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Posts Tagged ‘Design Observer’

Attention Caucusing Iowa Citizens!

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As the 2008 presidential election kicks into gear today, the proprietors of the Polling Place Photo Project, a citizen journalism experiment spearheaded by AIGA, Design Observer and NewAssignment.net would really, really like to get your shots. If you’re in Iowa and headed to the polls, take along your camera to document your experience, and upload it to the site. We did it last year and it was really fun (and we didn’t even get arrested!).

A brand new Polling Place Photo Project site will be going up next week just for the 2008 elections, so for those of you in other states with premature primaries, plan to snap away. And yes, caucusing is a word, we swear, so feel free to use it all day.

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Design Observer Adds Contributors Andrew Blauvelt and…Rick Poynor?

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The fact that Design Observer has expanded its stable of writers yet again is no surprise; on the blogging panel we shared with William Drenttel in Denver he said he wanted to bring in several more contributors. Today’s add of the Walker Art Center’s Andrew Blauvelt to their ranks is a great choice, but the second “new” writer confuses us. Just a few months after the back and forth with Speak Up where he highlighted the shortcomings of the quality of writing on blogs, what compelled Rick Poynor to return to blogging?

We do have this curious sentence, from a response to his original essay about blogging on Print’s site: “…I have nothing against blogs in general and if they paid, I would probably continue blogging.” Last we checked, though, DO doesn’t pay. To what does the blogosphere owe this honor, then? We deserve to know.

Maybe he just really, really missed us.

Maybe Shepard Fairey Obeyed a Little Too Much

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Didja ever wonder where Shepard Fairey comes up with all that kooky street art stuff? According to Mark Vallen, he’s not coming up with it at all. Thanks to the keen eyes over at Design Observer, we came across this incredibly in-depth article at Art for a Change which takes pretty much every poster he’s made over the course of his career and lines it up, side-by-side with the famous propagandist imagery that he’s supposedly ripping off. We’ve heard all this before, of course, but what sets this analysis apart is the searing language (he calls Fairey a plagiarist right there in the title) and the exhaustive research completed by a team of artists and historians.

The only thing missing, of course, is the above comparison, cleverly pastiched together by our panel of experts, who demand that Fairey issue an immediate and effusive apology to Rob Reiner, director of The Princess Bride.

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.

Four or Five Things You Need to Know About the AIGA NEXT Conference

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In a few weeks we’ll be maneuvering the ole UnBeige wagon over the Rocky Mountains and into Denver, Colorado, home of AIGA’s NEXT Conference. There’s still time to register, although at this point if you haven’t convinced your boss you’re worth the $1050 ($850 for members) there’s not much time left for your door-to-door “Dimes for Denver” campaign.

Seeing as we will be there, and seeing as we seem to know a few things about the innerworkings of AIGA, here’s a few things you should look for when you’re there. Or when you’re sitting at home reading about them here.

· The seven young designers picked to participate in Command X, a live graphic design reality show unfolding in real time and hosted by Michael Bierut are Mike Burton, Elaine Chernov, Kelly Dorsey, Scott Gundersen, Matthew Muñoz, Nichelle Narcisi and, our favorite, Ryan Smoker.

· We’ll be making sure no one scares the students, yakkin’ about this here blog and–are you sick of us yet?–discussing design writing.

· Should you be awake, you can also gather ’round a table with one-half of UnBeige on Friday morning at the unseemly hour of 7:45am.

· There will be a gigantic party Friday night hosted by Design Observer, featuring a triumphant return to the dance floor by William Drenttel.

· If you get bored, there’s plenty of beer right around the corner.