Yes, I have been quite kind to Microsoft lately, but if you count yourself among the ranks of web designers you know that Internet Explorer is still the bane of our collective existence. At some point, long ago, when Microsoft ruled the browser universe, some genius over there decided to give a big middle finger to all of us designers and our so-called “web standards”. The result is that things just don’t look the way we as designers intend in IE: CSS elements don’t render properly and various functionality breaks down forcing us to implement IE-specific hacks and tweaks to make it all work. Well, MS, in their infinite wisdom, have finally decided to back down and have announced that the forthcoming eighth iteration of their Internet Explorer browser will embrace web standards. What a novel concept! Embracing web standards in a web browser? What will they think of next?
This certainly is cause for some celebration, no more tweaking and comparing, writing IE-specific code to make things look right across all the browsers. But wait, we’re dealing with IE here, so of course there’s a problem with this new development, sort of the last stand of IE’s stubborn unwillingness to play by the rules. Because IE8 now adheres to normal web standards, it can actually break sites that were written to accommodate it’s older versions. Thankfully the solution is an easy one and Ed Bott has a great article over at ZDNet explaining the issue and how to apply the rather simple fix (one line of code!). We’re not out of the woods yet, but at least we can look forward to a day when the IE8 install base becomes large enough that we can all but forget about making our sites look pretty for the previous, less accommodating versions.
Anybody out there done much testing with IE 8 yet? Have you implemented the fix and if so, how is it working out? Let us know in the comments…
With all this talk of snowboards and all the new snow up in Tahoe, I thought it would be a good time to post about these Armada skis I did a couple years back that have just recently been released. In November of 2006, Armada asked me to design the 2009 AR6 line (there is a relatively long period that separates the design phase and end product in the production cycles of most snowboard / ski manufacturers). Based on the timeline and budget, we decided I’d deliver 2 reference designs which would be extrapolated by in-house designers to fill the 5 versions of the AR6 line. I believe Mackel Vaugn put together the final designs based on what I turned in. The top image (orange, very top) shows the early tests I showed Armada to illustrate what I was going for. Skis are an interesting form factor to design for; you have these two narrow canvases and you sort of have to choose whether to treat them as a whole or individually. Based on the very wide design of the AR6’s I decided to try and tie the two skis together to feel more like one large design across a canvas.
After some meetings with Armada about the tests I had sent in, we decided to stick with the basic forms for the final versions but bring up the overall color and variation of the designs. The results were the final two reference designs (directly above), I delivered the PSD files along with various image collateral and they worked those into final five ski designs. I’ve done a couple ski projects and all my snowboard projects this way. It’s an interesting process, handing off the design and later being surprised by what they end up looking like (the bottoms were a surprise too, only designed the tops). The whole thing reminds me of layer tennis, sort of like a design remix. You can see all the final versions of the AR6 at Armada’s site and you can see some in action in this video review. These are out now, you can check Armada’s dealer list if you want to pick up a pair. I did the 2010 AR6 line as well so you should start seeing those out next fall. Here’s Armada’s product video for the 2009 AR6:
Blog reader Christopher Edwards has some interesting Polaroid-related projects over at his flickr page. There’s a mock Polaroid annual report with a very nice cover graphic (above) and some packaging concepts too. Be sure to check out his other photography, he’s got some great time zero film examples in there.
Peter Kersten and his label Dial is my go to music when I just need to not fiddle with a playlist for an hour, nod my head with a smile, or just lay back and enjoy simple beautiful 4/4 deep techno. “The Essence ” is packed to the brim of exactly what I want to hear if every else was gone or if I made music.
Peter strips down songs to their essentials, he doesn’t rely on popular band instruments or lyrics. He just goes straight to what is deep and comfy like a rich man’s large living room couch. The Essence lets you have the option of focusing and listening to his songs and never needing your attention.
Sten – Daylight
#2 Studio – Yearbook 2 (Information)
Studio has become that band in my life that i’ll always check out no matter what, you can say it’s become my essential NPR listen for the Subaru Outback driving lady that’s heading to work at the recycle center. Listen to Rubies: Room Without A Key (Studio version).
#4 Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (4AD)
Bradford Cox of Atlas Sound brings me to my knees, If I listen to the track “Recent Bedroom” anymore right now i’ll end up putting it #1 for the year but I have made up my mind. Listen to Atlas Sound – Recent Bedroom.
#5 Benoit Pioulard – Temper (Kranky)
Whatever Benoit Pioulard does is magic in my eyes. If it’s printing limited colored 7 inch vinyl randomly thru the year to selling his polaroids. When I heard “Temper” this year it became that record that I wanted to give to everyone I knew, I wanted to scream about Temper from the top of a mountain but all I had was Scott’s ISO50 blog which will always do. Listen to Benoit Pioulard – Brown Bess.
#6 Hatchback – Colors Of The Sun (Lo)
Do you know anything about analog synth heaven? well, pack your bags tonight, empty your bank account and steal a convertible preferably maroon or that 80’s silver because you my friend need night driving music. You will be driving on the coasts and living the secret life now as Hatchback. Listen to Hatchback – Everything is Neu.
#7 Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair (DFA)
The disco group that went all out and did it right. Full band, dancers, horns, and not in your face just the perfect party starting music from start to finish. Listen to Hercules And Love Affair – Blind.
#8 VA – Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol. 1 (Eskimo)
The Balearic sound really showed its true colors this year, we had the very talented Eskimo label put out a nonstop slue of treasure and this continuous mix became a vinyl collectors best friend packed with a various amount of new Balearic tracks. Listen to Maelstrom – Petrichor.
Maroon 5 – Call And Response: The Remix Album 2008
There is absolutely no excuse for this, I mean I see designers rip off other designers every day – we even get emails weekly about this sort of thing – but when you do an album cover in 2008 and you know everyone is going to see it, why go this route? I don’t do album cover design but even I can see there is no sense in this. Aren’t there plenty of obvious solutions for the Maroon 5 designer to choose from that aren’t completely forgeries? One of these three things would of sufficed, and i’m going easy: 1. A different color background 2. Not using band member photos that weren’t just from the shoulder and up floating around in the background 3. Don’t use the same colors, its as simple as that, why not natural colors? I could also throw in “don’t use any stupid effect over their faces”, I mean at least the echo effect made sense. I’m no expert but I just see pure laziness, and you know this designer got seriously paid.
In case you missed it, Polaroid has ceased production of it’s iconic , eponymous film. The company says there’s enough to last through 2009, but after that it’s all over. Shaun Tubridy set up the Save Polaroid site to raise awareness and CNN ran a piece on the whole situation and Tubridy’s efforts. Turbidy, a graphic designer, is also an avid Polaroid photographer with a very nice flickr portfolio, the source of all the images in the collage above. Pretty sad to see such a wonderful piece of pop culture be pushed into extinction by digital, but I suppose it was inevitable. Let’s hope Lomo or some other third party picks up the torch and finds a way to reproduce Polaroid film. How man of you use Polaroid film? Has the production shutdown effected you yet?
Update: As Jones pointed out in the comments, Polapremium.com is still selling Polaroid film but, as the name implies, they’re selling it at a premium: $15–$130 per pack. At prices like these, just buy a medium format Rolleiflex with the money you would have spent on film.
2008 was a great year for music, so good that an honorable mention section is a must. Before I post my top 10 albums of 2008 here are 3 albums that didn’t make the list that should of if there was room.