Wednesday, November 29, 2006

62. The Laws of Simplicity.

I may have to add a new book to the required reading list, John Maeda's , The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life). He has a nice mini site that summarizes the book's laws, that I suggest going to. You can easily translate these tenants into your graphic design craft. Be sure to check out his three keys too. This is great stuff.

I hope this tides you over until I post a new presentation entry, a few chapters in The Bottom Rung guide, as well as a new series on what constitutes bad design.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

61. New York Magazine's High Priority.

New York Magazine recently held a contest to design their High Priority feature for the year end double issue. Speak Up has posted the submissions with the winner being announced December 4th. (Yeah, I know it sorta sounds like spec work, but we'll leave that for another day.) For now, check out how other designers handled the constraints - if nothing else, it's fun to critique the work of others without having to put your own neck out there. (My personal favorites are done by Julia Townsend and Yann Legendre - even though this idea was in at least two other submissions, though executed with less craft.)

UPDATE: You can view the winner here which wasn't even in my top ten. I guess I have tired of using a major corporate logo and then changing it's meaning - must be all those stupid tshirts I saw at frat parties and emo concerts. But the runners up were great.

Monday, November 27, 2006

60. The Art of the Book Event in NYC.

If you can, GO - it should be great. The Art of the Book: Behind the Covers with Dave Eggers, Chip Kidd and Milton Glaser. Michael Beirut will be moderating this event held at the 92nd St. Y in NYC next Monday, December 4th. The base price is super-affordable ($18.00 All Sections), but the next price is even better ($10.00 35 and Under). Summary and link via Core77. The image below is taken from a copyrighted material page in Egger's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius just because it reminds me of how his book was packed with interesting little tidbits everywhere you looked. (Yes, you'll have to squint. Sorry.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

59. Gifts Well Designed.

One of the good things about being a designer is being able to appreciate well designed gifts. There are so many floating around that I thought I would post links to some of the best I've come across in lieu of our normal links post. Who knows? Maybe they'll make your holiday wish list in time to actually get them. (I'll probably be adding to this list shortly.)

The ECOSOL Powerstick is a universal portable charging device that's sleek, small, quite handy and the grease monkey in me loves the little fuel gauge to indicate the power left to dispense.
The Teak Personal Light by those guys who make that chair you are sitting on. This light allows you to adjust the color and the intensity of the light . I am trying not to covet this little gem.
Designer Blocks by House Industries will make you want to buy two sets. One for your child and one for your office to display next to your pantone books. At $100 a set, they are on the expensive side of the building block spectrum for sure.
The Kern Sweatshirt from Veer isn't that new, but I still haven't got one yet. I do love consistent and artfully set typography, but who doesn't?
The Space Invaders Scarf is one of a series of vintage video game art clothing designed by bits 2 die 4. Though it pains me to type out their name using numbers, these scarves are still cool.
The Hulger Cell Phone Base posted on MoCo Loco's blog would look really nice on any designer's desk. You plug your cell phone into it, allowing you to enjoy a little analog/retro design time. And it has the benefit of being more comfortable on those long 'where is this relationship going?" conversations.
The Collapsible Strainer and all the pieces by Normann-Copenhagen are so well designed that it makes buying kitchen appliances feel somewhat like buying cool electronics. Pamper your inner Kitchen geek.
The BabyKeeper is something I think I'd use a lot if I had a kid. Most likely, I'd get in trouble somehow, but that's why I should not have children.
The Micro Car Kits by Mitsuoka Motors in Japan look like they'd be a blast to build.
The Taeguk Business Card Case is a little beauty of a card holder designed by artist Young Se Kim. Everyone should have a nice card holder.
Moleskin Journals are the best and every creative should have one in their back pocket just in case.
38 Wrenches in One via the Crescent® RapidRench (again with the alternative spelling garbage!) is an awesome gift, especially if you don't have a full-size garage in your loft.
Eva Solo Teamaker is one product that can drive demand just by being well designed. I want to drink more tea just loooking at it.

And just in case you nab one of these cool gifts for a friend, make sure to give it in style: Emigre Wrapping Paper and great letterpress Cards from right here in SF.

UPDATE: Core 77 just released it's 77 design gifts under $77. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

58. The Cool. The Creative. The Strange.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

57. Ad of the Week.

One of my favorite collateral pieces has been translated into some great outdoor and print executions for Jeep recently by BBDO Detroit. The new four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, seen from above with all its doors open, toting sports gear, bears an uncanny resemblance to a bug. Beginning as a handout at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, the new species concept works just as well or maybe even better in outdoor. I think the broadcast executions on the idea could be better, but they're really not bad either. It's nice to see a good idea being recognized and utilized across many mediums.

Credit Writer Ty Hutchinson and Art Directors John O'Hea and Paul Szary.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

56. The Bottom Rung.

Oftentimes I find myself giving advice to a creative who is just starting out in the business and only recently have I thought to put that stuff down in writing so that a wider audience may benefit. And it's with that inspiration that I'm starting another series on graphicology called, The Bottom Rung - How to Begin and Foster a Creative Career. I plan on supplementing my own experiences on many subjects with those of some of the best designers, writers and art directors around.

Topics will include such things as 'How to find a good mentor and how to be a good apprentice", "What should I look for in a first job?" and "Becoming Indispensable within the studio/agency environment." We'll also tackle issues important to every designer no matter what their experience level such as: selling your work to a creative director, how to develop good relationships with clients, and becoming more meeting friendly. I'm also open to suggestions for upcoming topics, so email me if you like.

Basically, I'll just keep updating the pdf with a new chapter as they come to me or as I can get contributions from other pros. If you read the introduction, you'll get an idea of how it's going to work. I'm excited about this new venture and hope that you will be too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

55. LaLoo's Goat Milk Ice Cream.

I first came across LaLoo's in the frozen food section at Mollie Stone's (a local, higher-end grocery here in the bay area.) I was curious about goat's milk ice cream and the company's part in the slow-food movement, but was instantly drawn to the packaging (which is quite pleasing, especially when you can see all the flavors in a row. The lighter ones are yogurt.) I think the design is a great example of what you can do on a small budget; using only simple shapes, an appropriate font, and intelligent color selection to create a strong visual identity that stands out on the shelves. When working on a project with a lot of restraints, it's always nice to remember that you can still arrive at an elegant solution and I'm always on the lookout for more and more such case studies. (The longer you do this, the more you realize that there is never an excuse for uninspired work.) This isn't redesigning a national brand or anything, but you can tell the project was given just as much love from the designer.

I know the owner has an advertising and entertainment background but I am still trying to find the person responsible for this understated yet classy solution. Maybe I'll get them to talk about it here, so stay tuned.

As an aside, LaLoo's runs about $8/pint - this stuff is expensive – but where else can you get flavors like Black Mission Fig, Molasses Tipsycake (you can't believe how good this is,) Chevre Chiffon, and Chocolate Cabernet? And you can sleep at night knowing those goats are running free on 350 acres of Sonoma County, CA and probably are fed better than you are.

Monday, November 06, 2006

54. Monday Links.

Boy, I'm excited for the coming week as it's going to be a good one for the ol' Graphicology blog. Just wait, come back every day and I'll make it worth your while. But to tide you over until tomorrow, here's our usual grab bag of interesting links. Our crack team of surfers scour the internet 24/7 so you can more efficiently waste your time.

1. The Internets 2. An Amazing Notebook 3. Building Letters 3 4. Crazy Bug Photos 5. Vote. Then Shoot. 6. I need one of these (Now, see it in Japanese.) 7. Miss Halloween Already? 8. South African Condom Ad 9. Charts and Graphs. 10. Apollo Visuals 11. Get The Scoop on Poop 12. HIFI Literature 13. Playing Card Art 14. Cigarette Pack Art 15. Vintage Wallpaper Gallery 16. Blog of the Week: What's in Your Bag?