Friday, November 30, 2012

QR Codes Revisited

I have discussed QR codes before, but this time I am look back over a year later and seeing that they have become such a flop. QR has a couple points working against them:

Time: Phones have not yet made this an easy code to capture. First you have to unlock your phone, download a barcode app, open the app, and then finally scan the code. That is when you encounter the second problem.

Useability: Many companies that are using these QR codes and do not have a site that adapts for mobile devices. These traditional websites can be difficult to navigate on the small screens.

Repetition: And then some companies just make it into another spot to post the same marketing material that you got the code off of. When you go through all this effort to check out the code you want a reward not more advertising.

I experienced this same frustration when I was flipping through the catalog of one of my favorite store: Paper Source. This is one time I was intrigued to see me from a company and wanted to scan the code. It took me to the home page of their regular site. It was a let down.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Cupcake Batter
1.5 c of all-purpose flour
1/2 Tb baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick of butter
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
3 Tb maple syrup
2/3 c milk

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 c vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 Tb water (you may need more depending on consistency)
1/2 bag of powder sugar
1 Tb dried egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/3 c cocoa powder

Candied Bacon (bacon and brown sugar)
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together all ingredients of cupcake batter. Pour into lined muffin tin. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool. Meanwhile make chocolate frosting and candied bacon. For frosting mix all ingredients together this should be thick consistency. For the candied bacon cook on medium heat in a skillet, when the bacon is cooked halfway sprinkle brown sugar on both sides. Cook until the bacon is done. Let cool.

Assemble your cupcakes and enjoy. First there was breakfast for dinner, now there is breakfast for dessert. (This recipe is based on the one found here.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Moving Forward

As a young designer I hear a lot about how much design and the tools we have used have changed in the last 20 to 30 years. It's true computers were not capable of the tools that we utilize today, and they were not as available to everyone. My more experienced colleagues have had to adapt to quickly changes times and develop new skills, styles, and techniques. It makes me wonder what I will be seeing in my future as a designer. It seems like technology is exponentially accelerating that vastly different fields that I could, and probably should, immerse myself in.

User Interface (UI) is a discipline that is just exploding, and for good reason. It takes into account how users will utilize electronic devices, website, apps, and other software. There are some companies that cater just to the discipline, and is becoming necessary for agencies to have a specialist on staff. UI gives customers the simplest and the easiest interaction possible. This requires adaptive websites and software from all devices and browsers (if you are using one), as well as interpreting what the customers needs maybe and tailoring to the individual. This takes research and coding capabilities to a new level.

3D Printers. Who knows what applications we will use 3D printers for in the future of graphic design. They are becoming more affordable so they are becoming utilized in fields such as: bio-composites, mechanical engineering, architecture, industrial design, and I am sure much much more. It will force designers to move from mostly 2-dimensional outlook to a 3D. I am sure it will have some interesting results.

Digital Applications. Print is not going anywhere anytime soon, but we have been moving to a more digital world. Digital books and publications have soared. Websites are standard necessity for any business. More people are carrying smartphones or tablets that have access to internet and apps that need to adapt for useability. More of my own clients are sending emails rather than direct mail these days. Designing for a digital medium will carry its own requirements and will be adapting as new technologies become available.

I don't know what the future will hold, but I guess that is part of the fun.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Kitchen Adventure: Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan
3 cups cornflakes (crushed)
2.5 Tb Parsley Flakes
1 Tb Dried Basil
1 Tb dried Oregano
1/4 c flour
2 eggs
2 Tb milk
1 Tb water
3/4 c flour
Vegetable oil
Pasta Sauce (Separate recipe or use store bought)
Parmesan Cheese

Slice eggplant into desired thickness, sprinkle with salt, and leave to sweat in a colander for 30 min to 1 hour. In a skillet heat up 1/2 inch of oil. In a bowl combine crushed cornflakes, parsley, basil, oregano, and 1/4 c flour. In a separate bowl whisk eggs, milk, water. Put 3/4 c flour in a separate bowl. 

Coat eggplant in flour. Dredge in egg mixture. Then coat again in flour. Dredge in the egg mixture again, and then coat with cornflake mixture. Cook on each side about 2 minutes at a time in the oil (if you cook it hot and fast it won't end up super oily. 
Set aside on paper towel. Top with warm pasta sauce and sprinkle with parmesan. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gilded Home

It always amazes me the effect a simple coat of spray paint can do. This is a simple DIY. The paper house cost $2.5 and $4 for a can of spray paint, but I have plenty of spray paint left. Lucky for me that gold is a popular finish this year. It will always work great for plans for decoration for the holidays. This transitions easily from Fall to Christmas.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Humor in Pain

Sharp Suits have stumbled onto an extraordinary idea to all the complaints and criticism designers tend to hear about their work. I wanted to share some of my favorites from this collection, and these were all contributed by Mark and Paddy. Sadly I have heard some of these phrases, some of these just have been designed with a style I find interesting, others are just funny. Sometimes that best part of having a difficult client is being able to find humor in the situation.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Starting a Blog

I found this wonderful article, about why you should blog. The writers at Design Shack were specifically speaking to developers, but this applies to all of us. Whatever profession you are in there are good reasons to begin a blog: it requires you to educate yourself, give back to your community, and it helps you improve your writing skills. Yes, blogs take time and you will probably not be one of the few that become famous and become professional bloggers; but it will be beneficial for your well-being. If you have a blog, and you been away awhile there is no better time than the present to pick up your blog and get back to writing. My favorite quote for the article pretty much sums up why you need to just do it!

"First, begin right away. Believe me, you’ll never have time and you’ll never know enough, so toss out those as reasons to wait. If you can’t manage this now, you’ll never be able to pull it off.  "
Coincidentally, I recently viewed this live chat from Joy Cho from Oh Joy! Joy talks about her new book, but most importantly answers questions from other bloggers about how to have a "successful" blog. If you have the time to view it or just listen to it Joy and Naomi have some great pointers for bloggers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cut It Out!

Die cut done by hand require artistry, skill, and patients. Technology has come a long way to allow computers to make complicated die cuts simple and fairly affordable. It instantly gives a new dimension and dynamic to your printed piece. Especially since communication is moving more and more digital. I find that most clients do not want to make the leap to this extra expense, but it can be fun to dream about a future project with die cuts like these:

M. Brady Clark
Via CardObserver

Via Avie Design

Nicolas Zentner
via Design Boom
Made by Julene
I don't know where this came from, but it is amazing

Monday, November 12, 2012

HTML Cheat Sheet

I have been doing quite a bit of coding lately, but since I do not do this everyday I have trouble remember coding I need for even simple code tidbits. So I created a sheet cheat for myself, so I thought I would share what I have been looking up constantly lately:

em dash(—) —
en dash(–) –

<div style="font-size: 18px;
                    border-right: 1px #7c1120"></div>

Tables ( I have been working in word press and needed to use tables to create columns)


Always check your closing tags </> is very important, and can mess up your code badly if you forget to do it.