30 posts categorized "visual design"

Sunday, 01 February 2004

don't spit too loud

a hand-crafted sign to add to norelevance.com's sign gallery:


from dave

Friday, 16 January 2004

color theory 101

via jim curran, infodesign-cafe:

very nice, concise explanation of the different color systems with great diagrams.

pigment primaries: red, yellow, blue
mixing pigments (ex. yellow + blue = green) produces different colors

additive primaries: red, green, blue
starting with a dark space you add colors of light (ex. blue + green = cyan) to create colors. adding the 3 primaries (re, green, blue) produces white

subtractive primaries: cyan, magenta, yellow
start with white light and use filters of color (ex. cyan filter removes red) to subtract it's oppostite color out. using all 3 filters of cyan, magenta, and yellow removes all light and produces black

When white light goes through cyan the red is subtracted out. When the white light goes through the magenta, green light is subtracted out. When the white light goes through the yellow, blue light is subtracted out and you end up with black. So cyan, magenta and yellow are the primary colors when dealing with subtractive light. When white light goes through magenta and yellow, it produces red. When it goes through cyan and yellow, it produces green. When white light goes through cyan and magenta, blue is produced. So the secondary primaries of the subtractive system are red, green and blue.

color spectrum:
color spectrum

follow-up thoughts from randal on infodesign-cafe:

ALSO -- it is imperative that students understand that the theory of the color wheel -- and its application in color printing -- are just APPROXIMATIONS based on what seems to work. Our eye's perception of color is much more complex than this. For example, in the 50's, Edwin Land (of Polaroid fame) demonstrated that the eye can generate perceptions of all colors in the color wheel simply from the combination of white and one pure color.
Similarly, there is nothing fundamental or really "scientific" about the choice of the Cyan, Magenta and the Yellow we use for printing, or the frequencies of Red, Green and Blue used on Cathode Ray Tubes. These are simply colors that are easy to produce in those mediums that can be combined with others to approximate colors successfully. Other color systems exist, and have been used to create even better approximations. One of Land's demonstrations is that you can choose almost any two arbitrary colors from the spectrum and generate a perception of colors from across the entire spectrum simply by combining them.

Tuesday, 21 October 2003

the craft of icon design

from b&a: Learning to Love the Pixel: Exploring the Craft of Icon Design

the author talks about how working at pixel level to create icons to support users in the interactions we design is a craft and how it helps us our design process.

It soon became clear that, while macro-level outputs (such as flow diagrams or wireframes) require a flexible 10,000-foot view of the application, micro-level icons demand I put on a parachute (or straightjacket, some may say) and plummet to a 1600-percent zoom in Photoshop, going eyeball–to-eyeball with just a few pixels. Amid this dramatic shift in scale and display, I realized interaction designers can have a positive impact on the user experience in two additional ways:
  • The craft of creating icons can support high-level (i.e., typically IA-driven) considerations of the user’s experience by helping visualize access points throughout the application.
  • Conversely, processes and methods used in high-level design can improve icon design by avoiding thrown together graphics that simply “pretty up” screens, and instead crafting something relevant, usable, and attractive.
. . .in moving from macro-level plans to micro-level pixels, there is a shift of mind (or “metanoia”) that forms new perceptions of how parts and wholes relate in the overall application UI.
I believe part of a designer’s significance is found in providing a sense of craft to the design, whether it be embodied in an icon, a diagram, or a task flow. This is achieved by using a sound process respectful of context, users, constraints, goals, and especially personal attention to the details of the artifact.

Friday, 19 September 2003

natural colors

Natural Selections: Colors Found in Nature and Interface Design

Perhaps no other design element has as much influence on how we feel in a space (a website, a home, etc.) as color. Colors can instantaneously change our moods and alter our opinions. They can make us comfortable, put us in a state of awe, or get us excited. In the case of interface design, color combinations found in nature are especially useful. From complex web applications to informative “brochure-ware” sites, naturally occurring color combinations have the potential to distinguish (by helping create a more memorable website), guide (by allowing users to focus on interactions), engage (by making page layouts comfortable and more inviting), and inspire (by offering new ideas for color selection).

Thursday, 11 September 2003

weinman design

lynda weinman has just released the 4th edition of designing web graphics

informit.com has chapter2:web aesthetics available for download. the chapter overviews color theory, typographic design, layout and animation.

color theory:
1. she recommends starting with shades of gray to design your site, then start to replace the grays with color.

2. there is a pshop plugin called Hot Door Harmony (avail for windows soon) that allows you to select colors through harmonic relationshsips (analogous, complementary, etc.)

3. determine the 1st, 2nd 3rd, etc. "reads" should be on your site to help determine color choices to make things stand out more or less than others.

Wednesday, 27 August 2003

SF MOMA Typography Timeline

SF Type Timeline
A timeline for reference on the history of type design. Excellent gallery & dictonary too.

Friday, 22 August 2003

amelia's master's thesis

amelia's master's thesis project: Arts et Métiers Graphiques Web is dedicated to the study of the French graphic arts magazine published from 1927 to 1939.

Tuesday, 22 July 2003

judge a book by it's cover

chesire dave has started a monthly review of book covers

Thursday, 17 July 2003

dynamics of creativity

from the Design Management Institute - book excerpt (Chapter One) of Creativity, Inc.: Building an Inventive Organization:
The Dynamics that Underlie Creative Thinking

four dynamics that we believe are important to understand: motivation, curiosity and fear, breaking and making connections, and evaluation. These dynamics are the foundation of the creative process.
Divergent thinking, the ability to make mental connections between unrelated matters, is one commonly accepted indicator of creative capacity.
Picasso said, “The creative act is first and foremost an act of destruction.” We say he was talking about connection breaking.
Most day-to-day creativity occurs when, over time, people have gained large amounts of interconnected knowledge in select areas.
Although people are more creatively prolific in their particular discipline, this very expertise is often a hindrance to discovery. Looking to patterns of information from entirely different disciplines helps break up current lines of thinking and old assumptions. It is a useful way to start new connections.
Because choices are seldom cut and dried, fruitful evaluation is a balancing act. Is this better than that, and if so, is it enough better to justify quitting the search for the ideal? Should some parts of a new but flawed concept be saved for use in a later, as yet unknown, answer? If an evaluation proves altogether negative, does it make sense to recharge motivation and curiosity, to begin new cycles of breaking and making connections? Or not? Given an encouraging evaluation, will the new solution that looks good now hold up for long, and how long is long enough?

Monday, 23 June 2003

more evidence of need for a good user exp

source: don (original article source not stated)

Shoppers Demand Decent Design

First impressions are very important to online shoppers, as Genex finds that consumers are willing to forego low prices and brand-preference if they have a poor online experience.

A whopping 65 percent of the 1,100 Internet users that were surveyed won't patronize a poorly designed site - even that of a favorite brand - and 30 percent reported that Web site design is more important than a great product. Even rock-bottom prices only persuaded 4 percent to shop on a poorly designed Web site.

What's worse is that nearly 30 percent stop buying from their favorite offline store if their online experience is poor.

Higher income levels appear to be less tolerant of poor site design. More than 70 percent of those earning $75,000+ per year say that they will not shop on a poorly designed site and may even discontinue offline purchases from a company with such a Web site, compared to 60 percent of those earning less than $50,000.

In addition, more than 75 percent of those between the ages of 25 and 34 say that usability is a very or extremely important factor in their online and offline purchase decisions, compared to 64 percent of those aged 45 to 54.

Genex's findings are in-line with a Jupiter Research (a unit of this site's corporate parent) study revealing that while customers are mainly driven by price, Web site ease of use is the most important factor in assessing sites to buy from online.

"Web site design is not about being pretty or slick � it's about the customer experience online and that means, ultimately, that its about sales," said David Glaze, vice president of creative, Genex. "As our survey shows, there are substantial financial consequences when a company does not pay enough attention to the usability and information design of its web site."

Usability and design play critical roles in site credibility, as Consumer Web Watch found through in-depth studies. Nearly half (46.1 percent) of survey participants ranked "design look" as the most important component when evaluating site credibility, followed by "design/structure."

The Consumer Web Watch report elaborates on the "design look" of a Web site with revealing comments from survey participants. Most notably, respondents said that a trustworthy site should have a polished, professional look, without being too slick.

"It looks like it's designed by a marketing team, and not by people who want to get you the information that you need," commented a survey participant during a test site evaluation.

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