Kickstarter - Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production by john cheng

There are many tools and practices that we use now inside InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator that had practical purposes behind them when they were produced manually by hand rather than by the computer. Some of these reasons and best practices are starting to wane due to the very fact that we rely on the computer to do so much now. It is for this reason that we must understand the history behind graphic design and the old school processes that got us to where we are today.

With that, I say you check out this awesome kickstarter project that delves into the history of graphic design and how our graphic design predecessors worked day to day.

Imagine designing and printing a brochure—without a computer. How would you set the type—making sure it fit your layout? How would you crop the images? How would you place those images alongside your text? And what would you hand over to the offset printer when you were done?
Up until just 30 years ago when the desktop computer debuted, this whole process would have been primarily done by hand, and with the aide of fascinating machines that used a variety of ways to get type and image on to the printed page.
Mad Men gives us viewers small glimpses into this detail-oriented, time-consuming process—but working as a commercial/graphic artist in the pre-desktop computer era entailed a lot more than marker comps for client meetings. Graphic Means will explore these methods and the skilled people who used them.

Portrait of a Letterpress Printer // Letterpress Printers Database by john cheng

A great video of William Amer and his lifelong passion for letterpress printing initially kindled by his father.

Visit willamer.com.au For more information about William Amer.

A short documentary portrait about William Amer, a letterpress printer and instructor based in Rockley NSW, Australia. For more information about William, visit www.willamer.com.au Music: Dexter Britain - ‘Ideas’ (licensed through the music bed) Edited in Final Cut Pro X and Graded with FilmConvert

Sydney, Australia may be a bit of a far reach to get some letterpress printing done, but never fear! Beauty of Letterpress has a database of letterpress locations. Check out their website to find a letterpress printer near you.

Aaron Draplin Designs a Logo by john cheng

Aaron Draplin of Field Notes was asked by Lynda.com to go through the process of designing a logo. I love his process because this is pretty much exactly how I work. I always encourage new up and coming designers to use pencil and paper rather than going directly into the computer and mocking things up.

Be sure to watch until the very end and get Draplin's bits of advice about freelancing.

Watch more like this at lynda.com/vimeo. Most logos aren't designed in fifteen minutes, but most designers aren't Aaron Draplin. Aaron's a Portland fixture by way of the Midwest, the owner of Draplin Design Co., and an advocate of "blue collar" design: design that works. Here he takes our logo design challenge, creating a dozen iterations of a logo for a fictional construction company. Not inspired? Just wait. Watch as he sketches, brings his ideas into Illustrator, and tests and tunes the different iterations. The logos Aaron creates prove design can elevate any company or brand. Along the way, he provides tips for freelancing, finding inspiration, and providing clients context for logos that won't just live in PDFs.

The Vignelli Canon by john cheng

Last night I decided to read through a 96 page book published by the late Mas­simo Vignelli titled the Vignelli Canon. The book gives great details into Vignelli's methodology as well as revitalized and reminded me of my love for grids. The book is avail­able for free online in PDF for­mat and I highly recommend reading through it. It's a quick read, I promise!

Paper to Plants by john cheng

Watch the making of Kelli Andersons stop-motion film inspired by the original artwork by Marie Caudry in Plants. This is an amazing project that turns such and analog process into a digital medium for children to enjoy.

Peek at the making of Kelli Anderson’s stop-motion film, inspired by Marie Caudry’s original artwork for Plants. Over months of night-owl shoots—6,000 photographs!—Kelli and her partner, Daniel Dunnam, cut and fashioned a forest entirely out of paper: 400 tiny leaves, 500 blades of grass, and 25 squirrels. Plants is the second app in Tinybop’s Explorer’s Library, a series for curious kids ages 4+. Get Plants on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-by-tinybop/id872615882?ls=1&mt=8&ct=vi See the stop-motion trailer: https://vimeo.com/95534178 Directed, shot, and edited by Jacob Krupnick: http://wildcombination.com Featured artists: Kelli Anderson and Daniel Dunnam: http://www.kellianderson.com, http://www.thesoundsinmyhead.com Music by Symbolized: https://soundcloud.com/symbolized

The Man Behind the Mountain by john cheng

“The Man Behind The Mountain”, a mini doc about American folk artist Leonard Knight, creator of Salvation Mountain in California. Knight maintained and continued to create this large installation piece up until his death earlier this year. Thank you to filmmakers Ben Stoddard and Dave Ehrenreich from Don’t Sleep Productions for showing us the dedication of Lenard Knight.

Cover Art by john cheng

"The Art of Cover Design." This video from Random House features cover designers Christopher Brand, Chip Kidd, Peter Mendelsund, Marysarah Quinn, and Robbin Schiff and explains the process behind what it takes to create an engaging book cover.

One of the most exciting aspects of any book's publication is the design of its cover. Though many voices participate in this creative process, it's the designer's expertise that is most critical in making a compelling, eye-catching, and meaningful visual representation of the author's work to entice readers.

Intel's New Proprietary Type Family by john cheng

Intel has a new proprietary type family designed by Red Peak Branding and Dalton Maag: Intel Clear. I feel that many people take type design for granted. There are many ins and outs to type design and it is more complicated that one might assume. The clip below gives you a bit of insight to what it takes to create a type family.

Teen To Government: Change Your Typeface, Save Millions by john cheng

14-year-old, I repeat, 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani figured out a way to save money on printing for institutions by simply changing fonts.

Reducing paper use through recycling and dual-sided printing had been talked about before as a way to save money and conserve resources, but there was less attention paid to the ink for which the paper served as a canvas for history and algebra handouts.

"Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume," Suvir says with a chuckle.

He's right: Chanel No. 5 perfume costs $38 per ounce, while the equivalent amount of Hewlett-Packard printer ink can cost up to $75.

So Suvir decided to focus his project on finding ways to cut down on the costly liquid.

Collecting random samples of teachers' handouts, Suvir concentrated on the most commonly used characters (e, t, a, o and r).

First, he charted how often each character was used in four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Then he measured how much ink was used for each letter, using a commercial tool called APFill® Ink Coverage Software.

Next he enlarged the letters, printed them and cut them out on cardstock paper to weigh them to verify his findings. He did three trials for each letter, graphing the ink usage for each font.

From this analysis, Suvir figured out that by using Garamond with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24%, and in turn save as much as $21,000 annually.

- CNN Living

Read the full article on Suvir at CNN.com and about his conclusion that based on his findings, the Government Services Administrations could save 30% per year by just changing the font to reduce ink costs. Brilliant!