Los Angeles InDesign User Group
A Media Synthesis
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Roxbury Community Center Auditorium, 471 South Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90212
By Alvin Takamori
New Member of the Team
The Los Angeles InDesign User group, like many user groups, is purely a volunteer-run organization. The meetings don’t happen without individuals willing to donate their time and effort. We’re always seeking additional people who are able to make this commitment. With that in mind, we want to acknowledge Rocie Carrillo for being the latest to agree to help with some of the tasks needed at these meetings. Thank you, Rocie!
A Different Kind of Meeting
On Thursday, March 21, the Los Angeles InDesign User Group convened at the Roxbury Community Center Auditorium in Beverly Hills. We had a good turnout for our special guest presenter, who came all the way from Brighton, England. An internationally noted graphic designer, photographer, author and teacher, Nigel French shared some of his experience with us.
At many of our past meetings, the guest speakers covered a lot of how-to tips and tricks, and many are passed along in these summaries. However, if you wanted this kind of information from Nigel, you could read his books, his lessons on Lynda.com, or his columns in InDesign Magazine. On this occasion, Nigel focused on where his ideas and inspirations come from. Quite frankly, this was a meeting where you really had to be there to get the most out of it, because a lot of the material was visual, and this poor little summary will not do it justice.
What Nigel Had to Say
He began with an iconic series of images that was inspired by an assignment he gave his class. Using photos of interesting signs and taking a single letter or photographs of objects that look like a letter, he composed an image with the letters of the alphabet aligned in a grid. The completed image visually captured a feel for the place where the photos were taken. An alphabet comprised of photos taken in San Francisco had a very different look and feeling than an alphabet built using photos taken in Brighton, England.
His admiration for the photography of Tony Ray-Jones became the inspiration behind his series of photographs taken in the south coast of England. He re-creates the mood and attitude of the Ray-Jones pictures of the English by the sea. It captures people in quirky moments with an atmosphere of melancholy and a little nostalgia.
Nigel’s sources for Ideas came from many places. The cover of Bruce Springsteen’s album “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” was the template for a graphic Nigel created about Brighton Beach. Another Brighton related graphic that Nigel produced utilized a local icon, the seagull. He arranged a series of seagull photographs in a grid similar to his alphabet. The graphic was stylized in a manner reminiscent of old-time comic books.
One “how-to” tip that Nigel offered demonstrated how images extended outside the boundaries of their box. This was a good way to break up the monotony of a static grid. He achieved this by layering two copies of an image placed on top of each other. One image is cropped to fit the grid; the second is cropped with a clipping path or alpha channel to trace the outline of a selected object, which extends outside of its box.
Another grid arrangement of type was motivated by Nigel’s love of Scrabble. He put together all the officially accepted 2-letter words into one composition. Similar to his alphabet images, he photographed various signs to acquire the letter combinations he needed.
To manage the many photos he takes, Nigel creates smart collections in Lightroom. As he tags his images, if the information matches any of his smart collections, the photo is automatically added to the collection. Over time, the collections grow organically. As he takes more photographs, those with similar tags can suggest categories for new collections.
Letterpress printing, lithographs, and screenprinting processes which generate flattened areas of color informed the look of a series of images that Nigel created of old motels, gas stations, and fast food places, with a focus on the signage.
Song lyrics inspired the look and feeling behind some type-driven graphics. Text-speak became the design source for a set of throw pillows.
The genesis of a creative spark can come from anywhere. A lot of Nigel’s work is filtered through his interest in typography. But he also showed that where you live, what your interests are, the cultures you’re exposed to, or just an awareness of what is going on around you and what is happening in your life, can all be triggers for creative inspiration.
Conferences are a great source of new ideas. We auctioned off admission to a couple of them. Chris English, who placed the highest bid for the San Francisco “TYPO Conference” and Traci Larson, who bid the most for the “Mogo InDesign Seminar” will be receiving an inspirational boost.
Raffles and Prizes
We should all be inspired by Marius Badillo. He traveled all the way from Rancho Santa Margarita to attend this meeting of the Los Angeles InDesign User Group. His effort was rewarded with a one-year subscription to InDesign Magazine.
Winning could also be inspiring. So, the following individuals should be ‘pumped up!’ Norine Lukaczyk won a one-year subscription to InDesign Magazine. Jorge Velasquez won the software TypeDNA. Philip Postovoit received the book Digital Publishing with InDesign CS6. Chris English had 2 lucky raffle tickets and won iDML iPAD App for iPAD from DTP Tools and a 3-month subscription to Fotolia. A prize a lot of people covet, one year access to the Creative Cloud, was won by Jennie Zhu-Mai.
But the most inspirational winner was David Glover, who proved that the more raffle tickets you buy, the better your odds. Five times, raffle tickets with his numbers were pulled! He won admission to next month’s LA Web Professionals Group workshop “I’ve Got Word Press: Now What?” He won 3-month subscriptions to Stock Layouts and Fotolia. To top it off, David won software from Markzware and eDocker. Altogether David's winnings totaled over $2,000! Let this be a lesson to everyone: buy more raffle tickets.
Thanks to all the sponsors and donors of raffle prizes: Adobe, DTP Tools, eDocker, FontShop, Fotolia, HOW Magazine, InDesign Magazine, Markzware, Mogo Media, TypeDNA, Stock Layouts, O’Reilly Press, Peachpit Press.
The Los Angeles InDesign User Group is looking for a kick-ass T-shirt design so we're gonna have a competition. The shirts will be white and your design can have up to three spot colors. The theme or text is all up to you. You could include "Los Angeles InDesign User Group" or "LAID" or something else or no words at all. But the shirt should be appropriate for us and not just generic. What does the winner get? Why, a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, of course. Just kidding! Actually, we had thought the joy and satisfaction of creating LAID's official T-shirt would have been enough. But if we have to bribe you, then the winner will get a year's subscription to InDesign Magazine. Submit your design to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by private message on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/laidug.
Photoshop expert Stephen Burns will headline the next meeting of the Los Angeles InDesign User Group. It will take place Thursday, May 16, 2013, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Encino Woman’s Club, 4924 Paso Robles Ave., Encino, CA 91356. And that’s Woman’s Club, thank you, not Women’s Club. The clubhouse is two miles west of the 405, straight down Ventura Blvd. Parking is free and easy. You asked for the West Valley. You got it.
More on Stephen's topic later. But we've got a question: What would YOU like to hear a Photoshop expert discuss with a crowd of InDesign users?