Tag Archives: design

Poster Prints Now Available

jameskennedymonash poster selection

I’m obsessed with print. I love typefaces, I care about using the right quality paper and inks, and I’m fussy about alignment, kerning and line spacing. And that’s why I decided to sell “Ingredients” poster prints.

I’ve got one of each of these prints, and—Wow!—they look so much more gorgeous in real life than on-screen.

Ordering prints is a less formal affair than the T-Shirt Store—just cover my costs via PayPal and I’ll get the prints on the way to your address within 24 hours. Click the Order Prints tab in the website’s ribbon to get your hands on some of these “Ingredients” prints.

Oh—and they’re cheap. Just $10 each and worldwide shipping is available 🙂

Order one to help spread the word. I’ll even sign them if you like 😉 James

Holmes or Tufte? Mineral Water Composition chart

I’ve just watched some lectures on the two major schools of design: Tufte and Holmes.

This was one of them (Vimeo.com)

They’re radically different. Tufte advocates simple data visualisations with a maximum data-to-ink ratio. Holmes likes to add visual elements, pictures and illustrations onto charts, which Tufte calls “chartjunk”. You’ll have noticed the striking difference between these two competing schools when you upgraded your iPhone from the Holmes-inspired, skeuomorphic iOS 6 to the Tufte-inspired, clear and minimalist iOS 7.

iOS and iOS 7 comparison
LEFT: Holmes-style design (iOS 6). RIGHT: Tufte-style design (iOS 7)

Clearly, the Tufte-inspired version on the right looks much better.

Here is a simple introduction to minimalist Tufte design:

Data-to-ink ratio

I’m on the side of Tufte here. I like complicated data visualised in a simple-looking graphic. Looking back at the graphics I made last summer, I decided to update the Mineral Water Composition chart I made last year according to Tufte’s design philosophy.

Here’s the new, Tufte-inspired version:

Water water everywhere v3
Tufte school of design. Click to enlarge (JPEG)

And here’s the old Holmes-inspired version I made a year ago:

Mineral Water Composition by Brand
Holmes school of design. Click to enlarge (JPEG).

Which design do you prefer…? Holmes or Tufte?

Book: Color Management: A Comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers

Color Management A Comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers
My local library stocked the red version, but blue, purple and white versions also exist. (And maybe more.)

Look, but don’t read.
224 pages,

I didn’t enjoy reading this book. It’s nice to look at, though.

Color Management‘s strength is that it’s beautifully-produced. It’s a fine example of how to make a stunning design portfolio with near-perfect color palettes and suitable font choices for your audience. It describes the process of creating color palettes, and the science of choosing fonts, but the English isn’t good enough to educate me—it merely looks good on the page.

The font is small and printed on a colored background. The page layout is confusing. Whole paragraphs are unnecessary. Some facts are repeated, and others are wrong. (On page 177, it tells us that 32-bit color allows for 16.8 million colors on your palette—in fact, it allows for 4.3 billion. Even I know that.)

The science of design is useful for road signs, billboards, packaging, pamphlets—things I’m not going to spend more than a few seconds looking at; but design overkill” in this book is distracting. Anything that’s going to be looked at for hours needs to have good content, not just a good first impression. The over-emphasis on first impressions makes my eyes wonder aimlessly around each page. Where should I start reading now? There’s too much colourful text, and the top two thirds and the bottom third of each page contain separate content.

Reading Color Management is rather like simultaneously reading a two-tier news ticker on TV (while also paying attention to the pictures on the rest of the screen). If that were possible, it still wouldn’t be fun.

I’d prefer my graphic design textbook to be mostly plain text, followed by illustrations and examples that fill whole pages. Please don’t make the whole book look like a series of advertisements. They’ve squeezed theory into an example-shaped mould, and failed to educate.

Put this book on a corporate guest table. Then when you’ve arrived early for your all-important appointment, browse through this mindless eye-candy before going in. In those situations, nobody really reads the text anyway. It looks good, though. ★★