OK, the title of this post is somewhat misleading when you have a butcher's hook at the example below. Infact it's the polar opposite. Apologies for the tautology – but on second thoughts, 'polar' reflects the chunky-knit sweater look of our axe-wielding hero so I'll leave it be.
I'm curious as to his choice of accessories (I mean what is in the bag?), but then he's obviously not the average Dad returning home from a hard day at the office. Perhaps he's going 'smorgasboard on these poindexters'? Or maybe on the copy-editor who missed a certain typo?
As my Swedish Mum is keen on saying this time of year 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing'; though I think she might take issue with another disk by our Jimmy. I mean look at that letter-spacing…
Well it's turning into a cold winter here in Prague and the forecast for my return back to Cambridge, although not quite so wintry, is nonetheless a bit 'zima' so I'll pack my fishtail parker. See you all 'in the bridge.'
We didn't get it. Bugger.
Sentiments along similar lines are to be found floating around George Street, Cambridge and Praha 4 this afternoon. And the reason for the blues rather than the usual jollification normally found at these locations on a Friday afternoon?
Separated by a ciggy paper*
Well, to cut-to-the-chase, OptaDesign (and three other 'design oufits') were asked to pitch (in a paid pitch you will be pleased to hear – we don't do owt for nowt) for the redesign of the Fitzwilliam Museum website.
As you've guessed by now dear reader, we were pipped to the main prize – yep, we came an honourable second. (Wonders – maybe I should loose some weight and look more hungry? My trousers were a little tight.)¶
De-brief via Skype
Malcolm and I are none-the-less pleased as punch to have been asked in the first place to pitch for the contract. We did a great presentation (well not quite great enough Rob!) which was complimented with a lively discussion of the issues involved involved in bringing disparate parts of the site[s] together into a coherent whole. Many thanks again for being asked ;o)
Word of mouth is king
To be asked in the first place to pitch based only on previous work and recommendations from happy clients (rather than as a result of a cold-call) is just how we like to get new work (or otherwise ;o) Shame it didn't come-off this time.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talking of pitching, northern advertising agency cravens have a new website (with drawings by the irrepressible Hugh Macleod of gapingvoid fame, who, I suspect had a good deal to do with the words too). At number 4 from craven's '10 things that interest us', are a couple of words you will hear in the design/ad world. The first is 'pitch'. They riff thus:
'Goldman says that to understand the pain of the pitch you have to consider its origin. Back to a time of medieval religious persecution and the actions of one of its chief inquisitors.
This originated during the Spanish Inquisition. Torquemada, one of its leaders would tell imprisoned playwrights that if they could interest him in an idea, he would let them live long enough to write it. If not, they were dropped into a large vat (or pitch) of boiling tar, hence the term pitch.'
From pitch to deadline
Something we won't have to deal with with regard to the Fitz is the second word under the spotlight, deadline:
'Originating during the American Civil War: prisoners in that war were seldom held in purpose-built jails. More often, they were herded at gunpoint inside a makeshift boundary. The boundary had two lines, and a prisoner who stepped outside the inner boundary was ordered back, but one who over-stepped the outer boundary was shot. Thus it was called the deadline. Tough job this agency gig.'
* A compositor tweaks letterspacing in metal type with cigarette papers to get that just 'just so' setting beloved of all fanatical typographers everywhere.
Khoi Vinh over at Subtraction admits needing more time for some focused reading. Specifically, to learn more about coding languages (PHP, ROR) and get closer to the actual building of the business-end of websites. Feelings I can entirely relate to – so what's the fix?
Malcolm and I have a stack of O'Reilly's finest that we are working through, but that's no substitute for learning by making. Well I've an idea brewing, so I guess I'll just have to jump in – makes mistakes, burn some midnight-oil and add learning the above to Czech. Help me.
Perhaps some cycling might help? If only I could guarantee the old-lemon would grow, absorb and make useful decisions with all this reading I'm doing. Let's hope so.
It's not an acronym. It means nothing. Yep bugger-all, zip, nix, sweet FA etc.
For the explanation, pop over to Cory's place.
Google it seems is in the process of providing free WiFi access in San Francisco and New York. So how about a similar deal for another hi-tec business hot spot in the UK this time? Say in Cambridge ;o) Geoff, any thoughts?
Or maybe a competitor like Yahoo might like to shift some 'search tool-bar favourites' to their brand of search mojo and spend some potentially effective marketing money on such a service? Of course I have no idea of the numbers involved, but if I'm going to continue to work off Apple laptops then a wider Wi-Fi net would be just the ticket.
Malcolm and I have been very busy little bees these last few weeks. OptaDesign, 'the best typo / graphic design boutique in the United Kingdom (OK Cambridge – OK then, north of the river Cam) has been flat-out pushing pixels and polishing point sizes on a variety of screen and print projects. Here's a taster:
Sharing snaps is a snip with ShoZu
We have been working on the identity, story (and possible website improvements) of a beta cameraphone application called ShoZu. This allows you to upload images and video from your cameraphone straight to your online photo album. There's a group already using it to upload to Flickr. Here's the 'beta marketing skinny':
'It allows ‘easy one-click upload’ and automatically resumes interrupted uploads, saving bandwidth compared to email. Read: it's cheaper if you're paying for bandwidth. You can even upload first and then add tags and a description later on, right there and then from your phone.'
Nice. Moblogging here we come . . .
More weaving the web (OK a tiny-weenie corner of it); this time over at Essential Portugal. It's the latest in the portfolio of the Essential holiday destinations. Here's the homepage pitch:
'Offering some of Europe’s finest sandy beaches, pretty fishing villages and excellent seafood, the Algarve is a unique holiday destination. Essential Portugal has selected some of the finest properties in the Central and Eastern Algarve. Our accommodation is divided amongst quality villas, cottages and cosy hotels – properties offering peaceful locations, unspoilt villages and all within easy access of beautiful beaches and restaurants.'
Now all we need is some time off to get over there and do some serious cycling.
Last but by no means least is the tome I previous posted on; it's a history and personal account by Cornishman, teacher / historian and all-round good egg, Peter Dyer on the real Tintagel (my italics). As he says,
'This book aims, perhaps for the ﬁrst time, to set down a comprehensive and detailed record of the remarkable heritage of the village in both words and pictures. For the locals, it is hoped that this will go some way toward crystallising and indeed celebrating what it means to be from Tintagel.
In providing a detailed portrait of the parish and its community it is also intended, with respect to our many visitors, to create the opportunity for a much richer ‘Tintagel experience’ than has hitherto been available.'
A final note
A varied bunch you might think. But their collective genesis shares several characteristics which is worth noting:
– their design / production has taken many months of blood, sweat and occasional tears
– appropriate typo / graphic design that reflects and reinforces the stories being told
– clued-up clients whose commitment to their work is totally inspiring
Now let's hope they please your head, your heart and your hand.
More from the Art of Looking Sideways:
'The word character (greek kharakter) originally meant an engraving tool, and by extension the impression or mark made by that tool, and by further extension the features and qualities associated with that mark.'
Looking forward to this maturing into another way to loose several days staring at a screen ;o)
'Ever wondered what's in that archive? Who looks after it? It turns out there's a huge database that's been carefully tended by a gang of crack BBC librarians for decades. Nearly a million programmes are catalogued, with descriptions, contributor details and annotations drawn from a wonderfully detailed controlled vocabulary.
I'm the lucky developer who gets to turn this hidden treasure into a public website. No programme downloads yet, but a massive searchable programme catalogue.'
Link Matt Biddulph