Thursday, August 25, 2005


The idea that the solution to every project needs to be unique is entrenched in the mind of creatives--at least the passionate ones. If we are creative problems solvers and every problem is unique, would not the solution be unique by definition. If it’s the same problem, then why not use the same solution? Most problems are similar but are always different.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

OS X vs XP in my opinion

FireWire vs. USB
Winner: FireWire

No contest. FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394) easily wins over USB 2.0. I’m sure we can expect the same with FireWire 800. I hear that the reason that Intel selected USB as the plug and play port of choice is Apple wanted to charge a $1 licensing fee per port. For every $100 motherboard, Apple would pocket four dollars. So what did Intel go with? USB 1.0/2.0, the inferior, but royalty-free system.

Winner: OS X

Although if you treat a WinXP well you can get days without rebooting, I would have to say that OS X would win. It makes sense when your software developers start over from scratch. If I had a web server that had to be up as if my life depended on it (and Linux/Apache wasn't an option), I would choose a Mac over a PC any day.

Winner: WinXP

Yeah, I hear Widgets are the next coolest thing. They are the development of all the programmers that now work on Apples because Unix is now under the hood. More power to them, but in a browse of the web downloads, the list of free PC applications is vast. Most open source applications have a Win32 binary file along with the source code, but not a Mac hqx. Most businesses have the money to spend on a program, but individuals don't. If I need to make an icon for a program on time, I'm not going to buy Icongrapher or Miconangelo. I'm going to download a shareware program, use it for 30 days, and then uninstall it.

File Browsing
Winner: WinXP

Yeah, Spotlight is cool . . . and some people really do use coloring coding. This is personal preference and depends greatly on your working habits. Mine include using a mouse as little as possible. I just love the fact that I do anything with my keyboard. This includes using the keyboard to move windows, select non-contiguous multiple files (hint: use the CTRL and Shift key), and tabbing around to any selection. The fact that I can turn on my computer and run a program with my monitor turned off is very cool. Does anyone how does one select the search field with the keyboard in iTunes?

More to come. . .


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Rational Egoism

This post doesn't specifically relate to media.

This morning, I watched part of a lecture on abolishing anti-trust laws. The proponents were Ayn Rand objectivists stating that rational egoism is better than altruism, because it hinders innovative businessmen and aids those who are less innovative.

I take issue with objectivism's ethical stance that man is the end within himself. I have many altruistic beliefs in my worldview, but we do seem to accomplish more when we are egotists. This is in quantity though and not necessarily in quality.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Consulting vs. designing

I've made some headway in getting my head wrapped around the issue of what a graphic design firm or a media marketing is. It may shed light on the goals of mid-level firms.

The larger firms often come with the total package. They do the market research and solve the problem through media. This increases overhead, because the consulting time is higher. The questions that a client might pose are closer to "I need to promote this product or service" than "I need a brochure, website, or CD designed." This takes it out of the desktop publishing realm for print and the website designer world for interactive and into the problem solving consulting realm. The problem is that consulting has a connotation with talking without action and designing has a connotation with action without talking. Does the phrase "media marketing" take in the whole package?

This begs the question also, "What is the marketing department in the corporation getting paid to do?"

My experience seems to say that the in-house marketing department handles day-to-day problem solving and the out-sourcing to the media firm is done in special cases that the inhouse department cannot handle because they are focused on other projects or don't have the expertise.

Btw, I found a webpage that had outlines the AIGA's "12-step-program" previously mentioned (in selectable text).


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Return on creative?

How do creatives consultants that produce media products know that value has been added to the client? I am assuming that the client must share with the creative that revenue that has been created and associate that with the creative consultant. With this model, there has to be a tangible and quantitative goal, no? This goes against the idea of "art for art's sake." (I never bought into that, btw.) Corporate identity has been dwarfed by the surge of branding in today's industry.Then, this of course leads to the question what is the line between responsibility to your client and responsibility to the end user?

Excerpts from "Return on Creative"
When we speak of a 'return on creative,' we become aware that designers have more to add to the business process than elegant brochures and eye-catching web sites. Designers can bring a return on creative because they are trained to bring something out of nothing. They are results-oriented.

'Return on creative' emphasises that creativity can, should, and will drive business success. Designers find themselves at the centre of this epochal transformation of business practices thanks to the dual meaning of the word 'design.'

The rise of design as a social and commercial force drives us to the considerations I have engaged in here. It is becoming more and more clear that an enterprise without creative direction cannot succeed, and that creativity without a social goal flirts with frivolity. As the demand for a 'return on creative' increases, we will see, first of all, that there can be no return without the judicious application of creative resources. But we will also see something else: the breakdown of the division between business leaders and design leaders as more and more people realise that an enterprise can only succeed 'by design.'

A comment that was added to 'Return on Creative'

Creative Business Ideas
"Today, marketers need more than good advertising and promotion. Marketers need ideas that apply creativity to their business strategy in new ways to drive profitable growth. We call these ideas Creative Business Ideas: they transform the product, the brand, the company—and sometimes even the business itself. "


Selectable Flash text or lack of

View the following first:

At the AIGA, they posted this 12-step problem solving process, but they don’t give you a list that is selectable so that you can copy it to one’s clipboard and insert it into a text document. What kind of design is that? Maybe it's great visual design.

Maybe they want us to type out the process stage so that it’s a learning process. I doubt this though. My guess is that the creator made the text in Photoshop and didn’t want to create the text boxes and retype it in Flash. It also could be, because Flash does a decent job of kerning, but not as good as Adobe. They would have to embed the fonts in the swf, too. An XML format of the information would be nice. . . Many of the prospective employer's web sites that I've visited have their contact information as a graphic which prevents copying the phone number or address to the clipboard. Does anyone else use the clipboard this much?

So that begs the question, how much intellectual property control one should keep? If one doesn’t make the text selectable, then for a viewer to post it on their blog they would have to retype it. Is this bad? I guess it depends on whether a link to the source is given. That would increase viewers of the original site. It seems that online the less control you have over your content, the more popular you become.

I have to admit though that I have outlined text inside a Flash website to keep the text justified, since dynamic text boxes in flash can’t justify (even with CSS!). That was made possible by importing a CS AI document into Flash. For some reason text is often corrupted when using the Photoshop->Fireworks->Flash process which is the process to use for images.

Anyone else realize that there are problems with copying text from multiple textbox PDFs. The selections are guided by either the Z-index or the chromological order of textboxes' placement. That's another topic.


Friday, August 12, 2005

For the great majority of mankind is satisfied with appearance, as though they were realities, and is more often influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.


Grokking and Composing

Well, the PHP script that grabs images from AIGA members' portfolio is up and running. It's not pretty though. I am on a dial-up connection, so it has been a pain to test.

The irony is that I've spent more time programming than on design pursuits in the last week as I've been finalizing my portfolios to submit to employers in the Indianapolis area. Why is it that I didn't want to program? I think it had something to do with no one seeing my work and sitting in front of a computer all day working on the same type of project. It would be like being a writer and having to look at text all day.

I've been reading about design patterns recently (Head First Design Patterns from O'Reilly and Essential Actionscript 2.0 by Colin Moock, also from O-Reilly). Btw, I always research books with and with, but buy them at It's not half off, but it's not too far off from half off.

I finally put class composition to use with a revamping of the poetry knook--that is, internally. Most readers will not be able to tell a difference. The most stubstantial changes were made in the administration section anyway.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Cover letters, resumes. . .

It's temping to re-purpose all the information concerning cover letters, resumes, graphic resumes, portfolios, and interviewing skills when this is all over. There are plenty of sites out there. I believe I would just be adding to the plethora of information already out there.

Convergence has always been a primary mission of mine. Having all the information from multiple websites copied to one Word file (RTF, not doc, because doc's are binary and rtf's are open source tagged text) is easier to read and search. It is the anathema of marketing and capitalism though. Repeat users and ad viewing are good for the bottom line. Most of the websites that I have viewed in the last 24 hours I am never going to view again.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Gmail, enough said

The fact that Gmail has POP3 support was a great selling point for me. It doesn't make sense from a financial standpoint though. The only revenue Gmail generates is from Google's AdSense program. Btw, Google's AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) rocks.

Now if the world's greatest search engine could search my messages for partial words. Currently, if I want to find all emails sent from a username of "smjdesign" at a any domain and I type "smj" no messages are returned.

The other problem is that a user is limited to 20 filters. That's like limiting someone to twenty rules in Outlook.

Here is a list of issues that can occur with AJAX.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Good to Great Book

I watched the Charlie Rose Show last night on PBS. He interviewed Jim Collins who wrote the book Good to Great. The main proposition is that great companies do not change when their environment does. It's based on a highly statistical study that required the companies in the study to have been around for the past 30 years (which took out many of the technology companies).

Here's a good article from Fast Company:
"I want to give you a lobotomy about change. I want you to forget everything you've ever learned about what it takes to create great results. I want you to realize that nearly all operating prescriptions for creating large-scale corporate change are nothing but myths. > The Myth of the Change Program: This approach comes with the launch event, the tag line, and the cascading activities. . ."