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A review of LetterMPress

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LetterMPress, or the art and craft of letter press design… On your iPad!

Some explanations

Huh, what? I guess this quote deserves some explanation. Through intensive web browsing, I came across this wonderful iPad app: LetterMPress. Then I found this amazing Flickr group.

I was sincerely blown away by what this app can do. I knew drawing apps could be amazing — just look through George Coghill’s Flickr stream, he has some sweet  preliminary sketches done with Sketchbook Pro — but simulating letter press design?

Another fact of interest is that the app’s development was funded through Kickstarter, like the last WMC Fest.

After a series of email with John Bonadies, the co-creator of the app, we got a chance to get the app for both the iPad and for Mac OS. My goal here is to offer an overview of the app and a series of observations I made while using the app on the iPad and on Mac OS on a MacBook Pro from early 2008.

John Bonadies with LetterMpress on iPad

The app

The application simulates a letterpress; it’s a simple as that. And, it’s beautifully done, even the sound effects.

The main screen is the composition screen. This is where you’ll actually design and place the letter blocks to compose your project. The second screen is the print screen, where you’ll generate the digital output of your composition.LetterMPress screenshot - Compose screen - Mac OSX

LetterMPress screenshot - Compose screen - iOS

A little disclosure: I’m here using the screenshots provided by the LetterMPress development team. They’re able to showcase the abilities of the app way better than I would.

Aside from these two screens, users have access to drawers (sub panels) full of goodness:

  • The type and art panel where you select the blocks you want to use in your design
  • The furniture panel where you can find the elements for spacing and alignment purposes
  • The lockup panel where you can access the elements that can lock the blocks you have on the press bed
  • A digital ruler
  • The gallery tray where you save and can retrieve for later use the compositions you’re working on.

These were for the compose screen. The print screen gives you access to:

  • The paper tray where you select which paper you’d like to output your composition on
  • The paper rack where your outputs are stored
  • The ink palette where you’ll be mixing your primary colors to get the one you want (RGB or CMYK)
  • The coverage panel to decide where the ink will be applied. You can also do multiple impression on one sheet, to play with color/symbol layering and overlays.

Since I’m probably forgetting a few things, here are two overview videos (one for iOS, one for OSX) of LetterMPress, created by the LMP team.

 

Some examples of what you can do with the app

LetterMPress sample print

LetterMPress sample print

LetterMPress sample print

There’s also an official Flickr group where people upload their designs:

Fun with LetterMpress

work2_lettermpress

Programming_lettermpress

Mistakes

Some conclusion notes

Well, first of all, the app is wonderful and produces beautiful results. The output is usable as an element in another design software (the Mac app can output up to 8192 pixels, around 26″ at 300 dpi). I surprised myself smelling the air around me for the really peculiar fragrance of the printing ink sometimes. With headphones on, this app can transport you into a virtual print shop.

I definitely favor the Mac version over the iPad version simply because of the additional precision given by the use of the keyboard and mouse combo.

With that said, I still must admit that the iPad app is one of the most beautifully crafted apps I’ve seen to date. It takes patience to place elements correctly, but the result is always worth it. The app also renders the fact that these blocks are physical objects and that when hitting other elements with a block you’re trying to place, everything that’s not locked in place will move — and mess up the carefully crafted kerning and spacing you just spent an hour perfecting. Luckily, the undo button goes up to 20 states back.

The paper and typefaces are amazingly well rendered. The ink textures (or the absence of ink for that matter) too. The interface can be overwhelming at first, but after reading the extensive help file and a bit of “trial and error” experiences, there shouldn’t be too many dark areas left.

This app is not a toy though. It’s a real design app. But well worth the to it’ll cost you.

Meanwhile, you can go visit the app’s website, get the iPad version via iTunes or the OSX version via the Mac AppStore.

A review of LetterMPress is a post from: GoMediaZine

Go Media is a creative agency based in Cleveland, Ohio. Besides the GoMediaZine, we also work for clients and sell stock artwork and design files on the Arsenal.




GoMediaZine

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Soul by Ludacris SL300 Review – Headphones – CNET Reviews

Introduction The Soul Electronics SL300s are the flagship model of a line of headphones designed and curated by hip-hop artist Ludacris. with their active noise cancellation, fold-up design, and sexy features, these headphones are undoubtedly in direct competition with the Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Studio, but with an important difference: you can still listen to music through the Soul headphones even if you don’t engage the powered isolation switch. and with a handful of accessories like the hard-shell case and two detachable cables included for the same 0 price, we’re secure in recommending these headphones for “modern music” enthusiasts with a sartorial edge.

Design and featuresThe SL300 headphones come in two colors–black/white and gold, both of which are designed to communicate a certain style whether you wear them worn on your head or resting around your neck. The emphasis on style extends to the argyle pattern stitched into the leather. They also have status symbol aspirations, evidenced by the small tactile button on the inside of the headphones that toggles a glowing white LED around the Soul branding on the outside of the earcups.

In terms of their actual fit, the headphones have minimal contact points on your head aside from the leather padding underneath the headband and on the earcups. we found them more comfortable to wear over long listening sessions than the Beats. You’ll also notice a considerable amount of flex in the plastic housing, and while we don’t recommend you use these headphones for DJing a party, the expandable width of the earpieces relative to the headband allows for a universal fit across a wide range of head sizes.

A small right and left indicator located on the inside of the hardware helps distinguish the cups, but you can also take cues from the power switch on the left earcup that turns on the powered noise cancellation. an important difference to note between these headphones and the Beats is that the SL300s can still play music even if you happen to lose power to the noise cancellation, although you’ll notice a serious drop in sonic clarity since the internal equalizer boost only works with the isolation engaged. regardless, it’s a useful feature to have when you don’t have access to another pair of AA batteries (two are included in the package to get you started).

The left and right earcup arms fold into the headband of the SL300′s for transportable storage in the hard carrying case you get in the box, and there’s also a small carabineer attached if you’re courageous enough to carry them around on your belt loop or backpack. we also appreciate the small webbed netting pocket inside the case with room for the detachable cables you get with the SL300s–one with a microphone and in-line smartphone remote control for playback navigation, and another flat cable for just listening to music. They both feature a straight plug on the side that goes into the headphone with an angled plug on the opposite end with ample length for case-covered devices.

Performance The Soul SL300′s combination of active noise cancellation and boosted equalization place these headphones in a specific niche, and these headphones are designed with a deliberate bass push meant to simulate an active subwoofer common in music genres like hip hop, R&B, rock, and pop music. If your main buying concern for headphones is a sonic clarity and balanced fidelity, then we don’t recommend the SL300s.

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