When RockMelt launched its new browser in private beta last November, it was greeted with an avalanche of press. RockMelt is a new social browser built around Facebook, realtime feeds, and faster search. The fact that Netscape founder Marc Andreessen is a major backer probably had something to do with the intense interest also.
Reviews were mixed and then interest sort of died down. The only way you could try it is if a beta user sent you an invite. Until now. After more than 15 updates and months of testing with “a few hundred thousand active users,” says CEO Eric Vishria, he is ready to open up the browser to anyone who wants to try it. You can download it here at RockMelt’s site.
RockMelt is built on top of Chromium, the same open source browser that is the foundation for Google’s Chrome. It updates at about the same pace, give or take two weeks. One of the biggest criticisms of RockMelt is that it’s Chrome, but with extensions that are forced on you. RockMelt adds a rail on the left with all of your Facebook friends who are online with presence indicators, and another rail on the right with all your RSS feeds, Twitter and Gmail accounts, and custom apps. But you can hide those if you don’t like them and you can also use any of the Chrome Apps available in the Chrome Web Store.
RockMelt is not for everybody, but between 20 percent to 30 percent of those who have tried it so far are still active users, meaning they’ve fired it up in the past 7 days. (Less than one million people have downloaded the browser and registered). Active users on average have the browser open 6 hours a day, interact with their Facebook friends on the left rail 3 times a day, and with the feeds and apps on the right rail 2.5 times per hour.
And it’s not just about Facebook. Half the users have added their Twitter feeds as well. The majority of users—65 percent—are international.
Now the true test will begin. With no barriers to trying the app, will more people give it a shot? The truth is that if RockMelt wants to enter the pantheon of great browsers, it will have to grow from hundreds of thousands of active users to hundreds of millions.
Let help them along. Give this browser a try, then let me know what you think about it.
“Decide who you are, decide what you want to do, and then do it, because it is surely possible.”
Wise words from an incredible individual who left the design community all too soon. Doyald Young, a designer, writer, teacher and mentor, regrettably passed away February 28th from complications during heart surgery. Although this extremely talented and passionate designer is no longer with us, his lifetime of work will carry on and be celebrated by all who encounter it.
Young’s path into the field of design was not a direct route. He ran away from home at the age of 15 and did not complete high school. From there he worked a slew of odd jobs ranging from an usher at Radio City Music Hall to a golf club factory worker. Eventually he landed in Los Angeles and enrolled at Art Center. It was in 1955 when Young’s official professional design career began when asked by Mortimer Leach to teach classes at Art Center.
Collection of books on logotype design by Doyald Young (left); Pencil sketches for Young’s Eclat typeface (right).
Specializing in logotypes, typefaces, and trademarks, Young is most widely known for his knack of crafting uniquely beautiful script faces. His scripts include Home Run, Young Baroque, Young Gallant, and the ever popular Eclat—to name a few. It is often noted that his innate ability to produce these legendary script faces is nearly unmatched. The craftsmanship behind each letter of each face is a credit to Young’s meticulous work ethic where he paid careful attention to detail.
Young’s profound dedication to design was well rewarded. Whether deliberately or unknowingly, you have certainly had the privilege of viewing his work. Young’s clients were far ranging, appealing to everyone from the general public to niches within the design community, and included the Hilton Hotels, John Deere, Prudential Financial Group, Disney, The Art Director’s Guild, and Mattel Toys.
Young was also a professor at the Art Center College of Design in California where he was named the Inaugural Master of the school for his contributions to the field of art and design. An inspiration and mentor to the vast number of students he advised over the years, he was much more than just a teacher to them. STEP magazine once asked Young, “You’re a teacher at Art Center where you teach classes in letterform design. In fact, you’ve said that you don’t see yourself as a font designer, as much as a logo designer and a teacher…” to which Young responded:
I have taught 4,000 students or more—difficult to count them up over the years, but it’s in that neighborhood. I truly enjoy teaching. Some of my dearest friends are former students, and teaching is one of the most rewarding things that I’ve done.
There have been many incredibly talented designers in this profession over the years, but it takes a special person to approach both students and the industry with such love and passion.
I’m a big supporter of type and all things typographic. So I couldn’t resist bringing a fellow typographer to your attention making waves in the iPad community. John Bonadies, a graphic designer out of Champange IL is creating a new sensation around letterpress. That’s right, letterpress. That old pre-typesetter process used in the early 20th Century to set type for newspapers. On April 20th, John will bring an excellent letterpress simulator called LetterMpress™, to the iPad.
W+K Studio designer Max Erdenberger designed this print to raise relief funds for the devastating earthquake and subsequent massive tsunami that struck Japan March 11, 2011. They’re are asking a donation of at least $25 for a print, with 100% of the profits going to The Red Cross. They will of course accept and pass along a donation of any amount.
Spread the Word!
The logo for Armstrong Creative Consulting has had many incarnations, but they each served their purpose at the time. As the client evolved, so did the company, achieving a broader scope, bigger clients and more prestige. the logo needed a drastic jump in impact to stay ahead of the client’s expectation. Hence, a new makeover was undertaken.
The original logo at the time of the original makeover was more geometric than visual. The initials were good but unclear to some of the clients. Ms. Armstrong wanted more out of it.
The words that came up consistently were original, unique and pop. Here’s the result from the 1st wave.
The idea was to go with a round card. The pop she wanted was a card that would be difficult to throw away once the info went into a smart phone. The card needed to symbolized unconventional thinking and a bold approach to 21st design theory. These variations made the final selections. The chosen one was this one:
As with most ideas, they sometimes wear off as quickly as the wear in. This solution was no exception. The logo conjured up thoughts of healing or holistic treatment. The logo just didn’t say corporate. We salvaged the idea of the circular card, but this time we used the K.I.S.S. approach. The “A” was the primary concern. the idea was to work in gestures, not with a full visual. Just a hint of design and not an ounce more. This is the result:
The contrast of a triangle letter bleeding off a round card was intriguing to the client, and the subtle “c” to the right was all that we used to hint the rest of the company’s name. Once again, the important data was on the back, and the front’s sunshine orange stood out like a celebrity badge. The card has become a collector’s item for everybody whose received one. Achieving the approval of a pleased client, we took the next steps to complete the stationery.
This concept is currently being expanded into a round brochure, and a website with the same round theme using dynamic CSS content. Stay tuned to see those results in this same post.
Vision to Victory – Destination H.O.M.E. Housing Program is a FREE housing service that will assist you in foreclosure prevention and mortgage options. Home-ownership is one of the most fundamental and common dreams of Americans. The program highlights: Credit Counseling, Pre-Purchase Counseling, Home Buyer Certification and Foreclosure Prevention Counseling. This was the previous definition. The organization was expanding its services to go beyond housing and wanted a logo to reflect their larger scope.
Here is the new dialog brought in to the discussion by the client:
Vision To Victory Human Services Corporation (VVHSC) is a 501©3 not-for-profit organization incorporated in March 1996. The mission of VVHSC is to provide activities that will empower families and strengthen communities. An outgrowth of the New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International Ministry of Social Concerns, VVHSC is committed to strengthening families and communities utilizing education and training; and community and economic development activities that will enhance, preserve and restore family unity, self-sufficiency and sustainable communities. VVHSC is a HUD Approved Affiliate Member of Mission of Peace National Corporation, a HUD Approved National Intermediary for Housing Counseling.
VVHSC has a wide array of service delivery experience in programs ranging from early childhood development services; academic enhancement programs for junior high school children through kindergarten; job develop and placement services; and targeted HIV/AIDS and other health related educational services to the community.
The image previous used to overlapping “V”s done in an antique font face, evoking more Great Gatsby than personal and community services. The redesign was decided to be more contemporary, but still compact and memorable.
We submitted the first set of ideas. The client liked the direction from these 3 ideas, and liked the bottom “house” the most. But they were concerned above the reference to housing only, and wanted it to be more versatile. After review they thought the new double ‘V” looked good, but thought the eye was a bit creepy. I agreed. We revised it.
In this set, we provided variations on the two Vs, since they appeared to be interested in keeping the feel of the previous design, but altering it visually for a better design. By the end of the presentation, they discovered the simpler double V (upper right) was the way to go.
We pitched a front&back design, in hopes that people would want to keep the card, and second guess throwing it away once the info went into their smartphone. They took a few days to hash it out before coming back with the lower right card concept as their choice. The only change way to change the colors to the official burgundy shade.
Once the card was approved, we developed the full stationery package around it.
The final piece was a promotional brochure, promoting the services of V2V.
Introducing the iPad 2!!!
It’s here!!! Apple today introduced iPad 2, featuring an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad while maintaining the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen and up to 10 hours of battery life. iPad 2 also features Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor for blazing-fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras — a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video. iPad 2 is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T’s and Verizon’s 3G networks, and introduces the innovative iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of colors. iPad 2 will be available on March 11 in the US through the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers.
In yo’ Face!!
FaceTime on iPad 2 lets you drop in on your favorite people and see how they’re doing. And what they’re doing. And who they’re with. You could be anywhere, they could be anywhere. With a tap, your iPad 2 calls someone else’s iPad 2, iPhone 4, new iPod touch, or Mac over Wi-Fi.1 And there you are, face-to-face, in the middle of a friend’s party or with your family on the couch. The big, beautiful iPad display is a great place for a face, because you can really see it. Not a smile or laugh goes unnoticed, especially when iPad goes around the room and everyone waves hello. If you’ve ever missed something big and eventful, anything small yet significant, or someone’s smile, FaceTime helps you miss everything a little less.
The iPad 2 has it’s Own Pad!!!
iPad 2 is thin, sleek, and flat-out amazing. So why hide it in a bulky case? The slim yet sturdy Smart Cover protects your iPad screen without covering up its durable aluminum back.1 So your iPad still looks and feels like an iPad — just with a little extra protection. Even better, the Smart Cover doubles as the perfect movie-watching, game-playing, web-surfing, do-it-all companion. It folds in all the right places so you can quickly create a stand that holds iPad upright. Or one that lets you tilt iPad into a comfortable typing position. If you prefer to hold iPad, the Smart Cover flips back and out of the way like a page in a magazine. And if you want to shoot some HD video on the fly, the Smart Cover folds in half to expose the back-facing camera. Now that’s something to smile about.