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: graphic design

A music video for typography lovers (that may actually live up to the hype)

Via: fastcodesign:

Thanks to some combination of how much young people love YouTube and how little cash the music industry has to burn, we’ve recently been treated to a new offering called the lyric video, a special sort of promotional clip that eschews jungle cats and champagne fountains and hot rods and all the other music video staples–including, you know, the musicians–and just throws the lyrics to the song up on screen in some cutesy typeface instead. Granted, sometimes these just serve as placeholders for the real video, but it’s still kind of a tacky look for a major-label recording artist.

The clip for “Dream,” by the French band Husbands, is a lyric video in the purest sense, but it quickly reveals itself to be a bit different than the rest. For one thing, it actually makes use of a nice variety of typefaces, and it spaces them out in a pleasing way on your screen. It shows a little aesthetic restraint, which is nice compared to most of the other ones I’ve seen, which generally look like final projects for some sort of Intro to Flash high-school elective, back when anyone would have thought it made sense to teach high school kids how to make things with Flash.

But the video gets truly impressive when you realize that what you’re seeing wasn’t made by a computer. At a certain point you grasp that you’re not looking at rendered fonts but a real, physical wall of type, precisely arranged and illuminated in sync with the track.

It’s the creation of Cauboyz, a duo of French designers. “After listening [to] the song, we understood quickly that it was very structured,” one of the members explains. “We wanted to do something simple with a little bit of poetry.” The technique they decided on has to be one of the most time-consuming ways to get a song’s lyrics on screen. But bravo to them for trying it. It’s the lyrics video that type lovers deserve.

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.

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.

tumblr_appcupcakes

Michael Bierut | Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport

tropicana

Via Design Observer:

….In 2009, PepsiCo Americas Beverages commissioned Arnell Group to redesign the packaging for its flagship juice brand, Tropicana Pure Premium. Thanks to the internet and social media, what followed the introduction of the new packaging were not a few unnerving backyard conversations with eccentric neighbors, but an outpouring of complaints from consumers as well as demands that the suddenly beloved previous packaging be reinstated. The New York Times told the story.

It was not the volume of the outcries that led to the corporate change of heart, [PepsiCo North America President Neil] Campbell said, because “it was a fraction of a percent of the people who buy the product.”

Rather, the criticism is being heeded because it came, Mr. Campbell said in a telephone interview on Friday, from some of “our most loyal consumers.”

“We underestimated the deep emotional bond” they had with the original packaging, he added. “Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded.”

The response was to throw out the new package design and return to the old. The people had spoken, and not for the last time….

[click through for full piece]

Bloomberg Businessweek talks to Massimo Vignelli about the redesigned American Airlines logo

“I will not be here to make a bet, but this [new logo] won’t last another 25 years.” —Massimo Vignelli

AArebrand

Via Bloomberg Businessweek:

What do you think of the redesign?

It has no sense of permanence. The American flag is great. I’m designing a logo now for a German company, and I’m using black, red, gold, and yellow. Why? Because national colors have a tremendous equity. They’re much more memorable. It rings the bell of identification. But the American flag has 13 stripes, right? Not 11. Did American add only 11 stripes [to the flag on the tail] because they are in Chapter 11? I don’t think two more stripes would have been a disaster. And there are only two colors shown instead of all three. So is it a different flag?

What about the new logo?

Now they have something other than Helvetica that’s not as good or as powerful. Then they did a funny thing: Some may see an eagle [next to it], some may see something else. And they don’t even say it’s the eagle—they say it could be the eagle.

When we originally designed the logo, I designed without the eagle. They wanted an eagle. I said, “If you want an eagle, it has to have every feather.” You don’t stylize and make a cartoon out of an eagle. Somebody else did the eagle, by the way.

You didn’t design American’s original eagle between the “AA”

I refused to do it. We started without it, and the pilots threatened to go on strike because they wanted the eagle on American Airlines. There’s always been the eagle. But I wanted the eagle to be real. As a matter of fact, the post office eagle, I think, is terrific. If you do an eagle, do an eagle with the dignity of an eagle. Don’t make Mickey Mouse out of an eagle. That was my theory at the time. The office of Henry Dreyfuss did the eagle. They were hired to do the interior of the planes. They were the office that originally gave us the assignment of the corporate identity. Dreyfuss was the consultant to American Airlines. The eagle was OK. It wasn’t great. I’m not sorry to see the eagle go.

What were you trying to achieve with the original design?

Legibility, which is a very important element of an airplane. So we used Helvetica, which was brand new at the time. And we wanted to make one word of American Airlines, half red and half blue. What could be more American than that? And there were no other logos then that were two colors of the same word. We took the space away, made one word, and split it again by color. It looked great. The typeface was great. We proceeded by logic, not emotion. Not trends and fashions.

[click through for full piece]

The New York Times | 2012: The Year in Graphics

nytinfo2012

From The NT Times, December 30th, 2012:

2012: The Year in Graphics

 Graphics and interactives from a year that included an election, the Olympics and a devastating hurricane. A selection of the graphics presented here include information about how they were created.

Also: you can follow @nytgraphics on Twitter for updates when new interactives are published.

Designing Typefaces: Erik Spiekermann talking with Gestalten TV

Graphic design can change your life from Edenspiekermann on Vimeo.

Erik Spiekermann talking with Gestalten TV about the process of designing typefaces. Listen to him finding handy analogies to music, the rhythm of spaces and the silence between characters.

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 Universal Arts of Graphic Design | Off Book | PBS

From PBSoffbook:

Though often overlooked, Graphic Design surrounds us: it is the signs we read, the products we buy, and the rooms we inhabit. Graphic designers find beauty within limitations, working towards the ultimate goal of visually communicating a message, be it the packaging of a product, the spirit of a book, or the narrative of a building. Utilizing a language of type and imagery, graphic designers try to make every aspect of our lives defined and beautiful.

Featuring:
Debbie Millman: http://debbiemillman.com/
Emily Oberman: http://www.pentagram.com/work/#/all/all/newest/
Drew Freeman: http://afreeman.co/, http://www.pentagram.com/
Steve Attardo: http://stevenattardo.com/

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.