Search Archives
Login
Wednesday
Oct112006

45. The NBA's New  Basketball.

Though not design of the graphic variety - the new version of the NBA basketball should prove a very interesting study of product design. Formerly comprised of eight oblong panels, this new one is built from only two interlocking panels (think of the construction looking like two Cingular logos.) And the material apparently allows for moisture to evaporate more readily than soak into the ball itself. Still, there is a significant amount of controversy surrounding the new ball from fans and players alike and it will be interesting to see how well or how quickly it is accepted. (Compare with the old ball.) I'm not so sure about Spalding's 'Cross-Traxxion' technology, because you just can't trust anything spelled so ridiculously. Apparently, these guys had something to do with it.

Tuesday
Oct102006

44. Coca-Cola's Far Coast.

Add another entry into the already crowded coffee business, that being a Coke project called Far-Coast. Initially opening only in Toronto, Canada; there are plans to expand internationally into Oslo and Singapore. And the reason it's on this blog is to comment on its identity and design merits; which I think are fairly well-done. I like the african-persian visual palette, and the brighter take on the coffee house. Although definitively not - it has a more authentic feel than say, oh Starbucks. However, big corporations need to stop with these kind of superfluous explanations for their new logos or marketing efforts: �Consumers are looking for quality and variety and are increasingly curious about the world around them. Far Coast was created to provide them with a window into different cultures through our range of delicious brews and infusions.� (from the official Coca-Cola press release.) Ughh. Check out these extra pics:

1 2 3 4 5

My kingdom for helping me find out the designers responsible for this effort...

Monday
Oct092006

43. Monday Links Volume Two.

Here's another addition of the miscellaneous links that I have discovered over the past week - saving you the time and trouble of finding them yourselves.

1. Wine in a Can? 2. Very Small Object Classification 3. The Draw-Bot 4. Hidden Rooms 5. Ban Comic Sans 6. Another Good Type Site 7. Aztec Art 8. Neat Video. 9. Hillman Curtis' Videos 10. Designers Who Blog 11. The Bob Ross Cult 12. Pantone Paint

Monday
Oct092006

42. Illustration Class.

One of the more prolific illustrators out there, certainly if only in terms of web presence, Von Glitschka has a great resource for those using Adobe Illustrator called Illustration class. Although in it's early stages, the site already has a few tips that can make the difference between average and professional vector graphics. He is also responsible for bad design kills, and an interesting project called the doodle archive. Also check out vonster.com

Tuesday
Oct032006

41. No Spec.

Here's an issue that is relevant to every designer and very much related to how we can be more respected within the business world: Doing spec work. If you don't know what spec is, or why it can be a bad thing, or you just want to be better informed on the subject there is really only one place to go. Here's a short excerpt from the No-Spec! site: "With legitimate design opportunities turning into calls for spec work at an alarming rate, it is our goal to arm designers with the tools they need to take a stand against this trend, as well as provide businesses with resources and information on why spec work harms our industry, and alternative solutions to their design needs that do not involve working on spec."

Monday
Oct022006

40. D&AD's New Identity.

Talk about pressure � try updating the logo for an organization of Design and Art Direction professionals � that's pressure. But that's a job that Rose, a design agency in London, took upon themselves; rebranding what was known previously as the British Design and Art Direction organization. Here's an excerpt from Adcritic.com:

"The project, led by creative partners Garry Blackburn and Simon Elliott at London's Rose design consultancy retains the D&AD logo designed in 1962 by Fletcher/Forbes/Gill, but with a substantial twist. "We took the original logo and combined it with a yellow hexagon � the shape of the pencil when upended," says Blackburn. "The original marque sits in the middle of the hexagon, like the lead running through the core. The D&AD 'seal of quality' will be easily identifiable from now on." Once again, we see that a graphic solution need not be complicated to be thoughtful. I like it even though it's a little close to the One Show logo in spirit. Check out the new mark in action on the organization's website.

Monday
Oct022006

39. Monday Links. Volume 1.

Here are a bunch of links I have recently found, either on my own - or on the numerous blogs I regularly check. Some are helpful. Some are fun. And some will simply take up that five minutes before you are ready to go home. Check back every Monday for more.



1. Penguin Books flickr Set 2. Mini Burgers. 3. The potpourri that is the NYC subway system 4. NBC being all self-depracating 5. The World's Most Uselessly Useful Knife. 6. Little People Art. 7. Redesigned Monopoly Pieces. 8. The Year in Book Design (keep clicking.) 9. A New Way to Hurt Yourself. 10. Baby Toupees. That's right. 11. Pittsburgh Signs - I sent them a bunch of signs from my Pittsburgh days. 12. More Type Links. 13. Olympia to Seattle in 2 minutes.
Monday
Sep252006

38. Cadillac Through the Years.

I'm a big fan of Cadillac's Art and Science vehicle design which has made them a very bright spot within the somewhat more somber state of affairs at GM. The design reminds me of the sharp, muscular characters of the newer batman animated TV series. And I'd like to take credit for this association, but it was an insight that an old client in Phoenix first mentioned when we were discussing cars. I eventually bought an '05 CTS, which I happen to like very much - it's a nice option vs. all the boring car options out there. But on a related note, I found the following on Cadillac's website, a timeline of cadillac logos going back to 1902 - which I think provides an interesting example of design and how it can change and impact a brand's perception.

Saturday
Sep162006

37. Letterpress Article in Time Magazine.


I found a short article about small letterpress operators in a recent Time magazine business section. More proof that it's always beneficial to read (or listen to, or watch) stuff that you may normally have very little interest in. Don't be surprised if I ever quit my job and have a small letterpress shop.
Wednesday
Sep132006

36. Cingular in Sprint's Clothing.

Two days ago, I spotted something peculiar on my bus ride to work. (I was late for the ferry, so I had to take this less sophisticated mode of travel. Ha.) What looked to be a sprint ad was actually a cingular ad - mocking sprint while using their own visual standards. This idea, full-page on the back of the day's Wall Street Journal, would have been a lot better if the content were more interesting � or a few degrees more aggressive. It seems like the decision to use someone else's brand deserved a more powerful message. But I soon learned that sprint did something similar - though I'm having a tough time locating a visual for it. If nothing else, it's always interesting to watch a good fight. Here's a full-page version.

Sunday
Sep032006

35. The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss.

I was on my way to the Sausalito Art Festival, in the beautiful seaside town when I happened upon an art gallery of work that had an odd familiarity to it. They were showing the wildly imaginative creations of Theodor Seuss Geisel's (aka: Dr. Seuss.) "Seuss single-handedly forged a new genre of art that falls somewhere between the Surrealist Movement of the early 20th Century and the inspired nonsense of a precocious child�s classroom doodles." Maybe I have been living under a rock, but I had no idea that his political, advertising and personal art was as varied and layered � and maybe even more thoughtful than the children's books that we've all read. My favorite is his collection of 'unorthodox taxidermy.' I left having a deeper appreciation for his talent.

Here are some camera-phone-pictures I took (non-flash, of course.)

Tuesday
Aug292006

34. Newspapers & Typography.

I stumbled across another blog recently that is an excellent typography resource, if only a bit specific. Newsdesigner.com is a website that follows both the major and minor papers across the globe while focusing on their layout and design. You'll find articles about everything from the subtle headline change made recently at the Chicago Tribune to the nameplate revisions of international pubs. I particularly like the feature that allows you to quickly view the current front pages.

Also, I've found this little directory of newspaper publications and what font(s) they use. It's fairly current and a nice reference tool.

Monday
Aug212006

33. The Graphic Imperative.

The Graphic Imperative is a collection of international poster designs for peace, social justice and the environment. Presented by the Massachusetts College of Art and Philadelphia University, this gallery really shows how powerful design can be when applied to some of the world's more pressing issues. There are 121 posters in all, dating between 1965 - 2005.

Thursday
Aug172006

32. Snakes on a Plane, it ain't.

A new documentary about typography, graphic design and visual culture is going to be released in early 2007, called Helvetica. Celebrating the typefaces' 50th birthday, the film exlpores the world of design, advertising, psychology and communication while promising to be a unique look at the power of typography in our urban world. Shot in high-def by Swiss Dots, a london independent media company, the film is directed and produced by Gary Hustwit.

You can follow news about the film and its release on (gulp) my space here.

Sunday
Aug062006

31. The Art of Presenting 2 � Kevin Lynch.

Here's the second installment of a series that I am very excited about, The Art of Presenting. This time, we sit down with Kevin Lynch (Partner and Writer at Hadrian's Wall Advertising in Chicago) and ask our questions about presenting. I think you'll find his insight applicable and quite entertaining.

Tuesday
Aug012006

30. The Hall of Best Knowledge.

Here is a little bit of inspiration for those of you who like typography (in other words, all of you.) Ray Fenwick's series called The Hall of Best Knowledge. Though he tackles many subjects with varying degrees of success and thoughtfulness, the beauty of his stuff lies in the elaborate ink work and the letterforms. So nice.

Monday
Jul312006

29. Know When to Say When.

Sometimes, we designers need to know when to stop and when to leave well enough alone. Allow me to use a somewhat silly example to reinforce this rather important princple. Take the Pillsbury Funny Face Drink Mix package designs from the Sixties and Seventies. Using a simple visual timeline, you can see that with each revision some of the soul of the original is lost.

Granted, each design may have been the work of a different designer with a different client mandate - but the end result definitely shows that they would have been much better off keeping the original design. It has fewer elements but it also has more personality while not trying too hard.

Let's all remember that sometimes, a light touch is best used when revising something that already works well. And when designing a new project - the craft is occassionally in what you do not add, more so than what you do.

Monday
Jul242006

28. Please Care.

I rarely like to link to other blogs, mainly b/c I don't want to be redundant and partly because I'm arrogant enough to want to create my own content (tee hee,) but here's an excellent article about a designer's education that goes quite well with one of the books I recommend called, The Shape of Content, by Ben Shahn. The article is written by Dmitri Siegel, who admittedly, has a much better designer name than do I.
Monday
Jul242006

27. Payless Redesign.

Ok, here's the new Payless ShoeSource look. I won't say as much about it as the last Mastercard fiasco (because that was terrible on a whole other level.) It's probably a little trendy and probably will not stand the test of time - but the one thing that does make me cringe is the growing problem of using bland, modern fonts in logotypes that render the identity almost meaningless and certainly blends in with the 50,000 other fonts of the same ilk. Don't get me wrong, I have no love for Cooper Black (the font in the old mark), it's just that all these new logos and their typography have no real personality. A million fonts to choose from (or create) and we get the same ones over and over again - as if the point is to look like everyone else. I (and others) have a suspsicion that marketing directors look at other major identity redesigns and figure if they do the same thing, they'll keep their jobs.

Wednesday
Jul192006

26. San Francisco.

Hello everyone. I don't have regular internet access here in San Fran yet - so it's been impossible to blog. There are so many things going on that will be posted as soon as I can, including Kevin Lynch's (of Hadrian's Wall Advertising in Chicago) answers to the questions in our series on the Art of Presenting. So stay tuned.