Posts Tagged ‘Design’

What is GeoDesign and why is it important (ESRI + GeoInformatics)

Monday, March 15th, 2010

[Editor’s note: Like mashups, but in ArcGIS and analytical without programming skills. Sounds like CommunityViz but is more generally the “pairing of design and GIS. It unites the art and creativity of design (planning) with the power and science of geospatial technology. As one, GeoDesign can produce more informed, data-based design options and decisions.” This drive will introduce modeling, sketching, and feedback capabilities in ESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop 10, set for release in the second quarter of 2010. Looks like it will rely more on GIS services (web apps and 2) and more validating of resulting feature topology by GIS techs. Recently concluded mini-conference on GeoDesign has streaming video clips. This article is also good. Thanks @geoparadigm and @gisuser.]

Republished from ESRI and GEO Informatics.

What is GeoDesign?
GeoDesign is a set of techniques and enabling technologies for planning built and natural environments in an integrated process, including project conceptualization, analysis, design specification, stakeholder participation and collaboration, design creation, simulation, and evaluation (among other stages). “GeoDesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of design proposals with impact simulations informed by geographic contexts.” [1] Nascent geodesign technology extends geographic information systems so that in addition to analyzing existing environments and geodata, users can synthesize new environments and modify geodata. Learn more about GeoDesign on Wikipedia.

Read more at ESRI ArcWatch . . .

Jack Dangermond on GeoDesign:
“In January [ESRI hosted] the first GeoDesign Summit. It will bring people from both the GIS and design fields together and have them share their work and get a conversation going. I’m not totally sure what the outcome is going to be, but I’m hoping a new profession or direction will emerge. I think we need this kind of mixing at this point to bring these two fields together; people who design the world with people who design the future. Today, geography lives very well in its world and designers live very well in their world, but there’s not this cross-mixing. I believe the outcome will be much enlightened ways to do development; ways that bring science into how we design things: cities, the environment, highways, everything that we do. Today we certainly see the need for this all the way from global warming to designing more livable and sustainable cities. We need more geographic thinking in the way we make decisions. GeoDesign is an attempt to try to do something about that.”

Read more at GEO Informatics . . .

What does it mean for GIS discipline:
“It is not so much that geodesign is new, but rather that technology has reached a point that allows artists to participate in the geodesign process – without becoming technologists.” (Kirk at GeoThought) It still requires good (accurate, precise) base maps and themes in GIS to enable smart decision making (geodesign) on the desktop and in the cloud (web apps). Instead GIS techs being puck jockeys, the planning folks will be able to use the GIS directly, or it’ll seem that way to them ;) I used to work somewhere where the boss had desktop design apps installed and he could comp out designs, but they still had to be rebuilt to production specs. My guess is the same will be true with GeoDesign for a good bit yet. Meanwhile, focus on core competencies.

Learn more at the ESRI Developers User Conference later this month . . .

Cartography Design Annual #2 is Now Available

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

cartography_design_annual2_promo

[Editor’s note: Looking for map design inspiration? This second volume, now available from Lulu for $39.95 is brought to us by Nick Springer and a forward by Tom Patterson. Look for two Washington Post maps, one by yours truly.]

Republished from CartographyDesignAnnual.com.
By Nick Springer on December 11th, 2009

Showcasing the Art of Map Making

The Cartography Design Annual is a collection of maps from some of the top cartographers in the world capturing the beauty of mapping. Compiled and edited by Nick Springer, the Cartography Design Annual collects a select group of maps published in the calendar year 2008. The maps cover a broad spectrum of cartographic styles: 3D birds-eye views, travel maps, historic-style maps, mountain maps, and many more. The Annual is published by Springer Cartographics LLC, with support from NACIS (the North American Cartographic Information Society). The book, in beautiful full-color with an overview and detail view of each map, is both a showcase for cartographers and a interesting collection for anyone who loves maps.

The first Cartography Design Annual was received with great praise and excitement from the cartographic community and so the series continues with this second edition. With a foreword by Tom Patterson of the U.S. National Park Service in the second edition, the release Cartography Design Annual series is becoming an anticipated event for cartographers.

The book contains 30 maps from cartographers in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and Poland. This is book #2 in what will be an annual series.

The editor, Nick Springer is also the founder of Cartotalk.com, the most popular online community for cartographers worldwide. “The first edition of the Cartography Design Annual was a bit of an experiment, but all of the great feedback I received form cartographers proved that there is a need for this kind of showcase.” said Mr. Springer. “I hope this year’s edition will gain even broader exposure outside the world of cartographers.”

Mr. Springer is the Founder and President of Springer Cartographics LLC in Crosswicks, NJ and has worked for Microsoft Corporation as a Product Designer creating mapping applications and also designs software for GPS navigation systems. He studied Geography and Cartography at Syracuse University.

Buy the book from Lulu . . .

Color Oracle Review + The Economist’s Red-Green Fixation

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Hisham Abboud over at the Curious Chap blog promo’d Color Oracle, the software that the talented Bernhard Jenny programmed (with my sometimes helpful nagging) for simulating color blindness.

No self-respecting programmer, UX practitioner, or web site designer should be without [Color Oracle]

Nice endorsement, thanks! Hisham uses an Apple iPhone website chart to emphasize his point: “My first brush with what one can do for color blind persons was a 2007 post by Greg Raiz. Greg described how Apple was using red and green circles (same shape) to illustrate which stores had iPhone availability, and how they later switched to using different shapes”:

redgreen

By using shape to reinforce (overload) the color difference, green and red can still be used to take advantage of those hue’s strong cultural significance (green = go, red = stop). The Economist, on the other hand, persists in NOT using shape to amplify the color differences in their charts and maps. Not only does this make it hard to read on my evening subway commute, they are completely illegible for color blind readers. The January 16th, 2010 edition has a particularly egregious example:

cfn742

The Map as Art: Contemporary Artist Explore Cartographically (Katharine Harmon)

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

[Editor’s note: I picked up this fascinating read while in San Francisco earlier this month and devoured the artwork and critical essays by Gayle Clemans on the flight back to DC. Features pieces by Maya Lin and Paula Scher previously mentioned here. Thanks Jag!]

Artists & designers using the map medium for experimental art & innovation http://su.pr/2sijN4

Republished from BrainPickings.

What tattoo art has to do with fashion, vintage atlases and Nazi concentration camps.

We’ve always been fascinated by maps — through various elements of design, from typography to color theory to data visualization, they brilliantly condense and capture complex notions about space, scale, topography, politics and more. But where things get most interesting is that elusive intersection of the traditional and the experimental, where artists explore the map medium as a conceptual tool of abstract representation. And that’s exactly what The Map of the Art, a fantastic Morning News piece by Katharine Harmon, examines.

Corriette Schoenaerts, ‘Europe,’ 2005

Schoenaerts, a conceptual photographer living in Amsterdam, constructs countries and continents out of clothing.

Qin Ga, ‘Site 22: Mao Zedong Temple,’ 2005

In 2002, China’s Long March Project embarked upon a ‘Walking Visual Display’ along the route of the 1934-1936 historic 6000-mile Long March, and Beijing-based artist Qin kept tracked the group’s route in a tattooed map on his back. Three years later, Qin continued the trek where the original marchers had left off, accompanied by a camera crew and a tattoo artist, who continually updated the map on Qin’s back.

Continue reading at BrainPickings . . .

Using Wireframes to Streamline Your Development Process (Webdesigner Depot)

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

[Editor's note: Tutorial highlights tools and best practices for wireframe development with example illustrations, from the sketch to a box outline.]

Republished from Webdesigner Depot.

thumbCreating a wireframe is one of the first steps you should take before designing a website.

A wireframe helps you organize and simplify the elements and content within a website and is an essential tool in the development process.

A wireframe is basically a visual representation of content layout in a website design.

The wireframe acts as a prototype that shows the placement of page features, such as header, footer, content, sidebars, and navigation.

It also specifies the placement of the elements within these content areas. If you want to develop a site that accurately matches the client’s requirements and minimize project revisions, wireframing will keep you on track.

Best Practices

To achieve optimum results, here are several important things to keep in mind when developing a wireframe:

  • Simplicity. The key is to keep it simple enough to be clear to the client and to be flexible for the designer, but detailed enough to guide the programmer. As mentioned, you could create a high-fidelity wireframe, but doing this early in the development process could be confusing for the client, who may mistake it for a final draft.
  • Work in grayscale. When creating elements for a wireframe, it’s best to work in grayscale so that you can focus on the layout without being distracted by the design. If you have been given a full-color logo, convert it to grayscale as well. To distinguish between and categorize various elements, show shapes and outlines in different shades of gray.
  • Use wireframes in tandem with a sitemap. A wireframe is a visual representation of a good sitemap, not a replacement. A sitemap is a useful tool for any website and would definitely be helpful to refer to during the development process.
  • Focus on the desired outcome. Have a clear understanding of how your client wants users to respond to the page before creating your wireframe. The calls to action should be very clear simply from looking at the wireframe.
  • Create a full-sized wireframe if it is for a website. This will give the most accurate representation of the actual page.
  • Plan the elements by securing the content in advance. In a best-case scenario, your client will have already supplied you with the elements that should appear on each page, such as the logo, ads, Flash or video players, features, navigation sections, and sidebar, header, and footer elements. If you do not have this information yet, meet with your client and get (or create) a sitemap. If you are re-designing existing elements, you can gather them from a careful review of the website. In this scenario, be sure to first confirm with your client that you will not be required to add or remove elements, because not having a clear understanding of their expectations will slow down the process.

Continue reading at Webdesigner Depot . . .

Send Colors from InDesign and Illustrator to Flash (Ajar Productions)

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

send-script-to-flash_cs4-ai-img

[Editor's note: This handy JSX based script for Illustrator and InDesign from Ajar Productions will transfer spot and process color swatches of all varieties (RGB, CMYK, LAB, HSB) to RGB in Flash using Adobe's built-in color conversion routines to preserve color fidelity. Requires CS3 or CS4 (works best with CS4).]

Republished from Ajar Productions. Dec. 5, 2009

Following the merge text extensions for Flash, Illustrator, and InDesign, Keith Gilbert wrote me wondering about getting swatch information from InDesign to Flash via XFL or by way of importing an Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) file into the Flash swatches panel. There are several stumbling blocks in the way of such an extension. First, finding a way for extendscript or JSFL to read the contents of an ASE file (which is not open source and not plaintext) proves to be quite difficult. Second, JSFL (the Flash scripting language) doesn’t have any access (currently) to the swatches panel.


BREAKING NEWS (12/6/08): I noticed that the new Kuler extension for Flash CS4 has an “add to swatches” button, and it actually adds swatches to the swatches panel. After some decompiling and a lot of detective work, I found an undocumented JSFL call that was added to CS4. The feature is undocumented for a reason: it sends encoded XML data, and if the data is faulty, it crashes Flash. I have a few test cases working and I’m confident that I can add it to this extension, so the swatches will go right in the Flash swatches panel, rather than onto the stage, though it will only work in CS4. Be on the lookout for an update in the next few days.

UPDATE (12/7/08): Updated to version 1.1.0. If you have Flash CS4, the swatches will now go right into your Flash Swatches panel. Hooray!

There does seem to be a lot usefulness to such an extension, since XFL creates a new workflow between InDesign and Flash, and the Illustrator importer for Flash is fantastic, but neither one loads any of the swatches from the original document. I’ve certainly spent my fair share of time opening up the swatch properties, making sure the swatch is RGB or hex and copying all three fields one at a time.

So, I decided to plow ahead and see what I could come up with. The results are below. This extension takes the swatches from your current InDesign or Illustrator document and sends them to a new layer on the Flash stage. You can then use the eyedropper to pick up the colors, or you can add them to your swatches panel individually (similar to this demo of the Kuler panel).
UPDATE (12/7/08): If you have Flash CS4, you can skip the step above. Version 1.1.0 of this extension will send the Illustrator or InDesign swatches right to your swatches panel in Flash.

This extension will transfer spot and process colors of all varieties (RGB, CMYK, LAB, HSB). Rather than converting the CMYK with my own function, I used the applications themselves to convert the colors to RGB for Flash, so the transfer fidelity is quite good. It will ignore gradients, tints, patterns and fancy stuff like that. If you want to get your gradients into Flash see the bonus tip below.

Continue reading at Ajar Productions and download files . . .

Grain Edit Graphics Design Blog

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Fun site to get inspiration. Thanks KL!]

Grain Edit is a blog focused on classic design work from the 1950s-1970s and contemporary designers that draw inspiration from that time period. Site content includes interviews, articles, designers’ libraries as well as examples of rare design annuals, type specimens, Ephemera, posters and vintage kids books from our bookshelves. Brought to us by: Dave Cuzner – Founder and Senior Editor, Ethan Davis- Editor, Grace Danico – Editor. Grain Edit is based in Oakland, California.

Go to the Grain Edit blog . . .

MapStudio Orienteering Templates for Illustrator

Monday, March 16th, 2009

MapStudio is a set of orienteering symbols and graphic style for Adobe Illustrator (on Mac OS and Windows) and helps you to draw high-quality orienteering maps in shorter time than ever before.

Web Trend Map 3 (Information Architects Japan)

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

[Editor’s note: View the internet as a large subway map styled after Tokyo, Japan, with nearly 300 of the most successful and influential websites online today located along topical “lines” and hubs. Insets offer a “weather forecast” and “brand experience” rating of the same. Thanks Mike!]

Republished from Information Architects Japan.
First posted there Wednesday, March 5th, 2008.
Preview the 2009 Web Trend Map 4.

It was featured by The Guardian, WIRED, Le Monde, Corriere, kottke, Boingboing, Techcrunch, Mashable, Valleywag and literally thousands of blogs. We are happy to announce that the coolest gift for geeks, the A0 poster of the 2008 Web Trend Map (841mm x 1189mm / 33.25in x 46.75in), is now up for grabs:

Want a Lick of the Ice Cream?

Of course, we’d like you to enjoy our hard work in a format that suits you best, so we offer the map in the following formats for you to download and enjoy for free:

  1. Clickable Startpage with daily updated iA surf tips
  2. Big, A3 PDF (8MB, printable)
  3. 1600 x 1024 Wallpaper
  4. 1440 x 900 Wallpaper
  5. 1024 x 768 Wallpaper

A Closer Look

The map pins down nearly 300 of the most successful and influential websites to the greater Tokyo area train map.

Different train lines correspond to different web trends such as innovation, news, social networks, and so on.

The Forecast

We’ve brought back the weather forecast from version 2 and incorporated it along the main Yamanote train line.

Brand Experience

The bottom layer includes a rating of brand experience analogous to restaurant experience. It illustrates our perception of user experience and brand management of the main stations. We studied the usability, user value, and interface (simplicity, character, and feedback), and rated each site on a scale of eating at various types of Japanese restaurants.

Order the A0 Poster

These large and beautiful posters are US$55 each (shipping included). We ship anywhere in the world. Only 1,000 have been printed but 664 have been pre-ordered, so get yours while supplies last. To claim yours today, order through our PayPal link:

Continue to Information Architects Japan to order . . .

Students Dig Deep For Words’ Origins (Wash Post)

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Nifty typography (text word art) graphic in the shape of a plant with roots reaching down into the earth. Good use of color to establish figure-ground. Illustration for article about the study of the origin and evolution of words.] View larger (PDF).

Republished from The Washington Post.

CLASSES APART. Article by Michael Birnbaum. Graphic by Todd Lindeman. Nov. 24th, 2008.

First in a series of occasional short takes on unusual courses in local schools.

For a few hours every other afternoon, Latin and Greek roots rain on Phil Rosenthal’s etymology class at Park View High School in Sterling. Etymology — the study of the origin and evolution of words — might be considered the domain of tweedy types who reek of pipe smoke. But Rosenthal tries to give his 20-some students a sense of the stories and shades behind the words they use every day.

“Kids see a word that to them is foreign, and they run away from it,” Rosenthal says. He started the class with a group of other Loudoun County teachers in 1990, and it remains one of the few of its kind in the country.

On a day focused on Latin words including arena and sinister, Rosenthal talked about the twists words take as they make their way into English. Arena, for example, means “a sandy place” in Latin. Sand was scattered in the center of Roman stadiums where gladiators fought. Sinister derives from Latin for “left,” with the implication that lefties were suspicious.

Rosenthal said some students take the semester-long elective because they are curious about words. Some liked other classes he taught. Others might want to improve their verbal scores on standardized tests. And a few “are actually lost,” he said. “They wanted to study bugs and thought it would be a cool thing to take an entomology class.” (That was a mistake shared by a Loudoun school official when a reporter made an
inquiry.)

An understanding of the complexity of language might give a leg up to students entering college. Students in Dennis Baron’s English classes at the University of Illinois “tend to know almost nothing” about word origins. “They don’t see roots and those sorts of things,” said Baron, a professor of English and linguistics.

Although he wondered whether etymology might be better as a component of a larger high school class on linguistics, Baron said he thought it was “a way of getting at high school English without the overemphasis on formal grammatical stuff” in many secondary curriculums.

That seems to be borne out in the class. This week, students are starting a unit on the influence of mythology on the language. They’ll give presentations about Sisyphus and Narcissus, who lend their names to “Sisyphean” and “narcissistic.” Etymology “just brings all this general knowledge together,” Rosenthal said.