Using Audacity this past week has inspired me to talk about the ugly open source programs floating around. Many great open source programs don’t care about design. Searching about Audacity, many developers defend the look of the program as being usable. Usability doesn’t make something well designed, although that is definitely part of the designers considerations.
Scribus, which I had talked about before, is an open source design tool for designers. But it’s not yet looking too good. The interface isn’t as outdated as Audacity, but still feels like something out of the Windows 95 era. It feels much more complicated and less polished than InDesign. Open Office has the throw back look down to a science. It looks very much like an early version of Office despite having many advanced features. (Microsoft has since made the Ribbon interface part of office making it easier to find underutilized features)
Although I think that too many open source programs have pretty poor UI design (from a mass market perspective), the open media center Elisa has a fairly commercial looking pretty design too. It’s pretty much inspired by Apple, but taken in their own direction.
Design is a huge part of innovation. That seems to be a place where commercial products can beat open source. Despite the criticism, a lot of this is great software in a bad package.
Working in publishing, it feels there are always new terms to learn every day. Here are some terms used for magazines, newspapers, books and other publications with definitions that are a bit more obscure to those outside of the business. There's a few about newspaper sizes which have a large effect on perception by its audiences and each format has unique design challenges. Barn door cover Also known as a split front cover, the barn door cover opens up with two flaps meeting at the center of a magazine cover with advertising on the inside. Bellyband A bellyband is a ... Read more
When starting out in a new career or career path within your field it seems like everyone is looking for someone with years of experience. It's always a big question, how do you get experience? Whether you are a college student who hasn't worked, a print designer moving into their first web experiences or a web designer getting into illustration or book cover design ... this guide aims to help you get the experience you need. For all of you working graphic designers, how did you start out? Share your stories in the comments! Freelancing There is the always option ... Read more
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.