The most powerful graphic design tool you never knew you had
November 4, 2013 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Was iOS 7 Created in Microsoft Word? Graphic designer Vaclav Krejci makes it seem so in this time-lapse video. Check out his YouTube channel for more detailed explanations of each technique. Interested in doing some graphic design in Microsoft Word on your own? Check out his free ebook at ISSUU. (An iBookstore version is coming soon.)
posted by slogger (73 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Uh, no.
posted by odinsdream at 6:58 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, you can probably make icons with the tools in Word.
posted by pompomtom at 7:06 AM on November 4, 2013


I knew I had Microsoft Word. Until I uninstalled it along with the rest of Office.
posted by iotic at 7:09 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I ever fire up Word to do any design work, just shoot me.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:11 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is great, thanks. He really knows his way around Word. Artist not the tool!
posted by meta87 at 7:13 AM on November 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


So you're saying that someone skilled in using a tool can use that tool to do things normally done with other tools?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:13 AM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Listen, I already have to deal with enough people who have already "created their own design in PowerPoint". Please don't encourage them to try Word as well.
posted by Kabanos at 7:14 AM on November 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


As long as you're already using it, there's no reason not to compose your emails in Excel, and send them as attachments.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2013 [24 favorites]


WTF people? Did you drop into the NY marathon thread and bash the winners for not just driving a car?
posted by mullacc at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2013 [72 favorites]


compose your emails in Excel, and send them as attachments.

You laugh, but I know someone who actually does this.
posted by localroger at 7:19 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


We'd've probably suggested he take a cab.

----------
Or Uber.
posted by notyou at 7:19 AM on November 4, 2013


there's no reason not to compose your emails in Excel, and send them as attachments

I regularly receive emails from terrible people who convert text documents into jpeg attachments for no demonstrable reason. Excel would be a rare treat.
posted by elizardbits at 7:20 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


So you're saying that someone skilled in using a tool can use that tool to do things normally done with other tools?

Yeah, like Sokoban in sed...
posted by jim in austin at 7:20 AM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


The combination of "iOS7" and "Microsoft" in the same sentence is the secret cheat code to unlock grumpy comments.

That was a great video - it's fun to watch someone who's an expert in a commonly-used program go to town with it and do the unexpected.
posted by kimberussell at 7:24 AM on November 4, 2013 [28 favorites]


If I ever fire up Word to do any design work, just shoot me.

I have a friend who works for a medical hardware company in their "marketing" department. He creates all of their illustrated assembly booklets...entirely in Word. They're actually pretty good, considering. The PDFs he generates (for sending out for printing) are crazy huge, though. I did a couple of booklets for him, and came close to setting my computer on fire, trying to do the design in Word. I quickly switched to using Illustrator and got the thing done in no time at all. And the PDFs were half the size and printed sharper and cleaner. I have great respect for what he's able to accomplish, though.

He's mandated to do create the manuals Word in case the engineers or the marketing droids need to edit the assembly instructions and he isn't available to do it for them. Tail [wags] Dog.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:27 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


So you're saying that someone can, using a particular, limited tool, replicate hundreds or thousands of hours of concept work and design iteration that was originally carried out on a more robust set of tools?

I mean I think it's neat too but duh. It's as if I copied by hand every word of Gravity's Rainbow and then claimed to have "written" it. Love it or hate it, the iOS 7 interface and its various elements (and Gravity's Rainbow) is the final output of a long process of research and design iteration. And I understand that many people look at it and think it looks simple; but I assure you, complexity is easy; simplicity is hard.

But I don't want to sound like a killjoy, or worse yet, Apple fanboy (or even more worser yet, a Pynchon fanboy!)— this is a nifty demonstration of the capabilities of one of the more primitive graphics editors on the market, and a great calling card for Krejci.
posted by Mister_A at 7:31 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


compose your emails in Excel

I actually wrote a decent part of a novel in cells in Excel. I was consulting as a data/spreadsheet guy and had a shitty boss in a little corporate office where anyone could walk by and see what I was doing. This way all I had to do was hit "enter" and the fact that I was happily writing away and avoiding work would be instantly hidden in my boring old spreadsheet.

Ok, sorry
/derail
posted by nevercalm at 7:31 AM on November 4, 2013 [40 favorites]


Just appreciate his clever little stupid experiment and go on with your lives, whiners.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:34 AM on November 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


The job I just started has me doing a distressing amount of graphic design in Word and Powerpoint.

I've been told that they could buy me a Visio license, if I could show that I really needed it.

I'm not at the "please kill me" point yet, if only because I'm still enjoying the challenge.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:40 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the equivalent of the people who recreate Renaissance artwork in MS Paint. It takes an insane amount of dedication to do it that well in a program that was not designed to do any of that.

That said, none of my co-workers are this good with Word. If any of them try to build figures in Word or PowerPoint again, I am going to scream, because I am the guy who gets asked to "fix it" prior to publication. We all have Illustrator installed. Only two of us actually use it. (And of the two, I'm the only one with any kind of experience in doing so.) Sure, you could probably use a pocket knife to eventually cut down a tree, but why do that when you have a chainsaw handy?
posted by caution live frogs at 7:43 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


He creates all of their illustrated assembly booklets...entirely in Word. They're actually pretty good, considering.

My heart bleeds for the prepress department that receives them.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:44 AM on November 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


My heart bleeds for the prepress department that receives them.

heh. truth.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:46 AM on November 4, 2013


No complaints from me--I'm enjoying the video so far. I just popped in to say that I started laughing when he started talking about renaming the text box because between the typing, his accent, and his speech cadence, it sounded exactly like a Strong Bad email.
posted by Ickster at 7:47 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Let me get this straight:

Someone paints something hokey in MS Paint: people go nuts.

Someone shows that you can squeeze something neat out of a bloated corporate tool like MS Word: people compete to show who can be the most disdainful.

I don't know: maybe it's because MS Paint is so stripped down that getting it do more than blotches of colour is impressive. But who knew that the design tools in Word 2013 (not so much 2010, alas), actually can be used like that? After I saw this video a few days ago, I turned to a limited non-MS tool I use a lot and dug around enough to find some new capabilities I didn't think it had.
posted by maudlin at 7:48 AM on November 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


If this had the more accurate title "Can Microsoft Word Draw Vector Shapes?" instead of "Was iOS 7 Created in Microsoft Word?" no one would ever watch it, so bonus points for clever marketing, I guess.
posted by oulipian at 7:50 AM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Exactly. It's the framing that people are objecting to more than anything, as far as I can tell.
posted by Mister_A at 7:51 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I regularly receive emails from terrible people who convert text documents into jpeg attachments for no demonstrable reason.

That's Web 0.1.
posted by flabdablet at 7:53 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ha! This is hilarious.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:54 AM on November 4, 2013


I am also loving the grumpy comments here. Perfect!
posted by KokuRyu at 7:55 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


My first thought about using Word as a graphic design tool is that it seems so.... U.S.S.R. Like bootlegging records on old x-rays. Necessity as the mother of invention and all that.
posted by blue t-shirt at 7:56 AM on November 4, 2013


I love this
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:02 AM on November 4, 2013


You know who else designed iOS 7 in Word?
posted by univac at 8:09 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote iOS7.
posted by kewb at 8:11 AM on November 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I actually wrote the Quixote.
posted by Mister_A at 8:12 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I regularly receive emails from terrible people who convert text documents into jpeg attachments for no demonstrable reason. Excel would be a rare treat.

Ohohoh time for my favorite helpdesk story!

User has an error message on her screen. I ask her to e-mail me a screen shot. I get an e-mail which was made by:

1. Taking the screen shot
2. Pasting it into Word
3. Printing the Word document
4. Scanning the document to e-mail
5. Forwarding me the original e-mail as an attachment
posted by odinsdream at 8:13 AM on November 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


The title of this post is somewhat provocative of grumpiness, I would say ...
posted by iotic at 8:14 AM on November 4, 2013


Ha ha, moar liek Microsuck, amirite gusy? hi 5
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:16 AM on November 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


trying to do the design in Word. I quickly switched to using Illustrator and got the thing done in no time at all

However terrible Word is - and I'm not qualified to judge - Adobe has managed to create the worlds greatest crossword puzzle.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:18 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


1. Taking the screen shot
2. Pasting it into Word


Arrrrrgh!!! That gave me a horrible flashback. Back when I worked UI design at a web-app startup, I was always asking the devs for screenshots of their latest builds. Each and every time, I got a jpeg pasted into a Word doc emailed to me. I mean...wtf?

It actually subtly epitomized my impression of the devs. Creating two steps to accomplish a task when only one was necessary.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:24 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: compete to show who can be the most disdainful.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:31 AM on November 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


the man of twists and turns:
Metafilter: compete to show who can be the most disdainful.
/r/micro$oftcirclejerk
posted by charred husk at 8:36 AM on November 4, 2013


I like how this shows what can be done in Word. A lot more than I thought it could, to be honest.
posted by smackfu at 8:36 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Before the Windows "Snipping Tool", which I think came in Win7, taking a screen shot resulted in an image being stored in your clipboard. Pasting images into emails isn't very reliable across the dozens of different email clients (on both the sending and receiving ends), so sending it as an attached document makes good sense. Windows doesn't ship with an application where you can paste an image and save as a JPG, so using Word for this sounds like a convenient solution to me. I.e., those people aren't dumb, they weren't given the right tools.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:52 AM on November 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


What a tool!
posted by hal9k at 8:53 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I worked for a major business publisher that put together every single book as a word doc. it made me weep every time.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:53 AM on November 4, 2013


Windows doesn't ship with an application where you can paste an image and save as a JPG

mspaint.exe
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:55 AM on November 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


You could paste into mspaint? I had no idea.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:03 AM on November 4, 2013


I wrote a (special purpose) spreadsheet in FoxPro. For Dos. Oh yeah. Ran two successful companies for 10 and 15 years respectively.
posted by shothotbot at 9:35 AM on November 4, 2013


A lot of the design work that I see get done for academic projects tends to take place in Powerpoint or Word because the documents need to be freely exchangeable between project members, and Office is the least common denominator in terms of software that everyone has. The one time that I worked on a white paper and elected to use Photoshop for an image it was a nightmare because I then became necessary for every single change to the wording / font / minor color changes of the image, since I was the only person with Photoshop and experience using it. That was like, 10 times more work for me than it would've been had we just done the whole thing as a Word document, despite the fact that the initial document creation was much easier.

It's shitty in general, but the monoculture does have a few benefits, which I suppose is why it exists in the first place.

Regarding the video, I'm legitimately impressed by this guy's ability with Word. I never knew about using the gradient effect to get the solid color patterns that he shows, so that was actually something sort of cool that I picked up.
posted by codacorolla at 9:42 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I kind of saw this as a tragedy. The inferred backstory of this highly skilled person being that good with Microsoft Word is enough to make you weep.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:09 AM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


This has inspired me to try painting my whole house using only a screwdriver.
posted by isopraxis at 10:10 AM on November 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's like seeing these magnificent earth-toned paintings and then being told that the artist spent his life in prison and did them with his own excrement.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:11 AM on November 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


... there's no reason not to compose your emails in Excel, and send them as attachments

In the 90s I used to work at the research labs for a major British telecommunications company. We were in the habit of organising open days in which all people on site were invited to a show and tell of what the group/department were doing.

One day, a hapless secretary composed the invitation as a text-only Powerpoint and emailed the resulting one page slide deck (old Office, so HUGE) to everyone on site and many managerial people across the company. The collective intake of breath on opening it, followed by another when the distribution list was noticed was one of the rare highlights of my time there.
posted by epo at 10:18 AM on November 4, 2013


Ohohoh time for my favorite helpdesk story!

User has an error message on her screen. I ask her to e-mail me a screen shot. I get an e-mail which was made by:

1. Taking the screen shot
2. Pasting it into Word
3. Printing the Word document
4. Scanning the document to e-mail
5. Forwarding me the original e-mail as an attachment


My users regularly save screenshots as 5MB .bmp images in addition to this. Also: MS Word is not an appropriate text editor for raw XML data. Jerks.
posted by tmt at 10:27 AM on November 4, 2013


"Maybe if I replace Helvetica Light with Cooper Black no one will notice..."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:31 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The inferred backstory of this highly skilled person being that good with Microsoft Word is enough to make you weep.

Nah, pretty much all skilled craftspeople like the challenge making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Some people make jewelry boxes out of shipping pallets, some people cook meals with leftovers and stuff they find growing in a vacant lot, some people take photos using toy cameras with plastic lenses. Everyone likes a chance to demonstrate that they're better than their tools.
posted by echo target at 10:41 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


GAH I am right now taking a break so that I don't have a stroke trying to make newsletter templates in Word. It's like trying to type with oven mitts on your hands.
posted by looli at 10:43 AM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually it's a little known fact that iOS apps are just VBA macros, and you can still access the start menu by connecting a Bluetooth keyboard and pressing the Windows button. Apple's "OpenGL ES" is on fact just a thin wrapper around SmartArt. In case you were wondering, the master iOS .doc file is 363,527 pages and has a Flesch-Kincaid score of 6.3.
posted by miyabo at 10:43 AM on November 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


elizardbits: I regularly receive emails from terrible people who convert text documents into jpeg attachments for no demonstrable reason. Excel would be a rare treat.

I worked at a service bureau in Boston in the early 1990s, and "design" projects created in MS Office were not unknown. A certain client brought in a monstrous project every year for some time until shooed away by the owners. It was to be a dry-erase board with tiny ads around the four sides, most of which were crummy bitmaps of business cards, or "Word art," or the like. God, it took AGES to produce. Oh, and the guy barely spoke any English, so every conversation was labored and confusing and lengthy. *shudder*
posted by wenestvedt at 10:46 AM on November 4, 2013


compose your emails in Excel, and send them as attachments.

You laugh, but I know someone who actually does this.


No jury in the world would convict you.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:50 AM on November 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thought they ripped off iOS 7 from this microwave.
posted by Hlewagast at 10:55 AM on November 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


An acquaintance of mine who's a lead graphic designer with a big-name interactive firm sent out his halloween party invitations this year as a word doc with a jpeg in-costume cameraphone selfie pasted into each of several otherwise blank pages. It was one of the most effective anti-ads for a professional I've ever seen. I have no idea how many colleagues and potential employers he basically burned himself with by sending this out.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:01 AM on November 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, the "don't-use-the-convenient-relatively-snappy-program-that-is-on-
zillions-of-computers-and-has-reader-modules-for-zillions-more" thread again!
posted by Chitownfats at 11:19 AM on November 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I recently had to work in powerpoint to do something for a client. Of all the office programs, it may be the worst.

That said, MS word is one of those "portal" programs which tries to be everything to everyone, and is worse for it.
posted by maxwelton at 11:39 AM on November 4, 2013


I like Powerpoint for quick image printing and resizing, actually. It's way easier than using either the MS image editor (too crappy) or something more pro (too complicated).

I still giggle every now and then at the thought of Word's auto-summarise function though. Who the fuck ever thought that was a good idea.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:28 PM on November 4, 2013


Who the fuck ever thought that was a good idea.

FEATURE COUNT FLUFFING FTW.
posted by localroger at 12:58 PM on November 4, 2013


This is impressive and all but can he stop Word 2010 from starting a whole new paragraph whenever you hit enter I bet he can't also what's with the ribbon I hate it
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:54 PM on November 4, 2013


As long as you're already using it, there's no reason not to compose your emails in Excel, and send them as attachments.

My father was an extremely early adopter of the home computer - I was lucky enough to have a PC in my home in the mid-1980s. Being a man of many numbers and few words (he worked in a quantitative field) the only software that he deemed necessary for our PC was Lotus 1-2-3. His love of 1-2-3 was so great that, rather than acquiring one of the many nascent word processors, whenever he wanted to write a letter or some other text document he simply increased the width of column A to take up the entire screen, and wrote each line of text in the successive cells. When printed (dot matrix, natch), you would never know that it had been composed on a spreadsheet.

He continued in this practice, studiously ignoring the existence of word processing software, well into the early 2000s.
posted by googly at 2:11 PM on November 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It looks like he's using 2013, which takes the ribbon worst aspects of the ribbon, strips out a lot of the good aspects, and then changes everything around so that every time you want to fucking format something you have to operate within the stupid format panel on the right side of the screen instead of a context menu or a pop-up window because Microsoft has this ill conceived desire to create productivity software for their tablet platforms, but appears to lack the ability to effectively do so.
posted by codacorolla at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2013


The difference between creating works of art in Paint and in Word is that no one is forcing us to use Paint for things it is vastly unsuited for. If someone can run a marathon, good for them; if they then insist that all transit should be via running, that's when the grumbling will start.
posted by jiawen at 2:32 PM on November 4, 2013


The music is not in the piano.
posted by Scoo at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The piano, for many, is nonetheless a more effective conduit for the music than a kazoo would be.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:50 AM on November 5, 2013


The music is not in the piano.

Of course it is. There are even differences between the musicalities of the best-made pianos, which trained pianists will know about and be able to expound upon at length.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:57 PM on November 5, 2013


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