I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

You should follow me on Twitter here.

For more, check out the archives.

The Ampersand
A cute little blog dedicated to respresentations of the beloved Ampersand.

The Trouble With EM ‘n EN (and Other Shady Characters)
Do you know the three types of dashes? Peter Sheering has a quick tutorial on the proper use of dashes as well as other typographic details on the web.

Setting Web type to a baseline grid “This article covers the basics of baseline grids”defined grid areas within which content is placed”and how they can be applied effectively to the web medium.”

Figuring It Out: OF, LF, and TF Explained
“Numerals (or figures) can take various forms. The figure style you choose ought to be appropriate to the project you are working on. Readability is key. But which style is best for which purpose?”

I’ve been swamped, but I hope you have a good weekend!

My typical work day is 9:30 to 7:30. Often, my work bleeds into my “off hours”. This isn’t helped by instant messengers, twitters, tiny laptops, and my fancy new 3G iPhone. If someone “needs” me for a random assignment in the wee hours, I’m just a few buttons away–just a tug of the electronic dog leash.

So, the next time you’re twittering away at 1am grumbling about some project you’re working on, think about the benefits of a 9 to 5 job:

  1. A life outside of work
    At 5pm, you’re free to do whatever you want–except work. That means you’ve got time to cook dinner, go to the gym, see the sun set, or go on a hot date. In other words, you get a life.

  2. Less stress
    Since work ends at a consistent time everyday, you spend fewer brain cells worrying about work when you shouldn’t be. Less worry means more happiness. I don’t need to cite the countless studies on this one.

  3. Greater efficiency
    When you bracket your work day, you force yourself to work efficiently. It’s like having a deadline everyday at 5pm. No matter how long the work day is, you’ll find ways to fill it up. Why? According to Parkinson’s law, because you can. Firmly holding yourself to an 8 hour day means you’ve got to prioritize and negotiate your tasks.

It must be possible to be an excellent and passionate designer while working only 9 to 5, right? Is anyone else doing this? Or am I chasing a unicorn?

Wordscraper

Today, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla resurrected their recently murdered Scrabulous app under a new name, Wordscraper. This incarnation works much like the original, with a few significant differences:

  1. You can create your own board layout (this includes layouts based on the original Scrabble board), or you can generate a random one.
  2. You can share your boards with others.
  3. The board uses circles instead of squares.
  4. You can add “premium” circles that quadruple or pentuple your words and letters.

In short, it’s Scrabble on steroids. Not shying from an unfortunate situation, the Agarwalla brothers used their technical prowess to create a game that’s even more fun and robust than the original.

They made lemonade out of lemons. What every designer must do.

Click to continue

iPhone Pocket

Remember that little coin pocket in your jeans that you never use? Turns out, it’s the perfect size for your iPhone.

The mini pocket keeps your Precious close to you while protecting it from scratchy keys and objects in your main pocket. No need for a stupid holster or bulky case.

I’ve tested jeans from Gap, G-Star, Levi’s, and H&M. All fit the 3G iPhone perfectly, though some pockets were deeper than others.

Other brands might not fit. So before buying your next pair of jeans, check and make sure it supports your iPhone. I can imagine the “Approved for iPhone” stickers at Urban Outfitters already.

Check out this 1956 TV interview of Charles Eames, featuring the debut of the classic Eames Lounge Chair:

Half a century later, it’s still amazing.

I especially love the video of the chair’s assembly, and of course, the special appearance by Ray Eames at the end.

Thanks to Hugh for sending this my way.

I’m seeing a lot of design portfolios with titles like “Beyond Imagination” or “Passions” or “Reflections” or “Curiosity.” With all these vaguely conceptual names, it’s like taking a nauseating stroll through the Macy’s perfume department.

Instead of titling your portfolio like the latest celebrity scent, why not just use your own name? Here’s my rationale:

When applying for a job, you want your potential boss to remember one thing–your name. They are hiring you, not “Beyond Imagination” or “Passions” or “Reflections” or “Curiosity.” In short, your name is your brand. Presenting any brand other than your own creates confusion and dilutes your name.

So don’t be tempted to overbrand everything. Keep your portfolio simple, and don’t bury your own beautiful name. Love it. Own it. Flaunt it.

Okay, I have to rant. AT&T will be charging existing iPhone users an $18 dollars to upgrade to the iPhone 3G. This is in addition to the price of the new iPhone plus the increased voice and data rates.

In short, if you’ve been a loyal AT&T customer, you’re getting a penalty to upgrade.

Once the iPhone makes it way to other carriers, I’m switching. Sadly, it won’t happen soon enough.

Trisha asks:

Should I omit any positions I have held for less than a year or insignificant ones? What is your opinion? I would rather explain a gap, like moving or staying at home with the kids, than explain why I left something after only 4 months.

If it’s not relevant, leave it out.

Think of your resumé as a story. When editing, ask yourself: “Does my resumé tell a compelling and coherent story about what I can offer?”

For example, say you spent two months apprenticing under a master chef in Paris, learning the intricacies of creme brulée and yummy strawberry tarts. If you’re applying for a pastry chef position in New York, then you’ve got a fantastic story to tell. No matter how short the time frame is, you should include it.

On the other hand, if you were only a temp doing data entry at a boring dotcom in Silicon Valley, it’d be a tougher story to tell. In that case, I’d leave it out.

Tip: if you’re in the creative field, explaining gaps is easy–you were freelancing.

Got a question you want answered on LifeClever? Just ask!

Posterous

If you’re looking for a ridiculously dead-simple blogging tool, check out Posterous.

Just send an email to post@posterous.com, and bam! Instant blog for you and everyone to love. No signups, no special tools, no fancy bells and whistles. It’s perfect for aspiring photo bloggers who don’t need all the extras.

Thomas, our new designer at DDO, just started his own photo blog in less than one minute–using only his iPhone.

Thomas will be participating in Basics in Design program at the legendary Basel School of Design. It’ll be hardcore swiss design action for the summer, and we look forward to getting frequent updates via his new blog.

Thanks to my friend and former boss, Patrick Au-Yeung, for sending this my way.

Mike from New York wrote:

Just a quick note of thanks! I was layed off several weeks ago and was looking for the latest resume styles on the internet when I stumbled onto your site. I downloaded your (very handsome) format as a starting point and sent out a couple dozen copies. I had hits on nearly a quarter of them – a remarkable hit rate in my book considering the very poor economy here in the northeast.

At the ensuing interviews I was complimented nearly every time on “my” resume style. I couldn’t tell them I downloaded it from you lock-stock-and-barrel, but I do want to thank you for putting your excellent work out there for us non-graphics wise shlubs.

Best of all, I received two offers of employment yesterday (a very lucky Friday the thirteenth, indeed!) alone, both for vastly more than I had been making. The interview gets the job, but the resume gets the interview, so I do want to thank you for your thought and effort on the subject. Nice job!

Thanks for the gracious note, Mike. I’m glad to have done a small part.

Click here to check out the resumé template.

Johnny Bunko

I just finished reading The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. It’s brilliant. And I’m now going on a crusade to make it required reading in every high school and college curriculum.

The book is by Daniel H. Pink, and you’ll find it in your bookstore’s business section. But this ain’t your ordinary Deepak Chopra mumbo jumbo. Instead, the slim book packs in six illuminating career lessons, cleverly told as a manga comic book. That’s right–it has pictures.

The manga follows Johnny Bunko, a young accountant sick of his mundane job and unable to break free–kinda like Fight Club. Through the miracle of uh, magic chopstikcs, Johnny unleashes a cute fairy that guides him through the secrets of a sastifying career.

I won’t spoil the rest, but here’s a glimpse of the six lessons:

  1. There is no plan.
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
  3. It’s not about you.
  4. Persistence trumps talent.
  5. Make excellent mistakes.
  6. Leave an imprint.

You can get a bigger sneak peak on Johnny Bunko’s official site:

If you’re looking to get unstuck from your soul-sucking career, then this book is a must read.

Note: I love my job. :-). I read this for research.

iPhone Antenna

Ever wonder where the iPhone antenna was hidden? Here’s Apple’s official answer:

Clever iPhone engineering integrates those antennas into a few unexpected places: the metal ring around the camera, the audio jack, the metal screen bezel, and the iPhone circuitry itself.

Amazing.

With all that ingenuity, it’s a shame Apple will force in-store activations on its buyers.

Thanks to Ryan at DDO for pointing this out.

Holger Struppek, Design Director at Hot Studio and formerly of Pentagram, has a nice case study showcasing the redesign of Wells Fargo’s ATM interface.

Check it out:

Wells Fargo ATM Redesign

Wells Fargo ATM Redesign

Wells Fargo ATM Redesign

Maybe, it’s time for me to ditch Bank of America. Read and see more images of the project here.

It’s great to see examples of design like this–mundane, everyday experiences improved through design.

Click to continue

Wanna know how much dough designers make? Check out the AIGA Survey of Design Salaries. Results for 2008 are out.

It’s dubbed “definitive,” but take it all with a grain of salt.

You can view the results on their site or download the PDF.

Stephanie Orma

The world has enough interviews of rock star designers, so I’m interviewing everyone else–designers who are happy, without the fame.

Let’s start Stephanie Orma, a former student from my alma mater, the California College of the Arts. I first met her when I was a TA for Jim Faris’s information design class.

I recently caught up with Stephanie and asked her a few questions about her struggles, inspirations, and future:

Click to continue

It’s May and that means graduation time. Congrats to all the students leaving college to become professional designers.

I’m working on a series of posts geared towards new design graduates. But first, I’d like to know what aching questions you have now that you’re fresh out of school. What useful advice do you need? What do you want to know about finding a job? What worries you the most?

No questions are stupid, so speak up. Email me, or post your questions in the comments. I’ll pick out the compelling ones and answer them in future posts.