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Hard Knocks

USA Today published the 10 Toughest Athletes as compiled by its Sports staff, and now it lets the readers vote. Tough athletes endure great pressure and challenges. They keep focused despite physical hurdles. So what constitutes a tough design assignment? Tell us about your toughest project to date, what made things difficult, why you didn’t give up, and/or how you pushed ahead through agonizing pain.

On the flip side, see Armin’s A Rewarding Experience.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Feb.20.2004 BY Jason A. Tselentis
Armin’s comment is:

This project tested my endurance definitely.

This is a Media Guide to the Experts for DePaul University. So what this is, is a list of DePaul's faculty categorized by each professor's expertise Ranging from Abortion to War and everything in between. This is sent to newspapers, news channels, etc. so when they want an experts opinion on the news of the day they can browse this little book and call the appropriate person. I'm not sure how many entries there are in the book, but it was around 150 pages and there were 7-8 entries per page. You do the math.

As you can see from the picture, there is a lot of formatting involved: there is clarendon big, clarendon small, trade gothic bold, bold italic, regular and regular italic. Thank God for Quark's style sheets and its keyboard equivalents, but even so, by the end of the day my left hand would be a little crippled and cramped. Then, see the black arrow? Well that was next to every category and subcategory (there was a black arrow for main categories and a gray one for subcategories), the list of experts was a long, long single body of text linked along the 150 page document thorough text boxes so every time I had to delete or insert a new entry (because we obviously couldn't have the final list to work off since the beginning) I had to rearrange the arrows. Usually, all of them. Even deleting an extra word could delete a line and I'd have to spend hours fixing the arrows.

Then, originally, we only had the expert's name listed so I finished the first "draft" and DePaul realized they wanted to include the degree and school of each expert! I was handed a list, in no particular order, of the names with their respective degrees and schools and had to go one by one searching the Quark document to see where they were and insert the degree and school.

And there were endless edits of course. In the end I felt so damn proud to have been able to survive it. Also, if I may flatter myself, I was very damn fast and efficient making the changes. But that's only my humble opinion.

On Feb.21.2004 at 09:26 AM
Sam’s comment is:

Armin, Armin, Armin....

Left indent: 2p

First line indent: -2p

Left-align tab: 2p

Put the arrows IN the main text box right before the clarendon headings. (I know it's too late for this joob, but for the sake of the lesson.) Move the left edge of the text box to the left by 2p (on the master page, of course), making the text box overall 2p wider.

Then put a tab after the arrow character ( I assume that's a font character, not a piece of art).

Voila, your arrows now flow with the text. The text is all indented 2p, and the top line of each paragraph aligns with your hanging indent at 2p because of the tab. If you want the arrows closer to the heads, try First Line -1p.

Should take you a total of 15 minutes if you haven't messed with text boxes throughout the document.

PS-if the arrow is a piece of art, see instructions for embedding a picture box as a text character, which will then flow with the text as it gets changed.

It pains me what they're no teaching the kids this days...

On Feb.21.2004 at 10:03 AM
Sam’s comment is:

"It pains me what they're not teaching kids these days." Like spelling, sheesh.

On Feb.21.2004 at 10:05 AM
eric’s comment is:

or grammar.

On Feb.21.2004 at 10:09 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> PS-if the arrow is a piece of art, see instructions for embedding a picture box as a text character, which will then flow with the text as it gets changed.

I knew that if was text it could be done like you suggested, I'm not that clueless. But I had no idea it too could be done with an image… sigh.

And, joob is a funny word. Bradley is probably on the floor laughing his head off. Just like he did with prooving.

On Feb.21.2004 at 10:25 AM
Bradley’s comment is:

Bradley is probably on the floor laughing his head off. Just like he did with prooving.


On Feb.21.2004 at 01:01 PM
Sam’s comment is:

Thatll teech mi 2 blahg whyle drunque. Whutteva.

For images, command-x the picture box with the item tool, then switch to the text tool, insert the cursor wherever, and paste. If the picture-box height is slightly less than the leading, it'll fit nicely in the line and behave just like a text character. The picture box, incidentally, is still a picture box so you can alter scale and position inside it. QED.

What would really be sweet is style sheets for picture boxes, butt thtz fr anthir diskushun.

On Feb.21.2004 at 01:39 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

But does that work in InDesign? ;-)

On Feb.21.2004 at 01:51 PM
Sam’s comment is:

On Feb.21.2004 at 01:52 PM
eric’s comment is:

Sam, sam, sam...

regarding your quixotic humility, i certainly hope that's one hell of a book report you handed to Rudy. (and congratulations)

On Feb.21.2004 at 02:05 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Well, getting back to the subject at hand...

While I could mention a few projects, one comes quickly to mind... and yeah, it was while working for Macromedia. (It was a love/hate affair, I tell ya.)

Anyway, Cahan was doing the annual report one year and they had this "cute" page of 500, or so, teeny-weeny headshots in a grid pattern. But of course they were using Illustrator to build the layout. So they were told, in no uncertain terms, that the final layout had to be done in FreeHand. (Duh!) But in converting the file over to FreeHand, all of the links to the images were broken. And of course, the grid of headshots was created to have a balanced look, and each head was knocked out with a clipping path, and the layout was already approved by Macromedia's execs and couldn't be recreated differently, and the Cahan people weren't familiar with FreeHand. In other words, there was no way to get around using the converted file. And someone other than Cahan people had to do the task. Oh, one other special condition, the only visual reference they had to offer as a guide was an earlier printout from Quark, which as we all know only prints out bitmaps at 72 dpi.

So as the resident FreeHand expert who had been with the company the longest and therefore was most able to recognize the faces, I was called over to Cahan's office to relink all of the 500 headshots. It was nice to be in their office and I finished it sooner than anybody expected. But I tell ya, it was a real bitch of a job. Ugh!


And to cross-reference my "A Rewarding Experience" post, you can't imagine how hard it was to create a believable looking pinwheel shape within a 10x10 pixel circle, with only 8-bit color depth (and don't even get me started with the 4-bit version). It may be small, but boy was it hard to make.

On Feb.22.2004 at 02:35 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> and the Cahan people weren't familiar with FreeHand.

I will echo Sam's cry: It pains me what they're not teaching kids these days.

On Feb.22.2004 at 09:48 AM
Steven’s comment is:

Is this in regards to FreeHand or me?

On Feb.23.2004 at 07:25 PM
Jason’s comment is:

Dunno, but kids should know Freehand. It's far superior to Illustrator.

On Feb.23.2004 at 09:39 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Steven, it was in regards to the Cahan folks not knowing Freehand. You'd think that they'd know. At least I would think so.

On Feb.24.2004 at 08:21 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> Dunno, but kids should know Freehand. It's far superior to Illustrator.

Oh, and Jason, comments like these can get you banned from Speak Up*. Freehand is not superior to Illustrator… at least version 8.0, everything after that (including CS) are pieces of shit.

* No, not really.

On Feb.24.2004 at 08:24 AM
Sam’s comment is:

The way designers use software is kind of fascinating, actually. Maybe it's something like musicians talking about fretwork or tuning, I dunno. But Steven, did anyone suggest exporting that Illustrator file to one big TIF and just dropping it into the lay-out? Was Photoshop verboten too?

Armin, I agree. Perhaps there's still hope you can get that certification after all, hee hee hee.

On Feb.24.2004 at 11:36 AM
Steven’s comment is:

Sam, I can't remember what lame conditions caused that situation. Some cluster-f*ck, on someone's part, that I had the joy of fixing. Using Photoshop files were fine at Macromedia. Really, we had to most days. God, you shoulda seen some of the monster layered files that Neville Brody and his crew would send over. It was a luscious crash-course in Photoshop magic.

Jason, I agree with you re: FreeHand, although there was quite a jump between 9 and 10, in terms of functionality. Macromedia sorta capitulated to more Illustrator-like ways. But I always thought FreeHand had a lot more going for it. Sadly, Macromedia has always had a hard time selling that because they focus almost exclusively on Web stuff. I mean, look at the tragedy that is Fontographer. Sigh... It's good to move on in life.

And yeah Armin, you'd think that someone at Cahan would know FreeHand (or at least try to fake it).

On Feb.24.2004 at 08:25 PM
Teal’s comment is:

Awww shucks!

Jobs like Armin's are just made for XML and XSL:FO.

XML to designate the meaning of the content, and an XSL:FO stylesheet to set up the print characteristics. If the people who provided the list had done it as an xml document, then Armin would have only had to create the sytlesheet. Voila!

(Well, you might have had to add the tags for the arrows, but once those were set up {category} and {sub-category} everything would be fine.)

Sorry for the irreverent post. I spend a lot of time looking at html/xml/et al.

On Feb.26.2004 at 04:21 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Teal, I agree. I'm not that familiar with XML but I know that it would have come handy.

On Feb.26.2004 at 08:24 AM