AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: December 2009 (Page 1 of 4)

Geocities a la 2010

Just as the year that saw Geocities give away comes to an end, I was pleasantly pleased with myself when I stumbled upon a site that might have as well been a 1999 Geocities site.

All the features:

  • Strobe light pngs.
  • A weird color filter that might as well be mistaken for a web-safe palette.
  • Hideous typography that shines with some sort of glow effect.
  • Animated sidebar links that look like webring links.
  • A lovely shade of neon purple.
  • Film reel innerpage links with all of the above.

Enough to end my year with a bang.

Awesomeee. Believe me, look at it yourself here.

And the slogan! My god. Feed your Ediction :D Giggle.

A few snapshots that I really cannot resist sharing (I tried, I swear, I know this month has been very image heavy for this blog).

Funny site

Funny site

Funny site

Funny site Funny site

And my favorite:

Funny site

The Decade’s Biggest Design Moments

Fast Company has compiled a list of what they see as the decade’s 14 biggest design moments. You can check out their slide show here, but let me share my favorites from their list.

1. The iPod. Released in 2001, the iPod might as well be the decades biggest design moment. It changed the way we interact with music, think of music, and buy music. Visually, the white earphones, clickwheel, and information architecture of the software itself have had tons of impact on other products.

ipod
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2. Etsy. Taking the social web and transforming it into an online Sunday market kinda thing.

etsy
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3. We Feel Fine. The 2000’s sparked the interest in beautiful information, and a new wave of infographs has come to the world.

we feel fine
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4. The Wii. Nintendo takes a cue from Apple and reinvents gaming.

wii

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5. London 2012 Olympics Logo. Yeah, yeah, no one likes this logo (it has really grown on me in the past few years), but the backlash it released is certainly worth giving it a spot.
london logo

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6. Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster.
hope
They have it in the list because of the Associated Press case, but I think that the whole Obama campaign is worth mentioning for its design finesse.

Check out the other moments here.

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My own additions to the list:

1. Facebook’s Redesigns, which also manage to get the whole world talking.
2. The iPhone not only changed the way phones look, but also the way of softwares, icons, websites, and a whole lot of other things.

The Rebrandings of 2010

With the 2000’s nearly over, many corporations are rebranding to start the new decade afresh. 2009 certainly saw many brand refreshments, including AirFrance, AFC Champions League, Packard Bell, Quicktime, Audi, and Hertz.

As I was looking at a list of redesigned brands compiled by SmashingApps, I could not help but think DAMN, the 2000’s were a bad decade for graphic design. The tagword: Gimmicks.

What most of the 2009 redesigns have in common:

1. Death to Simplicity. Maybe I’m biased, because I’m a sucker for solid colors and basic lines, but many of this year’s changes take away the simplicity and apply a “funk-it-up” filter.

2. All Hail the Color Spectrum. With the Web 2.0 revolution and better technology, gradients have been resurrected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “Die-Gradients-Die” kind of person like many of my friends are, I actually like gradients, but I do think they are horrible when misused, something that happened often in 2009.

3. Typography Without Life. Logotypes have become more basic, losing the little spunky details that gave them uniqueness.

A few examples:

AFC-Champions-League
AFC Champions League: The old logo is ugly, but the new logo is uglier. The mascot-like emblem with the plasticy gradients is really childish, and doesn’t portray the passion, competition, and history of the Champions League. Miss.
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Franceguide
France: If you showed me these two logos without me having any prior knowledge to when each was created, I would have told you that the “After” logo with the line drawing was a modernized version of a 20’s logo while the “Before” logo is a really cool 2010 redesign of it. Miss.
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Corbis
Corbis: I really like the angular typography of the “Before” logo, and while the “After” logo is still quite distinctive, it really lost its edge. Miss.
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Emily-Carr-Institute-of-Art-and-Design
Emily Carr: Bleh. Most unimaginative redesign ever. Scribbley circles, seriously? Miss.
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Packard-Bell
Packard Bell: Perhaps the ugliest redesign on the list of 2009 redesigns. It looks like it was made by a student who just learned how to use the Extrude feature of Adobe Illustrator. It feels very amateur, as if its tied to an IT geek with minimal design aesthetics who started out a really cool initiative. Miss.
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Union-Bank
Union Bank: How boring and cliche, I can think of a million logos with a very similar emblem and logotype treatment. Although the “Before” logo isn’t groundbreaking either, at least the alignment of the type had something interesting going. Miss.
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Apple-Quicktime
Quicktime: I hate the redesign of the Quicktime logo. It would have been cool five years ago, when Web 2.0 and gradients and reflections and shiny effects for icons was all the rage. Now, it feels like it’s too trendy, five years too late. It will definitely get old very quickly. The shape of the emblem is better than the old one though, what I would have done is give it a nice solid color, much more “quick” than a million shades of magenta and gray. Miss.
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Audi
Audi: I’m not sure how I feel towards this logo redesign. The logotype has much less character, and the rings are much more done-up, but it does manage to look better, somehow. Perhaps its the placement of the logotype on the left, rather than in the center, and more simple overall feel due to the extra white space. Hit.
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PlayStation-3
Playstation: This is a cool redesign, and has all the elements of becoming a recognizable icon like the Apple or Mercedes emblems. The typography also has shitloads of edgy character. Hit.
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Silicon-Graphics-Inc
SGI: Great idea, taking an interesting logotype and turning it into a bland, cliche, and indistinguishable pile of muck. Miss.
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My-Little-Pony
My Little Pony: Definitely better. I really like the typography- it’s magical, cute, and girly. The “Y” even looks like a pony’s tail. Hit.
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Network-Solutions
Network Solutions: The typography is nice, but the emblem is the perfect example to the Web 2.0 trend taken 10 steps too far. Dude, STOP IT ALREADY WITH THE WEB 2.0 STUFF. Miss.
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The-New-York-Public-Library
New York Public Library: I really like how they managed to modernize the ancient emblem while keeping the old establishment feeling. Good job done.  Hit.
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Hertz
Hertz: The typography looks great. I’m a little sad to see the ugly Hertz drop shadow go, simply because it’s very iconic, but I guess it’s a good way to move into the next decade. The bright yellow looks fantastic. Hit.
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Telecom
Telecom: Barf. Miss.
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America-Online
AOL: Not sure how I feel about the Aol redesign. I think they’re trying to go back to their years of grandeur with a completely new outlook on their image, and it might just work out for them. The brand might as well be a different one, much more young and lively, especially since this is one of the oldest and deadest brands of the Web. The logotype is awesome, it gives me the feel of chat-language shorthand, like “asl.” or “tyt.” It’s simple, cool, and I love the dot at the end. Not sure how I feel about the changing background though. Hit.
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Pfizer
Pfizer: Disappointing change. The new logotype looks weird, as if it was changed with the need to modernize without any way of knowing how to, resulting in letters that just look off.
And the gradient. My god. You guys produce PILLS, not tweets. Terrible. Miss.
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Friendster
Friendster: I love this. So cute, so lively, so fresh. The cloud is a little too Skypish, but the type is nice and the smiley face is much cuter. This shade of green is also a fresh change from the brights and blues littering the logos of Web startups and companies. Hit.
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MSN
MSN: Once a blind developer, always a blind developer. The typography is bland, and the butterfly spectrum thingy is really annoying. And the colors clash. Miss.
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MyFonts
MyFonts: I love this. Brilliant. Hit.
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Yup, my three theories basically apply. My friend Ibra has a theory that these changes could have been heralded by Apple’s iPhone, which took the whole gradient-reflections-basic-typography to a whole new level. My very humble recommendations is that people should stick away from these three trends, because they’re exactly just that- trends. You don’t want to be redesigning your logo again in a couple of years. A logo should stay cool for decades, so it should never be tied to trends.

What do you think of 2009’s rebranding attempts? Any personal favorites that you don’t agree with me on? Or vice-versa? Let me know, I’m curious to know what you feel about this new trend.

Check out other logos (without my lovely commentary :) on Smashing Apps.

What will the Internet see in 2010?

Introducing Dubai's The Tweet

1twitter

Check out the rest of predictions at Thoughtpick.com :)

Gingerbread Houses

These are lovely.

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

gingerbread house that sits on the edge of a mug

How to make them.

On fangs and stuff

Okay. I’m getting obsessive compulsive again about vampires, and you guys have to bare with me.

But you can’t really blame me. I finished the two seasons of True Blood in the past 5 days. It’s really good. I finished the four Vampire Academy books in the week before. Twilight in the two weeks preceding that. I wouldn’t be normal if I wasn’t a little obsessed by now. After all, I’ve had a thing for vampires since I was a kid. But Anne Rice became Christian and started writing about Moses, and I had no proper way of feeding my vampire addiction until the world went into a vampire craze.

Thank you, World, for going into a vampire craze.

I’m seriously considering going to the dentist who recently molded my smile and ask him to make me tiny fangs. The sad thing is, my mouth is originally designed to have fangs. Before braces, genetically-messed-up-teeth fixing surgery, and all that shit.

I was born with two missing front teeth. That meant that my canines were a little too in the front for a regular set of teeth. It runs in the family. My orthodontist had a simple solution: build the canines to look like regular teeth, then unbuild the teeth next to the canines to look like canines. Ta da. Normal teeth. Brilliant solution, if you ask me.

Before:
veryshorthair

After:
untitled1

 

Office Conversation: Mama versus El-Mama

Tareq: Did you notice that Christians always say “El-Baba” and “El-Mama” over simply Baba and Mama? It’s a weird Christian thing. It’s also like that in Ramallah, I swear. I’ve been noticing that for 15 years.

Aseel: You idiot, that’s just me.

Tareq: No, no, I’ve done an informal research on that and it’s true!

Aseel: I guess we’re influenced by Il-Baba Al-Kabeer.

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Other Office Conversations:

Over My Dead Titanium Body
On Justifying Text
Imperio Steve Jobs
Conversations with an Office Cup
6:00PM Office Conversations
Desktop Crap Blackhole
Kalamantina Conversations
Lunchtime Conversations
Internet Existential Crisis
Depressive Connotations
Early morning office conversations
Next Friday
Office Conversations
Toshet Thulathi il-”rrrr”
Rainbow Bright
Hot Chocolate Amidst Ice: Office Conversations
This is Chicken
Ditz Central

Are you a dasher or a slasher?

My friend Sarah says: “I guess the main difference is that a dasher is someone who is mainly operating in one field, but working on various aspects of it and a slasher is someone who pursues a variety of different fields at the same time.
A dasher is a teacher who gives lectures at a university and gives private lessons and teaches at school, all at the same time.
A slasher is a painter, and a fashion designer, and an actress/singer, and a teacher, and an events manager all at once.

I think the dash person is definitely the healthier version of the two multi-taskers.

Dash don’t slash.. the jack-of-all trades is a slasher.”

What do you think? I think I disagree with her.

When I was in school, I was a dasher. I loved anything that had to do with self-expression, and that’s quite a small field when interest circles were so wide. My friends had different passions, including movies, science, or sports, or video games. It’s a slash between drawing and writing, because when you’re best friend is a soccer freak, anything that involves sitting down and using your hands is almost the same.

When I was studying Fine Arts, I started becoming a slasher. The passions of people around me became much more confined, and by moving away from art and also being passionate about words, I kind of stepped out of dasher boundaries.

When I started working as a designer, I officially became a slasher. While my friends are obsessed with the smallest details in design, like typography, lithography, or any other word ending in -“phy”, I often have a hard time describing to people what I really do.

‘Cause as much as I love design, a “designer” is no where near who I am. I am a word person too. And an internet person. And an art person. And a person person. The slashes for me almost never end, and I really like that. It never feels like I’m working, no matter how many things I’m doing, because there’s always so much variety. I’m never bored, and my attention span is tiny, so that’s saying a lot.

Are you a slasher, a dasher, or a… one word? :)

Mario’s Closet :)

Via Hal.

Email Spam Manifestation a la 1998

Remember the days when email groups, or whatever the heck they were called, were the COOLEST thing ever? We had a group for my class, grade 9B, with which we’d spend hours bullying the mind-numbing people. We also used to send lame-ass forwards, homework assignments, and pick on idiots who were too thick-skinned to quit the group themselves. Email groups were really cool then.

But it was 1998.

And I was 13.

And email groups were practically Facebook.

These days, a handful of my over 55-years-old distant and not so distant family members have somehow discovered the internet. You’d think that anyone who discovers the internet in 2010 would jump right ahead to blogs, YouTube, and Facebook, but unfortunately, that is apparently not the case.

To my surprise, the online coming-of-age for people over 55 seems to be email groups. They sit and joke over their VIP groups, and bully each other over who is cool enough to join.

“No, you send jokes too lame for even a forward, you cannot belong in my Cowboys mailing list. I have another one though, for people like you, you can join that one.”

Glare.

“Ahh darling, the email you sent with the djinn in Hajj was really scary. Subhan Allah.”

Glare. Bite my tongue and try not to mention that little invention that starts with “photo” and ends with “shop”.

Okay, you see, I wouldn’t have had a problem with this 10-years-too-late internet discovery for Amman’s senior citizens.

Except that they somehow all have my email.

DAMN.

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