Inside Shutterstock

An interesting article detailing the thinking behind the very successful microstock photography service Shutterstock. Submitting artists find it surprisingly hard to get into, which is great for users (most stock art sites could do with a higher bar to entry). The most successful photographers and artists on Shutterstock reputedly earn six figure incomes, but keeping up with the image search zeitgeist must be a somewhat stressful way to earn a living.

Copyright Free Images Made Simple

This free service allows users to search large public image libraries (such as Flickr, or Wikimedia Commons) for images tagged for commercial use or adaptation. Very clean interface and simple to use. However, as the home page warns "Do not assume that the results displayed in this search portal are under a CC license. You should always verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link."

Microsoft Office for Free

'Free' and 'Microsoft' were once words never uttered in the same sentence. Today, no longer ascendant and under pressure from Google's free browser-based text and spreadsheet editors, Microsoft offers its signature word processing and spreadsheet products in browser form, at a price of $0.00 (for personal use). The browser-based offerings are not as fully featured as the non-free desktop versions, but they are at least as good as Google's alternative. And surprisingly for anyone used to the ugliness of pre-cloud Microsoft interfaces, the portal is very clean, minimal and attractive.

One Time Box

Large file transfer is big business. Anyone who has tried to attach heftier files to an email will soon want a better way. Dropbox is an excellent option, as is wetransfer or hightail. One Time Box represents fresh look a fresh look at the underlying use-case. Just set up a 'box', upload your files into it and email the link to the recipient. No need to part with contact details or anything else. The service is free, with a total file size limit of 1GB, and uploaded files last one week.

Universal Typeface Imminent

The pen manufacturer BIC has constructed a website that invites people to submit samples of their own handwriting. An algorithm adds then adds their sample to a massive collective dataset and identifies the 'average' of all those handwritten marks for each letter of the alphabet. Users of the site can drill down to datasets organised by gender, or country or handedness, or profession. The 'average' typeface, as might be expected, is fairly anodyne. It is a clever marketing exercise, but whether it has anything signicant to say about the way we write around the world is rather less certain. The eventual uber-average typeface will no doubt eventually find its way into designer toolkits.

Project Naptha

This interesting Chrome browser extension attempts to liberate text in images on websites. It can "highlight as well as copy and paste and even edit and translate the text formerly trapped within an image". Modern web designers tend to leave as much text "live" (and therefore available for search indexing) as possible, but in all other cases, Project Naptha might save users from having to retype text. It has robust handwriting recognition and is also good at character recognition against busy backgrounds.


Depicting Hope

Our client's book dealt with her long and ultimately successful struggle with an eating disorder, and she wanted the cover design to reflect a sense of optimism and potential change. We used a contemplative photograph and a fairly quiet type arrangement, with colours pulled from the underlying image.

Global Morning Radio

Somewhere, people are reaching blindly for their alarm clock or phone. Somewhere, people are wishing for another hour's sleep. Somewhere, it is always morning. Global Breakfast Radio allows listeners to experience this eternal morning as dawn sweeps tirelessly across the world. Listen to disc jockeys in Moscow, or London or Rio, on Global Breakfast Radio. A strange, yet compelling offering...

Big Brother-Free Search

If you'd like to search the web without every keystroke being logged, analysed and monetised, try Duck Duck Go, "the search engine that doesn't track you." Of particular interest is escape from the "filter bubble". Many google and Facebook users are unaware that search results are subtly tailored to their user profile and history on that service.  So you may miss out on interesting links because Google automatically demotes them according to your perceived preferences. Insidious and quite disturbing.

Elvis Has Left the Building

The Henry Parkes Centre is located in Parkes, NSW. Chameleon Print Design worked on the exterior and interior signage units -- the emphasis being on colour, boldness and scale. The Centre houses a rather diverse group of exhibits: The King's Castle Elvis Exhibit, Parkes Motor Museum, Parkes Museum and Antique Machinery collection.

Lytro Illum

The Lytro is not like other cameras -- it is able to capture virtually all of the visual data in a given scene, giving a photographer the godlike ability to post-adjust the image. Focus extends from touching the lens to infinity. Digital light field technology is difficult to grasp, but undeniably interesting. Perhaps it could be adapted for cinematic use, with mind altering results...


Free Art for Everyone

Once a bit of a fringe cause, labelling online images for re-use and sharing (see Creative Commons) has gained some high-level impetus in recent years. Major art galleries and museums around the world have been releasing millions of images and encouraging audience engagement. Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum actually encourages users to re-mix and alter their high resolution artworks. Google's "Art Project" aggregates high resolution images of great art from many of the world's leading institutions. The common creative heritage of humanity, made accessible for anyone with an internet connection...