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.
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.
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/
Via: The New York Times Magazine (12/7/2012)
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….
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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.
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.
It now appears far more interesting to understand color as an element of human evolution and survival, as opposed to merely an element of design.
“All his work attempts to understand the visual brain as a system defined, not by its essential properties, but by its past ecological interactions with the world. In this view, the brain evolved to see what proved useful to see, to continually redefine normality.”
—British Science Association
Beau Lotto is founder of Lottolab, a hybrid art studio and science lab.
From Barter Books
A short history of the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster. After being forgotten for more than half a century, a rare original of the now famous WWII poster was rediscovered in a box of old books bought at auction in one of the largest and most popular secondhand bookshops in Britain – Barter Books.
When the bookshop owners had the poster framed and put up in the shop, customer interest was so great that in 2001 the couple started producing facsimile copies for sale – copies which were soon copied and recopied to make of the Keep Calm poster one of the first truly iconic images of the 21st century.
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.
And (below) Chris Ware talks about Building Stories: