I like the striking black and white vector shapes of Naissance's splash page. The grayish blue adds subtle depth.

CS4's Rotate View Feature

Right up there with my other favorite Photoshop and InDesign features is the new CS4 Rotate View feature. Rotate View is an invaluable tool that allows non-destructive rotation of an InDesign spread or an image in Photoshop. It's great for CD/DVD digipak designs, complicated multi-fold brochures, really anything that needs to be rotated temporarily.

Photoshop's Rotate View feature allows free rotation to any angle. This is especially convenient for visually straightening crooked photos before cropping. To use the Rotate View feature:

  1. Open an image in Photoshop and select the Rotate View tool (it's the hand with the rotate motion).
  2. To freely rotate the image, click on your image and drag the image in the direction you'd like to rotate it. A compass appears and shows both true north and the current rotation.
  3. To rotate your image an exact amount, enter the amount in the Rotation Angle box.
  4. To clear the rotation, click the Reset View button.

InDesign's Rotate View feature is limited to 90° CW, 90° CCW and 180° rotations. To use the Rotate View feature:

  1. Open a document in InDesign and select View > Rotate View and choose 180° or one of the other angles. In the Pages panel, the rotated page or spread will display a little symbol next to it, confirming that spread is rotated.
  2. To remove the rotation, select View > Rotate View > Clear Rotation. The Rotate View command is also available on the fly out menu on the Pages panel.

Another huge CS4 improvement is Photoshop's sharp preview at any zoom size. It's not always as perfectly sharp as advertised, but it's so much better than before and another of my favorite CS4 features.

The Book of Dead Philosophers

I first noticed the cover design for The Book of Dead Philosophers because the size was so unusual. I don't usually see books that narrow and it really stood out to me on the shelf. The book within a book concept is clever and the whole design is very creative with white space, perspective, proportions.

Afghan Star poster

This documentary poster stood out for me because it's so subtle. The colors are subdued, the vector art and ornamentation minimalist, the font appropriate for the topic. The design ties together all of these pieces and becomes a total greater than the sum of its parts. Beautiful, simple, full of impact.

Harney & Sons Tea Boxes

I saw theses boxes of tea in Barnes & Noble yesterday and the colors are even more beautiful in person. I love rich and vibrant jewel tone colors and these tea boxes are certainly colorful. The subtle typography and ornate embellishments let the color take center stage.

Haikus and Warnock Pro

"A picture is worth a thousand words." Does that also mean that a thousand words are worth a picture? What about 17 syllables? Surprisingly, quite a clear picture can be created from beautifully short haiku - poems limited to 17 syllables.

About the font: Warnock Pro is another favorite font of mine. I love the quirky serifs and the modern interpretation of classic serif style. The italics have a lot of character and sharpness.

P.S. Just for fun, create your own haiku with the click of a button at Everypoet. The results are hilarious!

Getting to the Real Adobe Help Files

When I go to for help in InDesign, I want to search the official Adobe InDesign help document to find my answers. It's not so simple anymore.

The default InDesign help search takes you to Adobe's website where your search gets clogged with extra (and often irrelevant) results from community and other Adobe site sections. So here's how to get to the REAL help files. Once you set this, you'll never have to worry about it again.

  1. Click on the each of the following links to open the original help document search pages for CS4: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustator
  2. Up top near the search box, check the box marked "This Help system only" and at the bottom check the radial button "Help on the Web (product Help system only)." This will set your Help preferences for all future searches.

Try to See it My Way

Here's another creative photograph on a book cover. The little hearts on the apple and orange add interest and emotion to this cover. Adorable! I've only started reading it but it's an excellent book so far.

1891 by Sferra

I like the ultra simple packaging on these linens from Sferra, especially the die-cut shape and the 1891 typography. Beautiful pattern on the linens too.

What are those die-cut shapes called? Stamps, seals, decorative shapes, borders? If there's a specific name for that category of design items, I don't know it. I could probably find some great free resources online, if only I knew what they were called...

Chocolate packaging

I like these two examples of modern and abstract chocolate packaging, especially the colored tab on the Cocoa Bar design and the interesting pattern and muted typography on the Cadbury Melt chocolate.

MADart at Etsy

I like the combination of sharp lines and heavy textural backgrounds in these paintings. Gorgeous use of color too! From MADart at Etsy: Preening Peacock, Aqua Burn, A Taste for Beauty