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graphic design

Adobe Illustrator, in a Class by Itself

Mediabistro continues to heed your cries for more design courses, and July is all about Illustrator. Over two weeks of online learning, budding ad designers will get up to speed on the software under the guidance of veteran art director Andrés Jimenez, who has designed everything from a website for the Jay-Z/Iconix clothing brand Artful Dodger to a NASCAR paint scheme for Jackson Hewitt. All we ask is that you use your newfound colors and gradients knowledge for good. As Spider Man‘s graphic designer cousin Gene once said, “With great special effects and filter skills come great responsibility.” Learn more here.

DIY Deco: Gatsby Monogram Maker

F. Scott Fitzgerald suggested that it was the profusion of Gatsby‘s beautiful shirts that brought tears to the gray eyes of Daisy Buchanan, but we suspect it wasn’t so much the “stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange” but those “monograms of Indian blue” that really got her. Put your own stamp on Gatsby’s glam “JG” with this Monogram Maker app from Warner Bros., the studio behind Baz Luhrmann‘s supersaturated film version of the classic novel. Simply select a pair of shiny letters and a desired shape and then download your new personal logo for use in a range of digital formats.

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Wanted: Designer to Save the World

(Photo: David W. Oliver)

Warming oceans. Changing ecosystems. Pollution-busting innovations. Adorable turtles. It’s all in a day’s work at the Environmental Defense Fund. Lucky for you, the non-profit’s “passionate, pragmatic environmental advocates” are in want of a designer to join their New York-based creative team. Brush off your eye-popping portfolio of online design work and be ready to convey your interest in conveying ideas and inspiring action for this position, which involves “developing aesthetically engaging concepts, compositions, and campaigns for the EDF’s interactive experiences, brand communications, and digital media.”

Learn more about this designer, Environmental Defense Fund job or view all of the current design/art/photo jobs.

Say WWWhat? Whitney Museum Unveils New Graphic Identity

With its imminent move downtown to new Renzo Piano-designed digs, the Whitney Museum of American Art decided that its graphic identity was also in need of an overhaul. And so it’s out with Abbott Miller‘s 13-year-old wordmark (which, like a fine wine, would only have gotten better with age) and in with a…spindly, shape-shifting line? The new identity, created by Amsterdam-based Experimental Jetset and unveiled today along with the museum’s redesigned website, is an anti-logo: lacking distinction, gravitas, and the ability to be seen from across a room. The “responsive ‘W’,” intended to dynamically “illustrate the museum’s ever-changing nature” with an elastic take on the letter “W,” is paired with a redrawn version of Neue Haas Grotesk, in all caps. With an infinite array of options, the identity can evoke the work of Dexter Sinister or Lawrence Weiner, the slanting logo of W magazine, or a line graph that got lost in a museum on its way to a sales report. But mostly, it leaves us wondering, Why?

Wanted: Illustrator to Blind Them with Science

man of science.jpgDo you excel at explaining phenomena ranging from plate tectonics to nuclear fission using only a pen and a dinner napkin? Doodle double helices—and their accompanying nucleotides? Then listen up, because the American Association for the Advancement of Science (or “triple-A S,” as the cool kids call it) is looking for a new visual Einstein to join the graphics and layout department for its flagship journal, Science, at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. Need you be able to tell xylem from phloem, ventricles from atria, a chupacabra from an exasperated kangaroo? Probably not, but be ready to describe how your “proven ability to create sophisticated, high quality visuals” will react with your “strong technology skills in contemporary software packages” to keep the visual standards of Science as high as its impact factor. And don’t forget to balance your equation.

Learn more about this scientific technical illustrator, American Association for the Advancement of Science job or view all of the current design/art/photo jobs.

Quote of Note | Alvin Lustig

“The words graphic designer, architect, or industrial designer stick in my throat, giving me a sense of limitation, of specialization within the specialty, of a relationship to society and form itself that is unsatisfactory and incomplete. This inadequate set of terms to describe an active life reveals only partially the still undefined nature of the designer.”

-Alvin Lustig (1915-55) in The Designer Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom, compiled and edited by Sara Bader, new this month from Princeton Architectural Press

Seven Questions for Nature Conservancy Creative Director Christopher Johnson

The idea of picking up an iPad to commune with nature sounds counterintuitive–until you’ve swiped and tapped through an issue of Nature Conservancy magazine, which mails to the environmental conservation organization’s 650,000 members on a bimonthly basis. “Our digital edition features the same engaging stories and stunning photography as our print magazine, plus exclusive photo galleries, videos, audio commentary, interactive maps, and more,” says creative director Christopher Johnson. “Readers get to experience the places we protect in a whole new way.” The high-tech twist on news from the natural world is a hit with readers. The free Nature Conservancy app, launched last year, has emerged at the top of the iTunes newsstand’s Outdoors and Nature category and is a finalist for best tablet app (interactive single or series) in the Society of Publication Designers annual design competition. Johnson made time to answer our seven questions before heading down to Cipriani Wall Street for tonight’s SPD gala.

What do you consider the most important ingredients in a successful tablet app?
For us, a successful tablet app combines beautiful design, intuitive navigation and engaging interactive features like video, audio and slideshows that allows us to bring readers into our stories in richer, more immersive ways. It’s allowed us to reach a whole new audience of potential supporters with our inspiring stories.

What is your publication design pet peeve?
It has to be design by committee. Inevitably it becomes more about pacifying the group than it does about meeting the original objective.

What has been your best or most memorable design-related encounter?
Years ago, in order to graduate from the design program I attended, students were required to put together a portfolio and go on a mock interview. Our department chair organized interviews with a creative director from a local design firm. That experience had such an impact on me. It made me realize the importance of communicating and connecting with people, that it wasn’t just about the strength of your work. You had to be able to sell your ideas.
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Google Pays Doodle Tribute to Saul Bass

Design legend Saul Bass would have turned 93 today, and Google is celebrating his creative legacy with one of its most elaborate daily “doodles” yet. Visit the search giant’s homepage before midnight to see and watch the tribute, an animated riff on some of Bass’s most well-known film titles, including those for The Man With the Golden Arm, Anatomy of a Murder, and Around the World in 80 Days. And turn those speakers up, because this doodle is in stereo, set to Dave Brubeck‘s “Unsquare Dance.”

Peter Saville on Creating ‘PUNK’ Show Logo for Metropolitan Museum

The gleaming logo, spotlit on the exhibition’s title wall. At right, the cover of the exhibition catalogue, which includes prefaces by Richard Hell and John Lydon.

When it comes to punk, the graphics tend to get gritty–all ragey handwriting fonts and distressed stenciling–but while a hit of GO-RILLA or Kra Kra is sufficient to evoke a Sex Pistols state of mind or a Ramones-era DIY kerning moment, it doesn’t quite capture the sartorial chasm of “chaos to couture.” Enter Peter Saville, who created the exhibition logo for the “PUNK” exhibition organized by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He used lettering by Paul Barnes to evoke the “coup d’état in youth culture” that was punk. “There has been very little liaison with the Met and the photograph on your site is the first time we have seen the logo actually in use,” Saville tells us. “The logo employs an irreverent use of 18th-century typefaces (by Fournier) in keeping with Nick Knight‘s briefing for the design of the show, which was Versailles on the eve of the French Revolution.”

Milton Glaser, Walter Bernard Honored at Magazine Awards; Time Takes Design Category

Design was in the spotlight last night at the National Magazine Awards gala, where Milton Glaser and Walter Bernard were presented with the creative excellence award “for their unique and enduring contributions to American journalism.” The two honorees were introduced by journalist and playwright Michael Kramer, and then the audience was treated to a video of them being interviewed by The New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta.

Meanwhile, Time, the magazine that Bernard redesigned back in 1977 (and then led as art director for three years), emerged victorious in the design category, besting fellow finalists Bon Appétit, BULLETT, Details, and New York, which won for magazine of the year and best magazine section. Chris Johns left the Marriott Marquis laden with elephants–the coveted yet unwieldy Alexander Calder stabile pachyderm (pictured)–as National Geographic won for photography; general excellence in the news, sports, and entertainment category; tablet magazine; and multimedia. W trounced the other nominated portfolios in the feature photography category with Steven Klein‘s Mosstastic “Good Kate, Bad Kate” from the March 2012 issue. Other victories of note: Gael Towey and Pilar Guzmán‘s reliably stunning Martha Stewart Living took home the Elllie for best lifestyle magazine, The Atlantic won for best website, and the election-rocking video ‘Full Secret Video of Private Romney Fundraiser’ earned Mother Jones a best video nod–well over 47% of the audience seemed happy about that decision.