Why date a graphic designer? “We make the best valentines,” illustrator and toy designer Derek Rippe told Nerve.com when it tapped him for the recent feature, “Dating Advice from Graphic Designers,” part of the website’s ongoing series of occupation-based relationship tips. While another designer recommends a graphic design pick-up line (“Hey baby, I like your Bézier curves”), a designer identified only as “Chris, 23″ makes us wonder about his dedication to his craft. When asked what graphic design has taught him about dating, he offers up a disturbing piece of advice: “Don’t judge a person by their logo.” What’s next? Ordering us not to choose a restaurant based upon its outdoor signage typeface? Heartbreaker!
Archives: July 2008
Do you have a passion for visual journalism and social justice? Think you’re up to the task of creating striking editorial pages for stories about topics like toxic manganese exposure, identical twin prison guards, and the booming immigrant detention industry (an article brilliantly titled “Texas Hold ‘Em”)? Then you might be just the art director that San Francisco-based Mother Jones magazine is seeking.
The art director’s responsibilities include everything from “collaborating with the editors on concept development through the commissioning of illustration and information graphics, working with our photo editor on assignments and photo research, and the design of finished InDesign files.” And because this is Mother Jones, the terms of the job are covered under a collective bargaining agreement with Local 2103, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, AFL-CIO. We’re not sure what that means, but it sounds like something that will help you stick it to the Man.
What happens when you remove the lasagna-loving, Monday-hating feline from Jim Davis‘s Garfield comic strips? Pet-owning bachelor Jon Arbuckle is revealed to be a depressed, lonely pessimist who racks up an impressive number of mental disorders, at least according to our DSM-IV. Subtracting Garfield, Odie, and friends from the Garfield strips was the idea of Dublin, Ireland-based Dan Walsh, who created the popular Garfield Minus Garfield website, “a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.” Now a book version is in the works.
In a deal announced last week at Comic-Con, Ballantine Books will publish a full-color tome that “will give readers the experience of having both the original and doctored Garfield strips together on the same page for comparison.” Garfield creator Davis is all for removing his strip’s title character. “I think it’s an inspired thing to do,” Davis said in a press release. “I want to thank Dan for enabling me to see another side of Garfield. Some of the strips he chose were slappers: ‘Oh, I could have left that out.’ It would have been funnier.” And infinitely more soul-crushing.
A mildly peeved-looking rabbit known as The Stanford Bunny (pictured above, in various incarnations) is a widely used test model for graphics research. Other popular test images include those of a monkey face, a grizzly bear sunning himself on a rock, a teapot, and 1973 Playboy Playmate Lena Sjooblom. The lot of them have long fascinated New York artist Kevin Zucker and are the subject of his recent guest essay on Paddy Johnson‘s blog, Art Fag City. Zucker focuses on 20 archetypal images that he describes as “representative highlights that I think epitomize the inscrutability, banality, anachronism, and the straightforwardly artless presentation that characterize most of the collection. Those qualities, contrasted with the weird aura possessed by these analog ‘originals’ of digital representation, make for the unsteady balance of gravity and absurdity that first got me interested in collecting them.” This is an unsettling coffee table waiting to happen. As for that iconic rabbit, Zucker reveals its origins. “Greg Turk, who 3D-scanned the Stanford Bunny in 1994, bought it from a local Palo Alto home and garden supply store because the terra cotta material was ‘red and diffuse’ and its geometry was not particularly complex.”
When the world gives you Lemon, the colorful pop annual, forget making lemonade and focus on snagging a free subscription. Founded by the citrusy, palette-cleansing duo of Kevin Grady and Colin Metcalf, Lemon specializes in “pop culture with a twist” and is offering UnBeige readers (at least the first 300 of you) a free one-year subscription. The twist? You have to go to this website and complete a brief online survey, which the founders assure us will take a mere three minutes to complete. In return, you’ll receive two culture-stuffed issues: the Kubrick-themed Lemon 3 (“A Clockwork Lemon”) and the hotly anticipated David Bowie-themed Lemon 4 (“Heroes”), out in October. Lemon 4 will include contributions by Bowie himself, cover superstars Daft Punk (pictured above), Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, French duo Justice, artist Rex Ray, photographers Guido Vitti and Dimitri Daniloff, and literary star Laura Albert (a.k.a. JT Leroy). They had us at “Buzz Aldrin.”
Our lawyers (or at least the guy in a bespoke suit who wanders UnBeige HQ carrying a briefcase full of John Grisham novels and Adam Liptak clippings) advise us to remind you that, “in point of fact,” Lemon‘s free subscription offer is available only to U.S. residents. Both free issues will ship together when Lemon 4 is hot off the presses. Now, about that lemonade…
We wrote about the Knitting Olympics yesterday. Apparently that’s not the only competition in the sweater- and mitten-making world. There’s the Yarn Smackdown, which sounds a little sweaty and less peaceful than the event organized by Yarn Harlot. Here’s the deal with the smackdown (which organizers claim is the “largest and most organized death-by-knitting and death-by-crocheting tournament in the world”): the lace and Olympic-themed competition has 12 events: beginner sock, advanced sock, bookmark, dishcloth, knitted animal, scarf, knitted stole, crochet stole, amigurumi, crochet hat, granny square, and the food fight event. (We especially look forward to the last event.)
Sign-ups are open until midnight on July 31 (that’s today, folks). The “games” begin on August 8. There is no fee. Knitters and crocheters can sign up at the website. The knitter or crocheter with the most points wins. Bring home the gold! We’re not settling for a silver for even a bronze when there are so many talented U.S. knitters and crocheters.
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) in partnership with Interiors & Sources magazine for a new sustainable design awards. Called the Bloom Awards, this prize recognizes achievements of sustainable products in interior commercial design. The new program will choose a product winner in five different categories: furniture, flooring, textiles, lighting and innovative materials. “ASID is constantly looking for new ways to become involved in the sustainable movement and this new program with Interiors & Sources is another venture I’m proud of,” says Michael Alin, ASID Executive Director. “Green design is not a fad for our members, it’s part of practicing responsible design. All of our members, whether it’s students, designers or manufacturers, are in need of green materials and products and we’re pleased to recognize the companies that are leading the way and allowing our members to create sustainable spaces.” Get your glue guns, hammers and screwdrivers out: entries are due September 15. Read more details here.
Going green is picking up momentum in the education sector. The first LEED certified high school, Staley High School, will open next month in Kansas City, Missouri. Designed by Hollis + Miller, most of the $89 million steel structure is recycled. All of the utilities are designed to be economical: there’s a geo-thermal heating system, in which much of the heat is stored underground in the summer, and later reused in the winter, according to a KC Community News article. All the water fixtures are low-flow to reduce waste. Light fixtures are triggered by occupancy sensors to save energy. Likewise, all materials and supplies came from vendors within a 500-mile radius to diminish fuel and labor expenses. All of these features are part of green building projects guidelines established by the U.S. Green Building Council and based on its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
Marketing specialist Jennifer Baldridge says more green-design schools are in the future. “Some schools are opting to not get certified, but they don’t realize how much the public will soon start to drive this issue,” she says in a press release. “It’s a win/win for our environment and the communities due to the long-term operational savings that going green means.”
If you haven’t picked up Culture+Travel lately, go ahead and treat yourself. The current issue is devoted to Asia, but you won’t find a typical tourist’s to-do list. Instead, try elephant polo in Thailand and a search for giggles in India. In our recent interview with C+T editor-in-chief Kate Sekules, we couldn’t disguise our obsession with the January/February issue cover (pictured at right), which featured a cuddly-looking (and possibly napping) polar bear, illuminating writer Joe Yogerst‘s piece about a tiny Manitoba town frequented by migrating bears and the tourists who love them. We asked Sekules how the cover came about.
I had seen that the brilliant photographer Jill Greenberg had a recent show called “Ursine” [at ClampArt in New York City] that was actually up at the time when we were putting this issue together. I had just seen the black and Kodiak bears she had photographed. Then I discovered that she had also photographed polar bears, so we found those images and got extremely excited. At that point, that’s when we realized that this story would work, because we don’t want to do anything when the visuals don’t work. It has to be extremely strong visually.
…Greenberg is a very successful commercial photographer but also an art photographer, and she does not cross the beams— ever, or at least that’s what she said. So I had to beg her. I pointed out to her that we’re not really like other magazines, and we have very much an art focus. After my begging for some time and some back and forth, she said yes. So this was from her art show. They weren’t shot for us, but they just worked perfectly.
This writer is all about fashion and sewing, so she was tickled fuschia to see Burdastyle’s How-To series launched at one of her favorite New York store, Mood Fabrics (the place where you see the Project Runway designers getting their materials). While Mood Fabrics is so generous with their swatches you could actually make something to wear with them, we feel that this store is a tad bit over-rated and over-priced. You can get the same experience at other fabric stores, such as Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, Ill. Did you know that store owners there gladly welcome group tours (this writer went on one the other day and was thrilled to bits and pieces with her goody bag)? While we’re on the subject of Project Runway, check out the Australian version (thanks to the link on the Tessuti Fabrics blog.) That’s not to say you’ll want to ignore tonight’s episode for the American version. Carry on,as Tim Gunn, might say.
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