Minimum wage and poverty mapping for Oxfam

Mapping / Dec. 15, 2014

Oxfam America commissioned a huge study of the impact a $10.10 federal minimum wage would have on the country both at the state and congressional district levels. They asked me to create maps for a small slice of that data. But even that small slice was a big project —there are 20 maps users can explore and 486 print-ready scorecards. Also there’s twitter handles for everyone is congress so users can tweet details about their district and @mention their representatives and senators.

This wasn’t my first congressional map rodeo, but this version added more detail for urban areas like New York, markers for larger/notable cities across the country, and a search to look up a congressional district by street address or ZIP code.

Check the project out here.

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CQ.com home page redesign

Code / Nov. 10, 2014

A previous design change to CQ.com proved unpopular with customers. This design provided better page hierarchy and structure and shifted the page’s focus from time-consuming curated news wells to CQ Now, a partially automated feed of breaking news, updates and other key content. Click for a more complete view.

cq home

CQ logo and branding

Design / Nov. 10, 2014

CQ’s brand identity hadn’t been revised or even properly maintained since the early 1990s. As a result, over the years the ‘CQ look’ was abandoned as it became dated and no singular person or department that had the authority to champion any brand consistency. The Roll Call merger didn’t help matters as internal groups argued over abandoning the old brand and replacing it with the new CQ Roll Call gold and black. But with the creation of a unified product department and a desire to update CQ.com and it’s various product lines, we really needed to decide on a new consistent look.

The ‘new’ look was more of a refresh. Instead of a drastic change, I elected to keep the logo very much in the same spirit as the old one. Instead of the vertically squished New Baskerville, the new logo uses a modified Lyon Display.

cq-logo

The typefaces are Commercial Type’s Lyon and Graphik. These are the same typefaces used by Roll Call, but for CQ, Graphik takes center stage, where Roll Call is predominately Lyon.

The primary branding color stayed blue but additional colors were added for different verticals and general utility. And since it’s me, there’s even some basic infographic styling.

cq-style-type

cq-style-colors

cq-style-graphics

CQ+ market research video

Design / Aug. 19, 2014

As part of the business case for CQ+ we needed to show there was both a general interest in the product and that customers would be willing to pay for the features we were considering. So I coded a faux version of the app and made this video which was sent to CQ subscribers along with a short survey about their impressions and legislative tracking needs.

Meet Saffy

Snapshots / Jul. 11, 2014

I brought this adorable, 3-month old bundle of energy home today from the Washington Animal Rescue League. Their facility is a pain to get to, but it’s super nice. If you’re in the market for a new dog or cat I highly recommend them!

Saffy

How to change InDesign’s default screen resolution

Tips and tricks / Feb. 11, 2014

Once upon a time, back in the days of InDesign CS4 and earlier, viewing an image at 100% meant that each pixel in an image took up one pixel on your monitor. So a 50 pixel square viewed at 100% would appear the exact same size in InDesign as it did in Photoshop. It was fancy! But those days are gone. Go to InDesign, create a new document using their 800 x 600 pixel default, take a screenshot and measure. On my 27″ iMac, that 800 x 600 document is actually 1210 x 908 pixels when viewed at 100%. So what gives?

What size is it

Adobe changed the default screen resolution from a strict 72 ppi because monitor resolutions were getting higher as technology improved. If you were working on a print project, an object that was 1 inch wide in your document used to physically measure around 1 inch on your old CRT screen. But as resolutions increased and the world switched to LCDs, that inch kept getting optically smaller. I’m guessing this made some print designers unhappy, though it never bothered me. If you still work solely on print projects you probably don’t care about any of this. In fact maybe you love what Adobe has done.

But turns out InDesign is kinda awesome for creating web wireframes, especially if you’ve spent the last 10 years becoming an InDesign wizard. For years I’ve stuck with InDesign CS4 so 100% could be 100%, but I’ve discovered you can upgrade and eat your cake too! Here’s what you do:

  1. Paste these two lines into your favorite plain text editor:
    app.generalPreferences.customMonitorPpi = 72;
    app.generalPreferences.useCustomMonitorResolution = true;
  2. Save the file with a name something like ‘Monitor resolution – web.js’
  3. Put that file here: Macintosh HD > Applications > Adobe InDesign CC > Scripts > Scripts Panel
  4. Launch InDesign, create a new document, and open the scripts panel (Window > Utilities > Scripts)
  5. Double-click on that new script you added and BAM! … nothing happens. Ok, just wait a sec.
  6. Now double click on the zoom tool in the tools panel (you know, the magnifying glass under the hand) … and now BAM! The document should have just gotten smaller because now a pixel is a pixel — just like the days of yore!
  7. If you need to switch back and forth, create another script file with this single line of code:
    app.generalPreferences.useCustomMonitorResolution = false;

    Call that one something like ‘Monitor resolution – default.js’. Now you can switch back and forth using the scripts panel.

Bubble

Snapshots / Dec. 27, 2013

Kate and a bubble

Christmas

Snapshots / Dec. 24, 2013

Christmas