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Category “Technology”

Sketch: A New Way of Designing

Sketch

I pri­mar­ily write about print design on this site, but most of the work I do is User Inter­face and User Expe­ri­ence design.

Until recently, Pho­to­shop was the only real appli­ca­tion one could use for UI design, even though it wasn’t designed for it. It’s kind of like using a road bike to bomb down a moun­tain. You’ll even­tu­ally get to the bot­tom, but you’ll bang your­self up good on the way. The fea­ture set, and the work­flow, of PS is not opti­mized for UI design. We accepted it, and kept truck­ing along, only because we had no other choice.

Then Sketch came along.

Sketch is a vector-based graph­ics app by Bohemian Cod­ing that offers a set of fea­tures, and work­flow, specif­i­cally built for UI design. I’ve made the switch to Sketch at home, and at work. It’s been such a breath of fresh air.

Some of the ben­e­fits of Sketch are:

  • Super easy to use. The app is very intu­itive, and never feels com­plex or over­whelm­ing, but at the same time it’s pow­er­ful. You can get com­fort­able using it within a few hours.
  • It’s vector-based. All ele­ments can eas­ily scale with­out degrad­ing, includ­ing drop-shadows, gra­di­ents, blurs and strokes.
  • Text is ren­dered exactly like it’s dis­played in an app or on a web­site in a browser.
  • Smart guides. You can eas­ily line things up and see the pixel dis­tance from one object to another. You don’t under­stand how much time this saves.
  • Built-in grids. ‘Nuff said!
  • iOS mir­ror­ing. Using their iOS app, Sketch Mir­ror, you can see your designs on your phone in realtime.

These are some of the great fea­tures you’ll find in Sketch.

It’s not all per­fect, though. There are some issues with it, but they’re minor. The app is still a lit­tle buggy. It’s in the early stages, so it’s expected. Things like zoom­ing in and out can cause some weird­ness. It doesn’t han­dle raster images that well, but that’s expected from a vector-based app. Art­boards and export fea­tures are only focused on iOS. Would be great to include other plat­forms like Android and Win­dows Phone. None of these are deal-breakers and the app just gets bet­ter and bet­ter with each release.

Now, I know this sounds like a paid adver­tise­ment, but I can assure you that I haven’t received a dime from Bohemian Code. This is all of my silly love for this app. It’s really changed the way I design, and it’s exciting.

Down below I’ve put together a list a resources to help with the tran­si­tion from PS. A lot of great info here on the app, its ben­e­fits, how to use it, and the workflow.

I’m going to open the com­ments in case you want to ask questions.

Enjoy.

Sketch Man­ual
Tips & Tricks Blog
Offi­cial Tuto­r­ial Videos
Dis­cov­er­ing Sketch
Pho­to­shop Users: How To Switch To Sketch
Sketch VS Pho­to­shop
Super­charge your Work­flow in Sketch
Design­ing with Sketch
.Sketch App Medium Col­lec­tion
Design with Sketch Medium Col­lec­tion
How To Wire­frame An iPhone App In Sketch
iOS 7 GUI for Sketch
List of Sketch Plu­g­ins
Sketch Key­board Shortcuts

Comments Closed

The Mac is 30

30 years ago, the Mac was released and it changed every­thing. It def­i­nitely changed my life. I was attend­ing high school when I used a Mac for the very first time, and it along with Pho­to­shop 2.0, blew me away. I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

The Mac has come along way in 30 years, and I’m exited to see where it’s headed.

Apple put together this beau­ti­ful site chron­i­cling the his­tory of the Mac.

Comments Closed

BMW Concept 90

BMW Concept 90

BMW Concept 90

BMW Concept 90

To cel­e­bra­tion 90 years of BMW Motor­rad along with 40 years of the iconic R90S design, BMW teamed up with Roland Sands Design to cre­ate the Con­cept 90. It’s a mod­ern take on a clas­sic motor­cy­cle, and it’s extremely well done. It mixes a time­less cafe racer style, with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate the per­fect motor­cy­cle. I’m hop­ing that BMW pro­duces it because I would get one right now.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

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We have lost a bril­liant mind and a cre­ative genius. Steve Jobs changed the way I think about design. I will always be grateful.

Rest in peace, Steve. You will be missed.

A Backup System

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For the last 6 years or so, my backup setup con­sisted of one unre­li­able 120 GB drive that I would man­u­ally update when­ever I remem­ber to do so. That’s pretty much a pathetic way to go about it and I’ve been extremely lucky to not have had a cat­a­strophic drive failure.

I’ve been mean­ing to get seri­ous about my file man­age­ment, but I never did any­thing about it. That’s until I read Frank Chimero’s insight­ful arti­cle about his setup and how he deals with file man­age­ment. It moti­vated me to finally put a sys­tem together to pro­tect my impor­tant files, and to write this arti­cle detail­ing my cur­rent setup. I fig­ured that it can’t hurt to have more infor­ma­tion avail­able on the sub­ject for those who are interested.

The Equip­ment

Right away, I knew that my lame 120 GB drive wouldn’t make a good base for my setup. The key fac­tor in any good backup sys­tem is redun­dancy. The more copies you have of your data, the safer you are. I first looked into RAID 1 sys­tems. A RAID 1 sys­tem is essen­tially made up of two dri­ves, one drive is where you backup your data, and the other drive is used to mir­ror that drive, cre­at­ing a backup of your backup. The ben­e­fit of a RAID 1 is that it all hap­pens on the fly, so when data is stored to the first drive, it’s instantly mir­rored to the sec­ond drive. I found a few options that might work, but they were either too expen­sive or noisy.

I then looked into sin­gle hard dri­ves, which had to be quiet and large enough to store all of my data. To cre­ate redun­dancy I knew that I’d needed two sep­a­rate dri­ves. After a few days of research­ing and ask­ing on Twit­ter, I pur­chased two Lacie Quadra 1 TB dri­ves. They’re silent, afford­able, offer four con­nec­tion inter­faces and look damn sexy.

To build on the setup, I also signed up for Back­blaze, an online file backup ser­vice that’s really cheap and easy to use. The ser­vice con­stantly checks your machine and exter­nal dri­ves to see if any­thing has changed and needs a backup. It all hap­pens in the back­ground, so you just set it up and never think about it again. The first backup does take a few days, though, depend­ing on the amount of data you’re stor­ing. They have a free 15 trial, which is a great way to test it out.

I also pur­chased SuperDuper, an inex­pen­sive desk­top app that allows you to com­pletely clone your machine, cre­at­ing a bootable copy. You can even sched­ule back­ups, which is great.

Finally, the sys­tem also makes use of Drop­box and Apple’s iDisk. More details below on how I use these two services.

The Setup

I put together this dia­gram to help visu­al­ize my setup. Here’s how it works:

All of my data is kept on my iMac’s inter­nal drive. Cur­rent and archived work files, impor­tant doc­u­ments like my resume, and my Aper­ture Library Backup, live in my Drop­box folder. I do this to cre­ate more redun­dancy for my most impor­tant data.

I’ve kept my old 120 GB drive and use it to store really old work, videos, pic­tures and my iPhoto Library. This is not pre­cious data.

Every other day I have SuperDuper clone my iMac to one of my Lacie 1 TB dri­ves, lets call this one Drive A. Imme­di­ately after that is done I have SuperDuper clone Drive A to my other Lacie 1 TB drive, let’s call this one Drive B. Once a month SuperDuper clones my 120 GB drive to Drive B. I only do it once a week because the data on that drive won’t change that often. All of the SuperDuper back­ups are set to Smart Update. It’s a great fea­ture that only copies files and fold­ers that are new or have changed. This con­sid­er­ably speeds up the process after the ini­tial backup.

Once a week the cur­rent work folder in Drop­box, my Address Book and iCal data­bases, Safari set­tings, key­chain, fonts and cur­rent pho­tos are copied to iDisk using Apple’s Backup app.

For extra secu­rity, I’ve setup Back­blaze to con­stantly backup my iMac’s inter­nal drive, which includes my Drop­box local folder, and the 120 GB drive.

Dur­ing all this I have Time Machine con­stantly backing-up to Drive B.

This setup cre­ates 6 copies of my vital data:

 – Inter­nal iMac Drive
 – Exter­nal Drive A
 – Exter­nal Drive B
 – Drop­box
 – iDisk
 – Back­blaze

and 3 copies of my unim­por­tant data:

 – Exter­nal 120 GB Drive
 – Exter­nal Drive B
 – Back­blaze

This is a good amount of redun­dancy and will pro­vided a good level of secu­rity and piece of mind. I’ll prob­a­bly expand on this in the future. Those Lacie dri­ves are cheap, so why not get another one to clone one of the other dri­ves. Even­tu­ally, I want to have an off-site drive, just for added security.

When I was first looked into backup sys­tems, I had no idea where to begin. Hope­fully this arti­cle has been help­ful to those who are still unsure on how to pro­ceed. I also sug­gest read­ing this arti­cle by John Gru­ber for more infor­ma­tion on the subject.

iPhone 4

apple-iphone-4

The iPhone 4. Sim­ply amazing.        

Thinking for a Living Relaunches

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A new and improved site for Think­ing for a Liv­ing has launched! The site, in my opin­ion, is at the fore­front of inter­ac­tive design. It’s a great exam­ple of why Flash isn’t the only means of cre­at­ing a dynamic inter­ac­tive experience.

The site was designed by BBDK and Frank Chimero and built by Jedi Knight Ian Coyle. It fea­tures key­board nav­i­ga­tion, a fine grid, and a ton of orig­i­nal and inspi­ra­tional content.

I’m super excited and proud to be a part of this fine net­work of peo­ple and sites. TFAL is a must read for any cre­ative type.        

New Site Design Coming in 2010

Howdy folks. Hope every­one is hav­ing a great hol­i­day sea­son. As you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted much in the last week and won’t resume until next week. Just enjoy­ing this time off with the family.

Any­way, I just briefly want to men­tion that I’ll be launch­ing a revamped site in about a week or so. I’m pretty happy with it and I think you’ll like it a lot. Emil Ols­son of Type­Neu is doing all the cod­ing and he’s imple­mented some awe­some func­tion­al­ity. I’ll let you all know right before I switch over to the new design because the site will have to be done for a lit­tle while.

Also, if you look in the header, on the right, you’ll notice a small ad. AisleOne is now part of the Fusion Ad Net­work. It’s a great net­work that caters to design­ers, devel­op­ers, pub­lish­ers and cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als. The ads are small and for the most part well-designed and unob­tru­sive. I’ve always strug­gled with dis­play­ing ads on the site, I’ve been approached by many com­pa­nies in the past, but this is the first time that I feel com­fort­able doing it. The net­work is great and this is an easy way to pay for the site host­ing and other site related costs. I’d love to know what you think about the new ads since your opin­ions mat­ter most to me.

This ver­sion of the site won’t be up for long so I plopped the ads at the top, but in the new site design I’ve placed them in a much bet­ter space that isn’t so distracting.

Well, that’s it for now. I want to wish every­one a Happy New Year! I’ll be back on Mon­day. Peace.        

Photoshoptimize - Optimize Photoshop Performance

photoshoptimize.jpg

Yes­ter­day I was search­ing around for tips on how to improve the over­all per­for­mance of Pho­to­shop. I found a bunch of good ones, but there was no site that included them all, at least not in a clean, sim­ple lay­out that’s easy to read. So I decided to quickly put together a page since I fig­ured it might be use­ful to oth­ers. I call it Pho­to­shop­ti­mize. Clever huh?

All these tips have improved over­all per­for­mance, espe­cially with redraw­ing the image when zoom­ing or pan­ning. Some of these tips might not fit your work­flow, but the more you do the better.        

Basic Maths WordPress Theme

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Khoi Vinh and Allan Cole have cre­ated Basic Maths, an excel­lent grid-based theme for Word­Press that includes fea­tures like micro­for­mats, color-scheme con­trol, full wid­get sup­port and a key short­cut to dis­play the grid. Not to men­tion it’s beau­ti­fully designed.

You can pur­chase it for $45. Well worth the price.        

AisleOne now Available on Kindle

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For all you Kin­dle users out there, the AisleOne Kin­dle ver­sion has been approved by Ama­zon and is now avail­able for a monthly price of $.99, which includes a 14-day free trial. They don’t give you any con­trol over the design and lay­out of the feed so I’m sure it’s going to look ugly. Hey, at least you’ll get to access the con­tent right? Any­way, enjoy.        

Introducing LegiStyles™

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As some of you already know, I use Net­NewsWire for all my feed read­ing duties. It’s an amaz­ing desk­top appli­ca­tions that offers a ton of great fea­tures includ­ing syn­chro­niza­tion. One of the great advan­tages of using NNW is that you can use cus­tom CSS styles on your feeds.

There are a bunch of styles out there that are good but they all kind of look the same and most of them don’t focus on typog­ra­phy and read­abil­ity. I’m try­ing to fill this void with what I like to call LegiStyles™, a series of cus­tom NNW styles I’ve cre­ated that focus on design and typog­ra­phy. Best of all they’re free.

As of now I have 4 styles avail­able but I plan to add more over time. If you don’t use NNW, I highly rec­om­mend it. If you do, head over to the site and down­load a style or two.

I’ve setup an RSS feed as a way to keep informed on news and updates. For all you Twit­ter users, fol­low LegiStyles for updates and also reply with any feed­back using @legistyles.

Enjoy.