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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!


The_Smashing_Book_2

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.


THE GIVEAWAY!

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).


*********SUBMISSION TO THE CONTEST IS CLOSED*********

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

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Spreading the Color Love: Design*Sponge

Spreading the Color Love: Design*Sponge


The always lovely Design*Sponge has been showing a lot of color love recently and we're all for it! If you're not familiar with the curatorial prowess of Grace Bonney and her contributors I suggest you start with a few of these recent color lovin' posts.

gabriel dawe thread installations

Using over 50 miles of string, Gabriel creates dramatic, almost other-worldly installations that, from one perspective, remind me of sophisticated and elaborate versions of the weavings all Girl Scouts do at summer camp using popsicle sticks. - Read more

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Using Red on the Web: 15 Inspiring Sites

Using Red on the Web: 15 Inspiring Sites


We're still feeling the love for the color red, even after the being over saturated in it for the past couple of weeks leading up to Yesterday (Valentine's Day), hope you all are not sick of it.

For some web design inspiration, here are 15 red websites selected from web creme. Click on the palettes to get the colors.

The_Good_Shoewow_is


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Fabulous New Patterns - December 2010

Fabulous New Patterns - December 2010


This is only a small selection of liddle_r's December 2010 collection (browse them all), and includes recently created pattern templates as well a few patterns that have been around for awhile but deserve some love.

We are all so so impressed with the pattern designs that folks are creating with Seamless!

I've been collecting new fabulous patterns (templates) each month. Have a look at some of the great new patterns created in December 2010 and add your recent pattern designs in the comments.


Original Pattern By: mostlyabsent

old_school_cafe So_Different

USB_Key_Camp Vintage_Retro



Original Pattern By: mostlyabsent

takemefaraway juicy_fruit

Fine_floral_folklore organise_better



Original Pattern By: ycc2106

autumn_rain biotherm

assume_the_dye Invisible_World

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Web Color Trends - Buttons

Web Color Trends - Buttons


Selected from Inspiration Feed's "50 Examples of Pixel Perfect Button Design" here are 14 palettes showcasing some of the reoccurring color trends in web button design. Thanks to @joshuaschaible and @nickvegas (Grey Scale Gorilla) for sharing the link.


Rocker_Switch

Cclick_mMe




sprowty_button

sidebar_wtextures


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The Colorful 'World of Warcraft'

The Colorful 'World of Warcraft'


World of Warcraft, the uber-popular 'massively multiplayer online role-playing game', has been mesmerizing people since its release in 2004, maybe even longer: the Warcraft world has been around since 1994. With over 12 million users reported in October 2010, and with those users logging an amount of hours of game play that would frighten and intrigue any social scientist, we're beginning to think there is more going on than just a series of never-ending quests, maybe people are there simply to enjoy and take in the scenery of the virtual landscapes and each zone's unique color palette.

So, recommended by one of our members who "especially likes the pastels of "Skywall", as well as the teal and tan of "Thousand Needles""--and supported by many, I suspect, we're exploring the colorful world of the latest expansion, Cataclysm, for inspiration. If you're looking for more, check out where all these screenshots came from, MMO Champion or on WoW wiki.

Post your World of Warcraft inspired palettes, colors and patterns in the comments.

Orgrimmar Eastern_Plaguelands

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Inspiration - 'A Memory' by Yee Wong

Inspiration - 'A Memory' by Yee Wong


Coming to us via The Post Family, 'A Memory'  is a series capturing specific moments and feelings using color.

A Memory is a piece that expresses the moment of joy while I am creating. I want to capture my feeling in the moment I have it and express it in different color and shape while I am creating the piece... - Yee Wong

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Coloring In Your Personality: What's Your Color DNA?

Coloring In Your Personality: What's Your Color DNA?


Brought up here in the COLOURlovers forum, the PersonalDNA site allows you to decode your personality into a color palette. Who wants to make buttons? If we were to all wear our personal color codes just think how quickly we could recognize like minded people. Or maybe some things are better left personal.

PersonalDNA is "an innovative new personality test that combines thorough scientific analysis with novel questions and response techniques. The result is a fun test that provides accurate, detailed feedback. Are you an "attentive thinker"? A "free-wheeling artist"? Find out which one of our 256 personality types matches you, and get details that go beyond those categories, plus suggestions on how to be different—no two results are alike. Then compare your results to your friends' personalities, and see how well you know each other with our psych you/psych me feature."

Find out your color DNA. Are you a____?

(hover over any color to reveal the name)


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Happy Black Day!

Happy Black Day!


There should be more color holidays... granted Black Friday doesn't have much to do with color, so much as it is the firing of the starting pistol for holiday shoppers. The closest relevance to the color black comes in the day's connection to putting businesses in the "black," which at least has to do with ink color.

Black Friday, in the United States, is the day following Thanksgiving. It signifies the beginning of all-out consumer madness: the Holiday Shopping season.


The Searcher

There are a few historical tidbits related to how the name 'Black Friday' came about. From Wikipedia:

As a term it has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the nineteenth century, where it was associated with a financial crisis in 1869. The earliest known reference to the day after Thanksgiving was made in a 1966 publication in Philadelphia:

JANUARY 1966 -- "Black Friday" is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.

Black_Friday_Cometh Black_Friday

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Inspiration: Minimal, Almost Nonexistant Color

Inspiration: Minimal, Almost Nonexistant Color


Color: simplest of objects; most complex of subjects.

colors. i like the almost non existing ones. just tiny bits of color - grijs

grils is a blog of beautiful things with color that is hardly there, yet still leaves a lasting impression. A fine place for inspiration. Post your latest minimal color palettes in the comments.







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