30 December 2005

[42] Thanksgiving in December

Most people think thanks 'round the end of November, but for me it's the New Years that causes me to put on my Janus face.

In the work I've got to do to keep us in house and The Wife™ supplied with diabetes meds, I tend to work holidays. Holidays, as I like to say, are for other people; when most of you who deign read my small ramblings are looking forward to a party of time off, I have get read to go off to do the drudge.

In a way, this is liberating. We celebrate our holidays our way. We had our home Christmas two days after most of the rest of you, and I use New Years not to make resolutions but to look back on the year before and think thanks and kindness about those who've helped smooth my way and those who have done what they could to remove obstacles thoughtlessly thrown in my way by others.

Thanks, then, to the following:

Pariah S. Burke. I've written about him before. He has the site I Am Pariah, where you can see his work; he's had nearly 20 years experience as a creative and has done many of the things I wish I could do. He has been my accidental mentor, and I am in his debt to be able to say that. He's given me the chance to write professionally through QuarkVsInDesign and Designorati. Indeed, if it weren't for him, there would be no such sites and at this point, it's enough to say that I've helped. Thanks to Pariah, I've done actual editing work on an actual book, and my name's in the credits. That alone is more than I've ever done before and it was a hell of a lot of fun.

We are now building Designorati (and I'm thankful for the Team there; you all know who you are) and are steadily gaining altitude. I got in on the beginning and am using it to push my own envelope.

I am doing about as well as I can as a designer without actually having a steady design job (got some irons in the fire though) and that keeps my hopes up and keeps me honing my own craft. And Pariah isn't the only one who's helped, but if it weren't for him, I would be a lot more desparate and discouraged. As it is, I stay hungry. And it's thanks to this unique individual. Thanks, Pariah.

The Wife™ We have about the number of bickerings you'd expect out of marrieds but we get along famously and no matter how we feel about each other we can't imagine life without the other. You can't have the good without the bad, but when you have the bad you always remember that after working through the bad the good's coming.

She's looking for work so I can spend more time looking for design employ. Send her good wishes, will you?

My other friends There are a few friends, especially from my SCA days, that I don't mention enough. Latterly there are two, Leslie and Friday, who have shot me emails and I have yet to answer them (If you're reading this, guys, I know I owe you email replies). Particulary Friday, who I appreciate not nearly enough, keeps an eye out for job openings (thanks for the ref to Columbia Sportwear, Friday!).

Team:Designorati Go to this link, will you, and look at who I get to hobnob with. This is why I'm luckier than most of you.

People who have linked to me Is it a popularity test? Maybe. If so, I'm not playing it well, but I have some pretty special people linking to me, including a couple of heroes. Stan springs to mind because he always is very nice to me and sometimes includes me in some neat things, like Zrharc!. Jeff Fisher is also another person I'd like to grow up to be. He was one of my inspirations to go into design and now that I'm here, he linked to me (defn:nifty). Homopoliticogeek was the first person to link to me, and he comes and goes, but I'll always be grateful for that link because he just did it, didn't tell me or beg for reciprocation, and that's flattering. Stumptown Confidential, pril, Mover Mike have always been extraspecialnice to me and I appreciate that. It makes me feel like I'm liked around here.

There are many others who've pulled for me in their own special ways. If I forget to mention you, it's 'cos it's late in my day, and I'm a bit cotton-brained.

Gerry Rafferty, in the dedication to his landmark album City to City (you know, it's the one with "Baker Street" on it), remarked thanks to all those who helped, and curses to those who hindered.

I'd like to echo that. I'll try to remember everyone I can, as I make my way forward.

29 December 2005

[logo_design] Intel, Leaping Ahead

So, it's the ashcan of history for the familiar old "dropped-e" Intel logo and the tagline "Intel inside". Now it's a new minuscule look with a jaunty oval swipe and the tagline "Leap Ahead".

You all are going to have to update your Intel-based jokes.

The new logo does preserve a link to the past with the traditional Intel blue, and the minuscules hark back to the old logo as well. The oval swash alighns with the baseline of the word "intel", completing the curve made at the lower left hand corner of the "l", and sweeps around back of the logo then comes back up front to connect with the new tag line.

While reviews of the new logo design have yet to trickle in, I had an interesting reaction to it; I was originally unconvinced that Intel needed a logo-level revision program, but now that I've seen the new logo, the old familiar workhorse seems dated. Perhaps it was high time for Intel to freshen up its look.

It's all part of a new branding overhaul that will eventually see the Pentium's retirement in favor of Intel's newer designs. I'm not that much of a tech watcher, so I'll link to a much better coverage of the shift by The Washington Post here.

26 December 2005

[design] Win A Copy Of Illustrator CS2 @ Work

Pariah S. Burke's, Illustrator CS2 @ Work is a brilliant bit of how-to, and I'm not saying this just because I tech-edited the book. Which I did.

Pariah is a local designer who needs no help from me, of course, but since I did tech-edit the book I got to road test the projects. They taught me some new things that I use when I use Adobe Illustrator today.

Well, if anyone's interested, CreativePro.com's weekly giveaway this week is a signed copy of Illustrator CS2 @ Work. Go here to enter to win one of five copies they're giving out (you have to register on CreativePro.com to enter, but that's free, and CP is a very useful site to know).

And, while you're at it, visit Designorati.com and see what we all have been up to. We do and do and do for you people, you know.

25 December 2005

[logo_design] Glacier Northwest

First, for a casual comment: I completely dig the Glacier Northwest logo.

Second, while you read the following comment, think on the logo itself. If you've never heard of Glacier Northwest, what industry do you think it's in? What product or products do you suppose it produces?

Now, the commentary.

The Glacier Northwest logo is a clever interplay of abstract form, letterform, and shape play. The star is an obvious motif here (not to mention something with a strong human resonance), but, if I can don my Captain Obvious cloak here, it goes so much farther.

The breaking up into individual shapes allows a great deal of play. The ends of the angles are drawn into the center, forming the distinct impression of a majuscule G (thus, of course, the initial of the company's name) in clever ways without actually forming the letterform itself. The opposite ends of the angles overlap the next angle, expanding (again, without actually constructing) the letterform's presence within the design and melding the two aspects (the star and the G) into one very remarkably good looking graphic concept. The extensions to the angles also give a dynamic tension in the design that suggests, to me, clockwise rotation or perhaps a spiral, which is amongst the most attention-arresting graphic symbols I know.

The name of the company is drawn into the logo by deconstructing the lower left hand starbuck (that's what the point on a star is, in case you didn't know) and extending it to become a stem stroke in the A in the word "GLACIER". The word itself is a simple, utilitarian, modern sans-serif, direct in communication, resistant to dating. The blue-green color evokes the color of glacial ice.

This is a captivating logo.

Okay, now I promised early on to tell you, if you didn't know what industry this company was in, to say so, but only after the logo was considered.

Would you be surprised if you were told that Glacier Northwest is amongst the largest, if not the largest, aggregate, cement, and allied building material concern in the northwestern United States and western Canada? Based in Seattle and with facilities across four US states and two Canadian provinces, it sells cement, concrete, and aggregate materials and building systems. There are a handful of Glacier Northwest sites in the Portland area as well as a major cement plant on the Willamette in Portland near Swan Island, easily identifiable by the dome-shaped building with the G-Star logo on all sides.

What's most notable in this light about Glacier Northwest is that its logo exhibits no obvious connection to cement, concret, or building materials whatsoever, and this is also a concept of logo design. Logos can make some direct or obvious connection to the industry or business the logoed company engages in, but there's no law that says they have to. It is an appropriate avenue, but not the only one.

What companies what Glacier Northwest seem to strive to do is to highlight, oftimes indirectly, some quality or impression they want to express about the company – some character attribute that is a decided positive. The star logo may be expressive of the self-view of a company that dominates in its industry: an industry leader, well-acknowledged in quality and market coverage. A star indicates primacy on a map; the five-pointed star, in particular, is the traditional denoter of a capital city.

On the other hand, someone in the company might have thought that having a star-shaped logo is just a darned good idea. Which, in my opinion, in this case, it is.

24 December 2005

[42] Many Happy Returns of the Season

There's too much arguing lately over how everyone's going to tolerate how other people refer to and respect this holiday season.

As a matter of fact, there's every reason to remember that not only did the Christians decide to celebrate the birth of Jesus during the modern month of December, but also many cultures and creeds in many countries the world over have, through history, jubilantly raised a candle to the dark in the depths of the short days and cold nights of wintertime.

So, even though I identify myself as a Christian (to be exact, a "lapsed" adherent to a creed who has a very scary looking man resembling Kris Palpatine as a temporal leader), I have no problem with the word "Holidays" (which evolved from the word "holy days" – will you people please crack a book?), Christmas, Kwaznaa, or whatever you want to do. Nobody's storming my house to tear down my Christmas tree and, if I so chose, I could go to any Christian church in America to worship if I wanted and I don't have to worry about someone persecuting me for it.

Trust me, Christians in America don't know from persectution. but I'm starting to digress.

So, everyone, in your own personal way, raise a candle to the darkness, live in the moment in your own way, and look forward for the spring, for that is what humans on this planet have always done.

Build community. Respect your neighbor.

And remember, an approximate axial tilt of 23.5 degrees is the reason for the season.

Have a happy 2006.

19 December 2005

[net_life, xmas] Alek Komarnitsky Does It Again, This Time for Charity

Updated 2005-12-19 21:37 PST

Last year, Coloradan Alek Komarnitsky posted a link to a page that allowed people from all over the world to come and play with his Christmas light set. Page controls allowed people (or so it was claimed) to switch on and off different zones of his display and play with the yard decorations.

It turned out to be a hoax, with a lot of press getting inexplicably mad at him. It seemed to go over well with the general public, though, who thought it was a good and funny 'gotcha'. I thought it was quite the splendid goof.

This year the King of Lights let me know he's back with a display that he says is quite real, no hoax, and you can play with it too. Four zones of lights and inflatable yard decos of Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, and The Incredible Hulk (don't make him mad!) that you can play with and frolic at your leisure (though I must echo his request to please don't make the neighbors mad).

An additional bonus this year is that Alek is using his display as a gateway to give people a chance to do a good deed. Celiac disease – gluten intolerance – has recently made the news. Far from being a 'rare' or 'formerly just European' (as I read somewhere) disease, it is only now coming to prominence. It is an autoimmune disorder with currently no cure. Alek's FAQ on the disease provides food for thought.

Go here to see Alek's current display and have much fun with his power bill (until 22:00 MST (GMT -7), anyway) And then, if you're so inclined, click on the green donate button to help Alek raise money for Celiac research, which is, as of this writing, up to $3,160.

Light on, Alek.

Update: After telling Alek about my posting, he emailed me back. The link to the hoax reaction has been redirected to his defnintive page about the hoax phenom, and I've replaced the earlier pic with a new one from his archive, which has an "on/off" switch on the roof, which I think is a hoot.

His neighbors are actually quite supportive of his antics. As he said to me in email:
My neighbors are actually very supportive and have been great.
I would not be able to let the lights actually blink (in real life)
if this was not the case.
What a cool group of neighbors, neh?

More "power" to you, sir.

18 December 2005

[pdx_life] How I Hate It When They're Right

It's said that weather here in South Cascadia is, despite all the modern prognostication tools that exist, notoriously unpredictable.

I don't know if that's just reputation, subjective truth, or actual truth. I do know, as a native-born Oregonian, that once you think you know what's coming down the pike, there is a large chance that you are going to be hoisted up on one very large pétard.

The wind, we find, has introduced us to the wonderful world of minor home repairs – the wind took the metal cap off the chiminey. Now, we have to go up on the roof and look into things. Also, the commute into work tonight is going to be a stone cold pain in the exhaust.

Work itself is going to be an exquisite agony. I wish I could go on about it, but at this time, I have a strict embargo on news from the barely-bill-payer. Have notice that opining about that on the 'blogside gets you into trouble these days.

At least I have the next three days off.

17 December 2005

[Address_Nerd] Portland Signs: Burnside Street

From the so-far notional Field Guide to Portland Streets, I give you one of the essential structures in Portland's street Geography.

Burnside Street is, in its way, a street that runs through every Portlander, if only to give us our sens of place in the city – I daily run into no shortage of people who, when asked about where they live in town, without drawing a second breath, cite thier compass quadrant (NE, SE, SW, NW, N) before they say anything else – even those of us who call Baja Gresham home. In a strange way, it matters. Subjectively speaking, NE carries the upper-middle class connotation, SE is blue-collar working-class, NW is trendy apartment dwellers, SW is relative sumptuous hillside dwellers and uptown sorts, and N seems to be everyones poor relation. Your mileage will essentially very on this; the preceding are stereotypes necessarily, for reasons right and wrong. But it's all based on this street.

The reason for that is that Burnside Street, is one of the two essential spines (the other being the Willamette River) from which the address system of the vast majority of the three-counties of the Oregon side of the Portland SMSA depend. We humans order our world based on major points. This is one of them.

The namesake of Burnside Street was a early Portlander named David W. Burnside (d. 1887), a rather successful pioneer businessman and merchant. According to Snyder, He was a Vermont import, arriving in Portland in about 1852, and was the husband of one Jane Davis (daugher of the man Davis Street was named for). Amongst his other notable achievments is serving on the Portland City Council and serving as a volunteer fireman. He worked with Savier & Co, flour merchants, eventually partnering with Thomas Savier and eventually starting his own concern, Imperial Flouring Mills.

The precursor to Burnside Street was "B" Street in the original west side street plan, in what we call today the NW "Alphabet District", and was named for Burnside in the Great Renaming of 1891. Historically, today's downtown West Burnside was the rough end of town, known as Portland's "Bowery" when this was a much smaller town; as history came forward the areas of Burnside in the city's core became a place where homeless and jobless men and women "on the skids" lived, leading to a further uncomplimentary name: "Skid Row".

But Burnside, in its over 10 miles of length within Portland, wears many faces. The farthest west end – known also as West Burnside Road – travels up the gullies and across the top of the Tualatin Mountains, Portland's West Hills, near some of the most notable city addresses, not the least the great Pittock Mansion. East of the city core Burnside travels through a small commercial strip before disappearing into the undulating patter of Laurelhurst by the time one reaches E 39th Avenue, the upper middle class districts of the east 50s, 60s, and 70s, ascending one shoulder of Mount Tabor before reaching 82nd Avenue, then crossing I-205 into the modest homes, apartments and incomes of Baja Gresham, where it becomes the location of the Red Line (the oldest branch of the MAX system) until 197th at a place called by the Oregon Electric RR Ruby Junction.

East of 181st Burnside bends south, becoming successively SE Burnside Rd, and NW, NE, and SE Burnside Rd in the Gresham address system before ending at the Highway 26 junction on Gresham's east side. The address base carries on as a notional line straight eastward from there.

14 December 2005

[logo_design, pdx_history] Now, That's Tom Peterson's!

Does the word "Xonix" mean anything to you? Does the thought of a cheeful fellow with a laser-precise crewcut knocking on the inside of your TV screen exhorting you to "Wake up! Wake up" at oh-dark-thirty on KPTV tug at the heart strings of nostalgia for you? Ever get a free crewcut at 82nd and SE Foster on a Saturday?

Then you know of the Portland legend that is Tom Peterson. Yes, yes, I know it's "and Gloria's too!". That is true now. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. First, the logo talk.

The Tom Peterson's logo is singularly distinct and recognizable (see illustrative photo above right, click on it to enlarge). It's Tom. Smiling at you with his signature smile, the happy-to-see-you look that was his trademark, his face had become so familiar to Portland area daytime and late-late-show (and, yes, Portland Wrestling) viewers that he was the company. You didn't go to Tom Peterson's store . . . you went to Tom Peterson's. He could often be found there, especially during his weekend sales that turned the corner of SE 82nd and Foster Road into a happy circus of furniture, applicance, and Xonix television sales.

The treatment is what is called high contrast. Take any photo and winnow it down to the lightest light highlights and darkest dark shadows, discarding all other shades of gray. Tom's face rendering for his company's identity is a good enough example of high-contrast that it could serve in a textbook. The benefit of high-contrast treatment is that it enables the logo designer to render a very complicated symbol or design, such a human face, into a simple yet recognizable format that expands to Biblical proportions (again, see illo above) and can yet be reduced down to below postage-stamp dimensions (your business card, for example) and retain its recognizable features. It travels well (even to graffiti stencils and the pages of the comic Boris the Bear) and becomes an icon.

The distinctive type treatment, featured on the building and in ads, is also a graphic mainstay of the company's image, just as instantly recognizable as Tom's face.

Just like the fellow whom it depicts, the Tom Peterson logo is a winner.

For the Love of Tom and Gloria

And now, a bit of history.

Every major market in the country has their local advert heroes/cult figures. I recall there was this chubby guy in SoCal who sold cars, would breathlessly rush through his adverts, ending with "Se habla Español!" and "Bye Kids!", and there was Crazy Eddie on the east coast.

Tom Peterson was ours. From the mid-Willamette Valley northward, there wasn't anybody who didn't own a TV who didn't know his name, he was that ubiquitious. And, over the years, by doing what he loved – selling TVs, appliances, and home furnishings – with his trademark look, enthusiasm, and passion, he became a Portland mainstay.

By the time the early 1990's rolled around, he was king of SE 82nd and Foster, with the store on the corner (the current building), the big store on the north side of SE Insley St just east of 82nd (it's an Oriental market now) and a store about a block and a half west of 82nd on the south side of Foster (it was a United Furniture Warehouse until that chain folded, and now stands empty). For his weekend events he gave out free chips, hot dogs and sodas, free crewcuts, and had a trolley bus running between the three buildings so you didn't have to cross the busy intersections (that much hasn't changed).

Just as famous as his wares were the souvenirs. For a long time you could get a wristwatch with Tom's face on it and an alarm clock, shaped like a little TV set, with Tom's logo on the face. There are probably people still around Portland who have Tom's voice in the AM exhorting them to "Wake up! Wake up and have a happy day!" Yes, they really did have Tom's voice saying that.

Logo designers, take further note: you never know where your design may end up. Design accordingly. Anyway.

Coming into the 199o's, Tom was going well, with $30 million in yearly sales. If you date back to that time you may also recall another name "Stereo Super Stores". It was another local retailer, a chain of stores which competed with Tom in the TV and electronics biz. It wasn't doing so well, and the owners wanted to sell. Tom was doing well – why not sell to Tom? Tom wanted to expand, and the SSS owners wanted out of the business. Win-win-win.

Only, Gloria, Tom's wife, who had done the books for Tom for a very long time, had a bad feeling about it. Everything looked good, but something was amiss. She couldn't put her finger on it. She thought taking over the SSS was a bad idea. Tom, confident that this would be a good deal, went ahead and took the plunge.

The company pretty much went down with him. Within 18 months after buying Stereo Super Stores, Tom Peterson's was on the ropes, declaring bankruptcy. And, for a while, the only appliance store owner who'd ever been in a Gus Van Sant film sank from the Portland commercial landscape.

They say, in an old saw, you can't keep a good man down. And Tom is a good man. Tom regrouped. Family saw him through, and he set up once again, under the name Tom Peterson's and Gloria's Too!, giving due to the woman he ought to have listened to all along (though her face doesn't grace the building, nor her name, her visage has joined Tom's in the company logo and she appears in the store's commercials). The company is now organized under his daughter and son-in-law, but Tom, now in his 70s, still runs the show.

The store is kind of a shadow of its former self, but if you stand outside you can kind of hear echoes of the way it used to be. And, for the time being, the King of 82nd and Foster still holds court there. No 24-hour "Wake Up!" sales anymore, but the smiling visage of Tom Peterson still gazes benevolently over one of the busiest interesections in Portland, Oregon.

[metro_transit] TriMet Goes Biodiesel – But Just A Little

TriMet is going with the biodiesel. There was much rejoicing.

Well, I was thrilled. When I got into the guts of the press release, though, the achievement didn't seem so major.

Starting this month, TriMet is going to start using a biodiesel fuel called "B5". B5 has come down in price so that it's now economical to use. They're piloting it in 75 buses before using it in the whole fleet – of LIFT buses.

TriMet LIFT is the paratransit program, of course. If it works out in the 75 buses then they'll expand B5 use to the entire fleet – of LIFT buses. There are 210 of those. The press release makes no mention of when (or even if) B5 is to be used in the entire fleet, which would seem to me to make more of a difference.

B5 is rendered from used commercial cooking oils, and is a mixture of petroleum fuel and biodiesel fuel. 95% petroleum to . . . 5% bio.

So, TriMet is using biodiesel . . . plus! The biodiesel is being rendered from local producers (such as Kettle Foods) . . . plus! In a minority fraction of the fleet . . . minus. And only 5% of the fuel is actually biodiesel . . . minus. The release goes on to say that if the biodiesel LIFT bus test is successful they'd evaluate using it in the 611-unit main fleet.

I'd like to see them using more biodiesel and ramping it up a little bit faster. One of our economical problems is dependence on foreign petroleum, and this all seems a bit . . . casual. Maybe I just don't get it. I want to be impressed by this but somehow I just don't feel all that impressed by it.

09 December 2005

[42+1] Robert Sheckley, 1928-2005

It has been reported that Robert Sheckley, acknowledged master of and one of the deep thinkers of science fiction, has passed away at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY, at the age of 77.

A longtime resident of Portland, many know of him through the 1992 movie Freejack, which was a loose adaptation of perhaps his most famous novel, Immortality, Inc (1959). Though it was given a hard time by the critics it was a fun movie, viewable and re-viewable. Long admired by fans, he was also highly regarded by his peers; Brian W. Aldiss said of his writing that , at his best, Sheckley was "Voltaire-and-Soda", and Harlan Ellison opined that "If the Marx Brothers had been literary reather than thespian fantasists, they would have been Robert Sheckley."

In Science Fiction, Sheckley's name was great, and he was a gem stashed away here in Portland.

Find out more about the life and works of Robert Sheckley here (his official site).

[net_life, pdx_geography] Google Hearts TriMet

There's this thing that's all the rage lately, with all the net-based map services opening their APIs to the public, and that's called the "mashup": take their API, your needs and data, and mash 'em all up together.

TriMet's getting in on the act.

Google Maps (if buzz is any indication, by far the most popular API so far) has inagurated a new wing of the Great Google House 'o' Maps, Google Transit (http://www.google.com/transit). It is a beta test version, but the system that Google Transit is beta testing out, is our very own TriMet.

This is a TriMet PR coup and they know it; the requisite press releases have been sprayed hither and yon (I got one – anybody can, just go to the TriMet website and subscribe). Since it's beta test, TriMet asks that for serious transit planning to please keep using the o-fish-o TriMet Transit Planner for now.

It's worth a look though.

05 December 2005

[pdx_design] Portland Designers r0x0r!

Jeff Fisher, man in motion at bLog-oMotives, has publicized a worthy fact: The ominbus Designers Who Blog, maintained by Cat Morely of katz-i design, (who is, as is other designers such as Jeff and Pariah, much mo'smarter people than I) has been rated one of the top ten websites fo the month by HOW Magazine, an important design journal.

Why this is important for the local designosphere is that several of us local Portland-area designers are linked to from that 'blog. Amongst them, Jeff, Pariah, and Your Humble Servant.

There are others of note that you should also note. Read Jeff's post to find out which.

[logo_design, pdx_history] Well, We Won't Have Thomason To Kick Around Anymore

Gaze lovingly upon the logo, Portlanders. If what the Oregonian says is correct, we may be seeing the last of a long standing Portland commercial name: Thomason Autogroup.

Thomason has a storied history. Everyone who's watched a television in the Portland market in the last 10 years has seen one of the goofy ads (usually starring Scott Thomason himself), and the former logo, Thomason-head (cousin to Tom Peterson's head) that was ubiquitous anywhere within 20 miles of a Thomason dealership. The run of ads reached its zenith in the year-long "Greatest Car Commercial In The World" campaign, featuring Scott as the longsuffering dealer and Kid-in-the-Hall Kevin McDonald as a remarkably flamboyant video producer hired to helm the project.

Perhaps wanting to climb out of the pool on a (relatively) high note, he sold his stake to New York's Asbury Automotive Group in 1998. Scott's head left the logo as well. The replacement, while not having the obvious character of Scott's head, was effective in its way. Contained within the still-fashionable oval (which seemed to take the auto-logo world by storm when Inifinti debuted and still seems to rule) is, what appears to be, a road intersection at a hilltop. The green seems to then suggest countryside, the yellow, city. The intersection is, of course, a "T" intersection. The Thomason name is emphasized in the type with a mixed-case approach providing subtle artistry.

Though it lacked personality (as did the entire Thomason public face did after the Asbury aquisition) the logo itself is quite effective and I rate it as rather well-done. It's just – well, how can you ever follow Scott's act?

Since Asbury's entry, Thomason's stores have been – well, not so good. As this story (which you'll have to pay to read after fourteen days hence) from the Sunday Oregonian holds, Asbury has been quietly selling off the Thomason dealerships and should have them all unloaded by the end of the month. None have changed public names yet, though business names have been changing.

It is entirely possible, if not probable, that by the time 2006 is but a few months old there will be no more Thomason anywhere. The empire started by Scott when he acquired his dad Dee's dealership (Dee Thomason Ford, I think it was) will have ceased to be, gone not with a bang, but a decided whimper.

Goodbye, Scott. We scarcely knew ye – wait, I tell a lie; maybe we knew you too well.

(NB: anyone loading the autogroup's home page Thomason.com will note a nod to Dad in the page title: Deefault Thomason Autogroup Portland. I approve of the inside joke)

04 December 2005

[blog_life] The BlogPatrol Report

In which I highlight BP search terms that just make ya go...hmm.

Well, that's what we're assuming:
"wayne faligowski, born"
My suggestion: purchase QuarkXPress:
"how to bypass adobe CS2 serial number"
Uh, what was the question?
"does an increase in unemployment cause you to go inside the PCC curve"
Inasmuch as he's still unemployed, I'm thinking "no":
"victor boc flow of money is it any good"
Well, when I menched it, I meant "mentioned":
"what does menched mean?"
Where you are when you're not at the end of the world, but you can see it from there:
"Idaho Falls"
Slim pickin's this time around, I'm afraid.

03 December 2005

[logo_design] Unitus, Uniting Us

In 1937, the Oregon Telephone Employees Credit Union was chartered. With a name like that, it shouldn't be hard to guess who they considered thier core constituency.

That was 70 years ago. Tempus, as they say, fugit. Throughout the 1990's, the credit union sector grew mightily. Formerly industry-centric credit unions gradually grew thier membership until the names of many of them weren't quite such a close fit anymore. As it was known by the turn of the 21st Century, "Oregon Telco Community Credit Union" certainly was one of them. From a relatively select audience the non-profit had grown to serve many thousands of people in northwestern Oregon.

Clearly a change was in order. Also, the old logo (illustration, top), though well-done, seemed somewhat dated (my opinion).

Therefore it's apparent the company felt a complete identity makeover was the order of the day. The solution (illustration, bottom) is a study in clever and effective design with many strengths and few weaknesses.

First, the name: Unitus (pronounced unite us) is an obvious solution that I'll bet, by now, other people are wishing they'd thought of, but is as clever as it is obvious. Not only does it evoke one huge positive aspect of the credit union concept (bringing people together – credit union depositors are also member-owners) the word itself refers the word "union". The overall effect is one of community, of people helping people.

Second, and most important to me, the logotype design. This works on a great many levels. The letterforms are sans-serif, with a clean, modern sensitivity. The design makes brilliant use of pronouciation symbols (a/k/a diacritics) in the horizonal bar over the "U", indicating the "long" vowel voice (this symbol is called a macron, as I will refer to it ever more, so take notes).

Moreover, the macron extends by association into the yellow box around the initial letterform, which not only lives inside the logotype but allows the initial letter to be broken out of the logotype to form a logo all on its own. The boxing of the U also evokes unity, but since the macron and the rest of the box have necessary gaps, the U doesn't feel totally trapped.

The designer also tipped thier hat toward legacy in including a yellow color that is very similar to the yellow color of the spiral swooshes in the old logo, bringing a kernel of the past into a very dynamic present.

There are, as I mentioned, a couple of weaknesses. The box up front, while extremely insipired, promotes a crowded feel since there is room to breathe around all the other letterforms. The choice of a sunny yellow is also a potential stumbling block, but only because one then has to be quite careful about the backgrounds on which the mark gets exhibited. One application, the building sign, has the type in black with the yellow in the background and the macron and box reversed out in white, which works well.

These weakenesses, however, are easily worked around (as noted above) and do little if anything to harm the communicative power of a very well-done logo. Unitus is modern, friendly, and dynamic – and all you have to do to become a member now is to open an account.

Unitus' website is at the end of this link.

02 December 2005

[logo_design] Pajamas Media, Episode III; A New Robe

In the continuing search for identity that is the story of OSM/Pajamas Media, the new logo has debuted. It's been in the wild for over a week now, and reaction has been somewhat darkly humorous.

Logo design is a struggle to implant a message about one's strengths in the minds of those who view it, with an aim toward creating a memorable, catchy image – but catchy in the right way. It's quite possible to be catchy in the wrong way. Does PJM come off on that route? The individual verdict is in the eye of the beholder; the verdict of the public court seems to be coming in, and it's aim being political, the critical return tends to be opinionated.

But I digress. To its strengths: It is simple and memorable. The use of color in the graphic design and the type provide a strong unity. The image – a bathrobe – is an obvious reference to the fast-becoming-trite joke that bloggers do it in thier peejays. The diminishing curves to left and to right reinforce the center and seem to suggest technology in action the way the curved lines coming off the typical speaker icon suggest that bit of technology in action.

But it has remarkable weaknesses, and some of these make reference to the "10 attaboy" rule (it takes 10 "attaboys" to overcome 1 "aw-hell"). The graphic representation is obvious and rather cleverly done – but exactly what it isn't is a set of peejays. The radiating and diminishing curved lines have been noted by at least one blogger I've read to more suggest vibration (put in your own ribald comments) than anything else.

The 10-attaboys rule come up when one studies the rest of the site, particularly two points. Firstly, while the old circular brush stroke is banished from the logo it is not gone from the website. Dig, if you will, the following picture:

Note the ghost of the old logo behind the headlines list. This can still be viewed at the website, 'below the fold', as it were. Scroll down, you'll see it immedately to the right of the featured blog. This simply shouldn't be there, if this is a true rebranding; it doesn't relate to the new brand or logo, and anyone coming on the site would wonder what, exactly it is – and possibly conclude that it's an abstract pretty, meant to fill or activate the space.

The other major problem is the domain name. It's still www.osm.org. I tried punching in various versions of 'pajamasmedia' and 'pjm' into my browser's address bar and found that certain other commercial organizations already had them, so obvious lateral moves aren't that available, but something should be getting done to make the URL match the site's title. They have a scad of venture capital; maybe they should start negotiations with someone (NB: at least one of the variations of URLs containing pajamasmedia is not for kiddies or the easily offended – it's quite adult. Run your own tests at your own risk).

The damage is this: for a site that seems to position itself as a serious 'blog omnibus portal its branding and apparent PR strategy make it all look very amateur, as though they are flailing about looking for a way out of a silly mess that they really shouldn't have found themselves in to begin with. The site links to several 'blogs of anywhere from amateur to professional interest, but the site is driven by professional communicators, people who should know better. It's tough to take such a site seriously when they can't get their branding and logoing together.

01 December 2005

[pdx_life, blogs] A b!X From The (Recent) Past

b!X has mounted the compleat Portland Communique, restyled in a funky, deco-ish (and quite pleasing) way, at his old address of http://communique.portland.or.us.

(Via FURIOUS Nads, of course)

[design, tech] Two Big Announcments

Type designers and web designers alike have things to think about now, as two big names bring themselves up to new current versions.

Fontlab, Ltd licensed the code for Macromedia's Fontographer some months back. Fontographer, one of the big guns in the desktop font design world, went into extended hibernation with respect to the Macintosh some eight or ten years ago, but despite only being runnable under OS 9 was still quite popular.

Fontographer for Mac OS X has finally arrived (link to my announcement on Designorati) And, to further fuel Mac OS X smugness, is at version 4.7 for Mac users only . . . Wintellers only get a version 4.1.5. You can check 'em out here.

Naturally, the real big news of the day (in some people's opinions, anyway) is the release of Firefox 1.5. (Firefox 1.5, Madge? Yes, you're posting in it!) There are improvments such as drag and drop tab shuffling, redesigned preferences, auto updating, new options to clear personal data, more standards-compliant stuff. After falling in love with Safari when I finally got a Mac I got Firefox and it's gotten good enough that it's now my default browser. I still wish they'd beef up RSS handling; "Live Bookmarks" are a poor substitute (I have Opera for reading my feeds).
You can download it from Mozilla.com here.

28 November 2005

[zeitgeist] It's Just Another Color-Themed Day

Unlike (apparently) a lot of people, I was a little taken aback to find that the day after Thanksgiving, up until this year called "The-day-after-Thanksgiving", of "The-busiest-shopping-day-of-the-year", has been given the moniker "Black Friday".

Say wha'?

See what happens when I take my eye off the ball for a few days? Sheesh. I miss the old news cycle that closed down at night, but anyway.

For a day that held so much hope for retailers and the economy, "Black Friday" seems a pretty darned sombre name. Not that I could think up a better one; I thought "The-day-after-Thanksgiving" worked pretty well, and you don't mess with success in my world.

Then I saw the Wal-Marts. You know, the ones where people are lining up before dawn in thirty-degree weather to get in? And the appalling behavior in Orlando that hit the national news.

No, when people are lining up in front of Godforsaken Wal-Marts to buy stuff, then, I guess "Black Friday" applies just fine.

Oh, and if anyone's paying attention, please understand the following: There is nothing in a Wal-Mart worth lining up for before it opens. There never has been. THERE NEVER WILL BE!!!

In other words, if you're waiting outside a Wal-Mart before it opens to buy something, brothers and sisters, it's time you looked deep inside yourselves and asked yourself if you really need it all that much.

23 November 2005

[Address_Nerd] History in the Curbstones, Part II

Dig, if you will, this picture:

This is the corner of SE Woodstock Blvd and SE 53rd Avenue, facing WSW, taken late on a recent late Fall afternoon (which, of course, is not all that late, but for the early sunset, which is why the light is so low). SE 53rd Avenue is the small unpaved street in the foreground, and it ends in a dead end about 100 feet or so off to the left. On the right hand, and just out of shot, is Woodstock Blvd, the Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church across the street, and immediately left and out of shot is a small drive-up espresso stand. Less than a block east on the same side of the street is a Plaid Pantry store; the bluish building in the background of the shot is the Mike's Auto Parts store at 52nd and Woodstock.

Recall, a few weeks back, I noted that before the street name rationalization in ca. 1930, the area sout of division and east of 39th out to the city's edge had a different pattern than the rest of the city; numbered avenues ran east-west crossing numbered streets, all suffixed SE and based on our modern baselines of Burnside and the river. In this area, many streetcorner markings in the pavement date from that time, so, if you come to a corner and look down, you can actually see what the streets used to be called.

Woodstock is the 6000 block south of Burnside, so in the old system it would be 60th Avenue, SE; what we today call SE 53rd Avenue would be 53rd Street SE. Let's go to the evidence:

The curbstone picture beneath the sign is the marking you see on the street the sign belongs to. So we see that, as predicted, the curb (on the right) under the SE Woodstock Blvd sign says 60(th) AVE S.E., but the curb on the SE 53rd Avenue side reads, not 53, but 54 ST S.E..

A look at a map suggests that someone, at some time, needed to make a judgement call. Between SE 52nd and SE 57th Avenues on the south side of Woodstock Blvd there are three dead-end stubs. Today they are 53rd, 55th, and 56th. At the time they were made it must have seemed more appropriate to number it 54th; very close by, entering Woodstock from the north, is another part of SE 54th Avenue.

These pavement markings still exist in a great many places in S.E., and though we can't expect them to stay indefinitely, the city doesn't seem to be in a hurry to remove them, so there's still time to find 'em.

[logo_design] The Adventures of Pajamas Media, we mean Open Source Media, no, we mean Pajamas Media after all

This week, a blog network/portal site debuted with the name of Open Source Media. The site, an alliance of blogs and personalities self-described as conservative, chose a fairly slick looking logo: a dark cyan spiral paint stripe emanating from the majuscule O in the OSM, with the rest of the acronym punching through the spiral, the S seeming to be centered on it. The expansion of the acronym, "Open Source Media", lay below the M and aligning with its left stem stroke, was a dialed-back gray so as to inform the viewer of what OSM was supposed to stand for but not to distract from the trigram; it seemed apparent that from this display (as well as the website address – www.osm.org) that the OSM mark was to be the core identity.

It looked pretty slick, and in my opinion it's not a bad logo at all. It's got good eyeflow, divides and encloses the space interestingly, and delivers information.

And it immediately showed the symptoms of a raging case of Quark disease.

DTP maker Quark, if you'll recall, recently freshened up its image. Problem: it's redesign looked a heck of a lot like a number of already-existing identities (for back story see Gene Gable's commentary on CreativePro.com here, Pariah S. Burke's on QuarkVsInDesign.com here, Jeff Fisher's Logo Notions commentary at Creative Latitude here, or my own comments on Designorati.com, if you're a glutton for punishment (I also have one on somewhere here on the Times, but I think that'll be enough linkage for one article).

Anyway, it wasn't long before Quarkitis hit. Blogger Jonathan Miller, at this post on his political commentary site Blogoland, wittily and snarkily noted two similar logos – philly.com and Lucent Technologies. Are they similar enough to be plagiarized? Likely not. Are the similar enough to make OSM look unoriginal? Could be. That's kind of in the eye of the beholder – follow the links and judge for yourself.

The biggest conflict isn't the logo, though, it's the name. Open Source Media already seems to be in use: an independent journo who promotes a podcast through his URI http://www.radioopensource.com uses just that name for his site.

A combination of pressures – liability to the already extant Radio Open Source and general humiliation amongst them – have contributed to the site going back to its working title, Pajamas Media, a reference to the oft-forwarded remark that bloggers post news to the world whilst sitting in front of thier computers in thier pj's (the URI, http://www.osm.org, remains unchanged). The illustration at the head of the article is a screenshot of the logo as currently represented on the site's masthead, and is a clever and somewhat self-deprecating way of shifting identity. The new identity is typographical rather than graphic but preserves the colors of the original logo – the dark grey of the letterforms and the dark cyan go to the dots over the minuscule i's.

It's true you just can't check enough, and thorough research is a necessary thing, but one wonders exactly how much happened when a simple Google search could have turned up conflicts.

20 November 2005

[beaver_nation] There's Always Next Year

I give you the 2005 OSU-UO Civil War: living proof that OSU's season, as I thought, ended four games ago.

OSU Football is the only football I listen to on broadcast. This time, got up late, tuned in with three-something minutes left to go, heard the score and about two minutes worth of commentary, and turned that radio right back off, friends.

'Cos that, my babies, is what they call...

(Image borrowed from a site I found Google searching, copyright everyone, Star Trek belongs to Paramount, copyright this that and the other thing, copyright Paramount, please don't sue me Paramount it's only a joke. And tell Spock to stop mind melding with Coach Riley for chrissakes!)

18 November 2005

[pdx_geography] Exits on the Banfield Freeway

An interesting thing I found whilst going about lately satiating my craving for information on the Mount Hood Freeway was a bit about the exits on the Banfield Freeway (I-84) that I'd never noticed before.

Exit numbers, as many are aware, in Oregon are keyed to the freeway mile. The exit from I-5 to Keizer is in freeway mile 260, so the Keizer exit is Exit 260.

On the Banfield eastbound, in the stretch that rounds Rocky Butte to the east, the 82nd Avenue exit is Exit 5; it's in freeway mile 5. The I-205 southbound/Salem exit is Exit 6, the Gateway exit is Exit 7, the I-205 northbound/Airport exit is Exit 8, and the 102nd Avenue offramp is Exit 9.

But the distance between exits 5 and 9 isn't between three and four miles...it's only about 1.2 miles. Strange, but explainable.

It developed that the stretch of Mount Hood freeway from I-5 to I-205 was to be added to the Interstate system as I-80N (or I-84 as we have today), and the stretch of Banfield between city center and I-205 was to be dropped from the Interstate system, simply signed as US 30. The shift of the route, with I-84 and 205 "duplexed" from what is now I-205 and Powell Blvd to the Gateway area, would account for the "lost" mileage. The mileage on I-84 east of I-205 is reckoned as though the Mount Hood freeway was actually built.

This, friends, is serendipity in action.

16 November 2005

[design] Would You Believe...A Sudoku Generator for Adobe InDesign?

Over on Designorati, the inimitable Elisabetta Bruno, DTP doyenne extraordinaire, let us all know about a couple of free plugins from Rorohiko.com.

One is a nifty-sounding thing called "Place-auto-synchronize", which makes live subscription to placed files possible. That's cool enough. But would you believe they make a free plug-in that generates Sudoku puzzles for your layouts?

'Strewth! Go here to see it.

Meanwhile, over on Designorati:Photoshop, PShop expert Jeremy Schutz is producing a series of nifty little how-tos – bite-sized tutorials on little useful things, like how to get that pet-eye reflection out of your photos (a technique that was, per se, developed by one of my other Designorati colleagues, Sara Froehlich).

It's useful stuff, you people! Other people would make you pay for it, but we give it away–how cool is that?

14 November 2005

[or_roads] Oregon State Highway 1? Why Not?

During my lifetime, I've lived near a great deal of Oregon State Highways. When you live in eastern Marion County, Silverton-Mollalla-Mount Angel-Stayton and the like, State Highways are like the Force (insert lame joke here). They do bind the world together, and since one seems rather distant from an Interstate and even moreso from a US highway (none of those run through Marion or Polk counties), they define existence to a degree (I was born on a bluff overlooking State Highway 213).

One thing that might happen to the native Oregonian and map lover (myself, to be precise) is that one notices the subtle differences in usage and attitudes in the common arena. For instance I noticed, long ago, that surrounding states either called thier signed highways "State Route" (like SR 14 in Washington-I don't hear "Washington Hwy 14" often) or affixed the state name ("Califonia 1"). I also noticed a certain cachet about certain route numbers that migrated into the names of businesses along the route. When I was small, a lot of business along the Coast Highway called themselves "Hwy 101 [this or that]"; an old tavern on Portland Road in Salem just north of the Hazelgreen Rd-Chemawa Rd junction called itself "Flight 99" (even though it was adjacent to the old bed of Lake Labish-no airport in sight); the famous drive-in in Newberg still calls itself the "99w".

I also noticed that there is no signed Oregon State Highway 1.

That was not always the case. The early Oregon highway system not only had a State Highway 1 but also a State Highway 2. Highway 1 was roughly congruent to today's Pacific Highway (99, 99E, 99w) and Highway 2 was, at least in part, the highway west from Portland to Seaside, today's Sunset Highway.

In Oregon, highway numbers have a strange double life. There are two systems of highway numbers in Oregon; the numbers on the signs (what the average Joe Motorist things of as a State Highway number and what ODOT calls a "Route" number) and a so-called "secret" highway number, though I prefer to think of it as an inventory number (kind of like the stock inventory numbers grocery stores use on things they sell). For instance, US 26 and I-84 are still designated Highway 2 in the state inventory. Likewise, signed State Highways 99, 99E, and 99W are inventoried as Highway 1, 1E and 1W respectively.

Latterly, the state is resigning some unsigned state routes to give them state highway signs agreeing with these inventory numbers. For instance, the highway cutoff from the south end of the Boone Bridge in Wilsonville has a new name: State Hwy 551. And not many know this, but the route described by North Marine Drive past the Expo Center and North Portland Road leading to the Fessenden Six Corners in north Portland is a State Hwy: the Swift Hwy (named for the old meat-packing concern), State Hwy 120. When that one will get a shield is anyone's guess.

Anway, my point (and I do have one) is that if we can designate and mark these routes, why not establish the ultimate state highway cachet address: Oregon State Hwy 1.

Highway 1's are cool. Look at US 1, California 1. People remember these routes. It' be very fine indeed to give directions to a place and be fortunate enough to say "I'm just off State Hwy 1".

The only problem I see is choosing which roads to designate. Oregon is a place with great variety. Also changing route numbers is a tricky proposition; people know the current route numbers very well indeed.

I do have a suggestion: Hwy 99E would make a marvelous Hwy 1. We'd still have Hwy 99 (shifted from 99W) which is a cachet designation in itself. South of Junction City it could duplex with Hwy 99 to Eugene, then dance around I-5 through southwestern Oregon. That's just my idea, anyway.

I think it's time we had an Oregon State Hwy 1.

(Credit where it's due: the illustration I've posted is of Highway 213 northbound leaving Silverton (as Oak Street), and was altered by one taken by Chris Elbert and posted at the very find highway sign site at calrog.com)

[pdx_geography, history] The Mount Hood Freeway

A bit of the past, giving a glimpse of the future that could have been.

When the Mount Hood Freeway was being debated in the Portland community, government, and media arena, I was but a neat thing in elementary school in Silverton (motto: Because Salem doesn't have Gresham to look down on). Even then, at that age, I found anything Portland fascinating, and the idea of a freeway leading to Mount Hood just fired me up.

Of course, I didn't understand the difference between naming something after something and actually having it as a destination; when I was that young, I thought the Ross Island Bridge went to Ross Island, and I wanted to go there because I like bridges and I loved islands.

Back to the subject though; at the forums on the SkyscraperPage (http://www.skyscraperpage.com) a heavy regular going by the forum name pdxstreetcar (mad props, if you all please) went to the PSU library and found some old proposal graphics. It's a look back to the time when it was thought the freeway would solve everything, and that a dog of project would squeak by if you just threw a transit station or community center in.

View the forum thread here.

[blog] It's Jim, Again!

Jim retired his 'blog a couple of months back, cryptically.

It seems to have returned. Commentless, but Jim without comments is much, much better than no Jim at all.

13 November 2005

[blog, linkage] Tuning in Radio Gretchen

Two reasons to listen in:
  1. Designers are just plain cool.
  2. There are never enough pictures of kitties blissing out on catnip.
I give you Radio Gretchen.

09 November 2005

[logo_design] SprintNextel: The Power of Legacy

By now any Sprint or Nextel cell user is well aware of and dealing with the effects of one of the biggest mergers of recent times. In merging the corportate indentity, Sprint had a dilemma as well; how to graphically signifty the marriage of its organization with Nextel, one of the more liked brands of recent times.

In matters of design, illustration, logos, and communication in general, there is a thing best referred to as 'baggage'. This can be good (think Quaker Oats, with its health and corporate longevity connotations) and bad (think Microsoft and you think "Longhorn", "Long-wait", "Long March"...you get the idea).

Sprint seems to have seen that the challenge in marrying Nextel was to bring forward every good thing they could identify and communicate through the logo, merge the concepts, and let the new identity speak to the market of all the positive things that they want people to perceive them as carrying forward.

A logo carries great communicative power, of course, and since its impact is graphic, most people understand it as a symbol standing for something. Successfully factor in enough of the parts of a merging company's logo design, and one can imagine that the positives inherent in that design may well transfer over.

Given that assumption, take a moment to review the Nextel logo. It's simple and simply colored and designed. Clean black sans serif type on a yellow background. The pre-merger Sprint had a good logo but not one I'd consider great; while the whole assembly of abstract symbol and obliqued type create a dynamic tension that connotes speed and modernity, but it says nothing about what Sprint's business is, and I've always felt it kind of weak.

In creating Sprint's new corporate logo, it seems clear that Sprint wanted to leverage the positive connotations that the Nextel brand was seen to have, preserve a link to the Nextel name (which will continue as a Sprint brand) but reflect the fact that Nextel is subsidiary–the Sprint name is still predominant.

The solution to bringing the Nextel identity in is simple and elegant. By adopting the Nextel corporate colors, particularly portraying black images on a yellow background, the Nextel impression is preserved (and especially by the tagline "Together with NEXTEL", which cements the relation).

Sprint's own image is enhanced by updating its type ot a more modern, technological font as well. But the real genius in that updating is the rendering of a long-time Sprint trademark, the pin dropping (which has been a Sprint signature for as long as there's been a Sprint) into an abstract design that not only brings forward the abstract diamond shape but also clearly speaks of a pin dropping and rebounding from the tabletop, as it has in all those commercials.

I think the Sprint/Nextel identity update is as close to textbook as one can get to how to combine and bring forward corporate identity.

Heck, I wish I'd of done it.

[sundial_life] Favorite T-Shirt Seen at OryCon 27


07 November 2005

[Address_Nerd] The New Sherwood Addresses, By The Numbers

A while back I posted as to how the addresses in Sherwood were being changed.

A quick recap: up until this time, addresses in the older parts of Sherwood (those around Sherwood Blvd, south from the city center to about Sunset Blvd, and a little east and west of there) had an independent grid from the greater Metro metagrid. Pine Street and N and S Sherwood Blvd divided the old town area east from west, and West Villa St, Railroad Avenue, and Oregon Street divided north from south, resulting in a cross defining four familiar sounding directional areas-NW/SW/NE/SE.

Since then the new areas of town (mostly in the old Six Corners, north and west from Pacific Hwy, and south of Sunset Blvd west to the Pacific Hwy junction) have adopted the metagrid and have not extended the city address pattern. Presumably to simplify dispatch of city and county services, Sherwood decided to eliminate its traditional address pattern in favor of normalizing all city address areas to correspond to the county address grid.

That process is well underway. Very recently I got a copy of the new Sherwood address list, and there are a few more changes than merely the house number and the changing of all directional prefixes to SW.

The house numbers, of course, will be changing. A notional address at the corner of what was NW Washington Street and NW 1st Street in Sherwood Old Town would adopt either an address in the 15900 block of SW 1st Street or the 22400 block of SW Washington Street. Addresses that were once on NE Oregon Street, from the address baseline out to the city 1800 block, now run as 15300-14600 SW Oregon Street. N Sherwood Blvd, which ran from the city 300 block out to the city 1100 block at old Six Corners, are now 22300-21500 on SW Sherwood Blvd.

Those are mere examples, but reproducing the entire list is a bit much for the scope of a 'blog entry. But there are changes in city street names that can be listed and definitely bear mentioning. These follow.

SE G&T Drive will now be called SW Brickyard Dr.
This is, to me, an unhappy thing. G&T Drive is such a very cool name, and I'm sad that they feel as though they have to ashcan it. New addresses run from 14700 block to 14900 block.

SE Roy St. becomes two new streets: SW Upper Roy St and SW Lower Roy St.
With the disappointment that is losing "G&T Drive", at least we have this little nifty bit of local character. SE Roy St jogs at SE Willamette St, creating a discontinuity. The new plan recognizes this by making the north part (old addresses from the base to the 200 block, new addresses 22100 to 22480) SW Lower Roy St, and the south part (old addresses 400-1800, new addresses 22600-22900) SW Upper Roy St. Willamette Street still forms the division between the two.

South Sherwood Blvd to be renamed to SW Main Street.
South Sherwood Blvd was the logical (if not physical) extension of the main n-s road through the old part of town. On the map it appaears as though the old downtown grid interrupts Sherwood Blvd. Physically, South Sherwood Blvd acted as an extension of old NW Main Street into the south portion of town. This change applies the Main Street name onto the road that extends out of the old downtown core. New addresses range from 22400 to 23400.

NE and SE Oregon Street now SW Oregon Street along its entire length.
Not an unexpected change, but a welcome one, eliminating a rather silly confusion.

SW Park Row now known as SW Park Row Ave.
Apparently they're allergic to any but the standard street types. New addresses in the 22800 and 22900 block, formerly 500 and 600 blocks.

West Villa St (Rd) renamed to SW Villa Rd.

Old addresses in the 400-999 range, now in the 16200-16699 range.

And that's it! Enjoy your new addresses, you Sherwood people, and be prepared to give directions to cab drivers.

[design] Updating My Portfolio, 2005-11-07

As busy as it's been around here, I've been able to make the time to update my online portfolio with the lastest bestest stuff I got. This update includes:
  • A new and newly redesigned résume
  • The logo I designed for Designorati:Cartography
  • The logo I designed for Designorati:Graphic Design
Surf on over and check 'em out.

[design] Local Designers: Philip Obermarck

A designer you may not be aware of who deserves more notice is Philip R. Obermarck.

He's been doing his thing for quite a long time now, designs fabulous album covers, and gets to be married to this righteous Celt babe (go to her website and you can see his designs on her albums). He's also a darned nice fellow.

I'm sure Phil doesn't need my help to get known, but you know how you feel about someone who just knowing them makes you feel good–you want to tell other people about them. Phil's that kinda guy.

Click here to go to Four Paws Graphics & Web Design.

[design] GD:USA-Free Periodical for Design Pros

Now that I've skipped over to Jeff Fisher's blog, I note he's referenced a publication, Graphic Design:USA, that comes free to design pros.

After looking over the web page, I can see there's quite a bit of good stuff there that more than justifies the price (did I mention it's free?).

Design periodicals keep us connected to trends and to what's important. Also, they're just plain fun to read. Surf on over to GD:USA and grab you a free sub if you're kickin' it pro-style. Go!

[blog] Jeff Fisher's bLog-oMotives

I was extremely pumped to find that one my my heroes, Jeff Fisher, he of Logo-Motives, has not only established a 'blog of his own, but linked to this very own humble 'blog of meselfs!

The blog is bLogo-Motives. The name alone means you should be following it. Seriously. Bookmark it, people. Goes in my links list, of course.

[sundial_life] OryCon 27

Another year, another OryCon...at the Marriott on the waterfront.

Me and The Wife™ did Orycon 27 which, as of this release, was no longer at its longtime home, known variously as the Thunderbird Jantzen Beach, then the Red Lion Columbia River, then the Doubletree Columbia River, then the Thunderbird Hotel again, before being abruptly closed last April.

You may not have noticed it except in small bits in the Business section of the Big O. It was quite sudden. The hotel was almost literally cut out from under the OryCon Convention Committee (ConCom); the holding company told no clients or even employees. Everyone with any relationship with the hotel found out in the paper.

The idea, as was publicized, was to do some sort of renovation or rebuilding of the old facility into some sort of boutique-y, resort-y unit. More on that in a moment. What this is really about is the absolute triumph of the ConCom.

I believe that many organizations would have taken this as a sucker punch. In the short space of half-a-year, ConCom went from a body blow to mounting a successful Con in a new facility. That's not to say that there weren't moving pains-the elevators proved to be a bit of a bottleneck, and there was no obvious way to get from the Marriott's Restaurant level to the 3rd floor, where the hospitality suite was localted and just below the start of the guest room floors.

The buzzword here is 'vertical convention'. The spaces on LL1 and LL2 were made into wonderfully apt science fiction convention spaces but instead of a site that sprawled horizontally everything was up and down, and that was a bit disorienting for the seasoned OryConner. But everything worked out very well, the hotel staff was routinely cited as bending over backwards to accomodate the Con-goers, and by the end of the event, people were starting to feel comfortable in the new space and many were of the opinion that they wouldn't mind coming back next year.

The biggest liability is the lack of free parking, but there are Smart Park garages at hand (1st and Jefferson, particularly) which offer reasonably priced weekend parking ($12 for the weekend, just no in-and-out. We adapted).

Hopefully this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

And the old hotel? Word is that they wanted to build an eight-or-nine-floor boutique hotel on the site but, for some reason, nobody checked the zoning (I thought they had legal staffs devoted to this) and it now lays fallow. They have to chase off trespassers, I hear.

If we ever have a natural disaster hereabouts, the hell with FEMA. Just put OryCon ComCon in charge.

04 November 2005

[pdx_media, design] KPAM Shows Signs Of Life

So, I'm surfing over to check out the slow death that is KPAM radio–a shadow of its debut self, and a sad thing to see–and what do I see, but a new look and a new face!

The outfit may have something to say yet.

Regrettably, they still broadcast that thug Hannity and that bizarre bit of illogic Elder. However, they have debuted a show by a long-missed Portland radio legend...but I get a little ahead of myself.

The redesign of the website was welcome and needed. For what it's worth, I am still limited to 56K dialup. This means if your website is sufficently graphics-rich, it's not a matter of if my connection will dive, but when. KPAM's was a site that routinely made me reconnect and reload multiple times. The new webpage sports a cleaner, less complex (but still visually interesting...it can be pulled off, people) look, with a revision of the logo, which has a bit more punch and interest than the old one did. The concentric circles around the yellow disk hark back to the old logo, but the overall effect really does freshen the brand up.

The page features 'photos of the personalities' which are voice sound signatures, which is actually rather a clever joke.

The new face would be an old and missed one...Tom Parker. I remember Tom back from the days when KXL-AM 750 was still listenable, he was in the time slot that KEX had Rush Limbaugh in. Predictably, he was eventually gone. He's back, and it's welcome that KPAM would put a local voice on in afternoon drive-which is fairly competitive. In as much as he's competing with Mark & Dave on KEX, Portland's most remarkable afternoon team in many a year, he's got his work cut out for him. KPAM must feel that he has what it takes, however.

Unfortunately, despite the pull of Parker (and morning stalwart Bob Miller) KPAM still has the feeling of a cut-rate Fox News outlet with Hannity and Elder. But the willingness of KPAM to put Parker on in the afternoons suggests that perhaps they will be worth keeping an eye on. Maybe more changes are in the offing.

I'm certainly hoping so.

01 November 2005

[design] Shortcut to Photoshop Tutorials

Between creating content for Designorati, keeping my eye on the ball for upcoming freelance opportunities (yes, me! whodathot) and resting up from 10 hour stints at The Job Which Must Not Be Named, I don't get a lot of time to practice Photoshop. That's why I turn to tutorials.

I've used tutorials to make glassy, OS X-style buttons, make a cool microphone, and more. Scott Kelby's Photoshop books are dead necessary items in the toolbox. But sometimes you want to surf out to a site that'll tell you how to do this or that little effect, or just play around with teh hotness that is Photoshop.

Recently a query was posted in the Yahoo! Graphic Designers Resource Group asking for tutorial websites. User "Char" responded with a list that I thought was quite good.

Here it is, offered without warranty; where-is-as-is, guys.
Now, as I said, I can't guarantee thier quality; I've only visited a few. The myJanee.com site is a very friendly and sweet site, and very cheerful. Team Photoshop is great, as is Planet Photoshop. Additionally, if you want to hone your newfound gurutude, some sites–myJanee.com I am aware does this–hold Photoshopping competitions for bragging rights. Sort of like Fark.com without the gutter humor. No cash prizes but great opportunities to flex your PShop muscles.

29 October 2005

[font_design] Free Thanksgiving Fonts from Designorati™

Pariah S. Burke once again delivers the goods and gobbles with a selection of 13 free Thanksgiving-themed fonts. Turkeys, Puritan hats, pumpkins and pumpkin pies...they're all there, including one which really turned me on, "LMS Post-Thanksgiving Shopping", strewn with shoppers and credit cards.

They're available at Designorati by following this link the the post.

The fonts are all Windows TrueType, but never fear Mac addicts–there's a link to TTConverter15.hqx, which will convert them to a Mac-licious TrueTupe good for OS X and on down.

(NB:All fonts are free of charge, but are subject to the terms and conditions enumerated in each one's license, all of which are included with the downloads)

27 October 2005

[net_life] Fear The Wrigles

As you may or may not recall (or care), I documented the first hint that wrigles may have plans against the human race in this post.

Read it first. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Done? Good.

Well, as I just found out, someone has redirected the original "Dentyne Ice" entry to a more coherent article, one that has such vital components as correct spelling and grammar.

This can only mean one thing.

The wrigles caught the security leak and closed it. Unlike our government, they are quick and effective...

While it may put me in some personal danger, I intend to stay on the beat, following the wrigle menance until, Kolchak-like ('70's version, that is, not that poncy-*ssed -0ughties poser) I have documented it and end up a rumpled, careworn reporter banging out stories on a 1942 Underwood, such is my dedication.

It's a promise, people. Stay tuned here for the latest on the impending wrigle menace.

[us_politics] This Just In...Miers Is Out.

Just heard over the television and the radio...

Harriet Miers has apparently withdrawn her nomination for Supreme Court Justice.

Details will have to come from smarter, more well-connected people, but we just heard it here, just now.

25 October 2005

[sundial_life] Today, At The Mall 205 Target Store

Me: "I found the blank video tapes, hon™. They're eight for ten dollars."

The Wife™:"Eight? For ten dollars?!"

Me: "Yep. VHS is going out of style, you know."

[net_life] You must be --[this]-- tall to edit Wikipedia

Much has been made lately of the flaws in the vaunted Wikipedia.

I must say, at the apparent risk of a little potential embarrassment, that I have used Wikipedia as source material and found the articles I've referenced generally well done, if sometimes the writing is a little amateurish and stiltled. I understand these are people who care about what the write about, and I dont depend just on Wikipedia–that, indeed, would be suicidal.

But since my searches have so far been highly targeted I tend to go right for the wheat and bypass the chaff.

Comes to my personalized Yahoo! home page, the option to get a feed on new Wikipedia articles. Nifty, yes? Maybe no. Seems the warts and all dichotomy spoons all the warts on the new entries. Exhibit A (and only) (well, the only one I can stand, anyway) was posted just today, deailing an unnamed researcher's insight into the towering subject of...Dentyne Ice.


Dentyne Ice
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Dentyne Ice is a gum made by wrigles. Known for its "cold" minty flavour it is a favorite.

And that's it. That's all. Don't believe me? Go here, if you dare.

What can we conclude from all this?
  • Wrigles, whatever they are, manufacture Dentyne Ice, and, presumably, the rest of the Dentyne line. We know not what designs the wrigles have on human society. Fear the wrigles.
  • Since the words "flavour" and "favorite" appear in the same sentence, the poster is or is not in the UK (or the British Commonwealth), is or is not brain damaged, or may or may not be Madonna.
  • Civilization is doomed, doomed, utterly doomed.

[zeitgeist] Tragic Count

As of today, the 2,000th American soldier died as a result of the Iraq war.

Is it worth it yet?

24 October 2005

[pdx_life] Another Eastside Sign Code Victim

Facing east, SE Division Street just west of SE 164th Avenue, Approximately mid October 2003:

This was a noble old sign, back from the days when such places were where the housewife did the shopping. It just radiates Chevy Bel-air-tailfin-women in Capris-suburban '60s, don't it?

Sadly it, too, is gone. Seems the old Big Dollar Shopping Center is going through some renovations, and the sign is gone, replaced by a sign that is really not worth going out and taking a picture of.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

23 October 2005

[design_culture, humor] They do stuff.

Got a huge design budget and noplace to spend it?

Got the need to tell the world you have a ton of cash to spend on consultants?

Then go to huhcorp. Why?

They do stuff.

(PS:Bored designers have the wickedest senses of humor)
(PPS:I'm a bit behind the curve on this one, but it just occurred to me now to share it)

22 October 2005

[design] If You Do Layout, You Need Adobe InCopyCS2

I just finished an article over on QuarkVSInDesign.com about Adobe InCopyCS2. It's part of a 6-article series on Adobe's hidden charmer (Adobe InCopy CS2: In Production) at QuarkVSInDesign.

This application rocks my little designer world.

What is InCopyCS2?

Those who have read my pontifications here are aware that I use layout programs for design (see last article). Of course, in a production workflow, designers and layout artists do the grunt work of putting things on the page whilst editors, naturlich, direct the work and form the connection to content.

In small workgroups, say 2-20 (and maybe even larger ones) the workflow is linear and serial. That is to say, editors push content to designers who push proofs back to editors who change content or suggest changes which are pushed back to the designer. PDFs fly all around.

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, editorial-design interplay is better than its ever been. But, just as in computer hardware, the serial flow has its drawbacks, especially when working in a group where asynchronicity is the order and reality of the day. Thus we have editorial systems. Quark does, with Quark Publishing System, and Adobe does, with InCopy.

InCopy is a hell of an app, but, until this cycle, has been kind of tucked into the background, sold only as part of enterprise-level editorial solutions. With the release of Creative Suite 2, Adobe has liberated InCopy, which is now available as a stand-alone purchase. This is an application that every designer should know about and get if they can, and every editor of a designer who works in an Adobe workflow should have.

What InCopy brings to the table is simultaneous collaboration. Editors work on content while desingers do layout, leaving the layout sacrosact to the designer only. Instead of doing a change and firing off PDFs, it's all on for everyone-but the designer working the layout controls who has access to what via story and frame assignments.

The stories are edited in an interface that resembles the InDesign Story Editor, only with a supercharged hemi under the hood. The editor can delete text, mess with styles, track changes and save off deleted text as notes that travel with the file like sticky-notes, preserving them as alternative suggestions.

I can even use this as a single-user workflow, because the text editing capabilities of InCopy are just that good. The InDesignCS2 Story Editor is a huge improvment. Using InCopyCS2 in place of it just jacks up the copyfitting and editing capability to an insane level.

But I won't go on too much more here. Go read my article. See why this program is so exciting.

Like I said: editors, layouters, you need this program. You at least need to look at it. Yes, I could be an evangelist for this program. It's that good.

Quick Links:
And, a quick PS: After interacting with Layers Magazine's managing editor Chris Main to get the Scott Kelby editorial in my last post he asked that I link back. This has been done in the article, but Layers is such a darned good resource that if you design, you should check 'em out anyway. There is now a permanent link to Layers in my Graphic Design Links list in the sidebar.

21 October 2005

[design] Layout War II: Why QuarkXPress Has To Answer The InDesign Challenge-Kelby Explains It All

When I started learning Graphic Design, one of the first technological aquaintances I had to make was an application known as QuarkXPress.

A "layout" application, in the creative trade, is one of the designers most valuable tools, allowing a single designer to import textual and graphical content from a variety of sources into a file (for this reason I sometimes term QuarkXPress and its competition Adobe InDesign aggregators), lay them out as they will, and set and style type with incredible accuracy and flexibility–something that, before PageMaker and Macintosh created the 'desktop publishing' discipline in the 1980's, was the province of whole groups of people.

Adobe and Quark are, as every designer knows, the two giants of the design industry. There are many other purveyors, but just as the professional mechanic can be distinguished from the shade-tree mechanic by the presence of a "Snap-On" toolkit, the professional (or professionally-slanted) designer and layout artist can be deduced by noting that they use XPress or InDesign instead of, say, MS Publisher or even Adobe PageMaker. It is all but certain that any professionally-produced publication–from newspapers like The Oregonian and national magazines like Time and Newsweek to humble local and community newspapers–
were produced using QuarkXPress (and, increasingly, Adobe InDesign).

That this market-tussle is joined is, therefore, of interest to just about everybody who thinks about print. The layout application is the bridge between the creators and the publication you read over your coffee in the morning.

Quark's checkered past in the design world is a matter of history, and since I've commented at length about at length myself, I'll not recap it yet again. Suffice to say at this point, because of its own company strategy, past attitude, and apparent corporate culture (I'm hardly a Quark insider despite my activities at QuarkVSInDesign.com) Denver's Quark, Inc. is in a vulnerable position, and one it never thought it would be in; playing catch-up. They've changed thier public style and approach because they understand that thier complacency has starved the goose that lays thier golden eggs. Adobe's InDesign may not have the majority of the installed base yet, but it does have major mind-share now, and that will translate into an installed majority soon enough if Quark remained complacent.

Thus came the improvements; Mac OS X nativity, the price cut (XPress is still available at a lower price of $699 versus about $1100), the new logo and attentive public image, the addition (via XTension) of image tweaking and native Photoshop file import, the release of the 6.0-6.5 update as free to registered users.

XPress is now a better program but still has to do feature catch-up to Adobe, and still has a legacy of negative impressions to conquer.

Writer and Photoshop god Scott Kelby had the right of it from the beginning–back in 2003, which seems an eternity ago (QuarkXPress was still in a non-Mac OS X native version 5, and InDesign was in version 2-not quite yet the Quark Killer, but held great promise). What follows is a reprint of his editorial from the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of MacDesign magazine that was handed to me by an instructor at PCC when I said I was looking to equipping myself with a professional's tools. Its title, "Big Trouble In Page Layout Land" carries the tagline "How QuarkXPress has become the "Aldus PageMaker" of the 21st Century", which may strike some as quizzical, but he explains it.

This article is a key to understanding why Quark is where it is still, despite the price cuts, the retooling of its public face, its delayed arrival as a native OS X application and expanded feature set, and why everyone is looking to the still-unreleased QuarkXPress 7 to make it or break it. I still keep a copy of the column tacked to my wall, but for this post, I read out as a public service Scott's 2003 editorial for MacDesign, in full, with gracious permission from Chris Main, managing editor at Layers Magazine (which is the current incarnation of MacDesign).

Without further ado, then, Scott Kelby.
Big Trouble in Page Layout Land
How QuarkXPress has become the "Aldus PageMaker" of the 21st Century

by Scott Kelby, In The Mac Lane
MacDesign Magazine, Jan/Feb 2003
© Layers Magazine, used with permission.

If you read the subhead above and said to yourself, “Aldus PageMaker? Isn’t it Adobe PageMaker?” then it’s time for a quick history lesson. (On a personal note, I can’t believe that I’ve reached an age where I can now tell stories of how things “used to be.” Sad, isn’t it?)

PageMaker (the page-layout application now owned by Adobe) was originally developed by Aldus Corporation, and along with Apple’s LaserWriter (the first Adobe PostScript laser printer), these two started what’s now called (by old geezers such as Wilford Grimley and me) the Desktop Publishing Revolution. Back then (in the mid 80s—BHT [Before Hammer Time]) everybody, and I mean everybody used Aldus PageMaker. As with almost all groundbreaking graphics applications, for years it was only available for the Mac, but eventually Aldus decided to put their focus on creating a Windows version of PageMaker.

Unfortunately, at the time Aldus was focused on creating a Windows version of PageMaker, another Mac-only application, QuarkXPress, was starting to make inroads into the page-layout market by focusing on high-end typographic controls. Years later, when Aldus changed their focus to adding “long-document” capabilities to PageMaker, Quark found a way to extend the capabilities of QuarkXPress’ power using XTensions (their name for add-on plug-ins that could be created by third-party developers to work seamlessly from within QuarkXPress). So, in short, while Aldus was distracted with Windows and long-document capabilities, QuarkXPress pretty much pulled the rug out from under them.

By the time Adobe bought Aldus Corporation, PageMaker’s decline was in full swing, and the perception that “QuarkXPress is for pros; PageMaker for amateurs” was so ingrained in the design community, even Adobe’s major improvements couldn’t overcome it, and to this day, although Adobe PageMaker still exists (at version 7.0), it’s primarily seen as a Windows-based, small-office, layout program for creating newsletters, flyers, etc. It comes with loads of pre-designed templates because they know “if you bought PageMaker, you’re not a professional designer.”
QuarkXPress had won the war. Adobe knew it so they set out to create a new high-end page-layout application from scratch—a “Quark Killer,” that would complement their complete dominance in image editing (with Photoshop) and vector-based drawing applications (with Illustrator).

When Adobe introduced InDesign, it fell short of the “Quark Killer” many had hoped it would be, but it certainly was a promising first release. InDesign 1.0 included some high-end features that Quark didn’t offer, including tight integration with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
When version 1.5 was released, it was a major improvement on version 1.0, and it introduced more new features, but it still didn’t “kill off” Quark. Even though it now nearly matched QuarkXPress feature-for-feature, and offered some cool features that Quark-XPress didn’t, it didn’t convince very many longtime QuarkXPress users to jump ship, especially in the prepress world where QuarkXPress is firmly entrenched.


Why am I telling you all this? Because history has begun to repeat itself. For the past few years, Quark has been focusing on adding Web-design features to QuarkXPress, so users could take Quark-XPress documents and convert them into “Web-ready” documents. And QuarkXPress 5.0 actually does offer more advanced Web features than even the latest version of Adobe InDesign.

Here’s the catch: If Quark had come out with these features three or four years ago, it would’ve been a huge boon to Quark, but unfortunately, Quark delivered these high-end Web features after the “rush to the Web” had pretty much passed. Now, designing for the Web isn’t “the hot new thing;” it’s a regular part of a designer’s life. In addition, while Quark was focusing its energies on bringing
Web features to its page-layout application, Adobe was focusing on making InDesign Mac OS X-native, and adding even more features aimed at high-end layout professionals. I can’t believe I’m about to say this (because I had my doubts that it would ever happen), but with InDesign 2.0, Adobe has actually “PageMaker’d” Quark.

Although Quark, Inc. is a privately held company and doesn’t release official sales figures, the word on the street is that sales for the Mac version of QuarkXPress 5.0 (Quark’s latest release, which STILL isn’t Mac OS X-native), have been pretty abysmal. Adobe, however, has some sources to help them figure out how InDesign 2.0 is doing against QuarkXPress 5.0 (e.g., sales from big retails chains, Mac mail-order houses, and channel distributors). In Adobe’s most recent meeting with financial analysts (in October 2002), they shared sales data (compiled by NPD Data) showing that new unit sales in North America for Adobe InDesign 2.0 had actually outsold new unit sales of QuarkXPress for most of 2002. Certainly, some of that is new Mac OS X users wanting to use all Mac OS X-savvy programs. Even worse for Quark, word on the street has it that a Mac OS X version of QuarkXPress is still a long way away, with its earliest arrival being summer 2003, only two years after the release of Mac OS X.

So while Quark was focusing on other areas, Adobe InDesign 2.0 has leapfrogged it—not only in features, but 2.0’s Mac OS X-compatibility has become the biggest evangelist for converting QuarkXPress users to Adobe this market has ever seen.
Ask anyone running Mac OS X how they like using Quark-XPress 5.0 running in Classic mode. They’ll tell you: Working in Classic is absolutely brutal. But that’s only part of the reason why we switched the entire production of Mac Design Magazine from QuarkXPress 5.0 to Adobe InDesign 2.0. We love the way InDesign 2.0 “feels.” For example, ask anyone who’s used Mac OS X for a few months what it feels like when they go back and use Mac OS 9.2. It feels “outdated and old-fashioned.” That’s exactly the way QuarkXPress 5.0 feels to us. It feels like “yesterday’s page-layout program.” It feels like PageMaker.

InDesign 2.0 looks and feels like a modern page-layout application, and that must be having a major effect. I talk to more and more designers, even those still using Mac OS 9, who are switching to InDesign 2.0. MacNet.com named Adobe InDesign 2.0 its “2002 DTP Product of the Year” and wrote “Adobe created the DTP product for the 21st century, leaving thousands of professionals wondering what was so special about QuarkXPress anyway?”

It appears that Adobe InDesign 2.0 has finally become the “Quark Killer” that many people dreamed it would be. And while Quark is racing to play catch-up to InDesign 2.0, you can be sure that Adobe is already well under way with development of InDesign 3.0.


Although this is all great news for Adobe, there’s a downside. Because there still isn’t a Mac OS X-native version of Quark-XPress, many professionals who are still using QuarkXPress haven’t upgraded to Mac OS X, and that’s hurting Adobe’s sales of Photoshop 7.0, the first Mac OS X-native version of Photoshop. These designers are waiting for Quark’s Mac OS X version before they upgrade to the Mac OS X-native version of Photoshop.

Not only has Quark’s bad decision-making hurt Quark and Adobe, it has hurt Apple in a big way too, because these same designers are waiting to upgrade to Mac OS X until QuarkXPress becomes native. Quark is essentially “killing the market” and at the same time, they’re killing themselves—making the same mistakes today that Aldus did with PageMaker years ago. Quark could have been first-to-market with a Mac OS X-native version, and kept Adobe in the catch-up position, but instead it “pulled over” and let InDesign drive right on by.

If Quark doesn’t pull a major rabbit out of their hat—and soon—I predict you’ll see Quark quietly start to go away until someone finally buys them out and slaps their name on it (something like “Macromedia XPress,” or “Microsoft XPress”), and before you know it, it’ll be another “Windows-based small-office layout program for creating newsletters, flyers, etc.”