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Posts Tagged ‘Marian Bantjes’

High Monkeys, Low Expectations at Stefan Sagmeister’s Wolfsonian Installation

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“Everyone Always Thinks They Are Right” declared the giant inflatable monkeys on the roof of the Wolfsonian, seven stories above Miami Beach (and fresh from Scotland as part of a world tour). Inside, approximately 2250 martini glasses filled with a surprisingly good orange gin concoction were arranged into the words “Low Expectations,” with custom swizzle sticks printed with “Are a Good Strategy.” And a loop of film showed the rest of the illustrated maxims from Stefan Sagmeister‘s book Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far.

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The only question we had for Sags was this: After going through the process of bringing so many things he had learned in his life to life, had he learned anything new? “I’ve learned that I still learn things, but at a much slower rate,” he laughed. He also said he gave his students the choice to skip their last assignment and make their own list of things they had learned.

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Of course our darling Yves Behar was there, and chatting with Eames Demetrios to boot. Jeffrey Deitch breezed through briefly but with purpose–another exhibition of Sagmeister’s work will open at Deitch Projects in NY in March. New Yorkers represented: Steven Heller (he curated the installation, but assures us he was not the mixologist), Lita Talarico, Deborah Buck of NY gallery Buck House and Janet Froelich, creative director of the New York Times Mag. Design journos represented, too: We chatted up Fast Company’s Linda Tischler, Janet Eastman of the LA Times and AIGA Voice managing editor Sue Apfelbaum. And Debbie Millman and Marian Bantjes (that’s her with Sagmeister) jetted in early before appearing in a “Design Matters” about the 2008 Publikum calendar at the Wolfsonian on Saturday.

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By the time we left, the ‘e’ and ‘x’ of ‘expectations’ had been gulped, but refills were quickly secured by martini shaker-wielding assistants nearby, and the crowd continued to swell. As guests exited, they were confronted with a parting message: “Material Luxuries Are Best Enjoyed in Small Doses,” as printed on a custom-made Kate Spade tote bag, so they could take a few words of Sagmeister’s wisdom home with them.

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AIGA NY Holiday Party to be PC-Compatible

AIGA NY has opened their annual holiday party up to the masses, so what was once a simple party for AIGA members will now be the THE/ NEW/ BIGGER/ ANNUAL/ AIGA/ NY/ HOLIDAY/ DANCE/ PARTY/ FUNDRAISER/ SPECTACULAR on December 9. And might we also add FREE FOOD/ GRIND-O-RAMA/ PASS OUT ON STAIRS/ SAY INAPPROPRIATE THINGS TO YOUR BOSS/ HIT ON DEBBIE MILLMAN.

In addition to the usual tradition of designer-designed gift-wrap given to all attendees (along with a free drink, cha-ching!) there will be an auction, presided over by none other than author, mole man expert, and Windows-running impresario John Hodgman. Up for bidding are some tasty, tasty treats, like a private tour of MOMA’s Design Department by Paola Antonelli and Christian Larsen, custom calligraphy by Marian Bantjes, and the item we’ll be sending in a field rep for: Michael Bierut‘s Voice for Your Phone Greeting.

Really? He has to say anything you want him to? And you get to record it?

Bantjes Trumps Vit In Layer Tennis With Obvious King vs. Riggs Overtones

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There’s no asterisk affixed to her name just yet (denoting a win), but from a quick swing through the forums, it appears as though the victor in this week’s historic inter-Speak Up league Battle of the Sexes Layer Tennis match is one Marian Bantjes. Playing exclusively in Illustrator (an obvious advantage for the vectorous one) Bantjes paddled Armin Vit‘s behind through a series of imagery evoking tennis balls, butterflies and Britney Spears.

You can scroll through each artful volley and read play-by-play by Heather Armstrong to see proof that this match was definitely one for the ladies. Actually, we didn’t see much of a contest at all; Bantjes kicked major layer ass.

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.

Dirty Dancing Observer Party

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Sometimes at these conference things it’s nice to escape the pristine white hallways for a hot, filthy little basement packed thick with grinding graphic designers. Where legends of print, stage, screen, the airwaves, and a movie about graphic design take the stage for guest DJ sets. Where you not only don’t know which body part is being violated by which person’s gyrating sweaty loins, you don’t care because Kevin Smith is playing Prince and you just gotta dance, dammit. Oh yes, this was the Design Observer party.

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Head DJ Smith with Debbie Millman, throwing out a little J-Lo.

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Laurie Rosenwald was anything but “tired”; Gary Hustwit, who spun his own real records, prepares to take the stage.

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Host Michael Bierut looking dapper, Bill Drenttel (we can call you Bill, right?) becomes possessed by the demons of the dance floor.

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Randy Hunt gets jiggy; Marian Bantjes‘ hot bow-topped boots.

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Dancemaster David Womack takes a break to compare tans with Nik Hafermaas; Eric Heiman can’t control himself.

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Marian Bantjes Follows Her Heart

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In a gorgeous, eloquent speech that read like the commencement address at our dream university of design, Marian Bantjes addressed the elusive and ever-terrifying topic of “unexpected nextness.” Opening with an adorable shot of her as a child hunched over her art, she led us through the meandering path she took to the fame that surprised even her.

You’ll remember that after being a designer and typesetter for years, she tried doing only the work she loved. She gave herself one year and made no money. So she borrowed money and gave her herself six more months. Then, her design career took off: “I felt like I went 0 to 60 in three seconds and I still don’t know what car I’m driving.”

This was our favorite: “If you would have told me four years ago…that I would have been speaking main fucking stage of the national AIGA conference I would have said no way.” She said she constantly felt like that Talking Heads song: “This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife. How did I get here?”

But she still worries, she reveals, in an extremely personal, raw moment that we’ve all experienced when our insecurities stare us blankly in the face. She worries that the boom in ornamentation will bastardize her work. She worries that people will grow bored with her trippy curves. In the Q&A she says she feels like she will need to take a big creative leap and huge risk very, very soon. Whatever it is, we know for certain it will be something beautiful.

All AIGA NEXT coverage here.

Marian Bantjes for Saks: We Want It!

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We knew that Marian Bantjes was a fashionable gal, but this is incredible: Looks like Saks Fifth Avenue is wearing Marian Bantjes this fall!

From its windows to its doors to its displays to its carpets to these big silver boxes that float throughout the store, to entire shoes rendered out of curly, twisty we-don’t-know-what, the entire Saks world has been layered with Bantjes’ looping type.

We never thought we could fall in love with the words “Shoe Bootie.”

Sweet Swiss Synergy at Seattle’s TypeCon

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Type couldn’t be having a better year, what with a documentary about a certain profit-plumping typeface traveling the globe, and this year’s TypeCon will be reveling in all that glory August 1-5 in Seattle. A very low conference rate gets you this striking identityMarian Bantjes‘ “The Thing,” above–a gazillion big names and a screening of Helvetica (of course) that’s open to the public on August 1. Which, as our sources tell us, is also Swiss National Day. Could life get much more perfect?

The film is free but you have to register. Don’t forget to register for TypeCon, too.

Making Serif S’mores and Singing Kerning Songs Around the Campfire

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The pristine wilderness, the cool blue waters, the sweet smell of pine, and a few dozen people talking about Akzidenz Grotesk. Sound like paradise to you? Then you need to enroll in TypeCamp, taking place August 12 to August 17 on Galiano Island, British Columbia. Only 15 campers will be admitted and your counselors will be none other than Marian Bantjes, Shelley Gruendler and Ross Mills. The activities sound plenty intriguing–actually using scissors and something called “Randicentiarianism”–but no mention of time-honored camp traditions like panty raids or skinny dipping. Guess those little improvisations are up to you.

Coudal Swaps Meat Stories With Rob Walker

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Glossing over any kind of potentially unethical journalistic tendencies in this post, we’ll simply direct you to an article about the firm of Jim Coudal (who may or may not employ one UnBeige editor) by Rob Walker (who may or may not be a distant relative to another UnBeige editor). “Trading Partners” is all about our favorite one-month experiment that’s lasted an entire summer with no end in sight…the Swap Meat.

The real beauty of the Meat of course, is that beautiful things by beauties like Marian Bantjes (above) can be all yours.

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