Tuesday
Jan052010

Desktop Backgrounds

When I travel, I feel like I often look at textures and photos and think that something or other will make a great desktop background. I used to be really good about changing my background often. It was recently pointed out to me that I had the same photo for a long time:

I took this photo on a chilly morning in our old rental house. It was an older house with the original single pane windows. I had left the blinds down overnight, so the condensation froze on the windows! While I was upset that this happened in the first place, it made an amazing photo while the sun was rising and the frost was melting.

I also had this one up for a while:

I took this photo when I was in Brazil visiting my Fiancé's family. His family has a small farm that I went to visit with his aunt. These beautiful flowers were all over the place. Also, I like how the 2 flowers in the middle kindof look like butterflies kissing :) This made a great summer background.

Then yesterday, when I realized it was time to remove the aforementioned frozen windows from my background, I switched it to this photo:

I purchased this photo on iStockphoto a while ago when working on a holiday card for my former employer. Still love the photo, but its way too bright for a background!

Finally, yesterday I settled on this one:

This photo is from a second trip to Brazil. One night we ate at a fabulous restaurant: Tantra. The restaurant is beautifully decorated, so I took my camera around! The food was good too :)

So we'll see how long this one lasts! In the meantime, I keep looking for great backgrounds on my travels.

What is on your desktop background?

Tuesday
Dec222009

Trying something new!

I had so much fun creating a custom wedding album for a friend, that I decided to open up an Etsy shop to see if anyone in the great wide internet is interested!

Check it out!

Wednesday
Sep162009

Oh iStock, you never cease to amaze me

Its no secret that I often search for stock photography online. The one and only site I use is iStockphoto.com. Its a great resource, and (sorry photographer friends!) makes using good photography easy and inexpensive.

Most of their stuff is good, and you can find all sorts of variety. But sometimes, well, you get a curveball. Today, I was searching for "business group black background" and found this gem:

I'm not really sure what to say. When would this ever be useful?? According to iStock, it has been downloaded more than 10 times. Boy, would I love to see how it was used.

Oddly enough though, this is not the strangest thing I've found on iStock. I once accidentally found a collection of dead people. No, not real dead people. Photos of models playing dead. I'm not going to post those here!

Overall though, iStock is a fabulous resource and I'm not going to stop using it :) It just gives me some "What the heck?!" moments...

Tuesday
Jul142009

What do you mean I can't use Papyrus on my website??

I often get a question similar to this when working on a website design, so what a great time to explain!

With the advent of computers, fonts became much easier to create. Thus, today we have millions at our disposal, most of which we can find for free, or they come for free with our computers. You may only use 2 or 3 of them on a regular basis, but many people have a favorite. As a designer, I have over 4,000 on my computer. Do I use them all? No! But I like having options.

Unfortunately, when it comes to web design, there are not a lot of options. We are pretty much limited to 5 fonts for any text:

San Serifs: Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet
Serifs: Times New Roman, Georgia

To make sure we're on the same page, "Serif" fonts have feet, or embellishments on the characters. "San Serif" fonts do not, hence the "Sans".

But yes, we're really limited to just those 5. Let me explain why. We start with 2 major computer types: Mac and PC. Both have a different set of fonts they come with. From there, we have several different web browsers: Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and a few others. Internet Explorer is no longer available on the Mac, and Safari is new to the PC. This is where we start having problems.

Since each browser is created by different companies, and on different platforms, they interpret websites differently. So you might see a website look one way in Internet Explorer on your PC at work, but look completely different in Safari on your Mac at home. Its because of this problem, that these 5 fonts are commonly considered "safe" to reproduce most similarly on all computers and in all browsers.

In reality, there are a few more fonts you can get away with, but I always stick to these 5. Also, there are some methods to getting around this problem, using things like Flash and other fancy methods. But still, not really recommended.

So what do you do? First look at your logo. Does it use a serif or a san serif font? If it uses a serif font, you can use either Times New Roman or Georgia to match as best as possible. Same with Arial, Verdana or Trebuchet for a san serif logo.

Does your logo use both serif and san serif? Then I would suggest using a san serif font (usually Arial) for the site. Does it use a completely different font, or something out of the ordinary? Then you'd probably be OK using any of the 5 options, but again I'd usually lean towards Arial to minimize any clashing.

Another thing to consider, is what feel you want the site to have. I like to use Trebuchet for a more modern look. Georgia for something a either more old-style, or classy. San serif fonts tend to feel a little more casual, while serif fonts feel more professional.

As you can see, the font game is not an easy one. But I hope that this gives you a little more insight as to why we are so limited on websites, and how you can decide what your best option is.

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