running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

AI ->Canvas

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

As HTML5 support broadens out across the various browsers and devices, its becoming clear that it can do almost anything, including some stuff that designers could only have dreamed about not too long ago.

One great example is AI->Canvas, an Adobe Illustrator plug-in (from Microsoft’s MIX Online) that can export vectors as HTML5 to render as SVG static and animated images in a webpage.

Before you blink and rub your eyes, here's a different way of saying the same thing - you can create illustrator artwork and export it directly into a webpage. And if the vector features complex artwork like Gaussian blur, drop shadow and so on, the plugin rasterises that part of the work.

Ai->Canvas is able to export complex shapes, fill styles, line styles, gradients, transparency, native text, bitmaps, pattern fills, symbols, drop shadows, and more.

It supports rotation, scaling, fading, opacity and keyframe movement along a path. For more advanced useage, triggers can be added that start one animation when another animation completes. Sounds a lot like Flash, doesn't it?

This is all possible because of HTML5's rather amazing canvas tag, which allows for dynamic, scriptable rendering of 2D shapes and bitmap images.

Check out more on the AI-Canvas site, and download the plugin (oh did I mention its free).

Moving into the future with Dynamic Branding

Monday, 5 December 2011

The famous blurred Tate logo, designed by Wolff Olins, regularly appears in lists of the 'greatest logos of all time', but in a precursor to the way brands are developing, Design Week reports that the Tate is about to launch a new moving image brand identity.

Double G Studios, the London-based animation and video supremos, developed the moving image logo to reflect the Tate's continued support of film and tv arts coverage on its own Tate Channel. A video of the result isn't currently available, but there are a few stills of it -

To some extent TV has pioneered this already, with BBC, Channel 4 and Sky in particular flirting with dynamic branding, where the corporate identities ardynamic and only ever partially in complete view. So its only a matter of time before the bigger brands and organisations unrelated to broadcasting decide to go down this route. It just takes a few early adopters to start the ball rolling.

The trouble is that this sort of re-branding won't come cheap. You can't just fiddle with an established corporate identity and just animate it. Dynamic branding will mean devising and creating a whole new visual concept across all forms of media. Clients will be taking a risk, so they will be looking for cohesion and clarity as well as stunning ideas. A recent example is the re-branding of Swisscom, and here is a great video clip of the design process that produced one of the first truly dynamic brand identities -

There is plenty more to look at and read about this ground-breaking project at Moving Brands Agency website.

Does this mean the end of the static logo? Probably not, but it does mean a great deal of new opportunities for graphic and digital designers, and whatever happens, eventually we can count on the new retro look - the simple, static, black and white logo - and we'll almost be back where we started.