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Stephanie Murg

Leica Loses Its Mind, Collaborates with Hello Kitty and Playboy

leica

Does it get any better than Leica? The company, synonymous with German engineering at its finest, is in the midst of its jubilee year: founded in 1849, Leica debuted Oskar Barnack‘s 35-millimeter marvel in 1914. In the century since, it has kept its brand pristine by focusing on optical excellence and joining forces with the likes of likeminded Hermès for a few limited-edition models. Which is why we did a double-take when we learned that the esteemed company had been roped into Colette’s latest collaboration, in which Hello Kitty teams up with—wait for it—Playboy. This strange duo is then plastered across products such as Bic pens, a Charvet tie, and, yes, a Leica camera. The limited-edition Hello Kity x Playboy Leica C, on which Sanrio’s famous character sports Playboy bunny ears and wields a camera, was available for purchase on the Colette website for €920 (approximately $1280) but today has mysteriously disappeared: perhaps all ten of the cameras sold or a Leica executive came to his to her senses.

Quote of Note | Oliviero Toscani

ot“Art is the highest expression of human communication. And by Art I don’t mean only painting or sculpture or the ancient and traditional arts, but above all the modern, mass arts, like: photography, design, fashion, architecture, cinematography and so on.

Creativity is communication. Today the creativity of communication is conditioned by an obsessive search for consensus, in the false belief that consensus is success. Fear of failure always produces mediocrity, because the chosen solution will always be the least risky and the most banal. In most cases, doesn’t even attempt to be original, but wants, rather, to be a mediocre and repetitious replica of it.”

-Photographer Oliviero Toscani in a speech presented last year at the Art Directors Club’s Annual Awards and Festival of Art & Craft in Advertising and Design. His address has recently been made into a newspaper and a series of typographic posters by illustrator Ben Weeks and Underline Studio

Collins Creates New Identity for Internet Week

internet week ny 2

internet week nyHere at UnBeige HQ, every week is Internet week (if the wi-fi goes down for even a few minutes, we become testy and commence the hoarding of foodstuffs), but capitalize that “W” and you’re talking about a “festival of technology, business, and culture” that has been taking place in New York since 2008 and in London since 2010. Each Internet Week consists of hundreds of events that draw thousands of people, and yet the festival’s logos have long been, well, less than cutting-edge—sufficed to say that at one point there was a pixellated apple involved. Then they got Collins on the case.

A team that included Brian Collins, Dave Frankel, and Ali Ring looked beyond familiar tech tropes—the slash, the dot, the leaning arrow—and onward to the bracket. A three-dimensional pair is at the core of their flexible new identity for Internet Week. Not only can the brackets open to accommodate copy, photography, and illustrations but their angles play nice with the letterforms involved, all of which can be layered at various weights to simulate a blinking cursor. Keep an eye out for banners real and virtual that herald the next installment of the festival, which gets underway on May 19 in New York.

Now Read This: Conversations on the Hudson

conversationsNew York’s Hudson Valley is studded with artists and craftspeople, and Nick Hand met a bunch of them–by hopping on a bicycle. Conversations on the Hudson (Princeton Architectural Press) chronicles the British graphic designer’s 500-mile, two-wheeled journey between Brooklyn and the Adirondacks. The new book is a charming mix of photographs and interviews with the likes of glassware designer Deborah Ehrlich, ceramicist Michele O’Hana, and stone carver Ted Ludwiczak. “On a bicycle you take everything in,” writes Hand in the book’s introduction. “You can stop anywhere, you don’t miss a thing, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation.”

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Anonymous Tips: Because Sharing Is Caring

who could it be now.jpgIf we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times: “I could tell you this Big Design News, but then I’d have to kill you.” Now you can give us the scoop and skip the messy murder plot, thanks to our “Anonymous Tips” box, which the Mediabistro tech wizards have placed at the top right of this page. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Type in your news—design happenings, gossip, movements of the Revolving Door, a designer’s hidden talent, or any newsy, design-y morsel—and click “send.” We’ll get the news, you’ll retain your air of mystery.

David Rockwell Brings NYC to LA in Oscars Greenroom

greenroom

How do you luxe up a windowless room in the bowels of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre? Architectural Digest poses this question to one designer each year as it creates a backstage lounge for the Oscars. The task of creating the AD Greenroom (the 12th!) for the 2014 Academy Awards (the 86th!) went to David Rockwell. Having perhaps exhausted his interest in Hollywood Regency and cinema magic through his work on the on-stage proceedings, Rockwell looked to New York City loft living as inspiration.

Faced with the equivalent of a basement studio, he focused on “urban simplicity, but married with film glamour.” The latter came in part from actress Susan Sarandon, who helped select works from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences archive that line the walls: on one side, a wall of screens powered by Rockwell LAB software display digital images from socially conscious, Oscar-winning, and Oscar-nominated films, while on the other side, 14 framed works features images from classic screwball comedies—one of Sarandon’s favorite genres.

Stack Succeeds Where Newsstands Fail

(Joke De Wilde) FEAT

Feed your exotic periodical addiction by subscribing to Stack, which selects the best independent magazines and delivers them to your door every month. “There are piles of fantastic magazines out there just waiting to be discovered,” says founder Steven Watson, “and Stack makes it cheaper and easier than ever for people to find and enjoy them.” Among the deep selection of indie titles that may show up in Stack subscriptions are design favorites such as Eye, Elephant, IdN, and Wrap. The sooner you start with a three-month subscription ($50) or treat yourself to a full year of magazine surprises ($190), the sooner you can learn what city is the new Berlin, what the backlash to the backlash to the backlash against Helevtica means for the future of serifs, and marvel at the heartbreaking tenacity and arrogance of matadors.

Tea Time with Geoff McFetridge

While Americans pound coffee and gobble sleeves of Milanos, those in more civilized—if less productive—nations know the restorative power of a pause that involves a fresh cup of tea. Bigelow Tea joined Los Angeles-based artist and designer Geoff McFetridge for tea time and captured the creative magic that can happen in the couple of minutes it takes to to steep a cup of tea. The contemplative short, directed by Bucky Fukumoto, is part of Bigelow’s “While You Were Steeping” series.

Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv Redesigns Saul Bass’s Avery Logo

avery logo CGH 2

It’s been almost four decades since Saul Bass whipped up the jaunty Avery logo, its leaning red triangle of paperclips a beacon on many a binder, label, and even the collection of Hermès knockoff totes rolled out under the “Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery” brand. But change is afoot, and the new parent company of the office and consumer products division of Avery Dennison is looking to place a giant divider between the primarily business-to-business company Avery Dennison and the consumer products brand now known simply as Avery. Enter Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, who were challenged to create a new visual identity for Avery. It had to be distinctive and modern while retaining the brand’s recognition in the marketplace and (d’oh!) work within Avery’s existing package design, which was to remain unchanged—all as the ghost of Bass peered over their shoulders and whispered strong opinions about the capital “R”. Their solution? Keep the off-kilter red square, and move it behind a redrawn Avery wordmark.

Your 2014 AIGA Medalists: Chip Kidd, Louise Fili, Bill Moggridge, and 21 More Design Stars

centennial medalists

Frederic Goudy had one, so did Philip Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg. The Eameses had two. Pentagram is awash in them. George Lois wears his to bed. We’re talking about AIGA Medals, the graphic design world’s highest honor. This year, the AIGA is celebrating its centennial by bestowing medals on 24 design visionaries that “together exemplify the legacy of visual communications and the impact of design”: Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, Richard Danne, Alexander Isley, Charles S. Anderson, Michael Donovan and Nancye Green, Chip Kidd, Dana Arnett, Stephen Doyle, Michael Mabry, Kenneth Carbone and Leslie Smolan, Louise Fili, Abbott Miller, David Carson, Bob Greenberg, Bill Moggridge, Kyle Cooper, Sylvia Harris, Gael Towey, Michael Cronan, Cheryl Heller, and Ann Willoughby. They will be presented with their James Earle Fraser-designed medals on April 25 at the AIGA Centennial Gala in New York City.

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