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?!)

Category Archives: architecture

The Golden Ratio: Design’s Biggest Myth

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From Fast Company

Keith Devlin, professor of mathematics at Stanford University says it’s simple. “We’re creatures who are genetically programmed to see patterns and to seek meaning,” he says. It’s not in our DNA to be comfortable with arbitrary things like aesthetics, so we try to back them up with our often limited grasp of math. But most people don’t really understand math, or how even a simple formula like the golden ratio applies to complex system, so we can’t error-check ourselves. “People think they see the golden ratio around them, in the natural world and the objects they love, but they can’t actually substantiate it,” Devlin tells me. “They are victims to their natural desire to find meaning in the pattern of the universe, without the math skills to tell them that the patterns they think they see are illusory.” If you see the golden ratio in your favorite designs, you’re probably seeing things.

See the full article at fastcodesign.com

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with a table today, but….

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The Map Table by Birky Design.

From the Birky Design website:

Tailored for your special place in the world, our map tables are crafted from solid hard wood using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. All our wood is sourced from Scottish FSC accredited woodlands. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests.

Some more images here…

And few things give me more joy (perhaps sadly, that is not an exaggeration) than a great video of people making beautiful stuff.

BIRKY Design – making the Map Table. from BIRKY Design on Vimeo.

BIRKY Design are pleased to bring you a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into how we make our map tables. From the original planks right through to polishing up the table top, this film shows the process from start to finish.
Our maker was Graham Murdoch, based at the Real Wood Studios in the Borders. Also starring Alec Jordan, a boat builder and CNC-cutter in Fife.

Videograoher – John Duncan, JD Productions.
http://www.john-duncan.co.uk/

And while we’re talking about great video of people making beautiful stuff, I love watching the craftsmanship in this video of the making of the $50,000 (yes, fifty thousand) Leica M9-P Special Edition Hermès. Oh well, the video is gorgeous and you can watch it for free!

The Making of the Leica M9-P »Edition Hermès« – Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas from Leica Camera on Vimeo.

Watch the making of the Leica M9-P »Edition Hermès« – Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas, introduced in Berlin at the “LEICA – DAS WESENTLICHE” on May 10, 2012.

This limited edition is a celebration of the friendship and collaboration between Jean-Louis Dumas, the former president of Hermès, who died in May 2010, and Leica Camera AG.

Steve Powers: Distilling Daily Stories Into Art

Steve Powers: Distilling Daily Stories Into Art from Piers Fawkes on Vimeo.

….and here is the legendary graffiti artist painting one of his daily series of drawings on small metal panels: Daily Metaltations

DAYS by Steve Powers from Georgia on Vimeo.

The story behind New York’s Subway signage

Via: The New York Times Magazine (12/7/2012)

Who Made That Subway Signage?

In 1966, Bob Noorda, a Dutch-born designer, spent three weeks navigating New York’s subway system, pretending to be a commuter and trying to follow the signs from one train to another. What Noorda found was chaos: the walls bristled with arrows and impossible-to-follow instructions. The New York Transit Authority was hoping that Noorda and his firm, Unimark International, could fix the problem.

It was an era when graphic designers hoped to reinvent the world, and Marshall McLuhan declared, “We become what we behold.” The team at Unimark wore lab coats, and at one point they drafted a manifesto declaring their allegiance to sans-serif type. When Noorda and his partner Massimo Vignelli took on the subway signs, they didn’t just update them — they invented what they thought of as a new grammar for New York City. They used minimal text, arrows only when necessary and color-coded discs to indicate different train lines. The discs were Noorda’s masterstroke….

Continue to full article

And recently the Sierra Club has created a subway-style map of national parks (below) with the legend “so incredibly not to scale”, further confirmation that this design will live on forever.

Sadly beautiful New York Magazine cover

It’s often asked where Art Direction ends and Design begins. As the digital world has afforded individuals unprecedented control of their work, the line between art direction and graphic design has further blurred. Here is a perfect example where the art direction is the design. And I would hope that as fellow designers look at this magazine cover, the “art director” in them will be reminded that when a photograph contains this much beauty and information, then your job is to just stay out of the way and allow it to shine. The stormy skies, the familiar bright lights of Manhattan at night, and the near-perfect infographic of the devastated (dark) parts of the city. Read below to see the challenges of getting this shot.

Via: poynter.org

Architecture photographer explains how he got that New York magazine cover shot

Shooting in the dark, with a handheld camera, in a vibrating helicopter, 5,000 feet above land sounds like a photographer’s nightmare. But Iwan Baan made it look easy.

The Dutch photographer’s image of a half-illuminated, half-powerless New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy captured the nation’s attention on the cover of New York magazine.

“It was the only way to show that New York was two cities, almost,” Baan said on the phone Sunday evening from Haiti. “One was almost like a third world country where everything was becoming scarce. Everything was complicated. And then another was a completely vibrant, alive New York.”

Baan made the image Wednesday night after the storm, using the new Canon 1D X with the new 24-70mm lens on full open aperture. The camera was set at 25,000 ISO, with a 1/40th of a second shutter speed.

“[It was] the kind of shot which was impossible to take before this camera was there,” Baan said.

It was more difficult to rent a car than a helicopter in New York the day after Sandy, Baan said. And because there was such limited air traffic so soon after the storm, air traffic control allowed Baan and the helicopter to hover very high above the city, a powerful advantage for the photo.

…continue for full text

Harvey Pekar statue to be dedicated at Cleveland Heights’ Lee Road library on October 14th

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer….

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS — The late Harvey Pekar will soon become a permanent fixture of one of his most beloved haunts; the Lee Road branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

A statue of Pekar at the library will be dedicated at a ceremony scheduled for Oct. 14. Entitled “Harvey Pekar: A Literacy, Library Life,” the event will include a presentation by JT Waldman, the illustrator who collaborated with Pekar on his posthumously publish graphic novel, “Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me.”

The famed author of the autobiographical comic book series “American Splendor” — which inspired a critically acclaimed 2003 movie of the same name — Pekar, 70, died in July 2010 at his East Overlook Road home in Cleveland Heights. A Coventry Road staple for decades, the Shaker Heights High School graduate was also an almost daily visitor, and longtime supporter, of the Lee Road library.

“That library was Harvey’s first love and second home,” said Pekar’s widow, Joyce Brabner.

(more…)

The project is explained—mostly by his wife Joyce Brabner—on Kickstarter (video above) where most of the money was raised

Basket Tree In Nantes, France (my son is going to want one of these!)

Via: Designboom:

A/LTA architects members jean-luc le trionnaire, alain tassot, maxime le trionnaire, gwénaël le chapelain have designed ‘arbre à basket’, a basketball court in the form of a tree that has been positioned in front of the maison des hommes et des techniques in Nantes, France.

The artistic installation offers a new way of interacting with sport venues, appealing to a larger demographic so many people can play simultaneously. the hoops branch at different heights allowing play for multiple teams and different age groups.

Well, if it isn’t the old typographic bait-and-switch…

Have a look at the lettering of the words “Yankee Stadium” as originally proposed in a June, 2005 press conference (above left) and then as it actually appears in the New Yankee Stadium (above right).

As I recall, when every single New Yorker happily agreed to replace one of their greatest landmarks with a $2.3 billion facimile (which they would no longer be able to afford to attend), it was with the clear understanding that we were going with the sans-serif.

Go fix it… we’ll wait.

Alternatively, you can just take a wrecking ball the the whole damn thing and simply bring back the real Yankee Stadium. Oh, and if you feel that you must do something new to it – consider a statue of Roy White out front.