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October 14 2013


A Quick History of Adobe Photoshop & Cool Facts Behind the Living Legend

We all love Photoshop. It has done wonders for all designers, photographers and hobbyists by providing a one-program solution for all the design needs. It is very flexible, easy to use and readily available. Its tools are so perfectly fitting for all the design needs, you’ll never look for another! This is the main reason why we all love this amazing program, right?

But behind all of these quirky features, do we all know where it all began? Do you know the history of Adobe Photoshop? Aren’t we all curious where our favorite software came from? Who made it? Well, this calls for a history lesson.

The tale began in 1987 when PhD student Tom Knoll wrote a graphics application in a Macintosh Plus. The software was used to display gray scale images on a monochrome display. Knoll called it ‘Display.’ We could now consider Display as the unofficial father of our beloved Photoshop.


Photo from Daniel Meadows


John Knoll

Photo by Doodleme

The Knoll Brothers

Thomas Knoll

Photo by Adobe Blogs

Tom’s brother John, who works at Industrial Light and Magic, saw the program. Being a photo-enthusiast, John persuaded his brother to turn it into an image editing software. He eventually finished it after taking a six-month break from his studies. Tom tried to call it ImagePro (image, if this was pursued, we will all say, I ImagePro-ed my photo). Good thing was, the name was already taken for copyright so he opted to call it Photoshop (version 0.07). Tom eventually managed to sell it to a scanner manufacturer.

Photoshop’s Early Versions

On September 1989, everything changed for Photoshop when Adobe bought it. A year after, on February 1, 1990, Photoshop 1.0 was released. It included digital color editing and retouching. It was dedicated for use in high-end platforms such as the SciTex and costs $300 the for basic photo retouching.


Photo from Daniel Meadows

Photoshop improved its features as it was set for version 2.0. And so it was, on June 1, 1990 when Photoshop released its second version adding Paths, CMYK color and the Pen tool. We attribute much of the Pen tool to a guy named Mark Hamburg.


Photo from Daniel Meadows

Version 2.5 was later released in November as it addressed for the first release of the Windows OS. Photoshop also added palettes in this version.

In 1994, Photoshop 3.0 was released. This version now included layers. This saved the arses of a lot of designers who loved to add a more complex feel in their creations. Tom Knoll was the man who made all these possible.


Photo by Photoshop news

It took two years for Photoshop to release version 4.0, which added adjustment layers and macros. Imagine if Photoshop developers haven’t thought of these, we will still take a very long time to put watermark on our photos. They made life easier. Also, 4.0 also started the user interface we all see today.


Photo by Photoshop news

On May 1 1998, version 5.0 came out featuring its newest functions the editable type and the ability to undo actions various times using the History palette. Area selection was also made easier with the addition of the magnetic lasso tool. A year later, 5.5 came out and added the Save for Web feature. (Thanks to 5.5 we can export PNGs!)


Photo by Daniel Meadows

As the new millennium dawned, Photoshop 6.0 came out. Vector shapes were featured in this version. The type tool was also revolutionized by adding a feature where you can directly type text even without defining a bounding box to it. Blending options were also added.


Photo from Graphicssoft

Two years later came 7.0, which introduced a new file browser that allowed the users to easily look through folders. Brushes were also added together with the patch tool.


Photo by Daniel Meadows

Creative Series Era

As Photoshop continued to evolve, it came with cooler and cooler features. This was marketed into a vast pack of software in which Photoshop was the leading brand. It was called the Creative Suite. It basically catered to all design needs, ranging from graphic design to layouting, photography to film.

Photoshop CS (or Photoshop 8.0) was the first version to come out in 2003. It had a Counterfeit Deterrence System (CDS), which reused duplication of paper currency. With the release of CS came also scripts and languages. Grouping of layers was also introduced in this version, making the usage of the program easier.


Photo from Wiki Images

Meanwhile, in 2005, CS2 came out. This version added the red-eye removal tool, and vanishing point tool. Smart objects, which allowed users to blow up or trim down images without it loosing quality, was also introduced.


Photo from Bleeping Computer

With the release of CS3 in 2007, speed was the major change.  CS3 optimized changes with the tools. It made the navigation and usage of Photoshop faster and easier. Adobe Camera Raw and the Quick Selection Tool were also introduced.


Photo from Ruang Software

In 2008, CS4 came out. It was evident that panning and zooming were made easier. Mask and Adjustment panels were also included which made Masking easier.


Photo from Malik

After two years, in 2010, Photoshop released CS5. It added the Puppet Warp Tool, Bristle tips, Mixer Brush and Automatic Lens correction. Masking was improved further.


Photo from Misaki

At last, on May 7, 2012, CS6 came out with a very new and darker UI. It included newer features like autosaving, patch and move tools, blur gallery and vector shapes with dotted or dashed strokes.


Creative Cloud

As you are reading this article, Adobe is already on the process of refining the software. One of the major innovations we have had is the Creative Cloud series. This is a service from the Adobe Systems which gives users access to the company’s design software.

CC works on a software as service model where users can ‘rent’ the usage of the suite for a charge. This tries to eliminate piracy while minimizing the expenditure of companies with their design software.


Photo by Jeff Myer

Photoshop’s CC version includes various changes. With CC, you are granted with more liberty, speed and make images ‘incredibly real’. You can work straight with Behance and get feedback with your projects instantly. This newest installment of Photoshop uses features like Smart Sharpen, which turns low-res images to high-res. It also allows Camera Shake Reductions which allow the users to restore sharpness in motion-blurred shots.


Looking back into Photoshop, we will see how a simple idea can evolve into a useful and impacting tool. Without the Knoll’s display, we would not have our favorite software, right? This just proves that Photoshop, like us web designers, can evolve and be better. We continue to remove our bugs, improve our tools (and sometimes redesign our UI) to become better people. And, hopefully, like Photoshop, we will emerge as successful web designers.

March 30 2012


The Wizard of Design – Piet Zwart (1885 – 1977)

As it happens with all geniuses ,Piet Zwart didn’t get the sort of recognition that he deserved. He was a rebel during his days and did not want to follow the set rules for design back then. Working late nights and swimming against the tide were his passions. His work covered a wide spectrum of industrial design. Alongside, Piet Zwart spent a lot of time excelling in the world of photography and typography. This article is a small tribute to one of the geniuses of the design industry. A human being who gave new meaning to the world of design and didn’t even ask for anything in return. I am sure that right now Piet Zwart is busy redesigning heaven!

Who Is Piet Zwart?

Piet Zwart was born on May 25 1885 in Zaandjijk, the Netherlands. Piet spent his time between 1902 to 1907 in the School of Applied Arts in Amsterdam. I guess it was his time in this school that gave fire to the rebel inside him. The school was perfect combination of various teachings like applied arts, architecture, painting and drawing. But, somehow Piet did not find the teaching methodology of the school as innovative as his brain was.

“A smashing school with no idea of a programme” ~ Piet Zwart when asked about his School of Applied Arts in Amsterdam.

Piet was highly influenced by the De Stijl movement of those days. If any influence can be noticed in his out-of-the-box work then it will be the effects of this Dutch Artistic movement which started in 1907. It was his zero attention span to whatever was being taught in school that resulted in path breaking designs. It was like he never knew about any design chapters and books. Henceforth, he had his own brain to follow which as a result took him to unimaginable heights. Piet was smart to use his own photography in his design which resulted in photomontages.

“Among the few I have indicated, is there no dynamic man of action, the rebel who will help determine the aspect of the collective expression of tomorrow? Ponder this question and know that to make beautiful creations for the sake of their aesthetic value will have no social significance tomorrow, will be non-sensical self-gratification. Every era contains the conditions for providing a rebel.” – Piet Zwart

Piet’s Career in Graphic Design

Piet Zwart’s career in graphic design got a kick start in the year 1919. He had started to work as draftsman for a famous architect Jan Wils, a member of the De Stijl movement. It was two years later when he grabbed the position of assistant for H.P. Berlarge, a Dutch architect. Piet ended up working several years for Berlarge and it was this stay with Berlarge when Piet worked on some of his first few legendary designs. The most famous of them all was the breakfast set for which he used hexagon shapes as shown in the image below:

An article on New City Art describes the work of Piet in fine words:

The emphasis on form rather than decoration not only severs ties with the clutter of the Victorian past but identifies everyday items with the values—efficiency, durability, mass distribution—of emerging industrial and communications technologies.

Piet was trained as an architect, yet he gained fame in the world of graphic design. It was at the age of 36 when Piet produced his very first work on typography. This was stationary for Wils’ office. His stint with the opinionated format of De Stijl didn’t last long as he was a free bird of sorts.

Piet’s energy and vision to come up with unique styles has been widely appreciated by some prominent speakers. One such statement popped up during a workshop at MIT:

Zwart was able to manipulate the oblique perspective in such a way that space was not only activated but made to seem irrational in order to heighten the viewer’s experience of what would otherwise have been an ordinary rectangular room. ~ The Omega Workshop by Judith Collins.

Piet smartly tagged himself as a typotect which he said was a perfect blend of typographer and architect.

Surprisingly enough Piet wasn’t aware of the difference between lower case and upper case during his early years with typography. While working with Nerderlandsche Kabelfabriek (NKF) at Delft he realized how little he knew about printing. He learned the basics of printing from an 18-year old worker in the printing firm where NKF adverts were printed.

The Book of PTT

This is one of the most talked about projects of his life. It was the year 1930 when Piet was approached for the design of “The Book of PTT” which taught school children the basics of Dutch postal service. Piet wanted to tickle the kids imagination with his design and this is clearly visible in the final book design.

His major goal was to fill the book with bright colors as it was targeting children. He thought deeply and came up with two brand ambassadors for his book: ’The Post’ and ‘J. Self’. Piet created two dolls with these names and took pictures of these dolls. Later on he used pencil and colors to edit these photos. Piet worked hard for years on this book and it was finally launched in the year 1938.

One must understand that it wasn’t easy to come up with such a concept during those old days and this was the reason why Piet Zwart took extra time to finally complete his piece of art.

In Closing

Piet left this world at the age of 92. It was the year 1977 when Piet moved on to design some other world. The Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam is named after Piet himself. He used to teach in this school in 1920. As is the case, he was awarded (Association of Dutch Designers) with the title Designer of the Century in the year 2000 long after his death. Though Piet is now no more on this beautiful plane, his work and his genius continues to come up every now and then on various occasions.

Sponsored post

March 16 2012


The Evolution Of Online Shopping – 60′s to the 90′s

The wonderland called eCommerce. Today, some countries are busy doing most of their shopping online while others are starting to experiment with their online market. In either case eCommerce is here to stay. This article won’t shed any light on the future of eCommerce. No! Rather, I will be trying my best to collect in-depth data in order to help you understand how eCommerce has evolved. The journey has been more than just majestic.


EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) permits companies to carry out electronic transactions. Although the concept of eCommerce did not touch the daily Internet user till the era of 1990s yet some big players had started to use EDI as early as 1960. The railroad industry was among the first to understand the importance of EDI and start using the same. Other players in the transportation industry followed.


There is always a hero. Someone who comes out of nowhere and does something unusual. eCommerce has its own hero. Michael Aldrich is the man. It was the year 1979 when Aldrich was on a stroll in a supermarket with his wife. Suddenly, he was hit by an idea which changed it all for eCommerce. Aldrich connected a domestic TV and a computer with telephone lines so as to start selling groceries online via this model. How they were able to tackle various situations is a different story altogether, but at the end of the day they did come up with a model that helped them launch the business of online shopping.


Have a look at this rare PDF and then read along. It was the year 1981 when Thomson Holidays picked up 66 travel agents from around England and connected them in order to come up with what has been tagged as first B2B (Business to Business) online shopping. These agents were able to extract data online and understand what was available from the Thomson Brochure so as to serve customers instantly.


This was the year for France to jot down her name in the history books. France based telecom company invented Minitel which has been considered as the most happening pre-WWW online service. Even during its infant years users had the privilege to make online purchases, check phone directories, chat with each other and various other basic searches just like it happens in today’s Internet.

[via Wikipedia]


How would it sound if someone tagged you as the first ever home shopper on this planet. Well, Jane Snowball was tagged as the first ever home shopper when at the age of 72 she became Tesco’s customer. It was the year 1984 itself when the world’s first B2C (Business-to-Consumer) online shopping system was launched by Tesco. The online shopping system started the concept of Online Shopping Basket which was later renamed Online Shopping Trolley.

Also, it was April 1984 when CompuServe announced Electronic Mall which was almost like the eCommerce of today.


Next up was a Merchant Account launched in the year 1987 that helped software developers sell their software products online. SWREG was the name and it happens to be one of the oldest pieces of software that is still available.


Here we go. The year which marked the launch of the first web browser. The name of the browser was WorldWideWeb which was later renamed to Nexus so as to avoid the obvious confusion. Nexus was also the editor for programmers who coded websites. During those days Nexus was supposed to be the only medium to access the Internet in graphical format. The amusing part is that the browser was launched for the public by using Internet newsgroups as the medium of communication. This will help you understand that the communication system (on the Internet) of those days wasn’t as big as it is nowadays.


Back then NSFNET was the backbone of the Internet, but it wasn’t available for commercial use. It was the year 1991 when the NSF (National Science Foundation) cleared the way for the commercial use of NET. This was considered to be a major boost for the eCommerce industry and its future growth. Statistics state that the traffic on the backbone network of NSF jumped to over 1 trillion bytes per month in the year 1991 itself after it was opened for commercial use. By 1996 there were over 10 million hosts online and the Internet was now a global phenomenon.

It was the year 1991 itself when University of Minnesota launched “gopher”, the first point-and-click based browser that could be used to navigate files on the Internet. At times this has been tagged as the birth of Internet.  Gopher was originally designed to ease campus communication.

“The first Internet application my mom can use.” ~ Mark MaCahil, Team Lead of the computer programming team which launched Gopher.


A book called “Future Shop: How new technologies will change the way we shop and what we buy” was published in the year 1992. The book was considered revolutionary considering the fact that it talked about what will happen in the future of eCommerce and how the Internet will take shape.

“Snider and Ziporyn (the authors of the book) powerfully describe the glass highways of the future, which will not only benefit consumers but will also provide fantastic opportunities for schools, hospitals, businesses, and the average American as we enter the Information Age of the 21st century.” – Conrad Burns, Chair of U.S. Senate Communications Subcommittee


This could be tagged as the “Mother of all Years” for eCommerce as Netscape launched encryption certificate which became the trustworthy means of transmitting data over the Internet. Certificates gave the browsers a chance to trust a source before displaying its data and sharing personal information. Something that helped the end consumer shower more interest on the Internet and indirectly on eCommerce transactions.

This wasn’t all. The year 1994 also marked the launch of Yahoo! though the domain was registered later in the year 1995. This truly gave the Internet and eCommerce a completely new direction.


It was the year 1995 when NSF started charging a fee for registering domain names. I wish I was born before so that I could have registered some of the premium single word dot com domains in 1995! At that time the Internet had 12,000 domain names registered and the number jumped to over 2 Million in the next 3 years.

January 18, 1995 was the day when the domain was registered. The word Yahoo is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”

One must understand that by now a lot of other services that would later rule the web had started to appear. Some of these were Amazon, AuctionWeb (which later became eBay) and Verisign etc.


PayPal came into existence in the year 1998. The current PayPal system that we see is actually the merger of X.COM, a financial service company of the late 2000s, and Cofinity which happened to be a payment and cartographic company. It was the year 1998 only when Google entered the world of eCommerce and Yahoo! launched Yahoo! Stores online.

2000 and Onwards

As they say, what followed after Google is history. Be it the dot com bubble or the Web 2.0, the Internet has experienced exponential growth (with its own pitfalls) that has shaped the lives of many. As we know it, the Internet continues to grow with major and minor eCommerce companies launching their own set of stores. Today, we can literally buy anything via the Internet. That is the wonderland of eCommerce.

January 27 2012


Guided Tour Through Web Design History

Web design has been with us for a bit longer than 20 years now and sure, it is easy to criticize poorly designed websites nowadays, but few people really know how and where it all started. Things when web design started were really different – actually so different than such a website would be a shame today: weird colors, cluttered information, tables all over the place, Vegas lights and so many other things that everybody despises today. It is never too late to know a bit more about the history of web design, so let’s take a look at the most important changes throughout it.

Twenty years ago nobody knew what they were doing when designing a website. It was all something new and you couldn’t talk about strategies, research, laws, theories and typography. It was all chaotic. And it all started in 1989, when the first browser called World Wide Web was released, in the same time as the first website. However, it is not possible to see the first website ever, as there isn’t much information about it, but a website looked pretty much like this one and was used to give out basic information.

It all continued on a very slow path until 1996, which is considered by many the beginning of a new era in web design. Designers started using background colors – most of them really vibrant and painful to look at – but some of them kept it simple and decided to go for white – and even used some other fonts than the default ones. In this era people started overusing the animated GIFs we all hate today.

In the screenshot below you can see the Yahoo! website back in December 1996. This is one of the good examples of that year, but trust me, not all of them looked this good. You’ll see other websites below from 1996 – I am sure you can’t look at them  for too long and would be able to make a very long list of mistakes. People were not doing this back then, because the web was quite new and they were really happy with the websites they had – these were huge achievements for them back then.

Yahoo!'s website in December 1996

McDonald’s webpage was incredibly hard to look at, although there was not much text. The background red combined with the yellow created a very powerful visual – truth is that everybody associates this color combination with McDonald’s today, so it might be also thanks to their first webpage.

McDonald's website in November 1996. in December 1996

Aligned to the left and with a maximum width of around 600 px, Apple’s website was not very smooth back then – unlike today. However, their design was still one of the best available on the web and looking at it didn’t affect your eye’s health at all, unlike some of the other ones.

Although not as fancy as today, Apple's design from March 1997 was one of the best on the internet.

Shortly after this era, another one started: the era of Cascading Style Sheets. Although not even half as advanced as today, CSS made a huge difference back then. There were still many wrong colors being used, but the layouts started getting better and you can see in the screenshot below some of them even used a grid system, if you are not so demanding and precise.

Yahoo’s June 1998 website was actually looking good and it was one of the best of its generation. But what would you expect from the king of the web during the 90s?

Yahoo! Kept a white and clean background, but still had blue link colors.

Google’s 1998 webpage, although the service was still in beta, looked really simple for that period, a trend which the American giant has continued with, right up until today. The main functionality of Google was and still is searching, therefore there was no reason to clutter the site too much.

Google Beta (1998) had a smooth design.

As you can see in the screenshot below, Apple’s webpage evolved a lot from 1997 to 1998 and already started looking like what was going to be one of the pioneers of the minimalistic approach. Big visuals, not a lot text, no advertising and an interesting layout – this all started shortly after CSS1 and continues to this day. in July 1998

Even AOL’s website looked better by April 1998. They started to have a grid system, used the colors of their logo and personalized their menu by using buttons.

AOL in April 1998 (not all the images captured)

The colors were becoming even more popular because designers thought they will keep the people on their web pages. They didn’t think the same colors would make it impossible to look at the page for more than a few minutes. However, as said before, the good that came from this was the fact that it associated colors with brands – blue for Microsoft, red and yellow for McDonald’s and so on.

Another problem were the fonts. Times New Roman and Courier New were very popular (Comic Sans was already released and soon to become hugely popular). Although there were many other options, people preferred to use these two typefaces in everything, from web pages and invitations to e-mails and documents. Writing with black was popular and everybody kept it like that. If there was something which needed to stand out, red was the color of choice. Otherwise I am sure you remember the blue underlined links (which you can see in most of the examples shown here until now). Because typography was not an important part of the design, bold and italics were not very used either to make text stand out.  A font that was widely used in the 90s and is still very popular today was Arial, which can even be seen on AOL’s website.

Leaving too much empty space was madness back in the 90s, also because centering a web page was not very popular. You can see Yahoo!’s first website (shown above) and notice how much empty space there was on the right side. People also started using background images, but because the images were not big enough, in many cases they started to repeat them and this created an awful visual.

Buttons also started to appear and become more and more popular, because they allowed designers to further customize the menus and put the focus on the navigation, while icons were also used all the time – it was the first time when visual elements had a use. This was also the period when animated GIFs exploded and everybody used them. There were almost no websites without them and people really appreciated the effect they created.

The year of 1999 was the year of a change. People started to design smarter and thought more about usability, grid systems, layouts and even colors. Most of the websites with vibrant background colors were redesigned and started looking better (McDonald’s got rid of that vibrant red from the background one year before).

CNN's webpage in August 2000 (not all the images captured)

Microsoft in February 1999 (not all the images captured)

Shortly after this, bright colors were on the way out and creating contrast between the background and the font color was critical. Most of the designers started using white as the default background color and it worked really well. Designers started designing in pixels instead of inches like they had been before. Maybe the most important thing was the fact that the content of a page was ordered, with the menu being in focus most of the time.

The importance of typography increased as well during this period, with people thinking a bit more about the target audience. Comic Sans becomes popular for child websites (although for a period it was used for everything) and some other fonts come into focus. There was no option for embedding back then, so designers were constrained, but at least they started to experiment more with what they already had.

Websites were not flexible at all back then and because of the many screen sizes available, it was difficult to design something to look good for everybody – responsive design was just unheard of. The use of buttons started to decrease as well because people learned how to properly play with font and colors – typography’s importance increased even more.

GoDaddy's website from December 2002 even had a dropdown navigation.

By August 2002, Apple’s website looked a lot like the one they have today. The navigation was a dropdown, they used big images for the featured article/product and four small boxes for other products at the bottom – a lot of similarity with Apple’s current website. The Cupertino-based company showed everybody how they should design a simple, but effective website.

Apple in August 2002.

The use of icons and boxes increased. As mentioned earlier, icons were a good way of focusing the users attention (especially on navigation links), while the boxes were used to help the user find his way around the website and also for structuring content. Luckily, the use of animated GIFs decreased by this period and they would never be as popular as they were a couple of years before.

Another era started in 2002, when the so-called web 2.0 concept appeared for the first time. The use of colors became more theoretical and everybody used them to make the websites more appealing, rather than flashy. The use of Flash – right then on its way in – was popular until 2008 when its use decreased dramatically. Flash animations became more and more popular and most of the websites started looking more professional, as we would say today.

Forums were already spread around and most of them had the same look and feel, like in the image below.

Softnews Romania in February 2003

Shortly after this, the hover effects started to appear and they were a hit. Everybody was using them because they created focus and helped the user navigate.

Footers were also increasing in popularity and they were always used to display copyright information, privacy policy, terms of use or contact information.

Color palettes started to become harmonious and be used wisely. They started to create impact and designers knew that, if used correctly, colors can make a huge difference, especially then when not everyone had this information. The use of typography increased and, combined with colors and contrast, made the text interesting – for the first time in web history.

Responsive web design still didn’t appear at this point, but at least there were no more problems with background images. Now it was easy to calculate everything in pixels and repeating background images disappeared (they appeared again later on to create what we now refer to as patterns). Also, using background images instead of solid colors went low-key and designers preferred to avoid it.

Probably the first real interactive website was one for Coca-Cola. They showed the world how to use colors smartly and how to integrate them with flashy, visual animations that kept the users on their page for ever, even if there was not really too much going on there.

The web as we know it today started in 2005, when everybody realized cluttered sites are not popular, and started to keep them as simple as possible. Single pages appeared and made a huge impact because they were just what lots of users needed. Single pages gave design a fresh look and simplified the navigation. Designers started playing with font sizes and color and combined them so that text was in focus – integrating multiple fonts was tried for the first time in this period. The “back to top” button was also seen for the first time in this period and many websites adopted it, as it made navigation easier.

By mid 2006, Yahoo!'s webpage was simple and effective - no flashy elements.

In this period websites were becoming more than just a way of supplying basic information. They were part of an identity, soon even a part of a strategy and people visited them not only for information, but also for relaxation and inspiration.

In 2008 another era started, which lasted for only few years (although some signs of it are still online today). This was the retro period, where old fashioned elements started becoming popular. No, not the GIFs and the tables, but retro colors, text, illustrations and other elements could be seen all over the place. This is also when the minimalistic design approach started, but it was nothing more than an idea yet. incorporates lots of retro elements

The minimalistic approach started to become more than just an idea in 2010. We are currently in the minimalistic era, where it all has to be designed fast, it has to stay simple and still do its job and create an experience for the user. At the same time, although many websites turn to this concept, each one of them has to have something special – so that people will remember it and come back. Now it’s a lot about colors, typography and contrast – the best one being between white and black.

How simple can a website be? Apple's the best example.

There are things we can notice everywhere. The color palettes are congruent and are not thrown out there just for the sake of it – they are used with a purpose. Hierarchy was introduced as well and it is not only shown through position, but also through font size, font type and colors. Balance is also a key word in today’s web design and creating a positive, attractive atmosphere on the website is the purpose of any designer. Responsive web design is popular today and there is no such thing as not being able to make a website look good on all the screens.

The typography goes beyond limits and being able to embed fonts made it even more challenging and interesting. Although too many fonts can lead to a bad design, if you know how to use them you will learn the key to getting people to read your text. Buttons are still used (think of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and RSS) and are the way to navigate through pages, although they are not widely used anymore in menus. The problems with images and resolutions disappeared as well.

There is also a new style in town for background choices. There can be images, patterns or even solid colors – in today’s web you can integrate them with everything. Animations are not popular anymore, but are still used here and then – however, they do not affect the loading speed of the sites as much as before.

With more than 20 years since the design started to develop, it is easy to see that everything moves fast and that everything keeps improving. It is amazing how you can think that nothing can be better, and then in a few years something new comes and everybody is excited about it. The internet went from rough to beautiful and useful and will most definitely continue on its path upwards. Lots and lots of changes will continue to be made and the question is: are you ready for them? Are you ready for when a crazy designer will see an opportunity to push the web even farther? Will you jump on his bandwagon or will you just continue to do things the way you do already? If the history of web design has taught us something, it is the fact that we always continue to evolve. You should always be ready and willing to do the same when the opportunity arises…

December 05 2011


Christmas Countdown: Advent Calendars

It’s almost here! And, the countdown will soon begin. It’s the 25 day period before Christmas. One great way to celebrate the season is with an Advent Calendar.

Antique Advent Calendar   ( Advent Calendar from Germany )


It’s almost here! And, the countdown will soon begin. It’s the 25 day period before Christmas. One great way to celebrate the season is with an Advent Calendar.


Here’s an easy and fun way to use a candle as an advent calendar. Each day the candle is lit and burned down to the next number. You can make one by using craft paint on the candle itself.

Old Advent Calendar (German Origin)

The first printed Advent Calendar came about through Gerhard Lang in 1908. Lang got the idea from his mother who, when he was a small boy, made him an advent calendar with 24 little candies stuck on cardboard. He printed Advent Calendars in Germany until WWII when cardboard was then rationed and forbidden to use.

WWII Advent Calendar (The Little Town)

This is the first Advent Calendar printed after WWII. It was printed in 1946 and the first one printed in the United States. It was promoted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower whose children loved the idea.

Felt Advent Calendar ( Felt Advent )

Today Advent Calendars range from religious to non-religious, and are made from a variety of materials, such as this one made out of felt.

Small Drawers (Christmas Cocoa U-Fill)

The small box drawers in this unique advent calendar can be filled with little candies, stickers, small toys, or family activities.

Magnetic Nativity (Nativity)

The magnetic figures of this advent calendar allow the pieces to be placed anywhere desired. The pieces are stored in pockets in the back. One piece is brought out each day until the nativity scene is complete.

Christmas Decor (Colorful Pocket)

Let the Christmas countdown begin with this bright and cheerful quilted advent calendar. The pockets are in random order so you have to search for the right number. Each pocket can be filled with treats or activities.

Starry Trees (Little Forest)

This advent calendar is an absolutely fabulous decorative piece! You can choose how to hang it on a tree branch, garland style, or on the Christmas tree itself.

Christmas Story (Felt Pennants)

These scrumptious wool pennants are festive with their shades of green, red, gold and white. Each pennant is a little pocket that holds a little card paraphrasing the story of Jesus’ birth with scripture references.

Art Quilt (Amy Butler Fabric)

Here’s a gorgeous display featuring a spin-off of traditional Christmas colors, by experimenting with more of a pastel color palette. Red variants come into play here with pink taking first place. Another interesting feature is that the numbers are made with polymer clay.

Pottery Advent (Pottery Shadow Box)

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word “adventur” meaning “arrival.” Here’s a unique advent calendar using pottery in a shadow box-style lazy Susan shelf, which is unique in itself with the Christmas Tree finial on top.

Black and White (Elegant)

Using beautiful flocked and metallic papers, feathers, rhinestones, and elegant embellishments, this black, white, and silver advent calendar creates an unusual look.

Christmas Stocking ( All In One)

If you have a lot of kiddos in your family then this might be a fun solution. An advent calendar right on the Christmas Stocking itself. Each number has a little pocket.

Fabric Bags (Colorful)

Here’s a simple idea using colorful fabric scraps. These would be easy to whip up if you’re suddenly inspired to make an advent calendar at the last minute.

Magnetic Tins (Reusable )

Here’s yet another very quick advent calendar project using magnetic tins.

All of these Advent Calendars are certainly inspiring. Remember, you can start your Countdown to Christmas with any amount of days. Perhaps 12 days of Christmas is your thing? So, whether you make one or buy, one have fun with it this season.

December 02 2011


A Fantastic Look At The Amazing Colors Under the Sea

There are plenty of reasons why the underwater world is mysterious and unfamiliar terrain for humans. Though most of us have at least been in the ocean, our own bodily limitations (if only we had gills!) mean that 70% of earth’s surface is off limits, inaccessible for us to explore (without expensive equipment and training, that is).

Which is a shame, considering that the sea’s floor is a treasure-trove of creatures, colors, and textures that would send us into visual-overdrive. Even the most familiar of sea creatures - like coral, starfish, or octopus - are host to some of the most aesthetically unique hues and shapes.   Which is to say, we’re glad that underwater technology has advanced to the point that we can bring records of some of these stunners above-ground, in the form of photos and videos, crisper than ever before.

Underwater Wildlife Art by Andrey Narchuk

Without context, these could certainly be works of modern art, or a study in color and shape. But these underwater shots, taken at close range, capture details like a fish’s scales or tail, or vegetation in motion. The photographer says “Nature has created a huge amount of art. They fill our planet. It’s not surprising that the underwater world just hides a lot of them.  

See more Underwater Wildlife Art photography by Andrey.

Another World: Underwater Experiments by Alexander Semenov

The photographer calls these creatures, “Beautiful monsters.” About his work at Moscow’s “White Sea Biological Station,” he says: “When I went underwater for the first time, I was absolutely shocked. White Sea showed me another world with it’s own aliens.” We agree, these unfamiliar animals, with their unnatural colors and pitch-black backdrop, look otherworldly.


See more Underwater Experiments photography by Alexander.

Natural History Film Series by Morphologic Studios

Who knew that unaltered shots of sea life would make the perfect music video? A Marine Biologist & a musician (Colin Foord and Jared McKay) collaborated to make this series of 24 short films. By pairing shots from a Miami aquarium with original music, “they transform the minute creatures that inhabit our coral reefs into strange, abstract works of surreal art.”

See more cool Natural History Film Series videos by Morphologic Studios.

Make sure to visit each artists Behance page for more fantastic images and in some cases the full view of a piece borrowed for the post.

Creations made/used:


November 26 2011


8 World-Changing Innovators That Molded Today’s Technology

The talk about great innovators and visionaries has been hot these past few weeks, with images and articles about Steve Jobs appearing in every corner of the internet world. The focus was on Steve Jobs, and his passing, but should that stop us from honoring earlier innovators, who not only innovated things during their time, but also helped create what we have now?

Below you will meet some of the world’s best inventors when it comes to disseminating information and improving technology as we know it. I must warn you, all but one have left this world. Still, with new technology booming every month, it surely won’t hurt learning about them!

As Plato once said, “study the past if you would divine the future,” so we must!

Printing Press –  Johannes Gutenberg


Image from Wikipedia

One cannot deny the importance of mass production and being able to disseminate information. Prior to the invention of the printing press, lower class people could only dream of reading a book and being educated. This was in the 13th and 14th centuries, a time when books were almost the price of gold and a time when scribes wrote each word by hand of every copy of every book. You can imagine how hard it was to acquire a book!

The invention of mechanized printing led to the Printing Revolution, a period where information became widely available and much more affordable. This opened a new world for people to learn new things that in the past were only a dream of having, it also gave birth to many scholars and curious intellectuals.

Looking back, without the propagation of cheap information we wouldn’t be here today savoring technology and sweet information!

Computer –  Charles Babbage
(Dec. 26, 1791 –  Oct. 18, 1871)


Image from Wikipedia

Ah, so Charles Babbage invented the computer. What’s so shocking about it? Well, several years before it was possible to make a model, he had already designed one using ink and paper. He had already laid out plans that years to come would blow mathematicians’ minds away.

It is also interesting to note that Charles Babbage worked closely with Ada Lovelace (born Augusta Ada Byron, daughter of Lord Byron). Together they developed the Analytical Engine, which gave Ada Lovelace the title of First Programmer.

Electricity –  Nikola Tesla
(July 10, 1856 –  Jan. 7, 1943)

Nikola Tesla chilling in his laboratory like a boss.

Image from Wikipedia.

Perhaps Nikola Tesla is one of the greatest minds of our time to be forgotten, not because of his weird conjectures, but because of a conspiracy against him during his time by envious people. Today we are enjoying the flow of electricity to our homes making our appliances and gadgets come to life. Without the ability to harnessed electricity, we couldn’t possibly hope to have advanced technologically as it is a prerequisite.

If you have played one of those strategic games, like Red Alert, you will learn that you need to upgrade or research a certain technology before advancing to the next. That’s how it is in real life, and harnessed electricity is the timeless breakthrough that will always be useful to every human living on this planet.

In honor of Nikola Tesla’s achievements, the Tesla unit was named after him. In the game Red Alert, they honored Tesla by naming several characters and buildings there after him, such as the Tesla Tank, Tesla Tower, and Tesla Trooper.

There is more to Tesla then just being named in computer games and as the inventor of harnessed electricity. He dreamt of inventing a wireless means of transporting electricity from a single point to just about anywhere. Unfortunately he was not able to do it because his life was cut short. On the other hand, he may have not successfully invented wireless transfer of electricity, but he managed to do it, although not perfectly and quite impractical. What it was lacking was long distance transfer.

Walkman –  Nobutoshi Kihara
(Oct. 14, 1926 –  Feb. 13, 2011)


Image from Wikipedia

The Walkman is truly one of the first revolutions in the entertainment industry, the first one to break the thinking that BIG is always better.

It’s a sad thing that children born today (2000s) will have no idea what a Walkman is. I’m 22 and yet I enjoyed one when I was young. I was even brought by my cousin to recording stores to purchase his “tapes”.

If Wikipedia is to be trusted, Masaru Ibuka (a Sony co-founder) allegedly said that Mr. Kihara is “godlike” because after a few moments of discussing concepts, he will develop a prototype of it within a day.

C Programming Language –  Dennis Ritchie
(Sept. 9, 1941 –  Oct. 2011)


This is the photo of the man you should all be thankful of, whose passing unfortunately didn't create a worldwide mourning.

Image from Wikipedia

Dennis Ritchie is the person responsible for the creation of the C language and is a key developer of the UNIX operating system. UNIX systems are widely used on different platforms and devices, and today’s technology wouldn’t be possible without the help of these two inventions.

The development of C and UNIX led to various advances in both software and hardware. Due to his work, he received the Turning Award and IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal.

Touch Screen –  E.A. Johnson

Contrary to popular belief, Steve Jobs didn’t invent touch screens. Although there is very little information online about E. A. Johnson, the inventor of the first touch screen, there are published resources that prove it. See “Touch Displays: A Programmed Man-Machine Interface,” published in the year 1967.

Everywhere you go today you’ll find devices with touch screens. Kiosks at your favorite shopping mall, the ATM, the devices you use, and even vending machines.

Telephone –  Alexander Graham Bell
(Mar. 3, 1847 –  Aug. 2, 1922)


An actor that looks like Keanu Reeves portraying Alexander Graham Bell for an AT&T film.

Image from Wikipedia

Imagine life without your mobile phone or even the internet. Sucks, right? And that’s the reason why you need to know the humble beginnings of these light-speed communication!

Prior to the invention of the telephone, many people did not imagine that it was even possible. It’s like witchcraft! And since the snowball effect applies to everything, like when a thing gets started it won’t stop no matter what, the birth of the telephone opened a new world for fast communication. Which leads us to the World Wide Web.

Update: This is probably the most controversial item on our list, and to avoid further rants I’ll share commenter AlexanderDaslink to The Guardian that says it was actually Antonio Meucci who invented the first telephone that can transmit voice. If you will do a quick search and look at the history of its making, the first voice transmission was made during Bell and Meucci’s timeline. Several years prior to theirs, only vibrations and clanking were made.

World Wide Web –  Tim Berners-Lee

The World Wide Web is one of the most important inventions of mankind. The thought of it was impossible, nearly witchcraft if you could hear people from back then speak about it, but I wasn’t capable of thinking things like that yet when I was born (1989). But I had my piece of WWW-less until my junior year in high school. Yes, that’s when I first accessed the internet for more than an hour (first time was during freshman year, just a look at Yahoo and nothing more).

The bad things aside, the Internet is now creating a new world-wide culture transcending race, distance, and even time. Somehow, a global consciousness is emerging. From the fast spread of free information that is accessible to many, down to communicating with close friends and family, you just can’t ignore the glaring contribution of Tim Berners-Lee and the team responsible for the WWW we now enjoy!

November 25 2011


Where the "Black" in Black Friday Came From

It’s here! Some consider it a plague, some consider it a shopaholics dream, and some people just want a new pair of socks at rock-bottom prices. That’s right, the full contact sport of Black Friday has returned for another year. Which brings me to wonder, why do they call this day of awesome deals and big crowds black? Here are a few interesting theories I've pulled together…

Original credit for the phrase is given to the plunging gold prices way back in 1864 that started a panic in the stock market, thus a very black Friday indeed.

(photos: source | source)

Then, in the late 1960s, Philadelphia newspapers borrowed the phrase to describe the dark masses of shoppers crowding the stores. Sounds kind of creepy I know, but let’s imagine them wearing festive holiday colors and the picture isn’t so bleak.

Later on, this idea was clarified to mean that the crowds increased profits, thus the black ink on the accounting balance sheets is why it is called Black Friday.


Tweak this theory again and black now represents the day retailers make a profit or break the bank. Ominous, I know.


Whatever the origin, by the time the 1990s rolled around, Black Friday had turned into a nationwide retail holiday (albeit unofficial). Since then its fame has grown, and now it is the season’s biggest shopping day of the year (says market research firm ShopperTrak).


Whether you brave the crowds, hide at home, or enjoy a regular day at work (with a  little crowd control), be safe and have a happy Black Friday from all of us at COLOURlovers!


November 10 2011


Eric Carle - Daring You to Imagine a World with Purple Penguins and Lime Green Rhinos

Imagine a world where anything is possible—where dogs sport a luscious coat of pink fur, green cats preen themselves with zebra striped tongues, ruby red snakes have glowing purple polka dots, and rainbow spotted elephants spray orange slices from a mile long trunk. This is the world that Eric Carle dares his readers to imagine.

This article is presented by the leader in business card printing with fast turnaround times, Next Day Flyers.

Eric Carle was born June 25, 1929 in Syracuse, New York. When he was six years old, he and his parents moved to Germany where he grew up and eventually graduated from Akademie der bildenden Künste, a prestigious art school in Stuttgart. He never forgot his American roots and returned to the place of his happiest childhood memories in 1952.

Eric Carle | Books


Inspired at a young age by German artist Franz Marc, who is known for his paintings of blue horses, Eric Carle has illustrated over seventy books, many of which he also wrote. The following are some of his most memorable contributions to children’s literature.


The first book Eric Carle illustrated was titled Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Published in 1967, its bold and colorful illustrations brought a fresh look to children’s literature.



In 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar quietly began to work its way into all of our hearts. By far his most well-known children’s book with over 22 million copies sold, it has been translated into more than thirty languages and has graced bookshelves for over forty years.

Eric Carle reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar (source) | Food page - source

Book and pages from The Very Hungry Caterpillar - source | source | source

So, what is the magic that makes this book popular even to this day?

Is it the simple story of the life cycle depicted in the form of a tiny insect? Is it the fact that it teaches the days of the week, counting, and good nutrition paired with interactive die-cut pages? Is it the suggestion that we are all a bit like this little caterpillar and will one day turn into beautiful butterflies? Maybe it is the vivid illustrations themselves, which startle the senses and spark the imagination. Whatever the reason may be, it stands true that The Very Hungary Caterpillar is a worthy example of how far a little imagination and creativity can take you.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle (source)

The year 1970 brought The Tiny Seed with its collage illustrations accompanied by simple poetic text that demonstrate the enormous potential of one tiny seed.

Have you seen my Cat? by Eric Carle (source |  source | source)

One of my personal favorites, Have you seen my Cat? takes the reader on a journey through distant lands where wild and domesticated cats alike adorn the pages in Eric Carle’s classic illustrative style. Published in 1973, the pictures more than the text lead the reader from page to page searching for a boy’s beloved pet.

The Very Busy Spider includes a raised printing technique (source)

The Very Busy Spider was published in 1984. Its striking illustrations are enhanced with a raised printing technique that allows readers to enjoy the story by sight, sound and touch.

Hello, Red Fox (source)


Published in 1998, Hello, Red Fox is a colorful book with a lot of surprises. Eric Carle’s illustrations take readers on a journey to discover complementary colors.

Cover source  |  Two-page spread from “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth by Eric Carle (source)

Featuring amazing rainforest illustrations,“Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth was released in 2002. Eric Carle was inspired to write this book at a time when his life was very hectic. He got fed up with it one day and after locking himself up in his studio he began to work on this book. It now stands as a reminder to us all to slow down and take a break sometimes. (source)

Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do you See? by Eric Carle  (source)

In 2007, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do you See? hit the shelves. If you will remember, Eric Carle started his career with a book with a similar title, but from the adult bear’s perspective. Thinking it would be a nice way to sort of round off his career, he got back together with Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated this children’s book. Little did he know that he wasn’t quite finished with his career…

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, by Eric Carle (cover source)



Eric Carle’s The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse came out this year (2011) as a stunning illustrated book that truly explores and encourages a child’s imaginative potential. The first page displays a little boy holding a paintbrush saying, “I am an artist and I paint a blue horse.” Subsequent pages are illustrated with a whole zoo of unconventionally colored animals, and concluding with the little boy again, this time saying, “I am a good artist…” The addition of one powerful little word to the sentence expresses Eric Carle’s deep belief that the imagination cannot and should not be hindered. In fact, his own creative process is a testament to this. (source)

Eric Carle in his studio (source)

“I often try making paper more than what paper is.”-Eric Carle (source)

Eric Carle’s illustrative technique is to use hand-painted, cut and collaged tissue paper. Using overlaying colors combined with bold strokes, wavy lines, polka dots, and other techniques, the resultant tissue paper is bright and colorful.


“Many people make collages. Artists like Picasso and Matisse and Leo Lionni made collages. Many children have done collages at home or in their classrooms. I happen to make my collage illustrations using painted tissue papers. You might want to try it too!” — Eric Carle (source)

Eric Carle’s illustrative style demonstrates how repeated sequences of circles, squares, and lines can lead to endless creative possibilities.


As the author of some of the most unique and well-recognized illustrations in children’s literature, Eric Carle is a true advocate of creative expression. We would do well to recognize our own attempts at creativity as simply as Eric Carle does, meaning that anything goes. The imagination holds endless possibilities, and when we tap into our own creative wells, what will emerge? A beautiful butterfly? One can only hope there are a few purple penguins and lime green rhinos in there, too.

header credit: source | source

November 09 2011


Three Great Decades: The Interesting History Of Apple

Apple is the brainchild of one of the greatest innovators of history, Steve Jobs. His passing was unexpected and early; but he has left us with enough wealth in knowledge. Steve Jobs changed the way we listen to music, communicate with people and interact with our gadgets. Apple created a new way of thinking… no, Apple created a whole new way of living.

Humble Beginnings

Apple was founded by the ‘two Steves: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They were two very different teenagers, but both are geniuses in their own way. Both Steve’s grew up in San Jose, California– now better known as Silicon Valley.

Before they became billionaires and founders of the coolest company in the world, they were teenage outcasts. Three decades ago the two Steve’s were mere college dropouts, Jobs from Reeds and Wozniak from Berkeley. The two Steve’s met at Hewlett-Packard, while Jobs was working as a summer employee and Wozniak as a calculator manufacturer.

The Woz was an especially gifted engineer of his time, making and selling illegal devices that he made. One particular device allowed users to make free long distance calls (which was a big deal in the 1970s  when long distance calls were expensive). Wozniak had done so by hacking into AT&T’s long distance network. An ironic beginning if you think of it, since AT&T is now perhaps one of Apple’s most important business partners.

Later on, Jobs convinced Wozniak to make self-made computers with him. While Steve Wozniak merely enjoyed creating machines, Jobs had always seen the marketability of personal computers. To start their own company, they sold their most precious possessions. Jobs sold his Volkswagen Bus and Wozniak sold his programmable HP calculator. They gathered $1,250 and started their business in Jobs’ basement.

Start of the Great Company

It was in Steve Jobs’ tiny basement that they invented the first personal computer. On April Fool’s Day, 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak released the first Apple I computer and started the company Apple Computers.

The first Apple machine made use of a TV as a display system–a great addition since most machines of the time had no display at all. Text was faster than teleprinter at that time, typing at 60 characters per second. It also had a bootstrap code on ROM for easy start-up. Like a car, the Apple I computer had a hood that the owner could open up and tinker with the machine. Users were encouraged to open and tinker with the computer; to make it better, to make it faster and to add some features.

Byte Shop, a local computer shop, offered to buy 50 of the computers if it came fully assembled, paying US $500 each. The two couldn’t afford to pay for the components, so Jobs approached Cramer Electronics to get components on 30 day terms. With that, the two Steve’s spent days on end building the computers, delivered it on time and paid his supplier with a neat profit for their efforts and for the next order.

Steve Jobs invited Ronald Wayne, a 41-year-old former colleague from Atari to join in their Apple start-up. Jobs offered Wayne 10% of the company, although he kept his job at Atari and worked for Apple at night. The partnership with Ronald Wayne didn’t last long, though. Twelve days after Apple’s release, Ronald Wayne sold his 10% share for US $800. A meager sum if you consider the fact that Wayne’s 10% share would’ve been worth US $35.3 billion today.

1977 – 1980s: Fast Growth

After Apple I, Wozniak now thought about making a bigger and better machine. Since they now had the money from the sales on their first computer, Wozniak moved on and made an improved version, the Apple II. The computer was presented on April 16, 1977 during the West Coast Computer Fair. A Japanese chemist named Toshio Mizushima became interested in the Apple II prototype, and later on became the first authorized Apple dealer in Japan.

Image from Old Computers

The Apple II, also known as the Apple ][, became known as the most popular computer of all time. The TV interface was completely redesigned. It could handle text, graphics, and later on, color. It became more ready-to-use than its predecessor, since the Apple I required you to plug parts together & type the code to run the program.

Image from Tony Olsen

By this time Apple needed more money to grow as a company. The solution came from an angel investor named Mike Markkula, who was referred to him by Don Valentine and in turn was referred to by Regis McKenna. Valentine, after first meeting the young and unkempt Jobs, told McKenna: ‘Why did you send me this renegade from the human race?’ He was uninterested in funding Apple, but recommended Markula. Jobs visited him and convinced the would-be investor the market potentials of personal computers. Markkula invested $92,000 in Apple and a bank loan of US $250,000.

Markkula held a huge influence particularly in the formative years of Apple. Wozniak even credits Markkula for Apple’s success more than himself. He provided the adult supervision to the young Jobs and Wozniak. He served as a mentor to Jobs teaching him the the ins and outs of business and management. Aside from helping the company obtain credit and capital, he brought in Michael Scott to be the first president and CEO of Apple. He promised his wife to stay at the venture for four years, he eventually stayed for two decades. Markkula is responsible for recommending the floppy disk drive, after Markkula discovered that the checkbook balancing program he had written was too slow on the data cassette.

Apple’s most famous success is the famed Macintosh. It was the first computer to successfully use a graphic user interface and mouse. The series was thought of by Jef Raskin, an Apple employee who envisioned a low-cost, user-friendly computer for the everyday customer. Macintosh was named after Raskin’s favorite type of apple. Jobs was working on his own Lisa computer during this time, but immediately took over the Macintosh project when the failure of Lisa was clear and the future of Macintosh was bright. See the 1984 Macintosh ad here.

Image from Quality in Print

By 1980s Jobs was still young and unexperienced. He made many marketing mistakes that greatly affected Apple sales. Jobs still lacked the discipline to run the company . Thus Jobs lured Sculley away with the pitch: ‘Do you want to sell sugar-water for the rest of your life or come with me & change the world?’

Jobs and Sculley during their 'friendlier' days

 Sculley was believed to be the perfect choice into bringing business success, stability and management know-how into the company. He raised the Macintosh price from US $1,995 to US $2,495, to use the extra money for advertising campaigns.

There was an internal power struggle in Apple–Sculley and Jobs regularly clashed. Sculley was traditional, but Jobs was more non-linear: he held meetings after midnight, and called new meetings early in the morning. In the end, the board of directors including Mike Markkula sided with Sculley. Jobs left Apple consequently, his pride in tatters.

The Era of Apple without Jobs

Come 1990s, the IBM PC was now dominating the operating system industry. Apple tried to battle the PC threat by introducing Quadra, Centris and Performa. The new Macintosh computers failed miserably, partly due to poor marketing, plus too many models introduced with minor differences in the tech specs. Aside from the computers, Apple released an early personal digital assistant or PDA (they coined that term, in fact) called the Newton. The venture failed, but it would later be the inspiration for future handheld devices such as the Pocket PC and Palm Pilot.

Image from Tony Olsen

By this time, Apple was considered ‘one of the worst managed companies in the industry’. John Sculley was then replaced by  Michael Spindler, and in turn by Gil Amelio. Stock value was low, and the company was losing billions of dollars. There was no visionary to lead them. How could Apple survive when the founders are no longer active?

Meanwhile, Jobs acquired Pixar, a visual effects and animation company. Soon afterwards he founded another company called NeXT. The computer venture did not succeed because of its high price, but it later became the basis for the Mac OS X. It also became the initial platform for Tim Berners-Lee with inventing the World Wide Web concept.

Apple’s Renaissance

Since Steve Jobs’ comeback, Apple regained its former enthusiastic spirit. From 1998 to 2000, their sales were slowly but surely rising. One of Jobs’ first moves as CEO was to develop the iMac, with the integrated CRT display and CPU in a clean, streamlined design. The computer was a huge success, selling one million units a year. There was a resurgence of Apple products and the company started to focus on the design and aesthetics of its products.

Advertisement for the Apple iMac. (Image from Tony Olsen)

Later on, the company would introduce other innovative products like the iBook and the Power Mac G4. It also introduced the new operating system Mac OS X, which had been based on NeXT.

But the boom of Apple’s success today can be traced back to one gadget: the iPod. It was released on October 23, 2001 The iPod can store ’1,000 songs in your pocket’. It was Apple’s first venture in digital music players, a gamble that paid off so well that it led to other innovative products: the iPod Mini, Shuffle, Classic, Nano, and later the iPod Touch, iPhone and the iPad.

In fact, Apple revolutionized the music industry. It created a new music download service, the iTunes Store, with music downloads of only $0.99 per song or $9.99 per album. The iTunes Store was launched in 2003, and garnered 2,000,000 downloads in 2 weeks, all purchased on Mac computers. Apple later released a Windows version for iTunes, further expanding their market base.

The iTunes Store did not stop at that. They later provided free and paid videos and applications for downloads for the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Today’s Apple products are simple, clean and minimalist. Everything is simplified: all the unnecessary features are taken out and only the essentials remain. And because of its style and simplicity, Apple created a huge fan following and has grown exponentially over the decade.

On May 26, 2010, the stock market of value of Apple overtook that of Microsoft. It was the only time in 20 years that Microsoft was lower than Apple, which would’ve seem ‘unimaginable’ 10 years ago.

On August 25, 2011, news went out that Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO of Apple, and would be succeeded by Tim Cook. On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away due to complications of pancreatic cancer.

The Bright Future of Apple

What are Apple’s most recent plans? The iPhone 4S, the Mac OS 5 and the iCloud, for starters. The iPhone 4S is quite exciting, especially the Siri feature. Siri lets you use your voice to command various functions: send messages, make calls, schedule meetings and more. Siri can recognize your voice, understand what you say, and can even talk back. If you don’t believe us, you can see the video here.

Before Jobs’ death, he recently unveiled Apple’s plans for their new headquarters in Cupertino. The modern and futuristic building allows room for 12,000 employees. It is environmentally friendly and will use renewable energy sources and trees will be abundant in the area. The company hopes to move to the new headquarters by 2015.

Indeed, the passing away of Jobs was too early and too unexpected. But the timing couldn’t have been more right–the iPhone and iPad were a huge success that it surpassed the company’s expectations in revenue and profit. Apple can finally stand on its own, ready to conquer the future without the help of Jobs’ regular involvement. After Jobs, Cook is now the CEO as design genius Jonathan Ive and marketing mastermind Phil Schiller, and they will continue to surprise and inspire us.

October 31 2011


Halloween Colors: Where Did They Come From?

Pumpkin orange and midnight black—the predominant colors of Halloween combine the Autumn season with darkness and scary entities.


But how did these colors really come to dominate this most unusual holiday? The truth is, when it comes to the question of the origin of the Halloween colors, it can be hard to separate the opinions from the facts.

Unbleached beeswax candles (source | source)

The most common opinion about where the colors originated is steeped in the rich history of the Celtics and the Druids, with the burning of unbleached beeswax candles (orange) and ceremonial caskets draped in a black cloth.

Feng Shui candles are said to help create peace in the center of your house (source)

Now, let’s step into the world of Feng Shui, where a balance of energy reigns supreme. Believers of Feng Shui feel that the colors of orange and black were chosen because they are on opposite sides of the energy spectrum: orange is warm, happy, lively, and brings to mind the bounty of the fall harvest, while black represents mystery, void, power and protection (source).

(leaves source)

The most obvious answer to this question is that the classic color of Autumn is orange, while black can be equated with the approaching darkness of winter.

spider glasses | felted toysnapkinsBunting 

And, if you want to get really extreme, some people claim that black and orange were the only colors left after Christmas took red and green, and Easter took all of the pastels.

Of course, Halloween colors are not just limited to orange and black, you will also see a lot of blood red, eerie green, ghostly white and deep purples. So, where do these colors come into play? Here is a plausible explanation.

Celtic wheel of the year (source)

Going back to the Celtic festival of Samhain in 700 B.C., it signified the end of the harvest and the approaching of winter, or the end of one year and the start of another. The Celts believed that ancestral spirits joined them on this day when the past and the present are about to cross paths, which is why it was also considered a “day of the dead.”(source)

goblin | bat necklace | brooch | Boo

All of the Halloween colors seem to implicate some kind of connection to death and dying. Red is a classic implication of blood, fire and demons, while green represents goblins, monsters, and zombies. Purple draws in a bit of the supernatural and mysticism, while white reflects ghosts, mummies and a full moon.

Stepping away from color for a moment, Halloween is also dominated by an abundance of Jack-o-lanterns and children out trick-or-treating. These traditions also have an interesting origin.

Stingy Jack (source)

Jack-o-lanterns trace back to the Irish myth of Stingy Jack who died and, finding himself rejected by both heaven and hell, was forced to roam the darkness seeking a resting place for his soul. Legend has it that he hollowed out a turnip and used it to carry a coal to light his way. This said, the first Jack-o-lanterns were carved in turnips, and only changed to pumpkins when the tradition was brought to America.

jack-o-lanterns (source)

Trick-or-treating came about during the Great Irish Potato Famine. On Halloween, peasants would beg for food from the wealthy. They played practical jokes on those that refused to give them something. So, to avoid being tricked, the wealthy gave out cookies, candies, and fruit. It is easy to see how this turned into modern-day trick-or-treating. (source)

bracelet | plastic mustaches / lips | zombie clips | toy

No matter what history tells us, the Halloween color palette we see today is warm, bright, fun, and sometimes a little spooky. Each color has a place in the holiday and can find a place in your life as well, whether you are wearing it, eating it, decorating with it, or simply reading about it. So, have a happy, safe and colorful Halloween!

header credit: purple bats

Halloween Colors


Reposted byacupuncturenyc acupuncturenyc

October 26 2011


The Sentiment of Paper Dolls Past and Present

Paper dolls and their costumes provide a look at cultures from around the world. They give us a glimpse at what was worn by men and women through the centuries. Celebrities were turned into paper dolls, as were storybook characters. Its easy to find your favorite subject in paper doll form; from Little Fanny to the Bobbsey Twins and The Flintstones to political cartoons. The history of the paper doll is likely unknown by many, so today, we're going to take a trip back in time to unearth the history of what every child was once familiar with!

This article presented by the offset flyer printing company, Next Day Flyers. Printing flyers and so much more.


Our story begins in 1810 when S. & J. Fuller produced a small book. The moral story was accompanied by a series of hand colored little boys in various costumes that correspond with the story. They were somewhat unusual in that there was not a full body paper doll. Instead, there was a single head for the set of dolls that neatly fit in a v shaped horizontal slit on the back of each costume. Presumably one head was used to require the child to move the head from costume to costume as the story progressed. The book was titled The History & Adventures of Little Henry. It was the first in a series of similar books that became quite popular. The second book, also published in 1810 was History of Little Fanny. (source)



The paper doll was even used in a Political cartoon from August 15th, 1925. The ad, originally in black and white, was restored and colored by Judy M. Johnson of Paper Goodies.

1925 source

This ad encourages its readers to "see just how she uses three of the Cutex "smoky" shades by cutting out the figures above" and goes on to talk about the 12 "smart shades" that are available for only 35¢. Yes, you read that right, just 35¢ in 1936!

1936 source

When paper dolls surged in popularity as toys, manufacturers of all kinds of household goods took advantage of their popularity by using them to promote their wares. Paper dolls appeared in advertising, some die-cut, some as cards to cut out. A few of the products advertised with paper dolls were Lyon's coffee, Pillsbury flour, Baker's chocolate, Singer sewing machines, Clark's threads, McLaughlin coffee and Hood's Sarsaparilla. These dolls were plentiful and are still fairly easy to find today, often pasted into colorful scrapbooks. Later, from the 1930s to the 1950s, companies put paper dolls into their magazine advertisements to sell such goods as nail polish, underwear, Springmaid fabrics, Quadriga Cloth, Ford Cars, Fels Naphtha and Swan soaps, Carter's clothing for children, and more. (source)

1950 source

The 1930s through the 1950s can perhaps claim the title "Golden Age of Paper Dolls," as their popularity during those years has never been equaled. Barbie may be credited or condemned for the decline in popularity of paper dolls in the 1960s. Paper-doll versions of Barbie and her sister, Skipper, were strong sellers in the 1970s. Boyfriend Ken and girlfriend Midge were also made as paper dolls. Paper Barbies appeared in books and in boxed sets from 1962 through the 1990s, and have dwindled to nearly nothing in the first years of the 21st Century.

Paper Dolls Today

VaVa farmed paper dolls from her childhood.


Zevi likes to recreate paper dolls using fabric. This one in particular is Dolly Dingle.




A playful portrait of yourself, your pets or your family. You provide the photos and choose the clothes, and they illustrate a quirky stylized moveable likeness of your favorite animal/person.


 This gorgeous oversized postcard has all you need to dress Miss Clara up in her favourite winter outfits.


Imogen is approximately 7 inches tall (18cm) and is printed on heavy weight matte card stock. She comes with quite a wardrobe as well! Summer outfits, winter attire, beachwear and sleepwear. 8 outfits in all, plus coordinating accessories.


These lovely paper dolls are printed on heavy-duty water-resistant magnetic paper. These magnets preserve the detail of the original watercolors. They will stick to any metal surface: fridge, file cabinet, or anything else in your nest that needs feathering.


I love these Betsy McCall Halloween paper dolls from 1953.


It is possible to unearth paper dolls from the past. Looking in books and through loose pieces of paper is a great way to start. There are paper doll conventions held throughout the year if you're hoping to find antique paper dolls from their early debut. Creating your own paper dolls can be really fun, especially for kids! It allows you to personalize your dolls clothes, hair, facial features etc. The possibilities are endless!

Header credit.

October 19 2011


Signs: A Century of Fantastic Neon

Neon signs first came to the United States in 1923 when a Los Angeles car dealer bought two signs for his Packard dealership. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, neon tubes were used for signage as well as decorative displays. By 1947, several casinos in Las Vegas began to draw attention with their elaborate neon lights.


Many of these signs can be seen at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, sometimes referred to as the "Neon Graveyard" or "Boneyard Park". There are more than 100 signs that date back as far as the 1930's!



Several active signs throughout Las Vegas have been pledged to the museum once they’re retired. This “Living Museum” project ensures these irreplaceable artifacts will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.


Of course neon lights aren't only popular in Vegas. In the 1950's Coca-Cola built their first neon sign. In total there were 3,515 feet of tube! The sign was 44'X44' which gives an area of approximately 2,000 square feet! The sign weighted approximately 5,000 pounds and was built in 432 sections.


The Coca Cola sign hung in Westminster. In a popular area known as Piccadilly Circus.

(source photographed in 1949, 1962, 1992, and 2006)

I love that you can see the changes through the years, not only in the city, but also in the signs.


A trick of the eye is used to produce visually distinct neon display segments by blocking out parts of the tube with an opaque coating. One complete assembly may be composed of contiguous tube elements joined by glass welding to one another so that the same current passes through, for example, several letters joined end to end from cathode to cathode. To the untrained eye, this looks like separate tubes, but the electrical splice is the plasma inside the crossover glass itself. The entire tube lights up, but the segments that the viewer is not supposed to see are covered with highly opaque special black or gray glass paint. This heat-resistant coating is either painted on or dipped. Without blockout paint, the unintended visual connections would make the display appear confusing. (source)


If you live in more of a rural, low-key area, your idea of a neon sign might be those every day simple signs of functionality. These types of signs almost put the art of neon to shame, but serve a function to certain businesses nonetheless.

(source | source | source)




MONA, the Museum Of Neon Art also carry's a selection of preserved, refurbished and present neon design work. In fact, they even do Neon Tours - showing how neon can add to architectural elements as well.


Dive in to WeHo's Art on the Outside (source)

Museum of Neon Art, Pep Boys sign (source)

Neon sculpture at MONA (source)

Neon artists, such as Lakich Studio present exhibits as well as commission residential artwork.

Lakich Studio collage from homepage (source)

Large scale use of neon and other colorful lighting tricks to create an amazing nighttime atmosphere!


Neon signs have without doubt proven to grab attention in any shape or artistic form- although one can't help appreciate the talent involved in the more impressive pieces past and present.

The next time you see a neon sign maybe you'll look at it a little differently. Quite possibly you'll look at it more closely to see the opaque coating. Perhaps you'll have more appreciation for neon and its different art forms and the way it has evolved through the last century.

Header credit: EightHourDay.

October 13 2011


October 01 2011


September 23 2011


March 01 2011


Rise and Fall of Online Advertising

Online Advertising is the fastest growing advertising medium in history. Now we cannot imagine life without online advertising. Of its 17 years of existence, it has reached success by leaps and bounds. It is an interesting story filled with money and irritated users. Up to now there are still people who hate seeing advertisements on websites, as much as people a decade ago hated them. Indeed colorful, it helps spread words of services and products. Now for the earliest form of advertising, read on.

Spamming – Earliest Form of Online Advertising

The internet was intentionally created as a military and educational tool, and never intended for what it is now: a huge networking, communications and money-making machine.

Thus, the first ‘spam’ was not commercial in nature. The word ‘spam’ comes from a 1970s comedy of a British comedy ‘Monty Python’. In the sketch, a man and his wife are in a restaurant, but everything they ordered has spam on it. While trying to get an order without spam, Vikings from the background sing: ‘Spam, spam, spam. Lovely, spam. Wonderful spam!’

Photo by Wikipedia

You can view the episode here.

The phenomenon later influenced early internet users to flood forums with the word ‘spam’. Soon online marketers got the idea to overpost and flood Usenet groups and emails with junk mail, recounting the repeating the useless presence of spam in the Monty Python sketch.

The first spam email was ‘Arpanet’ on 1978, coming from Gary Thuerk of the Digital Equipment Corporation. The first commercial spam was by lawyers Laurence Canter & Martha Siegel, where they used bulk Usenet posting to promote their immigration law practices. Within a few years, marketers changed their medium of spamming from Usenet forums to e-mail, where it remains until this day. Over 90 million spam emails are sent everyday. 85% of our emails are actually spam. But it’s level of effectiveness in promoting or selling a product is very low—it now barely exists as a nuisance to all.

Photo by First-News

The Era of Banner Ads

The first online advertisement appeared on the web in 1994, prompting the beginning of the online advertising world. The first part was the period of experimentation by the advertisers and publishers, pioneering on ad formats and technology. In 1995, DoubleClick was launched, one of the first ad-serving technologies.

Photo by Ad Week

Photo above is one of the oldest online banner ads, dated October 25, 1994 (so sorry for the bad resolution). The advertiser is A&T, and the ad appeared on Hotwired. Hotwired also launched many online ad campaigns for Club Med, Volvo and MCI, and was eventually acquired by Lycos. Soon after Hewlett-Packard created one of the first interactive online ad, embedding a video arcade game ‘Pong’ into the ad.

From the start advertisers already know that online advertising is very different from traditional advertising. Early on they already did target market research and measurements. However, the media was largely misunderstood. It wasn’t until many years later that the effectiveness and the mechanics of the medium was understood.

Photo by Wiki

There are many forms of old school online ads apart from banner ads. This includes pop-up ads (photo shown above), pop-under ads, hover ads, takeover ads

Online advertising was at its peak in the late 1990s. Investors were dropping billions of dollars into dot com start-ups at an alarmingly fast rate. The internet was the new playing field, and investors fell in love with the novelty factor of it. They have high hopes for their investments–and it made some people very rich–on paper, at least.

by Banner Ad Museum

Back then, ads were in the banner format. Advertisers were required by the clients to provide the standard 468 x 60 px banner ad for their online advertising campaign, like the banner ads on the photo above. Soon, so thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and advertisers are pouring in–nobody wanted to get left behind this brand new money-making machine. In its hey day, it was a lucrative business: Yahoo! could charge up to US $30 to even US $100 to run these banner ads. At its height, internet spending has reached US $8.2 billion. The figure wouldn’t be reached again until 4 years after the dot com bubble burst.

However, banner ads are not effective; it is very expensive but the returns are low. Advertisers were set against the low effectiveness of ads, high prices, and the complex process of online ad auctions. The advertisers realized that the online banner ads pale in comparison to the effectivity of 30-second TV commercial or a full-page print ad.

Dot Com Bubble Burst

Photo by GDS Infographics

Mid-2000, the huge influx of money that created the online advertising bubble started to dry up. Companies now have no interest with online advertising and the online banner bubble burst happened. The stock market collapsed, resulting into a recession. The ‘bubble’ covered for five years from 1995 to 2000. From within that time frame the stock value rose steadily and rapidly at an astronomical rate. And then suddenly in just one day, the bubble burst–everything is gone in a flash.

NASDAQ peaked at 5,049 in March of 2000, and declined on October 2002 at 1,100. One one dot com company after another went bankrupt. Soon online advertising dollars had a dramatic fall of 32%, from US $8.2 billion to US $6.2 billion. As the market went sour, advertisers and agencies lost interest in using this unproven and unstable new medium.

Enter Google: The Era of Google Ads

After the bubble burst, advertising on the internet was in rapid decline except for search, because search engine technology has shown efficiency. Because of its ROI, Search engine market grew to US $2.3 billion in 2003. The search engine technology was highly efficient and dependable.

Google was, once upon a time, just a search engine. Google worked mainly on its functionality, perfecting the algorithm to produce the most appropriate results. Google drove plenty of traffic, but didn’t sell anything. But on the start of the millennium, 2000, Google AdWords was born. Google revolutionized online advertising–instead of using the banner ad format; which is the dominant advertising format of that time, they decided to sell through text ads. These ads are based on search engines, kept separate and on top or on the side of the main search results.

Why did Google’s text ads succeed and the banner ads did not? First of all, Google knew the weight of relevance. They introduced the click-through rate, creating a ranking algorithm to measure the advertisement’s relevance. Google only requires payment when the people click on them. Another stroke of genius from google is Page Rank.

Google did not create search engine or pay-per-click advertising–instead they focused on perfecting it. Google AdWords marked the New Growth Period of Online Advertising. Google has changed how we approach online advertising. Rather than mere selling or marketing, advertisers are now focusing in creating relevant content for consumers.

Ads make use of two different advertising model: the Pay-per-click and the Pay-per-impression. What’s the difference between the two? Pay-per-click requires advertisers to pay the host for every time the ad is clicked. Pay-per-impression is used to measure the cost and worth of the whole online marketing campaign. Both models are used to online ads such as text links, SEO marketing, web banners and e-mail advertising.

Photo by Searchlinqs

In search engines, advertisers bid on keyword terms and phrases relevant to their market. But with content sites, they use a fixed price for every click or impression. Pay-per-click model is perfect for bringing the targeted market into the website efficiently, while the Pay-per-impression is best for building brand recognition. Although these models are open to abuse through click fraud, Google and others have devised automated systems against corrupt advertisers or competitors.

Advertising through Social Media

If you haven’t heard of social media, then you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past five years. Social media, in its simplest terms, is a social tool for communications and networking. Rather than a web site merely providing you with information, social media sites are interactive; giving you the freedom to comment, rate and share information. There are four types of Social Media:

1. Social Networking Tools – Facebook, Twitter, Hi-5

2. Social News – Reddit, Digg Propeller

3. Social Photo & Video Sharing – Photobucket, Flickr, YouTube

4. Social Bookmarking –, Simpy

One of the biggest advantages of social media advertising is proper targeting of market through the use of the users’ demographic information provided.

Photo by Singapore SEO

Social media advertising is now apparently more effective than traditional advertising! Some even go through lengths as to have a billboard with their own Twitter ID—such as Naked Pizza of New Orleans. Naked Pizza, reputedly the healthiest pizza in the world, erected a billboard prompting viewers to add them on Twitter. It’s not the first time Twitter is featured on a billboard, and surely not the last. It’s a smart marketing move, they will gain more followers and thus increase their marketing and advertising scope and awareness.

Photo by Wikimedia

Nowadays, it is now necessary for businesses to have a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn page. Social media is the best thing online advertising could get: it’s free, it’s far and wide-reaching (500 million users) and it’s viral. The disadvantage is probably measuring effectivity of social media advertising, whether or not the number of ‘likes’, ‘friends’ or ‘follows’ could convert to actual sales.

Online Advertising as of Today

Since 2004 online advertising has recovered. Advertisers have seen (almost reluctantly) the importance of advertising online, and the number of hours consumer used on the internet. Now the web is used by many companies on their overall marketing campaign. Online ads make use of Flash and JavaScript to improve graphics and interactivity. Online advertising is now more sophisticated, the branding tools and technologies are diversified. There are now online blogs, social media, SEO marketing and more.

Viral marketing is now more popular, making use of video ads to market a product or brand. Old Spice (video still shown above) is one of the many companies that have gone into viral marketing. They posted numerous videos on YouTube starring Old Spice guy. It was a huge hit, having 30 million views to date and considered to be one of the most successful advertising campaigns in 2010. Isaiah Mustafah is now a household name. Other successful viral campaigns include Levi’s, Guitar Hero and Super Bowl. We see a regrowth in advertising on the web, which is now equals to the total internet spending.

This does not mean that Online Advertising has now been perfected. Annoying pop up and pop under ads still persist. One of the most annoying and interruptive of ad formats, the pre-roll ads are now used in YouTube. YouTube used to be a free site for uploading and viewing videos. But YouTube has problems generating income–so they added pre-roll ads, or commercials that run before a video that cannot be bypassed. So if you need to watch a 1 minute video you have to sit through a 30-second ad first. Most music videos uploaded on YouTube are now from VEVO, and not from actual users. Which means that there are ads on top, on the bottom and on the background of the page.

So will the internet’s bubble burst again? We are hopeful it won’t. Millions of people are now relying on the internet for advertising, promotions, business and employment. However, one thing is clear; we have learned a lot from the first bubble burst. Only time will tell.

July 18 2010


Design Is History

Great insight into the history of graphic design dating back from early methods of communication to the 20th century. Having a look back to the past is sure to inspire the present.

(discovered via @jbrewer)

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