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Hi, I'm Aaron Richard. You might remember me as that guy from some website who goes by the name "Ralph The Magician."

I live and work in San Francisco. Sometimes I make things. I like radio & sailboats.

I use this to showcase some of the things I've worked on that I think others might find particularly interesting.

You can learn more about me, follow me on Twitter, or send me an email.

Announcing Pictodeck v1.0

Pictodeck is just what it sounds like — a deck of pictograms. It’s a collection of over 700 vector pictograms taken from four different sets: PICOL, Android Icons, Pictoico, and Freshpixel. I have converted all of these sets into graphical assets that exist within a Keynote deck. No need to open them in a program like Adobe Illustrator and import them individually. All you have to do is open Pictodeck in Keynote and copy and paste or drag them into your own decks. You can even drag the entire series of 720p slides into your decks (although I wouldn’t recommended leaving them there, since Pictodeck is rather large at about 30MB).

I created this because I’ve found myself spending a lot of time using Keynote to tell stories. I like telling stories through creative uses of typography and pictograms. I found myself using PICOL (Pictoral Communication Language) a lot last year and decided to formalize my collection and distribute it a way that makes the entire library more accessible to those in advertising, marketing, finance — any industry really. If you work with Keynote, Pictodeck is for you.

You may not realize it at first, but Keynote actually runs on a vector based layout engine. When you drag a vector-based image (Adobe Illustrator, SVG, EPS, etc.) into Keynote the vectors are preserved. Keynote converts all vector based images into PDF assets that preserve the vectors. Just look at them in the Inspector — you’ll notice they all get the filename “droppedImage.pdf”.

If you have no idea what vectors are (or why you should care), I’d encourage you to look up the difference between vectors and bitmaps on Wikipedia. If you just want the short version, it’s this: There are two primary kinds of image files: bitmaps and vectors. Vector graphics can be scaled to any size without a loss in quality; bitmap images cannot. You know how sometimes you find an image and try to make it the entire size of the canvas, only to find out that it’s terribly blurry and pixelated? That’s because it’s a bitmap image and they can’t be rescaled without a loss in image quality.

In addition to a massive collection of vector pictograms, I’ve also included a collection of 32x32 bitmap icons for popular social networking sites created by Komodo Media.

You can download Pictodeck v1.0 for Keynote ’09 here and a package for Keynote ’08 here. They are both ZIP files. I’m currently hosting them on Dropbox. Now on Amazon S3!

☞ Pictodeck is made possible only because the original authors have graciously chosen to license their work under Creative Commons (in one form or another).

I claim no copyrights of my own and only ask that you respect theirs.

Pictodeck exists to help others tell their stories visually though Keynote. I hope you find it useful. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments or shoot me a note if you know of any other pictograms you feel might be worth including in a future version, or if you want to share something you’ve created with Pictodeck. You can also contact me on Twitter @ralphthemagi.

I’m already planning the next version which will feature a mirror set of pictograms with inverted colors so that you can make better use of them on color backgrounds. In the meantime, if you want to use the pictograms on a black background, consider matting them on top of a white rounded square.

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