A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

Now You Too Can Be Cyclopathic

Posted: November 11th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, events, Interactive, local twin cities, resources | Comments Off

bike-cyclopath-01

bike-cyclopath-02

At last there is a tool that enables cyclists to map their route from point A to point B while preferentially factoring in bike paths and bike lanes – Cyclopath. Now I’ve been to point B quite a few times and know the way but I’ve never gotten there from point C. Cyclopath allows me to map the route, adjust it, get a sense of what I’ll be in for and print directions. You can use any address in the Twin Cities and surrounding region the map covers and even map to points of interest like parks.

Maps can be viewed as street layer or aerial photos and the system indicates distance, allows you to make and save changes to maps, share them and even lets you interpret your route using several filters of special interest to cyclists like “byway type”, rating and even by slope so you can embark on the pleasantly futile task of trying to plan a route that’s down hill both ways.

There are many more features and it seems like a pretty powerful new tool but one with a little bit of a learning curve. Fortunately the folks at Cyclopath have taken this into account as well and are offering a lecture about how to use the system. Not only are the tool and the lecture free they’ll feed you breakfast so stop by as you ride your bike in to work tomorrow (weather should be pretty nice). The lecture is Thursday, November 12 from 8:30 – 9:30 at the UofM. More info available here. Can’t make it to the breakfast? View it live online at 8:40 am.

Who would take on this heroic and altruistic effort you ask? Well that is the beauty of having a large land-grant, research oriented, university in your town. The University of Minnesota’s Institute for New Media Studies did all the heavy lifting. Now all you have to do is enjoy the ride.


Think Globally – Surf Locally

Posted: October 28th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: Interactive, local twin cities, resources | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

interactive-websota

interactive-minnesota

The web is now so full of astonishing content the challenge has become locating the most amazing bits that are most relevant bits to you. Several angles are available here. Subject oriented aggregators like NotCot.org, Core77.com, and Materialicious.com for instance can each get you started on fascinating creative explorations. Despite the proclamations by many that the new paradigm will revolve around these “communities of interest” there are those seeking to bring the good ol’ fashion community defined by location into the information age. So to take a different kind of slice through the interwebs check out websota.com and minnesota.com where you’ll find this blog along with many others on a wide range to topics with relevance to you as a Minnesotan. Communities of interest but at times it’s just nice to take a stroll through the neighborhood and see a few familiar faces. Enjoy.


Not Your Grandpa's Old Agency List

Posted: September 9th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: design, Interactive, local twin cities, resources | Tags: , | Comments Off

interactive-bestweb

The Twin Cites of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have a wealth of great interactive talent and a great number of terrific agencies working in the interactive space. 117 in fact. According to a new list entitled Best Web Design Minneapolis established by Grandpa-George (which is… you guessed it. An interactive agency). It really is a great resource for keeping your finger on the pulse of the community and will hopefully inspire other cities to follow suit.


The League of Moveable Type

Posted: July 22nd, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: resources, type | Tags: | Comments Off

type-league-moveable-01

I have nothing against the traditional type foundries (I’ll feature some of them soon so everyone gets equal time) but The League of Moveable Type has jumped on the open source movement in an exciting fashion. They have a nice manifesto worth taking a moment to read. Unquestioningly good type can be quite expensive and questionable type can often be had for free so it is exciting to see someone fill a niche in the middle. It’s a smart move because most design project budgets live in that same middle niche – that’s why microstock like istockphoto has found success. For many smaller clients the cost of higher quality resources like photography and type are often out of reach and as a result end up not being addressed or worse used illegally. The idea is that with access to lower cost yet good quality resources clients and designers alike get hooked, build respect for the tools and move up as soon as they can afford to do so.

I do a lot of work in that middle niche. Well meaning clients who want good design that helps their business succeed. What is exciting about The League of Moveable Type is that they are interested in expanding our ability to spec type online instead of being limited to Arial, Times or whatever else the visitor’s computer has. Instead the designer could host the type which would be transmitted with the design (sort of like pdf files do) so I’m interested to see the landscape change in this regard without over-abusing the talented people behind professional, rights managed resources – but change can be tricky.

The desktop publishing revolution that many of us lived through did not kill off high quality design. On the contrary it became more valuable and recognizable in a market place awash in the cheep software generated lost dog flyers of the early days. But look at the situation now. The web is full of really great creativity – generated cottage industry style by talented creatives with something to share who may not have the kind of fancy agency gig that was once required to access the tools needed. Similarly I don’t believe microstock or open source type will kill off the high quality type foundries. Helvetica isn’t going the way of the dinosaurs. Probably quite the contrary but like all revolutions things will change.


Today's Oximoron: Freelance Union

Posted: April 1st, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: events, resources | Tags: , | Comments Off

resource-freelancers_union

Did you catch the piece about the Freelancer’s Union on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer?

Well, you’re the only one because all the super cool designers out there saw it and crushed their server! Can I get a “hell ya!”

When it comes back up go take a look. Membership is free and not like your father’s union (which was probably pretty lame and involved standing around in the cold with signs of shockingly poor typographic quality and getting honked at). The Freelancer’s Union is a web of support for insurance, training, networking and more. The NewsHour segment has been archive here.