5 Basics of Design Explained

Today we will be talking design on this once defunct, now revived blog. Recently i have been reading more and more about the basics of design and i believe i am finally at a point where i am able to impart this knowledge onto others. Firstly, one important concept you should consider when designing anything is the alignment of the objects or content of your masterpiece. Alignment allows you to control the movement of the eyes of the viewer through subtle hints or sharp lines. By aligning many objects that are far away from each other you create the connection and sense of unity.

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Repetition is a design concept most often used in textures or patterns, but you can still find examples of it in most any well-designed piece. By tying together individual elements through use of repetition, it brings forth a sense of association and consistency. Repetition is widely used in branding and websites, where a repetitive message is necessary to solidify yourself in the minds of your customers.

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Proximity of objects or items in your composition to each other is as important as the color or shape of the object itself. Proximity is a great tool to create a sense of organization. Proximity doesn’t necessarily mean your items need to be placed close together, but they should be connected visually somehow, be it through font color or size or anything.

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Value allows you to emphasize the main elements of your design, value happens when two items are opposite each other, either through fonts or lines or shapes. Value can help guide a user around your website, helping them to find the most important elements of your site with ease. Adjusting the value of your design elements is a great way to up the wow-factor of your page or design.

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And finally balance, balance can help provide a sense of structure and stability to your composition. Its the weight that needs to be evened out across your entire piece. Balance can be as simple as 1 big object on one side, many smaller objects on the other, or as complicated as you can possibly imagine. As long as it provides the sense that both sides carry the same weight, it should visually agree with the viewer

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Such balance, much wow.

Blog day 9: Wildcard city

For today’s blog, we will deviate from the norm for a moment to speak about something that is very important to me as a person, and this is illegal badger immigration.

Since the early 1970’s hordes of badgers and badger cubs alike have been illegally crossing the border to the south. They make their way in droves, one by one scampering up to the colossal border wall, and effortlessly badger-hopping over to freedom. Some of the older badgers hoist their babies up and over, ensuring a safe Canadian future for their young.

These north american badgers all find shelter underground, living in burrows sometimes called “setts”, some live alone, but others have been known to form clans of between two to fifteen cuddly little badgers. Badgers are nocturnal creatures, meaning they prefer to be awake at night, and sleep during the day. The top speed of the badger is approximately 25-30kph for short bursts. Badgers eat mainly earthworms, grubs, insects and the eggs of ground-nesting birds.

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It is unknown to us why the United States raised such a harsh ban on badgers and badger related products in 1969. It was Richard Nixon himself who was said to have given the order. On that day, the great badger displacement began. Young and old badgers alike scampered for the borders, some fleeing easily and others being trapped and used to create high-end coats. Badger life in the United States has never been the same since that day. Many of the badger population was able to make it to either Mexico, Canada or into the oceans. Sadly, the badgers that were unable to escape have long since been forgotten.

For these reasons we must continue to aid the badger peoples in their struggle to re-enter all countries across the globe. Let us end the reign of the anti-badger sentiment.

What do you think? Like/hate badgers as much as i do? Feel free to comment, or dont.

Blog 8: Those Loud-Chewers

Loud chewing in modern society, does it have a place?

How often do you find yourself out at a fancy restaurant, enjoying a masterfully-crafted meal when your peaceful moment is broken by the loud, disgusting sucking noises coming from the person across the aisle from you. You wonder how a human being could turn the act of eating a meal into some unholy massacre, and then notice the way they chew their food. Slurping, slapping and grunting the entire way. It is at this point that i’ve lost the entirety of my appetite, and need to step out of the restaurant for some fresh air and recovery time.

What is it that causes this inability to enjoy a meal quietly? Why do some of us feel the need to alert everyone within a square kilometer to our noisy feasting? From what i understand, scientists have been researching this topic since the dawn of time.

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The name given to this particular condition is “misphonia”. The literal meaning is “hatred of ordinary sounds”. Misphonia isnt just limited to eating noises though, they just seem to be the most common triggers. Some individuals are driven mad by the sound of fingers tapping or pets licking themselves. There is also a suspected strong link to tinnitis, or “ringing of the ears”.

As of 2015, there is no known “cure” for misphonia, but there are several steps you can take to lessen the horrible experience. Putting on some sort of background noise during meal times can help, or just leaving the room is always an option. In reality though, the best way to “get over it” is simply to learn to accept the noise as part of living with other people. Embrace it as something that is a part of your life, and maybe, in time tuning it out will be easier than you previously thought.

If you’d like to share your loud-chewer story, or even your coping mechanism, feel free to add to the comments section.

Blog Day 7: Leatherback Sea Turtles

Leatherback Sea Turtles: Natures wizard kings

Where would we as a planet be without the majesty of the Leatherback Sea Turtle? I personally don’t want to live in a world devoid of these wondrous beauties. The way they laugh, dance and sing is too fantastic to ignore.

Relatives of modern leatherback turtles have been around in some form since the first “true” sea turtles evolved 110 million years ago. They are easily differentiated from other turtles because they don’t have a bony outer shell. Other names for this type of turtle are “leathery turtle” and “trunk turtle”.

The legion of sea turtles didn’t gain notoriety as a formidable group of predators until roughly the 4th century A.D. when the esteemed Magician Turtle Prince banished all turtle predators from the oceans for displeasing his holiness, The Turtle Pope. The Turtle Kingdom remained at peace for several centuries, until an impromptu gathering of vagabond, misfit ocean life was able to will the once-exiled orca whale predators back into our plane of existence.

It was during this time of peace that the nation of turtles, or “Turtle Nation” was able to build its many ocean castles and deep-water shrines to their almighty turtle gods. Turtoculese, Turtilliation, and even Tursephone were represented, each recreated using a painstaking sculpting process, known as “Leatherback Fusion”. The ocean floor villages stretched onward, sometimes as far as the eye could see. Rumor has it that a young leatherback sea turtle could begin swimming at dawn, and not reach the far end of the village until dusk. The villages and populations were simply that massive.

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Sadly, the time of turtle peace was not meant to last. Somewhere around the year 990 A.D. a derelict pack of orca whales were discovered in the Pacific Ocean. Slowly over time these orcas reproduced and regained control of a portion of the waters from the hedonistic turtle peoples. As orcas are the natural predator of the leatherback sea turtle, there was not much our glamorous kings could do to fight back. One by one, turtle kingdoms began to fall to wave after wave of orca cavalry. It was all over within 100 years, every trace of the once-great Turtle Nation had been destroyed.

Let the tragedy of the turtle people serve as a lesson about excess and the effect it has on a population, even a population as lovable as a cuddly group of sea-faring leather kings. Godspeed Turtle Nation, where ever you may take root next.

I know I’ll be waiting…

Blogosphere Day 6: Social Media and Bullying

Social Media and Bullying: Helping or Hurting?

The year is 2012 and 15 year old Amanda Todd has just committed suicide in her home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Hours before her death, Amanda had posted a video to YouTube. In this video, she used a series of flash cards to share her story of being blackmailed online, bullied and physically assaulted.

In her video, she wrote that she was in seventh grade when she was searching for people to chat with using a online video chat service. A stranger coaxed her,after many months of trying, to flash him on camera. Todd complied and the stranger took a screen-shot of the image, and began blackmailing her and threatening to share the image with her family and friends. She wrote that she suffered from anxiety, depression and a panic disorder because of the harassment of this online stranger.

Todd’s family tried moving away to escape, but the stranger was crafty, one year later he reappeared by starting a new Facebook profile for Todd, using the topless image as a profile picture. The online stranger went as far as to add students from her new school, and the kids took this new-found information and ran with it. Todd was bullied into changing schools for a second time. She attempted suicide by drinking bleach after months of severe depression but she survived, only to find messages on her Facebook wall, taunting her for her failed attempt. She began to self-mutilate, overdosed on anti-depressants and was hospitalized for two days.

Upon leaving the hospital, the kids at school spread rumors she was in a mental institution and began to call her “psycho”. The same day she was released she was found dead, hanging in her room.

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Todd’s suicide prompted a national discussion on the criminalization of cyberbullying. A motion was also introduced to propose a study of the scope of bullying in Canada, as well as additional funding and support for anti-bullying organizations.

In the case of Amanda Todd it is very clear that social media aided the stranger in harassing her. Social media sites like Facebook allowed him to keep track of her location, which school she was attending,  and allowed him to spread private information to her classmates.

Social Media can be a tool for good in the campaign against bullying. It can help connect like-minded people, can aid in the formation of anti-bullying groups and can spread the message like wildfire. Unfortunately it also allows people to stalk or harass others from across the globe, and share private information. Ultimately, in my opinion, it comes down to a question of morals. If decent people are using social media it can be a fantastic tool for good, but if the wrong people are abusing it, people can get very very hurt, or worse.

It all boils down to: Practice empathy.

Comments, criticisms, questions? Anything goes.

Blog party: Day 5; The Wrath of Dancin’ Gabe

If I were to mindlessly walk the streets of Winnipeg, Manitoba, asking passerby’s if they had heard the legend of mighty “Dancin’ Gabe”, I don’t think too many people would ask “who?”. For as long as I’ve been able to remember, Gabe “Dancin’ Gabe” Langois has been dancing in the stands at NHL games in our city. Riling up the crowds, raising morale in the building and having a great time doing it.

Gabe has been the topic of a fair amount of press buzz lately, especially in the NHL 17 community. Three Winnipeg Jets’ fans (Quinnton Daerden, Steven Rivest and Ethan Patrick) are pushing hard for EA Sports to include Gabe in their next video game.

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The idea came up after the trio noticed the Vancouver “green men” in the video crowds of NHL 16, and posed the question, “why not Dancin’ Gabe?”.  If Vancouver’s unofficial mascot can cement their places in the video game franchise, then Winnipeg’s Dancin’ Gabe should be able to as well.

When asked, even Winnipeg Jets players answered that Gabe absolutely should be in the next iteration of the game. Gabe is as much a part of the hockey experience here in Winnipeg as official mascot, Mick E. Moose. Jets Right Wing Chris Thorburn states “I know he means a lot to the home base and the fan base here so I can understand why Winnipeggers would want him on the EA game”

Currently the online petition has more than 4000 signatures, but needs over 5000 to be considered by Electronic Arts.

“Ive never gone in a video game before and it’s a dream come true”, said Gabe in an interview earlier this week.

How do you feel about Dancin’ Gabe appearing in a video game? What effect will this have on the Jets, or even Winnipeg as a whole? All i know for sure is, next year ill be at the release party for NHL 17 in my Dancin’ Gabe jersey, hopefully celebrating his milestone.

Feel free to sign the online petition here

Winnipeg Drivers: The eternal struggle. Blog Day 4

There is a sign just outside the city limits that states “Welcome to Winnipeg!” in big bold letters, but in any motorists opinion, it might just as well say “Welcome to Hell”.

Actually, “hell” is putting it too lightly. Winnipeg drivers truly are a special breed all their own. Where else can you find people that are so oblivious to the cars they have to share the roadway with.

At the root of the problem, I believe, is selfish behavior. Most people on the road are entirely focused or concerned with where they themselves are going, what they have to accomplish, and how they can get there as fast as possible. These people could care less about other vehicles on the road, let alone other drivers. I cant even being to count how many times I’ve been cut off or had someone abruptly brake in front of me for seemingly no reason at all.

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Next up we have the classic “Road Ragers”, the drivers (or pedestrians) who erupt into a white-hot ball of fury when something doesn’t go their way, or when they are on the receiving end of someone else’s ignorance. It is usually these people who will confront the offending driver, sometimes with vulgar slang, sometimes with a well placed middle-finger, and other times with a metal baseball bat to the front windshield. I think we can all agree its best to keep these people happy, for the good of everyone.

Keep in mind, this is all happening during the spring/summer/fall months, we haven’t even gotten into the joy of winter driving yet. Wintertime, where the slush and snow and ice combine to turn our once chaotic city streets into an even more turbulent game of Russian roulette. As winter tires are not mandatory in Winnipeg, the majority of stop signs turn into a game of chance. “Will i stop this time? Will I just plow through this intersection at 40km/h and take the life of a wandering snow-monkey or ice-bat?” These questions and more haunt the minds of drivers every day in Winnipeg. Winter in Winnipeg is arguably some of the most difficult conditions to drive under for even experienced drivers.

What I’m trying to say is, basically, self-driving cars can’t get here quick enough. Help us, “Google Driverless Car”, you’re our only hope.

The Problem With Selfies: Day 3

The Selfie. Quite the polarizing topic these days.

Some people love it, they go out of their way to purchase plastic extensions, known as “selfie sticks” to increase the distance between their camera and themselves, truly dedicated to the art of taking the perfect selfie.

On the other hand, some people hate it. For certain individuals, the act of witnessing a selfie session is, simply put, rage-inducing. These members of society will usually violently charge the offending selfie-taker, often knocking him or her to the ground, and scuffing their precious camera phone in the process.

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Where do you stand on the selfie issue? I personally am vehemently against the selfie, except in certain, rare circumstances. Take for example Mr. Ferdinand Puentes, most famous for taking a selfie in the ocean after his plane had crashed near a Hawaiian Island. The selfie went viral, making the rounds on all the popular social media sites and blogs alike. In a situation such as this, I believe selfies are acceptable.

Taking selfie after selfie in your bathroom, trying for the perfect angle to hide that blemish on your forehead? No, thank you. Only the most wild and life-altering selfies are accepted in my self-proclaimed selfie-utopia.

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Or take this unnamed climber, his selfie perfectly captures the curvature of the earth from the peak of Mount Everest. The planning, training and raw effort that went into this selfie is truly breathtaking in itself. Selfies like this, the kind of selfie that can’t be taken by any random person, on any given day by pouting slightly and clicking a camera, are the selfies I respect.

Where do you stand on the subject? Are you like me, do selfies fill you with the burning rage of a thousand exploding suns? Or do you liken yourself more to a Japanese schoolgirl? Happily taking selfies from dawn until dusk, bent on discovering the perfect composition to drive your clique bananas? Share your comments below, or forever hold your peace.

-Steve Anderson

Winnipeg Blog, Day 2

Occupy MTS Centre

I am fairly confident that at some point or another, everyone has visited either the now-demolished Winnipeg Arena, or its more modern replacement, the MTS Centre. From 1955 to 2004 the Winnipeg Arena was one of the best venues in town to catch some live music, or fast-paced hockey games. By the early 2000’s it was time for a change, and the plans for a new arena we’re well underway. In November 2004 the new arena was finally open for business,under the name “The True North Centre”, and boasted a capacity of 16345 cheering fans.

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My first NHL experience happened at the Winnipeg Arena way back in 1996. It was the final year that the Jets lived here in the city before being sold to Phoenix. The roar of the crowd was wild, our passion as a city of hockey fans was on display. Especially during the final series versus the Red Wings, after which the defeated Jets stuck around after the last game was over, to give away jerseys and equipment to the fans that supported them throughout their time in Winnipeg. The emotion in that building was powerful, and it wouldnt be until 2011 that our city saw that kind of NHL passion again.

When the NHL made its triumphant return to Winnipeg in 2011 many of us were overjoyed to have our team back. This time around the team would make the MTS Centre their home. The years since their return have been great for our downtown culture. How do you feel about the downtown arena, or the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg? Do you have a special memory in the old Winnipeg Arena that you would like to share? Comments, questions, or even flat out rants are encouraged.

Have a good one, Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Blog, Day 1

Day 1: The Forks

What better way to start off this fantastic blog project than by speaking about every one’s favorite Winnipeg location, The Forks? Early Aboriginal people traded at The Forks, as well as Metis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, railway workers and a massive number of immigrants over the years.

I’ve been going to The Forks for as long as i can remember, and one thing that’s always stood out to me has been the amazing Forks Market. Opened on October 4th, 1989, by joining two brick cartage company stables together, the Forks Market proudly houses more than 50 tenants. This site attracts over four million people yearly.

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Along with the market, The Forks also boasts a river-walk, an amphitheater, a boat dock, heritage adventure playground and an interpretive area. The Manitoba Children’s Museum has been a staple of The Forks since 1994, educating children and adults alike. A canopy-covered skating rink has been on the site since 1990, and during the colder months the rink connects to the river-walk via a set of iced-over pathways, perfect for winter adventuring.

Across the yard from the Forks Market is a four-storey building, The Johnston Terminal. The terminal houses a number of specialty boutiques and stores, including offices, restaurants and a cafe. The basement of the building is actually an antique mall, featuring over 30 consignors and 650m of new merchandise brought in daily.

The Forks is the location of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, with its construction completed in 2014. The purpose of the museum is to “explore the subject of human rights with a special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection and dialogue”. The museum is the first new national museum created in Canada since 1967.

All in all The Forks is a great way to spend your time in Winnipeg. It mixes history and heritage with modern architecture in a very attractive way that im sure will keep people coming to visit for generations.

-Stephen Anderson