Don’t Do That Because They’re Doing It. Do It Because It Makes Sense.

Posted on September 16th, 2010 by Jeff

We don’t have that? But they have that. We need to have that because they have that. Our customers need that.

Sound familiar?

It does to me, or if you’ve ever worked in the corporate world. All too often CEOs and other C-level folk are too disconnected (i.e. busy) from the day-to-day of operations and the actual work done by marketing to know what initiatives are being worked on. However, they’re not too busy to notice competitor’s efforts and websites. And more often than not, when they see a shiny new toy on ABC Widgets (a standard fake company name), they bring their hammer down and demand that this be implemented on your site.

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Do Google Web Fonts Work [Well] In HTML Email?

Posted on September 10th, 2010 by Jeff

I’d seen a few tests on (especially on Campaign Monitor) about CSS (mainly interested in CSS3) and support across email programs. Due to the lack of standards, there isn’t great support outside of the Apple realm. However, I wanted to test to see how well we could use some of the new Google Web Fonts (as using Typekit is not really an option yet).

Using our trusty tester Litmusapp, I created a super simple email and dropped some ‘Droid Serif‘ action in there. After a few minutes, here’s what I saw:

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CSS3Pie Is Even More Delicious Than It Sounds

Posted on September 2nd, 2010 by Jeff

prehistoric-internet-explorer

Perhaps you knew that Internet Explorer (henceforth IE) is somewhat of a relic, and perhaps you did not. Unfortunately for folk like me (designers & deverlopers), most people don’t and will never. Thus making IE behave properly like other modern browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) was always a bit of an ordeal…

The acronym CSS3 is new to no one, at least no one in the web design community that is. It stands for Cascading Style Sheets v3, or in laymens terms, the ability to make a website beautiful without a ton of extra images or Javascript necessary. But this article is neither a in-depth look at the third iteration or what exactly CSS is. It’s just a resounding cheer for the folks who created CSS3Pie and gave us the ability to make IE 6, 7 and 8 act sort of like a modern browser and look like a modern browser.

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What, Don’t You Mobile?

Posted on August 13th, 2010 by Jeff

The mobile web has been around for quite some time. Current studies date it somewhere between the Dead Sea Scrolls and Harvey Danger’s balad ‘Flagpole Sitta.’ It’s just now, in 2010, that it’s really becoming a major player in terms of content consumption. Okay, maybe it’s not that old. But it does seem like some iteration has been around for a while. I remember about 6 or 7 years ago my brother got a phone with ‘Web’ accessability–that meant he could slowly, and with squinted eyes, check sports scores. Even though it was painful, it was just cool to do so on his phone. That was my first delve into the mobile web, and I’m sure others had the same experience or similar. I’d hardly call it browsing, because it was just basically an app that came with the phone that could display a few scores and maybe some weather reports.

Today, however, the mobile web can be soooo much more rich, exciting and valuable to users. I emphasize can because most companies still aren’t doing anything to help their customers interact with them in a mobile sense. Sure, you might think that creating a sexy, awesome iPhone is too much, and more importantly, too expensive for your needs. And you’d be right, unless you want to shell out $10k+ that is.

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Chocolate Label Insipration, From A Chocoholic

Posted on July 30th, 2010 by Liz

chocolate-label

On a recent trip to Asheville, NC, my friend highly recommended we stop by the French Broad Chocolate Lounge because it had amazing desserts and drinks. In the shop I found this chocolate bar with one of the coolest labels I have ever seen on any type of food. It was a pricey bar of chocolate but I splurged and bought it with every intention of taking the label home and framing it. This is the kind of crazy thing that only a graphic designer or chocolate fanatic might do. Oddly enough, I am both!

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More web fonts = more awesome web typography, right? No.

Posted on July 30th, 2010 by Jeff

Periodic table of Typefaces.

There’s a long standing, unwritten rule* that just because you CAN do something, doesn’t necessarily mean that you SHOULD do that something–i.e., just because I have a voice and sing to myself, doesn’t mean I should do so in public. Just because great sites like Typekit.com & Google Web Fonts make a whole slew of new typefaces available to the web, doesn’t mean that everyone should go and start using new ones because they are just that–new and shiny.

What it was like before

For a long time, web designers were a bit hand-cuffed with their designs simply because web fonts were sooo limiting. Basically designers would choose serif or sans serif and briefly expand from there → Georgia, Palatino or Times for a serif family, and Verdana, Arial or Helvetica for a sans serif family. To a designer well versed in typography (define), this would seem appalling, but that was the harsh truth. And we dealt with it. Some better than others of course. Another example of not doing something just because is how people use the internet as a whole. It’s great in theory: with a little bit of gumshoe, any Tom, Dick or Harry can create a website. And thus we got some amazing sites, and some bad, bad, and badder sites.

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Getting on the same page with clients.

Posted on May 27th, 2010 by Jeff

Photo: http://www.jamitworks.com/ProcessFolder/WSD3

I recently was working with a client and as far as I could tell all was going smoothly–the back and forth was going well, the design comps were all progressing smoothly.

Or, at least, I should say that I thought they were.

We had a meeting with them earlier this week and, while there was nothing drastically missing in our lines of communication, there was one thing that struck me as being off. The client had mentioned that the wireframes (define) that she sent me were not meant to be a guideline for the design, but rather a guideline for the business purposes that needed to be solved.

Wow–that’s some high level stuff there. Not that I felt they were wrong and I was right, or that I thought they felt the same way–the thing that I was interested in was that something that I thought was pretty industry standard, was obviously not. I’ve always used wireframes for getting upper level buy-in for overall content layout, and as a basis for where the design should flow from. What she was understanding their purpose to be was different. Not wrong, just different.

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