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Posts Tagged ‘Al Gore’

Luke Hayman to Oversee 02138 Redesign

02138 gore.bmpWe confess that we cancelled our subscription to 02138 magazine shortly after the September/October 2007 issue’s cover photo of a seemingly dyspeptic/vaguely menacing Al Gore (pictured at right) gave us terrible nightmares, many of them involving Carl Sagan. But today’s news that Pentagram’s Luke Hayman will be leading a redesign of the magazine for and about Harvard alumni is enough to convince us to find it in our Crimson-bleeding hearts to resubscribe.

And there’s more. Legendary art director George Lois has been tapped to create the cover for the winter 2008 re-launch issue, which will feature a managerial and editorial changing of the guard to go along with the artistic one. Jamie Hooper, a veteran of The New Yorker and Maxim, and founder of Giant, will serve as publisher/CEO while David Blum, former editor of the New York Press and The Village Voice, will take on the role of 02138 editor-in-chief. We’re offering our congrats by dispatching to each of their offices messenger penguins bearing pints of Cambridge’s finest ice cream.

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VSA’s Jeff Walker Uses His Ecomagination

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So all this talk about sustainability here at Compostmodern is great, but what about those evil gigantor corporations that Alex Steffen showed slides of in his presentation? You know, like, say, um…General Electric? VSA Partners’ Jeff Walker (who we are not related to, but did share a cab with last night) was charged with greening GE using a program called Ecomagination. Don’t roll your eyes quite yet.

Walker says that VSA has actually been working for GE for a long time (along with lots of other big brands) and the difference between GE’s strides and their other clients are that GE sees green as a business proposition. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. GE’s decision to greenify came after the corporate disasters like Enron and after the company’s leadership shifted from Jack Welch to Jeff Immelt. It was also part of their moving towards a more creative core mission (and we say, a design-centric one) that went all the way back GE’s founder, Thomas Edison: invention, innovation, and imagination.

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UnBeige Looks Back: The Year In Chowder

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Tracking the comings and goings of Brian Collins could fill an entire blog with posts that sound more like the frenetic tour schedule of the Blue Man Group (BEIJING! NEW YORK! BIRMINGHAM! DENVER! MARTHA’S VINEYARD! ONE NIGHT ONLY!). First he bailed on his gig at BIG for a limited engagement dishing up clam chowder at a Cape Cod seafood shack and a stint helping the kids in China. Then he was back in action with the only design firm we know named after a cocktail: COLLINS.

Okay, so there were a few minor details in need of clarification, but we’ll leave those to our sister blog. Collins remains number one in our hearts for one simple reason: He works for Al Gore.

UnBeige is counting down our biggest stories of 2007, all day, right here.

Abort Clambake! Brian Collins Launches COLLINS With The Martin Agency

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If you’re en route to Nantucket right now for a bowl of that creamy, chunky chowder that Brian Collins promised you earlier this year, put your brakes on. Turns out that the former BIG man on campus also spent those few months weighing his options at his Cape Cod palace on the sand, where he tells us he was courted by more than a few people (and not just Al Gore). After much deliberation, Collins has launched COLLINS, an “innovation design agency” in partnership with The Martin Agency:

In his new company, Mr. Collins will take a more radical approach to finding solutions for brands looking for innovative ways to connect in a new landscape. “It’s an open frontier, ready for revolutionary thinking,” said Mr. Collins. “Unfortunately, old-school advertising relegates designers to the tail end of the creative process–if we’re there at all. We will flip that equation on its head, placing design–and the customer’s real experience–at the beginning, the center and the end of everything we do.”

And no, he’s not going to Richmond, where The Martin Agency is headquartered. COLLINS (and Collins) will be right here in NYC. And he would really love for you to stop by for a hot dog if ever you find yourself in the neighborhood. Really.

Official UnBeige AIGA NEXT Roundup

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Even though we still can’t get that Command X theme music out of our head (damn you all, Open, Agoraphone and The Plasticines!), we’ve finally had a few days to contemplate the AIGA NEXT conference in its entirety. Although we had a slight peek at the innerworkings while serving on the planning committee, in the end we were just sitting there in the audience watching, as surprised (and/or delighted) as you were. Here are the highs and lows:

Command-ing the lead: We admit, we had our doubts about a “Project Runway” for graphic design. But not only was Command X the highlight of the conference, it gave great insight into how design actually works–and how fast, funny and brilliant designers are. Winner Nichelle Narcisi‘s incredible finale also ended the conference on the perfect teary, triumphant note.

Talkin’ ’bout my generation: Maybe it was simply in line with the theme (“Next”), but we can’t applaud this conference enough for shifting attention to the youngsters. The brilliant Command X forged seven new young superstars and the 20 one-minute presentations that opened the first night were all by up-and-comers (and better than we ever remembered). It was great to see the older and wiser take a backseat to youth for once.

Someone get this guy an agent: Drew Carey should not have gotten Bob Barker‘s gig on “The Price is Right.” That job should have gone to a man who is long overdue for his big showbiz debut, Michael Bierut.

Everything in moderation: Golden-voiced Kurt Andersen was the best moderator we’ve ever seen at one of these things. Witty, efficient and blissfully deadpan, Andersen asked incredibly intelligent questions tempered with just enough cynicism to keep things real.

Three people we’re running away with: Janine Benyus, Marian Bantjes and Alex Steffen wowed us with solutions that proved great design is natural, personal and sustainable, and, in the end, always–always–beautiful.

You can’t win ‘em all: Of course, there were a few duds. Momus‘ mainstage presentation was probably brilliant but unfocused to the point of befuddlement. Wrapping a design conference with an awesome visual application that doesn’t work on Macs was a big mistake. And even though it made good diversity efforts, the lineup was incredibly New York-centric. One might even argue specifically SVA-centric.

Worst information graphics: Upon entering the Denver Art Museum for the closing party, guests were handed a map which hinted at treasure troves of food and drink stashed in various corners of the galleries. Never mind that the Denver Art Museum is a perplexing heap of angular ADD (Daniel Libeskind must design like he talks), the ambiguous map forced us to mount great expeditions in search of circulating lamb lollipops and the elusive chicken potstickers. Luckily, the martini bar was in plain view.

Best party: Duh.

Best overheard quote in design history: When another designer worried that a former employee may have been bipolar, Dana Arnett brought perspective to the situation: “Bipolar can work, though. They present one idea, then they present another totally different idea. It’s great for clients.”

Sure to see traffic spikes this week: Design Observer lead with the most overall impressions, mentioned in many affinity sessions, at least seven times on the mainstage, and in all the conference materials as a sponsor. Second place goes to Very Short List, which got two plugs on the mainstage (Andersen is a founder, ahem).

Okay, we get it, you’re Democrats: We stopped counting the anti-Bush attacks after we hit the number of years he’s been in office. We know that designers are traditionally left-leaning. But any Republicans in the audience would have been pretty darn uncomfortable, and we’re not sure that’s altogether appropriate.

On the other hand…: There was something to the fact that the same day Al Gore won the Nobel Prize, one of our own jetted up there to work closely with him on his Alliance for Climate Protection. Or maybe that because of AIGA, people across the country will be be voting on redesigned ballots next election. Or maybe it was just AIGA president Sean AdamsJFK-like good looks. Whatever it was, we swore we felt a huge shift happening in the world of design, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

All UnBeige AIGA NEXT coverage.

Command X: Get Out the Vote

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Here we are at the final round of Command X, the world’s first graphic design reality show held live at the AIGA NEXT conference in Denver, Colorado. Because we know you’re wondering, yes, judge Brian Collins is back, and got to hang out with Nobel Prize-winning Al Gore yesterday in San Francisco to work on his Alliance for Climate Protection, which is coincidentally the organization that will benefit from his Nobel Prize money. Collins told us that the media was swarming outside his hotel when he got there, but Gore still made time to take the meeting. Oh, he has Ghirardelli chocolates for everyone. It’s just like the Hershey store.

Back to the show and the challenge: to get 18 to 26-year-olds to vote. It’s a much more sober round. Kelly Dorsey, usually very funny but this time quite serious, had a nice subversive logo. Matthew Muñez was articulate again, but a bit loose in his concept.

Beginning with a great audience participation gimmick, it is Nichelle Narcisi‘s “except you” campaign that brings down the house, in a stunning standing ovation before Michael Bierut even does the applause-o-meter. He says he was expecting something more like…sausages? Narcisi is quick: “You like that Helvetica, don’t you?”

***Deliberation***

Noreen Morioka‘s been bawling since she had to make her decision. Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler are playing their “American Idol” roles to a T. Collins promises to turn his and Morioka’s flirting with Muñez into a dinner (what we wouldn’t give to be at that affair). Morioka will not stop crying. Bierut: “There’s no crying in graphic design.”

Matthew Muñez gets second place.

Kelly Dorsey gets first runner up

And of course, Nichelle Narcisi wins.

All AIGA NEXT coverage.

Complete This Helvetica Statement

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From here, it certainly seems like Helvetica is going to change the world. We loved it. Alice Rawsthorn, CNN and the Boston Herald can’t be wrong. Most screenings so far have sold out. Tonight’s NY screening has been sold out for weeks. The LA screening sold out in one day. And everyone wants to put their personal spin on how important this movie is going to be:

Us, in January: “What if, like The Al Gore Show did for green, Helvetica does for design?”

Steven Heller, quoting Paola Antonelli: “Maybe Helvetica will be the next My Architect.

Michael Bierut today on Design Observer: “Hey, this might do for typography what Wordplay did for crossword puzzles.”

But in that same piece, thanks to Michael Bierut’s (non-designer) friend, we finally have some perspective: “Maybe it’ll do for typography,” he said, “what Capturing the Friedmans did for pedophilia.”

Jens Gehlhaar and Somi Kim Dish On Graphic Design

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Two Brand names took the stage for the first session of the Schools of Thoughts conference: Jens Gehlhaar of Brand New School and Somi Kim from LA’s Brand Integration Group (you heard us right, it seems BIG/NY is “Innovating” while BIG/LA is still “Integrating”). The question “What is graphic design and where is it headed?” was answered by these two practitioners who occupy opposite ends of the graphic design spectrum.

Gehlhaar focused on what they do over at BNS that isn’t considered graphic design. Apparently posters created as production designs for a Coke commercial they directed can’t be entered in an AIGA competition for typography. An animated Python-esque spot for MTV counts as illustration. A live-action commercial for IMF has lots of graphic design in it, but it’s still not design. “That’s part of the reason we’re not really good at anything,” Gehlhaar said, “Because graphic designers can do so many things.” But are they even designers over there? BNS is identified not as a design studio but as a “bicoastal directorial collective.”

When Kim took the stage, the tone was ultimately more personal. While she also sees graphic design as the endless pursuit of many different skills, she didn’t talk about the strategy-oriented/immaterial design created at BIG, but rather her own trend analysis about where graphic design was going. One fact that made us shake our heads in disbelief: An extremely high percentage of high schoolers today expect to become famous (ooookay…). Kim also advocated “slow design” and a new international design movement, akin to the Al Gore Show.

What Kim and Gehlhaar both agreed on was that two things needed to be emphasized in education to address their concerns: type and craft. Type, in the sense that it’s the only thing that designers can truly own, said Gehlhaar (makes sense, since as Kim pointed out, “graphic” comes from the Greek word for writing), and craft, which they explained differently, but we’ll go ahead and say that it’s something you hone, over time, to help communicate an idea even more effectively. And you better be damn good at it or no one will be paying attention.

Helvetica: The Inconvenient Truth of Design?

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As our favorite Keynote presentation was given an Oscar nod today, we were sifting through some of the images on the site for Gary Hustwit‘s forthcoming documentary Helvetica, the first feature-length film about design. And we started thinking…

What if, like The Al Gore Show did for green, Helvetica does for design? What if not only all designers in the country (or the world, for that matter) go to see this movie, but other people go see it, too, and get interested in design, and suddenly, like, everyone starts to understand all this stuff that we’ve been talking to ourselves about all this time?

In his well-written director’s statement, Hustwit seems prepared to be the one to start this conversation:

I also thought that looking at Helvetica’s “career” would be a good structure to look at the past 50 years of graphic design, and a starting point for some interesting conversations in the film. And hopefully the film could make people who aren’t in the design trade think twice about the words that surround them, and the effect that typefaces have on the way we process those words.

It’s not exactly drowning polar bears. But it is important. And you’ll go see it, won’t you? And you’ll take two non-designer friends? That’s all we ask.