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Archives: February 2007

AIGA’s 2007 Medals go to Fella, Lupton, Mau and Olden

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Four big names were dropped into our mailbag late last night, the four names of the four people who will be receiving the AIGA Medal in 2007. Edward Fella, Ellen Lupton, Bruce Mau and Georg Olden will be honored at the Design Legends Gala in September. Read on about these four star designers.

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JPEG Opens Up, Learns to Share

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We might be a little late to the game on this one, being as we’re both certainly not professional photographers, but we found this really interesting over at John Nack on Adobe, “Non-destructive JPEG: An Oxymoron.” It’s about the company’s new products, Lightroom the focus, that allow you to store metadata within standard JPEG photos, which means, essentially, they’ve given the ability to give histories to traditionally history-less files (i.e. flattened and that’s it). We’ve been using metadata with video for a while now and we’ve really enjoyed the abilities that come with it, but with something so universal, opening it up to the world comes serious questions, mainly, “Is it okay to extend the JPEG standard?” That’s kinda where the post ends, after raising some grey area questions therein, but it’s a cool, new thing to think about, eh?

Millions Making Millions on Second Life

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Now that we’ve successfully gone the three months we promised you in between stories about Second Life, a phenomenon we still don’t get at all but are, like probably the majority of you, are fascinated by (but not fascinated enough to, you know, actually try the stupid thing), here’s an interesting story from NewsFactor about Millions of Us, a firm who helps corporations get into the online environment. Or, rather, the companies come to the firm with wheelbarrows of cash and say, “We read about this thing in the Journal, we don’t understand it, and will you please take this money to help us do something?” Here’s some:

“Second Life” now boasts more than 3 million registered users worldwide, and Linden Lab estimates around 1.3 million users logged onto the realm in the past month. Companies pitching everything from virtual T-shirts to entertainment have followed the crowd.

Since launching in July, Millions of Us has done projects for General Motors Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Warner Bros. Records, Microsoft Corp., 20th Century Fox, Intel Corp. and rapper Jay-Z, among others. Other major companies that have established a presence in “Second Life” include IBM Corp., Dell Inc., CNet Networks Inc. and Adidas AG.

Speak Up’s New Direction Includes Fart Jokes

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We’re not exactly sure this is what Armin Vit was talking about when he threatened us with Design Relevance, but if this is relevance, then bring it on.

Vit dives into Mike Judge‘s Idiocracy, a freaking hilarious film set in the future where corporate branding has dumbed itself down to all-too-real low. Starbucks and Carl’s Jr. logos now look pissed, while Fuddruckers turns into–well, you can see it up there for yourself. We’re not allowed to type it.

Point being is that the movie has some pretty awesome commentary on consumer culture and yes, it’s all about design and logos, and yes, Vit ties it all up together neatly. But he forgot the masterful interface and title design of the greatest part of the movie (watch the “a” in “Balls”).

More Oprah: Now Investigating People Who Live In Spaces Smaller Than Her Shoe Closet

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Also filed in the Things That Happened While We Were Yodeling Department is the appearance of fellow design blogger Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan on “Oprah” last week. You’ll remember the Apartment Therapist recently remodeled his teeny-tiny apartment in New York. Apparently, the O-Team shot the Gillingham-Ryans’ pad, then shipped the family to Chicago for an audience appearance, where judging from the comments, Oprah never once mentioned the blog itself or said the words “Apartment Therapy.” She did, however, accuse Maxwell of making up all his redecorating ideas and forced him to apologize.

WireImage Succumbs to Getty, Jupitermedia Might Be Next

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While we were off gallavanting with the von Trapps, a vigilant lenser pointed us to what is surely the first sign of the photographic apocalypse. Getty Images is buying the company that owns WireImages for about $200 million. But that’s not the scariest thing:

Jupitermedia Corp., another image bank, said on Thursday it is also in talks to be acquired by the Getty Images, which would give it almost half of the U.S. market for still photos, according to an analyst.

Almost half of the Bald Britney market? How could this come to be? Checking in with our photo-phriends, we’ve learned that there’s a simple explanation for celeb-heavy WireImage’s demise: They practically give their photos away. We’ve also heard whispers, unconfirmed, that the Getty/WireImages deal has since soured and WireImages is going to have to file for bankruptcy instead. Jupitermedia, as you know, acquired the Dynamic Graphics Group, including graphics.com, and Dynamic Graphics and STEP magazines, in February of 2005.

Design Week Crowns Apple the Winner and Still Champion

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By way of MacNN, we found the list of winners for last week’s Design Week Awards, and it’s a great list to spend a couple of minutes browsing on. You’ve got just about anything to do with anything. Your motion graphics winners, branding and packaging, stationary, posters, etc. And, of course, how we got from point A (an Apple news site) to point B (what you’re reading about right now), is that the new iPod Shuffle, that tiny little thing you see in those cool Mark Romanek-directed commercials, took home the award for Consumer Product Design. Here’s what they got from their interview with the judging staff:

“We were in a quandary with Consumer Product Design. Thought there was a wide variety of intersting products, there was also a raft of entries from Apple’s design team, of which, though all were excellent, only the Shuffle was truly ‘new’.” The organization says the quality of Apple’s products, packaging, and “enticing” presentation sets the benchmark while creating a compelling “itchy wallet” syndrome that makes the company successful.

“It feels a bit unfair to all the other entries, which were mainly very good indeed, that Apple — with its relentless commitment to innovative and evolutionary design, and its attention to detail — should again win pole position.”

The iPod shuffle is described as a simple “beautifully executed” concept with minimal re-usable packaging deemed a “fantastic value” for the money.

Little Guilt About Eating Up the Free Range Studios

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A nice company profile over at Green Options, “Good Design + Humor = Change,” about the D.C./California-based firm, Free Range Studios. Although they do handle a wide variety of projects, from print to everything else, and even though the piece does start with the word “design,” the story is really all about their work in short films for non-profit groups and issue awareness. Regardless, the company seems great, and if you haven’t been passed a link to something they’ve made, then consider this a nice little introduction for you.

Toronto’s IDS & Oprah Vs. The World

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A great article from Toronto’s Globe & Mail yesterday, “The Power of Good Design.” It’s in part about the recent Interior Design Show in the city, but it also spends a batch of time, and therein lies the really interesting bits, about the desire for quality, stylized design being seen as a negative in North America, but even more so in developing countries, especially when it relates to giving something like that to your kids. It even works in Oprah. Here’s from the opening:

In all the hoopla surrounding the recent opening of a $40-million private girls’ school in South Africa by Oprah Winfrey, one line of critique really stood out: the aesthetic one. On top of brand-new, computer-filled classrooms, the Leadership Academy for Girls features well-appointed residences, original art and a yoga studio. Add in the reportedly 200-thread-count sheets, and the terms “lavish” and “gaudy philanthropy” got thrown around.

Oprah’s take? “These girls deserve to be surrounded by beauty, and beauty does inspire…I wanted this to be a place of honor for them,” she told Newsweek. The debate happens to coincide with a new obsession in the design world: creating uplifting design for kids. At the Interior Design Show in Toronto this weekend, a number of exhibitors are showing functional-yet-beautiful decor items that amount to design training wheels for tots.

Stick Stefan Bucher In Your Ear Holes

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If you’ve noticed, we don’t link to very many podcasts around here. Sometimes we do, sure, with things like with Debbie Millman‘s excellent Design Matters (though that’s more of a talk show really), but it seems like it’s few and far between. So please now allow us to buck that trend for a minute and send you along to The Illustrative Designer Podcast, which has up this interview with Stefan Bucher, the LA based designer and illustrator who has been, of late, recently linked up all over the place for his bizarrely wonderful Daily Monster site. It’s a great interview and you’re apt to love it. Plus, as another benefit, instead of using yours eyes to gather information, you’ll be using your ears to do that. Can you imagine?

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