Adobe Slate From A Designer’s Perspective

Adobe Slate From A Designer’s Perspective

It was just about a year ago when Adobe launched Voice – and innovative app that Emmy award winning tech journalist David Pogue deemed, ‘One of the simplest, most creative, most joyous apps ever written’. Voice went on to be included in Apple’s prestigious App Store Best of 2014 list. Well, Adobe’s back at it again. Today, they announced the release of their latest iPad app, Slate. Slate lets users tell their stories using text and images. At its core, Slate is a continuation of Adobe’s recently adopted app design mantra touting ‘easy-to-use tools for creatives’. Slate is made for anyone who wants to communicate with impact. Using a set of professionally designed templates, Slate users can now turn their next report, newsletter or travel adventure into a document that captures attention – complete with eye-catching motion. Slate content automatically adapts to any device for a high-impact reading experience on tablets, smartphones or computers. Slate creations are links that can be shared easily via text message, email, embedded in websites, or posted on social media channels. So how does Slate appeal to design professionals like myself? I decided to kick the tires and take it for a spin. First off, as a design professional, Slate is so easy to use…that I initially floundered with the app for a few minutes, assuming that it couldn’t be that easy. As I entered a block of text, I was frustrated when I hit return to start the next paragraph. Slate automatically inserted a new ‘section’. I wanted a line break. That was until I realized, that’s how Slate works. No need to know code that I use day in and day...
A Fresh Look at Daylite 5

A Fresh Look at Daylite 5

Years ago I wrote an article titled Daylite – The Little CRM That Could. In the article I explained how I chose Daylite as the CRM that we use at motion.tv. Well it’s been a while since that last article (2011), so I thought I would write a bit more and talk about Marketcircle’s latest release, Daylite 5. First off, let me say the term CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is somewhat inaccurate, as Daylite does so much more than just handling interactions between customers and clients. The description on Marketcircle’s website is much more accurate: Daylite keeps everything related to your business in one place, so you and your team can share information wherever they are by Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Your contacts, schedule, tasks, projects, sales opportunities, emails, and notes are all there, making it easy to find what you are looking for in seconds. motion.tv isn’t your typical business. Instead, it’s a mix of multiple entities including: motion – our annual conference retreat for creative professionals, motion.tv – content that feeds your creative brain, cg+news – our motion picture and broadcast industry news portal, and our newsletter – BrainFood – all of which are owned by our design firm, z o c o l o c o | s t u d i o s. Because of this, we don’t have one standard workflow that fits each entity. And, because there are just two of us who handle everything, we’ve had to come up with systems that are lean and clean. the motion.tv toolbox One of our challenges is that at any given time, we are working with multiple people outside of our organization simultaneously. Whether...
Daylite – The Little CRM That Could

Daylite – The Little CRM That Could

I’ve tried a wide range of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions. From ‘cloud’ based applications, like Elements CRM, to the old tried and true like SugarCRM. Each of them had things I liked…as well as things that I didn’t like. For example, Elements CRM has a great user interface – one that is very inviting. As a designer, my right brain always kicks in first and the overall design of the application either catches my attention – or doesn’t. If it draws me in, my left-brain developer side steps up to further explore the application, determining whether or not it meets my specific needs. SugarCRM is feature rich, complex, and … uninviting. While it is customizable, customization is more complex to achieve, and the results are ultimately unintuitive. Nonetheless, it is the CRM I’ve been using for the past few years. But one of my goals this year was to find a CRM that really was a good fit for us. Finally, I think I’ve found a CRM that’s…just right. Daylite. The Little CRM that Could. First, let me clarify. Years ago, I tried Marketcircles’s Daylite and there was something about it that just wasn’t a good fit for me. Unfortunately, since it was long ago, I don’t recall why I rejected Daylite as my choice for a CRM. Fortunately, I decided to give it another go in my recent search for a new CRM, and have been pleasantly surprised. Making the initial cut. My life is very busy. It seems like there’s never enough time. In fact, one of the common themes in my writing and speaking is “When...

Decoding Design: A must have for all designers

What really makes good design work? It’s a question we as professional designers ask daily. For some designers, it is a constant struggle. But for a handful of top award winning designers, it seems to come easy. What’s their secret? The answer? It’s all around us. The answer is given to us in nature. The answer has repeatedly revealed itself to us over time. Mathematicians and philosophers throughout time have been aware of the key. The key to what makes things ‘work’ – both from a spiritual perspective, and in the world of physics. Perhaps what sets top designers apart from the rest, is that they have discovered this key. Whether through deep personal exploration, or simply by being more in tuned to the world around them – they are aware of the patterns all around us and have harnessed these ‘secret’s and applied them in the world of graphic design. Award winning designer, Maggie Macnab is one of these unique individuals. Her logo design work has taken top awards worldwide for decades. In her book ‘Decoding Design: Understanding and Using Symbols in Visual Communication‘, Macnab shares her secrets of success. Each chapter progresses numerically – from zero to ten reflecting the importance these numbers play in design. From simple shapes like circles and squares, to more complex shapes like spirals, they are all seen in nature. They are all part of the key to effective design. In each chapter, Macnab deconstructs award winning logo designs by applying the principals she is teaching. The book contains photographs from nature, architecture, and history. She includes photos of her sketches in...
Kuler: Is this Kul – ‘er What!

Kuler: Is this Kul – ‘er What!

Forgive me…I couldn’t resist with a name like Kuler! But seriously, is this tool cool or what! So, just what is Adobe Kuler? Simply put, it is an online color-matching tool that could help shave a few minutes off your workflow. But the truth is, it is much more than that. Kuler, which was just released today, is touted by Adobe as being an online tool that helps you explore, create and share color themes for your web pages, design projects and other creative work. But the truth is, this online tool is more than just a tool – it is a community meeting place where designers and web developers alike will come and create color palettes, share color palettes – and even rank which color palettes are the most popular. Think of it as a color design community! Kuler also provides you with the ability to take a color palette that you created using the innovative online tools, or use someone else’s creation and download the palette to be used with Adobe Creative Suite 2 applications. What a time saver! So check it out. See what you think. Go to http://kuler.adobe.com. This tool requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player – and I mean the most recent. If you see a screen asking you to upgrade – do it. Otherwise, Kuler won’t work. As with all of the Adobe Labs projects, an important part of its development is your feedback. Adobe has setup a special forum to discuss Kuler – what you like, what needs to be changed, or just to leave kudos to the...