Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BMW Art Car Exhibit

This week as I was passing through Grand Central Station I came upon the BMW art car exhibit. If you are in New York City this week and need something to do - pass by Grand Central Station and take a look. It is really cool to see these cars up-close. On Andy Warhol's car you can actually see the physical brush strokes he painted onto the car. My favorite though, has to be Roy Lichtenstein's car with the zipatone dot pattern and swashes of yellow, blue and green - very graphic. 

This is a FREE art exhibit created by BMW. It is currently being housed in the Vanderbilt Hall, part of the Grand Central Station. This exhibit will only be there till Monday, April 6,2009, so hurry if you're planning on going.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

South Park on the U.S. Economy-Margaritaville Episode

I'm a big fan of South Park I've been watching it for years now. They have a certain way of pointing out what's wrong in our society and then make it hilarious. This weeks South Park episode deals with the recession that hits South Park's (and the United State's). Above is a small sample from the show, where Stan goes to the U.S Treasury to return his Margaritaville blender, in turn revealing how the government currently makes its decisions on the economy. Either let you fail, bail you out, print more money, cut education, go to war, tax the rich and so on. If you haven't seen this episode yet you need to watch this one, it is hands down one of their best episodes. (My favorite part from the scene above is, after they cut off the chicken's head and throw the chicken's body onto the economic board the guy in the center plays a kazoo until the chicken's body collapses. How do they come up with this? Brilliant.) It should be repeating all week on Comedy Central, if your like me and live online now, you can watch full episodes on their website  www.southparkstudios.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Herman Miller Chairs at Costco!

I recently heard a rumor that Costco was going to carry Herman Miller chairs. So, today I went to Costco's website to see for myself, as you can see it wasn't a rumor. It looks as though options are limited all I see are two different styled chairs, the Equa and the Caper. It has a small variety of colors and materials for each chair. But, that's fine with me. This means I can walk into a Costco purchase one and take it home same day instead of placing an order through a certified Herman Miller dealer and waiting for it to be delivered. Plus, buying them through Costco comes out to be cheaper because you are not paying for shipping.  A win, win situation all around, cheaper chairs for people and Herman Miller gets to increase it sales. 

Now all Costco has to do is convince Herman Miller to let them start selling their Aeron chair. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Similar but Different

Let me state that I am not implying that anyone one pictured above is copying anyone else. They may look similar but they are executed very differently in-turn creating  an original design. But how many times have you worked on something only to have someone say, I've seen that before. 

You work long hours, sketching, creating mind maps, the design is not quite there yet, slight tweaks, different typefaces, flipping the image with the text, making the fonts bigger then smaller, make the photos bigger then smaller, bolding fonts, epiphany strikes, then eureka an original design. Then someone looks at it says, that's looks okay but I saw the same thing in such and such magazine. You turn to them and say, What are you crazy? I worked on this for a month this is my original idea. They turn to you and say yeah sure it is. And then they show you something that they think looks exactly like your design but not really. You explain to them calmly what makes your design different and original but they still don't see it and say, no its the same thing. FRUSTRATION STRIKES...

But I too am guilty of this - About a month ago I met up with 2 friends of mine they handed me their company's 2009 New Year's card, that they designed (Q Collective-check out their site they are great designers and a source of inspiration for me), the 2009 card is pictured above on the top left. When I saw it, like an idiot I blurted out, "wait I've seen this before." I didn't mean to make it sound like they had copied it from someone else, even though I'm sure that's how it came across, (in my defense I was drinking and had no tolerance for alcohol at the time). But I felt horrible that I even said that. That night when I got home I looked at a couple of sites that I had looked at earlier that morning (the images that are on the top right hand side are the ones I saw that day). They have some small similarities but they look nothing alike. And that is the point.

Is it hard for people (I speaking of non-designers) to actually see the difference? You can explain it till you are blue in the face, they still don't get it. Does anyone else run into this problem? How do you or did you handle it? Email me letting me know, at loquat73@gmail.com - I'm curious to see how many people run into this same problem.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Risque Ad - Schick Quattro for women, Trim Style

This weekend my wife and I were at a bookstore flipping through all the new magazines. We were sitting there quietly reading when she gasped at this new Schick Quattro ad, for women, trim style. She said, "wow they are being very direct with this ad, no need to guess at what they are hinting at here."  

I took a look at the ad, but I wasn't shocked by it. Schick is looking for some publicity (good or bad) with this new ad campaign and I'm sure they will get it. Is it that shocking? I don't feel like it is, its just a bit more direct than I'm used to seeing from an American ad. Compared to ads from europe this is actually pretty tame. Will this directness work for Schick?  

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Optimistic Look at the Economy

Getting a little tired of all the negative economic press. The news media just seems to thrive on all this negativity. This is what I hear all day: Bernie Madoff,  AIG, bailouts, retention bonuses, Iceland collapses, mortgage crisis, credit slumps, businesses closing, socialism, banks failing, unemployment, Bernanke, layoffs, blaming Greenspan, Ponzi schemes, John Stewart vs. Jim Cramer, blame game, recession, foreclosures, GM bankruptcy, pension funds, what's wrong with Obama's economic plan, nationalizing banks, problems in Detroit, and slipping consumer confidence. 

It just never ends -the more the media focuses on the negativity, the more people get scared. Creating a vicious cycle of fear and confusion. Can't we focus on something positive? I know its not great out there, but just focusing on dismal economic news isn't going to solve anything either. 

Illustration by Paulo Pereira

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shepard Fairey- Saks 5th Ave

This past weekend at a New Jersey mall I came across Shepard Fairey's graphics for Saks 5th Ave. I was passing by Saks, barely paying attention to my surroundings when I came across these new graphics. Let me say, they really stand out in a mall setting. 

I like the overall graphic look to it -  the sterile artwork mixed with the expression-less white mannequins work to create a unsettling look and feel. The pseudo russian constructivism style does exactly what it is intended to do, look cold and apathetic. But I think it does the opposite of what Sak's is trying to do - persuade consumers to "Want it!" There is no emotional connection what-so-ever. Russian Constructivism was meant to be emotionless, cold, hard and true. It certainly does stand out but will this new campaign hurt or help Saks 5th Ave in these hard economic times?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Original Ideas

While cleaning out some boxes, I found old projects from college. What you see above is from a book making class I took in my freshman year. I created my own paper clip fonts, that was then pressed into the paper and bound. For the project, I decided to reinterpret the Dick & Jane - See Spot Run books. I was playing with the idea of readability and how much of the word you actually need to see before your brain fills it in. (click on book above to see bigger and clearer)

I thought this was such a great original idea back then - But when I started studying graphic design and graphic design history, I soon realized this wasn't such an original idea. Futurist artists back in the late 1800's early 1900's had already started to play with typography. Then discovered a bunch of designers and artists that had also played with typography. So much for my "original" idea. But it seems, every couple of years someone new pushes the boundaries of typography - Every designer pushes it a bit further than the last one. Below are some artists and designers that played with typography way before I did.

Some what in order: Piet Zwart, H.N Werkman, Lucien Bernhard, A.M. Cassandre, El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodchenko, Willem Sandberg, Robert Massin, Paul Rand, Alvin Lustig, Saul Bass, George Tscherny, Ivan Chermayeff , Rosmarie Tissi, Wolfgang Weingart, Dan Friedman, April Greiman, Louis Fili, Carin Goldberg, Paula Scher, Rudy Vanderlans, Katherine McCoy, Edward Fella and I'm stopping at David Carson. (Photo above in same order of names, left to right. I'm sure I skipped a few artists and designers here and there - this is a small slice of graphic design history.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NYC Women's Resource Network

This will be a short post. I just wanted to bring attention to the really good work coming out NYC.gov lately. I came across this poster for NYC Women's Resource Network. Really nice simple, to the point design. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

World Baseball Classic Logo?

Walking past a sports store in New York the other day, I saw this logo plastered across its windows. At a quick glance, I thought this was a soccer teams logo. I took another look and realized it was the World Baseball Classic logo. This is the official international baseball tournament, created by MLB. Am I the only one that forgot that it was happening this year?

But I digress, I really want to comment on their logo. I know it is hard to create a logo that can encompass all the international teams that are participating in it. But, this is not the logo. It really seems as though no thought was put into this logo. How does this logo convey international baseball tournament? -By having a baseball with the latitude, longitude lines on it? Does this logo really mean anything?  I know the World Baseball Classic is trying to build a fan base and trying to create something bigger and grander but they really should start with a inspiring/ bold logo. They should take a look at olympic logos past and present to see what creating an international logo really entails.

(World Baseball Classic logo  owned by MLB Advanced Media, LP)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Progress vs. Digital Memories

As I was sifting through some of my "old junk", I stumbles across old Polaroids, zip disks, old cds, cassette tapes and even old sketchbooks. I then realized that I couldn't open zip files because I no longer own a zip drive anymore. Some of the programs and files on the cds no longer exist or have been corrupted. Forget the cassette tapes I can't play them. The Polaroids and sketchbooks are starting to yellow even though I've stored them in a dark, dry place. This all got me thinking... If my old files and memories won't last - What will happen to our new digital memories in the next couple of years?

Our technologies keep advancing but there still isn't a file format, storage device that is permanent or universal. What do we do with our current files and photos? Store them onto an external hard drive, store them on internet sites or onto cds/dvds? These only last give or take 5 years. Then what? Keep moving them onto new storage devices? Storing digital files is actually the easy part, preserving these digital files proves more difficult. Programs are always changing, being replaced or even phased out. Plus there is the problem of digital degradation, when you migrate your digital files onto new storage devices you lose something here and there. Sometimes it's formatting issues, other times you sacrifice quality or sometimes you sacrifice the file itself. This all brings me to my main concern - How do you preserve your digital memories?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everyday Color Mood - Today a hazy blue

I am going to attempt to post my mood Monday's - Friday's, visualized only by color. I have always interpreted my moods with color and thought this would be an interesting account of my daily emotions. 

My weekly color mood will be living as a Flickr set here at My Color Mood. At the end of every month I will collect all the colors and post them as a one sheet on my blog. I won't actually be stating my mood for that day, hoping it will be obvious enough with the color choices I use for that day. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Positive Note on the Whole Tropicana Redesign

There has been a lot of coverage over the whole Tropicana redesign. I don't really want to spend too much time on it, other than saying  - There is a positive side to the whole Tropicana design - the "squeeze" screw top that looks like an orange. I thought that was cleverly executed, I was more fascinated with that simple design then the whole new Tropicana package. I am glad that they are retaining the "squeeze" screw top even as they are returning to the old Tropicana packaging.

Side Note: In the long run this whole Tropicana misstep (in misstep I'm talking about Pepsi Co pulling the new Tropicana design) will become a problem for the graphic design community and designers in general. As a fall out from all this, I fear that companies will rethink redesigning their products - as well as second-guessing graphic designers and their design decisions. This will hurt the graphic design community tremendously