DTG News and Else
DT&G:   Vol. 19, Number 1,   January, 2009   ~   The eZine for Design, Typography, & Graphics   (since 1990)  

Welcome to 2009

It was 20 years ago today ...
Sgt. Showker taught the band to play
DTP, design, typography and graphics
on computer displays!

Yes, it's hard to believe I've been at this now for over 20 years! Some of you do indeed remember -- I know it for sure -- you've sent emails reminding me of those late 1980s "Great Graphics" seminars, and Dynamic Graphics workshops where you learned folding tricks, photo tricks and graphic design rules, reviews and views. Those were exciting times! And, it's a wonderful feeling when I get email from people who have followed DT&G faithfully for 20 years!

What amazes me most however, is that young, up-and-coming graphic design mavins are publishing articles on the web that read exactly like my early lessons in desktop publishing! It's amazing. In fact, I was on a web page the other day where the "Folding Ideas" story was so close to my original script, I had to go back and check. Yup, there they were. And, here we are. 2009. History repeating itself again. Design re-inventing itself over and over again -- but using the same rules! Amazing!

WELCOME to the annual BEST edition of DTG Magazine. Here we attempt to pick the best books and resources for Graphic Designers from the past year, and wipe the slate clean for the new year.

What's Here

User Picks Best DTG of 2008

This year we peeked at the server logs and discovered YOUR best picks from 2008 -- most popular articles!

Users Pick Best BOOKS of 2008:

Out of hundreds of book reviews in 2008, DTG Readers clicked on these the most!


Here's where you'll find the best of the best for anyone in the visual communications field! Best books, Photoshop add-ons, Font of the Year, Web Site of the Year, and so forth. We think you'll like them, and we believe they represent the best value for your dollar. best value for your dollar.

Your best creation from 2008?

Certainly you created some outstanding visual arts during 2008... so share your major accomplishment last year, and let DTG toot your horn a little bit ...
* Your best graphic accomplishment last year
* Your favorite design, layout or publication in '08
* The most exciting project you worked on in '08
... you get the picture! Just send'em in and let DTG help introduce you to millions of readers!
Submit full information here or or just give us the brief info here

Photoshop CS4 Review

Adobe Photoshop CS4 George picks up the latest incarnation of Photoshop and shares some of its highs and lows. If you haven't upgraded yet, perhaps you should read this and see if it helps you make up your mind! George reviews Photoshop CS4

Colour My World

[Macs vs PCs in speed and computing ... what will the future bring?] Quite unexpected, this article appeared in our mailbox with a note from one "Retired Major Martin" saying "Please publish this." As we read the article, we knew you might enjoy it : "... the need for faster and bigger video cards developed into a pixel race game with macho 'whose is bigger' mentalities. Of course, bigger meant more dollars spent." Or, should we call the article "What will the future bring?"

The Inner Life of Martin Frost

The Inner Life of Martin Frost This book gets a 'BEST' award for its literary illusions presented with totally innovative graphic treatment! Paul Auster's story is ambitiously blended with Glenn Thomas's typography and graphic design in exciting new collaboration -- most importantly, the book is a stunning concoction of wonderful typography configurations, graphic illustrations, and page-layout mastery. You'll be mesmerized by The Inner Life of Martin Frost

Photoshop Ultimate: Plug-in Suite 4

OnOne Photoshop Plug-in Suite 4 Without reservation, we think the onOne Plug-in Suite 4 for Photoshop is the very best value for your buck! That's why it receives a BEST award this year. We try many plug-ins and many are generally very good. But this collection of 6 high-powered plug-ins about covers the range with awesome power, yet are very easy to learn and use. So if you want one install to solve most of the challenges you have in Photoshop, try the onOne Plug-in Suite 4

Designers share their BEST finds for 2008

DTG Magazine SURVEY We asked professionals in Graphic Design Groups on LinkedIn to share their favorite or best discoveries during 2008. From over 100 responses, these dozen will take you to some pretty good stuff. What was in your tool box in 2008? Designers share their BEST finds for 2008

How environments, real and virtual, influence us

Kyle Mueller Is it time to clean up your act? Web Design Specialist Kyle Mueller says yes! "On a web site, color, typography, iconography and other imagery should be considered as carefully as an interior designer considers surfaces, furnishings and art." See how your web environment can affect your bottom line

Fonts: Gallo's Tree Assortment

Gallo Trees Since you can always use more tree graphics -- we present the first new font from Gerald Gallo for 2009 -- a nifty collection of trees from realistic to fantasy, to stylized for logos! Gallo presents the Tree Assortment


Web Critique of the Daily Savings web site This is one of those side-scrollers we all love to hate. When first arriving, this site seems to cry out "Help, I'm Tacky!" -- but then playing with the controls, and navigating back and forth, it actually becomes cool! Follow along with out quibbles, then add some of your own feedback on The Daily Savings Website

Mailbag: I don't enter competitions

You remember last month we talked about designing book covers, and the results from the Wiley book cover competition. Malcolm wrote in to say:
      I have to admit I'm surprised by how many entrants used clipart or vector art to illustrate the cover for a book on PHOTO manipulation! I also think that Fred Showker's typography critiques (over at DT&G) are spot-on. However, this is one reason why I don't enter competitions. You pour your heart out only to have it ripped apart by judges who end up choosing an inferior design for entirely (ok, mostly) arbitrary reasons. The winning entry in this contest was not the strongest piece, and Fred says as much himself.

Unfortunately, not all the judges were seasoned graphic designers -- that affects outcomes! But, Malcolm has a point, it the idea of "spec" work has been debated ad nauseam. But each has to decide for themselves if the rewards of the competition process is worth losing. Obviously nearly 200 creatives thought the Wiley competition was worth it -- even if they lost.

We welcome comments on any articles or content you find in the Design Center, just post them in the mailbag at www.graphic-design.com

The Leadership Vacuum

Nick Tassler talks about the future work force What will we lose with the next generation? Nick Tasler, TalentSmart's global research leader takes a look at the future's work force and what exactly constitutes a high quality leader -- but what he finds is a huge gap between Boomers and Millennials in self-management -- which will become The Leadership Vacuum

Mac Poster Machine

Mac Poster making Machine I wrote about Posterino some time ago when it first came out. Now I've been using the latest update to make posters of 'famous' newspaper front pages announcing the Obama election win for holiday gifts to my democrat friends! Once oversized art is produced, just upload to your local Kinkos for output on the wide-format printer. Posterino is so cool, you at least should download the demo and see for yourself! Mac Poster Machine

Free Graphics Software

We've selected the best and most fun graphics add-on software you can get for the Mac. One, we know you'll get a kick out of -- it automatically makes YOUR picture into the graphic poster style of the Barack Obama campaign posters! How cool is that ??? Try some of these -- we think you'll like them -- we always love Free Graphics Software

ContrastMaster for MacOS X

Adjust contrast in your photos on Mac OS X ContrastMaster is a plugin for effective contrast enhancement as well as creating dramatic contrast looks, photorealistic paintings and HDR-like effects. It can turn low-contrast photos into vivid and detailed images and transforms ordinary photos into interesting and dynamic shots. Make it great with ContrastMaster for MacOS X

Another boring PowerPoint? Oh No!

PowerPoint tips and presentation techniques you can learn to improve your presentations It makes you cringe when someone says "watch this powerpoint" because you know it's going to bore you to tears! In these three articles from CIO you'll learn a collection of PowerPoint tips and presentation techniques you can learn to improve your presentations - PowerPoint Tips: Keep Your Audience Awake

&ELSE... freebies and cool stuff

This month's &Else includes: Mac Poster Machine * Free Graphics Software * Create stunning image montage animations * ContrastMaster * PowerPoint Tips * Run BASIC * Best ISPs * To-do list * Cyber Safety * Dynamic User Interfaces * Using Drupal * Designing Gestural Interfaces * Coding4Fun ... and more! News, Reviews &Else!

What's on your to-do list for 2009?

Yes, 2008 was a crazy year. Many changes took place, but the graphic design industry stayed just about the same. You know, when bad times come around, historically speaking, the advertising industry has maintained it's vitality. In fact, I've read someplace that it was the advertising industry that played a major role in bringing the country out of the "big depression" ... and while I don't know if that's true, it certainly is encouraging.
We all know there is certainly enough to do! So get busy stimulating the economy.

What's on your to-do list for 2009?
      If you'd like to share, just send me an email, or click on any "Contact" button in the Design Center. My to-do list includes moving all my domains to the same registrar ... launching a DTG blog ... and continuing to answer all the questions from DTG readers in the forums, and in the submission forms.

Don't forget to send in your best creation from 2008 -- share your major accomplishment last year, and let DTG toot your horn a little bit ... send'em here

Words of wisdom

From all of us at your Design Center and DTG Magazine -- we wish you a spectacular 2009... and you know it will be if you make it so!

thanks for reading...

Fred Showker
Fred Showker

Fred Showker, Editor / Publisher, DT&G Magazine

A Thought for January is about becoming a better person...
      Be always at war with your vices,
        at peace with your neighbors,
          and let each new year find
            you a better man.
                -- Benjamin Franklin

PS: if you've made it this far, excellent! The Publishers Warehouse have been very busy switching the Loading Dock back to normal from the holidays, and uploading hundreds of new clip art images... but they've assured us the new loading dock location will be in the bahamas! ?

You can contribute and get your voice heard: When you make your contribution to the Design Center, you not only help us continue the mission... and you get lots and lots of traffic and visitors to your web site! Google metrics evidence 611,387 pairs of eyes saw our Partner's buttons last month. Need we say more? Take a look for yourself

Participate in your Design Center

Lots of fun and information for all... don't forget, any community is only as good as the participation of its members. We invite your tips, tricks, comments, suggestions and camaraderie.