Friday, April 27, 2007

99. Miami Ad School, Thank You.

For the past few quarters I have had the privilege of teaching at the Miami Ad School here in San Francisco. I met some fantastic people and worked on some very interesting projects all the while enjoying myself tremendously. The cliche is right, when you teach you end up learning more than anyone in your class. Thanks to all, especially Denise and Sachie for giving me the opportunity. (Kaan, Jake, Denise #2, Bryan, Dave, Matt, Amy, Charles, James, Addy, Roberto, Jess, Niklas, Josh, Andrew, and Sam – Good luck and remember to use your talents for good.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

98. Campaign Logo Designs.

Some applications of design seem more void of creativity, craft, and inspiration than others. Cereal boxes. Grocery store inserts. Local car dealer spots. All usually terrible and mostly unbearable. The set of presidential candidate logos for 2008 provide another such example. One would think that given the visibility of the campaigns and the sophistication of the people working behind the scenes (not to mention the budgets,) the identity work for their efforts would be more professional and meaningful. Take a look at this blog which compares and contrasts the campaign designs of the major Republican and Democratic candidates. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the written critiques found on the site - but it does serve as one-stop window shopping to form your own opinions. I find Obama's to be the most crafted, though still quite amateur when compared to the best corporate design. At least there's some sort of expandable graphic mark. I also think McCain's decision to use black in lieu of good ole red, white, and blue is daring - and in the right hands, potentially powerful - though in this execution it only exemplifies the Senator's reputation of being somewhat out of touch. (One website reviewer recently wrote that he must have 'joined the Oakland Raiders.' Ha. Though more color has since been added to the homepage.) Seems to me if you are a great designer and politically motivated, your services could be put to good use backing a candidate of your choice. (Does anyone else miss Perot's charts by the way?)

Politics being what it is, this is all that I can find about who did what.: Sol Sender of Sender LLC and five others in his firm created the logo the Illinois senator is using for his 2008 presidential bid. (source: Chicago Business.)

Anyone know anything about the others?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

97. I Love Pinstriping.

Pinstriping combines some of my favorite things: applied design, attention to detail, craftsmanship and an interesting medium. Even if you are not a car person per se - you can easily appreciate how talented some of these artists are and how intricate and amazing some of this eye-candy can be. I particularly like this skull design (shown above.) Take a look at this wiki page, this video (which I posted long ago,) this video, Herb Martinez – one of the more web-recognized artists, a flickr group on the subject, a couple books, as well as some helpful how-to articles to get you started by a fellow named Rocky Jr. I'm thorough if nothing else. Enjoy.

Monday, April 23, 2007

96. Type Specimens.

On a fairly mundane afternoon I decided to search Flickr using the words 'type specimen.' Below are some of the best surprises.

1. Artistic Hebrew Type, 2. 1923 ATF Specimen, 3. 1971 Photolettering, 4. Type Con 2006, 5. Fellow Typophile, 6. Design Things, 7. More Type Specimens, 8. I love Merga, 9. Type and Lettering, 10. More Type Goodness, 11. Signs and Type, 12. Any Type, 13. More Typography, 14. Matt Desmond, 15.Typographic Findings, 16. Typographie, 17. Typostammtisch, 18. Lots of Cool Specimens

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

95. Type Directors Club Annual Winners.

The Type Directors Club just released the 2007 annual winners with images from many of the designers and scans of the entries from others. Of course, low-density scans cannot do complete justice to the high quality of the printed material. No rankings are assigned in the TDC competitions; listings are categorically alphabetical. Olga, Subtil, and Nassim are my favorites. I think they would prove to be a useful addition to any type library. Enjoy. (Olga is the specimen featured above.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

94. Dynamic Identity.

Recently, I was sent this article written by Alice Rawsthorn at the International Herald Tribune (which has a great style and design section by the way.) In this article she discusses the trend for companies to have dynamic, seemingly ever-changing identity systems instead of one static logo. She uses Sak's Fifth Avenue new identity (we blogged about it here,) MTV, Google's versatile logotype and others to demonstrate this newer design trend and concisely discusses the pros and cons. I offer up Snickers (see this and this) and Perrier (download this pdf) as two recent examples of not just versatile identities but dynamic logos that are actually the advertising message in themselves. The article is food for thought for anyone designing an identity system, though I think it's pretty easy to decide when this makes sense and when it doesn't. Ask youself: does the added versatility serve a longterm purpose?

Monday, April 02, 2007

93. Viktor Koen's Toyphabet.

Another reason to subscribe to Baseline, the latest issue (#50) highlights artist Viktor Koen and his toyphabet. This alphabet is an amazing collection of somber letterforms comprised of toys, machines, spare parts and other mechanized junk. His 2005 cover of the New York Times Book Review (here) showcases this peculiar take on typography and is awesome(!!!) Be sure to visit his website and peruse his artwork – it's definitely worth the time.