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Book Suggestion: Smashing Book #3 Redesign the Web

The book suggestion of the week is about web design and it's from our friends over at Smashing Magazine. We are talking about their 3rd book, the Smashing Book #3 Redesign the Web. About the Book In recent years, the Web has changed—a lot. The Web designer’s tools are now advanced, and browsers are highly capable. Designers have established clever coding and design techniques, and they face new challenges and are embracing new technologies. These changes are fundamental and require us to reconsider how we approach Web design. It’s time to rethink and reinvent: it is time to redesign the Web. The new Smashing books will change the way you design websites for the better. But are we all prepared for this? How does responsive design fit into your workflow? What UX and mobile techniques do you follow when designing websites? And if you have a redesign project on the horizon, how do you approach it and work your way through it? The books explain what you need to know in order to create effective websites today, and what you need to know to be prepared for the future. Well-known experts share practical know-how and introduce a whole new mindset for progressive, future-proof Web design. Buy Now Via Amazon Via Smashing Magazine

Brian Hoff talks about the redesign of TDC

In this exclusive interview, the designer from Philly, Brian Hoff talks about the redesign of his blog TDC (The Design Cubicle). It will open your eyes to his goals on the redesign, the process on the making and much more that beyond a pretty interface design. For those who don't know him Brian Hoff is a graphic designer from the always-sunny Philadelphia. He collaborate mostly on web design and brand identity, but he's experienced in building all kinds of quality, strategic design, both on the web and in print. Brian recently redesigned his blog The Design Cubicle with changes that made me drop my jaw, the quality of the redesign is intense, with a lot of attention in details I just lovely and satisfying to navigate through the new design. Why did you think a redesign was needed for you blog and when do you think other bloggers should consider working on a redesign? Having started the Design Cubicle almost two years ago, I was more looking for a place to record my thoughts and processes and choose a standard, free Wordpress template which I customized and tweaked at the time. It really didn't reflect my design sensibilities but at the time it served its purpose. However as the blog took off, my work was maturing, and business was growing because of the exposure, it was in dire need of a matured look, reflection of my passion for design and functionality of how the website should look and needs of the readers. This was my first ever blog, so I had a lot of extra elements that did not need to be there and were of no interest to my readers. Blogs should consider redesigns or realignments when things need to be polished matured or just all around updated for the better of functionality. Also, you should pay close attention to your readers and the purpose of the blog and bring the focus and design to those elements. When I started my redesign process, I kept seeing my designs turning out similar to the "more traffic driven" blogs, which I feel are often flooded with too many ads, buttons, widgets, and other distractions. My focus was to bring back the attention to what people visit my site for: to read, learn and interact. What was the goal of the redesign? It sort of touched base with this question above, however the functionality was most important when considering my redesign was placing emphasis back on the content and improving readability and experience. I wanted to redesign to reflect my design sensibilities, which are heavily inspirited by print design, typography, and small detail. I also wanted to focus on sharing more valuable, quality information from others by adding the new Notebook section, which replaced my weekend round-up called "Sweet Tweets." I now update the Notebook "on-the-fly" and mostly everyday as I discover a great, informative article or resource. Tell us about the process of making this happen, how did you turn this idea into reality and how long did it take? The entire process started about a year ago which underwent countless revisions and restarts. I even put it aside for a few months to let my thoughts digest. The color palette was inspired by a book cover I saw while browsing a book store in Princeton, New Jersey. Also, I wanted to replace the old logo with more of a masthead to reflect a more editorial sense of the site. The detail surrounding the outer edges of the content area (the cross-hatching pattern) was inspired by a neighbors fence and how the grates interlaced one another in a rounded fashion. I decided to remove a lot of sidebar clutter and focus more on important elements such as, social media, work availability and navigating around the site. This decision was based on analytical research by discovering what my visitors were clicking on the most. What was the biggest challenge you faced while creating the redesign? The biggest challenge was knowing that I wanted to go a bit different from the standard, redundant blog aesthetics / layouts / etc. While I could have went with the easy route and took a similar approach (many of my earlier renditions took this approach), I wanted to push my own boundaries and levels of where I would like to see my work. Challenging because it can be a bit nerve-racking knowing that because something that is often "unfamiliar" might not be approved of by others. In the end, the amount of positive feedback I received was overwhelming though, so it helped to later calm the nerves. The details on the new design are incredible, in which part of the process do you start applying these details and how important you think they are for the overall result? The tiny detailing was held off until the vary end mostly. I fully attest to the small details that make a huge difference. Other's work I admire always have the right details in the right places that take a good design and make it great. Paying attention to minor details often helps to push your work over the edge, although it's important to note that sometimes too much attention to detail can do the exact opposite. Finding the right balance is the science behind the art form. You are a typography lover and as we can see the new design has some typography improvements with the use of fonts from TypeKit. Why did you decided to go with that and how did you select these typefaces? I'm a huge supporter of what the folks over a Typekit are doing. Coming from a traditional print design / fine arts background, typography was always a passion of mine and for a while always felt restricted on the web. There are so many type foundries out there with beautiful, quality and suitable typefaces and it's amazing to see companies like Typekit and Fontdeck supporting this. The font used for the body copy, FF Dagny Web, was selected based on readability mostly. It works extremely well at very small sizes, renders extremely smooth since it was reformatted for specific use and legibility on screens, plus it went well with the rest of the type on the page. I, along with friends Trent Walton and Dave Rupert, spent a few hours one day going back and forth with a few different options deciding which worked the best. In the end, Dagny was the best fit. The result of the redesign is simply beautiful, and the new look has been on for a few weeks. How was the acceptance by the viewers and looking back would you change anything? To be honest, the amount of positive criticism has be astounding – much beyond my expectations – and I am extremely humbled by all of it. Site's that I admire, such as Unmatched Style, Cameron Moll's website, and Web Standardistas, all shared really kind feedback and praise, while the amount of comments on my 'Launch post' was all well taken in for the most part. I've also received good word on Twitter and email that the Notebook section is a new favorite, so that makes me extremely happy as well. It's great to be able to easily share other valuable information with my readers. From a direct standpoint, I guess I can say the acceptance has been mostly positive. From an evaluation standpoint, It appears that I am receiving more visitors and more importantly, more comments per post than previously. [I think] it's due to placing emphasis back on the content and having the number of comments butting out on the left side helps to draw more attention and encourage participation. Beyond the good, my readers have also provided me with valuable feedback, such as adding a 'Back to top' link (in the back bottom footer). One thing I recently changed is the wording of the blue 'Contact me' link at the top (used to read 'Email'). I've probably received around 10–15 emails with a link to my article and nothing else. It appears that some were getting confused and thinking the 'Email' link would email the reader my article for future reading / reference. I've since changed it to read 'Contact me' and it seems to be taken for what it is now. Thank you Brian for taking the time to for this interview and keep up the great work! Here are some exclusive screenshots from the previous design and the new design with the process in between. Old Design Process of Redesigning Process of Redesigning Process of Redesigning Final and current Design Now make sure to check out The Design Cubicle

Super Stylish Masters of the Universe Illustrations

I find truly fantastic when an artist gets to think about something that no one else thought before. For example, take a 80's super classic cartoon such as The Masters of the Universe and add fashion itens in a cool way and BAM! You got yourself one awesome set of illustrations. Ok, talking is way easier than doing, and that's why I find these illustrations by Adrian Riemann pretty awesome. The guy found out a really clever way to redesign the characters. In his own words: 16 Redesigns of famous Masters of the Universe-characters! I imagined them somewhere in the indie/hipster/fashion-scene, as if they were doing a photoshooting for some magazine. I'm a fashion-nerd myself, so I dressed them up in things that really excist and that I like. Yes, 16. We're not featuring all of them here, so to check them all, you gotta visit Adrian's portfolio at Behance, which is really worth! The guy deserves cause these are fantastic and super stylish! I love it. I hope you guys do too! Cheers. ;) He-Man Skeletor Man-At-Arms Trap Jaw She-Ra Tri-Clops Modulok Stratos Teela Stratos

Rebranding and Rebuilding Identities

Well, as time goes by and no one want to stand behind or even look like an old brand that's is not up to the new trends, that's why rebranding comes in place, to make a brand look new and fresh up the new goals of a company, some companies have been though a lot of generationa of rebranding and some has just started, take a look. Most of this information was taken from a great if not the best blog in this area, it's called Brand New ,make sure you check it out. When it comes to rebranding and redesigning a logo you have to be very carefully, because you are planing on doing something for the good of your company but if it goes wrong it can be a nightmare, changing the logo it's not rebranding your company if that's what you think, it may be a good sign that the company is rebranding. Rebrand can happen in very different ways depending on a company's needs, what happen is for some reason the company needs to make changes to adapt to a new market or for any other reason, the rebrand starts from inside out fixing everything that needs to be fixed and most of the time it gets to the company's identity. Now changing things inside and adapting your company to a new goal may be hard but changing the company identity can be very tricky. Why? Because that's what people see, and if you already have stablished something with that identity you don't want to put all you have on the line so you need to make sure the changes are not to drastic and they are for good. Here is a couple samples of good identity changes and if you read the descriptions you will understand why. MindShare www.mindshareworld.com The network’s branding retains the signature colour purple, which was established at its inception, but includes a complete refresh of the agency’s brandmark and visual identity. Even the name itself has seen a shift in the reduction of the letter "S." The redesign was developed in partnership with Moving Brands; who explain that "The symbol has been created to reflect the structure and form of Mindshare's business. It shows two forms coming together to create a new, strong form reflecting Mindshare's partnerships with clients, suppliers and other agencies." Read more Best Buy www.bestbuy.com Best Buy is a company that has been through a lot of rebranding and always seems to come out better, it started off as "Sound of System" in 1966 and renamed to "Best Buy" in 1983, and now comes with a new modern logo that makes me remember that saying "think outside the box" because they took the best buy out of the tag ,but placed very nicely outside and still kept the tag on the side which brings back the old elements of the old logo but in different way. AFC Champions League www.the-afc.com The Asian Football Confederation made a huge change on it's logo, coming from an old style logo that had a vision of a trophy to a new futuristic 3d looking logo, very colorful that brings a vision of a ball being kicked by someone. What they wanted to bring into this new look is that a lot of things changed on it's identity, because they want to show that Asian Football has also changed a lot, and it's a progressive change for better. Read More Sysco www.sysco.com Sysco is one of the largest distributor of food-service related items in the U.S. and had quite an old identity that had been used for 38 years, the new logo is very simple and a lot friendly than the old one, it comes with a saying "good things come from Sysco" and the usage of the colors are very well done bringing a good look to confirm the quality of the company through it's identity. Jack in the Box www.jackinthebox.com Jack in box is a food company that had an old simple fast food type of logo, consisted in a simple box with the type into it, and as the changes needed to be done, they came up with a new modern logo in form of 3d together with some typography, what they did is very simple, they kept only jack in the box, and that says it all, and they also improved the box very well, great job done. Citroën www.citroen.com Citroën is a very famous French car manufacturer company, to celebrate the company 90th birthday they came up with a very shine and futuristic logo that is also implemented on the cars as well, the company took the old logo and pretty much made it look shine and futuristic, I guess that's what we should expect from their new cars. Conclusion: Understanding that a change of brand and a change of identity it self is very important and it's based on a lot of factors that deal with your company, it's not only for the look of a new logo but what the company is bringing new into the table. If you find this topic interesting and would like to hear more about this stuff, make sure you make a comment so we can take it from here and write more of this for you. Thank you