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The light bulb at Microsoft finally turned on…

lightbulb

A little bulb hanging somewhere over a manager’s desk at Microsoft has finally shed enough light that somebody with half a brain could read the memo that Apple, and many other service companies, have understood for years.

The race to the bottom yields nothing worth having.

Users of Microsoft’s “Unlimited Storage” OneDrive service found out that they’re hosed, and going to have to find somewhere else to store their terabytes of pirated movies.

Folks, there’s just no such thing as a free lunch. There are plenty of free services out there, but even companies the size of Google kill products and services with little warning. Others may start out free, or offer something too good to be true, but come to their senses shortly after you decide it’s critical to your workflow.

If you find a service valuable, pay for it.

Results are in: The pen IS mightier than the keyboard

pen-mightier-than-keyboard

Educators are eager to know how the computers popping up in their classrooms actually affect student learning. A recent study published in Psychological Science confronts the issue head-on.

The results of the study come to no surprise to me. People who hand-write notes are more likely to process the information as it comes in (and have a much easier time recalling the information later), compared to those who basically sit there and transcribe an entire lecture or presentation on a computer.

I compare the results of this study to logo design. Even with all the modern software & hardware technology making it easier and easier to create on your digital devices, you still get better results when you sketch your logo design concepts on paper first. There’s just less distraction with the process. You don’t get hung-up on colors and precise layout when you sketch on paper, which leaves your mind to focus on the basic concept.

Yet another example I can think of is that I find that when I have a client meeting, I’m better able to understand what a client is asking for when I limit my notes to a few high-points (or not take notes at all), than when I used to basically write down every word they said. I learned over time that it’s better to HEAR what a client is saying, not LISTEN to what they’re saying. When you’re taking notes, you’re listening to what they say, but you’re not really hearing them.

Does a logo design NEED to work in black & white?

Great article! The days of a logo design NEEDING to work in black & white are long-gone. That being said, a great logo design WILL work in black & white—perhaps with a little modification. So if your logo doesn’t work in black and white, perhaps you should re-think it.

While the linked article goes against my advice on creating a logo you can live with and still get paid, I still stand behind what I wrote back in 2008.

10 Photoshop alternatives

Affinity Photo is one of the few image editors outside of Photoshop that supports the CMYK color space, so it’s the only one of these apps that I would call a true Photoshop alternative for designers. The $49 price tag ain’t too shabby, either. Of course, if you’re a web designer or photo hobbiest, you have a ton of options—including the excellent Pixelmator.

Filed under: I’ll believe it when I see it

Epson has released the EcoTank series of printers, which claim to be able to run for nearly two years without having to replace ink cartridges (with an average run of 60 color and 30 b&w prints per week). The only catch being that you’re going to pay $400-$500 up front for the printer.

My problem has never been that Epson printers cost too much or don’t print ENOUGH. My problem has been that the cartridges clog or expire LONG before the ink cartridge runs out. EVERY. DAMN. TIME!

So file all this happy horseshit under “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

How to export InDesign layers as a layered PSD file

InDesign to PSD

InDesign Secrets shared this excellent InDesign script that converts your layered InDesign file to a layered Photoshop file. Mike Rankin takes you through the simple steps in the article, but I’ll tell you from experience that this is the sort of thing that is best left to designers who are obsessive about details like naming and organizing their layers, regardless of what program they’re working in. And as Mike points out, this is something that is best left as the “final” step—as you won’t know (or have a whole lot of control over) what remains editable after the conversion.

Ideal image sizes for your social media posts: It’s actually really complicated

Social media image sizes

Who would have thought sharing an image on social media could be so complicated. After all the particulars, it appears that it boils down to using 1024×512 for horizontal images, and 800×1200 for vertical images.

It surely helps to scale and crop your images to the perfect size for each social network, but the bottom line is that if you share compelling images (or pictures of Kim Kardashian’s ass), people will click and open the full size image anyway.