Blog / 2008

The latest & greatest news you’ll want to follow. Seriously. SRSLY.

Hip Hop Design Trends for 2009: 808s and Heartbreak is Pop Art

808s and Heartbreak

In his latest masterpiece, 808s and Heartbreak, Kanye West turns away from hip hop to make pop music “in an artistic way.” He calls it Pop Art.

“This is not hip-hop music. Taking a sample, looping it and doing all that ‘throw your hands up in the sky’ thing has become such a cliche. Hip-hop is over for me. I sing, not rap, on this album. I now want to be grouped among those musicians you see in those old black-and-white photos – the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles. And I’m not going to get there by doing just another rap album full of samples.

“I’ve had to create a whole new musical genre to describe what I’m doing now and I’m calling it ‘pop-art’ – which is not to be confused with the visual art movement.”

Voltage Super Designer, Geoff P, noticed the subtle use of these trendy colors on the album cover art. It appears that each of the eleven tracks is represented by a stripe of color. If you’re digging this style, stay tuned for Kanye’s fresh new clothing line Pastelle. Loves it!

kanye pastelle

Serious Security Flaw Found in Internet Explorer

In other news, water is still wet…

Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are being urged by experts to switch to a rival until a serious security flaw has been fixed.

The flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people’s computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say…

…”Microsoft is continuing its investigation of public reports of attacks against a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer,” said [Secunia] in a security advisory alert about the flaw.

Microsoft says it has detected attacks against IE 7.0 but said the “underlying vulnerability” was present in all versions of the browser.

Other browsers, such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, are not vulnerable to the flaw Microsoft has identified.

Serious security flaw found in IE – BBC

My First Children's Book

I distinctly remember the great sense of pride instilled by my very first children’s book. The moment I closed The Poky Little Puppy, after reading it (all by myself!) from start to finish, I experienced what felt like a life-changing victory.

poky little puppy

As a designer, I wonder what kind of impact it would have made if my first children’s book was something more like Sparkle and Spin, which was brilliantly illustrated by Paul Rand.

sparkle and spin 1

Just imagine… Not only would you learn to read, but it would also expose you to beautiful visuals and typography to inspire creativity and assist in developing your eye for design. Can you believe he created such a modern children’s book in 1957? No joke!

sparkle and spin 2

sparkle and spin 3

sparkle and spin 4

Social Media Ad Revenue Will Never Match Search

H is for hype

Everyone is waiting for Facebook or MySpace to start turning out ad revenue like Google. It is not going happen.

Around this time last year, Microsoft (in)famously valued Facebook at $15 Billion, or $323 per user. This was at a time when their annual revenue was $0.73 cents per user, placing Facebook’s presumed retention rate at 100% and their average user life span right around 400 years. (Oops)

Expectations have cooled a bit since then, but not by much. And that’s bad news for social media hopefuls. Search-engine-like ad revenues are not on the horizon for the social networks for one reason: Search engine marketing ROI cannot be beat by a social network.

Yes, these web 2.0 giants have had exponential growth. Yes they have millions of eyeballs and lots of mindshare online. But you can’t assess the value of mindshare without thinking about what state all those minds are actually in.

People visiting Facebook or MySpace are there to connect with other people. A social networking website is itself an end. It’s not a means. People on these sites have reached their destination. They’ve no momentum going that will push them to leave by clicking on an ad. This leaves the momentum problem up to the advertiser to solve. No matter how you slice it, generating momentum is HARD. (It’s fundamental physics, and in this case the metaphor keeps on delivering.)

That’s what makes search engine marketing so powerful. People visiting a search engine have come there specifically to leave and find something else. They have momentum. They just need a shove and they’re off. Add in the fact that their search terms or keywords provide marketers a context for exactly what kind of shove is needed, and you end up with a marketing environment that may be impossible to beat when it comes to value for advertisers. The money will go to search engine marketing, because in the long run it’s a matter of ROI for advertisers.

IE8 Is the Harbinger of Web Standards

Jeffry Zeldman on

…what’s really going to drive standards awareness in the next months is the release of IE8. For the first time, IE will no longer support “IE-only” websites by default. Instead, it will support standards by default. Think about that. If you’re a developer, and you’ve somehow managed to remain completely unaware of standards-based design, your IE-only website won’t work in IE. Wow! Right? So what will you do?

If you plan to have a career, you’ll start learning about standards-based design fast. (IE8 will support old-fashioned IE-only sites if you insert a tag in the head of each web page instructing the browser to do so, but that’s merely to protect old sites; it’s not a strategy you can pursue if you intend to create new sites.)

That’s the big news where browsers and standards adoption are concerned.

He’s right. IE’s position as the dominant browser on the web combined with it’s everlasting lack of support for web standards has created a unique bottleneck that’s been hard, but not impossible, to ignore. The pressure for web standards that actually mean something has been building for years. That bottleneck is about to be opened wide and the aftermath will be painful on a grand scale.

A PR Disaster: Ford Suing The Only People Who Still Care About Ford Cars