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Echoes – Week 17 (Dec 14, 2009)

posted by Matt Ward on Dec 13, 2009.

Echoes: Week 17 – Dec 14, 2009. This is the seventeenth edition of my weekly Echoes posts, in which I feature some of the best work that I have found on the web. Features one logo, one piece of art, one tutorial and one website.

Wow. I have been incredibly busy this week, and my blog traffic has definitely paid the price because of it. I did manage to post a couple of times, but I barely had any time to really promote my posts via most of the news and social media channels that I normally use, though, and really saw my traffic fall off, which was especially disappointing since I had such great numbers traffic wise last week!

The biggest thing that I have been working on has been the Christmas production at my church, which I not only wrote buy am also acting in! Between memorizing lines, rehearsals and performances, it’s been pretty intense. That’s all done now though, and I have all sorts of great content lined up, including an awesome interview series with some rocking designers – starting later this week. Keep an eye out for it!

Anyhow, on to this week’s Echoes!

Logo – InkCow

This week’s logo is another work by Illustrator/Designer Doug Cloud (previously featured in week 13). Again, it’s just a really nice and simple mark.

InkCow

InkCow

I really just like the cleanness of this one. The logo’s mark is really simple, and I love the general cuteness of the cow itself. I also like the way that the cow appears to be about half filled with ink. I’m not really sure what the InkCow company does, but by this logo I would expect they have something to do with refilling or recharging ink cartridges.

It also reminds me of a blog post that I read recently over at Visual Swirl, about using animals in logo designs. I left a comment there and got into a bit of a discussion about the difference between using an animal character as a logo and as a mascot. Be sure to check it out!

Anyhow, I find that this particular logo really exemplifies Doug’s logo design style, which tends to be nice and simple. I find that there also tends usually be some level of influence from his experience as an illustrator, too.

Art – Barbarian Santa

We’re going to stick with a Christmas theme with the art for the next few Echoes, so this week I bring you a wonderful picture of Santa. But this ain’t your jolly old elf, whose stomach shakes like a bowl full of jelly. No my friends, this Santa is strong and muscled, and armed enough to cut his way through the dark legions to get those toy swords and axes to Conan and his progeny!

Barbarian Santa

Barbarian Santa

Now that’s a pretty epic Santa! Actually, the artist’s comments on this one actually indicate that the intention was never actually to draw a Santa character. It was just an aging barbarian who, with his long white beard, red armour (line with nice white fur), just happened to end up looking like Santa. Still, I think it’s great, and it would make a really interesting story – the ancient Barbarian (possibly a clan chief), who fights some sort of epic battle to bring children gifts.

Regardless of the intentions behind this one, I really love it. Cool character design and nice rendering. I really like the rough, sketchy look.

Tutorial – Awesome digital bokeh effect in Photoshop

One particularly popular effect these days is the Bokeh effect. It can produce some really dramatic results, and it’s frequently used as a background in website designs. This week’s tutorial can be found over at Abduzeedo, and will show you how to replicate what has traditionally been a photography effect using Photoshop.

Awesome digital bokeh effect in Photoshop

Awesome digital bokeh effect in Photoshop

This tutorial is really pretty simple, with really quick steps, several of which are just repetitions of the same basic technique. As with a lot of the tutorials that I feature here in Echoes, this article does presuppose a certain degree of familiarity with Photoshop, as certain steps are simply implied.

One cool thing about this tutorial is that some of the commenters have actually posted their own results from working through the tutorial! This is always beneficial, since you can see how different people have used the skills they picked up from the tutorial in their own designs!

So head on out and give it a try yourself! If you do a lot of work in Photoshop, I’ll bet that this technique will come in handy at some point down the road.

Website – Blog Amuki

This week’s website is actually a BlogSpot blog, with a really nice, collage-based design. It has what I like to call a “desktop” feel to it (meaning that it uses things that you would find on your desk – stationary and office supplies) and combines it with a nice grungy feel.

Blog Amuki

Blog Amuki

The overall design is really tight, by which I don’t necessarily mean that it’s all “together,” but that it’s actually tight. Many of the elements are pretty close together. Normally, I don’t really dig this kind of crowding, but it seems to work surprisingly well here. I think the consistency of the spacing helps in this regard, along with the fact that the actual design elements in the header and footer are also pretty crowded.

Like so many of the site designs that I run across these days, especially from the various CSS galleries, this one is not in English (I am guessing that it’s Spanish, but am not sure on that regard). However, the design does have certain English elements. The Google ads are all in English, which is understandable, since these are probably rendered dynamically. However, there are actually menu items in English too – About Us, Portfolio and Freebies. I don’t have anything against this kind of thing, but I do have to wonder why people do this, when the rest of the site isn’t in English. Anyone have an answer on that one?

Anyhow, I do really enjoy the overall gunge feel in the header and the footer of this one, and especially the rope elements at the top. It all looks pretty cool overall.

Well that’s it for this week’s Echoes. Which ones were your favorites? As always, if you know of any designs, tutorials or art that merits being included in a future post, feel free to let me know about it!

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About the Author

Matt Ward is a digital artist who lances freely under the moniker of Echo Enduring Media, and specializes in graphics design, illustration and writing. He is also the Creative Director for Highland Marketing, a creative direct marketing company based out of Waterloo, Ontario. You can follow Matt on Twitter

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