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Smashing Newsletter: Issue #59


This newsletter issue was sent out to 106,577 newsletter subscribers on Tuesday, May 15th 2012. If you are not subscribed yet, feel free to subscribe to our email newsletter1 anytime.


After seven months of production time on our new Smashing Book #32, we’ve finally received our very first copy3. At the same time, thousands of copies were sent out worldwide to the diverse Web design community. Since then, numerous reviews4, tweets5 and photos6 have been submitted by our readers across the world who have already received their brand new Smashing books. The photo below by Olivier Bertil is just one of them.

Smashing Book #3 Photo7

We are very excited and proud of the brand new Smashing Book #3, and we sincerely hope that you’ll find it useful and valuable. Feel free to buy a printed or eBook version8 if you haven’t already. Publish your feedback, reviews and/or photos, and share them with your friends using the hashtag #smbook3 on Twitter. Be honest and be critical—we want to know what you really think!

Yours sincerely,
The Smashing Team

Table of Contents

  1. Art In My Coffee9
  2. Which Type Of Type Do You Like?10
  3. Beer Equals Creativity11
  4. QArt Codes: Putting Pictures In The QR Codes12
  5. Gmail Backup And Restoration At Will13
  6. Decorated Playlists14
  7. Privacy For All Concerned15
  8. Organize Your Dropbox With Filters16
  9. Cube: Fun With 3D Google Maps Maze17

1. Art In My Coffee

Coffee is the world’s most consumed beverage, and we bet this is reality for you, too. Just picture your meetings, breaks, brainstormings, or the long nights working, and you’ll find a cup of coffee in the scenario. Indeed, coffee can be very inspiring—it accelerates the brain activity, can help prevent some diseases, and plays a social role of binging people together.

Art In My Coffee18

Jina Bolton and Megan Fisher saw the artistic side of this beverage and created the Tumblr blog Art In My Coffee19, which gathers photographs from beautifully prepared cups of coffee. You’ll see faces, hearts, teddy bears, flowers and many other decorative foam shapes. It’s amazing to see how people’s creativity can be applied in such a specific area. (tts)

2. Which Type Of Type Do You Like?

You’re looking for a new typeface. Sure, there are plenty to choose from through the various font delivery services like TypeKit or Fontdeck. But which ones to choose? How to combine those typefaces meaningfully? Content is type, and without properly set type, communication can be weak, ineffective and even counter-productive. To get some inspiration for your typography you might want to take a look at some interesting examples and samples from Daniel Eden’s Just My Type20.

Which Type Of Type Do You Like?21

Some of the typeface combinations aren’t necessarily revolutionary, but Eden delivers a nice, visually pleasing collection, nevertheless. And some of the fonts are even free. Whether you’re looking for a new font to please a client, or just to play around with, you won’t waste your time visiting Dan’s website, either way. And if you are looking for a more thorough article on combining type, make sure to check Four Techniques for Combining Typefaces22 as well. (jc)

3. Beer Equals Creativity

Don’t you wish you could be creative every day for a whole year? Finding daily inspiration daily does sound odd, and unlikely, when juggling work, responsibilities, and possibly even a private life. But the German graphic designer Hannes Beer showed us in 2011 with his All Day Every Day Project23 that it can be done.

Beer Equals Creativity24

Whether you’re just looking for your own spark of inspiration or want to see some cool designs, you will be served. Veerle Pieters25 reposted part of the project on her website. A more appropriate forum could not be found, as these respective styles intermesh nicely. You can spend a long time onsite, and come out both amazed, as well as invigorated. (jc)

4. QArt Codes: Putting Pictures In The QR Codes

By now, everyone should know what QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) are. QR Codes are two-dimensional codes which are used for encoding different URLs. For example, if you want to get information about a hairdresser and you see a QR Code on the door of his barbershop, you only need to scan it on your cell phone. The website will be loaded immediately on your phone.

QArt Codes: Putting Pictures In The QR Codes26

But do QR Codes have to look as boring as they usually are? Not really. It is possible to create a QR Code with a picture on it which makes the whole thing more exciting. Russ Cox explains in his post on QArt Codes27 the math behind making such QR Codes—step by step. Russ’s post might be very interesting for you if you want to understand the making of creative QR Codes in detail including the mathematical background. (sw)

5. Gmail Backup And Restoration At Will

Anytime we’re using a cloud-based product, there’s always the risk of something happening that’s beyond our control, causing us to lose our data. And while we like to think that larger, older companies like Google are immune to this, they’re not. That’s why it’s important to have a backup of your data.

Gmail Backup And Restoration At Will28

Gmvault29 lets you create a full backup of your Gmail account that you can restore at will. It lets you backup all of your emails, keep them regularly backed up, and even encrypt those saved emails so you can store them securely in the cloud. It also lets you restore your emails in any Gmail account (a great feature if you need to consolidate two Gmail accounts). It’s highly customizable but easy to use for both tech-savvy and not-so-tech-savvy users. (cc)

6. Decorated Playlists

The idea of creating personalized playlists is not new. Cassette recorders first allowed creating mix tapes, followed by self-burned CDs, but these practices have become obsolete. The growth of online mixes and playlists have allowed the creation of personalized cover designs for those lists.

Decorated Playlists30

The Web Designer and former DJ Simon Foster shows how music and design are closely related through a collection of mixes and covers called Decorated Playlists31. The mixes are classified by the content, and each design is consistent to the theme chosen for the playlist: with “Ca$h is King”, all the songs are related to money. In “Shapes” you’ll hear “Bizarre love triangle”, “Four Corners” and “Square Dance Rap”. (tts)

7. Privacy For All Concerned

As we all realize more and more, privacy is a huge concern in today’s Web usage. You download an app, and right away you’re asked whether you want to receive Push-messages and would you like to turn on the geolocation, so you can be tracked all the time? Obviously we all trust Facebook, Google and Twitter to handle our data, with the utmost delicacy… don’t we? Well, the folks at PrivacyPatterns32 are doing something about it.

Privacy For All Concerned33

Nick Doty, Mohit Gupta and Jeff Zych34 are attempting to translate all the privacy-oriented concerns into a “standard language for privacy-preserving technologies”. By documenting general solutions, they’re hoping to ease the privacy-question for designers and developers. Maybe soon we won’t have to deal with the typical hundreds-of-pages-long privacy contract. (jc)

8. Organize Your Dropbox With Filters

Sortbox35 is a very handy tool to keep your Dropbox organized. The concept behind it is similar to e-mail filtering—you can create filters based on keywords, file extensions, or name patterns. Just drop files into the Sortbox folder of your Dropbox.

Organize Your Dropbox With Filters36

Behind the hood, the contents of your Sortbox folder is checked every 15 minutes. If your rules match with any file Sortbox will automatically allocate those files to their right location. Of course, all file moves are also logged, so you never lose a file. Sortbox is free, open source and BSD licensed. The tool was created by Mustafa, Kanishka and Sid, and it is also hosted on GitHub37. (ml)

9. Cube: Fun With 3D Google Maps Maze

What if you combined the utility of Google Maps with… gaming? Well, it is possible and Cube38 utilizes the power of Google Maps into a game. The challenge is to navigate a ball on a 3D Google maps cube, avoiding 3D buildings, traffic jams or other obstructions. You navigate the ball by rotating the cube, and try to reach the defined destination.

Cube: Fun With 3D Google Maps Maze39

There are eight levels to complete, each set in a different city. The game becomes more interesting as you progress through the levels, and there are some nice features to explore indeed. For example, in London you are able to go underground and use the Metro lines to move closer to your target. In order to play the game40, you need a HTML5-ready browser and a broadband connection. Make sure that you don’t have anything urgent to finish though—the game is addictive. (ml)

The authors in this newsletter are: Talita Telma Stöckle(tts), Jan Constantin (jc), Swetlana Senkevitch (sw), Cameron Chapman (cc), Melanie Lang (ml), Iris Lješnjanin (il), Vitaly Friedman (vf), John von Bergen (proofreading).


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The Smashing Editorial prepares bi-weekly newsletter issues with lots of love and appreciation for the good ol' web with the latest tips and tricks for designers and web developers. Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine's editor-in-chief, started this project back in early 2010. Today, we can't imagine a better way of informing and communicating with our fans and readers!

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    Maria Fernanda Pacheco Telma

    May 15, 2012 6:14 pm

    I’m already addicted to coffee, but with this look, I want to take even more!


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