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2014 Annual Report
Decided to switch it up this year. “Instead of blah-blah-ing about the awesome year that was 2014, why not look at what’s happened since the woeful year that was 2008?” (said I.) And why not present it in a new-to-me format: the asset class quilt chart? “…Yes, I think I will.” (said I.) Quick disclaimer – this isn’t a […] Read more – ‘2014 Annual Report’.
First Look: SimplSend UI Concept.
My personal favorites when it comes to file sharing are Google Drive and Dropbox (how original ;-). I’ve also completed tasks via other methods including proprietary software, and popular business solutions like Hightail (formerly YouSendIt), and BaseCamp. However, I’ve come to realize that they aren’t the “perfect” solution in every situation. And as a contractor, there are numerous occasions […] Read more – ‘First Look: SimplSend UI Concept.’.
The PowerPoint Overview| Part One.
PowerPoint (.ppt) is one of the biggest indicators of intentional design (or lack thereof). “Death by PowerPoint” related tweets, memes, slideshows, and articles are a fun way to waste 15 minutes: there are some really scary .ppts in the world, aren’t there? But the reality is that PowerPoint is only an application – a tool for a […] Read more – ‘The PowerPoint Overview| Part One.’.
Why Photoshop CC is going to be good for absolutely everyone involved.
The switch from boxed software to Creative Cloud (CC) was not an easy transition for many Creatives. We were used to saving up the massive cost every few years for an updated version of Creative Suite, or even securing a copy through alternative measures. So when Adobe officially announced that they would no longer sell traditional copies/licenses…well […] Read more – ‘Why Photoshop CC is going to be good for absolutely everyone involved.’.
POP Icons Make a Splash on Creative Market!
The beta version of POP Icons (Meaning: “Piece of the Pie”) was downloaded well over 1000 times via Twitter and Dribbble, and the full version is now getting some great attention on Creative Market – a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world. This vector icon set was created after hearing one […] Read more – ‘POP Icons Make a Splash on Creative Market!’.
Signature.
If you’ve visited the site before, you may notice that the logo is replaced with something even simpler than the last. Why? The focus of Sky Sister Studio continues to evolve. One theme that played over and over in my mind is that the purpose of the site is to act as a portfolio, showing businesses […] Read more – ‘Signature.’.
I Don’t Like the Trajan Font But Many People Do.
Why does it seem as though everyone who is anyone loves the Trajan Pro font? I happen to dislike it intensely. It’s unreadable at small sizes. It has a bizarre small caps system. It’s overused by the movie industry. It’s the Helvetica of the non-designer world – people assume it’s a classic and can be used […] Read more – ‘I Don’t Like the Trajan Font But Many People Do.’.
Templates & Teamwork.
For the last few months I worked onsite in NYC as part of a team at a large financial firm that was in its final stages of rebranding. (If you ever needed evidence that re-branding/branding is much more than a logo, this would be the place for you.) While logos and marketing materials are obviously still […] Read more – ‘Templates & Teamwork.’.
Work in 2013: My End of Year Report.
This year went by so quickly. Wow. It feels like I wrote last year’s report only….12 months ago. Haha. Anyway, it’s time to have a look at what went right, what went wrong, and what’s going on in 2014. Read more – ‘Work in 2013: My End of Year Report.’.
Process and Evolution.
When I saw how long it had been since my last post, I knew I had to say something – after all, the site gets viewed by quite a few people each month! So happy that at least a few of my thoughts, tutorials, and downloads are well received. So what’s the latest? I’ve been […] Read more – ‘Process and Evolution.’.
Go Track Yourself.
In 2012, Twitter made good on its promise to start letting its users download all of their tweets from the beginning of their history with the service: falling in line with companies like Facebook and Google, which both allow you to grab all of your information at any time. A year or so later (as in, just now), I decided to download my […] Read more – ‘Go Track Yourself.’.
When Lorem Ipsum Doesn’t Work.
Lorem Ipsum is dummy text originally created by the printing & typesetting industry. It has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. But is it losing its effectiveness? Probably. Take a look at the history […] Read more – ‘When Lorem Ipsum Doesn’t Work.’.
Quickly & Clearly: Charted Progress.
Tables present lists of essential information in column format. When planning any written form of communication, data summaries may take the form of text, tables or figures.  Most writers are familiar with textual data summaries and this is often the best way to communicate simple results.  But if the data is too complicated to be described adequately […] Read more – ‘Quickly & Clearly: Charted Progress.’.
The Real Estate Feature Sheet Template.
The feature sheet contains information about the home, lays out special amenities of the home and neighborhood, and provides the listing agent’s contact information. It’s a capsule of the home and area’s best qualities in an easy-to-read format that buyers can compare with sheets from other properties as they make one of life’s biggest decisions. This […] Read more – ‘The Real Estate Feature Sheet Template.’.
What Counts.
In honor of National Financial Literacy Month (recognized in the United States in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits), I decided to highlight a subject that touches everyones’ lives in some way. The inflation rate is the percentage by which prices of goods and services […] Read more – ‘What Counts.’.
Ideas on Paper: 10 Best Wireframe Printables.
When you’re designing a presentation, client proposal, product or service demonstration – or planning a website or a mobile app: sketching and wire framing are great ways to quickly visualize the process. Even when you’re hiring someone to execute the project, thinking of things like the placement of major layout elements early on in a […] Read more – ‘Ideas on Paper: 10 Best Wireframe Printables.’.
Democratization of Data: 9 Open Data Sources.
Our internet attention spans are pretty small as we are constantly overwhelmed by digital information. As that fact translates to our offline habits, the popularity of data visualization continues to climb. Data visualizations, frequently referred to as information graphics, are a powerful tool: informing, educating, and persuading viewers every day. More often, they compliment and add a […] Read more – ‘Democratization of Data: 9 Open Data Sources.’.
Ice Cream Infographic | The Animation
With thousands of views from multiple sites (Visual.ly, Infographipedia, Pinterest, and more), numerous tweets and likes, and references to it when comissioned for more infographics, it’s safe to say that the “What’s in that Ice Cream” infographic is one of the most popular ones I’ve had the pleasure of creating to date. Naturally, it came to mind […] Read more – ‘Ice Cream Infographic | The Animation’.
My 2013 Goals: An Interactive Story.
How we use the web has changed – our expectations about how content is presented have risen exponentially. Entertainment and involvement on websites have evolved from a nice “add-on” to almost a requirement in many instances to earn and keep someone’s interest. Yet storytelling is something that remains constant: a good story is still just […] Read more – ‘My 2013 Goals: An Interactive Story.’.
App Revenue Model Final Stages: Dynamic Pricing.
So I’ve decided to create a dynamic pricing experiment. I’ve found a few companies that have successfully implemented this structure (with happy customers/results), and my favorite is Oliver Reichenstein’s Dynamic Pricing Experiment for his company Information Architects. Below you will find his account and a few notes from me (in black) on how it applies […] Read more – ‘App Revenue Model Final Stages: Dynamic Pricing.’.
About Your Website | Plugins & Pinterest.
In my first official About Your Website (AYW) post I wanted to highlight two sets of resources that you may want to add to your WordPress-based website. One is obvious, clean, and simple (a great source for plugins you probably need)…the other is not so obvious – but useful if you’re on Pinterest and use it […] Read more – ‘About Your Website | Plugins & Pinterest.’.
Introducing: About Your Website.
In late 2012, I decided to discontinue offering full web design services in order to focus on information design. So, of course, I started to get more requests than ever to design sites. I had to decline, but it got me to thinking – many people need the same thing in terms of the look and […] Read more – ‘Introducing: About Your Website.’.
Q&A: What are the Possible Revenue Models for Apps?
I suppose I should start out by saying that I decided to make one of my experimental concepts come to life by registering for an IncubateNYC Bootcamp. It’s just 5 (very intensive) weeks (entering Week 4 as of the publish date of this post) – and it’s been such a challenge. Meaning if I hadn’t […] Read more – ‘Q&A: What are the Possible Revenue Models for Apps?’.
Bleeding Questions and Answers. Part One.
Everyone is confused by bleeds. Well maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I know I’m not the only one who sometimes gets confused about properly setting up a file to be sent to a  professional print shop. I’ve found some interesting comments from forums around the web with others’ remarks on this subject that has no […] Read more – ‘Bleeding Questions and Answers. Part One.’.
The Skills Required to Be a Good Designer.
Creative thinking, research, ergonomics, Adobe…take a look at this minimal layout of 20 skills required across the Design Industry. (via DesignTaxi – a daily-updated international creative media that bridges diverse creative and design disciplines.) Read more – ‘The Skills Required to Be a Good Designer.’.
Sugar Pie Gotham Fonts.
So…the title is a tongue in cheek reference to a song that arguably few people may remember. But, I digress. (It’s an awesome song.) Anyway, sometimes there is no better way to display your words than using WORDS. When that’s the case, a type poster is a great way to make it happen. This production of […] Read more – ‘Sugar Pie Gotham Fonts.’.
Feedback Using Instagram.
So, I had to talk to 10 potential customers. But…I work, let’s just say, a number of hours in the day, and that week in particular was more hectic than usual. So how could I get the feedback required? I used Instagram. I put up a sort of “rant” using a sharpie and grid paper. […] Read more – ‘Feedback Using Instagram.’.
3 Useful Fonts for Non-Designers.
Some of the most practical font collections can become lost in the many choices available. Here are three practical Dingbat fonts that every Professional should consider – especially if you’re not a designer. Read more – ‘3 Useful Fonts for Non-Designers.’.
Work in 2012: My End of Year Report.
This is my second year of full-time self employment. It differed from the first year in that there were no real transitional “pains” – my basic living costs and business overhead costs were already optimized (in terms of expenses there literally was nothing left to “cut” – no waste means you just have to win […] Read more – ‘Work in 2012: My End of Year Report.’.
2013 Sneak Peak: User Interface Design.
A few weeks ago, I was trying to figure out how I would present my take on user interface design: like infographics, it’s a matter of solving a problem of content understanding and arrangement. There was no obvious solution in terms of creating a full story that would hopefully capture the spirit of bold minimalism. […] Read more – ‘2013 Sneak Peak: User Interface Design.’.
Saying Something: Social Networks in 2012
Years ago, just after college, I was listening to a roommate go on and on about how great Facebook was. I thought it was silly and that I would never get involved in any of the “new” online social networking platforms. After all – how much did those sites really offer back then? I didn’t […] Read more – ‘Saying Something: Social Networks in 2012’.
Minimalist Business Card Design Featured on Inspiration Site.
My minimalist business card design was featured on a fantastic inspirational blog – a collection of “printed ideas“…amazing work on this site. When creating a business card you have seemingly endless options to make it memorable. It can employ unusual materials or  shapes, incredible attention to details, etc. But a minimalist look has merit as well […] Read more – ‘Minimalist Business Card Design Featured on Inspiration Site.’.
Terms and Conditions.
This infographic was done for GlocallyNewark.com as a fun way to guess what the next four years will be like in the USA –  now that the election is over. I was inspired by 40’s design: call to action composition, retro typography, and a limited color palette for a concise message with intense visual impact. […] Read more – ‘Terms and Conditions.’.
Drafted to Dribbble!
(Yes, it’s d-r-i-b-b-b-l-e) Dribbble.com invited me to showcase my work with their international community of designers! (“Dribbble has been out long enough that designers have started taking sides. Some sing the praises of the talent and quality of work that are on Dribbble, but others condemn it as a group of elitist designers. I would make […] Read more – ‘Drafted to Dribbble!’.
4 Simple Steps: How to Brand Your Social Media Profiles
1. Customize your URL: Make sure that the URL for each social media page reflects your brand. Try to use the same branding across all of your social media so that your readers can find you using the same moniker no matter where they are. This is not always possible, but you can stay as consistent […] Read more – ‘4 Simple Steps: How to Brand Your Social Media Profiles’.
Design Lessons from London 2012.
(Main Image: Stepping onto the London Eye. Photo by me and the iPhone. Edited via Instagram.) This summer I was fortunate enough to be in one of the many crowds of people on the flights, buses, trains, and the tube enjoying the hustle and bustle of London (during the Olympics!). The London 2012 Games highlighted […] Read more – ‘Design Lessons from London 2012.’.
Themed Statistical Infographic.
The goal of a statistical infographic is to take a large amount of numerical data and share it visually. This makes complex information – statistics, numbers, and percentages – easier to process and understand. It is also a good approach when trying to share focused information with a larger demographic. Numerous charts, bar graphs, and […] Read more – ‘Themed Statistical Infographic.’.
“Breakups” Infographic on GlocallyNewark.com
In light of recent news that more than 26,000 fellow New Jerseyans have seen their extended unemployment benefits expire in July (along with 100,000 more Americans by the end of the year), it looks as though that many more will look to social media for their next opportunity.   Read more – ‘“Breakups” Infographic on GlocallyNewark.com’.
Thoughts on NJ Tech Meetup 17 Featured on NJ.com
The NJ Tech Meetup is a monthly meeting of 100+ entrepreneurs and innovators. Monthly meetings are held at the Stevens Institute of Technology campus in Hoboken, NJ to hear from smart feature speakers and interesting startups. The goal is an atmosphere of sharing best practices and learning from both failure and success. See what happened […] Read more – ‘Thoughts on NJ Tech Meetup 17 Featured on NJ.com’.
Depth of Experience.
Why would anyone in their right mind want to send out a resume with pictures all over it? In short, there is significant value in enabling someone (in this case, someone who has the power to hire) to better understand what the candidate can bring to a job or project.  Now. So, instead of placing […] Read more – ‘Depth of Experience.’.
“What’s in that Ice Cream” Infographic Featured on Infographipedia
Arguably the largest collection of infographics gathered from datavis fanatics all over the world, Infographipedia found mine somewhere on the web and featured it. How awesome is that? Read more – ‘“What’s in that Ice Cream” Infographic Featured on Infographipedia’.
Great Read: Design as a Competitive Advantage.
“Bottom line: As we move out of the age of information and into the conceptual age, we are faced with the demand to create product experiences that are no less than exceptional.” Read more – ‘Great Read: Design as a Competitive Advantage.’.
Conversation to Conversion: The New PR [Infographic]
Small business owners often have extremely limited budgets – so shouldn’t they stop traditional print advertising (at least for a period of time) and instead invest in a structured publicity campaign? For example, a few words mentioned in a magazine are worth a lot more than any paid advertising – as they are a much […] Read more – ‘Conversation to Conversion: The New PR [Infographic]’.
Structure is Beautiful.
We are in a world buzzing with Entrepreneurs: people who have “decided to be their own boss,” “live the dream,” and “stop making others richer” by striking out on their own.  Continuously looking at and revising how we communicate is more important than ever. This is from experience! Hopefully you will find this somewhat humorous […] Read more – ‘Structure is Beautiful.’.
Falling into Winter: What’s Upcoming?!?
There is something deeply effective about presenting the right visual at the right time.  This has always been the underlying theme at Sky Sister Studio, and now I’m taking this in an inevitable direction. I’m so excited to begin showing the first “collection” of exciting data visualizations commissioned by and dedicated to innovative entrepreneurs, compact […] Read more – ‘Falling into Winter: What’s Upcoming?!?’.
Powerpoint Presentation: NJHSA
NJHSA Presentation: A clean and polished look for a student organization. The inspiration was found at the White House’s current website. Full animated version is available upon request. Read more – ‘Powerpoint Presentation: NJHSA’.
7 Reasons. [INFOGRAPHIC]
As consumers become more savvy, communication methods embraced by entrepreneurs (who are looking for inexpensive and effective marketing and sales tools) are evolving. With a healthy dose of creativity, internet-based research and/or expertise from experience, and the use of free social media tools, small business owners don’t have to spend nearly what they used to. […] Read more – ‘7 Reasons. [INFOGRAPHIC]’.
Illustrated.
Go Back to the Bold and Minimal Page Vector illustration is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical equations, to represent images in computer graphics. Illustrations created using vector-based techniques can be shrunk and expanded to any size and in any direction. […] Read more – ‘Illustrated.’.
New Product Branding.
There is no single tool for successful brand development. Package design and brand identity are powerful creative tools to raise awareness of your products and inspire retail purchases. These graphics are the key motivating factor in presentations and purchase decisions at the point of sale; with a little thought a brand will experience increased sales […] Read more – ‘New Product Branding.’.
Valentines’ Day.
The holiday benefits businesses and reminds us to celebrate the people we love, because all too often we forget. Valentine’s Day (like most holidays) gives you a chance to be unique and creative in showing appreciation to your clients, customers, colleagues and employees. Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated? They’ll remember your thoughtfulness for a […] Read more – ‘Valentines’ Day.’.
What’s in that Ice Cream? [INFOGRAPHIC]
My second public infographic is inspired by the current clashes of the foodies versus the bio-tech industry. Ice cream is a substance that most people eat, yet know very little about in terms of its evolution. It’s interesting to see what is allowed in products we consume, in a simple visual format. What you see […] Read more – ‘What’s in that Ice Cream? [INFOGRAPHIC]’.
Consistency in Flyer Design.
I’ve seen flyers as a “necessary evil” for a long time – after all, while they are often the most feasible way to share info, they are generally anti-minimalist at best and more likely border on the insane: zany, thousands of fonts and images hijacked from Google against their will trying to convey why you […] Read more – ‘Consistency in Flyer Design.’.
What’s on for the Summer? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Among the exciting techy happenings in the NYC area is the vast new (well, new-ish) love for “infographics.” Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. The goals of infographics are  to provide a visual explanation that helps you more easily understand, find or do something. I’m excited that it’s […] Read more – ‘What’s on for the Summer? [INFOGRAPHIC]’.
Vibrance. [FOR PRINT]
This was an interesting challenge: striving to meet the Jersey-based Caterer’s goal of branding a fun-filled event with gourmet food – while keeping in line with the studio’s goals of creating beautiful imagery with the mantra of “form follows function” – our pursuit to achieve beautiful simplicity. First came the typography – the lettering and […] Read more – ‘Vibrance. [FOR PRINT]’.
The One Week Budget.
The challenge was to create a simple, chic, and classic cover (we also set the tone for the inside layout of the book, including typeface choices). The book has been out for awhile now, and as we see photo after photo on Facebook of Author Tiffany Aliche and happy buyers, the Studio can’t help but […] Read more – ‘The One Week Budget.’.
Starfish Bloom: Fashion, Beauty, Arts!
Videos are one area that many businesses are hesitant to enter into: After all, what do you use videos for? Answer? The core uses are: to deliver value, to introduce your business, and/or to sell. The general goals are to create messages that are 60-90 seconds, and have one point of discussion. The ever-increasing popularity […] Read more – ‘Starfish Bloom: Fashion, Beauty, Arts!’.
Using Propaganda Design.
While the term propaganda has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative examples, propaganda in its basic sense is neutral, and could refer to subjects that are generally benign, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, messages encouraging persons to report crimes to […] Read more – ‘Using Propaganda Design.’.
Experimental | How Magazine Concept on Display at 239 Collective
A magazine concept based on life and politics in the City of Newark, NJ. On display at the 239 Collective on Washington Street in Downtown Newark, NJ through December 2010. Read more – ‘Experimental | How Magazine Concept on Display at 239 Collective’.
Clarence Rich
Website to highlight the work of someone who is known as both a street artist and a fine artist. Read more – ‘Clarence Rich’.
Typography for Promotion. [VIDEO]
Sometimes it takes the right words at the right time to pull off a project on short notice. We put them in a richly colored and extremely readable typeface/layout for the filming;proper scripting made this a painless process. A real-life application of graphic design. This PSA delivered the message: a need for volunteers - in a concise manner. Because sometimes all you get is just a few seconds to make your case...but that's all you really need! Read more – ‘Typography for Promotion. [VIDEO]’.
The WorldofMoney.org
The Studio was asked to create a professional visual brand that still has appeal to Youth: Founded in 2005, the WorldofMoney.org is a New York City based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower underserved youth with a sound financial foundation. Now more than ever this organization is needed to break a generational cycle and to change the way youth, ages 12-18, view money by equipping them with 5 tenets for a financially responsible life: learn, earn, save, invest and donate. Read more – ‘The WorldofMoney.org’.
Solo(s) Project House.
The Solo(s) Project House is a project space dedicated to showcasing and elevating creative individuals or groups that produce as one. It acts as “house” for artists providing unique studio space, as well as a creative atmosphere where they can interact with each other and produce art. Read more – ‘Solo(s) Project House.’.
What is Lorem Ipsum?
In publishing and graphic design, lorem ipsum[1] is placeholder text (filler text) commonly used to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation, such as font, typography, and layout, by removing the distraction of meaningful content. The lorem ipsum text is typically a section of a Latin text by Cicero with words altered, added and removed that make it nonsensical in meaning and not proper Latin.[1] A common form […] Read more – ‘What is Lorem Ipsum?’.
Wireframes
A wireframe is a schematic or other low-fidelity rendering of a computer interface, intended to primarily demonstrate functionality, features, content, and user flow without explicitly specifying the visual design of a product. Wireframes may function as interface specification for products such as computer applications, web and mobile sites, and all products requiring some form of […] Read more – ‘Wireframes’.