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Covering up with Color: iPad Smart Cover

Covering up with Color: iPad Smart Cover

The way that Apple has built it's product line off extreme minimalism both in color and design has always been intriguing to look back on. It becomes such a huge deal when they decide to add any sort of color to a particular product design. So this morning when I woke up and started slimming down my inbox, I couldn't help but click on the iPad 2 Release simply for the main showcase image...

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Review & Giveaway: The Smashing Book #2

Review & Giveaway: The Smashing Book #2

Don't go anywhere!!! There's a super fantastic book giveaway after our feature presentation!


Just holding this book makes me go, "ahhh..."

Everyone is raving about the quality of book #2 compared to book #1 (or published media in general). I don't blame them. I almost didn't mention it, because everyone else has, but that was ALSO my initial thought upon receiving my copy of the book. Straight from the box, I instinctively noticed these things in this order:

First, I noticed that I can plop it in my purse, no problem (and I don't carry an overly-large purse!). It's not too heavy or too many square/cubic inches. That's important, because I dread getting a great book, but eyeballing how thick it is sometimes hurts as I rarely have time for reading real books. My arms aren't going to fall off trying to hold it up while I'm laying in bed reading it.

Second, most definitely the quality. Smashing Magazine did not skimp on getting this little ditty published. Quality, stitch-bound, hard cover and hefty pages that produce sharp graphics. It's a nice tight number that you'll probably keep on your desk or prop on a shelf just because it's so pretty.

Third, artwork and graphics, amazing! They seriously couldn't go wrong with using Yiying Lu (yes, forever known as the creator of the famous Fail Whale from Twitter.com). But seriously, who can resist that kind of work, I know my three year old can't! What three year old do you know peruses a web and graphic design book with focus and interest? I will admit mine has a great attention span, but still... I'm caught flipping through the pages simply studying the chapter artwork. I have to laugh at myself.

Fourth and last, the cutest little ribbon bookmark comes attached. What a nice little touch! I bet this is the most talked about ribbon bookmark in the history of books. I suppose I will not be lazily dog-earing my new book.

So hands down on the book construction and makeup. Smashing you get a full applause in that area (I think everyone else would agree, no?)!

My thoughts from reading & perusing...

Chapters include:

  1. #1 The Principles of Great Graphic Deisign
  2. #2 Visible vs. Invisible Design
  3. #3 Designing Mobile User Experiences
  4. #4 Sketching, Wireframing and Prototyping
  5. #5 Red Flags (Warning Signs) in Web Development
  6. #6 The Future of Web Typeography
  7. #7 Applying Game Design Principles to User Experience Design
  8. #8 When they Click: Psychology of Web Design and User Behavior
  9. #9 Design Patterns in e-Commerce Websites (Study)
  10. #10 How to Make a Book (Like this One)


I realize that you can make something look pretty dang great, but fill it with garbage. Not in this case. I might be a bit bias because I am a HUGE fan of Smashing Magazine and the fantastic information they continue to provide to the design and web communities.... I will note, however, that the previous Smashing Book #1 seemed somewhat of a letdown to a "few" folks, which has become more prevailiant with Book #2 being such a positive hit and maybe with more of a comeback in the comparisons being made.

My primary area is Design. Both in print and web. And I will openly admit, I'm not ever going to be in the one of the top designers of the world because of this and that - so a book like this is absolutely PERFECT for me. I think anyone who wants a nice review, more insight

What I enjoyed in the first chapter was the correlation between the two, how different and yet similar they are.

"It stands to reason, then, that the process of design involves making deliberate and appropriate graphical choices in order to best communicate the intended message. This applies as much to designing for the Web as it does to designing for print." - excerpt, page 15

What I most enjoyed about this chapter was it's focus on using design effectively and timelessly. When I was reading through the pages of Timeless Thinking - which included talk about simplicity, adding too much gaudy junk (aka ornaments), minimalism, contrast, space and tension... it really brought me back to the basics in art school and working with drawing techniques. Sometimes I feel that I start a project over-designing and after I get that part about needing to impress the client out of my system and go minimal, it never fails to be the winning pick - this chapter was a kick in the pants refresher.

Then I read on to variations of  Type and its effectiveness as well as the role it plays. Overall, a golden chapter to set your path a little straighter or teach you a few things.

"While a good graphic designer works to create an attractive design for the client, a great graphic designer pushes further, striving to understand the  crux of the project's objective. The great designer builds on the various concepts ..." - excerpt, page 44

My other favorite, is chapter 7: Applying Game Design Principles to User Experience Design. What I most enjoyed was the play off of understanding the correlation between the two to make an easier way to think about UX Design. My favorite part starting with the section, The Name of the Game which goes through each of the five key attributes of the "game" of online interaction. It became a fun way to think about UX Design.


In conclusion, I like that the end of each chapter will sum up with a number of useful resources, about the author, some history from that section and even a nice extra Reading List for more in-depth study on a subject if interested - actually, I would have liked more reading resources at the ends of more chapters. I thought that was very helpful and resourceful to place in one area, instead of having to dig back through my dog-eared and highlighted pages and notes to locate a good resource I just know I marked.

I do find that this book is something I will be keeping on my desk for some time to reference and re-reference when my mind is fogged or fighting to go a direction my gut knows I shouldn't.


Are you tired of hearing me blab blab blab about the book? Are you just dying to get your hands on your own copy? Well here's your chance, we have 3 copies in our giveaway!


Contest Rules are simple. This will be a random drawing of three lucky commenters who provide the following information in their comment:

Please provide what your specialty is be it Design Warlord, Freelance Web Designer or Couch Potato... but seriously, I would like to know what you do for money or fun in the relationship to wanting the book in your grubby little paws.

The contest will run from March 10th, 2011 through March 18th, 2011 - Winners will be announced the following week, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011. Winners will also be emailed via Love Notes on COLOURlovers.com so make sure you turn your notifications ON for both in-site and email so that I can collect your address and get your prize out ASAP. Contest is for COLOURlovers.com users only, so if you aren't a member, get signed up and get commenting!

update: Did I forget to mention you can of course buy the book here (at SmashingMagazine.com) as well as preview a sample from the book and get other details. Pop on over and check it out!

But wait there's MORE! Apparently there was just too much good stuff to go to print, so Smashing Magazine is GIVING you a FREE eBOOK called The Lost Files (free eBook).


Results will be posted Tuesday, March 22nd (unless they magically appear on Monday the 21st. ;) Have a great weekend everyone!

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Ditherm by Luboš Sekal - Office Interiors

Ditherm by Luboš Sekal - Office Interiors

Corporate Interiors. The name lends itself to a labyrinth of workstations, bland color palettes and an environment that you can’t wait to get out of as soon as the clock strikes that magical hour. You get to breathe fresh air and spend some of that hard earned cash on drinks with colleagues discussing how much you loathe working in that god-for-saken office. But, did you ever consider that it could possibly be the design of the office that you loathe more than your job?!

I myself being from a corporate interior design background am all too familiar with just how miserable some office interiors can be with their muddy color palettes of maroon, beige, “healthcare blue” and hunter green. Luckily for me, my job was to make it better.

That is one reason that I enjoyed corporate interiors- to see how people reacted in a space before renovation/relocation and after. It’s amazing to see how much color, spacial layout, graphics, way-finding and for god’s sake "views to the outdoors" can completely change people’s demeanor, work ethic and even attendance to work.

I recently had the pleasure of walking into the small, but dynamic corporate office of Ditherm- a refractory engineering firm located in Prague, Czech Republic. The space was designed by Czech architect Luboš Sekal (of A.A.L.S ateliér Architektonický) and makes use of color and graphic pattern in a unique and refreshing way. It didn’t blatantly say “corporate office” with the palette of tonal grays and a pop of orange. As opposed to the typical private office set up with a solitary colored accent wall, desk and two guest chairs- Sekal chose to create a painted graphic pattern accent wall and a posh "in office" meeting area equipped with designer furnishings and a unique light fixture. The painted wall graphic is featured on most accent walls throughout the space, but I also really enjoyed how the workstations and storage units became features in the back office area with their intersecting planes of color, and also the sliver of orange glass accent in the bathroom doors with the cute gender graphic.

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Interior Design Trends: White and Silver

Interior Design Trends: White and Silver

There is so much to color. They can affect our mood, we attach associations they all have associations and meanings. it is all so very intriguing.  So far, this winter has been a very odd one, with all of the snow storms every week and just the strange events that have been occurring. I also have to say that I have lost a loved one last week, so to help brighten the mood and help bring on a soothing effect, it seems white and silver are appropriate. Surrounding yourself with fresh crisp white a nice sparkly silver can be quiet soothing. What do white and silver do for you?

ottoman · ring holder · pendant · mirror · cup and saucer · votive · clock · chair

room 1, 2

Winter_White_Out Cat_like_a_soft_owl

Moonwind_Unicorn Fall_into_Puddles

air_conditioner_fins Looking_for_Ghosts

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Interior Design Trends: Orange and Silver

Interior Design Trends: Orange and Silver

Over here in my neck of the woods it has been snowing every week it seems. I love snow, but too much is just well, too much. With too much of these dreary and freezing cold days, it only seemed fitting that a combination of a warm color paired with a cool color would be pretty interesting.

The colors that were chosen were orange and silver. How often do you see that pair? Honestly, I can't say that it is a common pairing around here. So, to add a little bit of warmth, orange and silver it is. The two would seem ideal when used around the warmer months such as spring and summer, but I think it would be great any time of year. What are your thoughts on these colors?

flowers ·  mirror · monkey · chair · lamp · pillow

room 1, 2

Circular_Staircase Orange_Gray_scale

Orange_Gray sunday_in_the_city

Orange_Crush orange_gray_web

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Interior Design Trends: Kelly Green

Interior Design Trends: Kelly Green

Though my color favs at the moment are gray and black, green will always remain at the top of my list, well, kelly green that is. Being that the weather is unusually brisk and we have been hit with a huge amount of snow already, it makes sense that gray and black would be the color floating around in my head, but instead of focusing on such dark tones, kelly green seemed to be ideal. Kelly green is a color that  is a lush and refreshing color reminiscent of the beautiful green land in Ireland. Here is a round up of some kelly green pieces. I hope you enjoy!

vase · dinnerware · pendant · vanity · shopper · pillow

room 1, 2

iam_gavin Green_Gold_Glorious


sky_through_trees Hope_is_Evergreen

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Interior Design Trends: Silver + Red

Interior Design Trends: Silver + Red

Silver is a very versatile color with a brilliant shine. It looks amazing up against any other color, though I must say, it is perfect paired with black. Another color that marries well with silver is red. There are several pieces that seemed interesting enough to round up, but it was a bit hard to find a decent amount of decor items that were of this color combination. Do you like red and silver together?

globe · shell · chopsticks · mirror · vases · chair · soap dispenser · pillow

room 1, 2

red_gray_2 papouškova_pošetka

Red_Gray red_gray

red_gray Gunboat

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Interior Design Trends: Purple and Gold

Interior Design Trends: Purple and Gold

What better way to continue a new year than with a regal and and elegant marriage of hues. Purple and gold are the colors I am talking about. As with any color twosome when it is done tastefully the results are beautiful. The two color are not just regal, but pleasant and happy as well, and I hope that the chosen examples are ones that you like. Here's to a continued happy and healthy New Year!

candle holder · bowl · tieback · vase · rug · lighting · pillow

room 1, 2

Gold_purple Purple_Gold

Purple_Gold purple_gold

Purple_Gold_BE Purple_Gold

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Etsy Color Love - Blush

Etsy Color Love - Blush

Bright sun, rich florals and saturated grasses can easily dull and washout any blush tone, but place these soft, delicate colors against a stark white and grey winter backdrop and you have something brilliant and beautiful. Winter is the perfect season for blush.

This curated set from Etsy member sweptfromthesea includes a wonderful selection of blush colored items from Etsy. We repost it here for color inspiration and to showcase the great color work you can find in the greater color & design community.

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Meet the New Wallpaper - Bold, Sustainable Designs

Meet the New Wallpaper - Bold, Sustainable Designs

Wallpaper is making a come back! Although the current “green design” movement would make you think otherwise.... vinyl wall paper is despised, and for good reason--its completely non-biodegradable.

Meet Aimee Wilder and Hanna Werning, two of the many independent product designers offering new and different ideas about what wallpaper can and should be. The patterns are not only bold, colourful and fun--they also make use of sustainable manufacturing methods and materials.

Aimee Wilder

Aimee is a product designer with diverse interests in design and trends. Her wallpapers are:

“responsibly manufactured with responsibly-sourced fiber, and all suppliers adhere to one of the globally recognized forestry or chain of custody programs. All patterns are hand silk screened with care on clay-coated paper. All left over inks from the printing process are salvaged and reused–nothing is wasted or washed down the drains.”



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