Archive for October, 2010

Hire a real designer/illustrator

October 25th, 2010 2 comments

I know how to use Photoshop. I know things about Photoshop that some of the most brilliantly talented and award winning advanced degree’d amazing designers I know don’t know about Photoshop. I’m pretty damned good at sharpening pencils with a pocket knife too. Doesn’t mean I can draw.

I’m hardly visually clueless, I’m a photographer, by some definitions a professional photographer*, and, not to blow my own horn (to much),  I am a pretty damned good lighting designer because that was my profession for more than a decade.

What I am not is a graphic designer or illustrator. No matter how often I do it when the stakes are low and I can get by, sort of, I am not the right guy to do that job. I can be the right guy to work with designers, even to manage them on a project but I’m not the right guy to do it. When you need visual designer or an illustrator, hire one. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that because you know how to use the tools, or think you do, that you have the talent or training to do a job that’s at least as complex, refined, subtle and demanding of expert skills as being a PHP and MySQL coder.

A ‘web designer’ is a non-existent creature. There are graphic and UE designers, Illustrators, UE coders and back-end coders. There are Producers, there are Writers and there are Editors. Anyone who claims to be all of those things isn’t. Being multi-talented isn’t being multi-expert. Are you of more benefit to your team if you have more than one skill? Of course! Are you the team? No.

Contrary to intuition, it’s NOT more cost effective to hire a ‘web designer’ than it is to hire a producer, designer and developer who can work together. It’s only cheaper. Cheaper as in shoddy and a bad investment. Cheaper as in, you’ll fail or pay for a do-over.

Thanks to one of the most talented designer/illustrators I know for letting me hire him to render, well, me.

Caricature of Jon Alper
Rick Pinchera rocks! Know what the most fun aspect of this was? Not giving him any photo to reference or feedback to make him iterate and just letting him see me as he remembered. It’s depressingly faithful (I really do have a that good a face for radio) and it’s marvelously whimsical. Thank you Rick!

* Some define ‘professional photographer” as a person who gets paid to take photographs. I prefer the narrower, definition; someone who earns their primary livelihood taking photographs and that is not me.

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Public TV’s “God In America” gets back to doing it right.

October 12th, 2010 2 comments the home of a recent Frontline, American Experience production of “God In America” for WGBH and PBS gets a lot right from an ‘understanding new media’ perspective. This is an incredibly welcome change from some other recent offerings and is well worth a serious look.

Particularly noteworthy are the very richly populated and sans Flash timeline feature, the full texts of the interviews, the link to the Pew religious knowledge quiz and the “God in the White House” feature.

The only glaring and, to me anyway, offensive aspect is the presumption in the ‘Faithbook’ that atheism isn’t on an equal footing with theism. The emotional experience one could call ‘spiritual’ is hardly inherently coupled with a belief in a god or gods. One has a right, especially in the US, not to believe in god as much as one has a right to choose which god to believe in and it’s a shame to me that this partly tax-payer funded project seems unwilling and unable to acknowledge that. That, however, is an editorial issue not a web implementation issue.

Major, major kudos to Sam Bailey and team. (scroll to the bottom here for web credits).

Of course Sam and I would bash heads on some details: No overview for the timeline? No captions or ready transcript link from the video player? But those matters for quibble and debate aside, this is what it should be. A home for a documentary film online that meaningfully adds value and potential for understanding the content using the web for what it’s so good at.

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Categories: Inspiration, Media Tags: ,

Banksy Simpsons Open – Dark and brilliant.

October 12th, 2010 No comments

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Categories: Humor, Inspiration Tags: