Joe Zeff Design

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SPD 45: A Trove of Silver and Gold

How fitting that the Society of Publication Designers should celebrate the world's best design, photography and illustration with an incredible new iPad app that sets a new standard unto itself. Now available in the iTunes App Store, SPD 45 reinvents the time-honored coffee table book by providing an endless grid of inspirational imagery that can be panned and searched for hours on end. Every winner gets full-screen treatment, then pivots out of the way to reveal a detailed listing that includes the publication, individuals and themes. Tap on any of the keywords to quickly see other entries like it, represented in a clever visual index that spans the top of the screen. Search "Fred Woodward" and the matrix lights up like Times Square; search "Joe Zeff" and . . . well . . . just wait 'til next year!

There's one-button access to the hardcover book on Amazon, marked down from $60 to $37.80 (and eligible for free Super Saver Shipping, of course!), but why bother when the digital version far surpasses the traditional version, downloads relatively quickly on a wired connection, and costs roughly half the price at $19.99. It's an indispensible resource for creatives, not only as a trophy of their own SPD successes but as a trove of inspiration that can be accessed in myriad ways. There's a hint of things to come: Tap on designer Josh Klenert's name in the credits to reveal a personal portfolio of print, video and apps along with contact information — a highly effective way for illustrators, photographers and art directors to promote their work in their App Store.

Screengrabs follow:

Kudos to SPD, Josh in particular, and the developers at Balance Software for an amazing app. We can hardly wait for SPD 46!

Meanwhile . . .

"The Final Hours of Portal 2," the iPad app we designed and developed for Spike TV's Geoff Keighley that is currently one of the top-selling News apps on iTunes, is now available as a digital book for Mac and PC on Steam.

Never heard of Steam? You will.

Steam is the world's largest online gaming platform with more than 30 million active users. Developed by Valve Software, creators of the Portal 2 video game and other blockbuster game properties such as Half-Life and Left 4 Dead, Steam is a way to download titles from all major publishers, connect with other gamers and easily play games together, obtain software updates and more. The platform offers twice as many potential buyers as the current iPad ownership, and is skewed toward the highly desirable youth market.

Publish an eBook on a gaming platform? It was a much more attractive option than porting the iPad app to an inferior tablet with a smaller audience. "The Final Hours of Portal 2" appeals to a very specific consumer, and a Steam edition takes that content directly to that consumer, once again demonstrating how independent publishers can rewrite the rules for distributing books, magazines and newspapers. Instead of a multi-tablet approach, here is an entirely new platform for content creators that could be a way to connect with the next generation of digital consumers.

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