This Week in Design: Feb. 28, 2014

This week, it’s all about fun. From lorem ipsum gone wild and appearing in final projects to a crave-worthy laptop bag to tools and tips that make the life of every designer easier, we’ve got you covered.

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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Oops, Lorem Ipsum Gone Crazy

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Rian van der Merwe says he needs to get out more because he collects examples of placeholder text that ends up in a final design. We say keep collecting – and sharing!

This collection of 10 real-life lorem ipsums on the Elezea blog were actually printed, or published appeared in everything from a website error message (insert crappy content here) to a newspaper cutline (Not sure who these two are).

The examples will make you giggle and then question any place you have ever used placeholder text in the design process. A little cheap advice? Don’t use placeholder text that is actually text; you could end up with an embarrassing line that you never want anyone to see.

It also brings up a great point of conversation that van der Merwe mentions briefly and in more detail in another blog post: Content should drive design. With this type of thinking, hopefully you will have a lot of your text before you get too far along and can use those words (and create around them) in the design process.

Nikon to Resolve D600 Camera Body Issues

Chances are you either are or work closely with a photographer. And this week photo junkies got a little good news when Nikon announced that they will cover the cost of repair and shipping for all D600 camera bodies. This includes cameras that are no longer under warranty.

The announcement comes after reports of class action lawsuits against the company for lack of support, according to SLR Lounge. Some of the problems reported with the camera body include dust issues on a sensor that result in the need for repeated cleanings.

If you own one of these cameras, visit a Nikon service center or report issues online to Nikon Support. You will need your camera serial number and can print a prepaid shipping label for service requests.

Cool Computer Gear

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The Aquapac Stormproof Messenger Bag is one of the most durable out there, according to The Gadget Flow. The durable bag is waterproof and perfect for storing a laptop on the go.

“From its polished looks to the ergonomic design, this bag is a perfect shelter for your laptops on those tormenting days of cloudbursts when you wish you hadn’t travelled on a bike. It can carry a 15.6 inch laptop along with your everyday belongings (pens, keys, phone, business cards) and ensures to keep them dry under whatsoever bad weather conditions you may face,” the review states.

This statement alone makes me want one of these bags, which also seem to have a look that is appropriate for men or women. The bag retails for $140 and might make an early addition to my holiday wish list.

A Typeface Created from Punches

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This might be the coolest type thing we have heard of in a while. Ukranian boxer Wladimir Klitschko recently teamed up with Monotype to design a new typeface. All the proceeds from the sale of the font will be used to fight illiteracy.

But that’s not even the best part of the story. He designed the font – all 26 characters — by punching a canvas to create each part of every letterform. His hands were dipped in blue paint for the type experiment and then each canvas was scanned to create the digital typeface.

While you can download and use the typeface – called Klitschko vs. Illiteracy – free, donations are welcome. The actual canvases are being sold on eBay to benefit Klitscho’s charity of choice, “A Heart for Children.”

Ways to Keep Designers Happy

Listen up clients and employers. A recent post on The Wall Street Journal’s The Accelerators blog includes four tips for keeping your designers happy.

The advice column written by Designer Fund co-director Enrique Allen is useful, practical and a great reminder of things that create and cultivate a healthy and happy workplace and workforce. The top advice he features comes from design students.

Check out “How to Keep Your Designers Happy” for the full text and examples. Here are the tips in a nutshell:

  • Start with “why”
  • Cultivate loyalty
  • Champion quality work
  • Promote career development

Visual Search Engine ‘Looks’ at Design Sites

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Niice is the most visual and designer-friendly search tool to pop up in a long time. The search engine, which is supported by email giant MailChimp, works like any similar tools but brings back all images rather than text. And it looks for those images on design-based websites (Behance, Fonts in Use, Typeverything, Dribbble and more) before returning results.

The outcome is a beautiful collection of images. Every search I ran brought back great results. (This is something you can get lost in quickly so be careful.) For even more fun try the “surprise me” button. Click on an image and it takes you right to the source.

While this tool is less about search and more about inspiration, it could really be useful for developing concepts or ideas or just seeing what other designers are thinking when it comes to difficult-to-imagine terms. Up next is a plan for shareable moodboards, another designer-friendly tool. You can request an invite for early access.

Just for Fun

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Even though coding is the backbone to creating a website, it does not have to look bad. It can actually include some great typography of its own.

Paddi MacDonnell recently compiled a great showcase of “hyper legible fonts for programmers” for Webdesigner Depot. The collection is easy on the eyes and works for developers and designers working in the coding environment.

These typefaces work because of their legibility at small sizes, are quickly scannable by the eye and include a full set of mathematical characters. My favorite typeface from the collection is “Pica 10 Pitch.” Take a look at the collection and share your favorites in the comments.