art daily365 life randomness

Design Something Every Day (#daily365)– Jan 25

Another day where, no matter how much I racked my brain, nothing wanted to crystallize itself. Sure, I could have lied about it and used one of the random pieces I have done that are floating in my HD and be done with it. But, in the end I’d be cheating myself of the long-term benefits of the challenge.

So, when I resolved not to warm up and serve leftovers and instead cook something every night, even if it was bologna on hand*, this came together.

©2010 rafael armstrong

I think it sums up where my mind is at the moment…

*For the record, “bologna on hand” was an expression I heard Scott Ian (from Anthrax) use to describe how broke the band members were when they started out. The visual has stuck with me for years.

art daily365 design randomness

Design Something Every Day (#daily365)– Jan 21

Had a really tough go at today’s #daily365. This is about as good as it’s going to get. Tomorrow’s another day (& another challenge)…

©2010 rafael armstrong
art daily365 life randomness

Design Something Every Day (#daily365)– Jan 20

Today’s #daily365: The backstory

I had high hopes for dinner tonight. I was cooking tuff that I’ve made countless times: pork chops, rice & beans (I’m Puerto Rican.  Rice & beans– or arroz con habichuelas— are a must from time to time). The beans came out fine (we’re off to a good start!). Then, as I was checking a text message, the chops got slightly over-charred on one side (no major worries). And the rice, which I (thought) had added more than enough water, ended up dry and salty (greeeeaat).

Today’s DSED is a visual representation of how I felt with dinner tonight.

undewhelmed-- ©2010 rafael armstrong

A burger and a shake later on isn’t something that’s entirely out of the picture.

As always, your feedback is much appreciated.

art daily365 randomness

Design Something Every Day (#daily365)– Jan 17

Okay, so technically I’m posting this #daily365 very early on the 18th. But, since I haven’t gone to bed yet, I’m counting it toward the 17th.

Truth be told, I’m tired and still have a couple of things that I need to do (but they can wait a few hours). In short, ideas weren’t really flowing today (guess that’s to be expected from time to time). So, for today, I decided to take a piece I had noodled with a while back and use it as a starting point.

wallpaper/desktop background-- ©2010 rafael armstrong
daily365 randomness

Design Something Every Day– Jan 11

So, with today’s date– 011110– being a palindrome (and one in binary, to boot), it’s strangely fitting that my #daily365 for today is also a palindrome. With all the talk these days of replacing “generic”, ISP-provided, 404 page designs with more custom work, I decided to take a crack at it. Mind you, this is still an early pass (and, considering I’ve started work on cleaning the code and tweaking content layout, it may very well never go past this concept point), although I tried to make it as polished as I could under the Challenge’s  time constraints and parameters

With all that being said, I present today’s DSED entry.

design randomness

If Bruce Lee was a designer, what would he think of CSS?

Bruce Lee

Where I’m coming from

Let me get this out of the way. I’m not a huge sports fan, nor have I ever really been very athletically inclined (despite being almost 6’4″ and having heard “don’t you play basketball?” more times than I care to remember). But for some reason I love watching fights. It started with boxing, with me sitting with my grandmother to watch the big fights on cable. It always amused me to see this tiny (under 5 foot) woman, who was usually a hard-core pacifist nerd (the woman taught HS science and had a Master’s in Biochem), get all worked up watching two guys beating the snot out of each other. Recently though, mixed martial arts (MMA) fights have taken the place of boxing. If I had to put my finger on it, I guess it’s because I’m attracted to the combo of Eastern and Western arts, since most mma fighters DON’T focus on one single discipline, and instead work on being proficient in a few areas– boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, muay thai. In a roundabout way made this whole thing made me think of our roles as members of the design community.

Finding inspiration in the unlikeliest of places

Last week, while I was in the shower (seems like a lot of my good ideas start there), the image of a boxer came to mind. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the recent Cotto-Pacquiao fight, which coincided with a UFC card that same weekend. It got me thinking that we might be seeing a paradigm shift in the fight world. For the longest time, a guy would become a boxer, and that’s all he would do. He wouldn’t necessarily go into wrestling, or any other area, for that matter. The same went for Greco-Roman wrestlers and martial artists. To see a Greco guy boxing or a karateka in a judo match was unheard of.

Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.
— Arthur Schopenhauer

Muay Thai fighters
But in the last few years, that perception’s started to shift. With the advent and increase in popularity of mixed martial arts, it’s become pretty common to see boxers that have worked on their wrestling. Wrestlers who’ve taken up jiu-jitsu. Even judokas are taking up boxing. The audience looking just for boxing has seen a drop-off. The numbers for mma have (arguably) gone up some. The lines between these disciplines have been blurred, and in some cases erased.

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
— Pablo Picasso

The times, they are a-changin’

The same thing, I think, is happening in the design world. It used to be that you could do print design and leave it at that. If you were a web programmer, you never got involved in logo development. If you were into digital animation, that’s all you did. But, in recent years, it’s become commonplace– and in some cases expected– to see print guys (myself included) getting into web design. We’re seeing web designers incorporating coding and programming into their bag of tricks. The lines between these disciplines have been blurred as well.

Now, I don’t pretend to have an answer as to why. Maybe the Web making it easier to connect with the rest of the world is at fault. Maybe the economy and a crappy job market precipitated this. Maybe the democratization of software is to blame. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that, as professionals involved in graphic design (in whatever capacity) we’re going to have to adapt to this new paradigm, if we haven’t already. It’s become a requirement, and not an option, that we at least have a passing familiarity– if not an outright working knowledge— with a variety of skills. We have to adapt to this ever-changing landscape. We can no longer be like boxers, and focus on one thing. We have to, as designers, act like an mma fighter, and use every martial art and technique at our disposal, not just to get the win, but to become better fighters in the process.

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.
— General Eric Shinseki

life randomness

Happy freelancer, cheesy young’un

I just finished reading today’s post on Freelance Review titled “How happy freelancers beat the home office blues” (a link to the post is here), and it reminded me of something I jotted down a long while back. Here it is, in all its unabashed cheesery.

BTW– Bear in mind that it was written back in Sept of ’96 (when I was just 22 years old), so please, be gentle.

Ten Different Ways to Spruce Up Your Day!

  1. Say hello (or extend a smile) to a complete stranger.
  2. Pet a dog or a cat.
  3. Whistle.
  4. Smile. They cost nothing, but boy, are they worth a lot. (see #1)
  5. Stop for a minute and look at the sky. Pick out shapes and characters in the clouds.
  6. Buy something nice for yourself– even if it’s just buying a piece of gum.
  7. Remind yourself that there are people in the world worse off than you.
  8. Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes.
  9. Nap.
  10. Remember: If everything seems to be going wrong, things can only get better.
design randomness

Site’s been upgraded!

After months of working late at night, occasionally banging my head against the keyboard, and poking and prodding at images and code, I have finally completed and uploaded a brand new look for my portfolio site– check it out here— complete with email contact form and a little jQuery slideshow. It’s the first time I’ve coded a site from the ground up– no Photoshop plugins, no Fireworks. Just html and CSS, with a little online help for the jQuery and email form, so I’m sure there are things that could be more efficient, code that could probably be leaner. Regardless, I’m proud of the hard work and happy with the results so far.
Please do check it out and tell me what you think..