Humans of New York

Humans of New York

A while ago I stumbled across this amazing Photography project by New York based photographer – Brandon. Quoting Brandon – “Humans of New York provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City.”

In the summer of 2010, Brandon set out on a goal to construct a photographic census of New York City. I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind.”

Along the way, Brandon’s project – HONY, took a completely different turn. Brandon started curating stories and quotes from his anonymous New York City subjects. He started including these small stories and quotes along with the portraits on his blog. “Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained hundreds of thousands of followers. With over 300,000 followers on Facebook and 120,000 followers on Tumblr.”- Brandon

HONY Stories

HONY

HONY

 

HONY

Humans of New York

 Humans of New York

Humans of New York

Humans of New York

Humans of New York

Humans of New York

( Image credits:  facebook.com/humansofnewyork All of the images featuring on this post belong solely to Brandon.)

 

Brandon curates his portraits and short stories of New York City on his website – humansofnewyork.com & Facebook page –  facebook.com/humansofnewyork  I have followed several of his portraits for weeks and now months. Leaving aside the Photography aspect of this project, what really amazes me is the kind of stories and quotes he captures. I have seen everything from brave, compassionate, heartwarming to inspirational content in Brandon’s work. His work is pure and unadulterated stories of folks from New York City. He captures some amazing portraits that sometimes tell a visual story even in the absence of textual content. I find his work non subjective and very inspirational. Checking his page daily is now a habit. There is always something heartwarming or encouraging one can find there. Armed with a camera, Brandon manages to really tell stories of the inhabitants of the City.

I really find his project inspirational. His work is a proof of passion & love for what he does. To  see his entire set, check his Facebook page or website. If you love stories then this is for you – Stories. Recently Brandon, even went out in aid of the victims of Sandy. He set up an indiegogo page to collect funds for the relief of the victims of Sandy. Brandon in collaboration with Tumblr built a beautiful relief campaign for the victims of Sandy.

HONY & Tumblr Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser

HONY + Tumblr

Extract from the indiegogo page:”Tumblr and Humans of New York are teaming up to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. For ten days beginning November 11th, we will be documenting and sharing the stories of those affected by the storm. We hope to show all sides of the story, featuring not only the victims of the storm but also the first responders and volunteers who are helping them recover. Hurricane Sandy revealed the power of nature, as well as the power of humanity. We aim to document both. By doing so, we hope to encourage YOU to contribute the relief efforts.

The purpose of this fundraiser is to collect donations. However, to spice things up a bit, Tumblr and HONY are teaming up to provide incentives and rewards for donating. Tumblr is throwing in some cool Tumblr gear, and HONY is providing prints and other goodies. We are covering these expenses ourselves so absolutely all money raised will be going to relief efforts.”

You can check it out here.

It’s not every day you see someone like Brandon following his passion and curating stories from strangers. His project assumed a different direction along the way, but I love it. And I think a lot of you out there would agree with this fact. Humans of New York is without a doubt among the best photography projects I have seen.

Brandon, keep doing what you do.

Rock&Roll.

About the Photographer : Brandon

Brandon in action

Hey there.  I’m Brandon.  I get really passionate about things.  At some time in my life, I’ve been obsessed or borderline-obsessed with saltwater aquariums, the baritone euphonium, reading, piano, filming, financial markets, New York City, and photography.  I studied History at the University of Georgia.  During my senior year of college, I took out $3,000 in student loans and bet it on Barack Obama to win the presidency.  A friend heard about this bet and got me a job trading bonds on the Chicago Board of Trade.  I traded for three years.  It went really well for a while.  But then it went really badWhoops. After I lost my trading job, I decided to move to New York City and take portraits of strangers on the street. Mom wasn’t too happy about that decision, but so far it’s gone pretty well. I’ve taken nearly 5,000 portraits and written 50 stories. And I’ve met some amazing people along the way.Feel free to drop me a line at bstantonphoto@gmail.com.

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Top #10 Blogs – Digital updates and Inspiration

 

   So this week I decided to share a couple of blogs that I turn to daily for some creative inspiration.  Though I’m a blogger, I really don’t love reading that much. If I do get hooked to a book or a blog, it’s definitely got to be something different.  And yes there are a couple of blogs that I turn to daily.

These blogs get my attention simply because their content is:

  • Unique
  • Accurate
  • Updated daily
  • Simple and innovative
  • Live to their concept
  • Most importantly quality content

So here you have it. A couple of blogs I check out daily for creative inspiration from around the world.  These are my top 10 picks for daily news and updates on everything from design, tech and web to marketing, social media and campaigns. Everything from a national to global scale.

Mashable 

One stop shop for all the news and updates on the online globe and various social web platforms.

Design Taxi 

Literal definition for creative content. Everything from art to architecture.

TechCrunch

You need to know every new gadget. You need to know every new tech Start up. You need to follow TechCrunch.

Inspiration Feed

Lives by its name. Great spot for inspiration and resources. Design and web specific content.

Social Samosa

A-Z of the Indian Social media scene.  Lots of fun stuff and interaction.

Seth Godin 

His words are powerful and pack a punch. Subscribe to his blog and be amazed.

Digital Analog

If you yet aren’t aware of what mixed media and art is, follow these guys now. Loads of creative content.

Kyoorius

Design and Art and everything in between. Proud product of India.

WAT Blog

Everything form Web, technology, advertising and their intersection.

Campaign Asia

This is a must for everyone who wants to follow the latest happening in marketing, advertising and brands in Asia.

Anti Spec Movement – A personal Vendetta ?

Recently the global design community has witnessed a new movement. A movement called AntiSpec. Slow to catch on with many part of the design community, AntiSpec is a movement that is “supposedly” focused on saving designers from – Spec(ulative) work, which  is a cancer within the design industry. Recently when I stumbled upon this movement I was amazed by the initiative and a little confused after reading about it. But what exactly is this whole initiative ? Are Designers dying of Cancer? Are Designers not finding jobs? No.  Lets begin.

Well what is AntiSpec ?

AntiSpec is an initiative by Mark Collins from UK. He is the founder and constant source of updates for the AntiSpec movement. To really understand the nature of this initiative, we need to dive in slowly into this topic. As I mentioned earlier, it focuses on how Speculative work is a cancer in the Design industry. Well whats Spec work? Spec work – Crowd Sourcing – Spec competitions, they all involve  a single designer or agency working and designing for free in the hope of winning a project or reward.

In short and simple words, today a lot of online platforms provide opportunities for clients seeking design aid to simply tap potential designers and designs in the most easiest manner. All they have to do is pick a suitable site that host design contest, pay them a fee, host a competition to design the creatives they need. That’s the easy part.  Now here’s the deal. These sites attract thousands of budding and well experienced designers and artist. They participate by designing an entry and submit it to the site. In this fashion the client receives abundant entries and not forgetting tonnes of concepts and ideas. Well like any race, we have to have a winner. Eventually the client picks a favorite design and the design is awarded with a cash prize etc.

Understanding AntiSpec ?

Lets put this in numbers. 1 client, 1 competition, 2,00,000 designers active on the host site, 1600 designers participate in the client competition, 1 winner. The other side of the coin – 1599 designers lose. Client has received not only a winning design but also those 1599 losing concepts and designs. Expected right ? Well here’s where the AntiSpec comes into play. AntiSpec stands up for all those designers  who lose. It has a general message. DO NOT use these sites. Your efforts need not go unpaid. Regardless of the fact whether you a starter or professional, you shouldn’t work for free in this manner.

You’re better off contacting a charity and designing their website for free to add to your folio rather than pissing into the wind at a crowdsourced website. Become an intern. Contact your local design agencies. Freelancers and design agencies can explain to potential clients that they have a policy not to work for free. It is proven that clients can respond positively to the self-assurance that comes from an agency that isn’t willing to sell their soul. – AntiSpec

Being a part of  AntiSpec ?

So that is basically what AntiSpec is all about. Aims at creating awareness about the this growing trend where potential talent and hard work is being washed down the drain.  Just to get a little bigger picture here, do checkout the AntiSpec website – www.antispec.com

Currently the AntiSpec movement is supported by various communities worldwide and thousands of individual designers and artist. This movement is creating awareness and gaining a crowd gradually. They have got support from a lot of  sponsors like Media Temple , Invision and Behance . They main goals are :

1. Make the AntiSpec message clear and easy to absorb.

2. Gather thousands of designers to unite to help drive the message home.

Things you can do for AntiSpec: 

1 » Automate process so folks can add themselves [COMPLETE]

2 » Need links to existing articles on the web regarding spec work and crowdsourcing.

3 » Need some copy written for this website. [IN PROGRESS]

5 »Web badges of sorts that folks can add to their own websites to help spread the word and show support.

Under the AntiSpec scanner –

The AnitSpec tries to keep tab of such crowd sourced events. They have successfully archived a couple of site and past events that have had designers design for free. Here are some of them.

  •  The New York Times targets cartoonist to work for free – Read about it
  • You won’t find a self-respecting professional designer at 99designsRead about it
  • Penguin books crowdsource book cover for best-selling author John Green – Read about it
  • Obama supports job creation by launching a spec competition. Oh the irony. –Read about it
  • Paul McCartney & Rod Stewart Crowdsourcing Promotional Material – Read about it
  • 1stWebDesigner launches a spec competition – Read about it
  • CBC Television’s Gerry Dee wants a logo for his new TV show – Read about it
  • The Huffington Post, an AOL company, is seeking free design. Shame on them. – Read about it
At the end of the day, I ask myself.  So do I support this initiative or what ? Does this whole movement have a target or is just another  personal vendetta ?  Well in my opinion, the AntiSpec movement is more of an awareness campaign. Simply because it fails to draw a clear call-to-action. Ok so now that I’m aware of AntiSpec, I shouldn’t use sites like 99 designs ? Is that what it is about. I must admit, that this movement a right side and wrong side. Right side being it creates an awareness about the misuse of talent and also highlights other options to build a portfolio or find work without having a designer to sell his or her soul. Basically it portrays a simple message – Don’t work for free. But whats the bad site  ?  Well at the end of the day, a designer may submit a design to such crowd sourced projects out of his own free will.  AntiSpec suggest that even if you are an amateur, you shouldn’t try these options. I say WRONG.  Try these options. Yes you may not win, but it’s a mater of gaining experience. A lot of designers turn to these sites as a quick source of income. At the end of  the day, the site clearly states rules that there will only be 1 winner. Yet you have 1000+ designers participating out of own free will. And free will is something you can’t change or control. If designers want to , they will continue sending entries. But at the same time the clients too go wrong at one end. Don’t they have a heart? So many designs and ideas at their disposal and they reward only one ? But again each individual is aware of the facts!
So what do I have to say? Being a freelance designer for the last 3 years, in my opinion the AntiSpec is a good initiative to build awareness of the fact that designers need not sell their soul to grow and build their portfolio. And at the same time, I strongly believe this movement lack a call-to-action. All I’m going to say is, its a designer’s will if he or she wants to make her ideas and concepts available for free. You don’t have a say in it. But any designer who knows the value of his work and talent will never let it go for free. And when I say  ‘never lets it go for free’, it doesn’t mean it has to involve a cash reward.  But as I close this article here, I can’t help but think of the fact that crowd sourcing does enrage a large mass of people simply because it is taking away plenty of job availability.  Many who have supported AntiSpec has strongly expressed concern in regards to this subject, as more and more clients opt for crowd sourcing as it is cheaper, faster and more for a less price.
I support the AntiSpec initiative to bring about awareness, but I fail to understand the end stage of this movement. 

Design in Charity

Does design play a role in  charity?  

Why would you need to consider design if you plan to bring a change, make an impact. reach out? The idea is simple. The people (target) whom you plan to help, need you (initiator). But the people(source) whom you are looking at for help, don’t really know about you or your plan. Now that’s where, along with long-term planning and organisational structuring  you need design. Yes, you may have the best concept or the plan that can change the world. But if it doesn’t connect with the people, you are going no where. This something universal that applies to any idea. Now that’s where you want design. Design is going to connect the target with the source. And to make it happen is the initiator’s job. You need to visually connect your audience to its target. If you portray the correct message via the most appropriate visuals, I am sure you can establish a connection. Helping a nonprofit is a heart warming feeling that designers would be glad to fulfill! Target the source with simple colors, fonts, graphical elements, and navigation which will increase usability. remember keep your message short, hit the mark and keep it  simple. You don’t want them to get lost.

Where does Design come in ?

Right from the organisations or non profits logo, to its cause, to its website, everything needs a touch of design. It’s the visuals that often convey and convince. How many times have you donated via an online website? Probably never or maybe a couple of times. The idea is to convey the message, show them the real cause, tell them what they can do and keep them in the loop. Not an easy task, but yet it needs to be done.

I am currently interning with a non-profit youth organisation called Rock For A Cause  As their creative and production head I am responsible for all the print and web creatives. Since the past few months I have been busy working with a few  designers  and coders to revamp their current website. While at it, I discovered these beautiful non-profit websites that really hit the mark. These are brilliant examples of how to do, and what to do with a website.

Give Beyound.me

War Child.org

SlaveryFootprints.org

 

RiceBowls.org

 

DNA – designers + networks + analysis

                          Its always hard to find that one particular website or network that caters to all our design and creativity cravings. Over the past 2 years, I have bumped and stumbled upon several design shacks and creativity hubs. Some good, while some plain boring. In today’s  world of ever changing trends and styles, keeping up with the latest is not an easy job. Today people don’t want new and refreshing content. They want different and innovative content. Yes the age of  snapshot tutorials is slowly fading away. Its time to usher in the era of webinars, video tutorials and market places. Several sites and networks today attract their 20,000+ subscribers by new and interesting means of interactions. From interviews and case studies to live streams / event coverage and software reviews. People have even gone ahead and started broadcast, hangout sessions to making monthly podcasts available.
For all those thirsty designers and creative mind out there, I have rounded up a few interesting and out of the box networks and designers whom I personally follow and love. From Photoshop to Illustrator , these sites have everything from typography, UI design to Infographics and sound editing. Also a couple of interesting designers whose personal style and work have caught my attention. Its hard to rate them in an order of preference or rather it would be wrong, as each of these hubs have something different to offer. Dig in right away!

Designers:

  • Justin Maller
  • James White
  • Fabio Sasso
  • Graham Smith
Networks:
  • Envato
  • Smashing Magazine
  • Inspiration Feed
  • Naldz Graphics

DESIGNERS

#1 Justin Maller (Depthcore)

“Justin Maller is an Australian freelance illustrator and art director based in Brooklyn, New York. He has been creating digital art for over ten years, and has produced professionally in both a private and studio based capacity.” Justin Maller has some amazing manipulations and digital art. Also he is a founding member of Depthcore . Most of his work that I have seen is abstract and different. His work looks realistic and there is a very clean finish in all his pieces. Also Depthcore is a great place to discover some amazing digital art and artist from around the world. Justin and Depthcore are a must follow for all those who love this form of art.

                     

#2 Graham Smith (imjustcreative)

“Graham ‘Logo’ Smith runs imjustcreative; a logo and brand identity design studio, and platform to his logo design portfolio. Graham has over 23 years experience in: logo design, identity design, graphic design, advertising, marketing, commercial print and reprographics.” Graham has some amazing Logo designs and reprographics. Right from his logos to the case studies he shares, Graham is definitely the guy you want to follow for  identity design. Also he has an amazing website and is a minimalistic lover.

           

#3 Fabio Sasso (Abduzeedo)

 

“Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.” Abduzeedo was founded by Fabio Sasso. Fabio is a visual designer at google. Besides that he is an amazing designer who shares some kickass tutorials and case studies via Abduzeedo. He is a must follow for all design and photoshop fans!                                                                                                                                                                                         

  • For more updates follow : @abduzeedo           
  • Website: www.abduzeedo.com                                                                                                                    

 

#4 James White (Signalnoise)

James White is a visual artist and designer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. With 12 years of experience, James has worked on an array of personal art projects and with clients including Toyota, Nike, Google, VH1, Armada Skis, Wired Magazine, Universal Music etc. and has been featured in many international design magazines. He is the 1-man crew behind Signalnoise Studio. James has an amazing style which includes using a vibrant set of colors for most of his work. I love the fact that he does so many movie posters. He is a great source of inspiration and also does podcast and broadcast on signalnoise. His unique style of incorporating so many vivid colors is just mind blowing and practically reflected in every piece of his work.


NETWORKS

#1 Envato 

Envato has several sites under it, all to help people to earn and to learn, online. They operate marketplaces where hundreds of thousands of people buy and sell digital goods every day, and a network of educational blogs where millions learn creative skills. It tops my chart of the best online creative hubs and resource/learning centers. From Photoshop and making kickass powerpoints to CG and mobile application development, Envato is nothing like you have ever seen before.

What Envato has to offer:

#2 Smashing Magazine

The Smashing Network features selected articles from the best online publications with main focus on design, Web development and user experience. Smashing Magazine covers everything from WordPress and coding to Graphic design and UX.  They also do a monthly Wallpaper post, where users submit their desktop wallpaper calenders and Smashing Magazine picks some of the best and makes them available for download. Besides that, you can also purchase the Smashing Magazine Books and Bundles  here

#3 Inspirationfeed

Founded in March 2010, Inspirationfeed provides useful information about design, inspiration, tutorials, and other web related topics. Their goal is to inform their readers about the latest trending topics on the web. They strongly believe that quality is better than quantity. As they proceed in the future their objective is to expand and provide even more valuable content. Here at Inspirationfeed they strive to create timeless content that can be used years from now. Currently Igor Ovsyannykov manages all of the operations at Inspirationfeed.

#4 Naldz Graphics

Founded in February 2008, Naldz Graphics is a fast growing Design Blog for designers and design lovers. They are showcasing the best tutorials, freebies, inspirations and other useful and informative resources to help and give love to design community.

So there you have it, some of the most amazing designers and networks for inspiration and learning. Hope you guys enjoyed this post ! Lastly do take a moment to  participate in this small poll!