Contest & Book Feature: Clients From Hell

Contest & Book Feature: Clients From Hell


Clients From Hell, the perfect follow-up book to our more recent giveaway the Smashing Book #2. For any of you in the design industry be it graphic, print or web - you will truly appreciate the contents of this book with tears of laughter. I do hope they make a desk calendar next, it would make an excellent stocking suffer!

Having worked in the design industry, encompassing all of the above, both in the office and freelancing, I can truly find a place in my heart and a special spot on my desk for this book. I can't put it down actually. It brings back those memories at the office where my boss's most frequent design direction was, "Just make it fabulous!" the sad thing is, I learned how to design around that comment. I learned to put more gold, more frill and use fancy nonsense words in our designs for a cruddy product I didn't truly believe in - at least with the way the company was directing it.

At this point in my career, my brother and I were the website and design team - he was the programmer/coder/tech support guy (as do all small companies swamp their "computer guy") and I was the font-end designer of web, print and graphics. We shared an office and could probably write our own hilarious novel re-capping the many ridiculous meetings we came out of from that place. Yes, we even got the,"I want you guys to create a MySpace, Facebook combination, BUT for sports! This is going to be such a big hit! Google will want to buy it from us!" I believe this is about the time (2006-2007ish) when Google and Yahoo were buying out popular web apps and people were going crazy trying to develop the next big thing... I'm sure my bosses were not the only ones thinking they would have the next big thing.

"We’re going to leave Zuckerberg in the dust and think about how much he makes every year. Are you in or out?" - clientsfromhell.net

So I'm on a tangent with my story, but this book brings back the reality of those days - chocolate covered in laughter and makes me question how I kept my sanity working for those guys. Some of you may have similar memories of the things your bosses or clients may have said. Some of you are probably living it daily or still get those types of clients if you're a freelancer. It's never-ending.

"Isn’t it as simple as putting in a button to select different languages? Just look at Facebook." - clientsfromhell.net

CONTEST: Design a Pattern From Hell

Did I mention that I have THREE (3) books to do with what I please? Yep! I begged for 3 extra copies (not like I'm giving up mine!) to do a contest with. So without further adieu...

To honor all those design veterans and those of you still being tortured by clients and bosses similar to the ones from this book, we are going to do a fun contest! The rules are simple:

1. Design a NEW PATTERN using the COLOURlovers Seamless Pattern Maker (you must be the creator of the pattern).

2. Color it using the Clients From Hell color palette (consisting of red, black and white ONLY).

Clients_From_Hell

3. Submit your entry by copy/pasting your pattern badge in to the comments - code is located on the right side under SHARE THIS PALETTE when you are viewing your pattern (or palette or color swatch). It is REALLY important that you follow this step, as you need votes (aka LOVES) to win and I need to be able to link to your contest entry pattern.

4. Include your own client from hell experience and/or find a favorite from clientsfromhell.net (make sure if you use one from CFH.net that you let us know by linking or mention please).

And the winner...needs to get the most LOVES!

A winner will be picked with the most LOVES on their pattern. So make a really super cool pattern, make all of your friends and family cookies (if you need bribery) and tweet, facebook or whatever you need to about your pattern. Get some love!! Hey you could even paste it on your fellow lovers profiles to ask for loves... just saying.

The contest will run 7 days - Tuesday to Tuesday. That would be Today, Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 - midnight Tuesday, March 29th, 2011. Results should be posted no later than Wednesday, March 30th. You must be a user to play (so SIGN UP if you need to), make sure your email notifications are on as I will need to contact you to collect your address to send you your book. Feel free to send me a love note if you have any specific questions on using the Seamless Pattern maker, etc.

update: Let me clarify.... you don't literally have to make this a pattern FROM Hell. :) Just make a super cool pattern limited to the color palette.


If you must have this book now, you can also order it on Amazon.com here (available in both print and on the kindle)...annnnd if having the book just isn't enough, there are a few other funnies you can get from the CHF store here.


And just because I can't get enough of these...

"I’m not trying to be cheap, I just don’t have that much money." - clientsfromhell.net

“I want the visitors to have a fresh experience each time they visit. So, I want you to design atleast 25 different websites so that every time they visit they will get a new experience.” clientsfromhell.net

“In the interests of working together, I would appreciate it if you could do this free of charge.” clientsfromhell.net

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Contest: Be the next Michael Miller Fabrics' License Designer

Contest: Be the next Michael Miller Fabrics' License Designer


What an amazing opportunity for you! One of our great partners, Spoonflower.com is joining forces with Michael Miller Fabrics to find their next license designer for the Michael Miller Fabrics' line. This is an opportunity of a lifetime! Check the full details on projectselvage.com. CONTEST ENDS MARCH 24th

There will be 10 finalists not to mention an ultimate WINNER. Finalists get some great goodies!

  • * $100 Spoonflower Credit
  • * 10-yards of Michael Miller Fabric (chosen by finalist)

While you might be sitting there thinking, well I don't have design software at my fingertips, actually, you do...and for free to boot. If you don't already know about it, COLOURlovers.com has it's very own Seamless Pattern maker on hand, on site. Just go to Create > Pattern > Design a Pattern (see below image).

While you are probably going to find it a tough competition if you've never used this type of design tool before, this is an opportunity for COLOURlovers who already create some pretty fantastic work with this tool to utilize their talents and maybe win big. Do make sure you read the rules to enter throughly.

We would love to see any design you submit, so please by all means post it in the comments. Good Luck!

If you don't plan on submitting anything, please feel free to post your own Michael Miller inspirations related to the contest.

 

 

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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!


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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Latest Site & Blog Features Out

Latest Site & Blog Features Out


If you haven't noticed, we've made some site updates you may really want to know about!

.The Site.

ACTIVITY FEED + NOTIFICATIONS

So what is your Activity Feed and how does that relate to Notifications?

Everything you do at COLOURlovers.com and how you know what everyone else is doing in regards to what you're interested in. It will really enhance the social aspect of COLOURlovin, I know it has for me ten times more than before - I finally feel a sense of community going on.

Just like Facebook, you can choose to be notified by "real" email about palettes, swatches or patterns that have been loved and/or fav'd, love notes, responses, blog comments and responses, etc.

The settings do not automatically take effect, you must be logged in, then go to your ACCOUNT (up top between your mini avatar and love notes)...

 

Then go to your NOTIFICATIONS and have at it. Features used to only be available in-site or not at all, so this is a pretty spiffy and much needed update! Thanks CL Developers!

.The Blog.

RSS FEED

While the Activity Feed and Notifications my have been pretty obvious, I bet you didn't realize we made a small change, but big improvement to the blog channels RSS functionality.

You can now subscribe to each channel separately! Because our topics and readers are so diverse, this should help out a lot.

You can still RSS to the entire channel list by using colourlovers.com as your feed link in say Google Reader, or by using the RSS subscription tools to the right of each post (see the yellow highlighted area):

BUT....if you're like most people, you might only want to follow the PRINT channel - let's use that as an example.

I use Google Reader. There's just one little step to getting the correct link to put in to your subscription feed. The easiest way to get it, is by selecting CHANNELS from the top navigation menu, then select PRINT (or whatever channel you wish to follow independently)....

Next, grab the link from the browser bar. For our example, it should read clean, "http://colourlovers.com/print" (see the yellow highlighted area below).

Paste this link in to your Google Reader, "add a subscription button"...

And you're done! Do this for each channel you want to follow independently.

~~~~~~~~@@@~~~~~~~~

That wraps up the latest changes pushed out in the last couple weeks.

Enjoy!

*Header Pattern:

Grandmas_Raincoat

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COLOURlovers {Mention} in BRIDES Magazine!

COLOURlovers {Mention} in BRIDES Magazine!


This months BRIDES magazine mentioned COLOURlovers.com and our partner Spoonflower.com on page #104. Thanks to Research Editor, Yelena Moroz, for submitting us on the Editors Picks - THINGS WE LOVE spotlight.

BRIDES magazine {February 2011} issue is dubbed, the COLOR issue and beholds a lot of fabulous colorization tips and products.

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Here's a Way on Wednesday: Organizing Etsy Patterns Usefully

Here's a Way on Wednesday: Organizing Etsy Patterns Usefully


If you ask my husband, he'd tell you I'm the last person to ask about organizing my craft space, but I promise, I do have SOME nooks of organization amongst all my madness! One of the most recent additions to the actual organized areas of my craft-mess are my Etsy.com sewing patterns. I started a recent habit of buying some simple sewing projects from Etsy.com sellers and some of them tend to verge on e-book status of 12-20+ pages each, and that may or may not include the pattern pieces too. So after having about five different pattern stacks sitting on my desk, I decided I needed to clean it up a bit.... as I was clicking the button to buy another pattern.

You can do a number of no-brainer ideas to easily manage this stack. But I wanted to share what is working for me so far using what I had on hand in my office.

SUPPLIES.

  1. - 3 Ring Binder (thickness depending on what you want)
  2. - Clear Page Protectors
  3. - 3 Ring Hole Punch
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DIY - Twine Signs for the Home

DIY - Twine Signs for the Home


In 2010, using twine for crafty stuff was a big trend, and it 's still going strong.  I don't imagine the use of this classic craft material going anywhere anytime soon. It brings nature in to the home with a rustic farmy feel - something like Pottery Barn and Anthropologie.

This twine inspiration is from my mom. One of my Christmas gifts from her this year was a family name sign with the lettering done in twine. I am so in love with it! Although an extremely cheap project (or gift for that matter) it is very time consuming. I guess that statement might be of opinion depending on the word and letters you have to deal with. My mom did two family names, "FORD" and "BERMEA" - lucky for her she got out of doing my sister's married family name, "SUTHERLAND". That might have pushed her over the brink of sanity, especially after already having made two others.

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DIY - Rustic Wedding Cake Stands

DIY - Rustic Wedding Cake Stands


Let's face it, looking at your upcoming wedding expenses can be daunting. As you may know, this past June, my younger brother, Sam got married to his lovely wife, Emily. My mom and I were in charge of mostly everything; decor, food, planning and coordination, and I can say, a bit of planning helped them move through the major expensive decision so that they made it to the wedding day with everything, including the budget, in order. Things like invitations, cake, flowers and such, can all be expensive but one of the bigger expenses is always the cake, which I will focus on here.

The Backstory.

When it came down to the nuts and bolts of the getting the cake, Sam and Emily really couldn't care less about having a lavish 8-layer tower extravaganza. However, they did want gourmet flavors as opposed to the standard buttercream frosting, bleh. They wanted the divine Tiramisu with silky, melt-in-your-mouth cream frosting; the Chocolate Chip layered chocolate cake with yummy chocolate whipped cream frosting, etc., etc. You get the picture. They were all about flavor vs. presentation. Which was fine, but left me trying to make their budget work with the gourmet price.

I could easily have fit one of the available wedding cake packages in to their budget, but it meant they were only going to have either a 2-tower (10" bottom and 6" top) gourmet wedding cake, plus two smaller side sheet cakes for around $300, or a 3-tier (10"-8"-6") and no side cakes for about the same price. Not really much for your buck, and we needed more cake than that. This is when Sam and Emily told me that maybe we could do something different with the cake rather than ordering one of the wedding packages, because they didn't really care about having a tower-style cake arrangement.

Planning & Comparing Cost Saving Ideas.

Here's where the creative part had to work. I came up with a brainstorm after Emily mentioned that a regular order for an 8" gourmet cake was only $18-26. All I needed was an attractive and inventive way to lay out the cakes. There are plenty of bakeries doing these sort of designs but using lots of floral (more floral ups the expense so I kept thinking). The goal was to do something that would present the multi-tier the cakes in a nice presentation.

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Here's a Way on Wednesday: Painting Dots the Easy Way

Here's a Way on Wednesday: Painting Dots the Easy Way


DOT: A tiny round mark made by or as if by a pointed instrument; a spot. - thefreedictionary.com

This is such a simple method that I always think everyone already knows how to do it, but I think that's just me, who comes from a crafty background. Growing up we were constantly exposed to art, painting and crafts of many variety so things like this come by second nature without a thought. But then the thought did come to me that some of you may not realize how fast and easy a project can be when you're adding painted dots - which you might be dreading. Dread no more!


image credit and copyright raysto on flickr.com

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