Archive for 2011

Movember, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The ‘stache


9 November 2011 | Comments Off

Recently, several of the FINE family decided to stop shaving their upper lips, daring ridicule and a possible descent into madness.

Why would these brave souls do such a thing?  Once upon a time (think Tom Selleck during the Magnum P.I. years)  a bristly upper lip stood for something.  And now, they will again.  Our moustaches will become walking, talking billboards to raise awareness, understanding and funding for support of male health issues.

Let’s be honest. Men typically take a “put a bandage on it and get back out there” approach to their health.  But the statistics are shocking. For example:

- The average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 77 years old compared to 82).

- 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 3 women will be.

- Evidence suggests that about a third of the 571,950 cancer deaths expected to occur will be related to obesity, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and thus could be prevented.

- 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Interested in learning more about Movember, men’s health in general, or how you can help?  Please visit our Mo’Space page:

http://mobro.co/finedesigngroup

And really, “I might look silly, but I’m growing this moustache for charity” is a much better ice-breaker than “Let’s talk about your prostate.”

The Future is Gotham


28 October 2011 | Comments Off
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Microsoft recently released this 6-minute, futuristic video that envisions the changing shape of technology in our lives. The video imagines a world in which touch screens and mobile devices pervade; acting as assistants, organizers, communicators, and more. It is at once ‘far out’ and not-that far off. Some nice interface graphics were created, and some really neat concepts are shown. If one thing is clear from this video, it is that the lovely (but certainly already overly-used) typeface Gotham will rule the world.

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Links: 10/24


26 October 2011 | Comments Off

NETHACK – The greatest game you will ever play
A very cool single page site with effects, on one of the most addictive games.

Logos in CSS3 only
No images. No JS. Just CSS.

The Hubble Blew My Mind
Last night, around 8:30pm, I was sitting in my backyard with my 9 yr. old daughter, Maddie. We were looking at stars, trying to identify constellations, when one of them started moving…

The Picasso of …
On the anniversary of Picasso’s 130th birthday a list of Picasso cliches. Brought to you by the Picasso of Link Clipping.

Injustice for all: The Lou Reed/Metallica album
… It’s not really designed for people who like music. It sounds like what it is: an elderly misanthrope reciting paradoxical aphorisms over a collection of repetitive, adrenalized sludge licks.

Mobile apps must die!
Frog’s creative director Scott Jenson argues that mobile apps must die. He explains why the overall model of native apps is holding us back and that they shouldn’t be the default approach.

Walking in CSS3
A man walking in CSS3, that is all.

NewsBlur
A whole lot of information going on!

Think with Google
A place where innovators, experts and Google’s homegrown visionaries lend their insights and outlook on the digital future.

 

Pumpkin Branding For Designers & Other Maniacs


26 October 2011 | Comments Off

The great thing about Halloween is its power to make the most left-brained among us pause to celebrate the creative potential of costuming or carving a pumpkin. While you may cop out and go to the costume store to outfit yourself for the party, the pumpkin in particular is a tried and true call to creative action. We answered the call in our Portland agency office last week. There’s still time for you to express yourself in the pumpkin medium, too, whether for personal or professional reasons. We’ve supplied a few inspirational photos and links to get you started.

Start With Science Friday’s Inspirational Video.
If your brand needs advanced pumpkinometry, seek professional Maniac Pumpkin Carvers.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 10/17


18 October 2011 | 2 comments

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

Lytro – the light field camera
Images you can selectively focus after you have shot them! Arstechnica overiew linked above or go directly to the website.

Localize or Fail
Translations are not enough.

Billion Tonne Comet May Have Missed Earth By A Few Hundred Kilometres in 1883
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure, how amazingly unlikely is your birth …

There is only one cloud icon in the entire universe
I knew I’d see this icon somewhere before.

List of Detroit startups
Not dead yet! Not with these phoenix’s rising from the ashes!

Amazon rewites the rules of publishing
Who needs a publisher when Amazon can do it all for you.

Mobile UI patterns
I nice library of mobile site design approaches.

Commit logs from last night (NSFW)
because real hackers pivot two hours before their demo

Resolutionize The Web


14 October 2011 | Comments Off

The mysteries of pixel widths and screen resolutions have baffled Interweb designers, developers, and mere mortals for years. The simple truth is that what you see in a window may not be what others see unless you change your resolution and look again. And again. Unless! Introducing the FINE Res Tool.

This simple screen resolution tool unravels the mystery. To use it, simply enter a full URL of your choosing. Up pops that location superimposed with a draggable set of rulers  (x and y axis) configurable in center/left/and right alignment. These rulers allow you to view that site as it would be seen at different resolutions. So you can get a sense for what other eyeballs experience. A small dashboard at the bottom even gives you current stats on what resolutions most people use (hint: 1024 x 768). Best of all, it’s all done in javascript, so you’ll not need Flash to use it.

Maybe you want to check the margin padding on a site… the default image dimensions on a blog… maybe you want to communicate that you want something smaller to your web team or agency – how much smaller? Now you can see clearly where the lines are drawn, and even communicate in pixels instead of an estimated percentage – the language barrier is broken, the resolution mystery is solved. And a democratized method of measure is now available to all, from the pro developer to the savvy client.

Enjoy!

The Font Combinator


13 October 2011 | Comments Off

The days of boring type on the web are… well, they’re still here for the most part. But as evolution permits greater flexibility with typography, that’s starting to change. Before you get giddy with this newfound font power, know that you can also go terribly wrong. If you want to find out how various combinations of web safe fonts look together on a page – this nifty font combinator tool let’s you preview. Just enter some sample text, change the fonts and – Boom!*

http://font-combinator.com/

* Note that “Currently this tool only uses fonts supplied by the Google Font Directory, as well as a handful of common system fonts”. It also seems to be a little funky in Firefox – try Safari.

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 10/10


12 October 2011 | Comments Off

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

Lights
HTML5/WebGL – FTW!

Microsoft “impartial” browser test fails the grade
The geniuses at Microsoft’s marketing department have come out with a new tool designed to assist users in determining the safest browser for them to use while surfing the web. The conclusion? Surprise! Only Internet Explorer 9 is suitable for most users’ needs.

A Fold in the Brain is Linked to Keeping Reality and Imagination Separate, Study Finds
But no definitive proof that unicorns are not real.

Photoshop “unblur” leaves audience gasping for air
Algorithms!

Giant prehistoric krakens may have sculpted self-portraits using ichthyosaur bones
Ancient cephalopod’s may have made visual art.

The data crunching power of Barack Obama
Campaign tech!

Thanks, Comcast – Now Piracy Can Reign Supreme
Do people really want to pay $60 to rent a movie online two weeks after release?

Mostly Lost
A programming story without the code.

How to bulletproof @font-face Web Fonts
It looks great, except for one thing: All of your beautiful web fonts are gone and have been replaced with… Arial.

When in doubt, call in the mimes
When you know that traffic is really bad.

Improve your eyesight with an iPhone App
Keeping my eye age a secret.

Our ISP rocks (in SF at least)
The little ISP that stood up to the government

 

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 10/3


5 October 2011 | Comments Off

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

After the Final Curtain
A site dedicated to exploring abandoned and run down theaters.

The Typography -out Approach in the World of Browser-based Web Design
… For far too long, many of us (and I include myself in this group) have been guilty of focusing on decoration: the colours and the shapes and the textures. We’ve been neglecting the details.

3.5 Inches
This is an example of one of those design decisions that you don’t usually notice until you see someone doing it wrong.

16 Pixels
For Body Copy. Anything Less Is A Costly Mistake

Rooftop QR codes aim to infiltrate Google Maps
Next step, bald heads with tattoos.

The end of Cow Clicker
The Life-Changing $20 Rightward-Facing Cow

A HTML5 clock
That is all.

How two scammers built an empire selling sketchy software
Using fear and questionable morals to exploit users and get rich.

TweetBoard
Track your Tweet score, see what a loser you really are (coming from mr. 499,699).

Adobe acquries Typekit
The web font arena gets serious.

Adobe acquires PhoneGap
I am sure we can fit Flash in their somewhere!

Klin Groupe: The Revolution Will Not Be Compromised


30 September 2011 | Comments Off

The Klin Groupe was named for the Russian town of Klin, just north of Moscow. In 2007, they brought a generations-old recipe of six-times filtered, six-times distilled vodka to market in the U.S. and called it Hammer + Sickle. Since then, they’ve added luxury wine and cigar brands to create a burgeoning lifestyle brand family, with a nod to their Russian roots and an uncompromising take on the good life around the world.

That new brand family comes together for the first time in a series of 6 websites launched this week, each with its own unique and complementary brand look, content style, and all bound to the same core centrally-managed data platform. Another classic example of how digital branding acts as the cohering approach to overall branding. Read the rest of this entry »