Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Design Inspiration

Company are a very talented London-based studio whose new site houses a fantastic range of really beautiful design work, and also some self initiated 'Friday afternoon' projects like ‘Hairface’ above.

Check out their work
for some design inspiration, in particular for visual identity.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Amazing interactive site

Created in Flash using Masayuki Kido's own 3D library, Eco Zoo is a stunning interactive site - a 3d virtual pop-up book, full of cartoon animals and lush illustrations in a story that teaches through play.

It's aimed at children with characters encouraging kids to perform simple tasks like using re-usable shopping bags and turning electrical devices off at home, but rather than lecturing kids about saving energy, Eco Zoo lets them discover, through the animals' stories, how to be energy-efficient in the home.

This site is not only technically brilliant, it has real charm too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Excel-lent video

Here's the world's first music video in an Excel spreadsheet!

To commemorate the return of heavy metal veterans AC/DC, Sony BMG have created this little piece of ASCII art history. You can download the Excel file here or if you don't have Excel you can experience it in all its greyscale glory via Youtube above.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stickers for sneakers

If you've ever wanted to customise your own footwear, you can do it with Sneakerskin stickers. On this site you're able to to order all types of pattern sheets, then just get out your scissors, and give your trainers a quirky makeover.

You can also become a Sneakartist yourself by designing your own pattern and uploading it and making it available for the public to buy, with 10 per cent of the final sale price going to you. Not all designs, however, will make the cut — only the most unique and original artwork passes the grade.

Check out all the details on sneakart.com

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sneezing Panda

This hasn't got too much to do with visual communications but it is just too funny not to post.

Friday, December 19, 2008

10 useful iPhone tips & tricks

I’m sure that many iPhone owners are “power users” and probably know most of the following tips. But more casual iPhone users will find this excellent list, taken from tap tap tap, incredibly useful. I know I did!

1. Scroll to top
Tapping the status bar (the bar at the top with the clock) will make scrollable content scroll to the top. It comes in handy in situations like when you’ve scrolled down a long web page or mail message and you quickly need to get back to the top.

2. Screenshots
Simultaneously press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons to take a screenshot of your current screen. You’ll hear a camera shutter sound, your screen will flash white, then the screenshot will appear in the “Saved Photos” library of the Photos app.

3. Saving images in Safari and Mail
Touching an image in Safari or Mail for a couple of seconds will present you with an action sheet which will enable you to save the image. As with taking screenshots, the image will get stored in the “Saved Photos” library of the Photos app.

4. Caps lock
Double-tap the Shift key to lock it to write in caps. For this to work, you need to make sure 'Enable Caps Lock' is turned on in the Keyboard section of General settings.

5. Extra keys
Do you need to type an umlauted-u (ü) but you’re not using the German keyboard? Touch and hold the U key and you get a set of additional keys to choose from.

This works for several of the alphabetic keys, enabling you access to letters such as éîçåß, etc.

In addition, there are several punctuation keys that behave similarly, so that you can type curly-quotes, etc. if you keep your finger on the inverted commas key

And furthermore, when the keyboard is in “URL-mode”, where the “.com” key is available, touching and holding it pops-up additional options for quickly entering .net, .edu, and .org domains.

6. Lock / shut down / force quit / reset
Many people are under the false impression that locking the phone is equivalent to putting your Mac to sleep. But when your phone is locked, the screen turns off but the app that’s running at the time continues to run. For instance a relaxation app is able to continue playing sound but save battery power with the screen off. So, locking your phone is actually more like “display sleep” on your Mac.

So to ensure that your phone is using as little battery as possible, you’re best off always pressing the Home button before locking so that no app remains running.

To turn your phone completely off, press the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds then drag the red slider that appears.

Additionally if you have ever been using an app and it’s become very unresponsive or completely frozen, you can force quit it by pressing the Home button for at least six seconds.

And finally, if your phone seems to be completely frozen where attempting to turn it off or force quit the current app does nothing, you can force a reset of your phone by pressing both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least ten seconds. Note that while Apple technically calls this a “reset”, it’s actually more like a “reboot” and none of your settings will be changed.

7. Home button options
A very underused, yet convenient feature is that you’re able to set the function for double-clicking the Home button. By default, this just brings you to the Home screen, meaning no different function than clicking the Home button once.

But if you go to the Settings app then navigate to General then Home Button, you’ll find a few handy options. I have mine set to go to my Phone Favorites but you can also set it to open the iPod app, or just show the iPod controls when music is playing.

Also with the newest iPhone OS when you now click the Home button while already on the Home screen, it’ll quickly take you to the first page of apps. This is a great feature if you have your phone filled with apps… and who doesn’t these days?

8. Swipe to delete
In the Mail app and many others that use lists of items, you’re able to quickly delete an item by swiping your finger across the item… sort of emulating crossing something off a list. Doing so exposes a Delete button so that you’re able to confirm your action.

9. The mic on the earbuds is also a button
Squeeze once to answer a call, and again to hang up. If there is no call, squeeze once to start music and again to pause. A double squeeze will advance to the next track.

10. More Shortcuts
- You can double tap space to get period + space.
- To silence a call, press the Sleep/Wake or either volume button. You can still answer the call after silencing it, until it goes to voicemail.
- For a quick "Go To Date” in Calendar, press either of the arrows on the top bar that shows the date.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but ten of the most useful. To find out every single tip going, check out Apple's iPhone Tips page.

'Sock and Awe!' viral sold for £5,215 on eBay

Yesterday the viral game site,'Sock and Awe!' was sold on eBay for £5,215, after being created only a few days previously.

The website features a simple game where users throw shoes at George W. Bush, following the highly reported Bush/Shoe incident on Sunday at a press conference in Iraq.

The game was created by Alex Tew, who first came to worldwide attention when, aged 21, he created the Million Dollar Homepage, an advertising website that sold pixels for a dollar a piece.

This guy certainly has some innovative entrepreneurial ideas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And speaking of mosaics...

...in order to celebrate over 10,000 apps in the App Store, TapTapTap has created a mosaic of an iPhone loaded up with apps- out of the icons of App Store apps.

You can see the entire thing full scale over on Flickr, and World of Apple is selling a poster of the image if any of you fancy a bit of geeky interior design ;-)

Speaking of 'Jobs'...

...(see post below), here's an iconic mosiac (literally) of another kind of 'Jobs' - the legend that is Steve Jobs, made up of all sorts of different icons by the Flickr user, tsevis. He does a pretty good job of capturing his Steveness in my opinion, and the rest of his Flickr set is equally as creative.

Which is the best design job board?

Here are 5 of the most popular ones. Do you have any others to recommend?

The FWA's job section is well worth visiting if you're looking for a post in the UK. It has a good reputation, especially among the web design Flash community, and holds information on vacancies with leading agencies.

The mad.co.uk jobs board is the best place to find UK-based jobs. All the biggies advertise here and it includes the jobs sections from Design Week, Marketing Week , DM Weekly and NMA magazines.

The popular Smashing Magazine sports a great searchable job board that includes full-time and freelance posts. The focus is on the US market, but a few British agencies have started to get in on the game, too.

Coroflot, created by industrial design mag Core777, has turned into one of the biggest career community sites. Job hunters can upload their own portfolios and browse the frequently updated job board, which has offerings from all over the world.

The jobs board on guardian.co.uk is another top place to go for creative UK-based design jobs, though this site is more focussed on permanent vacancies, rather then one-off freelance jobs.

Monday, December 15, 2008

iPhone: you Mac my day

I am now a very happy owner of one of these beauties. You can read all the rave reviews elsewhere (so far I agree with every one of them) but I have to say that one of the things I am most excited about, is that this is shaping up to be the first mobile phone camera that I'm actually going to use. Getting pictures off of my old mobile phone camera was never easy, so I never did it. The pictures that I took with it were ones that I intended to use for wallpaper. But the iPhone syncs so easily with iPhoto and the quality is pretty good. Purchasing the Toy Camera app (which gives your camera a great random photo effect) makes it even more fun.

Buying a product from Apple has always been a pleasure and the iPhone has not disappointed me yet!

Time to add the iPhone to my lovemarks...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Typograpical response taken from the film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Created in After Effects, this is one of the best typography sequences out there

Friday, December 12, 2008

Download your favourite books for free

I generally like my books printed on paper, not least because of the chance to enjoy fabulously designed book covers, but if you disagree, or if a weighty volume just won't fit in your bag, try Gutenberg.org.

It's not the most beautiful of sites, but it's an excellent online library of downloadable books, and best of all, it's entirely free.

The worst an ad can get: Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry win award for most cringeworthy commercial

It should have been a slick promo featuring three of the world's sporting giants, but the Gilette campaign featuring three of the world's highest paid sports stars has been named the worst TV advert of the year by industry magazine Campaign.

Tennis champion Roger Federer, golfer Tiger Woods and footballer Thierry Henry all appeared in the Gillette campaign which showed them using their respective skills to persuade their male target audience to pick up the brand's razor.

With their Hollywood grins, and slick suits, the trio are seen wielding their balls - tennis, golf, and football - to urge men to use the brand's newer Fusion Power razor.

But their on-screen efforts did not match up to their sporting prowess and the ad was voted top turkey of 2008.

Campaign editor Claire Beale said: "The Gillette ad is an own goal, a double fault and a bunker shot rolled into one.

"To secure three of the world's most famous sports stars would have cost Gillette millions but is such a wasted opportunity as the creative lacks any charm or wit."

To make matters even worse, they couldn't even get all three sporting heroes to appear together. Watch closely and you'll notice that they never appear together in the same shot, aside from some cheap compositing effects.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bill Gates and Sir Alan Sugar made some of the *worst* technology predictions of all time

Big ol' Bill Gates and the legendary Sir Alan Sugar have made two of the worst technology predictions of all time.

Bill Gates back in 1981 allegedly said that, "nobody would ever need more than 640 kilobytes of memory on their personal computer." Hhhhmmm... most machines now are not sold with at least 2 gigs of memory, aren't they?

He also said at the 2004 World Economic Forum: "Two years from now, spam will be solved."

But perhaps the prediction that was proved wrong almost instantaneously was the one made by Sir Alan in an interview with the Daily Telegraph in February 2005. The founder of Amstrad said: "Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput."

Do we think he's got one?

Designing for London’s Leading Literary Festival

Cinnamon Creative has designed the teaser flyers for London’s leading literary festival, Jewish Book Week 2009.

20,000 of these have been printed and they will be distributed all over the capital during December and January.

If you like the flyer, you’ll love the 64 page programme, out on January 6th. Email me your address details if you’d like one, and I’ll add you to the mailing list and get one posted out to you asap.

The festival runs in central London from 21st February to 1st March 2009.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The first computer I owned

Sadly it wasn't an Apple Mac. It was the family computer and being only 7 years old, I had no say in it whatsoever.

It was a Commodore 64 and below is an advert for it that I unearthed.

This is the kind of advertising that my parents were susceptible to?
Too funny...

What was the first computer you owned?

Monday, December 8, 2008

9 to 5 Must-haves

If you’re a connoisseur of the cuppa and know exactly how you like your favourite hot drink made, then you might like this clever little 'Love Your Mug'.

It enables you to personalise a mug with your exact hot drink preferences so whoever’s kind enough to make your cuppa will get it just right, every single time.

And if you're looking for a new laptop sleeve, the one above is sure to raise a few eyebrows in the office. If you've spotted any other interesting laptop sleeve/bags comment below.

Review: Babylon at the British Museum

Some say big exhibitions at the British Museum often look dry compared to the Tate Modern’s blockbusters or V&A’s fashion shows, but I thought Babylon was outstanding. It certainly deserves blockbuster status since the impression it leaves is of the inevitability of human nature and self destruction; as relevant now as it was thousands of years before we even started counting them.

The curators have expertly chosen to include art, poetry, audio tracks, and accessible, concise explanations to charge our interest in the ancient architectural relics. By evoking the imagination as well as the mind, a vanished civilization becomes reconstructed.

Some of the exhibits have never been seen in Britain before, and include awe-inspiring glazed brick panels from the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way, and a typographically stunning tablet describing the New Year celebrations in the city. With many such objects on display, the show aims to give visitors a real taste of everyday Babylonian life and culture.

Famous myths and stories are also explored including the Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, together with some of the incredible Babylonian achievements that are still with us today. Try to imagine life without the the 60 second minute and 60 minute hour and you'll begin to appreciate just how much we owe to the people of Babylon...

As an aside, one of the images from the exhibition, pictured at the top (Julee Holcombe's "Babel Revisited') reminds me of a piece of work I did for the Financial Times pictured below.

Babylon: Myth or Reality on show at the British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG until March 15 2009.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Make calls for free from your iPod Touch

You can now make calls for free from your iPod Touch via a new application, Truphone.

Truphone's VOIP software comes into its own on Apple's wi-fi beastie.

I've downloaded it, it's easy to install and the call quality is great.

Download it for free from the iTunes store right here

Monday, December 1, 2008

The nuttiest portfolio site I've ever seen (but well worth a visit)

This is an internet experience that will leave you both bewildered and enchanted. It's a portfolio site for the Dutch web designer Coen Grift, and operates in a highly unique style. Instead of viewing the site by clicking on various pages, you use a hand to drag your way around one enormous, apparently endless, piece of pixelated art. There are plenty of strange sound effects too (be prepared for some salty language).