Saturday, December 11, 2010

graphic design example 15

communication arts
may/june 2010 (illustration annual)
p. 118–119
more book design. i love it, and i'd like to learn much more about it. i probably started noticing it with chip kidd's stuff. and he seems to have a huge influence on popular book design now. anyway, these are covers (illustrated by patrick leger) for a series of john cheever books for random house. his work "usually deals with 1960s suburbia and the lives of its inhabitants." very mad men.

graphic design example 14

march/april 2010 (international design annual)
p. 133
as a result of my class's second project, in which we selected a graphic designer, researched him or her, and created an AIGA t-shirt based on the designer's aesthetic, i became enamored of tibor kalman and other designers who incorporate social commentary in their work. this poster, titled "before/after" and designed by john scorsone and alice drueding, clearly sends a message about the horrors of war—and the healthcare civilian victims desperately need—in a stark, simple way.

graphic design example 13

march/april 2010 (international design annual)
p. 81
good lord, this book's concept is weird and gross on so many levels. but chen design associates' work was good enough to win an editorial merit award in how. i do like the design, especially the cover. it reminds me of illustrations in kids' books from the late 1950s/early 1960s—especially that proud cat with its eyes closed in post-evacuation bliss. plus, the brilliant little siamese giving demonstrations looks like my cat.

graphic design example 12

communication arts
september/october 2010
inside back cover
avant-garde? gah, are you kidding me? what's so avant-garde about a skull? or a toilet? or boobs? seriously. y'all need to be learnt about fluxus, maya deren, and scott walker. this ain't no avant-garde. rant over.

graphic design example 11

 communication arts
september/october 2010
inside back cover
wow! another awesome penguin cover, masterminded by the penguin art group. i love how the cover doesn't explicitly show short girls (standing next to tall men, next to a measuring tape, etc.). with one small touch—the girl's leg situated on the balls of her feet, seemingly stretching—you get the idea.

graphic design example 10

communication arts
september/october 2010
p. 30
i like these fonts that berton hasebe designed. i also like that he named them in honor of art-rock genius brian eno. did hasebe come up with those names to establish some sort of cult-rock cred? or is there something more to it? is it reminiscent of eno's work? does it stylistically capture the era of some of eno's best solo stuff? how do fonts get named, anyway?

graphic design example 9

august 2010
p. 66–67
at first glance, these cool pieces (shown on barbara glauber's section of print's "rant and rave" feature) look some type with funky patterns. but look more closely! "don't call from the stall" shows the ever-familiar restroom icons with four classic circle-with-slash symbols indicating "no phone." "discard gum properly" is surrounded by directions to put said gum in the trash! and the "keep emotional calls private" actually shows sideways, upset emoticons talking on the phone!

graphic design example 8

from print
august 2010
p. 10
paul buckley, penguin's art director, recently curated the series penguin classics deluxe editions: "masterworks whose covers have been reinterpreted by the world's best-known graphic novelists and artists." that's the power of good design. it makes me actually want to read white noise.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

graphic design example 7

my husband is a bibliophile to the extreme. seriously. from our massive collection of books alone, the producers of hoarders have us on their shortlist. along with scores of graphic novels, he also collects books about designers and artists. scanning our shelves one day, i found sagmeister: made you look by peter hall (with commentary by the designer himself).

stefan sagmeister's stuff is pretty provocative, but this rather tame david byrne cd package stood out to me. maybe it's because i'd recently read up on tibor kalman, who designed the talking heads' remain in light. (i've never been into david byrne, but i'm intrigued by his association with top designers.)

according to the book, byrne had a lot of input on the project. sometimes in a client-designer relationship,  client bossiness can backfire, but in this case, it worked beautifully—likely because byrne is an artist and seems to have a good eye for design.

anyway, the album's called feelings, and depicts byrne as a florian-from-kraftwerk-meets-ken-doll robot. the inside of the package (shown here) features a color wheel of emotions. i like how what we humans perceive to be cold and unfeeling—a robot—is juxtaposed with a complicated array of universal human feelings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

graphic design example 6

although i wouldn't consider myself a big tech-head, i do love wired magazine. my boss lets me have all the office's old issues, which i promptly take home and devour. one of my favorite things about wired is the illustration (often in the form of charts and graphs) featured throughout the magazine.

this illustration by matias vigliano in the august 2010 issue is so loaded with imagery it's almost overwhelming. but it is for good reason: the theme is "overkill: the pop culture excesses, indulgences, and redundancies we cover this month, by type." as you can see, it's a table of contents highlighting pure information overload: 86-proof beer, extreme multitools, titanic televisions, and the return of max headroom. punctuated with spiky graphics, sprarkly curves, an overabundance of colors, animal appendages, and metal machinery, it's messy and overblown, yes, but captures the era well.

graphic design example 5

a special 25th anniversary issue featuring typography, the february 2010 HOW contained a great article titled "who shot the serif?" by allan haley. according to haley, right now everybody's using sans serif or script typefaces. (part of me begs to differ, because lately i see itc lubalin graph and its imitators everywhere, but whatever...) word on the street is that sans serifs are more flexible, allow greater latitude in character spacing, and "keep their good looks in a wide range of sizes." serifs, on the other hand, are quite "finicky." however, haley explores several new cool serifs on the scene.

this one's called trilby (maybe named after svengali's automaton, played woodenly well by marian marsh in the early 1930s version of the movie, but i digress). designed by david jonathan ross, trilby is an interpretation of "the formal constraints of the french clarendon reversed-stress on a foundation of clear, open, and contemporary letterforms." i don't quite understand this (yet), but it's playful and a little quirky.

graphic design example 4

while perusing the february 2010 issue of HOW, i found an ad for this company called mister retro that offers (among other things) some cool image filters for photoshop. this one's called machine wash deluxe, and claims to "distress, weather, and texturize." here's the wash effect and the surface effect. this is the kind of thing that makes me anxious about design. there are so many amazing avenues to explore that i'll never want to leave my house. i'll be obsessed. dishes will stack up. i'll grow pale and crusty. the lawn will grow so obnoxiously high that neighbors will complain. anyway.

graphic design example 3

ah! i can't help it. csa images, the absolute motherlode of cool illustration and design resources, can do no wrong in my eyes. this is an ad i found in the june 2009 issue of print. its design is reminiscent of the old cheesy ads for cubic zirconia rings or bust enhancers you'd find in dusty issues of ladies' home journal. although the ad copies a specific style, it's completely in line with csa's aesthetic, so it doesn't feel "off." and although the image seems busy, with the numerous typefaces and little illustrations, it hangs together with the centered silhouette, curvy shapes, and feminine tone. this is the kind of design i want to do when i grow up.

graphic design example 2

i found this intriguing "constellation" map in the june 2009 issue of print magazine. designed by james gaddy, it aims to highlight nine stockholm designers and how they relate with various schools, cities, friends, spaces, and projects. (each designer is denoted by a different color.) the map is designed in the spirit of swedish modernism, the "pragmatic notion that pared-down design is more democratic."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

graphic design example

i found this award-winning poster series in communication arts' 50th anniversary issue (from november/december 2009). the messages are stark, simple, and hard-hitting. they need no further explanation—the imagery says it all.

for me, this series is one of the best examples for explaining the aim of good graphic design. it grabs the viewer's attention, it's intelligent, and it forces the viewer to react (and thus, act).

props to the team who developed it:
art directors: jeremy boland/nick kamei
designer: eric stevens, tower of babel
creative director: terry schneider
writers: jeremy boland/john heinsma/bem jimmerson
agency: borders perrin norrander, portland, oregon
client: willamette week

Friday, May 7, 2010

what type am i?

according to this quiz, i'm bifur. hmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

from a(rial) to z(apfino)...

...the entire blog is richie-rich with alphabet goodness, but  I love typography's "on choosing type" article is priceless. it's designer john boardley's take on selecting the best type for your design. and guess what: not all traditional "rules" apply.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

greeting card research

for our next big project, we're creating greeting cards that use typography alone. i'm up for the challenge! here are a few that i think look pretty cool. i do love me some letterpress.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

with spring comes inspiration

...and a weekend in beautiful iowa city  helps, too. at this wicked cool shop, the soap opera, i found a line of gorgeously designed packaging created by the self-taught illustrator (and soap maven) margot elena. she has a few exciting product lines (including the whimsical love + toast), but her tokyo milk stuff REALLY caught my eye, specifically the design. it's so delicious it makes my teeth hurt.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


this display typeface is called Brazil Pixo Reto. the serifs are wild—crooked in some places, bent in others. some serifs seem completely unnecessary, as you can see in the "v." it reminds me of frayed nerves, which is what mine are.

this display typeface is called Whatever. i can read the word "crazy," but the next one is illegible. it looks like someone was using a quill pen, the ink ran out, and the writer got mad and started scratching the words on paper in frustration.


i'm uninspired. i'm burned out. not on class, but by life in general. my two jobs are wearing me down, my neuropathy's the worst it's ever been, and i can't keep up with...well...anything. i wonder if i can find any typefaces that describe the way i feel. be right back.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

illustrative type

here are some examples of illustrative type, designed to inspire me for my next class project: designing a cover of an issue of buzz weekly.

straightforward. obvious. 3d.

i can practically smell the grime on this one:

 clever beyond belief:

i love this one; it's so cute and pink!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

vespa—the typeface

look at these vespa scooters. aren't they marvelous? one of my life's goals is getting one. my mouth starts involuntarily salivating whenever i pass illini scooters here in town. i imagine myself as some hot italian actress in a late 1950s fellini movie, wind in my hair, breezing through streets of florence in huge black sunglasses on my gorgeous pink vespa. ahhh.

anyway, there are actually two typefaces i've discovered that celebrate this stunning vehicle. i gotta give the blog who rides a vespa? props—that's where i found them. both are based on the metal shields on the scooter.

the first one's called primavera (after an actual vespa model)—based on the typeface vespa used between 1974 and 2001.

the second is called vespa, based on vespa's script lettering. it was developed by markus dott of germany.

while the first typeface is accessible and readable, the second can be a bit hard to read. plus, it's missing some uppercase and lowercase characters. it's whimsical and lovely, though, and when i see it, i'm once again transported to italy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

30 years of rock typography: yes

yes is one of my favorite bands. shut up—they're cool. anyway, the band logo's typeface has changed over the 40+ years they've been making pretentious tolkien rock. here are five examples, spanning 1969–1999.

this is the very first yes album, released in july 1969. check out the groovy word balloon. they're making a countercultural statement, dammit! and they'll do it with flutes and and self-indulgent guitar solos!

by 1974, the band had experienced ego problems/personnel issues/overblown stadium tours AND acquired roger dean as album artist. he designed this logo, which became the band's most recognized.

the '80s strike. the logo is cold, clinical, rigid. no more whimsy, no more humor. and the public loved it. "owner of a lonely heart" became their first (and only) #1 single.

surprise, surprise! in 1991 the members of yes swallowed their pride, overcame their differences, and earned huge paychecks for the  requisite reunion. notice how the album recaptures the '70s vibe. by the way, i saw this tour, and it kicked royal ass. rick wakeman rules!

yes meets the millenium. by 1999, the logo's type is sparse, almost apocalyptic and broken. but the band's still churning out albums and shaky tours—probably to pay for assisted living and viagra.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

derby type

i'm obsessed with roller derby. i skate with a brand-spankin'-new league, the C-U Rollers, and hope to be kicking a** on the flat track before too long (practice, practice, practice!). all derby leagues, while diverse in spirit and personality, have a similar aesthetic: beauty, skulls, and blood. here are three way established leagues and what our league hopes to become. notice the no-nonsense, all-caps type on all three. it seems to indicate strength. it's also a little messy and crude, which communicates roughness, as well as an ANTI-high maintenance, ANTI-stereotypical Barbie girl attitude.

Friday, January 22, 2010

beauty type

okay, i'll admit it: i totally am a cosmetics junkie. i love skin care and hair gunk and makeup and basically any potion that i can afford (and can't afford, for that matter). so i'm channeling my lust for beauty products into a lust for typefaces on beauty products. here are three of my faves.

origins plays up the fact that their stuff's purely nature-based and without a ton of chemicals. the typeface, which i believe to be Cyan Sans Bold, is stark, simple, and sparse.

philosophy is similar, though not so focused on nature. the packaging on philosophy products consists solely of copy. as a copywriter, i was always taught that too much copy was BAAAD. but for philosophy, it works. the products possess a clinical expert's feel, yet the look is clean and beautiful. the typeface is most likely Janson URW T Light. (it also resembles Indigo P Regular, or even Garamond MT.)

i'm just wildly guessing here, but the deva logo typeface looks uncannily identical to the one designers love and loathe: Helvetica. deva's products are designed specifically for curly hair, so the plain lettering might suggest simplicity and ease--something curly girls desperately need with hair care (trust me. i have curly hair, so i know).

ITC veljovic copywriting

Lively. Dynamic. Classic.
In other words, it's ITC Veljovic.

And it's your typeface for advertising, magazines, brochures, even menus and resumes. Quirky? Yep. Large X-height. Absolutely. Readable? You bet.

Jovica Veljovic, Yugoslavian type designer extraordinaire, developed ITC Veljovic in 1984. Strongly influenced by fellow designers Hermann Zapf and Henri Friedlander, Veljovic sought to create a crisp, sprightly typeface in which the letters appeared cut in stone. He lives in Germany, where he teaches type design, calligraphy, and typography at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

i had a dream last night...

...that i developed my very own typeface called "queen of siam." i can totally visualize it! how nerdy is that?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the drool brothers

i'm the co-genre director at WEFT for rock. part of the job entails getting brand-new releases from indie-label bands. sometimes we even get little treasures, like band buttons, postcards, and stickers. lo and behold,  i found this sticker in our new-release pile today. isn't the typeface fab? it reminds me of 1960s british invasion bands—the kinks, the who, manfred mann.

the serifs are lively; they almost look like little legs jutting out of the letters. and i love how the "R"s curve. i haven't found the typeface's name yet, but it looks like something that house industries developed. (i love, love, love their typefaces.) the "the" looks like it's in a different typeface.

i haven't heard the drool brothers yet, so i don't know if they're any good. with this sweet typeface, i kinda hope they're awesome. the typeface actually sets high expectations for me: i expect fun. i expect melody. i expect suits and ties. we'll see...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

typography I

i officially started gds 110: typography I on tuesday. whee! i will now understand the reason designers barf when they see comic sans.