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IconBuilder

August 30

At some point in the past few months I had considered writing up how you'd go about saving out icons in multiple file formats. With a bit of Photoshop Action action to automate multiple file format creation, combined with free tools like Apple's Icon Composer and the ICO plugin, you can definitely do it on the cheap.

I'm glad I didn't, because the real answer is of course, inevitably, buy IconBuilder.

Icon Builder

During the creation of Chalkwork Basic, I had set up my files in a way that would have required quite a bit of adaptation to work with IconBuilder. I figured I'd give the alternatives a look, and ended up saving out all the various file formats with other tools. It worked, but it required a bit more setup, and the process wouldn't have been easy to duplicate.

Since I've been faced with a much bigger task for the new set (coming very soon), I thought I'd look into the tool built specifically for the job, and wouldn't you just know it, it's pretty darn near perfect. Automatic colour downsampling, one-click access to multiple file formats, and flexibility to produce any size of icon I might need.

So the choice between spending more hours of monotonous work doing it myself or just shelling out for a license kind of made itself.

Now if someone can please just tell me if there's a way to automate saving out a file with multiple icons on multiple layers...

The choice between spending more hours of monotonous work saving out icons myself or just shelling out for an IconBuilder license kind of made itself.

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Reduce?

August 27

As is the trend, I've lately been a lot more conscious about my levels of consumption. Usually just simple things like saying no to a plastic bag when possible and just carrying things home with me, or choosing produce that's travelled a few less miles to get to my fridge. Nothing terribly significant on a one-person scale, but stuff that makes a bit of difference if a lot of people are doing it.

Of course I'm aware that there's waste occurring behind the scenes in the retail channel. Goods need to be manufactured, byproducts need to be disposed of, items need fuel and containers for shipping, etc. Okay, that's a given. But when stores order in bulk it's an opportunity to cut down on some of that, whether that means making less trips, using less boxes, or otherwise.

Today really threw that into sharp relief. A couple of weeks back Apple came out with a new keyboard, and due to the local Mac retailers not receiving their shipments immediately, I decided to order direct from Apple. I picked up the box today, and expecting something vaguely keyboard-sized, I nearly choked when the receptionist pulled out a rather large box. Inside of which was another box. Inside of which was another box. Not to mention the plastic. Observe:

Many layers of packaging before finally reaching the keyboard.

Figure: The seven levels of hell product packaging.

That a box needs to be protected by another box seems mad enough, but this is Apple after all; we wouldn't want to damage the pristine cardboard. It's the next level of the shipping container and padding that really makes my brain hurt. I'm chalking it up to standard-sized shipping boxes, and this was simply the one that happened to have enough room to house the factory box. But you'd think the factory box ought to be good enough for the sake of shipping, no? Looks like I have yet another reason to avoid ordering tangible objects off the web.

Don't even get me started on those evil Space Devil plastic packages.

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Motion Type

August 13

No doubt you caught the "Pulp Fiction in Typography" video going around a few months back. Ever since I've been noticing plenty of interesting cases of motion and type being used together to visually narrate audio.

Some are lush and detailed with accompanying illustration or video, whereas others are spartan and plain; simple colours and minimal type are used to effectively illustrate ideas, and that's about it. The latter are harder to pull off, but demonstrate how effective graphic and motion design can be when done well.

Taken from a variety of sources like movie clips, songs, and grad projects, there are a lot of neat typography experiments on YouTube. I've curated a few I thought were particularly good. Enjoy!

(Note that some of these have language that many will find offensive. Proceed with caution.)

Update: Bonus link that I missed first time around - Hey Ya!

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