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Posts Tagged ‘Kent Nichols’

Stefan Sagmeister Gives Us Deja Vu All Over Again

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Stefan Sagmeister ended the day with a crowd-pleasing presentation at the Y Conference that seemed to send everyone out into the world with a smile. Now you know we love you, Sags, we do. And we love that thing you do. But as regulars on the conference circuit, we’ve gotta ask you to switch it up a bit. Here’s the recap from a year-and-a-half ago. And one from a year ago. The new developments, as far as we can see, are a cool ad for a economic development agency in Singapore, and that he’s trying to make a giant floating speech bubble out of a blimp.

One thing we did learn is what happened when Sagmeister was performing one scene of a short film which required him to hang out of a window in Debbie Millman‘s office in the Empire State Building, holding a sign that said OVER. The cops came, thinking he was a jumper, and wanted to seize the camera as proof. Millman thought fast and said that the camera contained “personal” footage…they backed off.

Ninja co-conspirator Kent Nichols returned the favor during the Q&A, asking about Sagmeister’s affinity for the painters of light, like Thomas Kinkade. Oh Ninjas, we do hope you’re back tomorrow for more hijinks.

More Y Conference coverage.

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USPS’s Terry McCaffrey Predicts Star Wars Stamps Will Rule the Universe

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Terry McCaffrey is chair of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, of which the blogosphere’s fair Jessica Helfand is a member. She’s the latest in an illuminated list of design names like Bradbury Thompson and Meredith Davis who’ve served (apparently Steven Heller was on it once but attended two meetings, found the committee too bureaucratic and quit).

But with all those big names, 50,000 letters from the American public annually, and the collecting community clamoring for single color engraved designs–it seems like when it comes to stamps, everyone has their own agenda.

Until the Elvis stamp they didn’t do anything contemporary (remember the old or young Elvis contest?). The USPS was only allowed to start making a profit two years ago, but they made $26 million on Elvis–and that’s mostly from collectors. They’ve also made $53 million for breast cancer research from a 1999 stamp.

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Here’s the crazy thing about stamps: When they make mistakes, people want them more. For example, McCaffrey learned today that in the Buckminster Fuller stamp based on that famous Time cover, the artist made a huge mistake and put six sides on his geodesic dome-head instead of five. Mirko Ilic was good enough to point that out from the audience. Whoops.

Maybe they should purposely make a mistake on the upcoming Star Wars series (available May 28) since McCaffrey predicts it will blow the lid off the USPS. At first the committee didn’t want it because it honored living people, which is against postal rules, but McCaffrey argued that it’s not Harrison Ford, it’s Han Solo. They’re printing 500 million, just to start.

Sagmeister and Kent Nichols (who are either brand new BFFs or old friends) manned the peanut gallery throughout the presentation, cheering “I love you, Stampy!” If that’s the official term of endearment for McCaffrey, then we say, Stampy, we love you, too.

More Y Conference coverage.

Sagmeister Asks a Ninja

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We know what you’re wondering…what the hell is a ninja is doing on stage at the Y Design Conference? Ask a Ninja creators Douglas Sarine (dressed and in character as Ninja) and Kent Nichols began their presentation by answering that very question.

Ninja: What are we doing at a design conference?

Nichols: Well, you’re wearing all black. Don’t you fit in?

But fitting in became irrelevant once they showed the latest episode of their web show, which amazingly featured an interview with Blades of Glory stars Will Ferrell and Jon Heder. Ninja was upset they didn’t kill anyone with their “blades” of glory. This is a show that started in their tiny West Hollywood apartments.

Nichols and Sarine first started down this dark path with an animated screenplay about ninjas in Orange County, which has evolved into one of the most popular shows in history–Ask a Ninja has been viewed over 20 million times. With Ninja as moderator, they engaged in a discussion about creating with accessible tools, having an audience that pushes back, and developing a brand, but mostly they were just really, really funny.

Of all the audience questions, Sagmeister asked the best one. “I have a question about light,” he said in that sexy Austrian purr. “Is it a particle or is it a physical state?”

Ninja: You live in the light you create.

Nichols: The light you take is equal to the light you make.

Sagmeister laughed and seemed to be pleased with the answer.

More Y Conference coverage.