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The Design Center / Creative Networking / BEST discoveries of 2008 /

BEST FINDS for 2008

... what did you find? why did you like it?

Designers pick the best

DTG went into the LinkedIN group and asked this question:
> Looking for YOUR input and suggestions for the
> "BEST OF 2008" issue of DTG.
> What was your:
> ?? Best new software discovery?
> ?? Best shareware product?
> ?? Best FONT?
> ?? Best promotional idea?
> ?? Best self-promotion?
> ?? Best tool, hardware, add-on?
> ?? Best camera or device?
> Tell DTG readers WHY, WHAT, and WHERE.

From over 100 answers, these were our favorite dozen.
      We hope you enjoy these thoughtful comments as much as we did. BRAVO! We invite you to share your experiences too!

Color and MailBag

Andrea writes:
      "ColorBlender - if you are stuck an in need of colour inspiration this is a great site! colorblender
Important link Coolest website:
Important link Very handy site: The best way to send large file attachments"
[END QUOTE] Andrea is a Design & Marketing Executive at James & Taylor
[Editor's note: harvests human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). ]

Draw, paint and shoot ...

Karie writes:
      "Best new software discovery? Corel VideoStudio X2 -- reasonable price, powerful video editing, flexible output, and excellent tools.
Important link Best shareware product? (I think this should be updated to include online apps and tools) Palette Grabber 0.4 Firefox add-on -- enables you to pull a color palette from any web page which is great for inspiration.
Important link Best FONT: Augie -- a clean handwriting font that feels natural and is strong enough to scale.
Important link Best promotional idea: Joining forces with complimentary businesses in a field to deliver customer with truly complete solutions that are in their best interest, not just make the most money for a given company.
Important link Best tool, hardware, add-on: Mobile broadband -- gives designers and other business people the power to work anywhere anytime, thus enhancing quality of inspiration and life.
Important link Best camera or device: Olympus Stylus 710 -- tiny enough to always have on hand, easy to use, plenty of resolution, and great results in all kinds of light.
Important link Iomega Desktop Hard Drive - extended the life of an otherwise good laptop due to shortage of drive space for photos, music, and graphics, compact design, easy to use, and light enough to throw in my case to take anywhere.
Important link Logitec Quickcam Pro 9000 -- fabulous image quality and easy connectivity for producing your own video presentations or connecting to others using tools like Skype."
[END QUOTE] Karie is Marketing Coordinator QA Technologies, Inc.

Lots of goodies

Jennifer writes:
      "Best online PDF converter: This website has been around a while but I can't live without it:
WHY: No software to download so not only can I use it from any computer (with internet), but I am not overloading my own laptop with software; it works with tons of original file types; sends the pdf straight to your email in minutes so you can store it or forward it; SAVES PAPER & IT'S 100% FREE.

Important link is in my opinion the most well-organized out of the ever-abundant coupon websites. I never shop online without checking here first. I also like that you can add reviews, as well as your own company's promotions. Each code is rated for success and the code is automatically copied when you click on it so you don't have to write it or remember it.
Important link automatically finds the best deals for you on specific products. When you sign up you can register your credit cards (securely) and shop directly through Upromise for automatic college savings (a percentage of your purchase depending on the retailer) that become reserved in a special account. If you download their shopping tool, savings is automatic when you shop at eligible websites and some grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations. Most major stores and tons of smaller retailers participate in the program. Its a great way to supplement your child's college fund since you can designate the account to anyone you wish. They now have a new feature that allows "guests" like family or friends to purchase through a special link you provide, therefore multiplying your college savings each time they make eligible purchases. Savings for each store vary between 1% - 6% and sometimes higher, plus special offers for shipping, etc on top of that."
[END QUOTE] Jennifer is the owner of MissYouChick Designs

Advertising hi-res dvds

Linda writes:
      "I found last year and have had nothing but fun with it. Now they offer a professional versio to create promo/advertising hi-res dvds. You can see my videos here - honestly I think mine are pretty good in comparison.
      If you like dogs I put more slide videos here at The Dockdogs was really fun. I'm working on making these for Club annual meetings and with the pro version I can sell them."
[END QUOTE] Linda is Owner, Image Works Publishing

Freelance Boom

Sharon writes:
      "I couldn't run my freelance graphic design business without"
[END QUOTE] Sharon is the owner of AS Design

Parallels Desktop

Kathy writes:
      "Best Software: Parallels Desktop -- This software allows an easy transition between our Creative Department on Macs and the rest of our company using PCs. It allows us to test web content on the PC platform without having to reboot or run two computers. It also allows us the ability, when requested, to design and text PPT content, and Word templates for our clients."
[END QUOTE] Kathy is Production Coordinator & Graphic Designer for Davis Advertising

Content Managment System

Damon writes:
      "My best find of 2008 is probably the Content Managment System known as modx.
      Why is it my best find? It has really helped speed up the process of creating sites with a CMS backend that allows clients to update their site on their own. No longer do I have to struggle with Joomla! and Drupal's rigid framework, bloated code, and confusing template structures.
      modx allows me to create my web designs as I normally would, with valid XHTML & CSS. Then, I can change about 5 lines of XHTML code to PHP code that the CMS can understand, and I have my CMS. The templating system is that simple. On top of this, many plug-ins or modules are available to extend modx, so you can have a built in Blog, Dynamic Menu Builder, Forms, Image Galleries, Forums Integration and much more.
      I found modx when searching for a CMS that is easy to template and theme - I was sick of trying to comply to other CMS' structures. The modx website is :"
[END QUOTE] Damon is Web Master for The Chef's Garden, Inc

Software and Hardware finds ...

Marino writes:
      "Best new software discovery: Vectoraster , small, affordable app that halftones images on the fly and leaves you with an editable .eps file
Best FONT: - Landry Gothic, old school san serif, uneven and unpolished. (Picture)
Best tool, hardware, add-on: LaCie Rugged 500 gig portable drive.
Best camera or device: Nikon D200 on e-bay, great for my needs and affordable since the 300's came out!"
[END QUOTE] Marino is design director, partner of Ogilvy & Mather


Everett writes:
      "Best is application/website Freshbooks; an online invoicing, time tracking and expense service. It's online, it has lots of features to keep users organized (you don't wanna know how I was doing this before...) and it keeps your clients updated and honest. Its a real great asset for freelancers or those who don't have an accounting office working in the background. Highly recommended!!"
[END QUOTE] Everett is the owner of Anizan Media

Portfolios for the Arts

Alice writes:
      "I found this website: a website for artists, musicians, writers, etc. Free website with unlimited portfolio uploads, awesome!"
[END QUOTE] Alice is a Graphic Designer/Illustrator/Print Designer for Alice's Artwerks

Flash and luxury

Shiva writes:
      "These Cool & Fun websites:
Important link (flash site for a Mexican Market
Important link (trendy French hotel with "ice" bar)"
[END QUOTE] Shiva is Managing Director of Asterisk*

Kim writes:
      "I found and finally have a a website with an online portfolio, and of course LinkedIn! My favorite font this year is the Rotis family."
[END QUOTE] Kim is a Design professional at

wacom tablet

Shannen writes:
      "My best Tool would be my wacom tablet.
      Why? Because I can write and draw images with out the need to fuss with the pen tool. I can mask out images a lot better because I have more control. It's more precise than my mouse and it just feels natural. I got my tablet at circuit city"
[END QUOTE] Shannen is a Freelance Graphic Designer

And there you have it, folks! Our favorite dozen "favorite finds" from design professionals who participated in our survey.

Until next time... Keep on fonting

Fred Showker
      Fred Showker, Editor/Publisher


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