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Echoes – Week 26 (Mar 8, 2010)

posted by Matt Ward on Mar 8, 2010.

Echoes: Week 26 – Mar 8 2010. This is the twentieth sixth 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. It’s been a pretty quiet weekend here on the Echo Enduring Blog. I haven’t been feeling just the best over the past week, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time resting. I was also away with a bunch of the youth from my church over the weekend, and as you can imagine that meant that I got nothing done (which is okay – I was totally expecting that going in).

I’m hoping to be a bit more efficient this week. I’m planning on publishing the follow up to my Language and Metaphor: An Alternate View on Coding for the Web article, and have some other great content planned for the coming weeks too. Also, if you haven’t entered to win the first installment of the new First Friday Giveaway, be sure to check it out. I have one free license of Fanurio available to one lucky reader!

I’m also really excited for tomorrow, which is the official launch date for MediaLoot, a new and awesome design resource that I have been involved with, and have mentioned in several posts and and tweets over the past few months. I’ve had the opportunity to design some of the resources that will be available there. I’ve also seen some of the resources from other designers, and I have to say that it looks totally awesome. If you’re a designer looking for the best resource base on the net, I think that MediaLoot could well be it, especially as it continues to grow with awesome new resources! Be sure to check it out.

Now, let’s get to this week’s Echoes.

Logo – Hands Across the Americas

As I’ve stated before, I am a big fan of logos that make clever use of a particular mark, or which incorporate two distinctly different icons. This week’s logo does exactly that, by combining hand prints with the outline of the American continents.

Hands Across the Americas

Hands Across the Americas

This logo is apparently for a volunteer based missions to South America. Since the organization is based out Texas, the name makes perfect sense, as the mission connects the two American continents. It also lends itself perfectly to the clever mark used in the logo. At first, I would guess that almost everybody will see the hand prints. It’s only after looking at the logo for a bit longer (perhaps a half second, a few seconds or even a few minutes), that we actually see the shape of North and South America cleverly worked into the palms of the two hands!

This is a really the kind of interesting and subtle effect that I always enjoy seeing in logo designs. To me, it suggests that the designer actually spent a lot of time brainstorming and sketching out ideas until they came up with something really interesting. Either that, or they happened to stumble on a brilliant concept – but somehow I doubt it.

The one remark that I saw several times, and which I agree with, is that the type does seem a little crowded up against the mark itself. However, the designer’s comments also indicate that this was a change requested by the client, and as all good designers know, half the job is that balancing act of trying to create the best possible design while still pleasing the client. So, I still say that this is good work!

Art – Enforcer

This week’s artwork is a really awesome digital painting for the cover of a novel from the Warhammer 40000 universe. I’ve never played the game, and I don’t think I ever will. I played quite a bit of Magic when I was a teenager and a bit of D&D, but I’ve kind of grew out of those years ago. I still love a lot of the artwork done for those games though, and this is no exception.

Enforcer

Enforcer

I understand that the term fantasy has a pretty broad range of meanings, and that sometimes those fantasies can be of a more mature nature. I even recognize that, my and large, the mainstream fantasy genre tends to be dominated by men (and hormone filled teenage boys). That being said, however, one does tend to get tired of the thousands and thousand of “warrior” women who seem ready to go into battle wearing little (or less) than most real women would wear to the beach.

Okay, ladies (and your artists), you might have some pretty tight abs, but unless part of the fantasy is also having flesh as dense as iron, the first swing of a sword is probably going to spill your guts, and you won’t be looking so pretty then…

Yes, I am ranting a bit, but mostly as a build up to say that, with all the scantily clad heroines out there, it’s always refreshing to come across an image of a woman who would last more than twenty seconds in a real battle, and in this case, who appears as though she could actually do some serious damage! The character in this image is wearing fully body armour, which looks like it’s seen as much damage as she has. This character is far from the beautiful, soft skinned warriors that we see so often. Her face is bruised and scarred, and she’s probably more than capable of laying a serious whooping on anyone who gets in her way.

The image itself is also beautifully rendered. I love all of the fine detail in the character herself, especially around the eyes. She is obiously a tough, battle hardened warrior, but there also seems to be something hauntingly lonely in those eyes, as though this life of war and violence is not one that she chose for herself, but is now something from which she can never escape. It’s a truly wonderful piece!

Tutorial – How to design a print ready business card design in photoshop

I’ve already mentioned the impending launch of MediaLoot, but there is also another site that has gone live recently, called TutToaster.com. This is a site where you can expect some more tutorials from me in the future, but today, I would like to launch of this site by featuring one of their first tutorials, by none other than Mike Smith (who was also featured in out 7 Questions, 7 Designers series).

How to design a print ready business card design in photoshop

How to design a print ready business card design in photoshop

As the title of this particular tutorial clearly suggests, it is about how to create a print ready business card in Photoshop. I think this is incredibly valuable, especially for newer web designers or developers who may not be all that familiar with preparing designs for print, which is a whole different world than the web. This tutorial will help teach newer designers to create their own printed business collateral.

For instance, one of the first things that the tutorial instructs is to set up proper guidelines to designate the bleed areas for the card. I’m always amazed at how often I see artwork that is supposed to be “print-ready”, but has no bleeds or crop marks, despite the fact that the artwork extents to the edge of the page. I really do think that this is symptomatic of many web designers attempting to make the transition to print and just not being aware of some of the greater caveats.

Personally, when I design business cards, I’m more likely to work in InDesign, which has natural export options for bleeds and crop marks, and some very powerful tools and options for working with type. That being said, however, there are certainly many legitimate reasons for designing a business card in Photoshop. Perhaps you want to do some really rich graphical treatments that are just too difficult (or impossible) to achieve in InDesign. Or, maybe you’re a master at Photoshop but either have no access or no knowledge of InDesign. If any of these describe your situation, and you’re looking to design yourself a business card, this tutorial could be a great place to start.

Website – Jonas Lekevicius

This week’s website is actually the landing (or home) page for the personal site of designer Jonas Lekevicius. It is incredibly simple, and has a few interesting things going on.

Jonas Lekevicius

Jonas Lekevicius

One of the things that you cannot tell by looking at the screenshot above is that the green you see is actually a constantly shifting colour, which moves rather rapidly through a full spectrum of different hues. The same shifting is also achieved in the logo through some clever use of images. The static grey sidebar is actually a PNG image, with the logo “punched” out as a transparent part of the image, which ultimately allows the shifting background to show through. So, as the background shifts, so does the colour of the logo. That’s pretty cool.

Similarly, the text in the sidebar is also effected. As you hover over any of the items, they will bounce slightly to the right, in a flash-like animation, but with no actual flash used, which is very nice (jQuery instead). The colour of the hover state also shifts, which I would guess is a matter of dynamically shifting the colour associated with the hover state. Pretty simple, but a nice touch.

From this single page, you are able to go to various sub pages within the site. When I first saw that, I was a bit concerned, since the shifting background would make readability difficult on content pages. Fortunately, the sub pages use a different, and more static design.

I’m actually thinking about doing something similar for my site, having a main landing page, and then forking off to this blog, my portfolio and then an about section, probably each with a slightly different design! This will probably happen sometime over the next few months, so keep an eye out!

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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