May 01, 2009
sharpening up for Layer Tennis
Gearing up for another round of Layer Tennis this afternoon.
This time I'm hitting the virtual court with that fine upstanding Draplin fellow.
Calling out the play by play will be none other than Dave Cuzner, the man behind another favorite destination online, Grain Edit.
April 17, 2009
Fate to Fatal
Kim and Kelley take a break after printing up 1000 limited edition "Fate to Fatal" EPs.
I'm going down to Shake It Records tonight (8pm) to see these fine ladies play some music in commemoration of their release and Record Store Day.
Things have been so pedal-to-the-metal that I haven't really taken the time to talk about this record. The cover is the first one I've ever designed proper, and it's a helluva an honor to work with The Breeders. Vaughn Oliver's work with them is one of the biggest reasons I do what I do these days. The fact I love their music? Gravy. The best gravy ever.
If you're curious how to get the EP on vinyl, it is out there at independent shops on 4/18, then it will likely show up in more places on and offline soon.
March 02, 2009
out with the new
this is not about the counter top
Finishing up the orange juice, I realized this fabled carton design won't be around much longer.
When Tropicana moved away from the big-orange-with-a-straw illustration to this sparse treatment, reaction was strong... folks called it generic, unpleasant, backwards, and a slew of other things.
And from a usability perspective, there was some loss for those that shop by color (Khoi has a nice thoughts and collections of both old and new packages on his site)— though I have to admit, I shop by words because I never know what the colors meant.
Some pulp. I just want some pulp.
Anyway, the old carton is coming back.
I'm not trying to be contrary when I say, I kinda liked the new look. Sure the straw in orange was nice, but I liked the simplicity.
This of course, is coming from a guy who goes to Target specifically to buy boxes of tissues that have no designs whatsoever on the outside, just solid color.
I don't always shop by words.
January 10, 2009
A poster for the new year, by Alexander Bohn
I think the appropriate graphic design response involves the words: kick ass, and awesome.
December 28, 2008
I wonder how long this new Pepsi will last...
The more I thought about how I felt about the new identity, the more ridiculous I felt about having any regard or feelings at all.
It's soda. Headlines declare a financial meltdown threatens the entire planet and here I am considering the choice of thin san-serif.
But feeling I did, and I determined that this makeover is not very manly. What I haven't determined is if this lack of testosterone is good, bad, or even valid.
It's definitely hard to imagine a meaty paw at the end of a thick furry forearm reaching for a bottle of this after a hard day of work. But as the retro typeface starts to fade away, maybe there's a real winner hidden in this rebranding.
Imagine a can with hardly any words at all, just the smiling mark, required ingredients and nutritional information. What's manlier than no words at all? Feelings are reduced to guttural sounds, arm waving and head nods.
This totally aligns with Pepsi's Frank Cooper (his title includes VP, portfolio and brands) as quoted in an Advertising Age article about the new look, "We felt like, as we move out of this traditional mass marketing and mass distribution era into today's culture, there's an opportunity to bring humanity back, both in terms of the design but also in the way we engage consumers," he said. "By making the logo more dynamic and more alive."
I don't know about all that mass marketing stuff, but the word that sticks out for me is dynamic! Which means the new Pepsi can work with flannel in the lumberyard or on the red carpet with evening-wear.
In the article they speculate on the cost of the new logo (north of a million), to the cost of rolling it out from everything to trucks and vending machines. This entire process of rebranding could top several hundred million dollars.
That sounds like job stimulus to me, which makes me feel better about the whole thing... even the Obama-like "Refresh Everything" campaign.
This probably isn't the right time to mention my resolution to drastically reduce soda intake in 2009. This decision is independent of any branding measures and purely based on health and wellness.
June 01, 2008
I suppose it lends some balance to the Governours Square sign I posted earlier this week. Both represent styles of design from their respective periods, and have held up fairly well. I favor the Capri Lanes era (they opened in 1959—right on the edge of the sixties, anti-war and civil rights movements.) The lines are dynamic—very different from my own style—but something I respect and enjoy.
Blah blah blah, you see those clouds up there? Yeah, that's what it's like outside right now and I'm spouting off about signs.
I'm going to ride my bike.
Current music: Cyndi Lauper "Echo"
May 30, 2008
He-Man and the Masters of the Univers
I collected He-Man figures and look what happened to me
So I had this t-shirt concept (above) that's been brewing for a long while. (You might have seen He-Man make an appearance in this photo of my desk.)
It's a humorous take on the font Univers (which makes up the background grid with its family of font weights).
The design seemed too limited in appeal so it never came to be, but I still have a deep love for it.
Turns out this pun has legs in other manifestations. Case in point: Swiss Legacy 'blog brought Mr September Industry's Cinematography game to view. Essentially a mashup of fonts and titles of things. Fun stuff.
Maybe I should still keep the dream alive and make the tee.
Current music: Beastie Boys "Just a Test"
January 25, 2008
Done cut up
I'm putting the scissors and x-acto down now
Check out the Layer Tennis finale, two simultaneous matches:
January 17, 2008
An egg on toothpicks stretches
There's talk of bringing pairs of contenders together for the last two Layer Tennis matches. My heart pounds a little harder at the notion.
Something I never shared from the first match is an interview I did with commentator Rosecrans Baldwin.
He asked a slew of questions to get to know each player.
I put all my answers online, where I talk about my inspiration, beard, personal flaws, and equipment.
Current music: Kelley Deal & Sebastian Bach "T.N.T."
January 14, 2008
Digital Equipment Corporation PDP8/F
Can't stop looking at images from Mark Richards’ Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers.
I'm trying to be more budget-conscious this year, but I feel compelled to purchase this book—much like I would feel compelled to flip every single one of those switches. Take that touchscreens.
And that color palette rocks. It was a good era. See the 150-in-one electronic kit.
Current music: Mapstation "Watching Paik's Video Buddha"
November 22, 2007
Burlington Coat Factory
Not affiliated with Burlington Industries
I'm thankful this is not my new logo.
But in all seriousness, it's been jam-packed whacky-busy leading up to this holiday break.
Man am I looking forward to being let down by the big parade and then making it up by stuffing myself silly tomorrow.
Be well, all.
Current music: The Soft Pink Truth "I Want To Thank You"
November 07, 2007
It was either a quick snapshot of the stove burner or some gas station I passed tonight
Couple o links inspire this post, somewhat disjointed:
Enough with the lists - looking at the list-ification of info, and how it becomes numbing. I agree wholeheartedly and yet bookmark with abandon.
What's over? iMomus looks at what's retro. His list is refreshingly pointed, including rock music, cars, and democracy to name a few. He spreads each item out with enough argument to move beyond bullet points.
Developing websites and designs, I'm always running over a list in my mind. It's loose and changes on whim, but the premise is to discount elements that are played out:
Personally, I'm not a fan of merchandise in which the design is solely comprised of a logo or brand. I've seen entire stores built upon this principle, and to that I say, give me something more.
Note, I'm going to be abusing a few of the items on this list in the near future.
Current music: Chavez "You Faded"
October 26, 2007
Behind the scenes
A week later
Folks have asked how things went down last Friday, so I've put together a really long, long-winded page about what was going through my head for each volley.
Me? I'll be happy to be an observer watching today's special Halloween Edition match between Brian "Candykiller" Taylor and Jason Santa Maria — two folks whose work is as much an art as it is design in my mind.
Current music: Pavement "Fight This Generation"
October 18, 2007
This afternoon? It went down.
They call me Bunyan [ + zoom ]
Ever heard of Photoshop Tennis? It's this thing where designers hit a file back and forth, adding, subtracting, and mixing it up. There's commentary along the way and at the end, a winner is declared.
It's called Layer Tennis now, because it's not limited to Photoshop. I figure that'll make more sense as the tournaments go on and we see different types of matches being played out.
Like tomorrow, it might be a little more twisted than usual—I'm pitted against Naz (see his post about the match) and we're going to be using photos instead of graphics to throw down on the virtual court.
Read a preview of the match written by Rosecrans Baldwin (he lies) and watch the mayhem.
We got 15 minutes between volleys and man did Spike throw me some curve balls. I threw back. Oh, and you gotta check out the coin toss.
Current music: Animal Collective "Fireworks"
October 10, 2007
Ham & Turkey Dinner
Roadside handlettering on the way to work
I've mentioned my typography teacher back at Ohio State once or twice.
She used to get migraines whenever she walked down the street and encountered bad letter-spacing.
I think the sign above might very well give her a full blown aneurysm.
Me? I like it when all the rules are broken. I particularly like the margins employed. [ VIEW WHOLE SIGN ]
Current music: Radiohead "Nude"
October 09, 2007
and a bunch of index cards
The first words Merlin Mann said to me were, “I don't want to keep sucking your cock,” and for a brief second I thought there was no reason to continue our breakfast meeting...
“But I love everything you do.” he continued, after pregnant pause.
This man has genius comic timing.
Backstory: Merlin and I met years ago when we were teenage girls on LiveJournal. He caught glimpses of his hometown through my photos and I lapped up every stream of content he poured online. He's since opened the floodgates and it's hard to keep up with the fella.
We finally met-for-reals-yo at a greasy spoon when I was in San Francisco a while back. I would link to a vacation gallery but sorting through 10 days of photos is a lot more involved than sorting through 36 hours of photos.
Spent the meal chatting it up about lenses and gadgets, notecards and notebooks, binderclips and people, our personal process and the general whoa over this technology that is hookin us up.
Once the bill was paid, Merlin had some time to kill between meetings so we walked around The City (which I should mention, I like to pronounce with Thurston Howell III clenched teeth - MP3).
We talked a bit about 43 Folders. For those that don't know, Time Magazine has called this one of the top 10 websites in the universe, or something to that effect. In their words, the site "offers tips for organizing both your digital life and your analog one."
One thing led to another, and when I got home I worked up some visual concepts. Some evolutions and a team of ninjas from RoopleTheme deftly translated the sketches into real, working stuff with Drupal. Without their help the whole process would not have been near as fast or as painless.
Refinement continues, but that's just part of the neat thing about what Merlin does; he keeps adding, subtracting, experimenting, and most importantly, sharing.
It's good stuff, and I'm super happy to lend a hand.
Postnote: Thanks to M's colorful language, I'm fully prepared to be banned from Panera WiFi.
Current music: Western State Hurricanes "Unsalted Butter"
September 26, 2007
Branding the CSI Network
If I am to believe the wikipedia, and I usually do, William Golden was inspired by Shaker design when he crafted the CBS eye symbol back in 1951.
It's nice to see how well this ol Eyemark has held up over the years.
Of mild interest is to see the call letters becoming more important. With web addresses and the tiny real estate of onscreen menus, this makes fine sense.
Also interesting is how the treatment reflects the design style (or software) of any given period. If that's any indicator, it appears we're getting back to the excess of the 80's. Gnarly.
Me? I'll be happy when this treatment is filed away and replaced by something with a less heinous "S."
Current music: Tegan & Sara "Are You Ten Years Ago"
September 19, 2007
The Documentary Film by Gary Hustwit
The movie? Most excellent. Just the right amount of history, real world examples, well chosen music, and a slew of design luminaries that describe their experiences with the ubiquitous font—pro and con.
Got me to thinking about my relationship with type. I've no real allegiance, though I've a fond spot in my heart for Univers. I fall in that category where I don't like to fret too much about fonts—there are always other things to worry about (like content for instance.) Then the web throws in that wrench of what's installed on machines.
A dozen fonts you'd always found installed on my computer? (in no order)
Univers, Thesis (serif and sans), Trade Gothic (Naz inspired this addition), Helvetica (the whole family), Lubalin Graph (or some such slab serif), Futura, Interstate, Avenir, Bookman (complete, love the swash, seldom use it), Silkscreen, and sometimes but not-so-much - VAG rounded.
Man, I'm boring. I need to branch out.
Current music: Say Hi To Your Mom "Poor Pete Is A Bit Self Conscious"
September 17, 2007
with fake plastic tree
I keep buying shampoos and liquid soap thinking that some magic will happen and my hair will shine and my skin will become awesome, yet manly. I'm also waiting for magic SPF that I can apply in the shower with body wash.
None of that happens, but that hasn't stopped me from creating stockpiles of this stuff. Somehow the shampoo or soap runs out and I have to fill the bottles with water to make it last until I get around to buying more—yet I have like 5 full things of conditioner always on hand.
Anyway, I saw this Every Man Jack stuff at Target and was taken aback by the design of the bottle. I'd go so far as to say it's the most masculine bottle of perfumed body wash I have ever seen.
It's too pricey, much like that Choxie brand of chocolates. The bottle is awkward, stingy, and hard to use. The signature fragrance needs more punch or tingle — maybe some caffeine. But man that faux wood plastic cap and clean type treatment is nice.
Current music: Earlimart "Color Bars"
August 28, 2007
Swamp Holly Orange
a snapshot from California
I posted a better(ish) photo of a Yellow (transportation) truck back in 2005, and it was then I learned from my friend Jason that:
Yellow commissioned DuPont to determine what color was most visible from the greatest distance for the fleet. After careful research, DuPont presented a color, dubbed "Swamp Holly Orange." And so the company named Yellow had an official color—orange—the safest color on the road.
I noticed a change in their identity recently. It's kinda less orange and more web 2.0.
I felt compelled to share this now because if I try and whip out the camera on the freeway one more time to try and catch one of these trucks, I'm going to wreck.
Current music: not Coldplay
August 09, 2007
I figured I'd document Meijer’s almost-a-rainbow old logo, before they bring around the new extra patriotic one:
I've no insight as to the specifics behind the identity change (the Brand New blog does a good job with that sort of thing), I can regurgitate marketing speak from the new logo guidelines:
The Meijer identity is a foundational component of our brand. It has been designed to represent the energy of our company.That first sentence makes no sense, and I'm not sure the new wordmark evokes energy. I do think it's hilarious they call the dots over the i and j “joy dots” in the style manual. (PDF)
I don't know about you, but whenever I see circles in PMS 286C, I get happy.
Current music: Beastie Boys "Dramastically Different"
June 13, 2007
Replacement graphic for NYC subway signage
The above graphic is not my idea. I merely recreated it.
Like when I was a kid tracing the Sunday funnies—I always thought if I practiced enough, the magic would sink in and I could do it on my own.
Right after posting in the wee hours of the morning, I consumed my smorgasbord of daily feeds hoping to wind down and get some sleep.
I came across a link to Stefan Sagmeister's presentation at TED more than once—and it lingered in a back tab of my browser waiting to be fired up. Usually this means I'll get overwhelmed and just close everything down, but it took two reputable reads (Swiss Miss and Greg Storey) to force me to carve out the 15 minutes to watch it.
Here is the video: TED Talks - Stefan Sagmeister: Yes, design can make you happy
[ also note, I think the TED site design is the cat's whiskers ]
If I collected all the funny YouTube I go through in any given period of time and channel it in to something else, I could actually, probably, learn something and enrich my life. Kill your television. Yada yada yada. That's not the point here.
The point is, I really enjoyed Stefan's talk and I'm glad this material is available online.
If you don't have the time to watch it, here's a list from Sagemeister's diary:
Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
Thinking life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
Being not truthful works against me.
Helping other people helps me.
Organizing a charity group is surprisingly easy.
Everything I do always comes back to me.
Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
Over time I get used to everything and start taking if for granted.
Money does not make me happy.
Traveling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life.
Assuming is stifling.
Keeping a diary supports my personal development.
Trying to look good limits my life.
Worrying solves nothing.
Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
Having guts always works out for me.
January 26, 2007
wonderful album art
[ +zoom ]
It's not often I linger long on 'album' art these days, with pixels and all scrolling about, but this is a fine exception crammed into 4 and three quarters squared.
The disc isn't pictured, but it provides another sublime layer through the die cuts when in place.
I'll reserve judgement on the music until I can give it a few spins. I'm currently hearing some whistling, so it's promising. And this is why I do not write music reviews.
Current music: Menomena "Boyscout'n"
January 06, 2007
Adobe’s new icons
My dock, loaded with new Adobe icons on the old programs
For the photographers out there and pushers of pixels, you likely heard that Adobe released a beta of Photoshop right before the new year.
Its biggest feature is that it runs natively on Intel Macs. The other major change is that it sports a new application icon. (Seriously, if you want to see what else is new, these videos provide some insight.)
Let's get back to that application icon though. See, it's part of a much bigger scheme to play across the entire Adobe family—every app gets two letters and a color code (see right). This is a big shift for Adobe which traditionally associated applications with abstract representations like eyeballs, feathers, and shells.
As I write this, I realize how completely uninteresting this topic may seem.
It's all been explained, praised, and detracted with mucho gusto over on this blog of an Adobe worker. I read through the comments (they're spicy like a presidential election), and I can't help but ponder how to define success with something is so divisive. When the backing argument resorts to "at the end of the day, there's no arguing with taste" you have to wonder. I miss the Adobe that was mysterious and quiet. Darn you corporate 'blogs and the new transparency!
So I'm trying to wrestle with my thoughts on the topic, because, well, that's what I do, and if I have an emotional attachment to software, it would certainly be Super Mario Brothers, and then Photoshop.
My knee-jerk reaction after installing the beta? Ew, that temporary icon must go. Then I added this new system of icons to the old Macromedia programs I currently use daily to make the picture more complete.
And what did I find out after using this icon language for several weeks?
They work great.
Yup, they perform just as I would imagine. Clicking on an icon opens the program, dragging a file over the generous hit area works too. I'm not colorblind so finding the right application is a breeze. It's uncanny.
And yet, I still don't like them. (Well, Adobe Reader I like all around, but that's not the issue).
So I'm left to toil using something that works perfectly fine, but feels empty. I'd create an analogy to GM cars, but I loved my Geo Metro.
Bonus current music video link: Patti LaBelle "New Attitude" on YouTube
November 03, 2006
The leaves are almost gone
I'd say they don't make signs like they used to, but I'm waiting, guardedly, for LEDs to tacky up the landscape in a retro-Vegas-kinda way.
October 16, 2006
Elder Beerman logo(rot)
On the main drag in Hamilton, OH
I forgot all about Elder Beerman for the most part. The department store from my youth closed their doors in the Cincinnati area a good while ago and that was just par for the course—these places were always changing names.
But I was wrong. Elder Beerman is still alive in Dayton (and other areas around the midwest).
Bought in 2003 by Bon-Ton, they haven't yet succumbed to changing the lovely script signage on the outside of the box stores to the new crappy family look.
October 15, 2006
pink soup cans
the chicken noodle is coming in handy for the cold
Not to compare red iPod apples to tomatoes, but these pink cans for Breast Cancer Awareness Month from Campbell's Soup are quite lovely.
September 20, 2006
cisco logo a gogo
not filed in logorot
I like the simplification, and glad they killed the small caps.
August 23, 2006
Always nice to see a logo get better
I'm starting to have faith that some logos and identities can indeed improve.
I've not stepped foot in a Captain D's, but this blend of whimsy, color, type, and illustration would entice me to give em a shot.
August 08, 2006
Not helping the headaches
Back in October of 2003, I lamented the changing palette of road signs. Seems this idea caught on to the makers of those roadside advertisements that used to be made with pop in letters (aka readerboards).
These new ones employ day-glo magnetic letters and
graphics clip art, protected from vandals by a black mesh screen.
I'd say they were an eyesore, but I suppose they do their job.
They made me look.
Along a 10 mile stretch though, I lost count of how many there were.
(filed cautiously under design)
July 27, 2006
knobs and buttons
I went car shopping with friends today and the usual desire to take bits from different vehicles was present. This interior with that exterior sorta stuff.
My bud saw a version of his old car on the lot and. for giggles, he took it out for a spin.
The cough of the engine and lethargic get-go took it out of contention, but oh how nice the interior was... Real knobs with tactile feedback to work all the controls.
I'll lament this more as touchscreens start to take over.
April 19, 2006
I can't say I loved where it was...
I just noticed the new Baskin Robbins identity. Digging up facts I found the culprit (I think).
The nod to Emigre's Variex isn't something I'd have considered, but squeezing the 31 in there is... admirable.
I can't articulate my distress enough, but more googling provided this fine quote from a thread on Speak Up, "Because, dammit, ice cream should be fun."
February 15, 2006
The wheels on the bus go round and round...
I’m super looking forward to the (Cincinnati) Auto Show next week.
Though not necessarily in the market for a new ride, I love fiddling with knobs and finding out which vehicles fit tall people.
I'm sad I didn't make it out to the 2001 show to see the VW minibus concept I dream of owning. In searching for images, I came across another Westfalia concept that looks quite nifty (let the animation unfold).
More sad, current Volkswagens seem to be losing their “edge” and Buick is stealing their finesse (see icon). I doubt the Lucerne has an integrated umbrella holder though...
February 10, 2006
While sitting outside a JCPenney this afternoon, I was regarding the lovely Helvetica and thinking about the Christmas catalogs I would dog ear when I was a kid. Things I never saw on the shelves when the family would make a special trip to the department and discount stores...
Places in these parts called Pogues, McAlpins, Van Leunens, Gold Circle, Shillitos, (and subsequently Shillito-Rikes then Lazarus)... How I've scoured Google for glimpses of these storefronts only to realize there was a time before all this 'lectronic tomfoolery.
A time when I couldn't find out (easily) that JCPenney began in 1902 by James Cash Penney as a dry goods and clothing store in Kemmerer, Wyoming under the banner "The Golden Rule."
My mind wanders...
Kmart, for example.
Their move in 1990 to the red K with angled script "mart" was a step in a right direction, and the subsequent migration to a san serif type below the K hit the mark.
There have been some missteps. The Big K branding extension was a bust. Right up there with the tackiness that is Sam's Club. Thanks to the wikipedia I found there was also a lime green logo used at five prototype stores. As much as I enjoy Martha Stewart green, I'm not sold on the variation.
So there's that.
It's all much less interesting than wishing over the Christmas catalog. Peculiar still, my parents knew exactly what to get me even though I never dog eared it:
Yep, this logo hasn't changed much. Just like I remember it from this set..
January 07, 2006
roundy, 3d, swoosh and twirl
The future is bad
Just documenting change here (careful not to say progress). Of all these refreshments, I suppose I have to find some nice thing to say... and that will be: Sprint's newest identity is the least offensive of the bunch.
The rest look like something from a logo generator.
I still haven't gotten the bitter taste out of my mouth from the evolution of fast food logos.
Finished here? Use the next link above to see more of this category, or explore other parts of my site...
home | favorites | travel | photos | timeline | links | feeds | about | contact