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Echoes – Week 21 (Feb 1, 2010)

posted by Matt Ward on Feb 1, 2010.

Echoes: Week 21 – Feb 1 2010. This is the twenty-first 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.

Hey all. Here we are with another installment of Echoes, but of course I always start these off by telling you a little bit of what I have been up to the past week. I guess you could say that I’ve been doing a bit of this and a bit of that. I rocked off another Photoshop tutorial for SpyreStudios last week, which was quite a bit different than the others that I have done. It basically outlines the process for creating a bold ring of fire out a photograph of a campfire, and then how to integrate that ring into a cool (if somewhat dark) poster design.

I’ve also been doing a bunch of work on some websites, tidying up a few things for one client while coding up a WordPress theme for another. Oh, and if you haven’t checked out this preview about what’s coming from MediaLoot, be sure to have a look! Yep, those are my watercolour textures. I was pretty stoked to see them included in the post.

Other than that I just spent some more time with my wife and little girl, which is always nice.

Now, on to this week’s Echoes!

Logo – Kanga

It may be a common mantra repeated by designers all across the world, but I am a big fan of typography. For this week’s logo we have a beautiful typographic logo, which makes interesting use of shape and movement in order to create a really unique and wonderful mark.

Kanga

Kanga

The beauty of this one is all in the details. The most obvious of these details is the custom ascender on the K (though a K doesn’t normally have an ascender), which turns into a lovely looking swoosh. This gives the logo a sense of movement and energy, which is also emphasized by the swoosh/cutout effect on the second letter a.

This cutout effect is then picked up very subtly by the two similar cutouts along the top of both the n and the g, which also mirror each other nicely – creating an excellent visual balance at the center of the logo.

Lastly, I love the colour scheme here. It is rich and warm and the two colours play off of each other very well. I’m reminded of coffee or perhaps chocolate and caramel.

All in all, though, I think that this logo is an exceptional example of just how a few carefully crafted details can really bring a typographic logo to life, giving the type its own unique flavour.

Art – Transition to 2D

This week’s artwork is a vector piece that I came across in a recent edition of the weekly vector inspiration posts over at Vectips. It’s an interesting piece, which fuses the aesthetics of the abstract and the surreal, wrapping it all up in a nice vector style.

Transition to 2D

Transition to 2D

I’m not sure that I even want to try dissecting this piece when it comes to the “meaning” behind it, so let’s just keep it simple and stick to the things that I really love about this one. First, while I’m not a huge fan of the colour pink, I think that the primarily monochromatic feel of this one works quite nicely. It would probably work in full colour too, but it would change the mood. The pink is fresh, and reminds me of bubble gum, which kind of goes well with the image of the little girl.

The similarities between the speech bubble and the “smoke” coming out the rhino’s nostrils is also kind of cool. It makes it almost look as though the rhino’s aggressive nostril blowing is actually a response to whatever the girl is saying. Speaking of the rhino – it’s pretty darned cool itself, especially with the symbol (Chinese? Japanese? Please excuse my ignorance) on its forehead. That makes it look like more than just an animal, and almost as though it is some sort of supernatural being!

A couple more things – the completely two dimensional partial circle/floating island things are petty cool too, especially with all of the details, such as the large tree (and the smaller ones), the house, the car, the stairs and even the tiny little people. They all work together to create a kind of story – though, as mentioned, I won’t try to dissect that story here.

My absolute favorite part of this image, though, has to be the various swirls that emanate out of the umbrella. I love the way that these swirls are integrated directly into the thick stroke that surrounds the umbrella. It’s kind of a subtle effect that I didn’t notice right away, but was also one of those that, when I did see it, made me think to myself – that is so cool! Any time a piece of art does that for me, I know it’s a good one!

Tutorial – How to Design the Apple iPad in Photoshop

Well we knew that it would only be a matter of time. Last Wednesday, everybody and there mother knew that Apple would be officially announcing the release of their new tablet product. The only mystery rested in exactly what the tablet would be like. All reactions aside, it was only a matter of time before somebody came out with a tutorial outlining a method to actually create your own iPad graphic.

As it turns out, that matter of time was a matter of less than a single day. In this week’s tutorial, we will be looking at the very first iPad tutorial that I saw stream into my RSS reader – from the CircleBox Blog.

How to Design the Apple iPad in Photoshop

How to Design the Apple iPad in Photoshop

There are a few things that I really like about this tutorial. First, I love the aesthetic, of course. Whatever you feel about the iPad as practical device, I think most people will agree that it is another beautifully crafted device, and Callum does a really great job at capturing that look in this tutorial.

I also really like the simplicity of it. You don’t have to be a Photoshop expert, or even have an intermediate level of experience. The techniques make use primary of basic shapes and gradients, so you can have virtually no Photoshop experience and still follow along. It’s great for beginners.

This tutorial is pretty similar to a lot of other Apple product tutorials, and has the same outstanding result. It’s interesting to note the way in which so many of Apple’s products can be recreated in Photoshop or Illustrator with relative ease. In many ways it’s as though Apple is designing their products be real life representation of this style of illustration! As Callum himself mentions, most of the same techniques can be used to create virtually anything else from Apple’s current line of products!

This is not the only iPad tutorial that I’ve seen, either. Chris Spooner also published a similar tutorial on his blog, and released a set of related freebies over on Line25. You can also find some iPad icon sets over at Little Box of Ideas

Website – Visual Swirl

In terms of websites, it doesn’t get much fresher than this. Chris over at Visual Swirl just launched the redesign of his website today, so this one is hot off the press ladies and gentlemen. And I must say that I really do like that I see.

Visual Swirl

Visual Swirl

Like many people, Chris launched Visual Swirl using a WordPress template. I think it worked well enough for him over the first two months, but as the blog started to gain more popularity and a higher rate of readership, it only stood to reason that it would be time for a unique, custom design. And that’s just what we have now.

Overall, I feel that the design is just more unified. If you head out to this post, you can see a screen shot of the previous layout, and even though the site actually appears to be about the same (fixed) width, the new design just seems to keep everything together better. The previous theme occasionally felt a little too open at times. This new design just works better in that regard.

Time to stop comparing, though, and consider the new design on its own. I do really like the logo and the way it is integrated into the design. It’s always refreshing to see the mark in a logo positioned to the right, without it feeling unnatural or forced. But this (new) Visual Swirl logo does it very well. The three bladed “fan” just seems to belong, which is always the mark of a great logo.

I like the use of the extended descriptors under the main navigation, too. That seems to be a bit of an emerging design trend right now, and I think it adds a nice bit of value and usability to the navigation, as long as it is not overdone. I think that this design does it right.

Lastly, I’m a big fan of the colour scheme. The mid-to-dark grey contrasts really nicely against the lighter blue to create a unique looking colour scheme that I don’t remember seeing all that often. In a world wide web where a lot of blogs tend to all look the same these days, I think that the colouring here will really help Visual Swirl to stand apart from the crowd!

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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Also from Echo Enduring Media:

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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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Comments

Feb 2, 2010

Callum Chapman says:

Thanks for including my tutorial here Matt, glad you liked the tutorial :)

Feb 2, 2010

LiamMcCabe says:

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been missing these “echoes”. I really like this round up type post, It’s nice to see some opinion alongside links instead of just the links themselves.

Well done with SpyreStudios and Media Loot Matt! :)

I wouldn’t mind contributing to the loot, maybe if I can find the time, I shall :)

In the mean time, keep up the great work!

Feb 2, 2010

Chris Thurman says:

Matt,
I’m yet again honored to be featured in one of your posts. Thank you for the very kind review. Sometimes I wish people would be more critical because I’m sure there is plenty wrong with the design (at least in my mind) but it’s really great to hear such kind words. I wouldn’t be where I am without your support. Keep rockin it!

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