Saturday, May 16, 2009

Do it Yourself: Mario Coin Box

Here's something I whipped up for fun this week, a little Mario Coin Box Piggybank.

Click HERE to download the PDF.

Basically you just need to cut around the colors, and the dotted lines are places you will want to fold down. The orange lines on the right side are where you should cut from right to left until the first question mark box (that's to preserve the color bleed.)

If you actually want to use it as a piggy bank, consider printing on heavier stock, and actually cutting the hole out in the top to put your coins in.

Until next time,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: 1000 Type Treatments

"1000 Type Treatments: From script to serif, letterforms used to perfection" distributed by Rockport is my most recent addition to my inspiration library. This is one of the rare occasions where quality and quantity are both very high. Just thumbing through this book in the store I got more than a few "I wish I had come up with that" moments - which means it's strong design (and also means I wish I had come up with that). The reason I bought it, however, was not to make me feel sorry for myself - but to ask myself the question: "Why is this a strong design?"

The strength of this book is in its focus. This isn't "1000 good designs" or "1000 cool things" this is "1000 Type Treatments"? There is no confusion as to what Rockport thought was the strongest aspect of these designs. This focus helps me answer my question "Why is this a strong design?" with more than just "good typography." Reading this book we know that this is good typography, but what is it about the typography that makes this strong? For me, I tend to look at the relation of the type with other elements of the design as well as other type and copy. I find that color is something that I tend to underestimate in my own design, but one of the top things I notice in strong design. Hand rendered type is another element that automatically adds personality. A good design book makes you say "I wish I had come up with that" - a great design book helps you come up with a good idea.

Until next time,

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek: Attack of the Lens Flare

After watching the newest Star Trek (Which was hugely entertaining) there was only one major flaw about the movie that stood out: The Lens Flare

When taking image manipulation at the Art Institute, one of the biggest "no-no's" was using the Lens Flare. Sure, it looks pretty cool, but if used poorly it looks ridiculous - too much is distracting, and from the wrong angle is just... well, wrong.

I understand that the future is "bright" but when you fill a screen with reflected light, it can get a little distracting. Like effective design, a film should have a clear message - when you opt for pure aesthetics or style, you risk losing the message. The lens flare in the movie was not too terrible, and actually made some of the scenes work better (especially the shots of the ships in space). Overall, the movie was great and would've been even better had there not been people shining flashlights into the camera for the whole movie.

Live long and prosper,

PS - kudos to the star trek crew for using all natural lens flare rather than CG.