Embedding Flickr photostreams

January 25th, 2010 · 12:15 pm  →  embedding graphics

Flickr.com is one of the darlings of the social media world because of its large community of users and massive user-generated repository of photographic content.

Flickr offers a free version of the site with some limitations (I think it’s 200 uploads a month) and lots of convenience in terms of a tool for sharing photos on your web site. The main method for doing that is an embeddable widget that can be placed on any web page and sized accordingly so your photostream can display on your site. The beauty of this widget is that all you need to do to post pictures to your web site now is login to Flickr and upload them. The widget takes care of streaming them to your site.

This kind of application works great if you have photos from an event and you want them posted quickly or even in real time. Similarly, say you’re a school and you want to post regular photos of student from events and extracurricular activities. Also, great application. But I wouldn’t recommend a Flickr stream for a professional photographer or graphic artist wanting to display their work. Not enough control over how it’s presented.

As much as I like Flickr functionality and cost, there are some things I can’t do with the embeddable widget. I can’t display the picture’s title or description. I can’t display subsets of pictures or have any internal grouping of the pictures in the widget. There are lots of plugins for enhancing Flickr on your blog – here are 10 WordPress plugins for Flickr.

Clicking on the embedded widget takes the user to the Flickr site and displays your photostream where all of these picture titles and descriptions and sets are displayed and can be navigated.

Like all content publishing tools, they are only as good as your content. So, Flickr widget or no Flickr widget, bad photos look bad on Flickr.

Smashing Magazine

January 19th, 2010 · 11:45 pm  →  graphics

Smashing Magazine is one of those brilliant resources for web content developers and graphic designers. They function as a kind of curatorial resource for free graphics tools and resources such as design templates, fonts, graphics, photographs and images.

I discovered Smashing while searching for free WordPress templates. Periodically, they post lists of amazing free resources, such as the 100 Amazing Free WordPress Templates. These lists compile the best resources from many different sites on the web and conveniently list them in one place.

Once on the Smashing site, you will discover many other great free resources that you can download and use. Last week, I was searching for free icon sets and found links to several lists of professionally designed, free icon sets. There are also some original new fonts that are free available for use as well as graphical headers for blogs.

Check out Smashing Magazine and make it a regular stop on your search for free online resources.

Image viewing, editing, cropping and resizing

December 29th, 2009 · 1:50 pm  →  graphics

FastStone Image Viewer is a versatile image management tool that should be on the desktop of anyone with a digital camera.

I like this application precisely because of all the things you can do with it.  It is great for browsing lots of images when you are looking for that right one. Once you find it, I use Faststone for sizing and cropping images for use online. Don’t get me wrong, the software has limitations, but its power lies in the fact that it can get basic operations done quickly and easily.

Create your own logo

December 17th, 2009 · 3:11 pm  →  blog graphics

Whether or not you’re a graphic designer, you can now create your own logo online at logoease.com. And it’s free.

Logoease offers a simple Flash application to create and edit a professional looking logo. You start by selecting an icon or graphic element from a number of categories to help you find something suitable. Then you can enter the text you want and customize the font size and orientation. Actually, the application packs a lot of punch for such a simple, limited interface. For instance, you can select different components of the graphics and change their colour. You can rotate them anyway you want. You can overlay text, or slip text in behind the graphics.

No tool can give you an eye for good design, but Logoease does make it easy to make good decisions. Now there is no excuse for having an amateur logo – except bad taste.
If there was any problem with the design aspect of this app, I’d say it’s the fonts. There are a reasonably large number of them, but there are too few stylish professional fonts. There are a few of the regulars (Tahoma, Verdana, Times Roman) and lots of weird bubble fonts.

The irony of the site is the Logoease logo itself. In a word, goofy.

But, it’s all a matter of taste, really, isn’t it.