Archive for January, 2009

The Evolution of Apple Design Between 1977-2008

Apple III from 1980

Apple III from 1980

30" Apple Cinema Display from 2004-Current

30" Apple Cinema Display from 2004-Current

With the 25th anniversary of the first Macintosh computer coming up on January 24th, 2009, we’re taking a look back in time at the evolution of Apple products from 1977 to 2008.

read more | digg story

[PICS] The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

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Michelle and Barack Obama Dancing

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Inauguration Ball Goers Capture the Moment

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Citizens of Kenya Watching Obama Taking Oath

See the entire collection at: The Inauguration of President Barack Obama – The Big Picture – Boston.com

Can You Design This for Me?

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Client: “Can you design this for me, please?”

Me: “Sure, I accept payment via PayPal based on milestone completion.”

Client: “Actually, I’m not sure what kind of design I want. I was hoping you could just come up with a new look and feel for my website. I have a few others doing the same, then I’ll pick the best and we’ll go from there.”

Me: “Uhm. No. I do not endorse spec work.”

What’s spec work? “Basically, its any kind of creative work rendered and submitted, either partial or completed, by a designer to a prospective client/employer before taking steps to secure both their work and an equitable fee.” –NO!SPEC Campaign

Pre-Inauguration Day at the Vienna Metro

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Today around 1pm I took I-66 into Falls Church, VA. With the orange line being parallel to 66, I can see each metro stop. The first stop we passed on the orange line is at Vienna. The line to enter the metro was so long that people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the long corridor that hangs over the highway. On the way back from Falls Church at around 3pm, the line had extended past the entrance of the metro station and wrapped into the parking lot area. Sheesh. All I have to say is that I’ll be eagerly watching the Inauguration tomorrow from the comfort of my own couch.

A Day in the Life of a Web Designer

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Your friend tells you that he or she is a web designer. You think to yourself, “Oh, that means he or she is a designer.” Wrong. It’s much more than that. Design barely graces the surface of the title, “web designer.” So just what does a web designer do? I can’t answer for all web designers, but I can tell you what it’s like for me. My routine consists of me juggling a number of tasks, which include:

  • Emails. I’m constantly checking work emails for new web design projects (who isn’t?).
  • Work. I am 100% passionate about my job, so when I work, I work hard. Projects usually involve creating multiple design comps, which can be quite time-consuming.
  • Field trips. As a government contractor, it’s all about pleasing the client. Even if it involves field trips, such as running errands at the Pentagon.
  • Twitter. I love using TweetDeck, a Twitter interface for my desktop, to read the latest hot finds that other web gurus have posted. You can follow my tweets at @kristinandrews.
  • Other Blogs. I like to keep up with others in the industry, so during downtime, I scan my favorite blogs for today’s posts. My favorites: Smashing Magazine (by the way, they wrote a great post on 2009 Web Trends), Web Designer Depot, You the Designer, Just Creative Design, Outlaw Design Blog, and ILoveTypography. Occasionally I’ll drop by Cameron Moll or Jeffrey Zeldman’s place on the web.
  • My Blog. When I feel inspired, I zip over here and craft up a post or two for the day.
  • Tutorials. It’s imperative to practice design, so I like to work with Photoshop tutorials on the web.
  • Code. A true web designer is a hybrid of web design and web development. A good web designer will take the time to write clean code. As for me, I can always use more hands-on time figuring out XHTML/CSS/Javascript examples.
  • Play. When you work hard, you play hard. Web designers like to play, too. It’s not unusual to fire nerf gun darts and foam hand grenades at coworkers around the office.

Overall, good web designers do a lot to keep up with the industry. They eat, breathe, sleep web design. Oftentimes, many have a freelance business on the side or as their primary source of income. Either way, it’s a fun industry to keep up with. While I’m no expert, I am passionate about what I do and love to spread the word about great finds.

I’m always open to answering questions, so fire away!

Does Josef Fritzl look like the Grinch?

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After hearing all this madness about Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who held his daughter captive in a basement for 24 years and fathered 7 children with her, I can’t help but think he looks like the Grinch. The eyes & eyebrows, especially. Sounds silly, but does anyone else think that he looks like the Grinch?

Oh, and get this: apparently an Austrian theater is making a play based on this sad, but true story! They are calling it “Fritzl’s Bed and Breakfast.” See the AP story here.

Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks Coffee Lid

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On my way in to work this morning at 7:30AM this morning I stopped by Dunkin Donuts for a cup o’ joe. I ordered a large French Vanilla Coffee, which my coworker calls, “frufru coffee.” Meh. So be it. I paid for the coffee and I was on my way. Side note: if you know me or my commute, you’ll know that I park my car a good 15-minute walk away from the office. Therefore, it’s essential that I can travel well with liquids. Well, I’m happy to say that from the time that I left Dunkin Donuts to the time I plopped down in my chair at my desk, my coffee was spill-free.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I even bother to talk about my buck-fifty coffee. As a designer, I tend to be a little more observant when it comes to product packaging. When a company takes the time to engineer the product packaging well, it shows. Any good company will invest the time and money into observing consumer behavior. Dunkin Donuts did precisely this. They did an incredibly good job with designing their spill-proof lid. The lid comes with a standard pull-back tab that covers the mouth of the lid, which appeals to coffee drinkers on the go. In addition, you’ll notice in the photo above that there is a crevasse in the lid — almost in the shape of a racetrack. This acts as a drain basin for coffee that spills out of the air hole of the lid.  Ingenius. Because Dunkin Donuts invested the resources into creating a great package for their coffee, it traveled well, and won me over as a repeat customer.

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I also give props to Starbucks for their attempt in product packaging. While their coffee lids do not have built-in pull-back tabs for the mouth of the lid, they offer a swizzle stick that has a snug fit in the mouth part of the cup.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has noticed this packaging. Check out Aram Squalls‘ article on “Dunkin Donuts coffee lid: innovation at the intersection of regulation and free markets” and see what the Starbucks Gossip blog has to say.

As good as these inventions might sound, there seems to be some backlash. Some consumers are angry that Starbucks has created more waste on our planet with their plastic swizzle stick. Do you think that this is something we should be concerned about?



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