Thursday, August 17, 2006 50 Coolest Websites

So it's that TIME again. 50 coolest websites. Interestingly I wonder how on earth they come to some of these listings as very often or not they are not revolutionary or web technologically more advanced than other websites. Take for example which TIME says: "Plug in start and end points and you get clear instructions, alternative options and maps", but I can't really see anything new here. The AA site does a great job for the UK already..

But this list does reflect our changing communication attitudes. How do we 'talk' to each other. Community culture: How do we share stuff? Why do we feel the need to share stuff?MySpace is a great example- it's absolutely ballooned in the last few years.

"One of the key drivers of MySpace's success has been the music component."

"A huge part of the success of MySpace is an age and culture thing"

"Talk about instant entrepreneurial success. A little more than two years ago, MySpace didn't even exist."

Some of its success can certainly be attributed to the way we see the world. It's no longer a huge planet with continents separated by intimidating distances. You can buy and sell from (eBay, iTunes) or promote yourself to (mySpace, YouTube) anyone in the world instantly. That's what I see in the TIME top 50. New ways of being.

It's a shame there are no new exciting interface designs that explode the way we interact with online information. Many of these sites use the same old ideas. I cite again which is peppered with ads to the detriment of the actual information!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

happy pictures

Artwork 'changes to suit moods'
Having read the above article I found it quite interesting to see the different interpretations to the different 'mood' pictures. What was perceived to be 'happy' visually had rounded shapes and warm colours. For me it reinforces all those colour references we pick up throughout life such as sadness being associated with blue or anger having a jagged 'personality'.

I've found also that this can apply to music too( In my own experience I sometimes find that the 'Clutch' album I bought, although great for mountain biking to, or even doing the housework, isn't really calming.

All these wonderful cultural references are up for grabs when design communications. How lucky we are to be able to play with such a diverse palette or colours, sounds and textures in order to get the desired effect!

OK, back to work. Get on the AC/DC!

Eric Gill's sex secrets (Or how I learned to stop worrying and love Gill Sans)

I was researching a project recently and stumbled across a beautiful piece by Eric Gill, most famous for the elegant 'Gill Sans' typeface. This reminded me of a documentary I had seen about the house in which he lived towards the end of his life. I seemed also to remember that he had some perverse sexual practices such as incest and bestiality which he announced in his diary as the "experiment with the dog".

All this is an aside... My main aim was researching the concept of perception in visual communication. How the viewer interprets information and consequently how the designer can work around knotty problems. It was from Harry Beck's famous tube map that I made the leap over to Gill. Both Gill and Beck designed typefaces & graphics in the early part of the 20th Century which we still lust after! Their designs illustrate how to portray information in a clear and beautiful way.

Something we designers should still strive for.

But Mr Gill.... step away from the dog.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cobblers' children

Unfortunately for me the old saying of cobblers' children being ill-shod also applies to communications agencies. No. I do have a pair of shoes, but I don't have my website or portfolio online yet. Luckily for me my marketing consultant at Actual Marketing, Steve Thorn did a great job of kicking me into touch last week and keeping me focused. To make a success of the business means setting targets and working towards them. So today I work on the website!

It's a hard day today though for motivation. Maybe it's because I had a few beers at a client 'do' last night. 82ASK are a great bunch and punting on the Cam followed by (more) beer and pizza at their offices was just needed.

Back to work....