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New NYC Condoms Allusive, Candylike, Evocative of Childhood Birthday Parties

nyc condom ad.jpg

As you may recall, we romantics here at UnBeige celebrated Valentine’s Day by chatting with Yves Behar about condoms, specifically the new New York City condom for which Behar and his fuseproject team designed the packaging and dimpled button dispensers. In the April 21 issue of New York magazine, six design experts weigh in on the city’s, uh, roll-out campaign. Pentagram partner Paula Scher notes the use of the Gotham typeface and how the “nice, friendly, round shape[d]” logo “alludes to what a condom is and romances the form,” while Rob Giampietro of design studio Giampietro+Smith says that the “cheesy” posters make him think of his third birthday party. We happen to think the dispenser and its contents look like they’re right out of Dylan’s Candy Bar (the store, that is, not the website), and wouldn’t you know it, design legend Steven Heller agrees! “When you look at Trojans or Ramseses, they look like they belong in a drugstore. This reads less medicinal, more like candy,” notes Heller. “It looks very edible, and if I needed one, I would pull it out of the dispenser.”

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Ahem, Um, You Know…

829image3.jpgShuffle feet.
Twiddle thumbs. Glance downward.
Shuffle feet once more. Clear the throat.
It’s come to our attention that bloggers are notorious for grabbing images and photos from web sites without asking for permission from the site’s owner or webmaster. Those bloggers include us, of course. Yes, we’re known to pull photos and cute images from other sites for our blog entries. We want to look good. We want our entries to look, well, photogenic. But you in the design community may feel differently about this. Perhaps you’ve had your work stolen from a web site, only to be uploaded at a URL completely unknown to you.

Since we take what we do seriously and we don’t want to offend anyone (and we certainly don’t want anyone to take legal action). We want your opinion on how this matter should be handled.

Ok, straighten out the tie. Look up. Make eye contact. What do you think? Take our poll, please:

Just Don’t Do It


Apparently I struck a chord with my NikeiD rant the other day. Greg ranted righteously about the utter faux-ness of the iD’s supposed customization:

Customizing Nikes is to expressing your individual creativity what rhythmic gymnastics is to sports. Whatever the people who actually do it obsessively say, most sensible people can see it for what it is after a couple of colorful swooshes.

and links to a fawning NYT Magazine style section article about the store. (I know, I know, the cognitive dissonance of NYT + style + fawning all in the same sentence is just too much to bear.)

The Curbed kids did some creative editing and, stripped of my qualifiers, made it appear that I actually have opinions in their Calling Bullshit: NikeiD is for suckers. (Though they seem to think I’m some kind of anti-consumerist Marxist type. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a girl who loves her shopping.)

Also I got tons of kudos via the Anonymous Tips box, making me flush with the glow of my moment of blog glory. Aside from notes congratulating me on, you know, having an opinion, I also got some additional feedback about the aforementioned iD faux-ness. Reader Scott Walker wrote in and said:

The funny thing about this Nikeid stuff is that it is not even remotely “personalized”. It might be good marketing, but it is barely scratching the surface on design. Allowing a person to slap colors selected from a (very limited) palette on an existing set of products is midly entertaining, but not design.
Design would be adjusting width, choosing stability, choosing firmness, choosing tread patterns, and (oh yeah) selecting colors, materials, and printing cutom patterns, etc., etc….

Also weighing in, artblog Forward Retreat:

I thought now would be an exceptional moment to link to Jonah Peretti’s infamous Nike iD project (2001), as immortalized on Peretti’s email correspondence with the corporation is chronicled there, along with a timeline of the subsequent media explosion after Nike refused to honor Peretti’s request for custom-made Nikes with the word “Sweatshop” emblazoned on their sides.

Exceptional moment, indeed! I had forgotten about that fiasco, and it’s a timely reminder.

(Image courtesy of Forward Retreat.)

Wasting Urban Land?

Looks like I might have ruined Downtown Lad‘s day yesterday when I pointed to efforts afoot to re-introduce trolleys on 42nd St.:

I was particularly disturbed today when I came across this site, which advocates turning 42nd St. into one big pedestrian mall, bar a trolley going up and down the middle. What a terrible idea. 42nd St. is one of the greatest streets in the world. It doesn’t need any help. It’s thriving. This group should just give up and go to some other city. Like Houston… If you want another example of where the street fails, just check out any housing project. Those buildings, inspired by Le Corbusier’s plan for Paris, are simply buildings in a park without any soul. They are criss-cross buildings that deliberately turn their back on their street. Ever wonder why there are no stores or restaurants when you walk by a housing project? It’s not because they are poor. It’s because there’s no longer a street. And people don’t want to shop where there is no street life. People don’t want to linger there.

They have a term for a place that doesn’t have a street life. It’s called a suburb.

Read the entry in its entirety here:The Death of The Street

Ooh! Ooh! Typography Picking!


Regarding my earlier post today about Ooh Ooh who it the belle of the ball over at ICFF this year, I got this bit of typography geekery in my Anonymous Tips Inbox. (And I have a hunch about exactly which design monkey it was that tipped me off.) Isn’t it nice how designers like to groom one and other, as monkeys and gorillas do in the wild? It’s so very primal. Rarr!:

It sure is too bad that “undomesticated” hasn’t been kerned properly in the least. There is a thoroughfare between the “c” and the “a”. Sigh.

NikeID Redux


Josh Rubin sent me some actual photos (not renderings) of the NikeID store that I’ve been posting about lately. The exterior, above, looks pretty hip right? What’s funny is that when they pull the gate down, which is covered with sloppy black graffiti and is not a good looking security gate to begin with (and there ARE good ones!) the store looks totally dilapidated and non-descript. It’s only once the curtain is lifted and the sneakers, enshrined as they are, become visible that the place looks like… someplace.

Josh also pointed out an oversight on my part:

I think the rendering you posted is from the geneaology of speed project, not the 255 Elizabeth St store. If you page through all the renderings on the architect’s site though, you will find some pics of the store. To spare you the effort, i’ve attached them. [Ed note: Josh, very nice to me.]

Anyway, keep an eye on my site next week for the possibility of more detail on that mysterious space…

Thanks, Josh!



I Have it On Good Authority…

UN Building
Over at Curbed they are bandying about an utterly appalling theory that the UN is considering making a temporary home for itself in Brooklyn. Words simply cannot describe my horror at the mere concept. Thankfully, I have it on good insider, I’m almost certain that this person can’t be wrong authority that it’s patently untrue…

I read that this morning and we checked with sources named and then unnamed and they said it was just media hype, no plans for Brooklyn!

Lock, baby, please don’t scare me like that EVER AGAIN.


Chase.jpgBeloved mis(s)anthrope NM sent me this new logo yesterday, along with a note:

It’s very much a soft launch, but Chase “updated” their logo as well. It’s evident in any direct mail involving credit cards, and the new branch at the intersection of Worth and Church St, but I haven’t seen it elsewhere. Thankfully, since it’s dog ugly.

As I told Miss in email, I beg to differ… I think it’s, um, not horrible. It kind of has a weird 70s-idea-of-modern vibe that I find appealing. Does anyone else want to weigh in? Also, any information about who is developing the new ID for Chase would be much appreciated. As always, use the tips box over there —> or email me. (jen AT unbeige DOT com).

Comic Coolness

dcnational.jpgShortly after I posted about the new DC Comics Logo yesterday, Michael Bierut and I traded some email about the fact that the (better) logo that DC just replaced, known as the “bullet logo”, was designed by none other than Milton Glaser. I had read about it in the letter from the publisher on the DC site, but I was too lazy (well, busy really) to research the genesis of the logo.

dclogo80s.gifEmail from designer Jeff Stockwell this morning was the nudge I needed (Thanks, Jeff) to go do some poking around. That and a nice strong cup of coffee and that oh-so-fleeting “Today is the first day of the rest of my life!” ambition that usually deserts me about an hour into the day. Anyway, I digress. Jeff wrote:

You may want to edit your DC Comics post to include that the DC “bullet” that was replaced was designed by Milton Glaser. No wonder it was so cool and lasted for so long.

Turns out that Glaser designed the logo in 1977, which I found out on this very interesting DC Timeline, which includes bits of trivia like:

1835 (Jan) Nathaniel Hawthorne creates America’s first superhero, as The Grey Champion appears in New England Magazine.

As Michael said about Glaser + the DC bullet: Who knew?

NY to Tahiti: Soundtrack

WARP63.jpg Unbeige reader (and self-professed music geek) Neil Straghalis wrote to me shortly after I posted about the NYC to Tahiti Non-Stop campaign and said:

I thought you might want to know the source of the NYC to Tahiti site – the track is “Ralome” by Plaid, off the Rest Proof Clockwork album.

I might not make it to Tahiti anytime soon, but perhaps I’ll find some small solace in good music. Thanks Neil!