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Echoes – Week 25 (Mar 1, 2010)

posted by Matt Ward on Mar 1, 2010.

Echoes: Week 25 – Mar 1 2010. This is the twenty-fifth 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.

Well it’s finished. I watched, with pensive hope as the Canadian Men’s hockey team pushed into the last minute with a single goal lead, trying to hold of an increasingly aggressive 6-man attack my team U.S.A. Then my stomach hit the floor as the Americans scored with just 24 seconds left in the game to send it to overtime… I could hardly watch as that sudden death period started. It was fast. It was furious. It literally had me on the edge of my seat until Sidney Crosby got a hold on the puck and somehow, some way, drove it past Ryan Miller to end the game, and put the crowning achievement on an incredible winter Olympics.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud to be Canadian. I’m sure many of Canadian readers feel the same way.

And to all of my American readers – wow. Way to shock the world by playing some incredible hockey throughout the course of the tournament. For a team that the “experts” weren’t even expecting to contend for the podium, team USA was just amazing – especially Miller. Shooting at him was like shooting at a brick wall! Keep playing like that and I totally predict a rematch in 2014!

Anyhow, that had absolutely nothing to do with design, so please forgive me for a moment of shinning patriotism. Now, let’s get on to this week’s Echoes!

Logo – Maska

This week’s logo is an excellent example of how to incorporate “tribal” style artwork into a cool looking logo design, along with some really great colour and stellar typography.



I really like the way the designer combined the various bits of tribal design to create the mask-like face in this one. Since the logo is for a restaurant/cafe, I immediately get the sense that it will have a strong ethnic flavour to it, either through the food or the atmosphere – and probably both. The bright, bold colours also seem to suggest an equally bold culinary experience.

I’m also really keen on the typography in this one. I recognize that the trick of eliminating the crossbar on an upper case A is nothing new or all that original, but somehow I still love it. The technique really does a great job at conveying a sense of tradition and antiquity. This logo design does a great job of calling on that.

Art – Fire Within Me

For the past couple of weeks, I have featured art that was somewhat dark and creepy. This week, I would like to break way from that a little bit, with something that is a bit more magical and beautiful.

Fire Within Me

Fire Within Me

This is a really beautiful and imaginative piece. The painting is based on an original stock photograph, and stays very true to the woman’s basic features. The lighting, however, is completely changed, what with the violin bow being on fire and such. Obviously, this required a great deal of excess brush work, which softened the image and gave it a much more (digital) painterly feel.

What I really love about this one is the fire. It’s superbly well rendered (using brushes or stock?), and certainly becomes the focal point for the entire piece. I can’t help wondering, though – does fire come from her incredible gifting as a musician, or does the gifting come from the fire within her? I’m wondering if it might perhaps be the later, given the title of the piece, but it certainly raises some interesting questions about the relationship between our own passions and talents.

All in all, though, this is a truly magnificent piece of art.

Tutorial – How To Get Digg, Delicious and Tweet Counts Using jQuery

Most of the tutorials that I have featured here in Echoes over the first 25 weeks have been about techniques for designing in programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. There have been a few coding relating tutorials, but they have certainly not been the majority. This week, I would like to bring you a quick little jQuery tutorial that you may find useful, especially if you are a purely front-end developer.

How To Get Digg, Delicious and Tweet Counts Using jQuery

How To Get Digg, Delicious and Tweet Counts Using jQuery

Personally, I’ve never even really considered the possibility of grabbing stuff like Twitter, Delicious and Digg counts from the front end. These always just struck me as tasks that were reserved for back-end, server-side scripting. So, when I found this tutorial, I was quite intrigued by the possibilities.

Basically, the concept is to grab data from each of the different social media sites via separate <script> tags, pass that information to a jQuery plugin to extract the counts and finally update the count areas on the page through unique HTML id’s. The tutorial also makes use of techniques that will allow for graceful degradation for instances where JavaScript may be disabled. In such cases, a simple text link is displayed, without the count.

Because this technique requires separate calls to each social networking service, plus several lines of code, it can add some bulk to the size of your HTML file. That’s something you may want to consider before implementing this technique, but if you’re a front-end developer looking for a solution that doesn’t rely on PHP, this tutorial might be right up your alley.

Website – Sick Designer

This week’s featured website is an awesome looking blog called Sick Designer, and has some really “sick”, grungy design elements that I think you will really dig.

Sick Designer

Sick Designer

I think the first thing that really strikes you when you visit this site is the bold use of colour and grunge, especially down the left-side of the page – and I do mean down. That gungy splash of red, yellow, orange and green actually does extend all the way down the page by means of a repeating background. Fortunately, the background image is high enough that you hardly see the repetition at all.

There are a few other elements that I really like about this site. The Twitter section is really nicely done, and integrated so well into the overall design. There is also some cool colour coding of posts based on categories. Most of all, though, I love way that the first post is highlighted on the main page, via some basic stylistic changes. It’s given a colourful background – whereas all of the others are grey – and the text on the date is turned to white, to really help it stand out.

I would also like to note that this site – apparently recently redesigned – makes extensive use of both HTML5 and CSS3. As such, it is somewhat of a showcase for what can be done with these emerging new technologies. I’ve only browsed this site in my current browser (Firefox 3.5.8), but I would be interested to go and check it out in an older, less compliant browser to see if it degrades gracefully.

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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