This Week in Design: Dec. 19, 2014

Are you in the holiday spirit yet? This week in design we are. From creative thinking during the holiday season to tools for a great photo book and even tips for hiring a designer, this week the theme is looking forward during this busy time. We’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate our Design Shack readers. (And if there are things you’d like to see more of in the upcoming year, let us know.) Happy holidays.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

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Get Creative This Holiday Season

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While the holidays may have you feeling a number of things – from overwhelmed to jolly to planning for the new year – it can be a good time to get your creative juices flowing. There are lots of bits of creative thinking in all the things that you are rushing around to do in this busy season that you can take back to your work.

Cision’s “Use the Holidays to Build Creative Muscles” is a guide with roots in public relations but has 10 great little pieces of advice for designers this season as well.

  1. Walk away from the routine
  2. Give yourself permission to have fun
  3. Explore new places of holiday customs
  4. Express your inner artist through decoration
  5. Give back
  6. Soak up holiday music and pageantry
  7. Connect or reconnect with family and friends
  8. Indulge in festive food and drink
  9. Write notes of appreciate to people who matter
  10. Laugh

Creative Commons Sale Ends

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Who owns images posted in Creative Commons galleries? That is a question at the root of a controversy between Flickr, which is part of Yahoo, and designers and photographers who posted images to the social sharing site.

The company began offering a service that allows users to buy “wall art” of any photo that fell under Creative Commons licensing for commercial use. But none of the proceeds were going back to the original creators of the work. While some people had no issue with the service or concept, others pulled images from the site and complained arguing that Creative Commons should only extend to online use.

In a statement Flickr responded: “Some expressed their excitement about the new photography marketplace and the value it would bring, many felt that including Creative Commons-licensed work in this service wasn’t within the spirit of the Commons and our sharing community.”

While this service has been disabled for now, users can still purchase copies of photos from their own galleries or licensed photographers.

It’s a gray area for sure. How do you feel about the sale or marketing of Creative Commons images? Would you buy or want images sold in this way? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Talking Sketchnote with Mike Rohde

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Sketchnoting is something designers likely find themselves doing quite often. The practice of drawing objects and notes has even become part of design culture and visual presentation.

And Mike Rohde is one of the masters. The Creative Market blog recently posted a great interview with the Sketchnote Army creator and shared a collection of sketches that you’ll definitely want to peruse.

Rohde explains how he came up with a typeface system for his book, what advice he lives by and some of his favorite sketches. He also shares some advice for sketchers and shares sketch art from some of his favorite designers.

It’s a fun piece and inspired me to grab a pen and paper (or tablet and stylus). Enjoy!

Thoughts on Hiring a Designer

”A designer will absolutely change what your company produces, and they’ll also affect how your company operates.”

So what do you do when it’s time to bring on a new designer? Whether you are hiring someone to do design work on a freelance, contract or full-time basis, understanding the needs of this person is vitally important.

And it is something Mike Monteiro, author of “You’re My Favorite Client,” knows a lot about. He recently shared an excerpt from his latest book and some tips with UX Booth.

Here are five takeaways that I really connected with. Make sure to read the full post for more or buy the book from A Book Apart.

  • ”A designer will absolutely change what your company produces, and they’ll also affect how your company operates. You’ll need to adjust your workflows for this new person, as well as being open to having them adjust your workflow once they arrive.”
  • You must understand and communicate what designers are responsible for.
  • ”Trust your designers. Give them the authority to make decisions they’re singularly qualified to make.”
  • Determine and understand how you and your designer will measure success.
  • Write a job description and make it specific.

Just for Fun

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If you are anything like me, your phone is practically exploding with photos. And with the holiday season in full effect, that collection is only going to grow.

So what do you do with all those images? Webdesigner Depot put together a great collection of resources and ideas in “16 Places to Get Your Photo Books This Holiday Season.” The 16 choices cover a variety of price ranges with plenty of options for all your photos.

From predesigned options – not sure what designer really wants that – to do-it-yourself photo books, this list covers pretty much every service out there. Now you just have to find time to upload your images, design your pages and enjoy!