Writing

From time to time, I feel inspired enough about something to write about it,
but don’t hold your breath.

The one about "look and feel"

Andrew Crow of Adaptive Path explains why we should do away with the phrase, "look and feel" when referring to visual aspects of a design:

Visual design is often subjective and can be difficult to describe or judge. Often, people lack the language or understanding of the work to accurately express their opinions. Consequently, we use simple terms of the way an object "looks" or how it "feels".

Speaking in terms of these qualities does a disservice to the design. We cheapen the value of the work by paying attention only to the superficial aspects.

When I refer to the visual design of a website or a web application, I tend to use "aesthetics" or "style layer" but those words don't do visual design any more justice than "look and feel".

Also, don't forget to read the comments.

Designers Do It in Groups

Robert Hoekman writes:

I recently began working with a client whose staff doesn't design together. When they walk into the office in the morning, they plug in their headphones and stare at their screens, hardly speak to each other, and forge product plans by way of short, infrequent conversations about what needs to be implemented next and when. The conference room has only a table and a projector. The front room is filled with broken-down boxes, presumably leftover from setting up shop in a new place, but the company has been in the space for months.

The people on this team are smart and engaged, but they're nowhere near doing their best work. They're not taking advantage of each other's ideas and passions. They're not having any fun.

Choosing a Monochromatic Color Palette in Photoshop

Once upon a time, when I started a design project with a monochromatic color palette, I would choose colors based on instinct. I would pick a base color, and if I needed a different shade of said color, I would "eyeball" it in the Photoshop color picker by moving the eyedropper slightly in a direction that would give me the result I needed. This approach worked well enough, but the more detail-oriented perfectionist side of me was put off by the arbitrariness. There had to be a more systematic approach to a monochromatic color palette than just picking and choosing. There is, and with a basic understanding of color theory, specifically, how saturation and brightness works, you'll be creating monochromatic color palettes in no time.

How much is watching TV costing you?

I've been debating internally for the last few months whether to downgrade my digital cable to basic cable, so this is particularly interesting to me.

Bye Griffin Webworks, Hello Deadbolt

Since the end of 2003, I've worked under the alias Griffin Webworks. The whole reason I chose this name just over 5 years ago was sort of out of ignorance. I was under the assumption (after reading up on business names on the internet) that since the business name encompassed my last name, I wouldn't be required to file any paperwork to run as a business, which is something that mattered very much to me as a poor college student. I found out months later that I assumed wrong and spent big bucks ($50) to register it as a DBA. I did freelance work under this name until the beginning of 2007 when I decided to stop altogether, as I had a full-time job. With my decision to come back to it 2 years later, I decided it was time for a change.

Enter Deadbolt. I've owned this domain name for just over 3 years with the intentions to rebrand myself, and with my current situation, I decided it was time to do just that. Griffin Webworks is now officially retired.

And with that, I'm open for business.

Dear Designer, You Suck

Khoi Vinh calls for more open, constructive criticism of each others' work as designers:

Sometimes I wonder, then: given that everyone in design seems to more or less know everyone else, are we really having the kinds of meaningful, constructive, critical discourses that we really should be having? Are we too quick to take offense at the opinions of our peers? Or are we pulling our punches too much when discussing the merits of the work that our peers turn out? To put a finer point on it: are we being honest with one another?

Free Agent

Tuesday was my last day at Planet Argon.

There just wasn't enough work to warrant keeping me on the roster and they decided to lay me off. Planet Argon did what was necessary to cut costs in order to survive in this bad economy, and I don't blame them for that. Saying that, we parted on good terms and I'll still see most of them regularly outside the office. We may no longer be colleagues, but we are still friends.

New Domain, New Host, New Blogging Software, Oh, and a New Design

It's been awhile, almost a year to the day since I wrote my last blog entry of epic proportions stating how much things are going to change here. That clearly never happened. With the 4th version of chrisgriffin.org, or the blog formerly known as chriszgriffin.com, I am hoping to end my streak of meta-blog entries wherein I write about how I need to blog more. And with that, moving on.

How Pixar Hires

Interesting talk (video) by Randy Nelson, The Dean of Pixar University, on how Pixar hires their talent. In 3 words, Pixar hires people with: depth, breadth, and communication.

(via Jason Kottke)

Sprite Optimization

Admittedly, I've never worked on a website that required so much load optimization that all graphics & UI elements needed to be combined into a single image file. An interesting technique nonetheless.

Also read Website Optimization's for implementation methods.