed by the results of the report. There are some interesting questions posed by the data and also clear areas where a more focused approach is needed. Obviously, the method of data collection (voluntary web survey) has some serious drawbacks, but I think the data does lead to some broad conclusions of the industry and is a good starting point for more research.

On a side note, the design of the report looks positively snappy! The graphs and charts all look great, as does the type. I’d love to know how all those graphs were made so pretty.

Update: Eric Meyer has written in-depth about the process of collecting the data and creating the report. Definitely read this post after taking a look at the report. I’ve also experienced those Excel pains Meyer speaks of as well. Short answer for how the charts were created: Excel (for mac)NumbersPDFInDesign. Yikes.

Comm Lab Website Design

One of my projects this summer was to get a full website out and working for the Communications Labs at Simmons College (where I work). The site is basically a resources and news area for students. The students that use these labs end up spending a whole lot of time there, and I wanted a space just for them, with the information they needed.

I actually started this project about a year ago. We had a whole bunch of documentation for the labs written, but mostly in pdf and Quark documents. My goal was to get everything online for students to have easy access. So, without much of a plan, I created a very barebones site and started adding stuff to it.

Another member of our department also creates a monthly newsletter which she then emails out to all faculty and students. It usually comes in the form of an attached pdf. I figures that I should add that to the site as well.

So, at the beginning of last summer I basically had an overgrown list of links with a very bare bones design. My goal was to create a more cohesive site, with a much more appealing design. We do offer a major in graphic design after all.

My thoughts design-wise were that I’ve really been digging the plain old black and white designs that I’ve been seeing around. I also like the grid. Given the nature of the page, I thought it was a good place to also finally figure out how to use sIFR.

I had a hard time figuring out what my secondary color would be. I’m always drawn to green and blue, but it somehow didn’t quite feel right. I wanted to use red, but that can seems a little too harsh or sterile sometimes. Then it came to me: magenta. It’s perfect for the site.

So here is what I ended up with:

Home Page

Commlab Website Home

Archives page for The Comunicator

Commlab Website Communicator Home

How to make clipping path (example documentation page)

Commlab Website Clipping Path Page

You can see the whole site here.

New Photoshop Logo

I’ve been trying to refrain from commenting on the new Adobe Photoshop logo because it seems that everybody else already has:

The first three things that came to my mind when I saw the new logo were:

  1. Ew
  2. Microsoft
  3. This is a joke right?

Nothing very groundbreaking there. I haven’t read of a single person liking it, and many have also pointed out how similar it looks Microsoft designs. While I thought Microsoft in the back of my head, I didn’t actually bother to go look at any Microsoft stuff to compare. That is…until Armin Vit linked to one for comparison.

Photoshop and Silverlight Logos Comparison

Yikes. I decided to go back to the Photoshop website for some further comparison. As it turns out, there’s some very lovely1 Microsoft-esque marketing videos. The thing that really caught my eye was the whole silhouetted people concept. It reminded me of something…oh wait! I know! People_Ready!

Adobe People Ready

I just don’t get what Adobe is trying to achieve here (other than cheapening their brand)2. It seems like just a couple of months ago that Adobe went through that whole CS3 re-branding thing. While I don’t think that it was 100% successful, at least it did unify the suite in a unique way. Those little color bricks have grown on me, although I still have an awfully hard time telling which one is which. The only one I can remember is that Dreamweaver is green, but then again…Dreamweaver has always been green. Anyway, enough said on my part. Read Armin Vit’s article for a more articulate analysis.’

  1. Insert sarcasm here.
  2. One could at least hope for a drastic price cut to follow. 🙂

Blueprint CSS 0.4 Released

Okay okay, So this isn’t exactly news. But it is news to me. Apparently I completely missed the realease (on 8/11) of a new version of Blueprint. Its got some nice new features including:

  • Font sizing now uses ems
  • A compressed version of the CSS is included
  • IE bug fixes
  • Incremental leading

You can read the release notes here and download the new version from the Google Code site:

These are all quite welcome changes. One of the first things that I noticed about Blueprint was that the CSS files were quite bulky. Much of that bulkiness was because the author was striving to make everything easy to understand. That said, not having a compressed version was a noticeable absence. The second thing I noticed was that all of the font sizes were in pixels. I didn’t really think on this too hard, because using pixel font sizes simplifies the grid dramatically. Looks like both of these issues have now been patched up.

I’ve been working with Blueprint since it was released and I have to say that I’ve been quite impressed overall. My first thought when I read about it was, “Oh great, another framework I have to learn.” But after taking a quick look at Blueprint, I realized that it is actually very straightforward and easy to use. It took very little effort to adjust my coding to it. Also, it made using a grid a lot easier because all of the grunt work (and math) was already done.

That said, the site that I actually designed using Blueprint bears very little resemblance to the original Blueprint grid. I ended up modifying quite a bit of the grid.css file to fit with my design better. I also overwrote most of the type styles from typography.css. I spent a good amount of time yesterday forcing sIFR to render my headers without messing up the grid. Now I’m wondering if it’s worth it on this site to try and mix in the new release of Blueprint. Perhaps I’m missed the point of using a framework? Oh well, at least getting started on the site was easy.