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: product design

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.

MOCAtv | The Art Of Punk | Dead Kennedys + Winston Smith

dk-sketch

From MOCAtv:

On this episode of The Art of Punk we hit head on with the art behind the legendary Dead Kennedy’s. From the chaotic, surreal, madness, of collage mixed with political folly that blazed their LP’s and gig flyers; to the razor edge ultra simplistic four simple line DK symbol. In San Francisco we corner founding Dead Kennedy’s member Jello Biafra, and discuss his own warped inspiration for the many sleeves and posters created in the early days of the band. Back in Los Angeles we talk with pop surrealist artist Tim Biskup about how the DK’s affected and twisted his own young mind, and Steve Olson graces us with a few words of wisdom. Finally we meet up with master collage artist, and designer of the DK’s symbol, Winston Smith in his North Beach art studio, and talk about how he was drawn into the early Bay Area punk scene – and his long and creative artist relationship with the Dead Kennedy’s and Jello Biafra.

Who Made That Pantone Chip?

pantone304

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.

Why Subtraction Is the Hardest Math in Product Design

subtractiondesign

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”

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]

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

close-table-480

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.

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/

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.