Who says print is dead? The world’s appetite for Moleskine jotters remains unquenched, Paperless Post is doing a brisk business in tangible notes as well as e-pistles, and over in Europe, IKEA is piloting a vast array of affordably-priced papergoods (the “VÄXTGLÄDJE” notebooks are described as “handmade by a skilled craftsman”). Now online digital printer MOO, the company that brought you Sagmeister & Walsh’s continuum of flattering to insulting business cards, is expanding its Luxe family of products to encompass “premium business stationery,” including customizable (and ultra-sturdy) notecards, postcards, and minicards. “Here at MOO we want to make beautiful design more affordable and accessible,” said Richard Moross, MOO founder and CEO, in a statement issued Tuesday. “With Luxe notecards we’re re-booting stationery, the original high-impact communications tool, by using new technology to make super-high quality print available to our customers for a fraction of the cost.”
To say thank you for a great year, we’re offering 15% OFF any boot camp, in-person course, or online course when you use code MBTHANKU. Choose from any of our exciting upcoming courses, from a copy editing class taught by the chief copy of Seventeen magazine, to an intro course for Excel. Hurry – offer expires 12/24! Browse our upcoming courses.
Art21′s year-long celebration of having profiled 100–count them!–artists on its its PBS Series Art in the Twenty First-Century rolls on, and with it come journeys into the vault for footage that never made it to air. The latest is this archival gem, filmed in 2002, in which Martin Puryear discusses his interest in printmaking and how the directness of the process contrasts with the accretive approach he takes with sculpture. Watch Puryear at work at Berkeley’s Paulson Bott Press, where he employs skills he learned as a student at the Swedish Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm, and see how the ideas explored in his sculptures manifest themselves on the page.
As the go-to guide for seven-day snapshots of local arts and events listings, Time Out Chicago boasts service-oriented stories that help urban explorers find the best ways to spend their free time.
And if you’re a freelance photographer, TimeOutChicago.com is wide open for those looking to add to their portfolios. The site gets over 3 million page views a month and features lots of photo galleries that speak to the mag’s cultural core.
“We have the broadest, most in-depth cultural coverage of Chicago of any media outlet and the largest cultural reporting team in the city, so if it’s about Chicago culture, we’d like to hear about it,” said editor-in-chief Frank Sennett. “Our target readership is anybody who actively consumes culture in the city of Chicago, people who are going out and doing things. They tend to be people in the city, but it could be anybody who wants to go out and do something fun.”
For editor contacts and more details on breaking in, read How To Pitch: Time Out Chicago.
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Remember The Printed Blog? It was all the talk all over the place at the start of last year. A newspaper that was composed of blog posts and online photography, assembled into a weekly free paper. Only launched in a few select cities, we saw a couple of issues and were impressed. Although very well designed and fun to read, it never quit seemed to catch on, and by July of 2009, it had folded. But now it looks like they’re preparing to try again. The good folks at our sister blog, Fishbowl LA, have found a Craiglist post from the The Printed Blog hunting for “editors, writers and trendsetters.” Calling their original business plan “flawed” and apparently moving from a free weekly to something you’ll pay for, it looks like they’ve made some changes but are sticking to the same basic content. Will be interesting to see how round two plays out.
On Tuesday, we posted about writer Ben Greenman‘s very funny McSweeney‘s piece wherein he explained his solution for how to save print: 3D. Wearing special glasses, the words popping off the page to push emphasis, it’s clearly an absurd, totally ridiculous concept, right? Not so quick. Just hours before Greenman’s piece was published, the Belgian newspaper Derniere Heure released the fruits of two months of their labor: a special 3D edition (“complete with viewing glasses” says the BBC). Although only the ads were transformed to leap at the reader (and reportedly didn’t often work all that well) and it’s only a one-off edition, what odd timing shared between humor and reality. Greenman swears it’s all coincidence and that his piece had begun making the rounds as a submission since early February (so maybe it was the Belgians who copied him?!). If you speak French or can stumble your way through the interface, the whole 3D issue is available here.
Rounding out two excessively political days here at UnBeige, we found a piece by Michael Shaw of the Huffington Post about the prevalence of faceless Bush administration images. Later, we also remembered Laura Field’s “Bush Erased.”
We’re not really going anywhere with this, but it seems that the combination of politics and design gets people fired up. And that’s the kind of passion about this industry that we want to see–Bush or no Bush.
Late last month, Louis Rosenfeld, launched his brand new publishing company, aptly titled Rosenfeld Media. The company will be printing books on design, focused primarily on design for the web and giving the end user the best, easiest experience possible. But instead of super long, wordy, dull books, Rosenfeld plans to publish smaller, easier to digest pieces that get you right into the thick of the thing you want to learn about. What’s more, the company is also very open to submissions and wants to retain a kind of open source relationship with its publishing, meaning that you can help go in and make revisions to published pieces. Pretty promising deal, it sounds like. But they’ve also got a terrific site going with some interesting topics. It’s still super new, of course, so you aren’t going to find an encyclopedia of knowledge posted yet, but just take a page from what’s currently available, it’s possibly a site to keep checking in on, besides just when you need some kind of fancy new learnin’ book. Here’s a couple of bullet points from “What Makes for a Good Design Book?”
1) Short chapters that can be read in one sitting. Some have suggested that chapters as short as four pages are ideal. Thomas Friedman and Kurt Vonnegut were cited as authors who can write short without writing choppy.
2) Readers asked for books with “layered” orientation and navigation tools. These would help you learn what the book is about and what it contains depending on how much time you have, much like travel books often feature 1-day, 3-day, and 1-week takes on “what to visit”.
3) Anecdotes and brief case studies are good; ones that describe mistakes are even better, even if not directly related to the topic at hand. The impending kayak accident that opens Bruce Tate’s Bitter Java was mentioned as an example.
We’ve always been card-carrying, flag-waving Texas Monthly fans (which is, in our esteem, currently a better magazine than New York, though that bias could stem from our hometown’s proximity to the Mason-Dixon line) but we’ve been immersing ourselves in past issues lately for reasons that will become apparent on the mothership tomorrow. In fact, we’re so smitten with the look of the current issue that we decided to do some research into the redesign TM unveiled about a year ago.
Behold the 28-year-old creative director: Scott Dadich joined the art team back in 2000 (Yes, at age 23; yes, we’re jealous.) and as he’s risen in the ranks, the magazine’s just gotten purtier and purtier. TM, of course, has a long history of being incredibly good-looking (former AD DJ Stout is now a partner at Pentagram), but in Dadich’s hands, the book has really become something to behold.
The redesign brought more color, a playful use of parentheticals, L-shaped brackets in the gutters of edit pages to distinguish from ads, and a cool typeface, Sentinel, that was custom-made to be “distinctly Texas.” What that means, we’re not sure, but we believe it when we look at the display type that crimps where the lines of a letter meet. Just look at this “t” and try not to think of the notches in a longhorn, the curve of a saddle or spurs, and other stereotypical Tex-cessories!
Oh, and the photography’s also pretty top-notch, too. Here’s Dadich to PDN a few years back:
“The work the photographers were turning in was not that good,” says Dadich of his first year on the job. “I had several heated conversations with photographers who shot for the magazine for a long time. I put the photographers on notice that predictable and safe wasn’t going to be good enough… I’m looking for pictures that don’t default to a shooting standard of mythic Texas. We needed to go 180 degrees.”
“I have a specific goal and agenda for every piece. The photos tell a parallel story that goes to the emotional core. They build a mood, an alternate take. I want the readers to turn their head a little bit and ask, ‘What’s going on here?’”
Check and check. If you don’t stop to gawk at the queasy grotesquerie that accompanies this month’s article on chicken-fried everything, well, then, you’re made of heartier stock than we are.
Our eyes hurt. We just looked at hundreds of newspaper front pages from across the globe at the Newseum site. The front pages are updated daily and there are 44 countries represented (although the bulk of the newspapers are American). We’re fans of The Guardian, which has one of the sexiest, most modern newspaper designs today:
We stumbled across a collection of NYC subway maps and thought it was interesting that the MTA has produced close to 50 variations of the same subway map design since 1998. Perhaps they’re either too busy trying to get robots to drive the L train, or they’re too broke because they’re lying about their budget, but either way, we’ve been stuck with the same dreary map since 1998. Perhaps the MTA should do something about it?
They’re much more dreary when you view them all together. We’re sadists, so check them out in big and/or bigger sizes:
The past few MTA designs have been pretty dull and tended to look like those subway maps tourists would actually buy in Times Square. We did like a couple of designs, especially this 1958 map and Massimo Vignelli’s elegant redesign from 1972:
Here’s Vignelli’s 1972 map compared to the current MTA map:
*Sorry, I’ve always wanted to use that Ralph Wiggum reference.
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