by Dan Banks on 04/28/2011
I met Ross in type class. Talented, funny, tech savvy, I often saw him drawing comics for the school rag in class. (OK, I’ll admit to being his professor at the time). So it seems natural to me that this now professional designer would combine his love of humor, type, image and technology into a well-followed blog featuring some of the funniest comics I have recently seen (systemcomic.com and twitter.com/rosscott).
His “side” work seems aimed at designers at first glance. But it also transcends to corporate culture in a way that doesn’t seem snarky or trying. Ross taps in to an ethos that is beyond Dilbert cubical, for a generation cable-fed both irony and idiocy. Thank God he chose irony.
Labeled “a busy, nerdy man” by Brightest Young Things, Ross is not a guy who just coasts. In addition to the two jobs already described, there’s more. So try to keep up.
This year he accepted a one-year position as full time professor at American University. He has co-created and sustained “Super Art Fight”, a pro-wrestling styled art competition that is gaining in popularity around the country. He’s spoken at various conferences including the one from where I currently write, SXSW. And he’s only just begun. I grabbed a minute to sit down with Ross between sessions and caught up with what’s going on in this seemingly never-still mind…
by Jimmy Gardner on 11/30/2010
Photography is not just my hobby, it is my passion. I see life in terms of picture compositions. As I walk down the street, I see angles of buildings against the sky, bikes laying against a building a certain way, or street art painted in the alleys around the city. I try to have a camera with me all the time.
These days, it seems that every one is a photographer, and I do not mean that as a bad thing. With the advent of inexpensive digital SLR cameras, it has allowed more people to be able to express their creativity through quality cameras; they’re getting borderline professional results that would have seemed impossible just a short time ago. My exploration started similarly; my first camera was a Canon Rebel that I bought from Costco about nine years ago, and I have been taking lots of pics ever since.
Since then, I became involved in the local DC startup community, particularly when I launched a self-funded startup called MyDropBin. In doing so, I got to know the local crowd and started to go to the events in the area like TechCocktail, Barcamp, and so on. I always had my camera with me and loved to get candid shots of the folks in attendance. I would post them online shortly after and people began to take a look at the shots — I received some great feedback, which only further fueled the passion.
So this very organic approach of just practicing my photography in a niche market like the DC start-up scene — and then sharing it for free with others — blossomed into my receiving paid photography opportunities.
Though, interestingly, I have never been concerned about making money from it. Fortunately, my day job in technology allows me to travel and continue pursuing my passion without having to worry about income; rather, it enables me to enjoy and explore photography.
by Stephanie Hay on 10/06/2010
As a kid, Blair Culbreth had a normal enthusiasm for arts and crafts.
“I took my coloring books very seriously. I made costumes out of paper bags, I took my deluxe Spirograph case everywhere, and I made paper and did Spin Art with my mom.”
That trend persisted until she was 11, when she put together her first portfolio and scored an interview for a fine-arts program. Then, art became a more serious endeavor for this local web designer.
“The first time I opened Microsoft Paint in the fourth grade, I was hooked. I distinctly remember staying up late during summer vacation, TV on in the background, playing around in Paint for hours on end. I’ve essentially been doing the same thing since then, only now it’s losing hours to experimenting in Photoshop with Comedy Central infomercials on in the background until 3 AM.”
Blair is a web designer at Viget Labs, the UX, design, and web development firm where she interned last summer. She’s now spent more than a year professionally designing websites, creating mood boards, and learning how to mesh her personal style with the medium while “learning everyday from my smart, patient co-workers.” But coming to the realization that she *could* make a living with her fundamentally creative tendencies was a somewhat round-about process.
by Jill Spaeth on 07/13/2010
In the lovely state of Virginia where I reside, citizens are not required to designate a political party affiliation when registering to vote. For that reason, I’m hesitant to unveil my affiliation to all the designers in the DC metro area.
But, for the sake of this article, I’ll say that if Virginia did require citizens to declare their affiliation, my voter registration card would have a check in the box next to “Republican.”
It wasn’t until college that I realized I was somewhat alone in my political beliefs. During my freshman year, my roommate and every other girl on my floor was a die-hard Al Gore supporter. I never openly expressed my view of Al Gore because I was nervous to be seen as an outsider. Instead, I carried on and didn’t say much during the closest election since 1876.
From then on, I became acutely aware of my place in the political spectrum — especially among the girls who lived in my dorm. Surely, the designers with whom I was studying at the time didn’t feel the same way.
I was wrong, not to mention confused.
by Corey Greeneltch on 06/17/2010
The Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington turns 61 years old this year. That’s an incredible amount of history and heritage, especially for a city of transients like DC. If you haven’t already, take a look at our history.
What you might already know is that, since the 50’s, ADCMW has put on a great variety of events and competitions for the local creative community. But have you ever wondered who makes this all happen?
The ADCMW Board of Directors comprises a group of passionate creatives who volunteer their time to organize events and work behind the scenes ensuring that DC creatives have the opportunity to network, compete, and hear great presentations from some of the most famous faces in design.
I’m just finishing up my first term as VP of Publications and am looking forward to being involved with ADCMW for a long time to come. Serving on the Board has been an eye-opening experience when it comes to understanding how much planning and effort it takes to to organize a successful event. I’ve gained a huge appreciation for the Club’s role in our community and have worked — and become friends with — some of the most talented creatives around.
by Nick Whitmoyer on 06/10/2010
If you didn’t make it to our Talkin’ Type with House Industries event last week, I’m sorry, but you missed out on a great time. It’s understandable though, this month has been busy with back-to-back events by ADCMW and a number of other local organizations.
Rich Roat, co-founder of House Industries, shared his love for typography, the history behind House Industries, and the design process for several of their most popular type collections. On top of all that, he shared some of the new alphabet projects that we can expect to see in the very near future!
A big thanks to House Industries for letting us borrow Rich for the evening, Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts (CDIA) for providing their campus, Digi-Link for printing the event poster, and also a special thanks to our programs committee (Jessica Avison Eldredge and Selena Robleto) for bringing everything together.
by Martin Ringlein on 06/02/2010
They’re short, they’re cute, and they’re strategically important with respect to brand impressions: custom short URLs. Sure, they’re beneficial in that they make short shorter, drive traffic, and adhere to character-limit constraints in tools like Twitter. But what makes custom short URLs even more beneficial is that they maximize brand awareness and impressions by adapting to changes in technology and user behavior.
by Jeff Gothelf on 03/04/2010
At your local supermarket, “shelf life” represents the length of time a tomato, cup of yogurt, or carton of eggs will stay fresh and desirable. Some foods last longer on the shelf than others, thanks to a combination of ingredients and packaging. When a company wants to extend the shelf life of a food product, it will often create a new form factor that holds up better over time.
Shelf life is also a crucial concept in the design world. When you kick off a new web design project, you must assess the shelf life of your project.
Will it be a quick-hit, six-week campaign that is timed to fly with other coordinated marketing efforts? Is it a task-based application that will help the staff of an organization work more efficiently for months or even years? Understanding the shelf life of your project before you start designing clarifies — to everyone involved — the criteria with which to evaluate and refine the design.
by Jim Darling on 02/17/2010
I should tell you up-front that this is not a Snowmageddon story or a tale of Washington’s winter woes of 2010. No, it’s nothing like that. In fact, the story starts about five years ago when DC winters produced a few dustings of snow each year, and the stretch of non-federal holidays from President’s Day to Memorial Day was what we feared most in the mid-winter months before the approaching Spring. And, come to think of it, it hasn’t got much to do with the weather at all.
It’s about connections. And, of course, I am referring to the Butterfly Effect; a metaphor encapsulating the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely, that small differences in the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce— Wait a second. There’s an easier way…
Just as the story in the film “Juno” “all started with a chair,” this one quite literally started with a pair of earmuffs. No, nobody got pregnant. But I did get a job — for a while.
by Jason Garber on 02/11/2010
The latest polarizing dust-up in the Wide World of Web Design involves the methods and tools we designer-types use to solve our clients’ (or our own) problems. This most recent round of misunderstood comments, edge case examples, and generally circular arguing was touched off by two posts (one and two) from the 2009 edition of 24 ways.
The authors, respected designers Andy Clarke and Meagan Fisher, propose similar-but-slightly-different design strategies, which may be boiled down to: “design in the browser.” Meagan even goes so far as to proclaim, “Die, Photoshop, Die.” A bold statement, for sure. Both posts are insightful peeks into the processes of two well-known web practitioners.