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Archives: December 2006

On Today’s Point-Counterpoint: Adobe’s New CS3 Icons


Big batch of conversation late last week when Adobe released the look of the new CS3 icons, in their “wheel o’ icons” image. But in case you missed it, the best two bits of writing about it, which you’ll see cross posted back and forth nearly everywhere about the topic, were Jason Santa Maria’s scathing review of them, saying:

When making icons, you usually try to design something simple and recognizable to identify things. At the expense of creating a family of icons, you’ve watered them down so much as to be unrecognizable at a glance.

And on the other side, Veerle Pieters who agrees there are some problems, but also seems to think there’s a much more positive side to all of this:

People seems to fail to grasp the bigger picture. It seems that most just want to make it look pretty because the app is giving these possibilities, but it’s more than that, it’s about problem-solving too. It’s a major undertaking to revamp and re-brand both Adobe’s and Macromedia’s apps as one brand, we’re talking thousands of icons.

More on Mayor Menino’s City Hall Slander


Another fun story from the NY Times about architecture. It’s a feature about that story from last week about Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino said he was interested in selling City Hall. Claiming it to be an eyesore from the outside and impossible to enjoy yourself in once inside, the man is desperate to move out. Good story from the Times who picks up from those brief little blurbs we all heard last week and takes it back and forth, to weigh both sides:

But Mr. Menino’s announcement has also strengthened the will of City Hall’s defenders; some see it as a seminal building in the city’s history, and others do not want the seat of city government to move to a waterfront location that can be difficult to reach.

“It’s extremely important, architecturally, and it’s been recognized as one of the best modern movement buildings in the U.S.,” said Pauline Chase-Harrell, an architectural consultant who was chairwoman of the Boston Landmarks Commission in the 1980s. “It was intended to symbolize the rebirth of Boston,” Ms. Chase-Harrell added, with the new concrete building growing out of Boston’s red brick past.

Logos Made Simple, As Long As You Aren’t Picky (or enjoy things like nice logos)


Just some fun for today, because, let’s face it, the internet seems deadsville all this week. So we bring you Logo Design Basics from MSNBC by John Williams, “the founder of, the world’s first do-it-yourself logo design website.” The article is about, nah, you know what it’s about, and you know why we’re posting it. And so you likely understand why we think it’s funny that a man who now makes his living selling pre-built, clip-art based logos for $99 is writing articles about the need to seriously think about your business and do things like “study the science of color and typeface.” But please only study hard enough until you’ve gone through the whole clipart folder on your hard drive. You don’t want to over do it.

Bruegel: The Currier and Ives of the Renaissance


We’ve got shirt sleeve holidays and Al Gore; in 1565, it was the opposite: the Little Ice Age had record cold and creeping glaciers getting medieval on European residents. The Guardian has an interesting essay about how this affected art at the time, with the painter Bruegel inventing a new genre as he depicted the suddenly snow-covered world. Think about that next year as you’re wishing for a white Christmas.

Icsid Turns 50, Buys Corvette


Dexigner has a nice feature up today about the 50th anniversary of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Really interesting, even if you aren’t in the field. We didn’t really know much about the Icsid, so we had no idea what kind of effect they’ve had on the industry, but hey, that’s why you read, right? To learn stuff? Hello? Where is everyone today? Here’s a bit:

50 years after being founded, Icsid now counts over 150 member organisations in more than 50 countries, representing an estimated 150,000 designers from educational institutions, promotional and professional organisations, as well as consulting practises and corporations. Amongst the thousands of design organisations around the world, Icsid is still unique in bringing together a truly international range of design voices, which gives a broad perspective to each one of our projects. By facilitating international collaboration, Icsid represents the multi-faceted nature of design today and utilises the resources of its members to improve the world in which we live — hence our guiding principle: Global solidarity and design for a better quality of life around the world.

From the East to the West, the Times Knows Architecture the Best


Couple of interesting stories in the NY Times about architecture over the past couple of days. The first, from Stamford, Connecticut, about the desperate plight to save Paul Rudolph’s 1972 modernist home:

The 4,200-square-foot stucco house, designed in 1972 by Paul Rudolph, stands out among its outsize Colonial-style neighbors at the end of Minute Man Hill Road. It is an elongated series of interconnecting cubes with cantilevered panels that hang above large windows. Pieces of Arctic quartz stud the exterior stucco, giving the off-white walls a rough-hewn texture…Because the house is less than 60 years old, the Westport Historic District Commission cannot legally seek to delay the demolition.

The second is about budding architects and schools and firms trying to escape from the shadow of Frank Gehry and Thom Mayne in Los Angeles, and provides a nice overview of some of the projects either recently completed or in the process. Here’s a little:

Meanwhile up-and-coming Los Angeles architects have distinguished themselves in the annual Young Architects Competition sponsored in New York by P.S. 1 and the Museum of Modern Art. Hernan Diaz Alonso of Xefirotarch won in 2005 with a swirling, billowing composition of tentlike bio-organic forms inspired by the tango. Jason Payne and Heather Roberge of Gnuform were finalists this year with a proposal called “Purple Haze,” after the Jimi Hendrix song, that featured “altered sensory states” like loungers made of rubber tube rings with depressed centers that become wading pools.

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like X.mas


It’s overcommercialized, overhyped and overdone (it’s also almost over, so just hang on). But Christmas might still mean something to the world if it could just shake its stale identity. Seriously, who picked green and red? If only someone could rebrand Christmas…

Pentagram was hired by Kurt Andersen to do exactly that, and you can hear all about the the x.mas proposal on this week’s Studio 360. Randy Kennedy also covers it for the NY Times.

Download the five different x.mas wrapping papers, designed by Luke Hayman, and peruse Pentagram’s presentation to jolly old Andersen (who admits he really loves him a little traditional Christmas). Additional x.mas credit goes to Paula Scher, who came up with the x.mas theme, Michael Gericke for proposing the international x.mas governing body, Lisa Strausfeld for nominating that it be named a domain extension, then there’s tree designer Abbott Miller, cone visionary Jim Biber, and Armin Vit and Michael Yi, who created the slot machine-like e-card . Because when it comes to x.mas, everyone’s a winner.

Hadid and a Couple of New Boxes


Whoever Zaha Hadid’s publicist is, we want to hire them. Not that we’re, you know, actually doing anything with our lives that we need any press for, but still, they know how to get that name out there. This time around, Dezain pointed us to Dezeen’s coverage of Hadid’s Z.Box installation at the recent Art Basel Miami Beach. It’s weird and dark and creepy and space age, per usual, but beyond that, there’s a link in there to Hadid’s new project, Hoxton Square, her first building in her home city, London, including a movie of some 3D animations of the thing (after what seems like 30 minutes spent on two title cards). Therein lies the cool.

Cemusa Takes NY, Puts JC to Shame


Here in Chicago (even though this writer isn’t in Chicago at the moment, he can still say “here in Chicago…”), we have this company, like you might have in your very own town, JC Decaux, who, in exhange for all the upkeep and construction of bus benches, the city lets them sell ad space somewhere on or around the bench enclosures. We’re telling you stuff you already know, because you’ve seen these before, a million times over, we’re certain. But we wanted to introduce it to provide a nice seque into this story from AdAge about the Spanish company, Cemusa, who has won the most covetted thing in the industry: the outdoor bus-shelter contract for New York, and now they’ve just started rolling out the new look of the things. They’re much nicer than what we’d seen before. Solid lines, the ad integration seems a little more smooth, and the overall look just feels more polished. In short, we kinda hope JC Decaux is quaking in their boots because our bus stops don’t look near as nice.

A Red Letter Day for Red Dot Winners


Icongrada pointed our way to the announcement of the winners of the the Red Dot Awards for Communication Design. Loads of great info and photos on the site, so make sure you spend some time browsing around. We particularly liked the poster series for the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, by one of the big winners of the evening, Studio Dumbar in Rotterdam. Speaking of that, here’s a little about the winning:

This year, the red dot: grand prix was for the first time awarded in several categories. The work ‘Happy World, Best World International Limited Annual Report 2005/2006′ by Epigram from Singapore won the red dot: grand prix as the best work in the category Corporate Design. Atelier Bruckner received the red dot: grand prix in the category Informational Design/Public Space for their ‘Tatort Forscherlabor’ (‘Crime Scene Research Laboratory’), ‘Nano Maca’ won in the category Packaging and the ‘Metropolitan World Atlas’ in the category Editorial. The agency Neue Digitale received the red dot: grand prix for their interactive website ‘adidas Sport Style Y-3′ in the category Interactive Media, and the poster series ‘Amsterdam Sinfonietta’ by Studio Dumbar from The Netherlands won in the category Posters.