Tag Archives: Entries

Putting lipstick on a Detroit banking pig

19 May

Just as 2003 was not a popular time for cigarette makers due to swelling opposition to their products and increasing lawsuits, 2009 is not a popular time for automakers or banks. So one of the worst possible businesses to be in would be the banking arm of a Detroit automaker. Enter GMAC bank. The newest wolf in sheep’s clothing so-to-speak.

Today GMAC bank officially took a page out of the Altria playbook and has now rebranded themselves as Ally. I find it interesting that an institution that has recently rebranded themselves for what appears to be no other reason than to escape the image associated with their old brand would tout their honest, transparency and straight-talk. (more…)


Why do people still think spec work is okay?

26 Mar

There’s a heated discussion that seems to boil to the surface every now and again about the validity of “spec work”. Typically it’s thrust into the conversation when some new project/venture/company puts out some request for some spec work. The lines are then drawn in the sand with conscientious, objective, honest designers & firms on one side and the soulless, firms that regularly practice this technique going to bat for the group or individual that proposed the project that brought this discussion up again.

I somehow missed the most recent rise of the discussion yesterday when a request was made for a slide design for the upcoming Future of Web Design conference.

The discussion can be found in the comments of the post on Carsonified’s blog.

Mark Boulton was kind enough to expand on the subject and outline some facts and thoughts around the topic of spec work.

But I think Zeldman sums it up the best.

Spec = asking the world to have sex with you and promising a dinner date to one lucky winner.

Jeffrey Zeldman on spec work

So after all that, how can anyone still think that spec work is okay?


How to create repeating patterns

16 Mar

I’ve always been amazed by a good repeating pattern. Any attempt I ever made took way too long and always ended in frustration an an absolute crap pattern. So to find a good pattern like the ones by Travis Beckham and the ones on BittBox, was gold for me. I always figured there had to be a fairly easy/simple way to create them, but I was just too intimidated to try and find out how.

At the urging of a co-worker, I finally checked to see what Google had to say on the subject and found this fantastic tutorial/explanation. So now I’ll hopefully get the chance to work on some patterns of my own.


Learning the hard way

13 Mar

Design Reviver wrote about the top “10 Things They Don’t Teach You In Design School“, all of which are so true, and many of which I wish I’d known before I graduated. Regardless, here are a few of my favorites.

5. You should backup your data on a regular basis

One of the hardest to learn, but as long as you don’t back up, you will always encounter a time when you wish you did.

6. Start networking, now!

Easily the one on the list I hate the most. But I know it’s necessary. I’m working on it, tomorrow.

7. Make sure your client signs a contract

This one is so, so, so important and is rarely even mentioned in design schools. If you’re doing work that you expect to get compensated for, no matter how big or how small, get a signed contract. This one can be almost as devastating as not backing up your files.

10. Your printer will stop working when you need it the most

One everyone experiences, and just another example of Murphy’s Law effecting the design industry.


What happened to Michigan on the Google Analytics Map?

12 Dec

I was reviewing the analytics for one of my sites and something caught my eye. Michigan. What happened to Michigan? Is it not possible to have two different shapes combined into one hoverable area? I would be less surprised if this was an image map, but since it’s in Flash, what’s up with that?


Print CSS are not the users responsibility

14 Oct

Designing and building a usable and accessible site is the responsibility of the designer and developer. Using that site is the responsibility of the user. So why are users still forced to print out miles of navigation and ads and poorly laid out pages? (more…)


Enkoder is back

10 Jun

With gas and oil at all-time highs and food prices going through the roof, at least we can rejoice the return of the Dan Benjamin’s Enkoder. He’s also gifted us with an Enkoder app for OSX 10.5 for more email encryption goodness.


I need my space space

19 May

The second edition of the ‘Things that drive me up a wall’ series is something we’ve all encountered starting back in grade school.

Double Spaces after the end of a sentence. Is this really necessary? The answer is no. If you need two spaces to let the reader know that they’ve come to the end of a sentence, then why bother with the period and capitalization of the first letter of the next sentence. I find triple redundancy to be rather inefficient. (more…)


50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong

30 Nov

And neither can 50 million web designers (my unofficial estimate). So the long awaited little brother to the Web Standards Project is finally here, the Email Standards Project. It’s about time someone took the lead on improving the devil that is, HTML email, and I couldn’t be more thankful that they’ve gotten this ball rolling.


There’s nothing comical about this

19 Nov

Comic Sans. Don’t use it. Ever. Under no circumstances. If it was the last font on earth I’d end the written word before I allowed Comic Sans to be used for one character.

Comic sans walks into a bar, the bartender says “We don’t serve your type.”

That should always be the response to comic sans.