Woes and Web Development

Alright lets talk web design.   My class mates and myself have been learning (struggling) to make a simple CSS style for a pre-coded html template, and it’s been hell, but we’re learning a ton. Going into our interface design course I had a very vague notion of how websites are put together.  I envisioned an easy drag and drop interface; just plop your images wherever you like, and format your text just like in Indesign.   This is not the case, not even close. The process is so different from the design work its staggering.  I believe a big portion of it is the poor tools  given to us to make it.  Dreamweaver is ironically named because it causes nothing but nightmares.  Though our instruction has been to use Dreamweaver for the project, it is just too buggy to be useful.  Its easy to change values but the display features don’t show you what your doing.  Its equivalent to laying out a magazine spread with a blindfold on.  So now I’m using the Firefox downloaded developer tools along with firebug to display as well as finding out which CSS rules are targeting what because Dreamweaver doesn’t make it clear.  I imagine this is closer to what actual web designers do.  Although I’ve got a lot of complaints my page is fairly close to my originally intended photoshop file. So I’m sure with some practice and patience I’ll get the hang of it. Here’s a side by side of what I intended and what I actually got:

Example of Intended

Actual

Though this whole process hasn’t been worthless, its been a ton of frustration but I’m enjoying it. I’ll definitely carry on with web design, I’m just going to work in Kompozer or some other Dreamweaver alternative.

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Creativity Can Solve Anything

Tonight I decided to check out the Edmonton Film Festival, specifically, Art & Copy. Its a documentary on the rise and continued power of advertising in our consumer culture. So, basically it gathered together a bunch of cynical old men and women, leaders in the industry, and interviewed them about campaigns they’ve done in the past, their pasts and what they think about it all. Their tales of committee meeting and creative direction Inspired me. They put a rare human face on an often demonized profession. These people dreamed of telling uncompromising truths that move people and happen to sell a product at the same time. They’re inspiring because their work is what every aspiring creative person idealizes: they’re designing work with integrity, producing powerful messages that shapes current culture, and getting paid for it all!

One person in particular, Lee Clow, really sold the movie to me. He’s this huge advertising executive that you’d expect would be finely dressed and trimmed, but he’s essentially a hippie who grew up surfing and decided he’d get into advertising. Lee then realizes that the company he’s working for has no artistic integrity and is milking the clients for all their worth. He then breaks off, forms his own company with his standard of what good advertising should be and makes the friggin Apple “1984” commercial. Just listening to him talk about his passion had me itching to do some work, and do it well.

Another speaker, who’s name I forget, made a very interesting summary of great advertising. At the heart of any product is a simple truth that resonates with people. Or something along those lines. As the credits rolled, I was motivated to try harder in my work, and to be more passionate about what I do. Rarely do I take away so much from a movie, so I strongly recommend it. Maybe I should watch more documentarys…

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Procrastination Pays

In an attempt to put off writing my earlier post today, I somehow stumbled upon this amazing electronic music website called Underground Evolved. The basic principal is streams of videos and songs from all sorts of lesser known DJs and producers. This is awesome because:

  1. It rekindled my love for Van She
  2. It combines my favorite things in music, obscure artists and electronica

Now I just have to harvest the site for all that undiscovered gold and name drop for a week or two. Here check it out, but remember, I found it first.

Very Pretty!

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Reworking This Mess

From now on I’m dividing my posts into a few categories to help alleviate future organization problems. Always gotta be thinking ahead eh.

  • So design rants are going to be the kind of things I’ve been posting so far; basically design related stuff that I’m getting marked on.
  • Shenanigans are stuff I find, interesting pictures I take, and some of my design work.
  • Then the rest, is well, the rest. So stuff like this little note will be stowed away in there.

This has been a PSA from Nick Visual. Thank you for your time.

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Resources

Seriously, Check it out. Its great!

Every so often we all need a little push, help, whatever to keep the projects flowing. Abduzeedo Is a site I frequent  for inspiration, concepts and entertainment. It’s blend of interviews of up and coming designers, Daily inspiration features(over 300!), and the occasional tutorial is something I keep coming back to. Abduzeedo has recently (relatively) started doing a best free font article every couple of days, which is hit and miss, but today they showed one called Comfortaa which I can easily see myself using. Super lite san-serif anyone? I love websites that search all the crap on the internet and filter the gold from the junk. If you’ve ever searched on Dafont or fontstruct looking for something to fit a project you know how frustrating it usually is.

Awesome copy

Not so muchWhen the going gets tough and you need an effect but you’ve got no clue how to do it I find smashing magazine is a resource I use constantly. Bittbox has all the raw materials you need like textures and vector pack, most of which are free. Completing projects is as easy as having a well stocked bookmark list. Even if you don’t have the skills, it’s more often than not on the internet somewhere. It’s not like finding these things is hard either. In the span of writing this post I’ve found 50 tutorials in Maya Which I plan on making use of and a photo manipulation process that I’m playing around with right now. Continue reading

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The First of Many

Digg.com’s logo

Digg.com's logo

I’ve been visiting websites like Digg and Gizmodo for  about a year, but I’ve just recently (yesterday) found out that they’re called news aggregators, which is a pretty hefty title for over glorified blogs.  Regardless of title, they’re an incredibly helpful way of keeping in touch with the world.  The majority of people are too busy to pick up a newspaper so websites like this are going to be paramount in spreading information in the future.  People are worried about the death of printed news, but I welcome it, if news aggregators are to take its place.Digg copy

Digg appeals to me because its written by nerds for nerds.  Its specialized to an interest group that would never have its own paper.  Gizmodo is a tech blog that’s a great resource for buying anything electronic.  News papers are regional but the news websites are international, so I frequently read about international issues that aren’t in local papers.  All a user has to do is pick a site that’s tailored to their interests and visit it a couple of times a week.  Its a great way to keep informed that requires little commitment. At the same time, since it’s the internet, content filtering is not a priority, so often the articles are absolutely ridiculous.Digg stories

News papers are still hanging on, but I believe only as long as the older generation supports them. Teenagers and 20 somethings now are raised aware of alternatives, and as their parents and grandparents die out so will the traditional paper.

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