Whoa… you damn well can’t do that anymore!
This is what graphic design looks like
Dyslexie, A Different Kind of Beauty
Well, if it isn't the old typeface bait-and-switch
Seeking a full-time position in hurricane logo design
Today I am a Red Sox fan (did I just say that?!)

Author Archives: howard

Sign Painters (official trailer)

This may be my first “must-see” movie since Helvetica, and before that? I don’t know, maybe Religulous? OK, so how freaking small has my world gotten?

[…um, that was just a rhetorical question]

From the documentary’s Press Release:

There was a time, as recently as the 1980s, when storefronts, murals, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered with brush and paint. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has been overrun by the techno-fueled promise of quicker and cheaper. The resulting proliferation of computer-designed, die-cut vinyl lettering and inkjet printers has ushered a creeping sameness into our landscape. Fortunately, there is a growing trend to seek out traditional sign painters and a renaissance in the trade.

In 2010 Directors Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, with Cinematographer Travis Auclair, began documenting these dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft, features the stories of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States. The documentary and book profiles sign painters young and old, from the new vanguard working solo to collaborative shops such as San Francisco’s New Bohemia Signs and New York’s Colossal Media’s Sky High Murals.

Who Made That Pantone Chip?

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Via: The New York Times:

In the early 1960s, as Lawrence Herbert drove to work in a blue Cadillac with cherry red seats, he mulled over a problem: How to create a “universal language” of color. Herbert, the owner of the Pantone printing company, had just produced a retail display card that helped shoppers choose pantyhose. He had to hand-mix the subtle beiges of each swatch, because it was so difficult to buy the exact shade he wanted from an ink manufacturer. Each company defined colors differently, and when you ordered “wheat” or “taupe” or “cream,” you couldn’t predict what you’d get.

The solution, he realized, was to create a unified color system in which each shade was expressed as a number. “If somebody in New York wanted something printed in Tokyo, they would simply open up the book and say, ‘Give me Pantone 123,’ ” Herbert says; 123 (a daffodil yellow) would look exactly the same the world over….

[click through for full piece at nytimes.com]

360° Color: A Peek Inside Pantone from Base on Vimeo.

Edward Gorey Google doodle

Illustrator Edward Gorey would have turned 88 today.

And from the documentary The Last Days of Edward Gorey (planned release 2014) by Christopher Seufert, shot with Edward Gorey’s approval and active participation from 1996 to his death in April of 2000. Edward Gorey talks about his influences.

Finding Vivian Maier

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From vivianmaier.com:

Vivian Maier was a mystery even to those who knew her. A secretive nanny in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago, she died in 2009 and would have been forgotten. But John Maloof, an amateur historian, uncovered thousands of negatives at a storage locker auction and changed history. Now, Vivian Maier is hailed as one of the greatest 20th Century photographers along with Diane Arbus Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Weegee.

1075_3col….intensely guarded and private, Vivian could be counted on to feistily preach her own very liberal worldview to anyone who cared to listen, or didn’t. Decidedly unmaterialistic, Vivian would come to amass a group of storage lockers stuffed to the brim with found items, art books, newspaper clippings, home films, as well as political tchotchkes and knick-knacks. The story of this nanny who has now wowed the world with her photography, and who incidentally recorded some of the most interesting marvels and peculiarities of Urban America in the second half of the twentieth century is seemingly beyond belief…. Maier’s massive body of work would come to light when in 2007 her work was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. From there, it would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man who championed her work and brought it to the public eye, John Maloof…. (vivianmaier.com)

Also… Check out Artsy.com, an excellent resource for Vivian Maier and much more!

Why Subtraction Is the Hardest Math in Product Design

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Via: wired.com:

Simple doesn’t just sell, it sticks. Simple made hits of the Nest thermostat, Fitbit, and TiVo. Simple brought Apple back from the dead. It’s why you have Netflix. The Fisher Space Pen, the Swiss Army Knife, and the Rolex Oyster Perpetual are some of our most enduring products. All are marvels of simplicity.

Yet while many mechanical marvels of simplicity remain true to their original form, most electronic ones do not.

Travel back in time to use your parents’ first microwave and you’ll likely see a box with three buttons (High, Medium, Low) and a timer dial. By contrast, one of LG’s current models boasts 33 buttons. Do I hit Auto Defrost or Express Defrost? And what the hell is Less/More? None of these make my popcorn pop faster or taste better. And it’s not easier to use. Why do products become more complex as they evolve? ….

[click through for full piece by Mat Honan for Wired Magazine]

And exploring this topic means this is an appropriate time to appreciate the long-time favorite “If Microsoft designed the iPod Package”

Shirley Tucker on designing book covers

Shirley Tucker worked at Faber as a book cover designer alongside Berthold Wolpe. She joined in the late 50s and stayed until the 80s, her most well-known cover is the original 1966 edition of ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath. Here she discusses the process of designing a book cover.

And yes, we really used to do it this way…

Shirley Tucker on designing book covers from Faber and Faber on Vimeo.

Support the Hamilton Wood Type Museum

hamilton

From woodtype.org:

Hamilton is moving at the end of March, 2013. We are currently assembling teams of volunteers to help us with this task and you can lend a hand. You can donate to help us defray the costs and sign up for one of our moving crews on the calendar page. We are attempting to raise $250,000 in short order to get 30,000 sq. feet of printing history packed up and ready for a new home, wherever that may be. PLEASE consider a donation today. If you’re in the creative field let your employer know we need them as well. They can contact museum director Jim Moran at Jim.Moran@woodtype.org to learn more. You can download a donation form here or click below to give online. View the official press release here.

Get all the information on their website.

Some photos below – but don’t miss their wonderful Flickr archive!

Paperman | The complete Disney animated short

From Disney Animation:

Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, “Paperman.” Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him. Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction.

And some background/commentary:

Redesigning Google (from theverge.com)

Via: theverge.com:

Redesigning Google: how Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution • The new Google way is weird, but it’s working

….We went to Google looking for the person responsible for the new design direction, but the strange answer we got is that such a person doesn’t exist. Instead, thanks to a vision laid out by a small team of Google designers, each product team is finding its way to a consistent and forward-looking design language thanks to a surprising process. They’re talking to each other….

[click through for full piece]

The wording of their headline does not specifically reinforce or challenge the idea that there actually is a single correct way of accomplishing good design. We’re well aware of how Apple’s design has been led by Jonathan Ive — presenting the world with what appears to be the ideal model of corporate design leadership. Simply put: having one lead voice. But Google is not Apple — and frankly, the entirety of Apple is not as unified as it looks at first glance.

[and while I’m on the topic….] Certainly all of Apple’s products — hardware and physical packaging — have that Apple aesthetic, but have you looked at the icons in your dock lately? Pages, Numbers, iMove, etc… all look like Microsoft products. What would it take to redesign these icons to match the Apple brand? And the Calendar, which instead of having that sleek and clean Apple look, actually opens up to some sort of faux leather-like texture at the top and goes further in this cheesy direction to actually mimic the remnants of slighty torn away pages? Is it the intention to keep these apps looking this way? And if so—why?

OK, I saw this image (below, Calendar App second row center) so here’s the deal—if your Icon is suitable enough to serve as decoration for adorable cupcakes, then it does not have the Apple aesthetic. And if you have the need for adorable cupcakes, you’d be wise to contact my friend Sara.

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