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."