It’s Spring Time!

It’s Spring and that means flowers are blooming, baseball season is starting, and baby birds are being born. It’s a great time for new beginnings…such as this blog.

Can it really be called a blog?

I know, I know, blogging means Web 2.0, commenting, and all that. Discussion is a great thing and at some point I might enable comments, but not now. I get more spam than actual comments and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Speaking of new beginnings…

Strat-O-Matic recently created a new online baseball game. I was hesitant to try it out because I love playing the old dice game, but I did and now I can’t stop.

I have three teams in three different leagues. Two teams use the All-Time Greats Player Set and the other uses the 2012 Set. My team names are: Southfield Owls, Backyard Birds, and Lakeside Loons. Plenty more on this topic later, I’m sure.

People

Poetry by Miller Williams

When people are born
we lift them like little heroes
as if what they have done
is a thing to be proud of.

When people die
we cover their faces
as if dying were something
to be ashamed of.

Of shameful and varied heroic things we do
except for the starting and stopping
we are never convinced
of how we feel.
We say oh, and well.

Ah, but in the beginning
and in the end.

Poster Process

Back in April, I was invited to the Art and Design building at the University of Illinois for Graphic Design Alumni Day. I collaborated with fellow alum, Ian Law (Senior Designer at Torque Design and founder of HaHa Press), and seven seniors on a one day project to produce a poster for the Chicago International Poster Biennial. This is a documentation of our process.

Our Creative Process

  1. Ideate: We have a team and a project, but we need a plan. All heads together, we come up with a concept and begin.
  2. Draw: Our concept called for hand-drawn images, so we had a sub-team dedicate their efforts to pen and paper.
  3. Design: Other sub-teams focussed on designing the typographic layers of the layout.
  4. Scan: When the drawing was done, the scanning began. Good thing we had a big scanner…time was getting short.
  5. Layer: Once all the drawings were digital, we began bringing all three layers of our poster together on the computer.
  6. Screen: The team moved from the lab to the print studio. The layers were separated and screens were created.
  7. Ink: Three layers meant three screens for three different inks. The team began printing.
  8. Dry: Letting the posters dry was the easiest part of the process. Being short on time, though, we had to speed things up with some fans.

90 Days

Reading the Bible on the iPhone.

Just a few weeks ago, I finished reading the Bible for the third time in my life. This time, unlike before, I followed a reading plan. “The Bible in 90 Days”, created by Ted Cooper, is the name of the plan I used. It requires an average 12 chapters of reading each day for 90 days. As with any daily reading plan, “The Bible in 90 Days” takes commitment and discipline. However, there were two other key ingredients that made this undertaking possible for me: my iPhone and YouVersion.

What’s YouVersion?

To answer vaguely, YouVersion is a ministry effort started by LifeChurch.tv. To answer simply, YouVersion is the Bible online. Anyone can visit YouVersion.com and read the Bible for free. Not only that, but you can sign up for a free account that will track your personal reading plans, allow you to bookmark verses, connect you with a community of believers, and enable a host of other free activities.

So how did YouVersion help me read the Bible in 90 days? Simple. YouVersion has a free iPhone app called “Holy Bible” that brings the Bible to me anytime, anywhere. If I have my phone, I have the Bible. The app also syncs to my YouVersion account which keeps track of any reading plan I commit to. When I launch the app, I know what reading I have to do, and where I left off.

There’s an App for That

Apple has a popular saying to solve any issue you have: “There’s an app for that.” And, it’s true. For anything you want to do, there is an app out there that will help you do it easier, faster, and sometimes better. That’s why the iPhone was key when it came to me reading the Bible in 90 days. I didn’t have to carry a book with me. In fact, I didn’t have to carry anything that I wasn’t already carrying. Nor did I have to buy anything. All I really had to do was waste less time on other apps.

A New Approach

Saying goodbye to the blog template.

The simple fact is, I like to design websites. I like everything from art directing the layout to actually coding the backend. This explains why I really enjoy the initial process of creating a website, but get bored with maintaining one. Take for example, the previous version of this site. In January of 2009, I converted it to a blog. After several months I lost the drive to post new content because I was simply plugging text into a design template. My role with my own website went from designer to writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value and importance in generating good content. After all, without content there is little need for design. But, why does good, original content have to be dumped into a generic template when it comes to blogs? Why can’t each new blog post have a fresh new layout accompany it?

If you look at websites such as Apple and Nike, the content of each page is married to an appropriate layout. Content and design are one. But when you look at websites that revolve around articles or blog posts, such as CNN, Smashing Magazine, or The Ministry of Type, the design template reigns supreme. This raises a big question. Can art direction even attempt to keep up with the speed at which content is generated?

There are a few sites and designers that have dared to experiment with this concept. Jason Santa Maria, a web designer out of Brooklyn, has created a new layout for each new post on his site since June of 2008. Travis Gertz and The Bold Italic both have systems in place that allow for each of their articles to have a unique design.

Although creating a unique layout for every new post or article within a site may not always be feasible, for some sites it is proving to be a new approach to online publishing. For the designer who thrives on creating new layouts, this idea is both exciting and refreshing. I’m looking forward to getting in on the fun.