Social Media Icons – series 3

May 11, 2009

It’s been over a week since I posted series 2 of my Social Media Icon hand-drawn series. My excuse: I was involved in implementing an annual upgrade to our company’s LMS last week which consumed the majority of my time. So why not post over the weekend? That’s another story I intend on writing about a rather humorous adventure….later.

For now, here is series 3 of my hand-drawn Social Media Icons. This makes a total of 15 and I’ve got 5 more for sure. I started this committing to 30 but may stop at 20.

As much as I enjoy drawing these, they are not doing well at the smaller sizes of 16×16 and 24×24. My thought is once I complete these I’ll convert all 20 to vector for better readability.

For now, click on the image to download this series for FREE…

social_media_series3

If you missed out on the previous series, get them here:
social media icons series 1
social media icons series 2


Social Media Icons – series 2

April 30, 2009

Last week I started a series of hand-drawn social media icons.  My first stab were these four most popular:

social_icons_01

Read Social Media Icons – series 1 and download these four for free.

This week I sketched out six more: WordPress, Blogger, Delicious, Digg, Stumble Upon, and Reddit.

social_media_series2

Click on the image above or follow these links for FREE downloads
social media icons series 1
social media icons series 2

The more I sketch these icons, the more I want to start over. I’ve committed to thirty for this round so I have 20 more to go. Not sure how many more series but no more than 5 (at least that gives me at 5 more weekly blog posts!). Next time I may do them in a hand-drawn color vector…hmm…

Thanks for visiting and tell all your buds there’s free stuff here!


LearnNugget – One Girl Scout Cookie box at a time

April 24, 2009

As many know, Girl Scout cookies are the bomb!  Their unique flavor and distinct little boxes are bar none to any cookie on the market.  My favorite are the Samoas, but the Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties are a very close second.samoas

The one thing even better than having your favorite Girl Scout cookie is having your favorite Girl Scout Cookie in the off season.  That’s right, if you don’t stock up when they come knocking at your door you have to wait a year for another chance.  You can’t ask your co-worker if they still have an order sheet lying around, and you don’t see any makeshift concession stands out front of your local grocery anymore.  Not for another year!

The strategy here is to buy a year’s supply of these tasty little morsels.   Cookie sales vary throughout the year in different parts of the county and in my neck of the woods that’s late ‘winterish’ time.  I buy a few extra boxes and tuck away one in my drawer at work for mid summer.  At home, we stash a few boxes in the pantry for late summer and Fall.  There’s something about munching on a Peanut Butter Patty in front of co-workers knowing I may be the only one in the office with a Girl Scout cookie!

We’re still working through the first batch and I was taught a very important lesson recently.  Our normal routine in the morning is gathering in the kitchen preparing the day’s lunches.  I make coffee, my wife sorts through the available ingredients, and my step-daughter, Lauren is busy organizing her morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack.

One morning Lauren says to me, “Would you like a Samoa?”  My response to her was, “Um..Duh! Of course I would. Thanks for asking.”  She asked if I would like two or three and I said I would just like two.  As she put two in a little baggy for me she asked in a very persuasive voice, “Wouldn’t you like three?”  At first I was catching on to her game because if I chose three cookies, she would assume it would be OK for her to have three also.  I said, “No thanks. Two is fine.”  What happened next made me laugh the rest of the day…

After that last response, she formed a rather pitiful sad look on her face and then all of a sudden got stern with me.  “You NEED three cookies today.  See, there are 12 left.  If you have three today and I have three today, that leaves six left.  That means we can both have three more tomorrow.”  I was impressed that she was planning so far ahead in assisting me in my lunchtime desert, but I had to challenge her.  “Yes, but if you and I both only have two today, there will be eight cookies left and we’ll have enough for two more days in our lunches.  She would have nothing to do with that math because what she said next made everything clear…

“We need to hurry up and finish this box! We can’t open another box until this one is finsihed and I want a Thin Mint!” (must be a rule my wife imposed)

Well then.  Appealing to her quest to get a Thin Mint, I agreed and had no choice but to accept three Samoa’s that day.


Social Media Icons – series 1

April 20, 2009

Apologies for taking so long to get something up since my last post.  No excuse, but I’ve had a couple tight deadlines and was out of town for a few days.  The good news is I have mapped out a series of upcoming posts that should keep things fresh.

I’ve noticed in recent months the popularity of the Grunge design styles and the trend toward hand-drawn elements in websites.  Many folks like the hand-drawn style, but drawing their own elements may deter some of them because of skills or there lack of.   My goal while on this planet is to teach everyone how to draw for themselves!  Um…until I accomplish that goal, I’ll just draw them for you for now.

This is going to be a series.  This first set of four is among a few of the most poplular social media icons used today.  These four are RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN.

social_icons_01

Click the above image to download for FREE.   The .zip file contains three (3) of each icon in sizes 24×24, 32×32, and 48×48.  I just ask that you reference where you got them and give credit where credit is due.

I’ll be adding other sets to include many of the other popular icons.  The next set I’m drawing are these six: WordPress, Blogger, Delicious, Digg, Reddit, and Stumble Upon.   I have 30 more on tap to go in this series and if there are any in particular you’d like in the next few series, drop me a line and let me know.

Enjoy, and I’ll have the next series up soon…


5 Things I Learned About Being Married

April 6, 2009

monogramToday was my second wedding anniversary. This is both our second marriages and the day we started dating we knew it would be a lifetime.  It just felt better.  Our honeymoon was supposed to be a week in Italy, but due to circumstances we had to stay local.   Our wedding weekend was spent at the ritzy Peabody Hotel in Memphis one night and a fancy Bed & Breakfast our second night with a half day chocolate making class at the Viking Cooking School in between.   Our gift to each other were bracelets.  I gave her a diamond bracelet and she gave me polished stainless one.  I lost mine.

Last year we had talked about going to Italy again but her daughter (my step-daughter) has a hard time with a babysitter for a few hours let alone her mommy being away for a week.  Instead, we stayed in an Antabellum Home B&B in historic Columbus, MS complete with the staff and hosts in period dress and an antique breakfast china layout.  Nice.  I gave her jewelry.  It was the year of paper and she gave me a post card and a map.
Read the rest of this entry »


I’ve been fooled!

April 1, 2009

I’ve been had, gagged, and fooled by an 11 yr. old!

April fools day comes around every year, and every year leading up to the big joke day is finding that one unique gag you can play on family or friends.

I love a good prank just like the next guy, and I am guilty of inflicting many frustrated looks in the past. I thought I knew them all.

My step-daughter Lauren was all excited yesterday knowing today was the big Joke day.  She’s almost 11 yrs. old and her idea of a good prank is innocent, harmless, and at best, mischievous.  She acted like she couldn’t wait for today to arrive more than Christmas morning or the night before traveling to Disney World!

The best part of her scheming was asking advice on which gags would be the best and permission to follow through.  She has a list of some really good ones. too.  I guess knowing she had my approval there was no way she’d get into any trouble.

Little did I know, she was saving a good one for me.  I’m actually a bit bummed that I hadn’t thought of this brilliant gag before.

I don’t have an actual set routine in the mornings, but at some point I will eat a bowl of cereal.  I love cereal!  At any given time there is at least half dozen assorted boxes in the pantry ranging from the healthy bran and fiber types, to the more fun like Fruity Pebbles and Crunch Berries.  I had a flavor for Raisin Bran this morning.

I snatched my favorite cereal bowl and fetched the predetermined box of choice from the pantry.  Like any habitual ritual, I went through the motions of filling the bowl to its absolute maximum…to learn what came out of the Raisin Bran box was in fact Choco Crunch!  Ever try to put cereal back in the box?!

Ms. Lauren had gotten into the kitchen early and switched ALL the bags inside each box of cereal so every box hand the wrong flavor. She was secretly watching from the other room and at the moment of climax, she burst into a hysterical laughter rolling on the floor.  Yeah, yeah…you got me.  Drats!  I’ve been fooled!

The day is not over yet! [expressed with deep seeded eyebrows, curled lip, squinty eyes, and rubbing hands together feverishly]

LearnNugget: Always look inside your cereal box before you pour!


Hands On…

March 29, 2009

Has anyone ever given you directions by just talking? Usually they gesture with their hands when they say, “turn left at Main St. and then go another mile to the big red barn…”  If you work with the deaf or have a family member hard of hearing you may know sign language.  Although giving directions is not formalized sign language, it is a language nonetheless – body language.

The term Instructional Design always bugs me when most of the focus and energy is placed on the design of the instruction and not much thought is given to the design of the delivery. Instructional Design encompasses the whole gamut of learning, yet most often when it comes to eLearning, somehow the design process gets overlooked.

Ever work on a collaborative eLearning project, and once it made it over to your desk you look at it and say, “If everyone would just design like me we’d have the bestest eLearning ever!” If you’re a soloist then it’s no problem. If you work on a team or in a training department then you may be familiar with having a meeting to discuss when the next meeting is to then discuss 17 color choices for the interface!

This post is not about getting bogged down on all the things to consider in the overall design of an eLearning course.  This is about following a theme.   Think of a collection of icons or icon packs.  All the elements follow a design theme whether they are 3D or hand drawn.  In my view, eLearning courses should follow a similar design theme across all elements.

Some of the overlooked elements are those small images or icons used as a way to direct learners to more information.   For example: More Information icon or button; a Tip or Reminder image or icon, etc. Even after the instruction or lesson, the assessment should follow the same design theme.

So how does giving directions with your hands tie in with eLearning?  The simplest way I can think of is if someone points me in a direction, my assumption is they want me to go there.  Same in eLearning.  If I want to draw your attention to something I may put an arrow, or use a brighter contrasting color with some instructional text.  You’ve done it a thousand times.  I’m a big proponent of communicating graphically, so if I can use an image to direct you, that’s just less text I have to write – and I’d much rather draw than write!

Ever say, “Go that way…” and point with your index finger?  Why? You just said “Go that way,” so why do we have to point, too?  Unless some sort of body language is included with that statement, the directionee will be as lost as they were before they asked you.

This theory of mine kind of works the same way in eLearning.  If I put a string of text that says, “Go to the Next page,” learners won’t know how to proceed without some visual representation of where ‘Next’ is.   A simple hand drawn hand with the index finger extended may be useful as shown here:hands_06_back-next

By drawing one hand and reflecting it vertical (flipping) it can be reused.  The same hand rotated can be used as a directional pointer to visually say, “Look Here!” or by adding a string, this image can be used as a reminder or a tip as shown here:

hands_07_look-remind

Just as the index finger extended has several uses, the hand with the thumb extended can communicate other uses.  For instance, a thumbs up image can communicate a correct answer to a question, while a thumbs down would be the opposite – incorrect.   Or perhaps when emphasizing a Best Practice, a thumbs up can be a visual symbol to say “This is good stuff!”

hands_09_thumbs1

If you take a moment to think about it, there are countless ways to use hands a simple communicating images.  How many can you think of right now?  How many ways can these two communicate?

hands_10_fist-peace

You’ll notice these hands only have three fingers typical of a more cartoony style rather than a more realistic drawn hand.  That’s not the point.  The point is the theme in which they are used.  The same hand with the index finger extended can be done in a more pixel style like this:

hands_11_digipointer

Obviously I’m not suggesting using hand-drawn hands in all your eLearning.  I’m merely suggesting that images can communicate just as effectively. Just as the juxtaposition of words (spoken language) and hand gestures (body language), the juxtaposition of text and images opens up a wider range of possibilities.   Using hands are natural as we communicate with them everyday!

Now your lesson for the day is to look at your hand and list as many ways to communicate with it (middle finger doesn’t count).  First one to a hundred wins!


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