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Introducing the New Xerox (And Its Happy Talking Type)

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What do you do when your name is synonymous with a product but you want to tell people you’re much more versatile than just something that performs one lil’ ol’ task? If you’re Xerox, you roll out a whole new identity package, which they did yesterday to much fanfare, the first time the company has touched their logo in forty years. Personally, we think the new logo, created by Interbrand, seems a little too Web 2.0 for our liking, but we guess it’s okay. We’re certainly not offended by it or anything. But the thing we really dig when these big branding changes from major companies happen is that you get to read all the interesting weirdness that goes on behind the scenes and gets told to the press to help disseminate all the information the public needs to know about their shiny newness (you’re welcome). Case in point, here’s a bit from BusinessWeek‘s coverage of the change:

The new graphic identity of the company is meant to make Xerox a more approachable brand without compromising its reputation for engineering. In fact, an internal document circulated between Interbrand and Xerox describes the new graphic font this way: “I am FS Albert. I am a modern and approachable font. My rounded corners make me more human and less technical.” The sphere symbol will be especially used on the Internet and will spin in other animated applications, says Maryanne Stump, Interbrand’s senior director of brand strategy. “The old Xerox logo and graphics just didn’t lend themselves to the new media landscape.”

What, do these companies only employ children and that’s the way they have to talk to them? Do you really need a friendly, talking font? Is this the same team that came up with Microsoft’s talking paper clip? We have so many questions that we don’t need answered by anything even remotely anthropomorphic.

Amazon Uncovers, Covers, Uncovers, Covers, Etc.

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Having worked in web miscellany here and there in our collective pasts, we know the secret movements a site sometimes goes through, as material gets moved on and off at random, only to be caught by a random passerby or those hitting “refresh” every few seconds. But it’s always interesting when you catch a big big name doing it. We’ve reported about Google tweaking their image search pages in the past, then quickly reverting back, and now here comes this story about Amazon every once in a while rolling out completely new designs, only to yank them back off, right away. We suppose that makes sense though. If you put something out there and you immediately have 50,000 unsuspecting users playing around with a new design, what better way to learn what’s working and what isn’t, to help you tweak things for the official big roll-out.

Saul Bass Lives!

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Really cool report in from Typographica for we film geeks. First, they announce that Brendan Dawes has brought back his famous Saul Bass website after a slight hiatus. Second, they’ve gotten permission from Matt Terich to let people download his Bass-esque font, “Hitchcock,” which is super awesome and something you should go get immediately and play with all day. Here’s some:

Used by Dawes throughout the site, Hitchcock was created by designer Matt Terich as an homage to the iconic lettering that so often appeared in Bass’ title work. The font is not a faithful digitization of any particular title sequence or poster — in fact, type designer Nick Shinn notes that Bass didn’t do the actual lettering and veteran. Robert Trogman adds that Dave Nagata did most of the drawings — but it does give a general sense of Bass’ rough, hand-cut style.

Flight 93 Protestor Convinces Father of Victim to Remove Name

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As we reported as on him again as recently as couple of weeks ago, Alec Rawls, the guy who is fighting to have the design of the Flight 93 Memorial changed from its current form, put together by Paul Murdoch, has popped up again in the news for winning a victory for himself by convincing the father of one of the victims to request that his son’s name be removed. It’s a sad story, considering that Rawls’ theories that the memorial is honoring Muslim extremists have been constantly discounted as the rants of someone who clearly doesn’t have any idea what they’re talking about.

Thomas E. Burnett, of Northfield, Minnesota, said he is looking for is a “thorough, honest investigation” of the design and the elements discussed by Alec Rawls, a conservative blogger from Palo Alto, California. Burnett said many of his concerns were based on Rawls’ theories.

Rawls says the planned memorial faces toward Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, and contends that a planned 93-foot (28-meter) tower with wind chimes would act as an Islamic sundial.

Joanne Hanley, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial, said, Rawls “bases all of his conclusions on faulty assumptions.”

Nudity?! Shame, Shame: Boyds Mills Press Says No to German Children’s Book

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To be filed under the “Why They Hate Us” category comes this story from Der Spiegel concerning the US publishing house, Boyds Mills Press, demanding that changes be made to a reprinted edition of a children’s book by Rotraut Susanne Brener. The changes required? In a panel depicting an art gallery, there is a nude statue and a painting of a nude woman. You know, the kinds of things you’d likely find in any major art gallery in any state in the entire nation. But apparently that doesn’t fly over here in these United States and by publishing it, there’s a chance that American children’s eyeballs would immediately explode and/or they’d start using and selling crack cocaine. The author said no and so in response, the publisher said no and thus, the book won’t ever be released here. It’s a shame. Though in limited defense of the publisher, they’re probably just terrified to put something out there that some nut would sue them over. You can almost hear the “Won’t someone please think of the children?!” now.

OS X and the Trouble with Physics

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An overview of an interesting, if somewhat just-for-fun controversy over at TurboMilk, “Physics Still Matter, Even With Special Effects,” which takes to task dock icons in OS X, saying that their angles and shadows couldn’t possibly exist in the real world. You might be thinking, “So? Big deal.” But the site quotes Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber in saying, essentially, “Yeah it’s not the world’s most important thing, but don’t you think their designers should be perfectionists?” Again, not an end of the universe conversation, but we do agree. If you’re going to spend more than eight hours a day looking at something, shouldn’t the creators have some consideration for the end user and get it right? Then again, we all watch television and that track record of getting things correct ain’t always running so high.

Jon Stewart Is Not a Graphic Designer But He Sure Can Critique Like One

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Jon Stewart gives plenty of smarty-mouth lip service to the Logo That Rocked The World, and possibly the best description of it ever: What would happen “if a slot machine went down on a stop sign.” He also provides his own graphic alternative.

Yay! Design on the “Daily Show”! We’ve arrived!

Throw Away That Velvet Elvis: Bekman Gets You Collecting Art for Real

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Former editor of UnBeige V.1, Jen Bekman, has up a great piece over at Good Magazine, “Jen Bekman on Art Collecting.” It’s all about getting into the world of art collecting, without having to sell your home just to make your first purchase (thus losing the walls you’ll need in order to hang said piece). Because she owns her own gallery in NY, she’s got the scene figured out and offers up some great ideas for anyone waiting, and wanting, to start testing the collection waters. Here’s some:

In art world terms, “affordable” generally means that work is priced below $10,000. At my gallery, most work is under $2,000. And if you’re wincing when you see $2,000 and “affordable” in the same sentence, I don’t blame you. This has been one of my biggest challenges from the beginning, because I’m as passionate about emerging collectors as I am about emerging artists, and the traditional gallery structure — namely, the high cost of entry — has made it difficult for a broad audience to start collecting.

That’s where the internet comes in. A whole indie art world has sprung up online, and you don’t need millions (or even thousands) to start building a personal collection.

Muji Comes to America; Michael Bierut No Longer Needs to Fly to Tokyo For His Fix

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We can finally end our letter-writing campaign to Sam Hecht; today, the retail stars have aligned. Muji‘s first US flagship store has been announced as a tenant in the Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building, says the New York Observer. But it sounds like we won’t be the only ones camped out on the sidewalk before the grand opening:

“Finally, a flagship Muji store in midtown,” said acclaimed New York graphic designer Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram, who has designed the wayfinding system in the new Times tower. “New York designaholics have been waiting a long time for this. Now I won’t have to fly to Tokyo to get my Muji watches.”

So our only question is: Is it the two-tone? Or the bangle? You know, we could totally see him sporting the bangle. He did, after all, make our Best Dressed List.

Ogilvy’s BIG Stops Integrating, Starts Innovating

At first we thought it was a typo:

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But then we saw this:

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And this:

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And this:

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What does this mean? (Beyond the fact that Brian Collins does a lot of yakking.) It means that the Brand Integration Group up and changed its name. And without a whisper of it to us. Is “innovation” better than “integration” because of its buzzworthiness? Is brand integration too akin to product placement? Did Collins simply make it up on the spot, elbowing the nearest employee while saying under his breath, “Go with me on this one.”

We don’t know, but we are pretty sure these people are gonna be pissed.

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