The Creators Project – Universal Everything

An inspirational short film on motion graphics artist Matt Pyke from Universal Everything

Future technology meets GUI

An interesting view of technology and interface design and the way we might interact with technology in the not too distant future – Microsoft’s vision of it that is.

It’s here!

Are we the first to reveal this product? Sure! spot the blog that hasn’t! but I had to log it here as I have mentioned it’s coming for a while – and here it is – is it what we expected? is it going to be the start of the end of print?

Steve Jobs apparently said that there is no money in publishing and there is speculation that Apple’s drive is to dominate the multi-million dollar gaming industry – either way – it’s going to be big, for sure – now that we can buy books and magazines through iTunes – designers are going to need to adapt their publishing methods to suit devices like this – Apple has brought their magic to it and it’s bound to be a hit – at around $900 – it’s relatively affordable!

Polaroid – the new technology

Once you view this film perhaps you’ll react like I did – wow – what a great device – I want one!

This is a film produced by Charles and Ray Eames to promote the ‘new’ Polaroid SX-70 giving us an insight into the complex workings of this camera – a camera that would liberate photographers and revolutionise the way we look at photography. Now digital takes it’s place and it leaves me wondering what we will be seeing next and whether we will look at the cameras of today the same way as the Polaroid!

ZD YouTube FLV Player

From tablets to paper to tablets

I’ve posted a story a while back now about print being under threat with the new advances in screen technologies – reflective rather than transmitted through new technology known as epaper, see article. Well, we’re on the verge of an onslaught from electronics companies with their new reading and interactive devices – there are lots of rumours, samples and demonstrations out there of how this new technology will work and the amazing possibilities it will bring to publishing – changes that will have a dramatic affect on the print industry, and our industry as designers, as we get challenged further to increase our skills to cater for it.

Despite the OTT American publication demonstrated here, this video shows off some of the potential capabilities of these devices. Apple are heavily rumoured to ‘surprise’ us with a touch-screen tablet device very soon and Microsoft not far behind, no doubt – the race is on.

So is print under threat? Is paper a thing of the past? Stay tuned!

This conceptual video is a corporate collaborative research project initiated by Bonnier R&D into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices. It illustrates one possible vision for digital magazines in the near future, presented by our design partners at BERG.

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

1962 Sketchpad

I like to know where things begin – I’m fascinated by the origins of what we do today – everything that appears remarkable today has evolved through countless evolutionary steps involving many different industries and skills and are less likely to be the sole ingenuity of people like Jobs – who are more masters of making existing technologies accessible to the masses.

The drawing tools we use on computers – namely Adobe Illustrator, Freehand (now superseded) and Corel Draw and AutoCAD, evolved through computer experiments from the 60s, starting with Ivan Sutherland, who, in 1963, developed the complex program (for its time) ‘Sketchpad’. This 1987 film discusses the amazing abilities of this first piece of drawing software – we may think it appears simple now, but at the time it was very revolutionary and inspired many to produce what we use today.

And the original film:

From Wikipedia:
Sketchpad was the first program ever to utilize a complete graphical user interface, using an x-y point plotter display and the recently invented light pen. The clever way the program organized its geometric data pioneered the use of “objects” and “instances” in computing and pointed forward to object oriented programming. The main idea was to have master drawings which one could instantiate into many duplicates. If the user changed the master drawing, all the instances would change as well. Another major invention in Sketchpad was that it let the user easily constrain geometric properties in the drawing—for instance, the length of a line or the angle between two lines could be fixed. Sketchpad ran on the Lincoln TX-2 (1958) computer at MIT, which had 64k of 36 bit-words. Of the 36 bits available to store each display spot in the display file, 20 gave the coordinates of that spot for the display system and the remaining 16 gave the address of the n-component element responsible for adding that spot to display.

New ways to draw

I’m always curious about new ways to create linework drawings with my eyes opened to new technology that comes along. We’ve all been very used to drawing in a 2D plane, but how about drawing in 3D space? It appears you just have to wait long enough and bingo! someone will come up with it. The tool is call Rhonda and it opens up more possibilities for us designers – moving line towards sculpture!

OS 1



Apple’s OS 1 – the very first graphic user interface for Apple’s operating system that appeared in 1984 in its new computer called the Machintosh – all 124Kb of RAM, 8Mhz of processor speed, 3.5″ floppy, 9″ black and white monitor – we may chuckle about it now but this was big back then.




Though I wasn’t there for system 1, I was introduced to the Mac at system 6 (which appeared to have changed little other than introducing multi-tasking) – it was revolutionary – designers were now able to unleash full control over how type was layed out, rather than having to spec up artboards for typesetters to prepare – this is where it all began.




And Photoshop! wow, even back then at version 1 – being able to scan in a sketch and modify it – though at the time there were no layers and only in bitmap, it still gave designers increased control and began the liberation of design as we know it today.

It’s good to pause and recall where it all began as it is so easy to take for granted with the proliferation of software and computer technology. Give it another 5 years and were likely to chuckle about what we have today! – “Remember hard-drives and RAM” I’m sure will be muttered.

Is print coming to an end?

When I speak with printers these days most feel confident that print will be here for the long run – who could live without the tactile feel of paper, the smell of ink, the satisfaction of turning a page to reveal a new one and the intimate relationship we have with these items that hold so much inspiration?

Within the last 10 years the big print presses that put ink to paper have progressed like the car – fundamentally they are the same machine – same concept as the very original machines, but now a lot of the human control has been taken over by computers, accuracy and efficiency have improved.

Creating printing plates have improved immensely from film photo offset to direct to plate using lasers (CTP). So there is little sign that this technology is going to drop off anytime soon.

Or will it?

We have already seen the advances in digital printing almost equaling that of offset printing with printing process like the HP Indigo, but what about the non-printing options that may kill printing altogether.

No need to mention the web and the onslaught of the PDA where we can visit any site any time for all information. But these devices rely on transmitted light in their visual displays to get the image to the viewer – this can be straining to the eye and be difficult to read over several hours and doesn’t provide the same readability as paper.

The future is likely to be in the area of electronic paper displays (or ePaper) – the only technology available at the moment that comes close to the reflective qualities of ink on paper. This technology has been around since the 1970s and was only available in black and white – like the Amazon’s ‘Kindle”, but now technology is advancing at a high rate and most major players in the computer display markets are getting involved and we’re are now seeing full colour screens.

How does it work?

Initially the technology used polyethylene spheres between 75 and 106 micrometres across. Each sphere is composed of negatively charged black plastic on one side and positively charged white plastic on the other (each bead is thus a dipole). The spheres are embedded in a transparent silicone sheet, with each sphere suspended in a bubble of oil so that they can rotate freely. The polarity of the voltage applied to each pair of electrodes then determines whether the white or black side is face-up, thus giving the pixel a white or black appearance.

Now it involves what is termed as e-ink through Electrophoretic display and Electro-wetting displays.

Cross-Section of Electronic-Ink Microcapsules

Cross-Section of Electronic-Ink Microcapsules

The E Ink microcapsules are only 100 microns wide, which means that roughly 100,000 microcapsules can fit into a square inch of paper. Each of those microcapsules contains hundreds of smaller pigmented chips. In earlier prototypes, E Ink worked with white chips and blue ink, but later it developed other color inks for multicolored displays. Wiring the pages to create an electric charge and still maintain a paper-thin page has been a challenges in developing a digital book out of electronic ink. E Ink partnered with Lucent Technologies to enable the use of organic transistors developed by Lucent in the e-paper displays. These tiny transistors can be printed onto a page to provide the adequate charge needed to switch the E Ink chips from one color to another. – source

A news report on ePaper:

Market Report – Makers Hope E-Paper Prints Money from NTDTV on Vimeo.

So could this mean the end of print? – I say – likely!

Follow the progress of this technology at epapercentral

Cards to observe

Your business card would be your most important piece of visual communication you can have – it represents you and/or your business in a bite sized high impact device – it leaves an impression with the person you are introduced to, even if it is for only 30 seconds. It belongs with the first impressions people will have of you, like wearing that Hugo Boss suit or the shoes that match your outfit – the fine attention to detail is all taken in to account.

So the effort to make your business card suit your business philosophies is important to get right – it’s more than a bit of paper with your contact details on it.

If you are looking for inspiration for creating a business card or to consider what printing methods can be adopted, a good starting place is at are some of the website that showcase them, such as – here you will find many samples and excellent printing examples including letterpress, embossing, foil stamping, laser cutting, die-cutting, gloss varnish, metals, plastics and even sewing machine stitching. There are certainly countless ways to impress with your little first impressioner.