Monday, June 26, 2006

19. Art Prints & More Letterpress.

Here is a link to a couple of artists (Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham)
that I really like. They both have such a great touch. And here's another link for more letterpress goodness, since we seem to be on that subject a lot lately.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

18. Hannes Famira's type design class.

Just thought I would include this link for those interested in getting a peak behind Hannes Famira's type design class, held in NYC. If I were there, I'd go just because I think it would be a blast to attend.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

17. Old School Typography.

I recently discovered a link to a bunch of typography-related movie clips. Follow *this link* and you'll see some great stuff, such as: 1. A silent movie showing Frederick Goudy as he designs Goudy Saks. 2. A video of Douglas Coffin, one of a handful of people in the United States who still carves letters in stone with the same methods that were used in the Roman Empire. 3. A clip about letterpress printing and John Kristensen‘s Firefly Press in Somerville, Massachusetts (my fav of the bunch.) 4. And finally a few movies about The Linotype, The Ludlow Typography machine, and The Monotype Keyboard & Caster. This is good stuff.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

16. The World Cup Logo.

I've been meaning to blog about this for a little while now – because as is the case with any large event (The Super Bowl, The Olympics, the liteny of all-star games...) – the logo design is always controversial. It's no different than with this year's World Cup. (Which I have surprisingly been quite interested in...though if the US loses, I'm out too.) Here's one designer's take on the logo, Erik Spiekermann. Also, be sure to read the client's rationale here. And if you are a graphic historian, you can peruse earlier logos here. Designing for a world-wide stage is about as much pressure as you'll ever face as a designer, but what do you think?

15. InfoLust.

One of my favorite non-design sites, trendwatching recently wrote about a subject they are calling, infolust. The insatiable need to know everything about everything, and now. This is the mind set of a growing number of consumers and is no doubt changing the landscape where our designs are living and the information they are to convey. Although a long article, it's definitely worth reading.

Monday, June 19, 2006

14. Baseline Magazine.

Surprisingly, not very many people have heard of Baseline Magazine, published from our friends in the UK. They describe their efforts in this way, "Baseline sets out to reflect all aspects of type, including its design, history, use, and links to the graphic, art and craft scenes. Baseline’s contents are deliberately eclectic. It publishes mainly new material, from academic as well as journalistic sources. This means that the magazine provides a rich mixture of articles and reference materials." In their latest issue there is a great article about Jan Tschichold's redesign of Penguin books. His work set the standard of book design to this day and the baseline article is certainly worth the (somewhat steep for a magazine) price alone.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

13. The Design of Complex Networks.

Sometimes we designers complain about having too much stuff to cram into a finite space, and oftentimes, rightfully so. However, it's nice to remind ourselves how beautiful very complex design can be – in things much more complicated than that brochure or small space ad on which we're working. Manuel Lima (Parsons MFA Design & Technology '05) runs the website, visual complexity. This excerpt about the site is from juliaset: "It's a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project's main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web." I love it and could spend hours on this excellent resource for inspiration. Nerd-out!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

12. What We're Up Against.

Everybody is a graphic designer. Or so it seems. And unfortunately that has a negative impact on what we, the professional designer/art director, do and how difficult it can be. Here's an excerpt from Bad Design Kills: "The world is steeped in bad design. As designers we see something every day that makes us cringe or shake our heads in disgust. But, bad design does more than offend the eye of the designer It facilitates a poor public perception for what our industry it lowers the perceived value of our services...Computers have brought cheap PCs, pre-installed software, clip art and fonts. Armed with these components, while void of skill and concept, a new visual scourge endlessly violates the retina on a global scale - all the while continuing to feed the ignorance and attitude that anyone who possesses these tools can call themselves a 'Designer.' After all, there are no absolutes in art, and if they do it themselves, it's just cheaper." If you want to get a good idea on how this is shaping the landscape of our craft, go here. Just a little food for thought.

11. Two More Logo Updates.

You probably have already seen the new Sprite look in stores and on TV, with their sublymonal campaign, but here's a comparison on the old and new. I actually think this is a modestly positive update - all of the elements of the old can are in the new, they're just handled a little differently. Maybe I feel this way because the previous design was so badly done??? And just for fun, here's the new and old St. Pauli girl. Make you own conclusions as to what this says about our culture...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

10. The Importance of Journals for Designers.

Back when I was in undergraduate school, I was told how important journals were. I was told that it's where you put remarkable things you find, and designs that you personally do in order to record all of your work and thinking. It took awhile to buy into the idea of it being more than just an assignment, and years later my journals are very important to me - they function as my own encyclopedia of ideas and I refer to them all the time. However I'm finding that I now need an electronic version, an archive of all the things I find online that I like now I have three: One to work/think/sketch in. One to keep work that I like. And one on a hard drive for digital work. Check out Kevin Cornell's sketchbook from front to back. Also, these recycled covers, with blank pages make the best journals. If you are a graphic artist and do not keep one - try it out for awhile, it will change how you work.

Friday, June 09, 2006

9. Book Cover Design.

One of the more progressive areas of graphic design, is book cover and jacket art. There's a lot of good work going on, but it's not easy. Not only do cover artists have to design a package that readers will want to pick up, they also have to distill a novel down to its essence using just a few words and imagery (basically an ad for the book.) It's this reductionism that makes it difficult, but it's also what makes a good book design work. Fortunately, due to the wonders of the internet, there's a lot of sites that allow you to keep up with what's going on. And, I even think that there are still stores that sell books too. There's always that...Be sure to check the gallery of all the War of the Worlds covers while you're at it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

8. The American Airlines' NBA Playoffs.

In a slightly odd twist of fortune, American Airlines is going to be the sponsor of both stadiums in this year's NBA Finals. The airline pays around $8 million in naming rights per year, including the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks; and the American Airlines Arena, which the Miami Heat call home. Of course, they won't have a monopoly on sponsorship as each pregame, halftime, postgame and post-postgame show will probably have their own separate backing. This will most likely include southwest Airlines, just b/c they seem to be everywhere. I have to say that although I like the design on the Dallas stadium better, the one in Miami is the most effective if you're looking from above. I hope I get to design a roof someday ... and I was oh-so-close to being able to design the planes for a major airline this past year. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

7. Vonage's New Look.

I noticed a new logo on a vonage commercial this weekend, and although not impressed, I have to admit it looks a little more like what you'd expect from a technology company...which is both good and bad. Though I'm not sure why some designers feel the need to add little swooshes and weird little elements that make no sense, in this case the blue dot over the V. I'd rather the logo cleverly hint at what vongage does, especially because the name certainly does not. I believe this logo coincides with the company going public in May, but isn't the blue and orange a little too close to cingular (even though AT&T is killing that brand later). I'm still trying to figure out who designed this - and if it was in-house. Anybody know more?

Friday, June 02, 2006

6. Part Texture, Part Art & Part Typography.

If you're a typography nut, then you'll really enjoy Rodney White's work. To me the combination of retro advertising inspired visuals and sticky-sweet messaging is a nice combination in an art scene that is all too often overly dark and brooding. I definitely want a few of his works to be hanging on my wall in the near future, and isn't that the ultimate compliment?

5. Thank You for the Smokin' Titles.

If you have seen this movie, you probably noticed the exquisite title design, crafted by shadow play studios. This down-home, trip along tobacco-road is very well done. I particularly like the use of texture that keeps the titles from looking too crisp and digital, something that is a problem in some cinematic designs. I was beat to the punch on figuring out all of the fonts, which you can find here. Take a look at what has become my favorite part of movies these days.