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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Poynor’

Finally! Emigre Becomes a Blog! Kinda. Not Really. No, Not at All.

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When Emigre went bye-bye, we cursed, we cried, we accepted that anything in print that good would never find its way online again. But what to our wondering eyes should appear? Emigre essays and interviews online, as their physical back issues sell out!

First up is Emigre #30, aptly named “Fallout” because of its theme: A response to a controversial Steven Heller essay named “Cult of the Ugly” that was published in a 1994 Eye. In addition to Cranbrook student David Shields–one of the designers of the publication that inspired Heller to write the “Ugly” essay–Michael Dooley interviews Mr. Keedy, Ed Fella and Heller to get the full story. So why read it now?:

For those of you who missed the typographic debates of the 90s, or for those nostalgic for those turbulent times in design, these interviews are not to be missed as they define a historical moment in graphic design.

There’s plenty more where that came from, too. We recommend oldie but goodie “Saving Advertising” that Jelly Helm wrote in 2000 (still very relevant today, although sadly, advertising is not). Also recently posted is an interview with born-again blogger Rick Poynor, who coincidentally announced his first retirement from the blogosphere when reviewing the final issue of Emigre. And there you go, the internet is suddenly cool again.

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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.

Adrian Shaughnessy’s Graphic Design on the Radio

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Our favorite soul-salvaging author and graphic design raconteur is also a radio host: Adrian Shaughnessy‘s Graphic Design on the Radio is now online with interviews starring Jonathan Barnbrook, Michael C. Place, Rick Poynor, and many more smart people who sound even smarter because of their accents.

These were all recorded in the summer, but as Shaughnessy tells us, there are also some more interviews that haven’t even been posted yet, plus, there’s a plan to bring the show back on the air in the new year with more guests in the fields of “music, debate and controversy” (those last two sound especially intriguing). Looks like we’ll be waiting right here come 2008.

Poynor Responds To Speak Up’s “Less Than Penetrating”-ness

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We’ve been watching from our front row seats as the Print/print vs. Speak Up/blogs design writing battle of the century unfolded, wondering if/when Rick Poynor would return to his bloggy ways to defend himself: Would he comment on Speak Up? Post an editor-emeritus response on Design Observer?

Instead, Poynor posts a second essay on Print’s website in which he simply wants to clarify that he’s not attacking blogs, or community, or the online world, simply the quality of writing they produce. In fact, he links to an article he wrote in a 2003 issue of Eye where he praises Speak Up: “Speak Up provides a vital sense of belonging to a community and that’s no small service. Something genuinely new is emerging here.”

However, that doesn’t solve the problem that on the whole design blog writing online is not as good as design print writing. The final word for aspiring design bloggers? Just try harder, he says:

“Designer writers should aim higher and, if they really can’t, they should stop pretending to know it all about areas of activity–writing and editing–in which they admit they are amateurs.”

Kingsley vs. Poynor vs. Vit vs…Aw, We Can’t Keep Track Anymore

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Gotta love the potential, at least, in this free-for-all. M. Kingsley takes Rick Poynor to task for his scathing essay in the current issue of Print (not online yet, by the way) which eviscerates Speak Up…starting with Armin Vit‘s manifesto, which we wondered about ourselves.

But from there, it gets a little nasty. There’s hints at a purported rivalry between Speak Up and Design Observer, the supposed “real” reasons why no Speak Up essays were included in the most recent Looking Closer 5, and a general edited-offline vs. community-based-online debate.

We’re not ones to say who’s right and who’s wrong when it comes to blogs and mags, but let’s just take a moment to notice one thing: It took almost three months for Poynor to respond in Print (and in print) to what Vit casually tossed into the online ring on February 13. Vit responded to Poynor’s Print piece in two days, and is just begging for some kind of rebuttal. Does Poynor succumb to the blogginess and jump in the ring?

Rick Poynor Observes Again

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Sure we read his column in Eye religiously, but how we miss Rick Poynor‘s presence in the blogosphere (his cameo in Helvetica just wasn’t enough of the Pornotopia star for us). So we were pleased as punch to see the editor emeritus’ byline on the most current Design Observer article, “Dancing to the Sound in Your Head.” Poynor marvels at the deluge of iPod ads blanketing Boston’s South Station, which leads to a conversation about the sanctity of public space and plenty of Apple-bashing in the comments. Oh, Poynor, it’s good to have you back, if only for this brief shining moment.

Helvetica World Premiere

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We just barely snagged a seat in an extremely tightly-kerned crowd at the world premiere of Helvetica here at SXSW, where the entire audience sported buttons reading “I love/hate Helvetica.” Okay, okay, everybody has been making their little jokes about “the movie about a font.” But guess what–this is not really a movie about a typeface. Helvetica is just a character in this wonderfully-made film, which just might be the best history of graphic design we’ve ever seen.

Director Gary Hustwit‘s film will lead even the most design clueless through an intelligent global survey of design. But designers won’t be bored. It’s not a simplified primer; instead, it’s the soul of graphic design–straight from the source. Massimo Vignelli preaching that there are only really, three typefaces (we thought it was five; he must be getting pickier). Sagmeister saying clean type is boring. Paula Scher explaining illustrative type. Rick Poynor explaining Modernism. David Carson epitomizing grunge type. Experimental Jetset bringing it all back around.

The story of graphic design is meant for the big screen. With the exception of a few conferences and maybe the work of someone like Hillman Curtis, we just don’t get to see ourselves like this. And damn do we look good.

Especially Erik Spiekermann, and an adorable Michael Bierut, who are the real stars of this film. Bierut delivers the best monologue in the whole movie–an awesome treatise on corporate design that got the biggest laughs and a hearty round of applause.

True to subject, the film itself is simple and beautiful. There are some lovely animations of Swiss designs and cool shots of how type gets made. And there’s an exuberant quality about the whole thing–a lingering shot on a corner of a poster, the spare but expressive music, and the stunning, overwhelming ubiquitousness of this typeface that means nothing and everything, all at the same time. The film festival guy who introduced the film said this, and got a laugh from the audience, but by the end of the film it was apparent: Designer or not, you will never, ever see the world the same again.

Looking Closer Closes Its Eyes

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The powers that be have informed us that the 5th volume of Looking Closer, out this month, will be the last. Published since 1994, the essays in the Looking Closer series were basically the precursors of the design blogs we know and love today–a sturdy, highly-influential collection of critical writings on graphic design. But not too serious; some of the pieces were pretty damn hilarious, too. The editors throughout the years–Michael Bierut, William Drenttel, Steven Heller, DK Holland, Jessica Helfand, Rick Poynor–drew a hearty list of famous contributors, and launched the writing careers of many others. Looking Closer, we’ll miss you.