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: marketing

Dry cleaning? Yes, dry cleaning.

nordic-house

Good Design Can Make Anything Sexy. Even Dry Cleaning.

Via: Wired.com

Dry cleaning shops are inherently unglamorous places. They have a few distinct purposes, none of which are to be trendy. We don’t begrudge them; it’s hard to be sophisticated when your job is to banish unidentified stains from a stranger’s clothing. Their branding usually reflects this. Take a stroll around your neighborhood, and you’ll probably see laundromats with haphazardly designed logos and improper use of clip art. And yet, leave it to San Francisco’s blossoming bougie tech scene to give birth to Nordic House, a dry cleaning shop that looks primed for the Jony Ive set. Though Nordic House isn’t slated to open until later this year, the shop already has a beautiful, buzzed-about visual identity, courtesy of Mexico City-based design agency Anagrama.

This Is a [Generic Brand] Video

This Is a Generic Brand Video from Dissolve on Vimeo.

From Dissolve.com

This Is a Generic Brand Video: The minute we saw Kendra Eash’s brilliant “This Is a Generic Brand Video” on McSweeney’s, we knew it was our moral imperative to make that generic brand video so. No surprise, we had all the footage.

“…relevant to the person reading it. That’s web design.”

simplebits

Dan Cederholm at SimpleBits provides a refreshing dose of common sense in his post titled “Food for Thought“:

This is my favorite website. I visit it almost every day. It’s not responsive. It’s not optimized for iPhone. It looks blurry on a Retina display. It doesn’t use the latest HTML5/CSS3 framework. It doesn’t have a thoughtful vertical rhythm. The fonts are nothing special. It is neither skeumorphic nor flat. It doesn’t have its own favicon. It doesn’t have a native app or Twitter or Instagram. It doesn’t use AJAX or SCRUM or node.js or Sinatra. It doesn’t have an API or an RSS feed or VC funding. It hasn’t been featured on a prominent tech blog or won an award.

It tells me the soups of the day.

Freely distributed information that’s relevant to the person reading it. That’s web design.

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]

Gratuitous design? Count me in!

While designers love to throw out words like substance, purpose, reduction and sustainability, please remember that all goes down the toilet when a piece of exciting design is laid in front of us (not to mention all that talk is largely bullshit to begin with — but I’ll save that for another post).

Through an extraordinary attention to detail and stunning design, Theory 11 has managed to turn a deck of playing cards into a fetish item for design fans. A stroll around their website displays a quite a range of beautiful packaging: the Collector’s Edition Laser-Etched Wood Box Set, a metallic “Industial Edition, and much more.

A few samples here…

Ahhh… here we go. The thunderous cinematic score. And, of course (of course?), the pyramids and hieroglyphics, because—why not?  Add a somewhat bored-looking magician flipping cards around in what appears to be, perhaps, the fitting area of an upscale bridal salon? Anyway, this accompanying video is… um… I really don’t know what the hell it is…

And actually, now that I think about it, I’ll just stick with these, thank you.

“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.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Nicely done! I really like this promo. The more obvious route for promoting a comic arts festival would be to show comics as the fun, naughty and brash black sheep of the art world — and (of course) be sure to exploit the often quirky personalities of the cartoonists, etc…

But here we see just the opposite. Artists thoughtfully describing their love for the tools of their craft, a smartly understated soundtrack, and sumptuous visuals of graphite and ink being applied to paper.

Cartooning will likely never get the respect it deserves, but seeing it presented this way leaves me feeling at least a little bit of hope.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival: Pencil it In from Toronto Comic Arts Festival on Vimeo.

FYI: Here are the credits…

Director: Christopher Hutsul
Director of Photography: Vinit Borrison
Producer: Nick Sorbara
Executive Producer: Jacinte Faria
Editorial: Melanie Hider, Bijou Editorial
Score: “Background Noise (Don’t Become)” by Solvent, Courtesy Ghostly International
Sound Design: Vapor Music
Online Artist + Colourist: Hardave Grewal, RedLab
Graphic Novelists: Chester Brown, Michael Comeau, Steve Charles Manale, Vicki Nerino, Michael Cho, Michael DeForge, Seth, Fiona Smyth + Britt Wilson.

A Hard Citizen Production.