Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 Phenomenal Wonders of the Natural World

The classical natural wonders are huge and hard to miss - vast canyons, giant mountains and the like. Many of the most fantastic natural phenomena, however, are also least easy to spot. Some are incredibly rare while others are located in hard-to-reach parts of the planet. From moving rocks to mammatus clouds and red tides to fire rainbows, here are seven of the most spectacular phenomenal wonders of the natural world.
1) Sailing Stones

The mysterious moving stones of the packed-mud desert of Death Valley have been a center of scientific controversy for decades. Rocks weighing up to hundreds of pounds have been known to move up to hundreds of yards at a time. Some scientists have proposed that a combination of strong winds and surface ice account for these movements. However, this theory does not explain evidence of different rocks starting side by side and moving at different rates and in disparate directions. Moreover, the physics calculations do not fully support this theory as wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour would be needed to move some of the stones.
2) Columnar Basalt

When a thick lava flow cools it contracts vertically but cracks perpendicular to its directional flow with remarkable geometric regularity - in most cases forming a regular grid of remarkable hexagonal extrusions that almost appear to be made by man. One of the most famous such examples is the Giant’s Causeway on the coast of Ireland (shown above) though the largest and most widely recognized would be Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Basalt also forms different but equally fascinating ways when eruptions are exposed to air or water.
3) Blue Holes

Blue holes are giant and sudden drops in underwater elevation that get their name from the dark and foreboding blue tone they exhibit when viewed from above in relationship to surrounding waters. They can be hundreds of feet deep and while divers are able to explore some of them they are largely devoid of oxygen that would support sea life due to poor water circulation - leaving them eerily empty. Some blue holes, however, contain ancient fossil remains that have been discovered, preserved in their depths.
4) Red Tides

Red tides are also known as algal blooms - sudden influxes of massive amounts of colored single-cell algae that can convert entire areas of an ocean or beach into a blood red color. While some of these can be relatively harmless, others can be harbingers of deadly toxins that cause the deaths of fish, birds and marine mammals. In some cases, even humans have been harmed by red tides though no human exposure are known to have been fatal. While they can be fatal, the constituent phytoplankton in ride tides are not harmful in small numbers.
5) Ice Circles

While many see these apparently perfect ice circles as worthy of conspiracy theorizing, scientists generally accept that they are formed by eddies in the water that spin a sizable piece of ice in a circular motion. As a result of this rotation, other pieces of ice and flotsam wear relatively evenly at the edges of the ice until it slowly forms into an essentially ideal circle. Ice circles have been seen with diameters of over 500 feet and can also at times be found in clusters and groups at different sizes as shown above.
6) Mammatus Clouds

True to their ominous appearance, mammatus clouds are often harbingers of a coming storm or other extreme weather system. Typically composed primarily of ice, they can extend for hundreds of miles in each direction and individual formations can remain visibly static for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. While they may appear foreboding they are merely the messengers - appearing around, before or even after severe weather.
7) Fire Rainbows

A circumhorizontal fire rainbow arc occurs at a rare confluence of right time and right place for the sun and certain clouds. Crystals within the clouds refract light into the various visible waves of the spectrum but only if they are arrayed correctly relative to the ground below. Due to the rarity with which all of these events happen in conjunction with one another, there are relatively few remarkable photos of this phenomena.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rules to Effective Logo Design
Logo Design Rules by Bennet Holzworth

1. Get as much information as possible before you start on the project.

2. Make sure you are working with the decision makers.

3. Get inspiration outside of the logo books. Try an art museum or the local scrap yard.

4. Don’t use gradients. Well… If you do, just make sure the mark looks great without the gradients as well.

5. Committees can’t commit. Have a very direct and transparent plan if you do agree to work with a committee (never agree to work when there is more than one committee involved in the approval process).

6. Don’t just ask questions of the client, but work to figure out what lies underneath their answers.

7. Keep animation in the back of your mind, even if you don’t see the client needing it immediately.

8. Don’t leave “fine tuning” for after the client approval. Most of the time, after a logo is approved, the client wants it “ASAP”. If you do leave “fine tuning” for after the client gives final approval, make sure you follow through.

9. Work to appear current without being too trendy. More Sprint. Less at&t. Traveling/bouncing circles, droplets and or “canted” logos are becoming as trendy as the ubiquitous swoosh.

10. As much as you love the symbol you created, make sure it is balanced with the type (if they are separate). Don’t make a symbol that will completely overpower the company name and vice versa.

11. Have an Idea!

12. Simplify

13. Make sure it is recognizable at a quarter inch.14. Make the overall shape unique. Think of the Coke bottle.

15. When you are creating shapes in Illustrator, use as few points as possible. Mess around. Play Play Play in illustrator, use pathfinder, combine, build, destroy. You can get some interesting shapes and ideas from happy mistakes, and places you weren’t looking.

16. Start with some sort of sketch. Even if you are not a full-on thumbnail person, rough sketches on lined paper is better than nothing at all. Remember: the logo has to look good even when it’s embroided in white on a black shirt. Or printed on the side of a 10-ton truck.17. Start in black & white. Present that to the client before color becomes a factor (I am talking to myself here as well).

18. Strive to create a mark that would only work for your client, while allowing room for the company to expand and grow.

19. Don’t lose site of the overall picture. I find myself getting caught up in fine tuning details on a mark that, when looked at objectively, doesn’t fit within the client’s needs.

20. Don’t present a logo option to the client that you are not fully confident in. They WILL pick your least favorite.

21. Don’t forget that the logo is just one element in the larger scheme of the identity and brand... Yet it is the most important. The larger scheme will fall into place only when your logo stands true at the top.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

....remembering my NID Convocation 2008


...that was some day with gooood friends and the gang coming together......7th December 2K8.