…I am Ed.
My name is Ed Adams, and I’m a designer, an illustrator, an artist, and if you want to play the title game - I’m an Art Director. I work in the NJ / NYC metro area and create things that people look at everyday; on the street and on the internet, I’ve worked on projects with the big budgets of fortune 500s to less lucrative jobs for bands and record labels. I thrive on both print and interactive; I’m able to handle everything from concept to flash development and I can act as a liaison between creative and technology with my working knowledge of both backend and frontend code [hopefully saving everyone a few years on their life expectancy]. I’m painfully organized, obsessed with “a christmas story”, and I can’t stand it when my glass coffee table has smudges. Ultimately, it all comes down to one thing: I love to make pictures.

If you’d like to talk about what kind of picture you need made [static or interactive], or you just want to talk about my typography, drop me a line at ed[at]flickertoflame.com and we can sit down, drink some tea, and have a chat.

Plus, you can always track my every move @ twitter (if I’m not being lazy) or head on over to LinkedIn for more professional info. Plus, you can always view the main purpose of flickertoflame.com: my portfolio.

intuos4_pen_tabletI like toys. So sue me. And since I like toys so much, I finally got my hands on an intuos4, even though the upgrade was seemingly frivolous and unnecessary. Let’s just say I didn’t have to invest much to experience the upgrade (and no, there aren’t any scratched off serial numbers in this story). As I posted back in March, my intuos3 had become a complete and utter addiction since I made the initial purchase – it had become an extension of my G5 – as necessary to my workflow as my monitors and my keyboard.  Like with any technology addict, I wasn’t in need of this new piece of hardware, but the “latest and greatest” got the best of me and ultimately caused the upgrade fever.  So now that I’ve gotten my hands on this fancy, shiny, incredibly well engineered piece of fun, I’m ready to deliver the good news and I’m sure Wacom fans will not be disappointed.

With the new intuos4, Wacom promised upgrades to existing functionality as well as innovative new features yet to be seen. New levels of sensitivity in the existing pen technology, a TouchRing (seemingly similar to Apple’s ClickWheel), an ambidextrous design, all new sizes, and the pièce de résistance: the illuminated display. So now my seemingly perfect tool had a bunch of brand new bells and whistles that quickly became a necessity in my mind. I’m ridiculous, but at least I can admit it to myself.

Upon unpacking the sleek matte-finished black box dripping in tantalizing, shadowy images of the intuos4, I’m greeted with the thinnest tablet I’ve seen yet. Continue Reading »

Here is a banner below to vote for the threadless tee that I mentioned (and displayed) in my previous blog entry! Please take a moment and go vote for it. I can’t tell you to vote a 5, but go vote a 5.

You Spin Me Right Roundabout - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

EDIT: So ultimately I didn’t get chosen for print, but thanks for taking a look and voting!

So in an attempt to get back into illustration and to expand my illustration portfolio, I made a design for entry into the weekly Threadless Tee Shirt vote.  Of course, I took the route of vinyl as my subject matter and made a design that takes a humorous (maybe even whimsical?) approach to the fun I have collecting and listening to records. Take a look at my entry flash file below – I’ll be sure to update the blog when it goes up for voting! I need all the help I can get – there are some really great and talented designers that have gotten printed, and I want to be one of them!

Enjoy!

intuos4Of course they would release this just weeks after I wrote my review of my Intuos 3 (which I am still in love with). I like my toys, of course, but I’m certainly not ready to drop my Intuos3 for the sake of getting the new version of the pro Wacom tablet. That, however, doesn’t mean I can’t drool over the new features:

1. Awesome looking click wheel navigation looking thingy. I’m sorry, it’s called a Speed Ring. If this thing works as flawlessly as the apple click wheel, then increasing brush size, zooming, and scrolling are going to be quite an experience.

2. Illuminated Intuos4 ExpressKeys™. Awesome. Now you can apparently quickly just glance at the tablet for a reminder as to what you have the keys programmed for.  On my intuos 3, I mostly use mine for some simple actions like switching foreground/background colors, and I’ve also programmed one for Exposé to reveal my desktop – I find it useful, but I do think that the lack of labeling for some not-so-frequently-used functions was a pain. Intuos 4 fixed this – I’d love to see this in action. It lights up – it’s useful – it’s a winner.

3. Ambidextrous design. I’m a righty, so I couldn’t care less, but I have empathy for all you lefties out there (my father and sister are both a part of your club) – This functionality, and the apparent simplicity in activating it, rules pretty hard.

4. Storage for the nibs in a pen holder. THANK YOU. Now, I am wondering where all my extra Intuos3 nibs are…damn. Continue Reading »

kraft_yoplaitThis is spreading across the designers’ world like a virus, but it’s another example of huge companies rebranding themselves poorly, and in this case, using another company’s branding that’s already been established – and in practically the same industry! (albeit, the Yoplait logo is technically European)

The logos don’t even need my critique – just look at the photo, the similarities are undeniable. But really Kraft? You dropped your old, instantly recognizable, adequately designed logo for this?  As I read on another blog, it feels more like a daycare center logo than a food company – especially when you consider the foods that Kraft is mostly known for – oreos, macaroni and cheese, Kool-Aid, Cheez Whiz?  Come on, you’re not a mom n’ pop healthfood company distributed by Trader Joe’s – you’re Kraft – and now your logo looks like it’s trying to say “light, airy, healthy, active”. I don’t think it’s going to fool anyone.

Ultimately, you had a brand that was well known, felt like a master branded logo, and could be recognized by shape alone – nevermind the K-R-A-F-T – legibility ceased being an issue. I’m surprised that they would take something worth so much in equity, and just kick it to the curb.

Ultimately, it’s a huge corporation, and I couldn’t care less about how they brand themselves, but I can’t even begin to understand the mentality in “change for the sake of change” – stop doing that.

fireworks squashes imagereadyThis isn’t news at all, but I want to get it off my chest anyway.

With the acquisition of Macromedia and the ultimate release of CS3, Adobe made the controversial decision to eliminate ImageReady in favor of the once deadly opponent, Fireworks.  I didn’t know how much I could agree with the decision, since it’s added a speedbump to my workflow with the removal of one simple element that ImageReady had, and Fireworks simply does not: Droplets.  These were tiny app’s that I could create easily to manage my redundant image optimization tasks, like creating groups of JPGs or resizing and optimizing, which was a regular task for me when prepping files for the frontend and backend developers.  Now, I know I can do batch processing in Fireworks, and save the script, but it’s still somehow different than being able to grab a group of files in the Finder, and open them with the droplet app — it just felt more like an OS-based action, rather than software. With Droplets, I never had to even directly open ImageReady, it essentially just ran in the background and I used it as Continue Reading »

this_is_englandI just finished watching this on NetFlix instant viewing, and it was well worth my two hours.  This was a really, really impressive film. The cinematography was fantastic, the acting was spot on, and the storyline flowed with such ease that the movie was over before I realized it. Kudos to director Shane Meadows.  I spent a bit of my high school years friends with a group of skins here in north Jersey, obviously not that I was by any means part of their crew, but I knew enough of them and listened to enough of the music to gain an understanding of what they were all about; I knew enough to say that this film got it right. They weren’t portrayed as a bunch of meathead racists running rampant through the streets, but Continue Reading »

qotsacalgary

I was just going through my bookmarks for some daily design motivation and felt that it was necessary to share the site of Casey Burns; an inspiration for music-related illustration and design.  I wanted to post an example and link to his site in case anyone is interested in discovering more about this outstanding artist. I aspire to be able to work with similar bands and create the material that he has for posters and record covers over the years.

Enjoy.

Casey Burns

wacomAnother post I made recently on creativebits.org made me want to quickly share my thoughts on my longtime addiction to the Wacom Intuos3 tablet. I must say, that when I first got it, I was convinced that it was a bit frivolous and that it was something I would use strictly for retouching and Adobe Illustrator. Let me say this bluntly: I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

The Wacom tablet (I have the 6″x11″, which is essential for my dual monitor setup) has become a complete replacement for the standard mouse. In fact, I’ve removed myself so far from the mouse, that it’s become awkward to use at this point—like trying to draw with my fingers taped together.  I don’t mean to make this too much of a sales pitch for Wacom, since I’m getting nothing for this, but I want to share my thoughts with other designers that may begin to read this blog.  There seems to be some wonder and apprehension associated with using a tablet as the main form of manipulation for just photoshop, let alone the rest of everyday activities on your computer, but let me tell you that after a day or two of using the tablet strictly, you will realize that it has become an extension of your hand. It’s astonishing how fluid and organic all my processes become on my machine—everything from using exposé to writing code becomes quicker, easier, and generally more natural of a process. Anything that brings more of a human touch to a generally restricting computer architecture is OK in my book.

Give it a shot, and if you decide you don’t like it, I think you’re doing something wrong.

lpNow that I’ve got your attention—maybe because you’re actually interested in vinyl, or maybe because you think I’m a total hipster for writing about this—let me make a prediction: The CD is slowly going the way of the buffalo, moving over for the ultimate takeover of the digital download, and our friendliest audiophile format is quickly experiencing a rebirth and a lifespan that will likely continue for longer than once thought. Designers should be rejoicing — This affords us the opportunity to once again look at the music layout as it was originally born: a 12”x12” canvas (ok, the cut dimensions are slightly different, just let me get away with that one), rather than the confined limits of a 4.75” x 4.75” (see, I got more specific) CD booklet.  The digipac offered us some expansion into the pseudo-vinyl packaging when it first appeared (i.e. Pearl Jam’s Vs. and Vitalogy), but as I’ve experienced – it’s nothing like designing for an LP release, which (un)fortunately is even a new format for my work. Continue Reading »