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Archives: June 2009

Now Arriving at Baggage Claim: Ads

bagad.jpgOn our recent trip to the West Coast, the airline (let’s call them “United”) managed to misplace our luggage—a slightly scuffed Marc Newson for Samsonite wheelie—on the way there and the way back. We spent what seemed like hours staring at the emptying conveyor belt with a growing mix of anger (at the airline) and fear (for our cache of imported periodicals, granola bars, and Tomas Maier beachwear). Next time, we may be able to associate that fear and anger with a procession of advertisements! At least that’s the vision of DoubleTake Marketing, the company behind “patent-pending AdSpressive Graphics” (note that “AdSpressive” is trademarked and without the InternaCap sounds vaguely pharmaceutical).

“It is our goal to ensure delivery of your advertising message to a captive audience while they wait for luggage to arrive from the plane,” notes the company’s website. “The impact of these graphics is undeniable.” And that impact, whether positive or negative, is probably coming to an airport near you. According to USA Today, the Kansas City, Seattle-Tacoma, and Omaha airports have already signed on to place ads on their baggage carousels, and 13 other airports—including Atlanta, Boston Logan, and Philadelphia—plan to do so. We’re already nostalgic for the days when all there was to do at the baggage claim was stare at the black suitcase repurposed as a cheeky sign warning that many bags look alike.

Graphics.com’s Educational Videos for the Design-Minded

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Looking to update your skills a bit or figure out how to wrap your brain around some certain concept you’ve been longing to get locked down? Our friends over at one of our sister sites, Graphics.com, have just celebrated their first anniversary of their service wherein you can learn all sorts of tricks of the design trade via on demand videos created by industry pros like Steven Brower and Angela Riechers. If you’re unfamiliar with it, each week a batch of new videos pop up, ranging from the how-to tutorial type to the more “here’s some things to think about to help your career” variety. They’re like quickie master classes, where you can pick up some useful bits of knowledge for use sometime in the future. Here’s a description of one of their newest courses taught by none other than Jonathan Gouthier (a brief sample has also been posted, if you’d like to get a taste of what’s there):

Branding expert Jonathan Gouthier knows the value of simple design solutions. With the help of some striking examples, he illustrates how color, white space, specialty printing techniques, and typography can be used to create simple design work that also makes an impact. In addition, Jonathan reveals the brainstorming strategies he uses in his practice to come up with concepts that lead to an effective final product.

Per Olaf Fjeld’s Tribute Book to the Pritzker-Winning Sverre Fehn

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We’ve been really impressed with The Monacelli Press lately, who seem to be tearing it up an extra few notches since being purchased by Random House early last year. We were fortunate enough to get a sneak peek this past weekend of one of their upcoming books, Per Olaf Fjeld‘s Sverre Fehn: The Pattern of Thoughts (which comes out for public consumption tomorrow). It’s filled with interviews, sketches, and some amazing photos of the Pritzker Prize winning architect’s creations — we were particularly smitten, about halfway through the book, with his work on the Terra Cotta Soldiers exhibit in a museum in Norway, which looked perhaps even more impressive than our seeing them recently on their home turf in Xi’an, China. There’s also a pretty great sketch of a semi-nude Le Corbusier, which we enjoyed for some reason (we still haven’t figured out why). In short: it’s a wonderful, very complete tribute to a great architect and interesting person written by a devoted admirer. If you’re a fan, it’s well worth your time. Here’s a bit:

This study of Fehn’s work provides an intimate glimpse into the world of this great postwar modernist. Author Per Olaf Fjeld presents both biography and perceptive critique as he covers all of Fehn’s major projects, built and unbuilt, from world-renowned museums to lesser-known houses. Never-before-published comments by Fehn from lectures, interviews, and conversations with students as well as dynamic sketches are featured, opening a window into the mind of this poetic and personal architect.

LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art Says They’ve Completely Recouped Their Loses, Everything’s Fine Now

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On the other side of the coin, following that last post about hard times, we have the opposite over at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art who have announced that everything’s fine and dandy with them again on the financial end. Just a few short months ago, you’ll recall that the museum was only a few steps from an untimely death, forcing billionaire Eli Broad to step in and throw down $30 million to keep it afloat. Now the museum has said, on top of Broad’s massive contribution, they’ve also raised nearly that same amount from other donors (mostly members of their board), bringing their total haul to $56.9 million and thus making everything good again for them. We’re thinking, after seeing a turnaround this quick, it’s probably always a good idea to get in friendly with Eli Broad and his rolodex if you ever find yourself running a museum. Also couldn’t hurt to be in Los Angeles either, given the types of people who live in the area and their inflated pocketbooks — just take a look at some of the members of their new board (which replaces those who left in protest earlier this year):

In other MOCA board business Thursday, trustees re-elected Jeffrey Soros as president, and Fred Sands, who recently donated $2 million, was chosen as vice president. Three new trustees were elected: writer-producer Darren Star, whose credits include “Sex and the City,” “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills, 90210″; Carolyn Clark Powers, who also is on the collectors’ committee at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Music Center‘s dance association; and Marc I. Stern, an investment executive who chairs Los Angeles Opera and is a board member of the Music Center, California Science Center and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

Design Within Reach Voluntarily Delists from Nasdaq

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After the past couple of years being filled with ups and downs, particularly in regard to the stock market, Design Within Reach has decided to delist the company from Nasdaq. Opting to drop out before they were asked for failing to stay above the one dollar per share mark that Nasdaq demands, the company apparently wanted to face facts earlier than later and help keep themselves going without one more issue to worry about and will excuse themselves from being traded on July 6th, followed by the official delisting ten days later. What does this mean for DWR, once they become this quasi-public company? We’re not entirely sure. They certainly seemed to be turning things around more recently, following a rough 2006 (which found them regularly battling with Nasdaq), but then the bottom dropped out on nearly every business, particularly those tied in so closely with the housing market. So only time will tell if this will be just a temporary move or the first step toward something worse. Here’s a bit:

The decision to delist is part of the company’s effort to preserve limited resources; trading volume was too small to justify the cost and administrative burden of maintaining the listing.

Come July, the company expects to list its stock on the Pink Sheets, an electronic service for over-the-counter securities, but only if there is an interest in trading DWR’s common stock. The company will continue to file periodic, quarterly and annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Though now thinking about it, could this also be some sort of generated business move to get the price down so they can sell the company, as was rumored earlier this year? Hmm.

Quote of Note | Richard Armstrong

wrightgugg.jpg“It’s the right size. It’s sufficiently impressive. And it has a romantic, quasi-sexual feel to it.”

-Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong on the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed museum

UK Design Students Create Bold New Looks for The Secret History

(peter adlington).jpgThe United Kingdom division of Penguin Books recently challenged design students to “design a fresh and bold new look” for Donna Tartt‘s 1992 novel The Secret History. Their mission: to create a striking, imaginative cover design that would bring the cult classic to a new generation of readers. The esteemed panel of judges has picked a winner, our brother blog Galleycat reports, and it’s Peter Adlington. The Stockport College student won for this abstract cover design (above), in which we detect a distinct Saul Bass vibe.

(ben cain).jpg“It’s beautiful, and the infinite regress doorway tells the story, gives you the mystery in the simplest possible terms, and that’s what graphic design at its best can do,” said novelist (and design enthusiast) Hari Kunzru, one of the judges. “Just a few shapes and you have the whole concept.” Alas, Adlington’s design won’t be produced—as far as we know—but he does get £1,000 (around $1,600) and a six-week internship at Penguin’s London design studio. The list of shortlisted designs is worth a look. We particularly like Ben Cain‘s typographical approach (above). Inspired by ancient Greek tablets, he aimed to capture “the potential to lose control. As the structure of the type gets closer to the spine it becomes increasingly unstable, attempting to communicate the descent from order to chaos.”

Michael Jackson’s Design Legacy: Patented Anti-Gravity Shoes

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mjpatent heels.jpgAs the world mourns the death of Michael Jackson, we remember his design legacy—not his taste in clothing (dictator chic), accessories (a crystal-studded white glove, primates), or typefaces (up with script fonts, down with serifs), but his patented anti-gravity footwear. That’s right, intellectual property fans, Jackson is listed as the first of three inventors on United States Patent 5,255,452, granted in 1993 for a “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.” Translation: special loafers fitted with heels that can slot into the stage floor to allow the wearer to lean forward, Smooth Criminal style, at gravity-defying angles.

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AIA’s Billing Index Levels Out, Stays Flat

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Still not a lot to stand up and cheer about with the American Institute of Architects‘ monthly release of their Architecture Billings Index. Following some slight ups and downs of late, the latest report (always showing the month prior) found everything staying relatively flat in May. The numbers had bumped up since April, but at a number hardly worth mentioning, moving from 42.8 to 42.9. And while it seems as though the major bloodletting that occurred this winter has finally stopped, the index is still below 50, which means the industry of building is still in decline. The Architect’s Newspaper has this great, quick piece, breaking down all the data by region and on charts and graphs, if you’re interested in seeing where we’re at and what it all means from a few different perspectives.

Banksy Defaced Again in Bristol

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You can’t please everyone. If you’re Banksy, that’s likely the motto you live by. Following the opening of his largest exhibition to date in his home turf of Bristol, which you’ll remember was set up in secret due to the hosting museum’s concerns that the city council would axe the idea, it’s being reported that a someone has thrown paint all over another of his earlier pieces in that same city (one attached to real walls, not those in a gallery). Just a few months back, a group defaced one of his paintings as a protest against gentrification, and the latest paint attack happened earlier this week, with thick blue paint covering Banksy’s work — thus far no one has claimed responsibility. Fortunately, for Banksy fans, the owner of the building on which artist original chose as his canvas has taken to getting all this new paint removed in an attempt to erase all of the bad vandalism from their good vandalism.

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