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Archives: August 2013

Seven Questions for Sagi Haviv, Principal of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv

As a student at Cooper Union, Sagi Haviv already had designs on a job at Chermayeff & Geismar. He landed an internship at the storied firm—the creative brains behind identities for the likes of National Geographic, the Smithsonian, NBC, and Chase—in 2003 (the year he graduated) and didn’t look back. Fast forward a decade: Haviv has been freshly elevated to principal, with his name accompanying that of Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar on the company masthead (the first addition in 56 years).

Haviv recently helmed the firm’s identity overhaul of Women’s World Banking, a global nonprofit that works with the world’s largest network of microfinance institutions to serve 19 million low-income entrepreneurs in 28 developing nations. Replacing the less-than-memorable “WWB”-beneath-a-rising sun logo is an identity (below) that can stand alongside those of the global financial heavyweights with which the organization partners. Read the abstract symbol as you will: an opening flower? a coin entering a purse? a globe? a winged figure? We paused in our Rohrshachian reverie to ask him about the project, his process, and memorable moments in his brief yet blindingly bright career thus far.

How did you approach the task of designing the new identity for Women’s World Banking and what did you design?
The approach was the same approach we always take when solving a client’s identity problem, which is to first understand the issues around the current identity, and then to consider what the organization is trying to accomplish. For Women’s World Banking, we felt that the mark they had been using needed to be replaced with a more modern identity that emphasizes the full name. We created a new symbol, a simple geometric form that can have many interpretations: a flower, an empowered figure, or a coin entering a purse.

Tell us about your decision to feature both the name of the organization and the symbol.
We felt from the get-go that the initials WWB weren’t an effective shorthand, especially since they are not actually shorter to say–seven syllables as opposed to the five syllables of the full name. The name is meaningful, with “women” as its first word, so why not feature it prominently?

What is your greatest graphic design pet peeve?
All form, no concept.
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Reed Seifer Brings Validation, Optimism to NYNOW

It’s not easy to stand out at NYNOW, a roiling trade show sea of tote bags, trinkets, exotic papergoods, Gehry-esque building blocks, eco-friendly umbrellas, geodesic birdhouses, and the odd visiting monarch. But this season, the pause that refreshes comes at booth #7654, where Lost & Found (paired with the Philadelphia Museum of Art) is offering among its nifty wares the work of UnBeige favorite Reed Seifer.

Making its debut at NYNOW is “Validation,” a self-empowering stamp that comes tucked inside in a white box. “What inspired me to create this work is the discovery that validation is something that we have to provide to ourselves,” the artist and graphic designer tells us. “I’d also like to add that I only use Helvetica when I want something to look uber-generic and not call attention to itself via typography.”
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Quote of Note | James Turrell


James Turrell’s “Aten Reign” (2013), the major new site-specific installation at the core of the artist’s current exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. (Photos: David Heald)

“I have always been interested in the limits of the inside/outside dyad and in breaking through them. When I look at a space, I want to find a way to connect to the space outside, space beyond, either visually or by taking the roof off or by creating that sense of expansion that can be achieved with music, so that we are reminded that we exist in a much bigger space than the small enclosures we make for protection and occupy temporarily.

We’re like crustaceans. We make shells that enclose us. I have always wanted to find ways to meaningfully open these shells. I use enclosures to make our light more significant or to make small amounts of it more powerful. I make spaces that protect and contain light to apprehend it for our perception.”

-Artist James Turrell discussing “Aten Reign” (2013) in Artforum
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Design Jobs: Quayside Publishing Group, McMurry/TMG, Samba Brands Management

This week, Quayside Publishing Group is hiring a creative director, while McMurry/TMG needs a senior art director. Samba Brands Management is seeking a graphic designer, and Quad/Graphics is on the hunt for a senior graphic designer for retail. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Seven Questions for Designer Dan Black of Black + Blum

With the megatradeshow NYNOW (formerly NYIGF) bringing mobs of product-seekers to Gotham this week, the hunt is on for the latest and greatest lifestyle and home products. A must-see stop in the cavernous, merch-stuffed Javits Center is the booth of Anglo-Swiss partnership black + blum. Designers Dan Black and Martin Blum joined forces in 1998 as a London-based design consultancy and soon began developing products such as an award-winning anthropomorphic doorstop named James (Black is brandishing one in the photo at right), a no-nonsense tape dispenser, and the “Brrrrr” polar bear ice tray. Black, a veteran of IDEO and Frog Design, paused in his NYNOW preparations to tell us about the personalities behind the products, their latest thirst-quenching hit design, and what the duo is debuting this week.


Punch up your lunch. Colorful sandwich keepers are among the black + blum products launching at NYNOW.

If you had to sum up the black + blum aesthetic/design philosophy in just three words, what would they be?
functional, soulful, and minimal

You’ve described a true black + blum product as “always a joint input of [your] and Martin’s personalities.” What are your personalities like?
We both like the same sort of products, whether they are contemporary new designs or vintage antiques. They will all have the same deep-rooted qualities. Although we have very different personalities, the inputs that we give to each design are actually very similar. Perhaps it is not so much our different personalities, but rather our tastes that influence the design. The most important thing is that it will never be only one of us that works on a design. We always find the final design will be a result of both our inputs and the end result is always better because of this.

What black + blum product has been flying off the shelves this summer?
Our “Eau Good” filter water bottle has been selling really well. The natural active charcoal filter is exposed inside the bottle. This can be a bit daunting for those who don’t what it is, but it becomes a talking point and allows users to proudly show that they are not drinking bottled water and helps spread the word to tell people that there is an alternative which is better for the environment.
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Bid to Win Martha Stewart’s Faux Bois Paddle Board for Breast Cancer Research

Saturday’s second annual Hamptons Paddle & Party for Pink—a chic charity event that begins with a stand-up paddle board race and ends with a party at the North Haven, New York home of Richard and Lisa Perry—raised $1.2 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and there’s more to come from an online auction that includes some of the paddle boards customized by the likes of Tory Burch, Cynthia Rowley, and Nicole Miller for the sold-out waterfront bash. While most of the creative types recruited for the BCRF benefit boards opted for surfer brights or pop patterns (mod maven and event co-chair Lisa Perry lined hers with signature rainbow dots while Aerin Lauder‘s is awash in a sunny ikat), Martha Stewart stuck to her longtime favorite look: faux bois. The 11-foot board (pictured), signed by Stewart and surfing great Laird Hamilton, is up for bids through tomorrow afternoon on CharityBuzz.

The Albers App: Interaction of Color Gets Interactive

One of the most influential art books ever written gets a 21st century update thanks to Yale University Press, which has released an iPad app version of Josef Albers‘s Interaction of Color. First published fifty years ago, the classic tome is an essential guide to thinking creatively about color. The app includes the full text along with more than 125 of the original color studies, including the “flaps” and moving pieces that have made them so captivating to generations of students. After experimenting with color and finding solutions to Albers’s famous problems, you can play with the new color palette tool and watch interviews with leading designers and artists explaining how they use color in their work.

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Rodarte and Todd Cole Debut Short Film


A still from “This Must Be The Only Fantasy,” a new Rodarte film by director Todd Cole.

Rodarte designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy have long been inspired by films, and they’ve translated their otherworldly aesthetic to the screen before in “The Curve of Forgotten Things,” starring a luminous Elle Fanning. The designers have again teamed with director Todd Cole for a mesmerizing short film, produced and released by Intel and Vice Media’s The Creators Project. Scored by Beach House and set in Los Angeles, “This Must Be the Only Fantasy” (below) cinematically showcases Rodarte’s spring 2013 collection, which drew heavily from medieval-era design cues including chain-mail armor, marquetry, and corseted silhouettes. “When we conceptualize a collection, we are always thinking about how we can further create an immersive experience,” say the Mulleavys, “one that brings to life the world that we are imagining.”
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Quote of Note | Barbara Kruger


Barbara Kruger’s “Untitled (Your Seeing Is Believing)”

“Even when I was a little girl, I remember going to the Museum of Modern Art. I think my parents took me there once or twice. And what I really remember is the design collection. And when I was very young and just starting at Condé Nast [as a designer in the art department], there were two magazines: Domus, which was a great design magazine; and Nova, which was an English fashion and décor magazine. I used to see those pictures of these apartments in London that these designers lived in and thought, Oh my god. And yet I don’t consider myself a successful designer by any means.

I think that designers have an incredibly broad creative repertoire. They solve. They create images of perfection for any number of clients. I could never do that. I’m my client. That’s the difference between an artist and a designer; it’s a client relationship. And so, to me, it’s not a hierarchical order; it’s not like artists are better than designers, but it is a particular instrumentality, which makes for a difference.”

-Artist Barbara Kruger

MakerBot and Stratasys Complete Merger

MakerBot and Stratasys are now bonded as tightly as a couple of extruded molten thermoplastic layered photopolymers, having completed the $403 million merger deal announced in June. “Stratasys and MakerBot share a vision about the potential for 3D printing to transform design and manufacturing,” said Stratasys CEO David Reis in a statement issued today, to which MakerBot’s Bre Pettis added, “We are excited for the future—full speed ahead!”

Founded in 2009, Brooklyn-based MakerBot is the most recognized name in desktop 3D printers and Stratasys, formed last year by the merger of Stratasys and Objet, plans to preserve the MakerBot brand, management, and “spirit of collaboration it has built with its users and partners.” CEO and co-founder Pettis will continue to lead MakerBot, which will operate as a separate subsidiary of Stratasys. MakerBot has sold approximately 22,000 3D printers to date. Next up for the company: the MakerBot digitizer desktop 3D scanner, which promises “a quick and easy way to turn the things in your world into 3D designs you can share and print.”

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