Ready to respond to requests of “Show me the data!” with more than a sad little bar graph? The Mediabistro mothership is now recruiting would-be data visualizers for an online course in infographics that can “engage an audience in your brand, cause, or mission.” Guided by tech-meets-branding whiz Amanda McCormick, whose resume includes work with organizations such as New York City Ballet, Bitly, and SocialFlow, students will get up to speed with online tools (we’re looking at you Many Eyes) and develop a robust spec for a data visualization. The infographical fun starts Tuesday, January 20. Learn more here.
Jessica Hische forever! That’s what we would have called the forthcoming postage stamps that feature the loopily, lacily beautiful letterforms of the self-described “letterer, illustrator, and crazy cat lady,” but the United States Postal Service has opted for “Forever Hearts.” Hische began by drawing the lettered hearts by hand and then completed the stamp art digitally. Art director Antonio Alcalá (who whipped up those stunning seed packets stamps, among many others) designed the stamps—one red-on-white, one white-on-red, both guaranteed to eternally retain their first-class value—which will be released on January 22, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
“In the early 1970s the most cited writer in Artforum was the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty. So I sought out Merleau-Ponty’s books published by Northwestern University Press. After some struggle I realized I couldn’t make sense of his ideas. But I came to love his publisher’s distinctive interlocking arrows on the front cover, and the interior layout and typeface. So I looked for other books published by Northwestern. When I was in New York I’d visit Papyrus Books near Columbia University and spend the evening reading philosophy and poetry in the aisles. Then I’d carefully select one volume to buy. Like Northwestern’s arrows, each publisher had a distinctive, memorable logo. Vintage Books had a fiery, anthropomorphic sun on its spine; Hill and Wang’s logo comprised interlocking black letter initials; George Braziller’s clean serif-type name locked down the title page; Grove Press placed a funny Y on the spine. Each publisher’s logo held the promise of an exciting and difficult intellectual journey.”
—Artist James Welling, a professor in the department of art and the area head of photography at the University of California, Los Angeles, in “A List of Favorite Anythings,” which appears in the winter issue of Aperture
Ready to respond to requests of “Show me the data!” with more than a sad little bar graph? The Mediabistro mothership is now recruiting would-be data visualizers for an online course in infographics that can “engage an audience in your brand, cause, or mission.” Guided by digital communications pro Amanda McCormick, whose resume includes projects with New York City Ballet, Bitly, and Bertlesmann, students will get up to speed with online tools (we’re looking at you Many Eyes) and develop a robust spec for a data visualization. The infographical fun starts January 20. Learn more here.
“Pictograms are the earliest means of communication in all cultures. Simple illustrations slowly developed into pictorial characters and then into scripts as we know them today. I want to keep my visual means as concise as possible so that the content is in the foreground. In traditional Chinese culture, it is considered the highest of art forms to portray profound content with the fewest visual means. That tradition has also undoubtedly influenced me on a formative level.”
-Beijing-born, Berlin-based designer Yang Liu, who has followed up her East meets West with Man meets Woman (Taschen), “a documentation of my impression of gender roles and equality” in clever pictograms
“To me, the most inspiring kind of design comes from people who are not professional designers. Things like seven-inch reggae album art from the ’70s and ’80s. These people had cheap printing and bad technology, but still made impactful work. There’s something inspiring in that innocence—raw, direct, and unafraid to make mistakes.”
Louise Fili has done it again. The designer of all things bello, including stunning packaging and branding for the likes of Jean-Georges, Tiffany & Co., and Sarabeth’s, turns her Italophilic eye to signage in the pages of Grafica della Strada: The Signs of Italy, new from Princeton Architectural Press. The chunky yet compact book is a photographic diary of sorts, revealing the most inventive restaurant, hotel, street, and advertising signs spotted by Fili over three decades’ worth of Italian travels. “These signs chart the highs and lows of Italian typography, from a classically elegant gold leaf script for a Turin jewelry store to a very spirited (and unreadable) type rendered in orange and blue dimensional plastic letters for a shop selling doormats in Rome,” notes Fili by way of introduzione. “From the sublime to the ridiculous, each and every one, in its unique way, is dear to me.”
The leaves they are a-changing, and there’s more to it than less chlorophyll. Study up on autumnal chemistry with this handy infographic from the better-living-through-chemistry types at Compound Interest, helmed by design-savvy chemistry teacher Andy Brunning. Once you’ve boned up on carotenoids and flavonoids, check out more instructive infographics that demystify the chemistry of everyday life.
To understand the shape-shifting nature of the California design scene, look no further than earthquakes, mudslides, fires, and riots. These natural and manmade disasters endemic to the Left Coast provide the cataclysmic title of a forthcoming book by Louise Sandhaus. The designer and CalArts faculty member focuses on five decades—1936 to 1986—that span Alvin Lustig to Deborah Sussman, from Saul Bass‘s mod film titles to Atari video games, with pit stops at Disneyland
propaganda posters, Alexander Girardiana, and early animated abstractions for Robert Abel and Richard Taylor‘s bubbly 7-Up ad of the 1970s.
CalArts students are picking up where the book—out November 30 from Metropolis Books—leaves off by identifying, researching, and documenting neglected designers in Sandhaus’s “Making History” course. Their findings will be compiled in a new website dedicated to California design history. “Earthquakes is a conversation starter,” says Sandhaus. “I want to inspire others to add to the history of California design. There’s a lot of ‘wow’ work and makers that are going to end up in the dustbin of history if documentation doesn’t happen.”
Before we could say “Gelato Fiasco,” Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili had opened and closed at the Art Directors Club in NYC. If you missed the show’s two-week run, which wrapped up Friday in a evening pleasant prosecco haze, all is not perso. The series of thematic interiors, designed by the incomparable Kevin O’Callaghan and sure to inspire a run on violet-hued fainting couches, live on in a short film (below). We suggest following this taste of Fili’s brand of la dolce vita with her stunningly beautiful new book, Grafica della Strada: The Signs of Italy, published earlier this month by Princeton Architectural Press.
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