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!