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Guild Member Ed Shems Testified on Copyrights and First Sale

Posted by Rebecca Blake on June 17, 2014

Guild member Ed Shems represented the Graphic Artists Guild, the Copyright Alliance, and concerns of individual artists at a hearing in front of House Judiciary Committee members on June 2. Shems spoke on the impact proposed changes to copyright law regarding the first sale doctrine could have on artists. The proposed changes would expand the doctrine of first sale, permitting licensed digital materials to be resold by the purchaser.

In the past, the doctrine of first sale has had little relevance to artists, who have been able to control the copyrights to their work through licensing agreements. The doctrine permitted the reselling of tangible materials, such as books or CDs, but had no impact on licensed creations. The proposed changes to the first sale doctrine would permit digital materials to be resold as if they were tangible goods. As Shems testified, "There is no such thing as a ‘used book’ in the digital world.... every digital book sold under the first sale doctrine would compete directly with my client's sales – this means my clients will have fewer sales, and fewer resources to devote to illustrate or design their works. As a result I would have fewer clients and we might see a decline in the industry in which I make my living."

Additionally, Shems noted that the proposed changes would make it difficult to police infringement of his artwork: "As a creative professional and small business owner, I am able to choose which clients I will work with. Under an extension of the first sale doctrine, where copies of my work could be digitally sold to others I don't know or work with, that right would be taken away from me." Finally, Shems pointed out that the expansion of the first sale doctrine to cover licensed-based transactions would force creators to raise their fees to cover all rights to their work, rather than negotiate limited rights tailored for each client's needs and budget, and would create a de facto work-for-hire arrangement.

Shems’ full remarks to House Judiciary members can be read here. Shems will also take part in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) roundtable on First Sale Doctrine on June 25 at Harvard University in Boston. The USPTO has scheduled a series of roundtables and discussions on copyright and intellectual property issues throughout the summer. The full schedule of talks has been posted on our website. The general public can attend the events in person or via webcast.

Below: Ed Shems, Guild Advocacy Chair Lisa Shaftel, and Sandra Aistars from the Copyright Alliance after testifying. Used with permission.

Ed Shems, Guild Advocacy Chair Lisa Shaftel, and Sandra Aistars from the Copyright Alliance.

oozled: Web Designers, Delete Your Bookmarks

Posted by Rebecca Blake on June 09, 2014

oozled logoLaunched just this month, oozled is a web developer’s dream: a web app which provides a steady stream of curated resources from accessibility through wireframing. Many of the resource categories are related directly to coding and production, such as mockup tools, HTML 5, responsive web design tools, and prototyping. Several other categories list resources to help web designers run their businesses (accountancy, legal), build their skills (online tuition, books, podcasts), add to their webtools (payment solutions, email marketing), and replenish their creativity (inspiration, colour – the app developers are from the UK). There’s even an alluring “Just Handy” feed, with eclectic resources such as goofy ipsums, Screen Sizes (an updated list of cross-device screen sizes), and JustDelete.Me (a how-to on deleting your account from web services).

oozled got its start when web/interface designer Dan Edwards compiled a list of his personal resources as a guide for local college students. He published the list on the blogging platform Medium, and invited readers were to contribute recommendations. Within a few months, over 200 resources had been added. Edwards teamed up with developer Ryan Taylor, and in May 2014, the beta version of oozled was launched.

Anyone can access the full list of resources, and a “The Latest 50” category directs visitors to the most recent additions. However, subscribing to oozled is free, and enables the user to subscribe to specific resource feeds, as well as submit their own favorite resources. oozled is currently in beta, but Edwards and Taylor have plans for the app, and promise that subscribers will have first access to any new features.

Below: a small selection of the resource categories. Used with permission.


oozled screenshot

Make It Take It Campaign Addresses Packaging Waste

Posted by Rebecca Blake on June 04, 2014

Make It Take It campaign logoAs reported by Jennifer Elks of Sustainable Brands and covered on The Living Principles, a coalition of organizations devoted to addressing waste and recycling issues launched the Make It, Take It Campaign on April 30. The campaign attempts to pressure consumer goods companies into taking responsibility for the packaging waste generated by their goods. The campaign’s goal is three-fold: to pressure companies to change their package design to safe, sustainable materials; to make brands responsible for ensuring packaging is reused, recycled, or composted; and to educate the public on packaging issues and engage them in action.

The campaign’s first target for action is the Capri Sun juice pouch. The pouch is a huge source of litter since it can’t be recycled — its created from a laminate of aluminum and plastic. The public is asked to refuse single-use disposable packaging, and petition KRAFT, the manufacturer of Capri Sun juice pouches, to stop producing such unrecyclable packaging waste. Make It Take It also lists solutions to the packaging waste problem, from utilizing sustainable materials, to redesigning packaging to minimize the amount of material used.

Make It Take It is coordinated by UPSTREAM, a national environmental organization, partnered by eight other organizations: Green America, Texas Campaign for the Environment, 5 Gyres, Natural Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, Clean Water Action, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and Eureka Recycling.  Make It Take It is publicing advances in their campaign via their Twitter feed and Facebook Page.

For more information on design and sustainability, we recommend the following resources:

The Living Principles

Sustainable Packaging Coalition

Re-nourish

Below: Make It Take It’s campaign against the Capri Sun juice pouches. Used with permission.

Capri Sun pouch campaign © Make It Take It

Remembering Massimo: SEGD Pays Tribute

Posted by Rebecca Blake on May 29, 2014

Massimo VignelliIconic designer Massimo Vignelli passed away May 27, leaving behind a tremendous legacy of work, from the original branding for American Airlines, to brochures for the National Park Service, to stacking dishware. A hallmark of his aesthetic was an adherence to simplicity and clarity, most notably expressed in his groundbreaking work in redesigning the map and signage for the New York City transit system.

SEGD, the multi-disciplinary organization of environmental designers, has long recognized Vignelli’s impact on the discipline. In 2001, he was named an SEGD Fellow. Upon hearing of his passing, the organization posted an eloquent tribute titled “You Can Design Everything.” In it, they state that Vignelli’s “modernist sensibility lent new clarity to signage and information in public spaces... he stamped all of his work – from his controversial New York City subway map to books and corporate identities and even church pews – with signature clarity, simplicity, and rigor.”

The organization included tributes to Vignelli from SEGD Fellows and his peers in the environmental graphic design community. The memories paint a picture of a visionary who had an impact on the way ordinary people manage their commute, a passionate speaker who balanced eloquence with a delicous sense of humor, and a generous, enthusiastic colleague and mentor.

Top right: Massimo Vignelli at an SEGD conference. Used with permission.

Bonsai Slice: The Twists and Turns in Game Development

Posted by Rebecca Blake on May 26, 2014

Bonsai Slice logo © Playground TheoryIllustrator Joey Ellis has published an eye-opening account of his travails in developing the iOS game, Bonsai Slice (by Playground Theory). The game is fairly simple: players attempt to slice through a variety of objects, assisted by a tree-stump dwelling robot residing in a Japanese garden. Users play the game by making slicing motions with their device, and rack up points, giving them access to a variety of swords. As simple as the game’s premise sounds, the development of the story, characters, and visuals was a labor-intensive, two-year journey. And as Ellis writes, “where you think you'll end up is never ever where you actually end up.”

Initially, the developers explored a number of game ideas. It wasn’t until the mechanics which permitted gamers to “chop wood” by making motions with their iPads were developed that the idea of a chopping game was settled upon. To test the concept, Ellis created crude GIF animations, eventually developing a quick workflow that took ideas from sketch to playable content within a couple days. While Ellis thought Abraham Lincoln might be a suitable character on whom to hang the game’s backstory, the team decided on a quirky robot, Multus, as the main character. The full backstory, game mechanics, rules, and scoring were worked out as Ellis – the art director and sole illustrator – developed the interface graphics. The team soon realized that simplicity was key, rejecting ideas such as a second robot antagonist and streamlining the game’s action.

Ellis’ recounting is a fascinating read that reveals the detail and behind-the-scenes development necessary to game development. His sketches show the thought process that went into minute details, such as the app icon, the weapons, and the library of “fun things to chop.” His development of Multus’ appearance and behavior was meticulous; he even created a “launch screen” – never intended to go into the game – to provide the developers with insight into the robot’s character.

Anyone interested in working in game development, or interested in developing their own app, should read Ellis’ post. It’s a thorough description of an arduous and lengthy, but from all appearances, very fun project. (The project did take a toll; Ellis reports that he’ll “never ever want to do wood texture illustrations ever again.”)

Below: User interface screens from various points in the game, under development. © Playground Theory, used with permission.

Bonsai Slice interface screens, © Playground Theory

Next Page

Guild News

Autumn Issue -
Submission Deadline

July 28, 2014

Guild News - Cover Image
We're looking for the following submissions:

Volunteer for Member's Desk    
(free publicity for your business; all you need to do is provide digital photos of your workspace and three sentences of copy; illustrator Ned Harrision does the rest).

-Your professional news for the Spotlight column.

-Volunteer Illustrator for cover and spot illustrations for a feature article.
Current members only please.
If interested, contact Art Director Sara Chapman at sara@artsquadgraphics.com
 

Please note: volunteer illustrators create original work for a cover that illustrates the feature story. Illustrators may be chosen at the Art Director's discretion for either the current cover or a future cover, depending on the appropriateness of their style to the topic being illustrated.
 

-Ideas for articles and info you'd like to see in Guild News.

-For a future article, I'm seeking members who are Artist's Reps and members who have worked with an artist's rep, to give advice and tips about making an artist-rep relationship a successful one..

Send all ideas and submissions to:
Deborah Kantor, Editor
dkantor@nycap.rr.com

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