News & Updates
May 31, 2017
Black & White Photography: Exploring Huacachina Lines
Black and White Photography always have been a hard photography style to accomplish for me, I am a great fan! Eventually I’ll get around to it, for now let’s just look at this beautiful series by Guilherme Afonso who shared his perspective of Huacachina. To be honest, I had to looked it up where it was and according to Wikipedia. It’s a desert oasis and tiny village just west of the city of Ica in southwestern Peru, pretty stunning lines indeed!
- Follow Guilherme Afonso on: Behance
May 31, 2017
Source: Abduzeedo Photography
May 31, 2017
Fantastic Doodles by Visothkakvei
An unaware bystander might read the title an ask what’s the big deal of doodles. Well, when the artist behind a doodle is a very talented person, then you take doodling to a new level. It becomes doodle art, and this is amazing.
I’m amazed by the level of precision @Visothkakvei has… you may visit his Instagram to see some of the videos he publishes, and I tell you, this guy draws as if he was a printer, most time without even a sketch underneath. Talk about confidence when drawing. I hope you enjoy these! Cheers. 😉
May 31, 2017
Source: Abduzeedo Illustration
May 31, 2017
Specs for the new Canon C200 are out, and they’re impressive!
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed
May 31, 2017
In order to funnel $60 billion in additional spending on defense in the United States and funding the border wall and school choice programs, Donald Trump proposed some pretty extreme budget cuts from a large number of national agencies and programs, including the Education Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If his budget proposal gets pushed through, it would be the most startling financial reallocation since the early 1980s during Reagan’s era. The Washington Post takes a deeper look into what Trump’s budget plan would actually do.
During Reagan’s time in office, the departments that control a majority of the nation’s infrastructure saw significant cutbacks, particularly HUD. Although it was Reagan’s promise to downsize the government that led to a reduction in federal housing financing, a bulk of the budget variations have been due to political and financial strife. The Energy Department’s budget jumped in the 1970s as a result of the surge in oil production during the energy crisis and in the 1980s, during the “farm crisis,” the Agriculture Department saw a similar budget hike.
In more recent years, the 2008 financial crisis led to a great deal of the departments to receive increased finances. But with Trump’s 2018 proposition, all of these departments will have their budgets slashed between 12 and 21 percent, with a majority of the money appropriated coming from research and climate-change-related programs.
In the mid-1970s, the Treasury Department lent out over $1.3 billion (valued at roughly $6 billion today) to New York City because the city government was on the verge of bankruptcy. The jump in the Treasury’s spending in response to New York’s predicament is similar to how other financial departments respond to national financial crises as well. The 2008 housing crisis led to an increase in funding for the Commerce Department and the FDIC saw a rise in spending simultaneously.
Trump’s 2018 plan would result in a 4 percent cut for the Treasury, mainly IRS funding, while Commerce would receive a 16 percent decrease in programs that aid communities impacted by climate change or manufacturing automation.
After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security was established. All of the independent agencies that existed prior to 2011, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, were then consolidated into the DHS. Between 2001 and 2002, the budget for defense programs—mainly counter-terrorism and immigration—practically doubled. A minor increase in funding also resulted in response to Hurricane Katrina.
The budget changes Trump has proposed would cause an increase in funding by about 7 percent for the DHS, with a majority of the funds going towards building the border wall and increasing the number of ICE agents. The State Department would see a 29 percent drop in funding for programs such as foreign military and humanitarian aid as well as a slash in funding to the United Nations and various international organizations. The Justice Department would see smaller cuts, about 4 percent, and a transfer in money from prison construction to counter terrorism and removal of undocumented immigrants from the U.S.
Similar to other categories of the financial plan, funding for these departments tend to change according to the state of the economy. From 2008 to 2009, after the 2008 financial crisis, the Labor Department saw an increase in funds by roughly 50 percent to finance job training programs as part of the stimulus plan. The HHS’s budget also increased during this time by half in order to fund programs such as Head Start and medical technologies.
Trump’s budget plans for these departments seems to bounce a bit all over the place. The VA is looking at a 6 percent increase which would help alleviate some of the veteran’s health-care system backlog, while the Education Department, although it would see a 14 percent decrease overall, there would be an increase in financing school choice programs. Meanwhile, the Labor Department and HHS budget would drop by 21 and 18 percent, respectively.
The General Services Administration, an organization that helps other agencies operate, had a budget increase of nearly twentyfold from 2008 to 2009, a part of which went to finance the construction and repair of government buildings nationwide. The EPA’s budget also virtually doubled during this time and the cumulative agencies within this category went up by roughly a third.
Since then, a majority of the budget increases have been revoked and many of these agencies are looking at further budget cuts. The EPA would lose 31 percent of its 2017 budget along with a fifth of its personnel. A majority of the cutbacks are targeted at research programs dealing with climate change and environmental cleanup. At the same time, Agencies like the Small Business Administration and NASA would see 5 and 1 percent budget cuts, respectively.
The Reagan administration’s response to the Cold war led to increased spending on defense by almost two-thirds. The defense budget saw another extreme hike during the Bush administration in order to finance military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Under Trump’s proposed budget plan, defense spending would increase by 9 percent, roughly $52 billion. Even though that’s more than Obama projected for 2018 and less than what congressional defense militarists want, Todd Harrison, direct of the Defense Budget Analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said, “It’s in line with what you’re expecting to see.”
[Via: The Washington Post]
Source: Visual News
May 30, 2017
This article originally appeared on Column Five.
- New product releases and updates
- Company news
- Current events
They stick to their calendar and publish regularly. Yet their content fails.
It’s not surprising. When you’re too focused on filling the content pipeline, becoming a slave to your editorial calendar, it’s easy to lose sight of what you should be creating.
WHAT IS GOOD CONTENT?
Good, effective content connects. It speaks directly to your audience and provides something that they want or need. Yet so much content meets readers at a superficial level; most of it lacks heart and emotional connection. It’s the equivalent of talking about the weather.
If you want to form relationships with your audience and convince them to invest in your brand, which you do, you need to connect through truly meaningful content that tells a worthwhile story.
How do you know what’s worthwhile? The strongest stories include two key traits:
1) They’re interesting: Most industries are becoming commoditized and more competitive, which makes it harder for brands to stand out. To break through, you need a strong, distinct voice. Telling unusual, unique, or intriguing stories helps you do this. That means diving past the surface, identifying interesting topics, teasing out unique angles, and turning them into compelling stories to capture your audience’s attention.
2) They’re useful: The quickest way to make your audience fall in love with your brand is to provide content that applies to their lives. (This type of content is also innately interesting to them.) To do this, you can focus on content that helps them solve a problem, learn something new, or do something better. Think education (blog posts, webinars, ebooks, etc.) or inspiration (customer or employee stories, etc.).
So you know what makes a compelling story, but where do you find those stories in your own operation? This is where things can get murky for marketers, but don’t get overwhelmed. You have the single greatest source of inspiration right in front of you, all around you, even in your instant messages.
It’s your company culture.
WHY CULTURE MAKES FOR GOOD CONTENT
Content marketing is a long-term process to turn strangers into supporters of your brand. The first step of this process is introducing yourself: showing your audience who you are, how you see the world, and why anyone should care about any of this. Conveniently, these are the very same elements that comprise your company culture.
When you approach content from this angle, your stories inherently capture your unique and authentic perspective. This hits both marks for generating great stories:
- They’re interesting because they’re unique. No other company has your mission, vision, values, people, origin story, failures, and successes.
- They’re useful because they stem from your personal experiences. If you’ve experienced something or solved a problem firsthand, your audience is more likely to trust your advice.
When you peel back the curtain, you’re more vulnerable—and that’s the key to developing a deep, emotional connection with your audience.
But what does that look like in action? Here are 5 ways to turn your culture into incredible content.
1) SHARE YOUR VISION, MISSION, AND VALUES
If you don’t have these principles articulated for your company, you absolutely should. Sharing your company’s purpose through your vision, mission, and values helps your internal team understand why they’re working, what they’re doing, and how they’re supposed to be doing it. (This also helps create a cohesive culture.)
Additionally, showcasing your principles externally shows your audience who you are and what you stand for. Audiences crave connections with brands that share their same values. For some prospects, your principles could be the key factor in their decision-making.
Creating content around your principles doesn’t mean you publish your mission statement. It means you mine those values for inspiration. What do you care about? What inspires you? What’s been on your mind? How might you create content to move the needle on those issues?
This type of thinking has helped us come up with many content ideas. For example, one of our values is “be good to each other.” This value inspired us to create our People for Periods project, an interactive microsite to educate and help destigmatize menstruation in honor of Women’s Health Week.
On another occasion, after we read the story of how Ben Franklin once refused a loan repayment and directed the debtor to “pay it forward,” we became so inspired by the “pay it forward” philosophy that we turned the entire tale into a high-quality print, which ultimately became our holiday gift to our partners. (It was a much more meaningful gift than a branded coffee mug.)
This type of content is a simple way to put your beliefs out into the world and into your audience’s hands.
2) HIGHLIGHT YOUR PEOPLE
Your company is (or should be) full of great people. Celebrate them—and give them a platform. Your audience wants to put a face to your brand, and this is a great way to do it.
This can be as easy as showcasing their work or creating a page to spotlight employees. It can be more involved, too. You might encourage your employees to write blog posts (even if they aren’t on the content team) about their experience, or create content around a volunteer event that your company sponsors.
For example, our Director of Strategy Asher Rumack recently wrote a well-received article about battling—and beating—his creative struggles. When Designer Jenny Famularcano began to take calligraphy classes after work, we tapped her to hand-letter inspirational quotes for our Instagram account. And when our New York team helped YMCA kids create a chalk mural, we created a video recap.
If employees aren’t comfortable writing or producing content themselves, they can still brainstorm ideas, offer their perspectives, and help you identify angles your audience would find valuable.
A few other ways to highlight your employees:
- Showcase their innovations, awards, etc.
- Interview them (perhaps film them in their work environment)
- Give them shout-outs on social media
3) TELL YOUR ORIGIN STORY
Find creative ways to showcase how your company started and how it’s evolved over time.
I find myself telling Column Five’s origin story most frequently during sales meetings, and I’m still pleasantly surprised by how interested people are in knowing this stuff. Why do people care? Because this is the stuff that is specific to each company, and stories of humble beginnings are always interesting, inspiring, and endearing.
Recently, my team has even started to help our partners tell their stories, too. We publish interviews with clients about how they built their companies, what they learned, and what advice they’d give to those facing similar issues.
Any time you share your experience—including your struggles, failures, and growth—you cultivate stronger relationships.
4) PUBLISH YOUR FAILURES
Everyone fumbles and fails their way through at least the early days of launching a brand. Even if you’re a 10-year business veteran, you will face challenges.
Sharing stories about how you’ve failed and what you learned humanizes your brand, makes you more relatable, and demonstrates that you are invested in learning and trying to improve—for yourself and your customers.
Most importantly, it provides your readers with something of value—the opportunity to learn from your mistakes.
We’ve written about the toughest lessons I’ve learned about building a content strategy, and we had our entire team share the best content marketing lessons they’ve learned.
You may feel shy or strange talking about how you’ve absolutely botched something, but as long as you frame it in terms of what you’ve learned, you have nothing to lose.
5) PUBLISH YOUR SUCCESSES
Hopefully, you don’t just have failures in your brand’s story. Just as you share your losses, you should share your wins—not in an arrogant way but with humble confidence. (Your audience appreciates your advice from failures, but they definitely want to know how to win.)
To ensure you stay humble, when you share your wins, think of ways to frame it in terms of why you won or succeeded. Doing so enables people to “stand on your shoulders.”
For example, when our agency created a viral video for Microsoft, we let our audience know about the success. But we presented it as a behind-the-scenes blog where we shared the strategic thinking that went into the project, how we vetted the idea, and why we think it worked.
If you help others around you succeed, you succeed.
REMEMBER: GO DEEPER
When you use your content as a conduit to express your culture, you can market your company as a unique entity versus a transactional, lowest-cost provider, which is the best advantage available. This alone should inspire you to grab your team and a pizza to start hashing out your ideas.
Using this tactic doesn’t mean you have to abandon your entire content strategy. You can build your editorial mix around high-value, high-interest ideas first, then plug in company news, new product updates and releases, etc. to maintain your publishing schedule.
But no matter what you create, always focus on leading with value for your audience first.
Are you already incorporating culture into your content marketing strategy? I’d love to hear about its impact in the comments below. Want more content marketing tips?
- Learn about the strategy we used to increase our leads 78% in 6 months.
- Find out how to get the bullshit out of your content marketing.
- Check out our 7 tips to create content that provides true value to your audience.
Source: Visual News
May 29, 2017
Thoughts on: What should be my design title?
What should be my design title? This is a different approach from our usual inspirational features, hope you will follow along. This question was brought up by a good buddy of mine on what should be his design title? It wasn’t a question of “Fake it till you make it” but mostly what are the industry standards nowadays in terms of what is my title and what are my roles? For this article, let’s go deeper for the case of what are the differences between a UI/UX Designer, an Interaction Designer, and a Product Designer. Shall we?
I took this comparison’s case because it has been brought up many times during the course of my career and the last few years with the popularity rising of the UX. Whatever if you are a beginner, professional and even if you’re a freelancer. Let’s be honestly, most of us who comes from a background of graphic design and we aren’t being called graphic designers anymore. I know some people who still hasn’t done this switch in their careers and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. As long as you love what you do, nothing else matters.
One thing to remember though is there is no ultimate goal in our field, everything depends on what do you wanna do with your career.
What is UI and UX?
Here we go! In the simplest explanation, UI is about what you see and UX is all about what you feel as a user and user experience. This role means that you’re juggling between both what’s visual and the overall experience. It’s one big giant role to be in and some companies do in fact mixed it all up (between UI and UX) which is not always right. From creating your visual path for each screen, page or elements and by the same time following what has been done on the UX side of things. On top of that, you’ll be working at creating style guides and ensuring a design language across the board.
What is an interaction?
In my opinion, during the course of a project; this is usually worked near the end from the design process. It’s basically animating all the static design into a fluid transition across the product. Sometimes it can be done for a certain element in particular but overall it’s always been figured it out as we go along. For example, what happens the interface does after a user clicks on this button. How the content appears? What transition effects to use? Motion becomes the main part of the interface by providing visual guesses as to how to use the product.
We often say that UI/UX designers do become Product Designers and why is that? In my opinion, it’s an all-inclusive term of being a designer who is involved in every step of the process including what you see and feels but also conducting user research, design UI interfaces and create UI assets. Their understanding of the user and the product itself goes beyond since they have the capabilities to select the problem and address it with either prototyping and even front-end coding. Their role involves also testing in generating solutions to problems. This is the role that we keep hearing about since companies tend to hire designers that understand the user experience, research and visual elements.
Voilà! This is what these roles meant to our industry, hope these were helpful during the course of your research or growth perspective. One thing to remember though is there is no ultimate goal in our field, everything depends on what do you wanna do with your career. If your goal is to be that catch-all designer, then you have to step it out so you can understand every single compartment of a product or keep crafting your skills in your desired role. We are lucky to be in our growing community that is not shy to share knowledge or even skills. Hope you have enjoyed this read.
May 29, 2017
Source: Abduzeedo UI/UX
May 29, 2017
This article originally appeared on Priceonomics.
It’s difficult to miss the degree of variety beer lovers can enjoy at this moment in the US. This is due to the explosion of small breweries coming on to the scene, which emphasize experimenting with flavors and styles
Over the past 40 years (thanks to deregulation in the beer industry) the number of breweries in America expanded from a post-prohibition low of under 100, to over 5,000 in 2016. The bulk of this growth comes from small breweries, the most familiar to consumers being the microbrewery.
According to the Brewers Association, a trade group for American craft brewers, a microbrewery is any local and independent brewer that sells fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer per year and sells at least 75% through other bars, restaurants, and liquor stores.
Unfortunately, it’s not the case that you can walk to your local liquor store and choose from 5,000 different breweries to bring home tonight. The reach of small breweries are confined to particular markets as most microbreweries have limited and local distribution. The variety from these small craft breweries is typically limited to the state or metro area the brewery where the brewery is located. The fact is, some areas of the country are just better for beer aficionados who want lots of options.
So where do you have the best chance to sample the greatest variety of beer possible? Which states and cities have the most breweries overall?
We analyzed business listing data from Priceonomics customer Datafiniti to offer some perspective into that. This data set included the listings of craft breweries along with their locations. We combined this with supplementary information from the Brewers Association catalog of breweries, to offer more specific details. From our analysis, we are able to find out in what parts of America breweries reign supreme.
We found that cities in the Pacific Northwest and Colorado are your best bet for finding the most breweries in one place. Cities along the coasts and in the Midwest are also solid destinations. There are also some exciting small cities outside of this trend that should not be overlooked (like Asheville, NC). Vermont is the state with the most craft breweries per capita, while Boulder, Colorado is the city with the highest density of craft breweries.
To begin our investigation, the natural starting point is to look at the state level. So, which state has the most breweries?
Number one is California by a serious margin, with over 600 breweries. Colorado and Washington are the next closest with about 350 each. With 15 or fewer breweries, Hawaii, Mississippi, Washington D.C. and North Dakota are at the bottom of our list. Overall we see a greater number of breweries in coastal states, as well as the Great Lakes region.
Colorado is an outlier in this overall trend, but that’s because it independently developed one of the most distinct state beer cultures. It is both the home of a brewing giant, Coors, and a major player in the craft beer revolution. Really driving home the importance of brewing in the state is the fact that the current governor was a cofounder of one of Denver’s first microbreweries.
Looking at the information in absolute terms skews our list towards the larger states with greater population. It’s intuitive that states with more people (and therefore more beer drinkers) would be able to support more breweries. Understanding the number of breweries per capita will tell us where breweries are most plentiful relative to population.
The title of most breweries per capita goes to Vermont. Even though they only have about 50 in total, since the state is so small, that equates to 8 breweries per person. Montana, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon all have about 6 breweries per person. Overall we see a strong presence of breweries in the Pacific Northwest, New England, and the Midwest.
Vermont has a strong craft brewing tradition. After changes in state law in the late 80’s allowed more small breweries, there was a dramatic increase in brewpubs (brewery-restaurant hybrids that brew the beer they serve on site) and later microbreweries. Another interesting inclusion is Montana. Its craft brewing sector has grown over the past several years, with industry production increasing by 50% between 2010 and 2013. Maine is also experiencing a recent boom with an increase from 34 breweries in 2011 to 59 in 2015.
Breweries have always been tightly connected with cities. In the wave of immigration from Europe, immigrants came into cities and brought their beer making traditions. In fact, before prohibition there were just as many breweries in America as there are now (each much smaller in size and production, of course).
From Brewerytown in Philadelphia, a neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places, characterized by the remains of the ten breweries that once stood there, to New York City’s host of former breweries, run mostly by German immigrants – our early cities loved beer. Cities were important because of their access to clean water, available labor, and ease of distribution. Prohibition destroyed the industry and the remains of this era are gone, but the importance of cities is still apparent today for many of the same reasons.
For this analysis, we looked at Metropolitan Statistical Areas, geographic areas with high population density which are interconnected economically and socially. This is because, for the purposes of what beers are available in which markets, city boundaries are not the best markers. For example, San Francisco is highly interconnected with other cities in the Bay Area such as Oakland (both are part of the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA). A beer brewed in one city is likely available in the other.
So, which MSA has the most breweries? Where is our the US brewing capital?
Seattle-Tacoma wins that title with 174 breweries. Other top MSAs include Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, and Portland, OR.
Similar to the case with the state analysis, it is important that we not only consider absolute number, but also breweries per capita.
Boulder, CO is our top MSA with 13 breweries per 100,000 persons. Boulder is a key contributor to the rich brewing tradition of Colorado (mentioned previously) and had a strong homebrewing culture in the late 80’s. In fact, Colorado has the most metropolitan areas on our list, with Fort Collins, Denver (host of the Great American Beer Festival) and Colorado Springs in addition to Boulder.
A few other metropolitan areas are worth noting because they are different than what most people would expect. Asheville, NC is the only city in the South on our list. Craft brewing grew here in late 90’s and it has since been named the best beer city in America by several publications. Also the city of Portland is an interesting case, but not the one you’re thinking of. It may be surprising, but Portland, Maine is actually ranked higher than Portland, Oregon.
You are now equipped with a comprehensive and exhaustive survey of American breweries. By digging into the number we can see that if you want a variety of breweries to choose from, your best options are cities on the West Coast or Colorado, but you really can’t go wrong in most big cities.
Source: Visual News
May 29, 2017
Gradient Exploration with Radial Series
Let’s kickstart this week with a series of gradient exploration by Yuliya Shumilina, a Miami-based designer. I love these! If you remove the factor of the colour palette, I just liked how each pieces create an atmosphere with the shapes, shadows and lighting. Especially the lighting, it’s just gradients but it does have a sense of depth across. This can definitely go into abstract art, what do you guys think?
Behind this series, we have the work from Yuliya Shumilina who is visual designer based in Miami, FL, USA. He focus his work into web design, brand identity and illustration, you should give him a follow on Behance.
May 29, 2017
Source: Abduzeedo Illustration
May 28, 2017
‘Logan Lucky’ First Trailer: Steven Soderbergh Races Back to the Big Screen After A Four-Year Hiatus
Forget the blockbusters and the high profile indie releases like “The Beguiled” and “It Comes At Night.” For many cinephiles, the biggest event of the summer movie season is the long-awaited return of Steven Soderbergh to the big screen, and today we finally have our first look at footage form his upcoming race car capper “Logan Lucky.”
Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Riley Keough play down-on-their-luck siblings who attempt to reverse a family curse by carrying out an extensive robbery during the Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Think of it like a much less glamorous version of Soderbergh’s hit “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise. The star-studded cast also includes Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank, Katharine Waterston and Katie Holmes.
The main of attraction is Soderbergh, however, who hasn’t had a theatrical release in four years. “Side Effects” was released in 2013, and since then he’s only had two other projects, the award-winning HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra” and the Cinemax drama “The Knick,” both of which were for television. While he teased retirement from feature filmmaking, it’s clear Soderbergh has an itch for the big screen.
The anti-“Ocean’s Eleven” comparison is apt, as that’s how Soderbergh teased the project earlier this year to Entertainment Weekly. “Nobody dresses nice. Nobody has nice stuff. They have no money. They have no technology,” he said. “It’s all rubber band technology, and that’s what I thought was fun about it….This is a version of an ‘Ocean’s’ movie that’s up on cement blocks in your front yard.”
Bleecker Street will release “Logan Lucky” in theaters August 18. Watch the first trailer below.
Source: IndieWire film
May 28, 2017
Profile in Courage: A Guy Bought a Ticket to Alamo Drafthouse’s All-Female Screening of ‘Wonder Woman’
The Alamo Drafthouse recently set up women-only screenings of “Wonder Woman,” and you can probably guess what happened next: Dudes were unhappy. Among them is one Stephen Miller, who decided to protest this great injustice by purchasing a ticket to said screening and letting Twitter know about it. Not all heroes wear capes, friends.
“Apologies, gentlemen,” reads the Drafthouse’s initial announcement, “but we’re embracing our girl power and saying ‘No Guys Allowed’ for several special shows at the Alamo Downtown Brooklyn. And when we say ‘Women (and People Who Identify as Women) Only,’ we mean it.”
Miller took swift action on Twitter. “I have some personal news I’d like to share,” he tweeted along with an image of his receipt for said screening. A back-and-forth quickly followed in his mentions; this being Twitter, it was a highly productive conversation.
These all-female screenings have inspired much debate throughout the week, and this latest development suggests it isn’t going away just yet. “Wonder Woman” opens this Friday, June 2.
Source: IndieWire film