It’s that time of year: when we stuff our vintage suitcases with periodicals, sunblock, and versatile silk scarves; load up on Design Matters podcasts; and hit the road for a week of offline adventures. Not to worry, as we leave you in the capable, well-moisturized hands of Steve Delahoyde. And speaking of our talented co-editor, we would like to take this opportunity to make sure that you have had the pleasure of viewing the short film Copy Goes Here, for which we continue to badger the Academy to give Steve some sort of special Oscar. A bientot!
As everything in print is now also going the way of the iPad, why not design annuals as well? The Society of Publication Designers has just launched an iPad version of its latest, SPD 45, “featuring the best in editorial design, photography and illustration in print and digital.” The app itself is $19.99, which seems expensive, but maybe not so much when compared to the $50 you’d usually have to shell out for the hardcover. Sure, this electronic version won’t look nearly as nice on your shelf, but what can you do? Here’s the eSPD in action:
If you’re a designer with a great idea for something online, now’s the time to strike while the iron is hot. Enrique Allen, founder of the incubator and investment fund 500 Startups, has announced the launch of The Designer Fund. Saying that designers don’t have as easy of a route to launch new web-based companies as programmers with technical know-how do, the fund’s goal is to “invest in startups that are founded by designers,” citing outlets like Flickr, Vimeo and Tumblr as all companies that were originally established up by designers.
If architecture is your more your speed, this Sunday marks the start of National Architecture Week, running from April 10th to the 16th. The American Institute of Architects is, per usual, the face behind the week of celebrating the business of building and have a number of things planned, from a Twitter sweepstakes to events held by local AIA chapters. They have a full listing of the latter here, but check with your local outlet as well, as we’re sure there’s more planned across the country.
Last, if you’re a designer wanting to get in on that Designer Fund cash or an aspiring architect inspired by next week’s events, but don’t own your own computer, why not just finally succumb to those criminal urges and break into an Apple Store and take one? Following a recent string of robberies at the company’s retail outlets across the country, NBC Chicago writes that the design of the stores, typically all-glass storefronts, could be too “enticing” for thieves to pass up. An official in the story, commenting on the theft of $30,000 worth of equipment at a suburban Chicago store, says he has talked to Apple about hiring guards or making the store generally more difficult to break into, but the company reportedly doesn’t seem very interested.
We’re not quite sure what to make of two design-related, minor celebrity-attached items, so we’re just going to tell you about them and force you to do the heavy brain lifting. First is the announcement that the company HoodieBuddie, which makes sweaters with earbud headphones doubling as the drawstrings, has formed a licensing partnership with actress Betty White. The company has made four hoodies, each with a different pop-culture parody featuring Ms. White front and center (Warhol, a Sex Pistols’ album cover, a nod to Miami Vice with the “White Heat” model). The last is what got us thinking: it’s a take-off of Shepard Fairey‘s second most familiar piece: the Andre the Giant “Obey” image. Of course this time, it’s Betty White and the type underneath says “Betty.” Even as a parody, it’s a distant relative to cleverness and originality, as you’ve likely seen a million take-offs of the particular Fairey work. Although he, now seeming a bit short sided, complained a bit about copycats during the 2008 election, it made us feel a little more sympathy for Fairey, having to see his piece (even if the original was a rip-off itself) lazily taken, again and again, almost to the level of the “Got Milk?” campaign. This also makes this writer think that all this ironic Betty White hoopla might finally over.
Our second rant after the jump.
We love flags every day of the year, but UnBeige HQ devolves into full-on drapeaux-mania come June 14, also known as Flag Day. So imagine our delight when a fellow design-minded flag lover popped over this afternoon with a selection of festive flag-topped cupcakes (unable to resist cobalt frosting, we opted for Sweden—delicious, and not a trace of herring) and an article clipped from this month’s issue of Maxim. Turns out the lad mag also has a thing for flags and took it upon themselves to get vexillological with a diverse crew of talking heads. Our favorite comments concerned the flags of Saudi Arabia (below left) and Argentina (right). “Makes me feel like my mother is yelling at me so loudly that I can’t understand a word she’s saying,” said Elle‘s Anne Slowey of Saudi Arabia’s green monster. “But it doesn’t matter because she is about to lop my head off with that sword.” Things were rosier in Argentina, whose flag comedian Jim Norton deconstructed beautifully. “This looks like the Pan Am logo,” he explained. “The pained expression on the sun’s face reminds me of a 10-year-old playing a sunflower in the school play.” Want more flag fun? We’ve posted Saturday Night Live‘s fine “Flags of the World” sketch below for your viewing pleasure.
This writer is headed off to Norway this afternoon on a press trip to check out the country’s ongoing National Tourists Routes Project, an effort by the government to create “experiences” along their scenic driving routes by way of architecture and design (Peter Zumthor, Louise Bourgeois, and Snohetta have all been involved thus far). Assuming we don’t fall into a fjord or wear ourselves out jetting across the country, we’ll be checking in from the road next week, and likely posting once we get back about the trip (which we need to mention is being funded by the country’s Consulate General office in New York and the Innovation Norway organization). Have any tips on what not to miss while we’re there, drop us a line in the comments.
And just one final reminder before this writer heads out: our Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect Giveaway ends tomorrow night. Get your entries in! We’ll announce a winner on Monday.
Whether you’ll be welcoming 2010 in a chalet in the Swiss Alps, New York’s Times Square, the comfort of your own home, a flair-fueled gathering at the local T.G.I. Friday’s, or the disco/art museum/pet shop that you manage on Second Life, we at UnBeige wish you good cheer and great design. We were told that sending a bottle of champagne to each and every UnBeige reader was “cost-prohibitive” (among other adjectives), and so we’ve put together a selection of favorite festive images from the holiday cards that landed in our virtual and actual mailboxes this season. Enjoy!
From Howard Greenberg Gallery: Dan Weiner‘s “New Years Eve – Times Square,” c. 1956.
From Friends of the High Line: a vintage wine coneflower planted along the High Line and photographed by Anastasia Courtney.
From—you guessed it—New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
From M Z Wallace, our favorite purveyor of handbags and accessories (and consistently delicious graphic design).
If you’ve been an UnBeige reader over the years, you’re likely familiar with our annual trend of being excited about year-end lists and then, come sometime around mid-January, after one ending wave after another, being utterly and completely tired of them. But this year, still only in early December, we’re already worn out because we just started realizing that not only will it be a billion year-end lists, it will also be a billion decade-end lists. But while we might not yet be happy about the upcoming the flood, the trickle at the beginning is certainly starting strong. First, a nice behind the scenes look at the creation of the two covers for New York‘s upcoming “The 00′s” issue (by Todd St. John and Fellow Designers), as well as some of the others they’d commissioned but didn’t wind up using, by the likes of David Carson and Marian Bantjes. Second comes an interesting read and the first of what’s likely to be a big trend: Jonathan Glancey‘s overview of architecture in the 2000s, from the dud that was the Millennium Dome to preparing to open the world’s new tallest building, the Burj Dubai. So, at the start of the season, both of those are interesting and not riddled with filler. Let’s do everyone a favor and keep it like those through these coming long days, okay internet?
When we posted our Special Black Friday edition last Friday, we were remiss to include one of our other favorites: Core77‘s annual picks for the best things to get those design crazed folk on your holiday buying list. And unlike A Daily Dose‘s Holiday Gift Books guide, Core77′s Gift Guide branches out in a variety of directions, from t-shirts to even, weirdly, the entire Star Wars collection. Though excluding the latter, the them this year is do pick items that are good for the world (which one you could argue that screenings of Star Wars still fits that bill). Plus, you won’t just be buying picks thought up by a couple of the site’s editors. Nope, this year you’ll have a creme of the crop of personal shoppers for you:
This year’s giftguide contributors are Alissa Walker, Rob Walker, John Thackara, Glen Jackson Taylor, Lisa Smith, Bethany Shorb, Emily Pilloton, Rain Noe, Jen van der Meer, Lunchbreath, Eric Ludlum, Jessica Helfand, Bill Hanff, FueledByCoffee, Allan Chochinov, Valerie Casey, Victoria Brown, and Emilie Baltz.
Welcome back to the internet. We hoped you’ve regained your vision after gorging yourself up to your eyeballs in food yesterday. We are finding it difficult to type, finding ourselves running out of breath just from hitting these few keys to write these sentences. But here we are, back on the job for you. And since it’s Black Friday today, we thought we’d make this post about buying stuff. First up, A Daily Dose of Architecture is back at it again with one of our favorite things of the season: their Holiday Gift Books guide. It’s one book selection from 50 separate publishers and if you haven’t completely maxed out all your credit cards by the end and forgotten to buy gifts for anyone else but yourself, then we don’t know who you are anymore. We think you’ll also find it’s a great resource to send to those family members who never know what to get you, thus sparing them them search and you another incorrectly-sized bit of wardrobe. And speaking of ill-sized, we turn to number two in this special consumer-focused post. Millions of dollars and man hours were presumably spent designing Motorola‘s attempted-iPhone-killer Droid phone, but the one thing the gadget’s box “don’t do” is actually hold the product well. Consumerist reports that the packaging design is atrocious, leading the phone to fall to the ground and possibly being damaged as soon as its unpacked. And it’s reportedly happened to lots of people. So while it may seem like such a minor thing, packaging isn’t something to take lightly.