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You are here: Home > Renderings > Plans & diagrams

Information design: Property plans

Client: Rode & Associates Property Consultants

Yes, we even do diagrams and maps. Much neater and easier to read than your average re-photocopied map or hand-drawn diagram. Konrad has an obsessive streak in him which means he actually enjoys doing this.

These building plans were part of a series consisting of a few hundred property valuation maps Rode & Associates used in a presentation to a client, back in 1998.

When stylising presentations we distinguish our client from the average Joe. In the competitive world of business you need leave a good impression to prevent your company from disappearing into the abyss of "just another business" (yaaawn!).

Related: Road map renderings


Information design: Diagrams

Client: The Shuttleworth Foundation

Mark Shuttleworth's* foundation has a keen interest in advocating the use of Open Source software (OSS), the term used to describe software that is not copyrighted, but instead is the collective effort of volunteer developers around the world, on a quest to improve human living standards by providing these products free of charge. This benefits especially Third World countries.

Probably the best known Open Source** products are the UNIX-like Linux operating system (OS) and Firefox, the alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Konrad was asked by Riaan Bredenkamp of TSF to provide information graphics in aid of a Linux tutorial for the TSF website - basically to draw diagrams - no real feat. Even the file format of the diagrams had to be Open Source - in this case, as PNG's instead of GIF's, which do carry copyright in a few countries.

The only minor challenge was to create the diagrams in such a way that the final PNG files would be really, really small, considering South Africa's painfully slow internet, i.e. no complex graphics or gradients, and relatively monochrome.

Full size examples here >
(Of course, what you'll see is a GIF file, because PNG's don't have animation capabilities we used here for the slide show)

More examples of vector art:


* Mark Shuttleworth

He's a bit of a legend in South Africa. He became a very rich man after selling security software his company developed.

He then invested much of this money in science education projects partly aimed at uplifting the disadvantaged in South Africa, as well as forming a lobby to convince the SA government and businesses to switch to Open Source software, like countries such as Brazil and Germany have already done. (And yes, he went up to space, man...)

One of his foundation's well-known projects is Ubuntu, now the most popular consumer version of Linux worldwide, and a great alternative to Microsoft Windows.


... and that was a mouthful. Where were we? Oh right.


Next: Icon design / logo design for ourselves


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   Icon design / logo design for ourselves

Please note: "Information design" also refers to an aspect of IT (Information Technology) development, although "information architecture" is more commonly used for that one. We're obviously referring to the "display-of-information" meaning of the term, often applied to diagrams and charts.

** Open Source

Free Open Source software we recommend:

There is a fully functional and largely compatible, free of charge alternative to Microsoft Office. It's called OpenOffice, and it's even available in local languages such as Afrikaans and Xhosa. We use Open Source software all the time – in the case of Mac users, we recommend NeoOffice, a Mac-only version of OpenOffice. Apparently Apple's proprietary but cheap iWork suite is even better than Microsoft Office, but we haven't had the chance to test it.

The Firefox web browser – the alternative to Microsoft's proprietory but free Internet Explorer – now has 20% of the world market and is the most popular browser in Europe. Still, for Mac users we recommend Apple's proprietory, free Safari, as it's the fastest and most Mac-like browser. Of course, Google's proprietory and free Chrome is on a fast track to overtaking Firefox.

An alternative to Microsoft Outlook (a great product, we must admit) is Thunderbird. We're happy with Apple's Mail though.

Even anti-virus software have Open Source alternatives. In Mac's case, we recommend ClamXav - it doesn't come with the functionality of professional software, but it's good for manually scanning files. Of course, we've only come across 2 pieces of malware on our Mac, and they were both Windows malware that wouldn't affect us.

"Malware" refers to virusses, Trojan horses, worms and spyware.

Want to copy your DVD's to your Hard Disk? Look no further than Handbrake.

Got movies your movie player can't handle? Try VLC – it plays *anything*.

And the great news for graphic designers and illustrators is that there is a free alternative to Photoshop in the form of The Gimp with the Gimpshop extension, Separation+ and a few other plug-ins.

Even more great news for the above users is that there's a killer alternative to Illustrator, CorelDraw and good old FreeHand in the form of Inkscape.

And finally, web designers have an equal to Dreamweaver in Nvu.


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Cape Town, Bellville and Durbanville, South Africa

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