Sunday, April 22, 2012

Font Lust & Other Graphic Desires

True Confession: I sometimes spend more time on the title graphics of my blog posts and preso title slides than I do writing the darn things! It's totally probably a Photoshop Elements / PicMonkey, Comic Life addiction - but I can quit at any time! 
But it's also all part of being a Presentation Ninja and an important:  

VIRAL SECRET! A graphically hot compelling title pic with a sexy font grabs your reader AND your audience!  
Therefore it follows, that a blog, article, preso, wiki, etc. with engaging related graphics & screenshots makes it more compelling. 
Graphic Design Delights
It's difficult to teach graphic design - but there are some tips that can elevate your look without breaking your budget. Killer fonts, a cool colour scheme, & arresting images make for a banging and desirable graphic presence. I touch on these concepts in my How to be a Presentation Ninja slidedeck embedded below. (Part of the Ninja series)
Here's the back story to my dirty little secret about Font Lust. It's probably not fair to admit that I judge presentations and websites by the kind of fonts they choose. And when I see a knockout combination font lust & graphic gorgeousness I fall in visual love - hard and quick! Yes, I'm that deeply shallow.  Enter Jesse Dee. About two years ago I started stalking errr following the amazing Jesse Dee on Slideshare. What really caught my eye about his work was a super slick clean preso he did linking marketing & Lady Gaga - which I totally stole for myself and adapted it (with his blessing, of course!). I got to thinking how much that preso could be related to education marketing and branding & now it's my most requested keynote preso! \\FTW!// 
Yes, Fonts can be SEXY!
But it was also his use of this font ...this gorgeous lickable HOT font that REALLY caught my eye. I daringly wrote him asking what it was and he kindly replied that it was called. NEUTRAFACE from House Industries.

Sadly, hot can be expensive! Neutraface Display: $150.00 the whole suite is $275. But after drooling over it for years - yeah...I gave in & got it. So, expect to see it a LOT in my work! LOL
PLEASE Do NOT Use This Font!  EVER! 
OR Try to Stop the Habit, Right Now!

Don't want to spend your own $ on fonts? That's ok! Check out Da Font!

1001 Free Fonts - ugly site - gorgeous fonts!

Another great resource - I pinned it to my Graphic (Design) Desires board on Printerest 11 days ago (& thanks Matthew for reminding me in your AWEsome coment!) It's fab! Check it out!
So, what fonts should you choose? Here are some suggestions! A big thanks to Jennifer LaGarde for turning me onto Indy Pimp - it had me a the name but it kept me coming back for its sticky sick-like awesomeness!

It should come as no surprise that colour effects mood. What holds true with fashion, clothing, and interior design translates to graphic & web design, too! But how to choose?

Still can't pick a scheme? Go to and check out the "most loved" and popular palettes there!

I even made my own personalized colour palette & named it The Daring Librarian! W00t! It's FREE and it's Fun! Why not build your own palette of colours that turn you on!?

As you can probably guess from visiting this blog or going to some of my other websites:

Whatever complimentary colours float your boat! 
Now...let's talk Pics!

(ps. that font above is American Typewriter!)

Of course my favourite source for FREE images is Flickr Creative Commons! Particularly I searchAttribution Noncommercial Share Alike Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License for cool images!
Can't find just what you want? How about you animate them? This does take extra work but I have help & directions in this blog and on my Daring Tech Wiki!

For the most badass customizable images - take screen shots in Second Life! NOT for the faint of heart! It's a real tough learning curve, Second Life is!

Here's an example where I took out my pirate airship & dressed up for the "photo shoot" and the final product for the cover image our Australia speaking tour wiki. Pretty cool, huh? But you can see I'm a better dresser in SL than airship pilot, though!
Just want to get what you want? You're gonna have to

I really like iStock photo for this beacuse it was really hard to find the Ninja pics I really NEEDED! But that's ok, you're worth it! ;-)

See? How cool is this?

Now...your preso is AWESOME because you have killer fonts & arresting images! Shamelessly Share it with Slideshare!

And maybe if your preso catches the eye of the Slideshare peeps something VIRAL may happen! Check this out!

I'm still gobsmacked & reeling from the coolness of that! WOW! View the Transparency slidedeck here! Then a friend told me that Viral wasn't 100K anymore but a million! GAH! Honestly though, Slideshare is an amazing site that allows easy uploading & embedding of presentations, documents, zipcasts. I did go PRO this year using my school email addy to get an Educators discount! (look at the bottom of the table for education pricing)

Thanks for reading I hope these tips help & you also drink the graphic desire koolaid! Check out the whole preso by viewing:
How to be a Presentation Ninja
View more presentations from gwyneth jones

I invite you to comment on what are your favourite fonts & graphic DESIGN desires?
(keep it clean! LOL)

Credits & Resources:
See examples of some of my graphic design desires in this Flicrk set!

New discovery: Lost Type Co-Op by Curly Red (Obviously, I already love her!)
Comic Sans is a crime.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Transparency is the New Black

I've written about the importance web presence and transparency since I started this blog. (and I apologize for my early over use of ellipses & lack of the shift key!) Now, more than ever, education professionals must be visible and transparent in what they do and with their program and practice. It's easy to become overwhelmed with the thought of building a web presence from scratch -- but it's easy to fashion a fabulous functional digital footprint with a few easy pieces! Listed in priority order, ease of establishment & use, and the ever important commitment and difficulty factor! All my humble opinion, of course!

Now, before we start I gotta add that this is by NO MEANS a checklist of 8 social media things you have to do! No social media guilt from me or my blog dear friend! Consider it a dim sum dinner or perhaps an ala carte menu, grab one new tasty plate or two! ! Just try one of the 8 to see which you like best- and always I would say, start with a Wiki! Sure, lib guides and live binders are good - but for ease of use and day to day webby goodness nothing beats a wiki!
(Disclaimer: the daring librarian is a non-compensated spokesperson - she's just a wikispaces fan!)

Wikispaces are FREE for educators to easily create wikipages & connect with your students and community. Choose a Everyone can view pages, only wiki members can edit them. Add widgets, graphics, play with the look & feel to make it fit your personality & school!

I've blogged about Twitter so often for a reason. Until you feel the power of it by following EdTech leaders and subject specific chat's it's hard to believe how amazingly powerful it is!
There's a small learning curve to it, that's why I created a Twitter 101 Flickr Gallery for the newbie & visual learner!

Speaking of Flickr - I Love Me Some Flickr! Sure, I started with Smugmug in 2004 (and still have it) but Flickr has captured my heart - the ease of uploading, tagging, comments, sharing, the Creative Commons! AND, it's great for sharing digital images with students, parents, and colleagues! It rocks! I'm just worried that with Google buying Picnik & leaving Flickr now Yahoo might screw up its totally awesome creation. But nothing so awesome could just go away, right? (tries not to think of backflip & knocks on wood)

If you're a regular reader of this blog you know how I've had an on again - off again relationship with the Facebook. We're seeing other people right now and I've settled on Google+ but that nonwithstanding, I DO believe Facebook is where our kids & parents are so we should at least have a local page for our school with links to our main school website, office hours, phone numbers, and community announcements. To do this, I created a special Gmail addy account so that it can be passed on & to share with my Administrator and to not have it personally tied to me. It's like a Facebook surrogate! Keeps me there, but Facebook clean & no poking!

I'm on LinkedIn but I don't do much there - it's just another way parents, colleagues, and the world can find me and my main websites. It's like a funnel - it steers people to where you really are active! It's also like a cactus - it grows but you don't have to "water" it often!

YouTube has grown SO much since I joined in 2006 - now I have a full fledged channel! We also have one for our school - using the same email address we did our Facebook local page. YouTube has added really amazing new editing features and closed captioning tools AND has created the new YouTube EDU division - just for schools! For video uploading that won't get blocked also try SchoolTube!

My district is going Google next year and I am SO psyched! Of course, being a Google Certified Teacher I'm a big fan of all the amazing Google apps for Education! From Google forms, docs (Mmm the cloud!), spreadsheets, and now Play - there are SO many ways for educators to enhance and streamline their day to day life with Google!

Finally - to Blog or Not to blog? That is the question!
OK, first I'm sorry for that... but doggone it! Blogging is a struggle for sure! I would say only start blogging if you have a true burning desire & this posting with blog tips can help but it's a long term relationship - fraught with internal guilt. NOT for the faint of heart. I REALLY hate blogs with post after post that start with "I'm sorry I haven't blogged lately but (insert lame excuse here) but even *I* am struggling with the desire to explain why the whole month of March got away from me -without posting! (lame excuses: grieving, Maryland state standardized testing & bronchitis) SEE? I just broke my own rule! It's anguish! It's a pain! It's mostly self-created though - be strong if you blog! Blogging makes you also feel as exposed as walking down a catwalk in a bodysuit and takes a lot of nerve and determination. But, it's also very rewarding.

I mean, here I am, on my spring break sitting at the beach in Delaware and catching up on my blog?! (I have 3 posts in the works) I know, that's Cra Cra, right? So, why do I do it? Because I have a burning desire to share and connect with my PLN - that's you! Because it helps me remember what I did when & how I did it. The word Blog came from slurring together the term Web & Log - it's a log or diary of my days & teaching practice. I also blog because if I can help just one new teacher or librarian, or cheer up a discouraged one - then it's all worth it! I like being a perky effin Pollyana cheerleader for education & I like stirring the pot! I'm passionate about my profession & it's fun to share it! And I obviously like using an abundance of exclamation points!!! But I gotta tell you that I blogged for YEARS out into the aethernet silence - like writing to no one - but I kept at it. You don't blog for comments either! They are the gold nuggets of blogging - greatly desired but Oh so RARE! (by the way, thanks to everyone who ever left a comment! loveyoumeanit!) One more tip for blogging: Always use labels & keywords - I didn't for YEARS now it's a pain to find old posts & it helps with SEO! (Search Engine Optimization)
Basically, You have to blog for you. Because it's somehow satisfying - because you must.
To recap:

What did I forget? What is your favourite way to connect with your students & community? What advice would you give to new educators to establishing a web presence? As always, dears - Take, Use, Share!(view all the slides on my Flickr)

Here's the whole preso uploaded on my Slidesshre!

But it's not the same without my charmingly snarky delivery! Demand your conference planners to bring me to your venue! ;-) (shameless bit o baggage ain't I?)
See me in person!And if you're attending the Baltimore Maryland Common Ground event, these slides are just a part of a pre-event workshop I'm presenting there along with my concurrent session on Thursday:

And here's our old rusty friend Sir Bolt, to tell us more about our ISTE affiliate event, Common Ground!

Resources & Credits:
201+ Social Media Links - Don't Hate the Hashtag!

Cybraryman's Educational Hashtags

Fashion Show Pics:
A huge thanks to Tug Wilson of the UK for his amazing shots of a fashion show at the Victorian & Albert Museum! See it in action with this amazing video!
Thank you, Tug for making these pictures Creative Commons & I've given you attribution on the bottom right of every slide.

Featured Font: Neutraface by House Industries a recent splurge to my graphic design desires


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