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Michael Lester, Behance
Michael Lester, Behance

The World's Smallest Portfolio Isn't the Only Cool Thing This Designer Has Done

Michael Lester, Behance
Michael Lester, Behance

Sometimes, simple is better, and the buzz surrounding Michael Lester's minimalistic—and very tiny—portfolio is a testament to just that. In response to a design brief asking enrollees of jelly London's 2015 D&AD New Blood Festival event to create an innovative way to sell themselves to prospective clients, Lester, a London-based graphic designer, made “The World’s Smallest Portfolio.”

The portfolio is about the size of an average postage stamp—just 24 millimeters wide by 19 millimeters tall—and features old, new, and in-progress pieces. But rather than shrinking down his work to fit the tiny dimensions, he distilled each piece into a single image and corresponding sentence to demonstrate his skills as "an ideas-driven visual communicator." Lester's portfolio—which won jelly London's Making Your Mark brief submission contest—can be seen in part on his Behance page.

In an interview for jelly London's blog, Lester explained his inspiration, saying that he wanted to see how small he could get his portfolio while still demonstrating his style and without losing each piece's primary message.

Even from this tiny portfolio, it’s obvious that Lester has a defined aesthetic. Each image—regardless of the project—looks like it could belong to a cohesive collection. “I think one thing that is always present is a slight childish quality," Lester tells mental_floss in an email. "I drew from a very young age and have always been obsessed with childlike creativity.”

This wasn't Lester's only 2015 D&AD success. Lester won a Graphite Pencil for D&AD’s New Blood Awards in recognition for his submission to the Envision Yourself in 10 Years Time brief from WeTransfer. His project, "Hire (The Future) Me," “invited people to hire me for free, but for 10 years’ time and for skills that I’ve yet developed,” Lester writes. So he built an interactive website where clients can book him for the future, and then “receive a hand signed I.O.U ticket” to hold him accountable.

In the technology world, so much can happen in 10 years. In 2005, YouTube was launched, Microsoft introduced the Xbox360, and people still used the iPod shuffle. So what will happen to graphic design by 2025? “I think right now we are seeing a range of ways to make work. At one end there’s the cutting edge technology driving forward,” Lester explains. “But there’s a drive for tactile things too. I think in 10 years' time, we will know how to bring these two ends of the spectrum together more naturally."

But even as technology changes, good graphic design—and especially advertising—will still require effective storytelling. And Lester’s prepared to give the future all he’s got. 

[h/t Ad Week]

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How Google Chrome’s New Built-In Ad Blocker Will Change Your Browsing Experience
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If you can’t stand web ads that auto-play sound and pop up in front of what you’re trying to read, you have two options: Install an ad blocker on your browser or avoid the internet all together. Starting Thursday, February 15, Google Chrome is offering another tool to help you avoid the most annoying ads on the web, Tech Crunch reports. Here’s what Google Chrome users should expect from the new feature.

Chrome’s ad filtering has been in development for about a year, but the details of how it will work were only recently made public. “While most advertising on the web is respectful of user experience, over the years we've increasingly heard from our users that some advertising can be particularly intrusive,” Google wrote in a blog post. “As we announced last June, Chrome will tackle this issue by removing ads from sites that do not follow the Better Ads Standards.

That means the new feature won’t block all ads from publishers or even block most of them. Instead, it will specifically target ads that violate the Better Ad Standards that the Coalition for Better Ads recommends based on consumer data. On desktop, this includes auto-play videos with sound, sticky banners that follow you as you scroll, pop-ups, and prestitial ads that make you wait for a countdown to access the site. Mobile Chrome users will be spared these same types of ads as well as flashing animations, ads that take up more than 30 percent of the screen, and ads the fill the whole screen as you scroll past them.

These criteria still leave room for plenty of ads to show up online—the total amount of media blocked by the feature won’t even amount to 1 percent of all ads. So if web browsers are looking for an even more ad-free experience, they should use Chrome’s ad filter as a supplement to one of the many third-party ad blockers out there.

And if accessing content without navigating a digital obstacle course first doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t worry: On sites where ads are blocked, Google Chrome will show a notification that lets you disable the feature.

[h/t Tech Crunch]

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Why Subliminal Messaging Doesn't Work (Unless You Want It To)
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Subliminal messages—hidden phrases in TV programs, movies, and ads—probably won't make you run out and join the Navy, appreciate a band's music, or start smoking. That's because these sneaky suggestions don't really change consumer behavior, even though many people believe otherwise, according to Sci Show Psych.

We say "don't really" because subliminal messages can sway the already motivated, research shows. For example, a 2002 study of 81 college students found that parched subjects drank more water after being subliminally primed with words like "dry" and "thirsty." (Participants who weren't already thirsty drank less.) A follow-up experiment involving 35 undergrads yielded similar results, with dehydrated students selecting sports drinks described as "thirst-quenching" over "electrolyte-restoring" after being primed for thirst. Experiments like these won't work on, say, chocolate-loving movie audiences who are subliminally instructed by advertisers to purchase popcorn instead.

Learn more about how subliminal messaging affects (or doesn't affect) our decision-making, and why you likely won't encounter ads with under-the-radar suggestions on the regular.

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