Creatives, Do You Really Need The iPad Pro?

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Will we find peace in this tech world?! Be satisfied of what we have? Here’s the new kid on the block… and it will put the other stylus and tablet manufacturers in big trouble. I’m talking about the people from Adonit, Wacom and Microsoft -sending its execs to present Office products thinking ‘Dammit! How are we going to save the Surface Pro from this monster?’.
As Tim Cook introduced the new iPad Pro, I started thinking ‘God, I hope a different OS will run it this time’ … and… nope! Then Adobe joined the dance to present a pale version of Photoshop, and I definitely knew I wouldn’t get a full creative software experience on an iPad anytime soon. Was it a big disapointment? I’m not sure. I was very happy to see Apple put a long-forgotten art back in the spotlights. The return of drawing!

These are my tools of the trade: when I go mobile I use the Adonit Jot Touch -with a disk nib, coupled with the iPar Air 2. For sedentary use, a Bamboo Pen and Touch backed up by an Intuos XL, they are plugged to my Macbook Pro.

Let’s show off some iPad Pro’s specs that might interest to the creatives out there:

Thick and thin, thinner than the Surface Pro and the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. It’s even lighter, so you can put it easily in a bag without the fear of breaking your back at the end of the day. No Macbook Pros at clients meeting, it’s always fun! How about

A better chip, will run every app faster and makes the drawing experience more fluid. 3D apps like Autocad will render more pixels without blinking.

The screen resolution is amazing, denser than a 15’ Macbook Pro. Huge as well, that means more screen estate. Photographers and digital artists will love it when they’ll showcase their portfolio to clients via Foliobook for example.

The stylus, which Steve Jobs shot down a few years ago: ‘God gave us 5 styluses on each hands’ he said. Back then I thought that the old man was crazy or high on something. Kyle Lambert has done marvels on the iPad using Procreate app and his fingers. It takes time and perseverance to master both, here’s a case study of one of my drawing that I’ll update on my blog soon

When I was on the market for ‘the best stylus for the iPad Air 2’, the Google search returned confusing results. Wacom’s product, the Creative Stylus, wasn’t good: few bugs and liabilities while drawing. Same for the Adonit’s Jot Touch with Pixelpoint; What Apple took care of is that you should not rely on a manufacturer’s SDK update to start drawing, just do it right away.

-Battery life, 10 hours battery is awesome if you make sure to turn the Auto-Lock feature on and don’t crank the brightness up. Plus, everyone got a powerbank nowadays so battery issues are no big deal.

Multiscreen capability, allowing you to draw while keeping an eye on another image. Less back and forths using the home button will enhance your productivity tremendously.

4 speakers, sound is very important,every creative will tell you this: ‘NO creation without music running in the background.’ One sure thing, Apple will find a way to sell you a music subscription, but it’s great value for tablet music producers using Garageband and Beatmaker 2. Musicians will also plug their piano or guitar into it and start jamming as well.

-Shooting 4k, this will make sense for filmmakers. The Padcaster Air kit for iPad will make you believe you’re the next Ridley Scott.
The apps. Digital creation apps are Adobe’s territory, on the iPad you’ll get Adobe Sketch, Line, Brush, Draw, Shape, Color, Ideas, Hue, Lightroom, Clip, Comp, Slate, Fill & Sign, eSign Manager DC with a creative cloud membership. For brainstorming sessions, you can use Notes Plus or Notability. Storyboard artists will rely on Forge or Autodesk Ink. Astropad will mirror your laptop’s screen and allow you to use the ipad as a full capacity Wacom tablet. In the meantime, you can also use DuetDisplay if you want to use it as a second screen. There’s an app for everything!

The accessories, creatives are public speakers. Keynote and Powepoint are terrific tools on a tablet, but nothing wows more an audience than a pocket projector. You should think about it for your next presentation. Will the resolution on a big blank screen will stay the same? The keyboard is also a good Idea, do you wonder what are the best apps for writing on an iPad? Pages, Word, iA Writer. Hanx Writer, Byword, Ulysses. Pick your poison.

The cloud, iCloud storage is now cheaper! Finally! 9$ for 1TB, awesome!. It’s an invitation to productivity. ‘Folks, from now on you’ll stop letting Google Drive or Dropbox stocking your creations. We got you!’ Apple said.

Adobe and Microsoft’s honeymoon is a flop, last year they showed us, at the Adobe’s MAX, what they were capable of on Microsoft Surface Pro, we’re still waiting for the next MAX event in October. Apps are a very sensitive topic for the Redmond giant. Apple will take advantage of it -if they didn’t already.

Now, what would NOT be of an interest for creatives?

-It’s too big, yes I know…I know…it’s a question of taste here.

-The stylus is exclusive to the iPad Pro, -woops, sorry guys, just in case! Apple is out there to sell iPad Pros, not being a stylus manufacturer.

-You are going to lose this stylus. Yes, the crazy old man was right. I lost my Bamboo Pen & Touch’s  and It was terrible, I ended up with a useless tablet.

-You are going to lose ‘an expensive stylus’. 99$… you better be careful here. Is it the reason why they made it so long? I didn’t see any stylus slot on the keyboard either…

-No OS X for iPad, to use Photoshop CC 2015, Mischief, Sketchable, ArtRage, ZBrush 4R7, Cinema 4d, Premiere Pro, Maya, 3DS Max and Mudbox etc. you’ll still have to use your laptop or desktop. Such a shame when you boast a A9X chip that’s faster than 80 percent of the PCs shipped in the last 12 months, and 90 percent more powerful, graphically.

-No USB port, God! When these guys will finally get it right? We have to share files with people and clients, not leaving them hanging when they handle us a USB key. Too bad that it remains a closed system.

-No Force Touch, I dont’ mind if there’s no 3D touch on the screen but at least put it on the keyboard, because writting and moving the screen’s cursor back with a finger is daunting.

In conclusion. Do you realize that creativity just took the center stage of a big tech event? Building a tablet that’d canibalize the whole Macbook line wasn’t part of Apple’s intentions. They wanted to show that they can shake every industry off with a single bullet. This is what they do best. Think of the iPad Pro as a a huge sketchbook you can throw ideas at. Is it time to get rid of Wacom’s tablets? No. They did a great job so far. But I really hope Wacom will innovate on its product line -design and pricing- if they want to avoid some serious competition. I you’re a happy owner of an iPad Air 2, like me, you should keep it and wait until next year to replace it. iPad owners? Go upgrade it. I’m curious about what the next Surface Pro 4 will have in store. As far as we’re concerned, now we’ll have less excuses not being creative.

Will you pre-order the iPad pro? Tell us how it will enhance your creativity and productivity in the comment section below

When Logo Design Comes Together, It Just Makes Sense

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Long gone are the days when Paul Rand showed up at your office with just one logo proposition, and a shiny catalogue -with your brand’s storytelling in it-. If you felt the need for some modifications, he would tap your fingers saying ‘This is my job and this is THE solution for you. I know what I’m doing, I’m the expert here.’

This article’s photo is a logo design I’ve made for a client in the construction field. But the red dot, all the titles and the pic surrounding it wasn’t my design. I don’t want to generalize but most businesses are fighting against simplicity. The more they add the better. Sometimes, as much as you love your clients, you can’t keep them from making modifications. I will talk to you about it but also design’s best practices, cheap solutions/work and the role of designers.

Logo design is complicated, all access to the technology made it so.  As a consequence, it often goes wrong or misunderstood. When that happens -mostly based out of cheap work-, most businesses think that there’s nothing to add or change about their logo: ‘Oh we’re good! It’s perfect! Don’t even touch it’. A ‘sane’ designer will never step into your business and start saying: ‘Ok, let’s talk about this logo first…who did it? Seriously? It’s not good. Shall we change it, before doing anything else?’ I bet he/she would never have your business right?

Let me introduce you to the objections that pop into your clients’ mind when you send them ‘change’ alerts:
-Some designers like to throw their peers under many buses, the only reason they need to do this is to find -to their dismay- that somebody gave a concert -and actually got paid- before them. Ego situation.

-We already registered the logo ‘we went through the cumbersome trademarks registration process, and we paid huge amount of money for it. Money we spared from the previous cheap logo work, and which was well invested.’

-What has been done before is not garbage, ‘we’ll stick to this identity no matter what you say. Even if you bring proofs that it’s really NOT working’

-Even if there are some changes to be made, we hope they are going to be small and the work will be cheap. Changing a logo is easier than creating it from the ground up right?

After the concert, you -designer- are hired for another job, maybe the webdesign part. Which is cool. Things get complicated when you start looking for elements -not crafted by you- to incorporate them into your design: fonts, colors, proportions, positions and space etc. This is the moment you start asking  ‘Can I get the graphic charter?’…silence in the room, you’ll raise eyebrows and put yourself and your fellow designers in trouble. For a reminder, the graphic charter is a 50 or 60 -sometimes more- pages document which contains every technical parts of your identity. All its rules. For example, black and white visuals. Fashion industry uses a lot of them. For your next ad campaign, will your logo be visible when placed on a black and white photos? Where exactly should you place it? All the answers can be found in the graphic charter.

There’s a war outside still raging: expensive vs cheap logos.
I’m not against cheap solutions. Why investing huge amounts of money and efforts in your identity when you can: do it yourself, watch a tutorial, run google for examples, ask feedback on forums. No need for fancy designers. Again, I totally agree and I know your thoughts:
-Cheap is good, especially when you are just starting your business and you are very busy; you think there are other top priorities investments: equipment, offices, exploitation bills, salaries. Design is a ‘fanciness’ you can’t compromise your business over. Clever Google searches will help you find the next freelancer vying to make the most out of your hard earned money.

-Designers are copying and pasting stuff around and make it looks like it’s total sorcery… come on! This is not as hard as programming a financial app or building a marketing plan or even doing your taxes. It’s just pixels. Cheap service.

-Your audience will easily forgive your amateurish look, because these are your baby steps, everybody starts somewhere. If they are really interested they’ll value what you have to say rather than how your business looks.

-No need for storytelling, because there’s no story yet that matches your logo except the first letter it represents which is the same as your business name’s first one. No designer will come in your office and start opening a PowerPoint presentation which will explain your vision, how it will fly for years/decades to come in your customers mind. The strategy, etc.

-Why bother registering a temporary logo? When you’ll have the budget you’ll do that. First thing first.

-Your website and logo are not linked. This upper left side of your layout is where your logo will stay, you just have to tweak its color a little bit and you’re done. Again the audience will focus on your content, not the design. They’ll skip the logo.

-If you change your identity your audience will get lost and it will have a negative impact on your sales. This is what you’re most afraid of.

I think Design is all about team working. Cheap logos, make the next designer you’ll hire spend more time second guessing the color you’ve used, and then realize that it’s not the same on your business cards – plus I know there are thousands of them left in a box somewhere in your office- , don’t come with a vision, a glimpse of a strategy and a favorable ground for a successful branding. They don’t come along with this graphic charter bible I told you about lately which will solve all your future visual and graphic issues but will also keep you from adding irrelevant elements to your identity. They are doing more damages than good and you’ll feel very limited the day you will want to push all your brand experience further -if there’s any yet-. You’ll start the work all over again, and spend more money in the process.

In conclusion: branding is the bridge between logo design and marketing efficiency. Designers? I see them like conductors: they write the partition that triggers the emotional responses you need from your audience, sit down next to you and nail the brief, work with you to make sure all your modifications are done without drifting you away from your vision, tell you a great story, get in touch with your printer when something goes wrong, talk with the branding experts and marketing team, give you a vision and a competitive edge ahead, make you feel different, are aware of all the possible things you can do with your logo and some that you can’t. What’s designing a logo compared to all this? Just the tip of the iceberg.

Does it make sense? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Do you consider Design as something fancy or helpful for your business?