Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I think I just found Kalinda's notebook, after a 2 year and three month search

Ever since I became addicted to 'The Good Wife', and saw Kalinda with that orange notebook - I have wanted one.

I wrote about it in a post in July 2014

I thought given the lawyer thing and all - that it was likely something outrageously expensive like Hermés. But no.

I found the motherload today in the Better Read Than Dead, my favourite bookshop in Newtown, Sydney.

And, they are made by Leuchtturm 1917 - a German company originating in - 1917!

I was so excited, I bought two:

Cute ?
They seem to come in three styles, blank, lined, an dotted. They come in a range of colours, but it was the orange I was after.

Here they are all packaged up:

A large 'squared' version, and a small 'points' version

They even come with two bookmarks!

Large 'squared' notebook with two bookmark ribbons
And, with a selection of labels :

Labels, and a pocket in the back
I now know your secret Kalinda.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Why are all the graphic design conferences in Australia disappearing?

What is going on?  Neither of my two favourite design conferences are appearing this year.

I just got an email from 'Sex, Drugs & Helvetica' to say that after 5 years, they have all decided to 're-focus on new professional and personal challenges'. Which means the conference will be no more. Really sad about this, as this one day case study focussed conference was incredibly interesting, and I attended for my first time last year.

Yesterday, I got an email from IdeasOnDesign which after a lot of ramble, told me that there would be no conference in Australia this year, but it would be held in Foshan, China in November - no dates specified!

I think that just leaves Semi-Permenant (not my favourite conference) - which I missed earlier this year due to travel. My only chance to attend it this year would be if I travelled to Auckland FFS!

Might have to just save my pennies and go to Montreal in 2017:

Friday, July 1, 2016

Choose which Australian Political Party to vote for by their Website Design!

For those of you who are not Australian citizens and therefore are not voting in our Federal election, you need to know that here - voting is compulsory. If you don't vote without a good reason, then you get fined. The upside is we get a better representation of our citizens in our voting results. The downside is that some people just come in and 'spoil' their voting paper by scribbling on it, and others 'donkey vote' - that is just vote in the order that the selections appear.

We have a bi-cameral system, so two voting houses - the lower house or House of Representatives (where the government is formed), and an upper house or Senate, which is meant to be where our seven states and territories are represented - but in practice it acts as a bit of a safety valve on the excesses of the lower house.

It looks like we are going to have a close result, with perhaps neither major party ( Labor or Liberal - sort of like Democrats and Republicans in the USA, or Labour and Conservatives in the UK) getting a substantive majority. That means some of the minor parties - and there are a few of them - might get a guernsey in deciding who forms government in the lower house.

In the Senate, it is almost certain that neither of the major parties will get a majority (they haven't over the last couple of elections), and that one or a combination of minor parties will hold the balance of power.

After reading a post on Facebook which quoted KnowYourParties - I was inspired to wonder what would happen if you applied a design critique to each of the parties website design, and determined your vote that way?

Many thanks to the writer of KnowYourParties, whose descriptions I have borrowed entirely.

Health Australia Party
Rebranding of the Natural Medicine Party, which was probably a better description. Anti-vaxxers, fluoridophobes and homeopaths trying to expand their business via changes to medical legislation.
Their colour theming leaves a lot to be desired. They chose a good template, and then ruined it with their 'Byron Bay' hippy logo. Wasted screen realestate on an image of a bunch of anonymous people (are these their candidates?). OK, on the plus side its clean and clear, unlike their grubby anti-science views.

Seniors United Party of AustraliaFinally, a voice in parliament for the wealthiest generation that ever lived.
I think KnowYourParties description is a little harsh, or maybe that's just because as over 55yoa - they purport to represent my age group! The website looks like some ex IT geek put it together circa 1993 when the Mosaic web browser came out and allowed graphics. Unfortunately this website is comically representative of those they probably wish to recruit.

Family First
But only if your family consists of a white Christian man, a white Christian woman and at least two white Christian children and you believe everyone else is headed straight for hell.
Look, I like orange, and blue is a natural contrast, but this is just horrible - or horribly STRONG. Unfortunately 'Bob Day' sounds like some kind of annual celebration of bobbing for apples, when in fact they are bobbing for Jesus. This site is unrepresentative of what they stand for - no christian iconography anywhere.

Liberal Democrats Headed by David Leyonhjelm, who made it into the Senate in 2013 because of a herd of Lib voters being too stupid to correctly identify their preferred party. The Lib Dems are committed Libertarians whose ability to ignore all of the evidence on every possible issue would make any cult proud. 
Awful logo - and its repeated. Its very hard to carry off yellow on a white background. Did anyone realise that at the centre of this photo - its focus in fact is nothing? I think its meant to be on their leader. That top menu - you just don't see, and the slogan is just not important enough to win my vote - besides the fact that their view of the world is loathsome.

VOTEFLUX.ORG | Upgrade Democracy
 Flux (n) – an abnormal or morbid discharge of blood or other matter from the body. Whenever there’s a bill before the Senate, you use an app to discharge your opinion into a tame crossbencher and tell him (yes, it’s always going to be a him) which way to vote on each bill. Founded by two Bitcoin consultants, and works on the same blockchain principle, whatever the hell that means.
Well, they look like a software company. What's with the black background? Sooo web design circa last millennium. Pretty logo though. Unfortunately that headline reads like a 404 error.

You wake up in an ice bath and realise that your left leg is missing, and Rupert Murdoch tells you that brown people and greenies and reds all conspired to steal your leg and are coming back for the rest of your limbs, but then why is Rupert wearing a blood-stained hospital gown, and why does his left leg look familiar, and there, on the knee, isn’t that the scar that you got when you were ten years old and fell off your bicycle?
Well, this is actually well designed in the main. Its responsive, and works well, with the leader front, centre and active. Pity about that horrible medallion logo thingy (WTF! Blue and yellow again!) What function is it meant to perform - an award? a certification? a mark of quality? Or is it just meant to NOT look anything like the Liberal party logo? Malcolm looks very presidential, and there is no sign of those nasty right wing climate deniers and homophobes.

The Nationals
You wake up in a shed and realise that your left leg is missing, and Rupert Murdoch tells you that brown people and greenies and reds all conspired to steal your leg and are coming back for the rest of your limbs, but then why is Rupert wearing a blood-stained hospital gown, and why does his left leg look familiar, and there, on the knee, isn’t that the scar you got when you were ten years old and got kicked by a horse?
Now this is interesting - the nationals take the iconography of the green movement and apply it to their arch enemy's? Given that in all their difficult seats, it is green leaning independents, or actual greenies that are their greatest threat - I expect this adoption of green iconography is intentional. Except for that horrible logo, and the specific shades of green and yellow they have chosen - this looks pretty good. Not that I'd vote for them - given their leader is one of the biggest climate deniers out there. Wise not to feature his image.

Democratic Labour Party (DLP)
If you’re an economic progressive yet somehow still a dyed in the wool Christian homophobe, this is the party for you.
That logo looked old fashioned when Bob Santa Maria commissioned it. Alternatively it looks like the logo used for film awards on advertising. The slogan is soooo dated and fuddyduddy, and about spelling! The graphic representing a subject cloud, without actually being one is very folksy.

Science Party
 Formerly the Future Party. They’re still naïve, but now they’ve got a full quiver of policies, mostly geared toward fixing the shitblizzard of the last three years.
Like the logo - although a bit more finance company than scientific. Love the image - now that's aspirational! On design - they are in contention for my vote.

Australian Cyclists Party
 Does exactly what it says on the box.
Yep - what he said. Logo is good, but could be better. Bit of waisted space at the top there right of the logo. What is it with blue and green? I'd consider voting for them, if some of their number didn't ride like crazed loons on footpaths, and are so un-evolved they don't know what a bicycle bell is for. It's to warn me that you are coming up my arse!

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
This party is like the time I hurt my back a few years ago and thought the problem would go away like it always had before, except it didn’t and now I live with chronic back pain.
The only thing that is wrong with this logo, is that it should have a big red 45 degree line through that circle! Go and murder some defenceless animal somewhere else you vermin. Annoyingly, other than the appalling logo and social and political views, the website is quite well designed - which I suppose just goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover. When did they add 'farmers' to their name? Was it when that farmer murdered that environment protection officer? Odious people.

Voluntary Euthanasia Party
As advertised.
Great logo, clever setup, because the power of their campaign is in the power of individual stories. Worthy of support for their design, and for their opinions in my view.

Socialist Alliance
The kind of socialists you can actually have a conversation with.
Well, it had to be red didn't it. The 'vote' message is a bit self evident. They are in need of a good slogan, and all that empty space around the logo is a waste. Other than the words - there is no real visual demonstration of what they stand for. Could do better.

Rise Up Australia Party
The actual worst. Founded by someone who got thrown out of Family First for too much hate speech, which is like getting kicked out of Labor for not doing anything.
This website is pretty foul - which I suppose does reflect the views of the party. The logo is hideous, and the functionality of the website is woeful. Let me give you some examples - it has a loader that tells you the percentage loaded - while you wait and wait (is it a flash site?). When you scroll down (try it if you can bare it) - you just get the tops of each of the candidates heads. I'd give you a screen shot if the party wasn't so vile. Oops, I couldn't resist. The menu is mid page, and has way too many items of varying sizes. On the plus size, it is responsive (unlike their mindset), and uses icons for its policy areas. That is the best thing I can say about the site, and the party.

The post-war European centre right party for Australia today. 
Not as sophisticated as Liberal, but that heading and logo are so much better. They have an image, where the focus of it is actually on their leader. Slogan good and clear, and I like the 'stand with us' phrase as opposed to 'Vote 1' and their ilk. Solid effort but room for improvement.

Online Direct Democracy – (Empowering the People!)
Like VOTEFLUX, but with PollyWeb instead of the Bitcoin blockchain. (If you say that sentence backwards at the stroke of midnight when the moon is full, Lucifer will appear and grant you three votes on bills that will never get up.) 
As Windows is to Apple - this is to good design. Is that a blue planet in a black hole? At least the're honest - its all about the technology not the people. No, just no.

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
It turns out that this is about Derryn Hinch’s notion of justice, not about bringing Derryn Hinch to justice. Which is disappointing. A Federal party campaigning on State issues, implying either ignorance or extreme cynicism. My money is on cynicism.
Derryn, your rich enough to afford better. The logo is ugly and literal. Judge Judy has a better one. This site is a bit of a stinker. I must implement a new rule of web design: never use dot points on a home page. The only honest bit of design is the implication that Derryn is the harbinger of justice - 'Hinch Justice'.

Jacqui Lambie Network
Anatomically incorrect: the logo is a map of Tasmania, but the policy platform is an arsehole. 
Black and orange - a favourite combination of mine. Have you noticed that they have deepetched Jacqui's hair so that it looks like an upside down map of Tasmania? Actually, this, a little like the candidate is straight shooting, without her muddling of words and images.
Pirate Party Australia
Basically progressive, and I agree with them on most things, but their ideas on intellectual property are anti-artist and their views on tax are just idiotic.
Ok, the logo is cute, the pirate ship is cute, the font is good, and the layout good, if a little old fashioned. Its a little staid really - not what you expect from outlaws.

Pauline Hanson’s One NationHave you ever licked a gallbladder?
It galls me to say it, but good logo. Fortunately that is where it stops. Too many stock graphics. No visual breathing space, and justified text. Enough said.

Veterans Party Supporting veterans with no nonsense, no political game playing and absolutely no policies.
Looks more like a recruitment advert for the forces. They always say, one strong image is better than a whole lot of bad ones. Ain't that the truth.

Secular Party of Australia
Basically pretty great, but there are a couple of issues where the commitment to secularism starts to look a little like Islamophobia.
The imagery here just says 'We want your money'. Not sure that is a good way to introduce yourself to the public - unless you're a televangelist. Logo - do I have to say it?

I don’t agree with everything they say, but I’m not really their target audience. This is essentially the party that the National Party should be.
Blue and green again, really? Badly chosen template, and that logo needs to be shot. With a shotgun.

Socialist Equality Party
Trotskyists. Well-intentioned but fanatical. These are the people who never forgot that Che’s real first name was Ernest.
The site is quite mild mannered in design. That is almost a 'liberal' blue. Nice touches of red though.

Katter’s Australian Party
Uncle Ho and Margaret Thatcher cohabiting in a single mind.
Red, red, red. Reds all over the bed. We already know that Bob is deaf to nuance (shooting . . . Orlando). Apparently he is blind to colour as well. Other than that - a professional website.

Palmer United Party
The earth will shake violently, trees will be uprooted, mountains will fall, and all binds will snap – Palmer will be free. Palmer will go forth with his mouth opened wide, his upper jaw touching the sky and his lower jaw the earth, and he will swallow Odin in a single gulp. Flames will burn from his eyes and nostrils, and his sons will come after to swallow the sun and the moon.
That map of Australia is a crime against cartography, and vexillology (look it up). I love the meaninglessness of the slogan. I am surprised that they are still featuring the image of the morally (and possibly literally) bankrupt Clive.

Citizens Electoral Council
Possibly just straight-up insane. Climate deniers, but economically kinda socialist. Anti-Semitic and possibly white supremacist, but pro-immigration. They also claim that the Port Arthur massacre was commissioned by the British royal family and implemented by a mental health NGO.
Worst political website for this election. I would say it was designed by a server engineer, but that would be unfair to the design skills of server engineers. Just all types of wrong, which I suppose reflects their policies.

Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
The Eddie the Eagle of befuddled right-wing governance.
Blue and green again. Is this a thing? Other than that, if you can't design a good logo, just use the words - and they did (I'm ignoring the ubiquitous southern cross on the wrong angle at the top).

Animal Justice Party
Better people than me.
. . . and not to be confused with Animal Farm Justice Party. Logo looks like The Wilderness Society for animals. I know the image is about live exports, but cute cat video's are more loveable.

The Arts Party
Sound policies, surprisingly shitty logo. Come on Arts Party, you had one job to do.
What he said. One job. Menu wrapping is a crime.

Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
Fielded candidates for the last six Federal elections. Seventh time lucky, guys.
Couldn't organise a supervised visit - let alone a live website.

Mature Australia
Your racist Western Australian aunt.
OK this screen grab doesn't do it justice - looks like I timed it badly. Pretty logo, but what he said about the views. '2 cent tax' - they can't add up.

Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
The party’s charter is just a bunch of bible quotes. It’s like we’re in Pennsylvania in the fucking 17th Century.
They bought a good wordpress template, and a good shot of parliament house. Pity they didn't spend as much money or care on their depressingly unimaginative, and proportionally challenged logo.

Australian Sex Party
Are you turned on by sound economic and social policies with a strong evidence basis? Then number the box and put your ballot in the slot.
OK, you did well with the logo, but seriously - an industry that has some of the most imaginatively designed sex websites and you came up with this? Its definitely not sexy, and I'm not sure it makes people take you seriously either.

Australian Progressives
A broad suite of evidence-based best practice policies that only seems progressive because Australia is such a regressive ideological clusterfuck.
Great site - get rid of that horror of a logo.  It doesn't say 'progressive'. It says . . . oh sorry I fell asleep with a pen in my hand.

Nick Xenophon Team
A bit far to the right for me personally, but Xenophon has done exactly what an independent senator is supposed to do, and pretty close to exactly what he said he would do. Which is refreshing.
Oh South Australia, you are such contrarians, but you always did have good food, and good arts. You win a boutique non-industrial prize for the orange and black combo, and a reneable power commendation for making a name like 'Xenophon' into a brand.

Drug Law Reform
Single issue party focused on treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one. The stance seems well reasoned. It’s just a bit hard to take them seriously when their logo is a hemp leaf.
What he said about the logo. Some terrible images in that carousel, including a quote from Richard Branson. The green isn't even pretty.

Sustainable Australia
Formerly the Stable Population Party. They want a ‘sustainable’ population through lower immigration. If they actually cared about sustainability they’d be calling for a lower global population, but instead they’re calling for reduced population growth in a country with only 24 million people. Which means that what they are is simply racist.
Loathsome website, loathsome policies, loathsome logos.

The Greens
Yes, they wear suits now, but at least those suits are made from sustainable bamboo in a small Liberian social enterprise that sponsors education initiatives for orphaned girls.
I want to love the greens, but they have three things I am having trouble coming to grips with. The logo (OK, I can nearly forgive, as it has become their brand); this website (which commits several crimes against font usage, colour, and layout), and Lee Rhiannon. I support their ethos, but some of their policies (their small business policy from the last election seems to have disappeared) are just naive - like the design - those icons especially.

Australian Liberty Alliance
Angry Anderson (remember him? didn’t think so) vowing to stop the Islamisation of Australia. Last time I checked, Islam was holding steady at 2.2% of the population, so maybe one bald dickhead is all it takes to hold the hordes at bay.
A site designed last decade I think - or from when Angry Anderson last had a hit. Don't start me on the logo.

Renewable Energy Party
Single issue, seems good prima facie, but founded by Peter Breen, who was Ricky Muir’s only staffer for a time. I can’t figure out whether this is a good sign (Breen taught Muir how to be a halfway decent senator) or a terrible sign (how can someone go from the petrolhead party to a renewables party and expect to be believed?).
Like the look of this - simple and clean. Like clean energy - it takes a lot of work to make something look this simple.

Marijuana (HEMP) Party
Entirely about legalising weed, and there’s no suggestion that they’ve thought about a policy position on any other issues. My concern is that they’d side with anyone who takes snacks into the chamber
The design got all to hard, so they went for a smoke. Cheap shot, I know - but look at that site. Green and yellow. Really.

Anti-paedophile Party
Fair enough, but they’re also anti-sex education. So they’re imbeciles.
Unfortunately, this website looks as creepy as the people they say they oppose.

Oh, I'm exhausted! Believe me, this is more exhausting than actually filling out the Senate voting tablecloth.  Good luck tomorrow (June 2nd), and read the voting instructions, because they have changed.

I'm just looking forward to the time when the politicians of the two major parties work out that Australians do support smaller parties, and quite like when they have to discuss things with each other and argue policy. They actually don't like their government to be in total control like fascists. They like it when there is a multi-party approach to government.

Happy voting.