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: design

Chris Ware’s Building Stories…. this thing is insane/extraordinary even by Chris Ware standards

I am blown away… yet again. What may appear at first glance to be the output of an entire career (photo below) is in actuality, just the multiple components of Building Stories, the latest project from Chris Ware.

From The Smithsonian:

The first thing you’ll notice about the collected Building Stories is that it’s not a book. It’s a box. It looks more like a board game than anything else. However, inside this box, there isn’t a game board and there aren’t any pieces. Instead, there are the 14 distinct books that compose Building Stories – ranging in style from standard comics to flip books to newspapers to something that looks like a Little Golden Book. Importantly, there are no instructions on how to read them or where to begin. While these books do indeed trace the lives of a small group of people (and a honeybee), the linear narrative is irrelevant –we’re just catching glimpses of their lives– and reading through the encapsulated stories is reminiscent of flipping through a stranger’s old photo albums.

Unboxing Chris Ware’s Building Stories from Digital Cultures Lab on Vimeo.

And (below) Chris Ware talks about Building Stories:

“Dumb Ways to Die” is awesome

OK, I just watched this for the 3rd time today. Love the song, love the animation. If you think it’s impossible to combine ‘horrifying’ and ‘adorable’, then just click on the video below. I almost can’t believe that this is simply a public service ad for Melbourne Metro Trains safety. There is a quality to this that makes it feel almost effortless – and I mean that in the best sense. You can easily see where someone would want to soften the lyrics and visuals – just to not offend, just to “be safe”.

Being not safe is exactly what makes this great. There’s more info below the video, or click right over to the Herald Sun for the full article.

And yes, it has it’s own website, and animated gifs!

Via: Herald Sun (Australia)

Featuring a variety of cute characters killing themselves in increasingly idiotic ways the video is designed to demonstrate the danger and stupidity of messing around on platforms, tracks and level crossings.

“This campaign is designed to draw young people to the safety message rather than frighten them away.”

“We set out to find an innovative way to reach young people who see themselves as indestructible. We felt images of body bags were more likely to have an impact on their parents, so we wanted to engage with young people in a way we think they might appeal to them a bit more.”

“Some people might have an issue with us making light of what is a serious topic, but if we can save one life or avoid serious injury, then that’s how we’ll measure the success of this campaign.”

“The campaign evolved out of discussion with platform staff and drivers who witness people risking their safety around train stations and at level crossings,” said Leah Waymark, General Manager Corporate Relations, Metro Trains.

“The ‘dumb’ theme had its gestation in those initial responses. It was just an overwhelming theme of their feedback.”

Exciting… beautiful… now please go fix it!

Link to site: Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000

I saw this exhibit a few months back – and it was well worth seeing. It was one of those lucky trips to the museum where, while there, you discover a number of unexpected exhibits that are really very good. I only just now stumbled over this part of the MOMA site where they decided to dedicate some vertuoso design to: Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000.

Actually, the design is beautiful, and would translate handsomely to a catalog or any print format. The actual “vertuoso” part that I was referring to is in the overly slick programming. A classic case pursuing every opportunity to make as many elements as possible flip, bounce, float, or scale at the mere hover of a mouse. I was soon moving the mouse very tentatively while cursing beneath my breath “I never clicked that damn thing – why is it jumping in front!

Naturally, I always want to be cautious and not rush to criticize a project that is clearly ambitious – because I can see the attempt here to make something fresh and new – but frankly this ends up mired in all of the worst excesses of an old-style Flash website. This was unfortunately art directed in a way that was completely sympathetic to the programming.

In an (apparent) attempt to showcase all that the web can be, we just end up with another case study in what happens when you try to shove a “web experience” down your visitors throat.

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

First Person: Gary Anderson “I designed the recycling symbol”

From the Financial Times….

First Person: Gary Anderson | As told to Katie Engelhart

‘I designed the recycling symbol’

I studied engineering at the University of Southern California at a time when there was a lot of emphasis in the US on training young people to be engineers. It was in the years after Sputnik and the philosophy was that America was in danger of falling behind the Russians in the technical arena. That said, I eventually switched to architecture. I just couldn’t get a grasp on electronics. Architecture was more tangible.
I got my bachelor’s degree in 1971 and stayed on to do a master’s. It was around that time that I saw a poster advertising a design competition being run by the Container Corporation of America. The idea was to create a symbol to represent recycled paper – one of my college requirements had been a graphic design course so I thought I’d give it a go. (Full text at FT Magazine online)

How an Appropriate Typeface Can Save Your Life (really)

From The MIT AgeLab….

New findings released: Typeface style can affect safety

MIT AgeLab and the New England University Transportation Center partnered with Monotype Imaging Holding Inc. in research that showed certain typeface styles can shorten glance time for in-vehicle displays. Results suggest that changes to font characteristics in in-vehicle interface design may be helpful in moving towards a goal of reducing demand and improving roadway safety.

A white paper released today describes the results of two recent studies, in which drivers ranging in age from 36-75 interacted with a multi-line menu display similar to a vehicle navigation system menu. Across both studies there was a clear and consistent reduction in glance time away from the road among then men. When interacting with menus in a humanist style typeface as compared to a square grotesque typeface, men took their eyes off the road for 10.6% less. A more modest difference was observed in women.

Visit their site for further info and resources

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

Campbell’s Soup Creates Limited-Edition Andy Warhol Cans

via: Juxtapoz Magazine….

It was bound to happen. The world’s largest soup company, Campbell’s, is set to release (at Target no less) limited-edition Andy Warhol inspired soup cans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Warhol’s infamous Campbell’s soup can art. Warhols’ seminal 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans remains his most iconic work, and while you go to buy bulk product remanufactured as hip mass commercialism (Target), you can have a slice of… limited-editioned soup. Use only in earthquake emergencies. As Adweek notes, “The cans, produced with the approval of (and a license from) The Andy Warhol Foundation, will be sold exclusively at Target, for 75 cents each, starting Sept. 2. Campbell’s is also sponsoring Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, an upcoming exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.” Okay, that sponsorship thing is cool.

“Blown Covers” from The New Yorker (even better than the published ones)

via: vice.com

Blown Covers with Françoise Mouly

By Nadja Sayej

It isn’t every day you get to interview Robert Crumb–but back in October, I spoke with the legendary comic artist for VICE about his gay marriage New Yorker cover, which was pulled before print. Crumb said New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly and top editor David Remnick didn’t give him a clear reason as to why.

In response, Crumb created a manifesto-type bookmark that was inserted into the Danish Pavilion catalogue (the theme of the show was censorship), at the Venice Biennale, where I found it. When I asked him about this, he said he’d never work for the New Yorker again if they weren’t going to spell out the criteria for why they accept or reject art.

A few months after the article came out, Mouly announced that she would be publishing a book called Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See.

(continue…)