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Archives: February 2005

Fresh AIGA Content

doctordesign2.jpgThere’s some good new stuff on Voice: AIGA Journal of Design:

Burning questions for Dr. Design:

In the latest installment the good doctor tackles your toughest questions, including, “How do I gain the respect of my academic colleagues?”; “How do I gain the respect of my professional colleagues?”; “What should I wear to an interview?”; and, “Should I get an MBA instead?”

Steven Heller on soap as a design commodity.

Kenneth FitzGerald on design educators and design education.

Grand Central Terminal

lgfp0605.jpgI was just at a meeting in midtown (which is why my posting has been light today – apologies!) and on my way back downtown I went through Grand Central Terminal, my favorite public place in the city.

All my native New Yorker cynicism abandons me whenever I enter. It’s always been that way, long before it was restored (starting in 1994). It’s not just the soaring ceiling and all that marble, it’s the feeling of the space. I can’t think of another place that functions as such a dense crossroads without feeling horribly claustrophobic.

There’s an excellent book by Tony Hiss, The Experience of Place, that describes the success of Grand Central in very specific detail. It does a great job of explaining the mechanics of what I’ve always considered to be a very emotional and somewhat sentimental reaction to a public space.

All the hubbub about The Gates as such an amazing shared experience seems unwarranted (yes, look at me going out on a limb, in spite of what Peter Schjeldahl has to say in this week’s New Yorker) when the spectacle of Grand Central is around to be experienced and enjoyed every single day.

D.I.Y Contest @ design*sponge

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Tomorrow is the last day to submit entries for design*sponge’s D.I.Y. contest. Here are some details:

* submit your work via email with a short description, images and some fun things about yourself.
* deadline is Friday, February 24, 2005
* entries are divided into the following categories: furniture, product, jewelry, graphic and other.

Designer Series Video Interviews

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Hillman Curtis is producing an ongoing series of video interviews with various well-known designers. Most of them have been done for Adobe Studio, with the exception of the one with James Victore. The most recent, an interview with Milton Glaser, has been getting a lot of blog linkage lately. With good reason: it’s a great interview, he’s a legend and he has a lot of interesting things to say. Unfortunately, the music on every single interview I watched is so cloying and distracting, it made me want to tear my hair out.

Here are links to the interviews:

Milton Glaser

Paula Scher (my personal favorite)

Stefan Sagmeister

Thanks to Frank Kolodziej for the tip and the linkage.

UnBeige ♥ Ryan McGinness: Day Two

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Welcome to Day Two of UnBeige Ryan McGinness week! Today we focus on Ryan’s newest (not future) publication multiverse. Multiverse is a limited edition of 1,000 signed copies, published by Galerie du Jour in Paris, as an accompaniment to his exhibition of the same name that was on view there from December 11, 2004 – January 22, 2005.

Like many of Ryan’s books, multiverse is a catalog of sorts, but as with all the books he does, it is a way to for him to “demarcate periods of time, a project or a body of work… Even growing up, I kept albums and notebooks.”*

French Elle ran a a small item about the exhibition, but I studied Italian and Spanish, so I’m at something of a loss. (Google’s translation is predictably wiggy.)

Hustler of Culture has a bunch of photos from one of Ryan’s fabled game nights, and you can see lots of the work from the show in those photos.

*This quote is from the Feb ’05 issue of Grafik Magazine (be forewarned, gratuitous Flash madness is to be found if you click on their link). For a more peaceful experience, I suggest you download a .pdf of the article from Ryan’s Resources page.

Brand Evidence

2005_02_wholebowery.jpgEver-prepared Curbed overlord Lockhart Steele has snaps of the aforementioned Avalon Chystie Whole Foods branding extravaganza in his item Branding the Bowery, Whole Foods Edition. Note his clever use of a big red arrow to illustrate his point.

Separated at Birth? Logo Edition

onion_logo.gifI am aware that comparing these two logos is a bit of a stretch, but as I walked south on Bowery yesterday morning and gazed in wonder at the ginormous Whole Foods signage newly hung in the windows of the monstrostity of downtown development, Avalon Chrystie Place, I felt let down by their branding. Which is sad, because trust me, I am really excited to have a proper grocery store coming to our area. And it’s not just that we’re finally getting a functional supermarket, we are getting us some California style consumption. It’s very exciting. (It also helps that as a company, Whole Foods is relatively principled.) Anyway, I digress.

wholefoods.gifThis post is really meant to be about branding, not groceries. I’ve been thinking about the WF logo since I saw it yesterday morning, trying to remember what it reminded me of. It occurred to me a few minutes ago that it was the Onion I was thinking of. This is how my brain works. Do with this information as you wish.

Similarities aside, I think that those Whole Foods people should look into some rebranding. The colors, the font, the rounded corners – it all feels very outdated to me, and not in a hip, retro kind of way. It’s too stale to be contemporary, but misses both the retro and nostalgia boats by a long shot.

The current logo serves to remind me of everything I hated about the health food craze of the early 70s. My best friend’s parents were fanatics: we ate carob flavored Haagen Dazs and went jogging through a very damp and marshy Flushing Meadow Park. It was wretched.

Top Notch Gadgetry

speak_n_spell.jpgMobile PC Magazine offers up an eclectic list of what they deem to be The Top 100 Gadgets of All Time. Their criteria:

It has to have electronic and/or moving parts of some kind. Scissors count, but the knife does not. It has to be a self-contained apparatus that can be used on its own, not a subset of another device. The flashlight counts; the light bulb does not. The notebook counts, but the hard drive doesn’t.

It has to be smaller than the proverbial bread box. This is the most flexible of the categories, since gadgets have gotten inexorably smaller over time. But in general we included only items that were potentially mobile: The Dustbuster counts; the vacuum cleaner doesn’t.

elmo.jpgI personally see Tickle Me Elmo as more of a phenomenon than a gadget, but I am 100% with them on the Speak & Spell which I found absolutely mezmerizing when I was a wee lass.

Most items are actually not kid-oriented, those are just the two that caught my eye. And both are red, hmm. OK, anyway. Also making appearances on the list: the first invention of the Popeil family, a cellphone along the lines of the one that Tim Robbins talked on in The Player and the iconic version of the Swingline stapler, from the cubicle hell classic Office Space.

(via Josh Spear.)

Chicago’s Very Posh Bark Avenue

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Chicago is slated to get the creme de la creme of dog parks. The drawing above is a rendering of the new 13,000 square foot dog park that’s being built at the south end of the city’s Grant Park. The Chicago Tribune reports:

[The run will] include a doggie drinking fountain. Plumbing will also be installed for a future decorative fountain for warm-weather frolicking… The dog park, slated for spring construction at a cost of about $150,000, will be larger and more elaborate than any other district dog park…It will have two asphalt paths winding from wrought-iron gated entrances.

(From the article O, You Lucky Dogs.)

I’m not a Chicago denizen, so I can’t speak about the choice of its location and/or the community the park is being built in. I’d love to get the inside scoop though (yes, pun intended, duh)… please share your dog park knowledge with the UnBeige community: email jen AT unbeige DOT com.

UnBeige ♥ Ryan McGinness

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Welcome to UnBeige Ryan McGinness week! Ryan just (finally) launched his official web site (created with the help of web design firm d/construct, the same firm that does the site for my gallery).

The site has lots of Ryan goodness all in one place:research resources has .pdfs of magazine interviews, publications is an index of all the books he’s published (along with several images of the pages from each book), selected works has images of his work dating back to 1994.

Ryan is insanely busy as always. He’s got a show up in Paris and is hard at work on a new book, Installationview for Rizzoli. Installationview currently exists as a wall full of notebook papers tacked up ever so neatly into a perfect grid on his studio wall. Ryan’s pushing towards making more than a catolog of his recent work – it includes sketches, essays and photographs of Ryan at work in his studio. From the Rizzoli promotional piece for the book:

Somewhere between an artist’s book and a catalogue, Installationview provides insight into the works and process of artist Ryan McGinness. The book is a dense collection of new paintings, works on paper, installations, sketches and notes, inspiration snapshots, and pieces made specifically for its pages.

This week we’ll feature a UnBeige Ryan McGinness item once a day. I’ll have some good pictures, perhaps an inside scoop or two and more in-depth information about Ryan’s current projects. So, stay tuned.

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