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Entries by jj (280)


145. Fantastic Identity.

truce.jpgThere's a lot of great identity work out there (of course still far out-numbered by the bad) but a lot of that great work is being done by Turner Duckworth. They have an office just a block away from my previous agency's home in San Francisco, and possess a top-notch portfolio. Their process of reductionism when applied to Coke's packaging woes is one of my favorite recent projects – but I just discovered this: An interwoven identity for a vodka/cognac liquor called Truce. Not sure how I missed it, but I love it. Too bad, TD didn't design their website too. Eek.



144. Pelican Book Cover Design Gallery.

pelican.jpgNot too long ago, Baseline magazine (before their identity redesign mess) had a feature article on Jan Tischold and his influence on Penguin book covers - good stuff. Well, here's a gallery of Pelican cover designs from the 1930's through the 1980's. Beautiful things. According to their website, "Pelican was introduced to cover serious contemporary issues and represented the first new and original books to be published by Penguin; all titles so far had been paperbacks of books previously published by other companies." Some further reading about their history uncoverend this little gem: The Penguincubator - a vending machine of sorts for paperback books. Seriously, look it up.



143. The Design Police.

police.jpgA little (a lot?) pretentious - but still kind of fun. (Thanks Jessica.) It reminds me of the old Bad Design Kills site (this is all that's left of it) run by illustrator Von Glitschka, though not quite as deep of a concept.


142. VCU Brandcenter.

brandcenter.jpgThe VCU Adcenter has unveiled a new name and identity today that reflects the importance of not just traditional advertising but all of marketing’s touch points. From now on, the highly regarded school will be called the VCU Brandcenter. This coincides with an address change too, from a dingy building downtown to a brand new facility near the heart of VCU’s academic campus. (More photos via rm116 can be seen here.)The new building was designed by architect, Clive Wilkinson, famous for his work for Google, Disney and some of the leading creative ad agencies and is part historic renovation and modern new construction. The new identity work is an even bigger change. Designed by David Hartman, its meaning is open to interpretation which may be quite appropriate for an ever-changing curriculum that consistently prepares graduates for an ever-changing industry. After a couple years at VCU, it’s become clear that Director Rick Boyko is not afraid of change and that he is quite adept at steering the school in a way that makes an alumni such as myself, proud. He promises that despite the change(es), VCU is "...more committed than ever to creative thinking, brilliant executions and deep collaborations. And to helping smart hard-working students become the highest caliber graduates in their fields."

I will still miss the old mark, designed under the watch of Jelly Helm. (Below:)





141. Union Hand-Roasted Packaging.

union.jpgHaving designed some coffee packaging in the past, it was a delight to see Union Hand-Roasted’s coffee packs resist the norms of the industry and do something a little different. You’ll notice the lack of coffee beans in the background, the lack of burlap, or photographs of the Columbian countryside. In their place is a brilliant choice of material matched up with crisp & clean icons that work on the same level of information graphics. Very well done. There are some slight inconsistencies in individual pieces, but overall the merchandising and materials look great and you immediately recognize their look. Check out their website for more. Via TheDieLine ( a great packaging resource.)



140. Obama's Identity Design.

obama.jpgComing off his victory in the Iowa caucus last night, Obama is looking like a pretty strong candidate. So, I decided to go back to his site after reviewing most of the candidates identity design a while ago here. What I didn’t expect to find was an even greater attention to design details than before. The Obama O is being used much like a corporate brand logo – witness the demographic banner graphics here. This craft is carried into the individual states’ pages too, though not as effective and a little clunky when there isn’t an O in the state name. I’m not saying that some of this doesn’t border on cliché or stereotypes, but I definitely applaud the thought that was given to the smallest of details by the Obama campaign graphic designers. I have to admit this makes me like Obama a little bit more – though much like buying a product because of the pretty packaging, I won’t be voting for him (or any candidate) based on their design consistency. I’m far more intelligent than that. I think.



139. Ad of the Week: The Lost Hitchcock Film?

reserva.jpgSpanish champagne/wine maker, Freixenet has teamed up with director Martin Scorsese (and I believe JWT Spain) to shoot what is basically a nine-minute long commercial for their champagne - at least that's what I think it is - I'm not an expert on such beverages. This branded entertainment resides inside a fake documentary about a recently discovered screenplay fragment of a never-shot Hitchcock film, The Key to Reserva. (Got that?) The plot revolves loosely around a bottle of champagne and the decision of Scorcese to shoot this screenplay in the way that Hitchcock would have wanted. You can view the 'short film' here. Yes, it's a little contrived. No, it's nothing groundbreaking per se. It's just well done and worth a look. Sometimes, that's enough.



138. How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer.

toolboxI was very excited to read Debbie Millman’s new book, How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer. Not necessarily because she has contributed to our Art of Presentation series. And not because she was kind enough to send me an invite to the book release party either. (Even though I couldn’t make it, thanks Debbie!) I was anxious because I’ve been a big fan of her podcast, Design Matters, and knew that the book would not disappoint. But first, I had to get past that title.

Click to read more ...


137. Mexico, Forging the character.

mexico.jpgI didn't go, but apparently at TypeCon 2007 there was a presentation given concerning Mexico and typography: Mexico, Forging the Character. The presentation was given by: Garone Marina, Loaiza Isaías, Martínez Meave Gabriel, Vazquez Leonardo; and the typefaces used in the slides are: Darka, Integra, Mexica & Proteo. It's not all about particular typefaces, page to the back and you'll see lots of interesting type information as it relates to our southern neighbor. I wish I could have been there for this. That's about all that I know, except that some of these rock. Check them out here. My favs include: Luchita Payol by Enrique Ollervides (pictured above) and Kukulkan by Raul García Plancarte. Who says you can't do a powerpoint that even looks good sitting still?!?


136. Ad (Placement) of the Week: Apple/PC Banner.

applefirst.jpgIt's hard not to like the Apple/PC campaign as it's smart and funny and human and I'm pretty much a fan of anything that John Hodgman does. That being said, this little banner ad they created - in my mind at least - trumps all of their TV work by far for these reasons: 1. It's an efficient placement (it's on the page you go to in order to learn about Windows Vista). They could easily spend a ton buying a lot of different sites, but it's the location of this banner that makes it work. 2. The interactive video still has all the charm of the TV ads. 3. It's a great use of the medium and the dual-banner setup. Bravo. Here's the link (so long as it's up.) And here are a few screengrabs in case it goes down. (1, 2, 3, 4 )

Also, in case you missed them, here's the link to the UK's version of the Apple/PC campaign. Good stuff