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Archives: October 2007

Be a Design Cast Checks In With Published Author Debbie Millman


Since we couldn’t be there in person to congratulate Debbie Millman on her new book at her big soiree tonight, we figured the next best thing was to load up her most recent interview with the Be a Design Group boys and raise a glass of champagne all by our lonesome. Okay, fine, we drank the whole bottle. We didn’t want the champagne to go flat.

The roles are reversed here from her usual gig, with AIGA conference Gonzo journalist Nate Voss and Donovan Beery asking the tough questions and Millman providing the answers, which run the gamut from Hershey’s to Einstein. Congrats, Miz Millman, we virtually toast your many successes.

I.D.’s New + Notable = Now Can Be Yours


One note about I.D.’s New + Notable issue which has probably found its way to your mailbox by now (and a copy of which we were personally presented with by the editors). Of the 200 snazzy products featured in the mag’s pages, 19 of them might find their way into your home. Intrigued?

Starting yesterday, visitors to I.D.’s website can enter to win some of the New + Notable, which will be awarded once a week (if you start paging through the issue, you’ll see some hot pink “Win me!”s to help you locate which items to start drooling over). Just a sampling of the wares: a $580 Trek Lime bike, a $190 collection of Alessi flatware designed by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, or a pair of $125 DDC USA’s Inside shoes for New Balance (seen on the cover). The grand prize, awarded February 29, is a $2,600 Rado Ceramica watch. Whoever wins that, feel free to send it right over to mediabistro HQ as your way of saying “thank you for posting this contest.” It’s only fair.

Full list of goodies and closing dates below—the more you enter (once per day), the better your chances to win.

Read more

Think You Have What It Takes to Be a Cartoonist? Let Bob Mankoff Be the Judge


We’ve seen New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff be The Decider when it came to selecting the funniest audience-submitted captions at the Art Center conference last year, and the process was quite entertaining. Imagine what happens when he passes judgment on entire cartoons? That’s what’s going to happen on an upcoming episode of WNYC’s “The Leonard Lopate Show.”

Submit your best cartoon on the theme of “Thanksgiving” by posting it to their Flickr group by November 14. Mankoff will be on the show November 21 to discuss the submissions and pick his favorites. We’re hoping the winners get something…canned cranberry sauce, at least.

People (Real or Symbolic) Atop NYC Buildings (Real or Symbolic) Nab ASME Best Cover Honors

The American Society of Magazine Editors is not afraid of heights. They’ve just announced their selection of The New Yorker‘s 9/11/2006 tightrope-walker two-parter as the 2007 Cover of the Year while Harper’s Bazaar‘s February 2007 issue, featuring Drew Barrymore in Carolina Herrera on the roof of Rockefeller Center, won for Best Fashion Cover.

It was a shut out for both pregnancy-swollen body part cover finalists, and we’re still cringing at the O at Home cover that ended up winning for Best Service Cover (we get it, it’s about clutter; we just would have preferred a more…uncluttered design approach). This year’s Best Concept Cover? From Time‘s October 16, 2006 issue, an elephant’s ass. What would Henry Luce say? (We can imagine what Clare would say.)

As we predicted, rifle-toting Dick Cheney nabbed Texas Monthly the Best Coverline honor. Of course, we suspect the victory had something to do with voters’ fears that if they didn’t vote for Texas Monthly, Dick Cheney would shoot them in the face.

Want the full scoop on the American Magazine Conference, which runs through tomorrow at the Boca Raton Resort? Check out the dispatches of mediabistro’s intrepid Rebecca Fox over on our sister blog, FishbowlNY. Better she than us, because you know that if we were there, we wouldn’t be able to stop talking about the Resort’s incredible floral designers and the recently-redesigned-by-Thierry Despont lobby. Don’t even get us started on the quirky yet subtle monkey theme…

“Is the Honda Civic the Best We Can Do?” Asks Russell Flinchum

zoom.jpg Last night, our favorite Henry Dreyfuss expert (and D-Crit faculty member) Russell Flinchum wrapped up “The Automobile Aesthetically Considered,” his automatic, systematic, and hydromatic course on the history of car design at the Museum of Modern Art, leaving students to ponder how today’s designers and car companies can create stylish, efficient-to-produce cars that will reach a mass audience. “I think that they face a near-impossible task in trying to design a functional and stylistic success at a time of deadly competition,” Flinchum told us. “But then, Pontiac would have died without the intervention of Frank Hershey in 1933. So I think a lot of this has direct bearing on today’s scene, presuming you buy into that whole relevance of history thing.”

Flinchum developed the five-week course with an eye to balancing a general survey approach with a more in-depth look at the post-WWII scene in the United States, highlighting two MoMA exhibitions: “8 Automobiles” (1951) and “10 Automobiles” (1953). Among all of the designers discussed, his hands-down favorite is General Motors veteran Strother “Mac” MacMinn, who Flinchum had the good fortune to meet. “He gave me a ride in his [Jaguar] XK120 and told me about seeing Billie Holiday perform in New York during a very brief stint here in the early 1950s,” he says. “And Mac made it quite clear that she was singing to him on that evening, and having seen pics of him from that era, I believe that to be entirely plausible.” As for which of the more celebrated figures he prefers, Flinchum says that it’s a toss-up between Hershey and Bill Mitchell. “It’s like trying to choose between Romanesque and Gothic–why would you?”

If You’re Going to Kansas City, Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Daguerre(otype)

daguerreian.jpg Getting an early start on your holiday shopping for the art director or photo editor who has everything? How about a nice daguerreotype portrait? Contemporary daguerreotypist Rob McElroy will be on hand at this year’s Daguerreian Society Symposium, which runs from Thursday through Sunday at the newly Steven Hollified Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and he’ll be pleased to preserve your likeness in that eerie, mirrory, unduplicatable format that took the 1840s by storm. (May we suggest clutching posies, cradling an 1841 Navy sword, or rocking a propeller tie?)

The symposium itself will include a celebration of the museum’s recently acquired Hallmark Photographic Collection, a jaw-dropping 6,500 works by 900 artists, including everyone from “dag” legends Southworth & Hawes to Lee Friedlander and Cindy Sherman. Attendees can also check out “Developing Greatness: The Origins of American Photography, 1839-1885,” curated by Keith Davis, longtime director of Hallmark’s fine arts program and now photo curator at the Nelson-Atkins.

And should you find yourself locked in a heated Becquerel-versus-mercury debate with Daguerreian Society types, we suggest that you defuse things with a toast that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser: May your daguerreotypes never oxidize!

The Theft of smashLAB, Again and Again


While we were away on our little jaunt, the fellas over at Ideas on Ideas alerted us to a troubling new piece they’d just posting: “Hey Google! Where’d You Get That Logo?” Judging from the title, you can probably guess that it’s a story about a possible logo theft perpetrated by the internet behemoth. From there, they get into the other times they’ve been robbed (though, unlike the Google trouble, these latter examples are undeniable). This second part is just downright shocking, as the sites they link to aren’t just source code copies, but they went above and beyond in their idiocy by even keeping the same images as the original. But typical of the smashLAB gang, they keep in good humor about the ordeals and stop to say some interesting things.

We all get inspiration from one place or another; my painting instructor Renee Van Halm used to tell us, “You can’t create in a vacuum.” As a result, I’m always looking. In my mind, designers have to assess and deconstruct as many perspectives, treatments and visual styles as possible, in order to effectively command a pluralistic approach in their work.

So, I might find a great type treatment, and work from it; or, I could uncover a particular photographic approach that lends itself well to a project. I don’t believe many would see this as anything other than good research and development of one’s visual literacy. There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by the works of others, but that doesn’t afford one license to steal it.

Revolving Door: Attik Gets Snapped Up by Dentsu


You’ll recall that, from time to time, dating all the way back to when we first started writing for this here site, we’ve reported on the doings of the San Francisco design firm, Attik. Well, this week provided a big story, as it’s being reported that Attik has been purchased by the American arm of the Japanese firm Dentsu (PDF). According to AdWeek, they’re keeping their offices just as they are in San Francisco, but shutting down operations and moving in at their new owner’s digs in New York and West Hollywood. What do either company and their top ranks say about all of this? Unfortunately, nobody is talking.

Tim Andree, CEO of Dentsu America, declined comment. Executives at Attik could not be immediately reached.

The move is in keeping with ongoing consolidation in the space that includes Publicis Groupe‘s acquisition of Boston-based i-shop Digitas in January. WPP Group has also been active in the space; the holding company completed its purchase of 350-person digital shop Blast Radius this week; earlier this year, it bought 24/7 Real Media, Refinery and Schematic.

Goodwill Fixing the Wrong Facts and Figures


Our second correction or update or whatever you’d like to call it, comes from Holly Goodlife at Goodwill, who wasn’t really correcting us, but rather, letting us know about an error in the quote we pulled concerning a story about her company teaming up with Nick Graham to form a recycled clothing label:

Thanks for your coverage of Goodwill Industries in your article “Nick Graham Pairs Up with Goodwill to Deliver New Old Products.”

You quoted the SF Gate article as saying: “the ultimate ambition of taking the line to the mass market and, in the process, saving 75 percent of all its donated items from ending up as landfill.”

We currently divert 75% of all our donations from landfill through resale and recycling, and our goal is to divert 100%. This correction has also been sent to SF Gate and they will be running a correction online and in Sunday’s paper.

We are very proud of our environmental work, and some of our donors have been distressed to read this misinformation.

Duly noted, Holly. Thanks much for the update.

Update on the Woodstock Museum and Then Some Harsh Words By John McCain

Oh, sweet reader, how this writer missed you. He’s sorry that he had to go away for those few short days, but you know what they say, “If you love something, let it go. If you return on Tuesday, it’ll probably have returned from Scranton and be back to blogging on a regular schedule” (amazing but true: that saying was written in 1856). We start by picking up where we left off. First, comes a letter from reader Rich Klein, who took issue with our post about trying to fund the building of the Woodstock Museum in NY:

Your blog is wrong. Woodstock was held in Bethel, NY, not Woodstock, NY. And the museum would be on the site of Woodstock on the grounds of Bethel Woods. For more about the other side of the story, please read here.

We apologize the error and we’re glad that Rich didn’t make us feel badly about our mean spirited post on Thursday. We’re hoping it’s because he saw that we weren’t picking on the building of the museum itself, but the fact that they were after federal funding of it, given the amount of potential investors who must be out there (if you can build a $27 million dollar crazy fest Creation Museum with private funding, anything is possible). Though we think we said it a lot better than John McCain, who is already using this story against Hillary Clinton:

Looks like there’s an editor out there who cut his teeth on Time Life compilation album tv promos, eh?