Welcome to newsletter 03
This month we're
presenting the studio threefiftyseven newsletter in a totally different
format. (No, not the sexy animated masthead). It may not look all that
different on the surface, but if you 'pop the hood' as Petra would say, this
puppy 'purrs like a kitten'.
For those of you remotely interested in all the geeky details, you can
read all about it at the end of the newsletter!
(Recommended reading if you're looking to develop a site in the near future ...)
threefiftyseven has recently been working with Urban
Transporter (Australian distributor
of Segway) in the
development of both their online and offline identity.
For those of you not familiar with the Segway, it's a motorised two wheeled personal transportation vehicle. However, unlike a scooter the wheels are side by side. How does it stay upright? That's the cool part. Visit the new Urban Transporter site to see how this baby works.
Christopher Green Jewellers
Jason art directed some images for Christopher Green Jewellers recently. All the pieces have been carefully shot (by Robert Geh) resting on flower petals and/or plant pods. This resulted in some truly spectacular colours and textures that contrast well with the polished metals. "We used this style in some of Chris' print collateral more than three years ago now — and surprisingly we haven't seen it used anywhere since." So naturally when it came time to capture more of Chris' recent work on film, (OK ... it was shot digitally) the tradition was continued. "If no one else wants it we'll claim this territory as our own!"
Mitsubishi Round Table
most of you are aware by now, Mitsubishi Motors is about to launch a brand
new vehicle, code named PS41.
After being criticised in the past for building 'less than inspiring' automobiles — and hoping to win back dwindling market share, the automotive giant decided to draw on the local design community at large for some input and inspiration. This resulted in the formation of a 'design round table' comprising representatives from all design disciplines, the idea being to soak up some intel about the supposedly design-savvy consumer of today. Among the round table participants was none other than studio threefiftyseven's Petra de Mooy. (Jason's invitation obviously got lost in the mail!?)
So if this slinky new model comes resplendant with a hat and scarf storage module, we'll definitely know who's to blame!
All Petra ... all the time
As a result of the article published in the April issue of 'Adelaide Matters', Petra's been busy working on a reasonably large residential commission involving the design and construction of a casual entertaining area for a young Adelaide couple. The blackwood cabinetry includes glass doors, low voltage halogen lighting and ample concealed refrigeration. (These people take their liquor quite seriously:) A dining area is also incorporated, featuring a large custom made blackwood dining table.
By the way, for those of you who missed Petra's editorial in the Adelaide Matters, you'll have yet another opportunity to read up on her in 'Scene Design Quarterly' issue 18, due out any day now!
Due to the recent purchase of 'The Springs Retreat' by 'Peppers Resorts', the Daylesford, Victoria based operation has had to forego their brand in favour of the existing Peppers' identity. Not wanting to lose the logo studio threefiftyseven developed several years ago for the resort, we were asked if we could adapt it to suit their in-house restaurant 'Deco'. The original logo was constructed in 3D and rendered to depict a real wall mounted plaque. After reworking the initial model it was re-rendered to original the specs.
Taylor Collison launch party
As many of you already know after reading the last newsletter,
studio threefiftyseven has been working with Taylor Collison Limited on the
development of their new corporate identity. Petra and Jason were kindly
invited to the recent official launch of the 'new look'. As part of
the proceedings, all present were required to sport an item of branded
headwear. (Of course, Petra refused to have anybody tell her what to do
... just jokes!)
We're now looking at revamping the web presence and bringing some miscellaneous documentation into line with the new brand. (All the while stylin' in our new hats!)
Geek stuff starts here
As has already been mentioned, with the publication of this newsletter comes a change in the way it's been constructed. That's right, no more clumsy tables and extraneous code. We've decided to step it up a notch and show off our ever-expanding knowledge of web standards and CSS design.
"What the hell does that mean?"
Well, it's more than significant than you probably think. Without getting into too much detail, it enables developers to separate the actual content of sites from design and layout. This facilitates greater flexibility and complies with usability standards being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other standards bodies — resulting in more efficient, faster loading sites that display more consistently across platforms, browsers and hardware devices. The appearance of pages is described using 'cascading style sheets' marked up using 'xhtml' — which is totally separate from the pages containing the actual content.
Style sheets are nothing new, but have often only been used in the past to describe the way textual content appears for instance. The layout you are viewing now however, uses a style sheet to describe not only the way the text looks, but includes this white panel containing the text, the green vignette background (which remains stationary as you scroll down the page ... oh yaaaah!), the header containing the Flash movie (this one originally developed Jared Tarbell and modified by Jason) and even the dotted rule running down the sides of the page. This is of course quite a simple layout, but CSS is a powerful technique, capable of describing the most complex page designs.
"You're a genius Jason, but how does this affect
Although the early adopters have been advocating the use of standards compliant browsers and sites designed with CSS (cascading style sheets) for a while, it's only recently (in our neck of the woods anyway) that it has become a commercially feasible option.
To fully appreciate the elegance of these techniques, a standards-compliant web browser is recommended. Unfortunately though, most people still surf the web using Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Sadly however, IE does not support web standards as well as it should — and has become so fraught with security issues over the years it's just downright annoying to use. (Not to mention dangerous.)
NOTE: Microsoft are planning to dump IE in the next year or so with the release of their new operating system (code named 'Longhorn') replacing Windows XP (which will support web browsing within the OS). So now is as good a time as ever to investigate migrating to one of the free, new breed, high performance, standards-compliant browsers like Firefox, Mozilla, Safari or Opera! If you haven't already done so, we recommend you switch to one of these truly superior applications.
Not only will you see immediate speed increases, but you'll be seeing standards-compliant sites as they were meant to be seen, with no weird glitches, no ridiculously small text or strange alignment issues. (Speaking of which, if your email application is bewildered by this publication and doesn't know how to display it properly, you can view it from our website as it's meant to be viewed by clicking here.)
Don't just take our word for it though, you should read up some more on this topic. We've included a few additional resources below that will shed more light on the issues only touched upon here. And naturally, you should feel free to contact studio threefiftyseven if you would like to know more.
Firefox Explosion (Why you should drop IE like a hot cake.)
Browse Happy (Choose an alternative that's right for you.)
CSS Zen Garden (Identical content. Many different style sheets. As many different looks. Be amazed.)
The Weekly Standards (Highlights recently launched corporate sites using standards-based development.)
All contents copyright © 2005 studio threefiftyseven except where indicated.
Graphic design & visual communication / interior & furniture design: The Church, 6 George Street, Stepney SA 5069
Telephone: +61 8 8132 1223 Facsimile: +61 8 8363 3866