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2014 Pantone Colour of the Year
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Pantone officially declared Pantone 18-3224 Radiant Orchid as the 2014 Colour of the Year.

“While the 2013 colour of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

The colour of the year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for colour influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact colour, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

Information from www.pantone.com

Web design trends for 2014
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Many trends that were spotted in 2013 are still around today and will undoubtedly become extremely popular throughout 2014. The reason why they are called trends and not fads is because trends tend to stick around for a few years while fads are here for a short time. In saying that, what kind of new(ish) web design trends we can look for and be inspired by for 2014?

DESIGN
Apple reignited “flat design” with the release of iOS7. However, Apple has taken flat design to a whole new level by removing almost all design elements (drop shadows, gradients, outlines etc.). For a long time Apple has been a major trendsetter, and what Apple does, the rest of the world seems to follow. iOS7 has been out for a while and already there are a flood of sites coming online every day with new “flat” designs. I expect this trend to continue well past 2014.

CONTENT
Simple content is destined to dominate in 2014 and beyond as we design our websites. Simplified content means short paragraphs of content making it easy to read and keep the viewers attention. Over the years, our attention spans have become shorter, so as designers we have compensated for that by putting content in short bursts instead of long narratives. Not many areas on websites these days (except blog posts) have more than about 250 characters. It is easier and faster to read for those who like to scan the page.

COLOUR
Simple colour schemes are also here to stay. Simple meaning using only one or two colours. The use of a more simple color scheme seems to go hand in hand with flat design. Many websites being launched now are using very little colour, or even forgoing colour all together. White, black, and everything in between are popular schemes now, and adding just a hint of another colour, such as red, adds drama and impact – all things garnish attention when used in the right way.

FONTS
Using just Arial or Times new Roman on your website is a thing of the past. Thousands of web friendly fonts have been created so that your corporate font can some be a part of your website. It is also great to see more designers experimenting with different fonts. “Fonts with personality” are those that feel like they can stand on their own. They are not your standard serif or san-serif font (ahem, Helvetica). As designers we are starting to find different fonts to add to our portfolio which are  enhancing our designs with a little more personality and uniqueness.

RESPONSIVE
Now that responsive web design is becoming more common, we are starting to see websites more functional for our mobile lifestyles. Designers are increasingly working on keeping their sites working properly on mobile devices. Developers are taking it a step further including integration with social media, email subscription areas, long scrolling sites and fast loading sites, all helping to make the mobile web a more user friendly place.

SCROLLING
We’ve become comfortable with scrolling through a website to read and find information, and now with websites using more design techniques such as increased white space and responsive Web design, long scrolling sites are starting to appear again. Several years ago, it was common to have long scrolling sites that where slammed with content. Well, now we are seeing long scrolling websites but the content is more organized and in a much easier format to digest.

HERO IMAGES
Large static hero images on website home pages are now quite popular. Hero areas are quickly replacing sliders as the new attention-grabbers and are becoming increasingly creative and elaborate.

World’s thinnest keyboard unveiled
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The company behind the wireless Beats headphones and Nike Running gadget has unveiled the world’s thinnest keyboard, with a flexible, wireless touchscreen just half a millimetre thick.

Cambridge-based CSR, which specialises in wireless technology, showcased a prototype of the product at the IFA consumer electronics event in Berlin, but it will be 12 months before it will be available to buy.

Paul Williamson, CSR’s director of low power wireless products, said the final form factor depended on how manufacturers bring the keyboard to market, although its primary use is likely to be as a lightweight, complementary external keyboard for tablet devices. “This is a working prototype and a glimpse forward rather than something people will be buying this year,” he said.

“We might see lots of shapes and sizes, some as small as iPad Mini or a larger, more rigid form for a desktop PC, which could be curved, in any colour way, transparent or fitted with a leather folio.”

Developed in partnership with Cambridge Inkjet Technology, the interface for the product is printed out and can be customised. That could mean printing bespoke keyboards in different languages with ease, or customised keyboards for functions such as video editing and for customers who would like personalised patterns or messages on their own keyboard.

The keyboard’s touchscreen could also be used under a piece of paper to transcribe notes made with a pen and sync them to a computer.

CSR’s research has led to wireless products that enable music streaming in the popular Beats headphones, the performance-tracking tool the Nike+ SportWatch and the Jambox speaker.

Founded in 1999, CSR is one of a cluster of successful, research-focused tech companies clustered around Cambridge and “Silicon Fen” who have recently discussed introducing a “Made in Cambridge” badge to promote their products.

“The audio experience you’re getting from Beats headphones exists because we developed it, put it out there and now it is used on a global scale,” said Williamson.

“People don’t recognise that that kind of innovation is developed by a small number of very bright people here, and the pool of engineering talent and expertise here deserves a bit more credit than the app economy drive in the periphery of London.”

Source: the guardian

Creative Packaging
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This post is to show some amazing, innovative and creative packaging design ideas from all over the world.

Even though the goal of modern retail packaging is to encourage potential buyers to purchase the product, clever packages can also be a great source of inspiration.

 

 

 

QR Codes
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Smart phones are in almost everyone’s pocket these days and we use them more as a personal assistant and connection to the digital world more than we do for their original purpose of making a phone call. However, it is our belief that printed material is still required to lead us to our virtual world. Cross marketing has become huge with QR codes being placed on many printed materials as an easy way to access something, or should I say anything, online directly.

The next time you require an item that promotes yourself or your business for example a business card, brochure or pull-up banner, remember to add a QR code to your designs.

QR Codes can be used with any smart phone and new scanners to bookmark and take you to almost anything virtual. Whether it be used to promote a URL link to your site, Facebook page or specialised to send someone your phone number, app download, PayPal purchase or even WIFI login. Your options are endless.

2013 Colour of the Year
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Pantone officially declared Pantone 17-5641 Emerald Green as the 2013 Colour of the Year.

Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.

The Colour of the Year selection is a very long and detailed process. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally scours the world looking for influences on colour. Including the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Other influences also come from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact colour, even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

For more than a decade, Pantone’s Colour of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.

With a continued emphasis on ‘going green’ it is no wonder that the vibrant colour has become the latest trend and it will be interesting to see how the design community pairs this energetic shade.

 

Image courtesy of Pantone.

How loyal are you?
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Brand loyalty is how we escape decision fatigue.

Making choices is exhausting – mentally, emotionally and even physically. With the magnitude of online services and globalising markets, our options have multiplied rapidly, and it’s wearing us out. More than anything else, this is why we form brand loyalties. Once we believe that our values and choices align, we are happy to leave choices to the brand that has earned our trust, and shift some of the burden off our own shoulders.

Be trustworthy enough to take the load off. The brands that earn loyalty in 2013 are those that have earned it. By showing you’re aligned, and communicating in familiar language, you establish a trust that lets customers relax. “Go ahead,” you say, “we’ve got you covered.” If they can believe you, they’ll love you for it.

Will you be loyal to us?

The End of an Era
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After 159 years the broadsheet tradition has ended for the weekday edition of The Age. It has become a tabloid-sized newspaper for the first time. The question is: does size matter in terms of editorial content? Will we, as readers, see a change in the content and selection of stories in this smaller Fairfax newspaper? According to Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood, the answer is no. He has emphatically argued when explaining the rationale for the size switch (to save costs through the closure of the Tullamarine plant) that the “compact” version will contain the same “quality journalism” as when it was broadsheet. Media scholars are divided on the question of whether newspaper size influences content, and in turn, the role of the press in strengthening democratic accountability.

Hywood did not explicitly stated that the company would pursue a “downmarket” approach when The Age changed size, and he was deliberate in using the term “compact” rather than tabloid. Tabloids tend to be dogged with a reputation for prurience and sensationalism. Globally, in 2013, the distinction between the editorial content of the broadsheets compared to tabloids cannot be simply determined by page size.

Previously, larger format papers were associated with a high income-earning readership, and considered a mark of style and authority. This divide blurred when many large format papers converted to “compact” to make it easier for the commuting reader, and to ultimately bolster sales. These papers were more accurately termed “elites” referring to their content, rather than their size, to distinguish them. Such mastheads include The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The New York Times. Their content shows a commitment to the coverage of politics, foreign news and investigative reporting.

In Australia, the symbolic and physical difference between the two sized newspapers still largely existed up until yesterday (5 March). The broadsheet papers of the SMH, The Age and The Australian generally attracted readers from a higher socio-economic background, often termed A and B demographics. Of course there is one notable exception to this finding in Australia and that is the Australian Financial Review. This tabloid-sized national business newspaper also has an AB demographic and an editorial focus on politics and, as my research has found, a strong record for investigative reporting.

Looking at the compact newspaper versions published today it is impossible to make any strong statements about whether size matters for Fairfax. That will only be known with time. What is known is that globally, over the past five years, about 80 daily newspapers have converted from broadsheet to tabloid in a bid to boost circulation and revenues in response to the political economy of the mass media. But swapping to compact size for circulation gains has also proved not to be sustainable for most beyond a few years.

Since the 1970′s premium news pages have fewer stories, bigger pictures and more advertising as compared to each decade before. Editors have also shifted their lead-story focus toward crime stories and away from international reporting. The move toward tabloidisation of content has resulted in different editorial priorities, including less investigative reporting. Research has shown that when Australian broadsheets become tabloids their investigative reporting diminishes. Three examples are Brisbane’s Courier Mail, the Adelaide Advertiser and the Newcastle Herald.

A cautionary tale for Fairfax: size does not necessarily shape content (as the Financial Review has so far shown) but the political economy of newspapers demonstrates that it can. Whether it does or doesn’t largely depends on the power and editorial perspective of the editor – one free of the editorial compromises that corporate responsibilities of a masthead can bring.


Modern Vintage Revival
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For a while now I have noticed a huge revival of vintage themed design. Designers are using classic typography techniques, muted colours and dirty textures to simulate designs from centuries past. Using truly inspiring designs dug up from the past and modernising them to work today. New vintage fonts are also emerging rapidly from typographers.

Vintage style designs arise feelings, awake memories and involve a broad range of viewers. A retro design often offers viewers something they haven’t expected at all. Retro styles have brought a touch of romanticism back into design, back to time when life was much simpler, less stressful and relaxed. This may be the reason it has become popular again.

Below are some inspiring examples of modern retro design.


 

 

150 years of London Underground
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This month in 1863, 150 years ago, saw the opening of the London Underground, the world’s first urban mass transit system.

Londoners are celebrating with mugs, cufflinks, sofas and subterranean steam train rides. In his new book, London Underground By Design, Mark Ovenden celebrates the system’s architecture, textiles, posters, signs, Harry Beck’s seminal map (first published in 1933 and still with us), and of course its typefaces.

Commissioned 100 years ago this year, Edward Johnston’s influential font masterpiece, aptly named P22 Underground, has been in use since 1916, surely this is a record.