Monday, September 21, 2009

Sheer Brilliance!

Good examples of great design that have me stoked this week.

In the constant effort to improve my own work and provide great examples for students, I find myself often on the look out for good design examples.  I’ll be giving a shout-out to everything from my church’s new web site to the new Themes and Styles available in MS Word of all places.

LWCC York's new FAQ pagelwcc


http://www.lwccyork.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=70814

The sheer brilliance here comes from the amazing use of awkward silence.  Just click on the page and enjoy for 2 or 3 minutes.  This isn't simply a brilliant concept rendered with great design and amazing flash coding, it's also a great example of fabulous video editing.

Wow, that's a lot of positive adjectives... I hope I have some left for the rest.


Styles & Themes in Word 07style_theme07


Yeah, I'm not a big MS Office fan by any means.  In fact, the only thing that brought me back out of Linux and into Windows at home was Adobe CS4 (that and the fact that Dansguardian kept going buggy on me).  Anyway, despite my general lack of enthusiasm about Office products, I was delighted to discover that the core applications in the suite now contain new Themes and Styles that make it easier to use really sound design techniques.

The styles can be found under the Home tab on the ribbon and contain elements lik "h1", "h2", "quote", and so on, much like the styles found in Web and Print design applications.  The themes, found under the Page Layout tab are like a quick style sheet that can be applied to your document to quickly change the look of Headings ("h1", "h2", etc) and other various styles in addition to shapes, text boxes, headers, footers and other page elements.  Not only is this great design, particularly for Microsoft, but it will also help ease the transition to tools like blogs and wikis that control text using styles and themes.

Perhaps Microsoft learned something while trying to copy Adobe's Creative Suite with Microsoft Expression.

Drops Like Stars


Rob Bell's new book may not technically be much on substance.  The actual content is sparse at best. It is, however, a brilliant example of stunning print design.drops

I looked at this volume at my local Borders store recently.  I didn't spring for the 39.95 cover price, but I did consider it.  If I knew the proceeds were going to some urban mission project or something, I'd probably buy it for my classroom.

I don't know whether to attribute the amazing design found in Bell's books to Zondervan, Flannel, or Bell, himself, but I am never disappointed by sheer beauty of these sparce designs.

The challenge I so often face in trying to improve student designs is explaining the less-is-more concept.  This book, though it is rich in art and photography, is not cluttered, crowded, or busy.

Great Shirts... Glitchy Web Site


http://shop.ugmonk.com/shirts

A colleague familiar with my love of design forwarded this site to me last week.  If I could bring myself to drop $24.00 for a shirt, I'd be all over these... or rather, they would be all over me...  Either way, I'm just impressed that anyone is even making shirts this cool.  Typically, I find t-shirts in general to be a bit over-trendy and unnecessarily indulgent when it comes to design elements.

I was pretty disappointed, though , that the style sheet for the web site didn't load when I pulled it up.  I assume the site looks better than what I'm currently seeing in my browser.

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