Monday, January 18, 2016

I didn't do it alone . . .

The company I work for moved to a new location. The move was planned a year ago, and among the thousands of things to do was the need to downsize our stuff. We individually made decisions about what to keep, toss, or donate. As a staff we pitched in to help others in the process. We worked as a team as we unpacked in the new space and prepared for the work this season (which for us includes preparing for the US Presidential Election).

As I went through my stuff I was struck with the realization that many persons have contributed to my growth as a person and a designer: family (immediate and extended), teachers (schools and professional via events,, and Linked In), organizations (church groups, service organizations like Kiwanis, and professional organizations) and co-workers past and present. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunities given to me, and the grace many showed to me along the way. While at times hard, I'm also grateful for those who had the courage to confront me when I was about to make the wrong choice for myself, family or work projects.

Thank you. Origins font by Laura Worthington (,
design © Isaiah Sheppard Jr.

As I packed the last crate I felt for the adventure God and World Book has for us next.

Thanks, all of you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Looking Back and Moving Forward

It's been a loonnnng while. Here we go!

Taking advice here and looking back on the work I've been doing on my day job as an in-house designer.

One of the privileges I've had is to help World Book re-purpose some of our content into e-books. We replaced fonts, added new images, and created cover art resized for the ePub format. It's been a challenge, and a lot of fun. I appreciate the support of our managers and creative team!

Left: Dogs: From Woofs to Wags series title. Center: Bug Books series title. Right: The Tlingit eBook cover.
© World Book, Inc. All rights reserved. WORLD BOOK, the GLOBE DEVICE, and Bright Connections Media are registered trademarks of World Book, Inc. Used with permission.

World Book Classics eBooks covers. Typography only design with various RGB colors. © World Book, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Our Marketing Team has done a great job keeping World Book before our customers, and supporting our sales representatives. Our designers have supported their efforts, producing print and digital catalogs, sales sheets, and e-blasts.

Last but not least, there has been the print and digital product work our teams produce. For over 90 years we've made information for students of all ages easy to use and easy to understand. I'm looking forward to the work to come in 2015.

Experiencing design and the arts in Chicago was a highlight of 2014. In addition to the design exhibits I saw a printmaking show recently. Pics and artist credits are below. I plan to see more of what Chicago has to offer this year.

Moth, Screenprint. 2014  © Sanya Glisic
Catch and Release, Intaglio. © Michele McCoy

Navigating the Familia. Monoprint on Dura-Lar film with Mixed media. 2014 © Kim Laurel
Wishing all the best for you this year!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Design Lives in Chicago!

It's only appropriate that, after talking about the design work I saw in Nashville in my last post, that I should re-acquaint myself with the place I've been fortunate to live, work, and thrive in. A web search and a visit to a gallery stirred memories of my early career as a designer: those firms I learned about in class and names of famous designers in the city. I'm fortunate to have known and worked with some of them. Chicago is a great place for designers to work, network, and grow.

Following is a gallery of websites and links for people who want to learn more about the history of Chicago's graphic designers. Content on the sites is copyrighted and owned by the respective organizations.

From 1936 to 1991, the group 27 Chicago Designers showcased and honored the efforts of over 100 graphic designers, photographers, typographers and illustrators. I recall fellow students referring to them as the "high priests" of graphic design. They were the people we were inspired by, and most wanted to be like.

Started in 1927, the Society of Typographic Arts (STA) is the oldest organization for designers in Chicago. It's a great place to discover Chicago's design history and to meet the next generation of designers via articles and though the various levels of membership offered.
AIGA/Chicago is the local chapter for AIGA | the professional organization for design. 
Check out the events and resources offered by this organization.
The Chicago Design Archive contains over 800 images showcasing the best of design in Chicago. New images are added to the archive annually. The site is hosted by STA-Chicago.
The Chicago Cultural Center currently has an exhibit titled CHGO DSGN running through November 2, 2014, highlights the work of over 100 leading Chicago designers. You can find details on the CHGO DSGN site here. The image above is from the City of Chicago website. Admission is free.
The Chicago Design Museum has a new exhibit home located in Block 37, Starts/Speculations: Graphic Design in Chicago Past and Future. The exhibit runs through September 30, 2014. Admission is free.
The Chicago Book Review site is one you should visit, not only for the reviews. The links in the left column are a great resource for publishing blogs, organizations, and area publishers. Disclosure: the company I work for, World Book,  is listed on the site.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Design in Music City

Every once in a while I get to go with my wife to someplace new. She's a member of an organization for Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses, or WOCN. Each year they have a convention to learn about the latest techniques to help their patients, network, and honor members—male and female—who provided outstanding care during the year. This year the convention was in the Music City of the United States, Nashville, Tennessee (some of you probably guessed Motown. Sorry). I had never visited Nashville before, so I was looking forward to going with her. (OK, our wedding anniversary took place during the conference. I didn't want to spend the time alone at home.<3)

While in Nashville I was treated to a variety of graphic, architectural, poster design and product design. I was blown away. There is a lot of great graphic design work being done there. Let me share some of it with you. Photos were taken by me. Logos and design work is the property of the various copyright holders. Don't make me add watermarks, kids.

The signage at the conference utilized this themed graphic along
with the guitars.

You'll find lots of guitars around Nashville. The WOCN
conference planners incorporated the instrument: on
registration booths, on conference materials, and special bags.
Their exhibit and graphic designers were kept busy!
We visited the Country History Museum, across the street from Music City Center. Lots of fascinating artifacts, a special exhibit on Reba McIntire and her music and acting career, and informative displays and iPad interactive games for little and "big kids".

Many displays featured stories of famous country music artists.
This particular poster honored DeFord Bailey, the first African American
inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Here's a dress that was worn by Dolly Parton.

The Outlaws were the subject of this large poster. Note the monitor
in front of an interview with a country music artist.

Barbara Mandrell is another CM Hall of Fame inductee.

Exterior of the Country Music Museum

Webpage design

While my wife was at the conference, I took in the sights during a daily walk.  On one of those days I decided to visit the Frist Museum of the Visual Arts near our hotel.  I planned to be inspired by the classical and contemporary art. Imagine my surprise to see the poster below. I was drawn in.

From Gertie the Dinosaur to the Hulk! Hours of animation films galore!
We also visited the Mecca of Country Music, the Grand Ole Opry. One evening we attended a show that included the country music debut one of the "Pretty Little Liars" actresses. We also took the backstage tour another day and got to stand in that famous circle of wood where the current and legendary country performers have stood. What a thrill it was. I love their logotype!

Entrance at twilight
Daytime photo at the main gate to the Opry.
My wife learned a lot at the conference. I did, too, touring the city. Enjoying how it celebrates its past and looks forward to the future. Had such a wonderful time, we're now watching reruns of NASHVILLE.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Catching up

Hi friends,

Yes it's been awhile, to put it lightly. Had a busy December (as I'm sure you did too)! Time to Catch up!

Catch up #1: Things I'm learning along the way I thought I knew
I thought I knew page layout applications. Sometimes the solutions you really don't know are the ones that have been hiding in plain sight.  One of my weekly tasks has been to add sales rep tables to a newsletter. Excel docs were given to me. The names of the reps sometimes appeared in all caps. I used a site that a colleague recommended called Convert Case to change the all caps to caps and lower case (c/lc). It worked fine. As we added more data in subsequent projects, copying and pasting took more time and required more checking and double-checking to make sure names read correctly.

One particular week I was short on time and long on content. I began to wonder, isn't there a better way? I was reminded by one of our in-house designers of a sub-menu item named Change Case. Here it is in Quark XPress 9.

change case qxp-before
With type selected, go to Style menu and select Change Case>Title Case.

Donald Designer now appears properly, quickly and easily.

Change Case also appears in Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, and Apple Pages.

Catch up #2-software updates
Quark XPress extended their version 10 update sale for version 8 and 9 users only. Information can be found here.

Adobe has updated a number of their popular applications for Creative Cloud subscribers.  Log into CC and check out the new updates.

More next time. Thanks again for checking in!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Quotes from America's Presidents

Recently I read an article on Mediocrity in Design. The author included in his thoughts a quote from former U.S. President Bill Clinton.  The unusual quote started a side web search of other quotes from USA presidents. That led to a search of public domain images that could be used to illustrate various techniques and designs.

Public domain image of President Clinton

Image with quote. Helvetica Nueve.

Portion of image converted to black and white. Corbel font.
Right side of portrait isolated, converted and quote on left. Museo font.

Maybe you prefer a bolder type treatment.

President Kennedy was one of my heroes. Here is one of many public domain images of him, taken in 1963.
Maybe you would have selected the better known "Ask not what your country can do for you. . ." instead.

Here is Gardner's famous portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Converted to black and white, with a quote
that appeared on

Last but not least is a quote from our current Commander-in Chief. The photo is a newer official portrait from the White House website.

Yes, I kinda like the outer glow effect.
Images and designs for further exploration courtesy of public resources and Photoshop CS6 and CC.

From our last post: updates for Quark 10 and 9 that are more Mavericks and Windows friendly are available at Quark's website.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Quark XPress 10, quickly

Hello again!

There are many designers who have never tried Quark XPress. For many years Quark was the go-to page layout program for graphic designers. During the late 1990's-early 2000's, Quark the company had a huge falling out with its customers, and designers started using Adobe's InDesign instead. Quark responded—improving its customer service arm and adding features the design community wanted. With each version of Quark XPress, improvements help designers who have grown accustomed to the way it works in print, web, SWF export, and ebook formats.

This post is not meant to start a Quark vs. InDesign war. Pariah Burke covered that famously here. My 30 day trial of Quark 10 was just enough time to view the Quark features I'm most familiar with and to experience its new interface. Let's dive into it.

The New UI
Quark 10 ships with a darker user interface (UI). This is comparable to the Creative Suite/Creative Cloud applications. Anyone who has worked with these panels, layers, and so on will feel right at home.

screen grab of Quark XPress 10's user interface. © Quark, Inc. All rights reserved.
Where did Modify go?
Power users of Quark XPress use the Modify command in a number of ways. The biggest surprise you'll encounter as a long time user is looking for Modify in the Item menu or, using the key command (Command-M, Mac) to bring up the dialog boxes you're used to.

Where did Modify go?
Quark XPress © Quark, Inc. Photo: Isaiah Sheppard Jr.

Of course, Quark didn't leave us in the lurch. The Modify selections are now in the Measurement pallette.

Measurements palette (full) with detail showing Modify list items.
© Quark, Inc. Combined image: Isaiah Sheppard Jr.
While you can position the Measurements Pallette at the bottom of your device screen, it may help to move it to the top of your Workspace, similar to the Adobe CS/CC programs.

Quark XPress 10 modified Workspace. Measurements palette moved to top of image.
Other features
Quark XPress 10 added QR code creation technology to its software. You can create codes for your clients within a project.

QR code added to project layout.
Quark improved its handling of color, and increased the number of image formats that it supports.

Quark XPress 10 improved color handling.

Quark also improved the way it creates and exports projects to PDF. Quark calls it a "deeper understanding" of PDFs.

The layout in this post includes text and images from my last post on Cruising. The QR code on the page takes you to this blog.

With the wonders of modern technology you can view the completed PDF.

Recently, Jay Nelson published an extensive review of Quark XPress 10. It's worth your time to read it.