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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Apr 6, 2013

Smashing Magazine Legal Resources

By On 06:36
Rule number one for designers of all kinds: use a contract
What type of contract do I need? How should I organize the payment structure? Should I use a service agreement? Or a retainer? Don't know?

There are several contract templates available for you online.

Apr 4, 2013

This Week : Strategic Plan Update

By On 07:25
I'm back from vacation and feeling rejuvenated! Before I hit the Costa Rican coast, I put the finishing touches on the Office of Technology Services Strategic Plan Update.  In addition to layout on this project, I also did a bit of copy editing. This is an activity that's a bit out of my comfort zone, but necessary to keep the page numbers down! T'was fun. Here's what we got back from the printer:

Layout - Strategic Plan Design

Layout - Strategic Plan Design

Layout - Strategic Plan Design

Apr 3, 2013

Typography: Grad School Redux

By On 10:10
In going through my first TB drive and cleaning up files, I came across a fun project assigned by Max Boam. I loved this typography poster project: select type designer and interpret one of their typefaces in a calendar. I chose Herb Lubalin's Avant Garde.

This was my first go round . . . I think I'mma plop this guy into my portfolio for nostalgias sake:

{I'll be sure to make a more realistic mock-up if I do.}
I was about to post this article when I came across the Herb Lubalin Poster that I did in my UNDERGRAD poster design class.  Barring the color palette, two years didn't change my grid much. I think that I approached the projects with such a reverence for Mr. Lubalin that I was scared to take many chances with the design . . . it's kinda cute  if you think about it:

Apr 2, 2013

Viajeros en El Centro

By On 08:28

Yes, I read an article last year in an old NYer mag that went over the finer points of getting freebies and upgrades.

Sabado /Saturday:
Just before getting on the airplane to Panama City, Rob’s friend marveled at my calmness in response to Rob’s joke that his ticket had a seat assignment while mine said I was flying standby. His ticket actually indicated his standby status too, so we surmised that on such a short flight, there were likely no seating assignments. So we all laughed and waited for the air hostess to call out our boarding orders; first in Spanish then a rote recitation in English.

Four hours and 15 minutes later we are racing to gate 19 at the Copa hub in Panama City. As we attempt to board the plane we are held up by the word “Standby” on our tickets. We were halted at the ticket scanner and profusely apologized to. Before taking a seat I expressed my distress at being stranded and was offered overnight accommodations, the first flight to San Jose the following day, private transportation to Puerto Viejo when we arrived, and $300 in travel vouchers for future tickets on Copa. 

Sounded reasonable to me. We sat by with 7 other bumped travelers and waited as our flight took off. Rob took a walk. Waiting with me was a family of 4—an anal retentive mom, overbearing dad and 2 extremely big-headed boys aged 9 and 5, and two Miami grannies with entitlement issues. There was also a Costa Rican young man who spoke no English. I learned that the X-faxtor was that we all conscientiously purchased our original tickets several months in advance to save a couple hundred bucks per person. It worked; we saved the money and then presumably Copa sold our tix for a higher rate and then was able to buy us off relatively cheaply.

The grannies and the family were all intent on getting their ruined vacation back on track, after the negotiation for appeasements was complete I overheard anal-retentive mom whisper to her husband, “we should get them to pay for our other hotels.” Good grief. 
Anyway, we were taxied en masse to a 5 star hotel in the posh region of Panama City and all given penthouse suites with an allowance for room service. While our fellow travelers waded through the check-in process Rob told me that he learned name of the unfortunate youngest boy in the 4-person family. 
He asked me, “If the little one’s name is Seneca, what do you suppose the older one is called?”
“I’m guessing, “ I responded, “’Just Beat My Ass , and Take My Lunch Money’?” And we laughed our asses off. Turned out the Seneca was actually a girl. We found out the following day headed to the airplane.

In the room, we ordered food, beer and wine. Word to the wise, don’t expect fresh shrimp in a land-locked capitol city at 2am—do not order the shrimp cocktail.

We slept for 3 hours then got driven to the airport at 5am, Rob and beat a hasty path away from our group and hit the TSA line. We chuckled a bit at our luck at getting a free taxi ride to the Caribbean coast instead of having to brave a 4 hour bus trip with 100 our new Costa Rican BFFs.

Yes, there's more to our vacation story!

El Viajar: Late Night Musings

By On 06:15
Miercoles / Wednesday:

Stayed up late into the morning contemplating the water cycle. Here in Pto. Viejo it functions practically like clockwork.

Sunrise and Sunset over Puerto Viejo

  • The constant beating of the waters on the sand and the high daytime heat creates a steady stream of moisture raising up into the air. This eventually forms clouds.
  • The clouds coagulate and obscure the early evening sun, always around 4pm, making a less-than-spectacular sunset. I’d wager that the residents of this Caribbean pueblo have never seen the orange fingers of night drag across the vast sky as it deepens from blue to purple to black.
  • Then at 10pm the rains start. Fat drops of water speed toward the coast. It rains for 1-4 hours—depending on the previous day’s temperature—then it stops and the sun rises on a cool, moist land. The sunrise always begins with enough cloud cover to show off it’s evaporative powers. As Sol raises over the sea the clouds thin to wisps within 30 minutes. 

ON SHARKS: I have a lot of nerve believing that of all the hundreds of people bathing in the waters along the coast I am just important enough to warrant a shark attack. I mean, really.

Comparing the Caribbean

By On 02:27
Ticos and Dogs

Tico taking his dog for a swim
The people of Costa Rica love their dogs...this is in stark contrast to the way we treat dogs back in my neck of the Caribbean. Here they dote on, play with, cherish and respect their canines. As a result the dogs are all friendly and bite only when being playful.

At home, dogs are generally chained to a stake and left to protect the home. They are often dehydrated, underfed and beaten regularly—as far as I’m concerned, it’s our national shame. Antiguan dogs bark incessantly and can be quite unpredictable because of the persistent fear in which they live. They don’t bond with their masters. So, at night, Antiguan dogs revert to a quasi-feral state and form packs. These large dog packs roam the city streets fighting, or hunting, or just striking fear into humans that they reluctantly protect by day.

 At night the Pto. Viejo dogs sleep in a quiet corner until the morning, content that each human that they encounter will be a friend. There are no territorial displays when dogs encounter strangers—canine or human—when they meet during the day. It’s a bit different if a stranger enters the yard at night, of course.

This little doggie found Rob irresistible. She refused to listen to her owner and instead came over to kiss and love on this vacationing tourist!!! 

Apr 1, 2013

Viajeros en El Centro: Accommodations

By On 07:02
Vacationing at Hotel Banana Azul (2013)
Best vacation reading, indeed the best book I’ve read all year: Empress of Ireland, by Christopher Robbins