29 September 2005

[blog_life] A Familiar Face Returns with a Makeover

In case everyone hasn't noticed yet, Rob and About It All-Oregon have returned. Nicely renovated too. Cool piccy of Mount Hood up top.

28 September 2005

[pdx_life] b!X...out.

Normally I try to refrain from chiming in on something everyone else is talking about, but I'll have to make an exception on The One True b!X retiring the Communiqué.

Two great 'blogs down in one week, and one singularly valuable.

Can't have it all, I s'pose.

25 September 2005

[net_life] As Long As I'm All Bent Out Of Shape...

...and as long as I have just 10% of a 39MB download to go, I got something to day:

I don't care if you're from a corrupt African dictatorship.

I don't care if you had connections with wealthy and corrupt government ministers.

I don't believe you have cancer, and wish to do one thing right with your money before you die.

Furthermore, I don't believe you have ever had anything to do with Mobutu Sese Seko.

You see, I know you're making all this up, that you're desparate to make a couple of bucks, and you're really posting from an internet café somewhere, and you think I'm stupid, and you'll send me some sort of dumbass email claiming to be an operative for some country's Ministry of Duping Dumb Internet users and if I just give you access to my checking account you'll deposit 10% of eight gazillion dollars in it for pretending I'm someone's next of kin.

But you'll just keep sending me the same 419 scam e-mail. Can't you people do any better than this???

PS: I don't believe I won the lottery, either.

24 September 2005

[blog_life] Oh *&^$. Jim Went and Bailed.

So I'm reading my newsfeeds, and I see this post over at It's Jim.

Oh, crap.

You know how it is when someone is putting on a really cool party and you find your way into it, and it's really fun and it turns out it was ending and the host didn't tell anyone? You know that feeling?

Pretty much happens to me all the time. Notch another one.

Was it me? Did I not post enough? Was it my breath? Were my 0's and 1's a the wrong size?

I'm leaving the It's Jim link up for now because, frankly, I was so pleased to have it that I just can't bear to take it out right now. Jim was really funny and a pleasure to read. I'll miss him.

21 September 2005

[metro_transit] C-Tran Wins!

Good news to bus riders and transit fans in Clark County!

According to the latest figures, garnered from the KGW-TV website, here are the results for Clark County Proposition 1:

APPROVED: 37,960 (67.39%)
REJECTED: 18,369 (32.61%)

C-Tran and transit believers win in Clark County today! For now, your best information source is the 164.KAQJ.com site, cited in an earlier article here.

Congratulations, Clark County! Good on you!

[pdx_life] A Header Image Changed In Memory of Zim's

Dig, if you will, the picture above.

According to a story in this last Sunday's new High-Def Oregonian, in the "O!" section (if A&E got upset when The O debuted that self-named section, I wonder when Her Oprahness is going to get all up ons) Margie Boulé commented that this wonderfully kitschy sign, which commanded the intersection of SE 223rd Ave (a.k.a Fairview Avenue) in Alto Gresham for decades now, has come down.

They are going to turn Zim's Shopping Center-or what's left of it (which was latterly a Yamaha dealership then an indoor go-cart run) into a corner of a car lot.

Thank God. I was worried they weren't going to cover eastern Multnomah County in car lots before 2012. Looks like they're ahead of schedule now.

Margie's point in the article was that there is precious little around anymore that's wonderful and odd in a roadside-sort-of way. With the loss of the Zim's sign, Greater Portland looks a little more like Greater EverywhereElse.

So, for the time being, Zim's will virtually command the intersection of Zehnkatzen street and Times Avenue.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

20 September 2005

[pdx_music] Twisted Sisters

So I overhear The Go-Go's signature song from thier album Talk Show (1984) and I get the urge to have it so I can play it over and over (I do that with songs I really like). The song is, of course, "Head Over Heels".

So, I get a bug to find out what they're up do. Like a few other '80s pop bands they've reunited, with an albut out a year or so ago (God Bless the Go-Go's). And they have tribute bands.

Now, there's something about tribute bands. Somehow they always seem wierdly appropriate. I suppose it stands to reason that a band that elevates the concept of woman (they're, in my opinion, one of the premier "girl groups" of the last 30 years for a very good reason) would attract a certain sort of tribute group, but for reasons which I can't quite put my finger on.

With The Go-Go's, there are two all-male tribute groups out there.

One is L.A.-based, and is called The Ga-Ga's. I can't find out too much about them.

The other is based right here in Portland. The name?

We Got The Meat.

I'm friggin' serious. Follow the link! The Go-Go's thought they were cool enough to mench on their own home page's front page.

I love self-expression, I do I do.

[design, tech] Installing Adobe Creative Suite 2

The box with the CD set came two weeks past, this Friday. At the time I was in the middle of laying out the Columbia Overlook Fall edition (which is done now) so I left it, much as I wanted to get in installed and get all up ons with it.

It's a new toy. A super new toy. A $549 new toy, but I was able to get that pricing because I've owned InDesign since version 2 and Photoshop since version 7. The bill for a seat of CS2 is a little more than 1-large, but the same money thrown at Quark will just get you XPress-if you want Photoshop, you'll have to buy it, and if you want Illustrator...well, you get the idea. And InDesign is a sexah, sexah program to use; a Metafilter poster opined that "InDesign is teh new hotness." And that is true.


You don't change mission-critical horses in midstream, so, I plugged away in InDesign CS, which, as expriences go, isn't a bad thing at all. Like I said, it's a sexah, sexah program.

With the Overlook finally to bed though, it was time to get busy. Now, I already have a program on disk called Adobe InCopyCS2. This was courtesy of my friend Pariah. Now, some of you may be curious about what InCopy does. It's meant to integrate with InDesign to enable editors to collaborate with creators as the publication is being laid out but without messing with the layout that already exists. Editors can assign and edit copy without having to have a copy of the .indd file or having to worry about screwing up the designers work. It's really sweet. It plays nicely with CS1 but refuses CS1 won't let it play in any reindeer games-there are plugin issues as well as the assignment workflow, which CS1 doesn't recognize.

So, InCopyCS2 comes off so I can install it after the Suite so InDesign recongizes and installs the proper plugins. This is a bit of a worry; the InCopyCS2 CD doesn't always play well with the Mac's combo drive. It reads it but only after just ejecting the CD-ROM several times. But, as it will turn out, InCopyCS2 will eventually reinstall. On to the meat of the fun.

The Creative Suite comes on four CD-ROMs. The installation is something Adobe really got right from the first. The installer, once started, sucks up all the files off the CDs, writes them, confgures them, and moves on. Once one CD is complete, it is ejected automatically, waits patiently for me to insert the next, and takes up the next batch.

It does, however take a bit more than 20 minutes. Sure, you have those pretty teasers the installer puts up because, since you are a designer you are quite easily distracted by bright shinies. Aw, heck, anything good is worth waiting for.

And the teasers are pretty.

I get CS2 installed and fire up the Bridge...ahh, let me tell you about the bridge. If you've used PhotoshopCS you know about the file browser they debuted with the first Creative Suite. It's a lovely thing. You have great thumbnails, the ability to rate files, and access to more metadata than anyone actually needs. You take the PhotoshopCS file browser, give it one of those Tony Little excercise machines, amp it up on performance enhancing drugs (the pro designer leagues still do not, as far as I know, do random UAs) and you have Adobe BridgeCS2.

If you have Bridge you have a ton of tasty stuff. You can save open file collections, so that you can open a handful of open files at a single click. You can navigate the disk. You can have your favorite RSS feeds to hand (doesn't matter where they come from). Bridge rawks.

There are other features in the Suite that are worth mentioning. Photoshop CS2 brings us the Vanishing Point, automatically giving perspective. Snippets in InDesign promise to make collaboration a hell of a lot less trouble. Illustrator gives us Live Trace and Live Paint, which do almost everything in rendering a drawing in vector but moving the mouse. There's more. I've not gotten to everything yet.

Now, after installation the next thing to do is update. There are updates out for the CS2 already. I set to downloading. 22MB. Huge, but will finish while I'm still young. For some reason I get confused, though and reinstall the first Bridge update over one that's already there. Then I go to start Bridge and....

Bounce, bounce, bounce (in the dock), bounce, bounce, bounce....

It doesn't stop bouncing, and the Bridge doesn't launch. Neither do the other CS2 apps. A forlorn uninstall and reinstall don't cure the problem. Then its off to the Spice Mines of Portland for 10 hours more-than-vaguely-unsatisfying work.

And I stew on it.

Back in the morning. CS2 uninstall...and trash the prefs files. Reinstall. CS fires up. Life Crisis over. Go to reinstall the updates and patches, and this time, am more careful about what it is I'm doing.

I'm looking forward to doing a lot of great designing with CS2. If you don't have it, you must get it. And once you use it, you'll see why Quark has to really pull one out with XPress 7 if they hope to remain #1.

18 September 2005

[nooze] It's...It's...It's Over?!?!

This just in at SunDial House: we hear that America's Sweethearts, Kenny Chesney and Renee Zellwigg Zelwege Zellwyg That Girl With The Face are calling it splitsville!!!

No! Please, say it i'int so!

I mean, if those two crazy kids can't make it, what chance do any of us have for happiness?!?!?!

[design, layout] That Man Sarkozy!

A chapter from The Adventures of Etaion Shrdlu:
I'd hate to have been the designer on this page, to finish it and knock off only to find this coming off the press next day.

The pub in question is the Financial Times, particularly their 12 Sept 2005 number. The headline is pretty easy to see. Casual journalistic style? Maybe. Strange for the FT. But the first paragraph, immedately to the left of the photograph (the kicker paragraph), reads as follows:

Standfirst here in sixteen point type on a nineteen pointknow and love. Standfirst here in sixteen on nineteen Martin Name here in medium as house style and two more decks here ans herer erenrere

Wow. Journalism is hard work!

Proceeding to the body copy, we go through the looking-glass; it's filled, over and over, with this:

Lorum ibsum decorum upyabum and hows your father. This is dummy copy and has been created with the sole purpose of training users in the joys of producing via methode.

How's my father? What caring from an international journal.

What it is is an example of what the designer and printer world at large calls lorem ipsum and what I occasionally refer to as si bili. It's text one uses to fill a space when designing a page when one doesn't have the actual words that go there yet. How exactly the si bili got into the FT is an open question, but this is what it looks like when all that dummy text gets past the proofreaders.

It's also, I think it safe to say, one of a layout-er's biggest nightmares.

If I understand correctly, a notice went out as soon as the error became known:

We are sorry to inform you that there was a printing error in the Financial
Times on the 12th of September. We recalled most of the issues, but
unfortunately some had already been sent out.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that this has caused you.

I shudder to think how much that cost them. Ai yi yi.

(Thanks to NewsDesigner.com and Media Culpa, and especially Vassa eggen, a Swedish blog which is entirely written in Swedish, (where I think the story originally broke) which reminds me of the Steve Martin bit about foreign countries not having the courtesy to speak English. I mean, those people have a different word for everything)

17 September 2005

[tech] Maybe Now I'll Be Able To Keep Up

I started out by loving Safari, but I'm really starting to love FireFox.

I have this bad habit. I'll find a 'blog that fires me up, then make a few comments, get really involved, and then stop posting as I've moved on to something else.

FireFox, though, has nice extensions that are available for nuttin. And, I've been falling head over heels in love with RSS. Problem is, Safari doesn't do RSS; FireFox does RSS, but clumsily and not in a dependable way (Live Bookmarks). I have Opera but Opera doesn't like the advanced formatting that Blogger provides (and ignores it, like Safari does).

Also, I don't have Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", and, from what I've been hearing to what it does to Adobe Creative Suite 2 performance, I probably won't jump at it when I do have the budget to get it.

Exploring available plugins for FireFox I found Wizz Computer's Wizz RSS 1.1.3. It's sweet. Once you get the nomenclature down and understand what the Wizz RSS 'account' paradigm is (its a free service that maintains your RSS list with Wizz that addtionally allows you to log into your private list from any other 'puter with Wizz RSS installed-you can read your personal feeds from potentially any computer) it becomes very easy; your RSS feeds are called Channels and are organized into Categories (you must create at least one Category to add a Channel). Once operating it's only necessary to click on a channel to display the syndicated content, and all you need to see the post excerpt is to mouse over the title. Clicking on the post title will cause the entry to load into the active FireFox browser window.

Now I'm busy populating my list with the blogs I comment on then get distracted off. This might work out alright.

Wizz RSS gets four stars; Sam-Bob says "Check it out".

[beaver_nation] Ugh

Just heard over the radio:

OSU Beavers 27, Louisville...63.


It was a morning game. Glad I didn't stay up for that one.

14 September 2005

[sundial_life} Some Irrelevant Facts

I now know the lyric to Blinded by the Light...the Manfred Mann version, which, as my friend at The Workplace Which Must Not Be Named™, John Barleycorn, correctly nominated as one of those songs in which the remake is actually better than the original version.

Certainly, I'm saying that a British rocker did a Springsteen song better than The Boss. But some things simply must be said.

Also, I remain the only graphic designer any of you knows who know the native lyrics to the bizarre summer hit from a couple years back that became the music to the "Numa Numa Dance". That's right, I know the Romanian lyrics to Dragostea Din Teï.

I don't have looks or money, but I do have style. Or something so bizarre that that's the only word you can use to describe it.

12 September 2005

[design] Designorati Is Here, Quark Is Green, and Things Are Poppin!

I did mention I was busy, hadn't I? Well, things are coming to fruition.

An imporant designers' resource has launched, and I'm pleased as hell to say I have had something to do with it.

Say hello to Designorati.

This is a site for designers by designers-and for people who like design and designers. It aims to inspire and inform as well as just be a good time for all.

Designorati embraces a range of topics right now: Graphic Design in general, Desktop Publishing (tho' I prefer the term layout artistry), In-House designing, Illustration, and my two specialities right now, Cartography and Typography.

Any design-oriented or arcane matters about maps will happen at D:Cartography, for which I invite what readers I have to visit from time to time. Local Address Nerdery will still happen here (soon, I promise, I promise!). I certainly haven't forgotten my first true love!

I'm telling you: this is gonna be big. Watch Designorati.

Extreme Makeover: Quark® Edition

A topic of commentary from time to time is the ongoing fortunes of Denver-based software engineer Quark, Incorporated (and for which, incidentally, what the other site I write for, QuarkVSInDesign.com, is a central theme).

Here's a quick recap, since I haven't mentioned anything about it lately. Almost everyone is familiar with MS Word and MS Publisher. Club newsletters and small-circ periodicals couldn't exist without them (which, I'm sure, is to Microsoft's delight). MS Publisher, to be specific, is what we call an layout editor, which is much more than a word-processor: it allows the user to arrange, handle, and style text, graphics and pictures in ways a word process just cannot do.

The market was pioneered by Aldus Corporation who, when the Mac was introduced, came out with Pagemaker (now an Adobe product). Pagemaker was supreme until Quark's layout app, XPress (now just referred to as Quark and usually in print as QuarkXPress) lapped PM in the high-end typography department. This was about 1989 or 1990. Quark has been king of the hill ever since, and became peforce complacent, releasing updates to the app when they more or less felt like it. XPress 4 debued in about 1996 and the app stayed there until 2001. Meantime, Adobe, which dominated digital design in almost all other sectors, wanted a page layout app to complete the crown. They had Pagemaker from the aquisition that extincted Aldus, but the code base was old and couldn't be expanded anymore. Even a versioning up to PM V7 didn't provide what it took to compete.

However! A team of refugees from Aldus had already started work on the successor to Pagemaker. Adobe salvaged them and thier work and began on Adobe's challenger to Quark; a program to be called "InDesign". The design press, noting Quark's fat, happy, and unconcerned status, smelled blood in the water and termed it the "Quark Killer"; in the meantime, Quark's customer service and responsiveness had become legend in the industry for aloofness and poor quality. People were ready to jump.

The first version of InDesign, 1.0, raised eyebrows but was hardly ready for prime time. Quark could still feel secure. This was about 1998 or 1999. When InDesign 2.0 came out about 18 months later, it really started to get notice; it still wasn't the Quark Killer but it was much improved. People started to convert over, but it still wasnt the David to Quark's Goliath. It was much improved, in all, and people started looking to InDesign 3 to finally challenge Quark.

InDesign 3 debute as part of a new Adobe constellation-the Creative Suite, comprised of InDesign 3, Photoshop 8, and Illustrator 11-but the nomenclature was now to affix CS to all apps (InDesign CS instead of InDesign 3). Judging by the press, InDesign CS means the Quark Killer had arrived. People started to switch; more service bureaux began accepting .indd files.

During this time, Quark upgraded to Version 5 (typically regarded as feature-poor and somewhat buggy) and finally came into the OS X world with QuarkXPress 6. With additions such as the QuarkVista XTension (image editing within XPress) and PSD Import (finally allowing Quark users to import Photoshop docs without having to have Photoshop to convert them to TIFFs or EPSs) gave an impression that Quark was on the case and acknowledging the InDesign insurgency. Reaction seemed largely mixed. It was now a race for feature parity, and despite Quark's lead in installed user base, conventional wisdom seemed to acknowledge that InDesign now led.

And then Adobe released Creative Suite 2, and with the Bridge (GUI front end connecting all programs), Snippets (XML objects that can be drug and dropped at will) and Adobe Stock Photos, amongst others, Adobe has not only arrived in layout, it's making inroads.

Figures are hard to come by, but the feedback and comments I see in designer's fora indicate that people are talking. And switching.

I told you all that to tell you this:

Quark has since acknowledged it has a contender and has started to answer. They have slowly been releasing what Quark 7 ought to look like-more customizable, more open-source, "job jackets", such as that. Visit Quark.com and the site for XRay Magazine to find out what they have in store.

They still had the same graphical approach that they've had since the mid-90's, however. And, in terms of design, and especially with Quark's baggage, that's an eternity.

So, on 9 September, they completely redid themselves. Now a Pantone 368-green highly stylized Q and fresh graphic treatmen adorn the whole site, from one end to the the other. Quark had big guns on the case, from a unit of the august Young and Rubicam, to Pantone color goddess Leatrice Wiseman. Even Pantone itself is playing along, dubbing Pantone 368 "Quark Green".

It created buzz. Designers paid attention. And opinion on Quark is still mixed, so the buzz was mixed too. But it did get attention.

Then the Scottish Arts Council happened. Jeff Fisher, of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives (and one of my personal heroes), posted a simple message to the Yahoo! Graphic Deisgners Resource Group: "This is interesting..." and a link to Quark, and the link to the Scottish Arts Council. Similar. Damn similar.

And the buzz continues. It's not all family friendly, such is the reputation of Quark. With them winding up to pitch QuarkXPress 7, which is seen by many as a make or break proposition-make it and Quark continues to stay major, break it and Quark stands to become the new Pagemaker-this big-gun rebranding and major image remodeling could become at least a minor embarrassment. And Quark really doesn't need things that look like missteps. They have lost a lot of goodwill in the design universe over the past few years, and Adobe has been making hay while the sun shines on it.

Quark continues to try to get out of the bed it made for itself to lie in, and it's too early to count it out. This will continue to merit watching.

06 September 2005

[pop_cult] At Long Last, Gilligan is Off the Island

Bob Denver, RIP: died Friday, 2 Sep 2005, at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital, from complications due to cancer treatment. He was 70 years old.

Read the full story on CNN.com by following this link.

[loowit] The Dome, Reloaded

Dig, if you, will, this picture:

That's one of the latest images of Loowit taken from Johnston Ridge, natch, courtesy of the USFS.

A some months back, one person (I forget whom) stated that at the rate of growth (at the time about one dump-truck a minute of magma flowing in) that the Portland POV would see the big ol' glowing gopher poking its nose over the rim in about two years' time.

We're most of the way through the first year. Trace the plume down to the top of the dome. Looks like it's keeping pretty much on schedule.

05 September 2005

[net_life] A Google Mirror Site. Literally.

You don't think Google needs a mirror site?

Well, think on another meaning for mirror, and then, go here.

Or maybe I should say, "ereh og".

Just one thing. Whatever you enter in the search box...well, "Samuel John Klein" returned nothing. "nielK nhoJ leumaS" worked just fine.

(Thanks to "It's Jim", good for at least 1.4 laughs/day. Why haven't you bookmarked it? New, improved, with added "NotJim")

04 September 2005

[design] Busier Than A Person, Well, Who Is Very Busy

One thing that has been keeping me quiet of late is the helping in the launch of a new and potentially very important site for designers:

This is an omnibus site, the creation of which is being spearheaded by my compadré Pariah Burke, exploring design in many spheres. I personally will be editor of two topics: Cartography and Typography. Both are lifelong loves. We're going to be covering technology, layout, working on design, illustration, and a whole buttload of designer nifities.

The launch is scheduled within the week. I am currenly preparing content for my topics, so will be a bit silent here for a little while longer. Expect scattershot comments on things that catch my eye, though I am trying to squeeze out a bit more Address Nerdery over the next week, so those of you who favor my little chronicle, please check back. I love you all!

(PS: Clicking on the logo above will take you to a page that will give you a place to sign up for a one-time-only mailing list that will shoot you an email when Designorati launches. After the launch, it will be the Designorati main site)

(PPS:I also have finally updated the site for The Science Fiction Museum, as well as its blog. Check it out!)

[pdx_life] The Cost of Living In Baja Gresham

Gas price at the Chevron at SE 102nd and Washington are up to $3.04 for Supreme, whilst the 76 Station across the street is keeping it at $2.99.

A price war in the offing? We can only hope, neh?

02 September 2005

[sundial_life] Saw My First $3.00 Gas Price Tag...

In Salem, when seeing family, we traveled past the old Jackpot station at Lancaster Drive SE and Macleay Rd SE.

Regular $3.00, Premium $3.10, Supreme about $3.20.

01 September 2005

[pdx_cartography] Urban Renewal, by Thomas Brothers Maps

Dig, if you will, two pictures. One on the right, one on the left.

They are both the same page out of two Thomas Guides. The left is a bit of page 566 of the 2005 book; the right is the same page of the 2006 book. The area at the center of each is the area we all knew and tolerated as the old Columbia Villa.

Now, as everyone well knows, over the past two years, the Villa has been cleared off to make way for a new subdivision, completely new houses, new streets, everything, called New Columbia. The property is owned by the Housing Authority of Portland, and both the past and present developments are, at least in part, meant to provide housing to those the economy left behind, aaand I'm digressing again.

Anyway! Take a moment to click on, enlarge, and enjoy the 2005 map. Note particularly the Villa, marked by the lazy curves of N Woolsey Ct, N Trenton Pl, and N Woolsey Avenue (labelled south of N Houghton Street, it's the left side of the loop with the little red '9100' (the approximate address block at that point) on. Got it? Good.

Now, enlarge the 2006 map. Right where the Villa was in the 2005 book, gaze upon...absolutely nothing. There are streets there; go to the New Columbia web site via the link two paragraphs above and they have some nifty PDFs that give you an idea of the layout. But the street names seem a closely guarded secret. And Thomas Brothers (actually, Rand McNally these days) didn't even bother to find out.

So, if you live in New Columbia, and have one of the nice new units, either buying or renting, congrats. Brand spanking new housing in good condition on the Peninsula is hard to come by.

But if you want a delivery, a pizza, a taxi...you better get out a pencil and paper, and be prepared to draw 'em a map.

[design] LogoWorks Responds To Me

In this post, done not too long ago, I raised my own concerns, as have many designers, about a company called LogoWorks, who will do a designerly logo for you for as little as $299. This is a fraction of the cost a full service firm will charge you (some charge a few thousand dollars for a corporate identity system).

In the essence, not regarding any ethical factors for the moment, I feel thier business model is fudamentally flawed. That's not to say that it won't work–many flawed things do. Some for a while, most for not so long.

Imagine my surprise (and being somewhat flattered) when Jeff Kearl, Chief Marketing Officer of LogoWorks, responded to that post (you can read the full response in the comments, linked above). Jeff, if you do keep track of what people are saying about you, I'm sincerely flattered that you took the time to respond so civilly. I hope you don't mind my returning the honor by responding to your response up front like this.

You started by saying:

LogoWorks has always had very strict rules about its contract designers creating original work. There is a substantial check and balance system to prevent plagiarism. And to clarify, the logos in question were never sold to customers.
It's praiseworthy that you have rules and a system in place to try to block actionable plagiarism. It would, however seem to require some fine tuning. Respectfully, it seems to me that a substantial check and balance system would catch the obvious and all-but-unaltered copying of the Xerox logo and the Gazelle logo detailed at the BAD DESIGN KILLS!!! gallery.
Even I, with my community-college graphic design education, could see that the Xerox logo and the Gazelle logo were used without any changes whatsoever.

Any interested reader can go to that gallery and see for themselves. Here's the link.

You add:
They were used in marketing brochures.
And, as the BAD DESIGN KILLS!!! gallery shows, on your website. There are screenshots. I'm no legal eagle, but it seems to me that merely using it in a brochure is letting yourself in for potential trouble if you didn't get permission, never mind using it on your website.

And you continue:

We've served about 35,000 small businesses and never had an issue. Lastly, we offer everyone of our customers a trademark search and application service that starts at only $149. We strongly encourage our customers to do this.
Sincerely, congratulations on your success. I should be so lucky. If I'm 1/100th as successful as your company, believe me, I'd call it happy. When discussing plagiarism, however, I think your general success is really beside the point. Plagiarism is kind of like an insidious poison; its presence pollutes everything you do. I don't know about you, but I recall many instances lately of newspaper columnists who've done a body of solid respected work whose careers were utterly ruined because of one time they plagiarized or made stuff up. Joe Biden's presidential campaign of some years back was thoroughly ruined because of one plagiarized passage in a speech.

Indeed it's praiseworthy as a thing that you offer a trademark search that starts at $149. But I think it shouldn't be optional. It would be stellar if you offered it as a standard part of your package. Sure, it would raise the price a little but, judging by the current bill of fare you'd still be offering about the lowest prices in the industry for logo design. Also you'd get a severe amount of goodwill if you indemnified your customers against harm from a plagiarized design. Those are just my ideas.

Moving on from this topic, you talk money:
We also think our designer pay rates are fair. Each time we add more designers to our network we receive many times more applications than we have positions available. We are also working on several ways to to give our designers a greater variety of work as well as pay them more.
I have some idea of what an entry level designer can expect to make. Hourly wages would beat the flat payment a LogoWorks expert would get for a logo within half a day (speaking net income, anyway). I find your rates extremely low. LogoWorks, from what I'm reading, makes a ton of money selling design work cheaply. Why not pay them more right now?

This is one of the biggest weaknesses, I think, in the buisness model. This places a high amount of pressure on designers to put out a lot of creative work to get enough pay to make the whole enterprise more than a losing proposition, time-wise. You wind up burning through an awful lot of talent that way.

You continue:

There certainly are pros and cons to our service vs. a traditional designer for customers. That said, over 98% of our customers say they would refer another business to our service and our referral business is significant.
That's no surprise. At least in the short term, people like getting a lot for a little and you obviously have the idea of customer service down. Customers can't help going away happy.

You finished:
I'm not surprised that some designers are upset with the model. We charge a lot less than a traditional designer. In many cases, we are a competitor.
Sure, some get maybe a bit upset. There are deeper reasons than, though, merely being competition. I'm not convinced that charging so little for creative work will be good in the long run, for designers in general, or for your company. Low wages for creative work will eventually bring the standard down, not raise it, and plagiarism should not merely be uncommon, but vanishingly rare.

That's my opinion. And, once again, thanks for the civil response.