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Just discovered this while I was looking for material to add to the page on designing a presentation. And it is one of the neatest things I have come across in a long time: Prezi! This is an online presentation platform with which you can make zoomable presentations where you can zoom into and out of your input material with your mouse wheel. The whole canvas may rotate to zoom into the element that you click on (depending upon the angle at which it was placed), giving you really great screen animations as you wander around. And furthermore, all this can also be viewed as fullscreen.

I am not putting any screenshots here since this thing really does need to be seen in action. Register immediately (a nice free plan is also available) and check it out for yourself, would be my advice… ;-)

A friend of mine from Second Life has compiled this flickr set – and it is an absolute gem of a collection which you can see right here:


I changed the wordpress theme on my personal blog just now and so I made a bunch of new images for the header using the visual manipulation distortion filters. Although these have been around forever they are probably still amongst some of the best image deconstruction tools that I know of. Not to mention that they are also open sourced…

Although they still work beautifully even with PS CS5 the VM plugins are kind of hard to come by these days. I have therefore decided to share mine, available from here. These are PC only, as far as I know there never were any made for Mac. Simply unzip and put in the plugins directory of photoshop.

There are a lot of these and unfortunately most of them do not really do what they say they will do. Basically, what is needed is an intuitive interface with highly customizable start-out templates – customizable to the extent where your site looks “yours”, that is. And – of course, they have to have a completely free plan with an option to upgrade so that you can freely experiment. I have checked out some of what is out there and two of them really seem to deliver the goods: Weebly lets you create blogs as well as websites. They have a very beautiful template gallery from which you can start out and then everything works with a simple drag and drop interface which lets you add pretty much all that you could wish for. The second one Yola works in a similar way, also very easy to use and versatile.

Both of the above will give you html/css sites. Should you wish to do a flash site however, then of course Wix is absolutely unbeatable.

And incidentally, while I was looking around I also came across these: Very nice seem to be an online, completely free video editor called JayCut and an online presentation platform called SlideRocket.

This is truly superb, and those who do not yet know of wix, better rush over there and get started right now! This is an online flash site creator that lets you build either from scratch, or by modifying a very large collection of freely available templates. The entire setup is intuitive – no need to code, no actionscript anywhere in evidence – all you do is drag and drop components, add text, images, clip art, and off you go!

Furthermore, the wix people let you publish your efforts for free under their own domain. Should you wish for your own site, and/or various other goodies such as google analytics then they have a very reasonable plan for you to upgrade as well. In the free version wix puts very small ads underneath your page and the upgrade eliminates those also. However, no sweat with regards to the ads anyway – they did not bother me in the slightest, they are that well placed and unobtrusive.

I created the 3 pages above (please click thumbnails to access) with wix. The first 2 were created through modifying pre-existent templates, the third one I did from scratch. All the images I used come from the wix library, which is surprisingly well stocked with really nice images and clip art. The first one I made took a few hours since I was also snooping around in the library, trying out all kinds of things. The two others happened in less that an hour each! That is how easy and user friendly this is!

I am wondering whether wix might not be used for educational purposes also. As in teaching a web design course which totally eliminates the irksome need to learn the underlying code of a flash site.

After dealing with a variety of students from different classes such as Project Studio, Web Design and Interaction Design last week, I took some time to put together an introductory practical guide to typography. Since I had a wide target audience in mind, you will see some very basic topics that you already know. But I hope you will also learn some new things. Please have a look and bookmark it for cases of emergency. Any kind of feedback is welcome, of course.

A wonderful collection of posters, with a great interface. Added to the Recommended Sites section.

This is the didactic story of how a web design goes straight to hell by the Oatmeal. Be careful: as funny as it may look, I, for one, can testify that this is a 98.7% accurate description of what designers have to go through in some projects. To quote Paula Scher, once more:

Mostly, designers get paid to negotiate the difficult terrain of individual egos, expectations, tastes, and aspirations of various individuals in an organization or corporation, against business needs, and constraints of the marketplace. This is a process that can take a year or more. Getting a large, diverse group of people to agree on a single new methodology for all of their corporate communications means the designer has to be a strategist, psychiatrist, diplomat, showman, and even a Svengali.

Bookmark this wonderful website for testing and comparing the appearance of type on screen. It includes the safe list (common fonts in Windows and Mac), Windows default list and Mac default list, in order to “make web designer’s life easier”.

Excellent (and free!), online color picker which lets you pick a color theme based upon various parameters and even shows you light and dark versions of a dummy web page. There are many tabs which let you adjust tonal values, lightness, saturation etc. Also on the top you will see little wheels which operate based upon various color contrast schemes.

Tip: The further you go right with these wheels the nicer your color scheme is likely to be. Analogic usually works better than Complementary – especially for beginners!


I stumbled upon some interesting data visualization from 1874. The data might be controversial but still, you may want to take a look. It gets interesting after screen shot.

-murat d.

I recommend everybody to explore and bookmark this on-line companion to the book Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students, by Ellen Lupton. It will prove quite useful for both VA234 and VA302 students (you might want to check the GRID section for this week’s assignment, for example).

— Cem




These typefaces (and more) are presented, completely free, by The League of Moveable Type. They say:

We’re done with the tired old fontstacks of yesteryear. Enough with the limitations of the web, we won’t have it. It’s time to raise our standards. Here, you’ll find only the most well-made, free & open-source, @font-face ready fonts.

They add:

This revolution is not a movement against type foundries and type designers; it’s quite the opposite. The kind of revolution we want is a change in the way people think about doing business. We want type foundries and typographers to start thinking,

“Maybe there’s nothing wrong with giving things away sometimes.”

It’s not always about the money, sometimes it’s also about making a contribution to the society, in this case, the design community.

This movement is also supported by Ellen Lupton. You can find her explanation and more links here.

— Cem

The branding for Julian by Jordan Gray gives a good idea of the possible variety of applications of a restaurant identity.

— Cem

For those people that find it more convenient to bother you rather than google it themselves.

-murat d.