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Archives: April 2007

Paola Antonelli’s Not-So-Humble Masterpiece

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Following up on her coverage from “Design and its Publics,” Alice Twemlow directed us towards this interesting detail on the speaker bio pages. Paola Antonelli is looking way sexy in her new headshot. Why, she doesn’t even look like the same person. We’d even venture to say that we can’t see a lick of clothing in that photo. And we likey.

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Curators, Critics and Historians Pack Lazor’s FlatPak Pad

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We couldn’t make the trip to the Great White North for the Design Institute’s “Design and its Publics: Curators, Critics and Historians” conference, but curator, critic and historian Alice Twemlow filed this report from the first evening’s party:

The highlight of the first day was definitely the evening spent at the home of Blu Dot founder Charlie Lazor. His stunning FlatPak house is the flagship for a series of prefabs in which the panels, based on a simple 8-foot-wide, 1-story-high wall panel are flat-packed and constructed on site. He and his ebullient wife Zelda welcomed some of the world’s best-revered architecture and design curators and critics into their home with grace and apparent nonchalance. Despite its outward perfection, inside the house feels lived in, with the scuffs and scratches you get when two kids are having fun. And, when Zelda retrieved some cigarettes, we were comforted to see that they even have one of those kitchen drawers into which, just before guests arrive, you sweep all your kipple. It was a great party. We got to hob-nob with MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, Henry Urbach who is the new curator of architecture and design at SF MoMA, and the recently appointed director of London’s Design Museum Deyan Sudjic–mainly because they were stranded in the leafy suburbs of Minneapolis and we were standing between them and the dessert table, but hey, whatever it takes.

CalArts Student Says No to Paper and Plastic

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Banned in San Francisco and likely on the way out in LA, too, plastic bags have truly become an enemy of the state, at least in California. But paper’s no angel, either; the only real solution is to get people to start bringing reusable bags themselves. One CalArts student staged an “ecological intervention” to confront shoppers with the concept.

On Earth Day Roman Jaster sat outside a Ralph’s supermarket and sewed fabric grocery bags for those heading inside. In exchange for a free bag, Jaster asked people to sign a pledge saying they’d use the bag for a minimum of six months. Paper Nor Plastic documents Jaster’s progress, including cute photos of him hunched over his sewing machine in action right outside the store. In fact, his personal touch is definitely what made people take pause. “I realize that it was a highly symbolic intervention,” says Jaster. “I see the real impact for change in the dispersal of the documentation. Thanks for helping me accomplish this.”

Helvetica Takes the Cake In LA

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We had second helpings of Helvetica this weekend as the documentary made its West Coast premiere. Gary Hustwit had attended sold out screenings in Laguna Beach the night before and although he claimed exhaustion from a month of jetsetting, Hustwit was bright-eyed and charming as ever.

The only bummer about the screening was the screen itself: the film was shown in a tiny 200 person auditorium housed the Gerontology Department of USC with horrendously uncomfortable seats and a sound system that consisted of two tinny speakers. We felt bad that this most film-savvy crowd didn’t get to experience the sweet HD camera work and fabulous score. At all.

Afterwards, though, the courtyard outside throbbed with enthusiasm and anticipation as people lining up for the 9:30 screening asked the 7:00 kids what they thought. And, in what seems to now be a tradition for these screenings, a Helveticake was served, with USC volunteers shaving off thick sans serif slices.

C6 Symposium: Mau & Company Promote Sustainability in Our Own Backyard

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The good people at Inhabitat have some great coverage up a local event, the C6 Symposium here in Chicago, which just finished up on Saturday. In their post, they talk specifically about “the star-studded panel” which helped to close out the final day, featuring people like Bruce Mau and prefab designer, Jennifer Siegal. It’s a great batch of info, as they provide lengthy summaries of what each speaker had to say. Here’s the report on Mau:

Graphic designer, cultural trailblazer, and so much more, Mr. Mau is always a crowd-pleaser. The man behind the hefty tome S, M, L, XL and the call-to-action Massive Change exhibition, reminded the audience that “green is the new black” and “design is a force of a good.” His talk was an onslaught of inspirational design ideas — from a critique on crisis-focused global media to questioning why optimism is controversial, the importance of failure,”bringing sexy back” to green design, and the potential of the “massive change” mentality. We love Mr. Mau’s optimism and belief in design as a tool to shape the world in not just visual ways. Keeping with the uplifting tone, he ended his talk with a slide that asserted: “Our future will be more beautiful than our past.”

Reaction ‘Round the Web About the HP / LogoWorks Marriage

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Following up on our post from the other day about HP buying LogoWorks, we’ve been seeing some reaction here and there in both posts on other blogs, as well as in their comments sections (where all the real action is). First up are the comments on Airbag, ranging from “I think it fits them well. HP has always been a very 1990s company…Welcome back to the past!” to “Good design does have an ROI, so you’re not really going into debt to get a proper visual identity, you’re investing in your business. I think you’d have to be pretty broke not to be able to afford at least an entry level pro design.” On the site Does Your Business…, the writer asks in a very interesting post, essentially, “Who cares? This doesn’t affect me at all.” And then, on the other side of the fence, Duct Tape Marketing replied by saying “I’m a fan of the LogoWorks concept and have partnered with them in the past. In addition, I write a blog for HP’s small business readers. Who knows maybe Duct Tape Marketing is next!”

If You Can F**king Read This, Then You’ve F**king Been to Ironic Sans

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Continuing the fun for this early Monday morning, we found that Ironic Sans was getting a little fed up with the censoring of curse words on the internet, spawned from the much-passed-around story from Money Magazine, “50 Bulls**t Jobs.” Ironic responded by saying:

Oh, I know. It’s the kids. They might be reading. Sh*t. I didn’t f*cking think of that. It would be terrible if they would see the word “Bulls**t” in print, but it’s okay for them to see it with the asterisks, right? They’ll have no idea what that means. And I’m sure they have no idea what “the F word” is, so let’s just keep calling it that.

But instead of just fuming about it, they instead decided to respond by doing something about it. They’ve created a plugin for Firefox that will remove things like these asterisks and other simplistic fill-ins used to take the vulgarity out of the vulgar. Ain’t the internet great?

The Best of the Worst in Tech Company Mascots

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We’re coming off drinking beer all afternoon yesterday at the Sox game, only to be followed by a night at a bar seeing the closing act of the Chicago Improv Festival, so let’s start out nice, simple and fun (and please leave those shades closed and try to not talk too loudly, okay?). From Chris Glass, we found a great piece over at Wired, “Lamest Technology Mascots.” It’s very funny, and you can’t but help imagine the meeting that the need for a mascot was chosen (“McDonalds has a mascot! Bob’s Big Boy has a mascot! Sure, we’re not a family restaurant trying to attract kinds, we’re a software company, but I think that’s exactly what we need to connect to our audience!”). Here’s a bit about Sun Microsystems‘…whatever it is:

Leave it to Sun Microsystems to identify one of its flagship products with an amorphous blob spotting a big red W.C. Fields nose. Duke, whatever he is, is the ambassador of Java and a wee bit shy of household name status.

Verdict: A 3-D Rorschach blot — what does he signify to you?

Urban Forest Totes On Sale Monday

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More than a year ago, we first wrote about the Urban Forest Project, the tree-themed exhibition that hung in Times Square. Safely retrieved from their lightposts, each of the 185 banners has been converted into two totebags courtesy of Jack Spade, and will be on sale starting Monday for $120 each. As our Urban Forest informants tell us, they’re beautiful, sturdy and great for the beach.

If you can’t shell out the big bucks, printed-to-order t-shirts of each banner are still available for $22-25. Sales benefit Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships and the AIGA/NY Mentoring Program. Not surprisingly, the concept has taken root in other AIGA chapters: AIGA Portland, for example, is currently seeking designers for its show.

Email Marketing Company Emma Makes Like a Tree

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In case you didn’t know, it’s Arbor Day today, and to commemorate this very special occasion, our favorite email marketing company Emma has concocted a pretty fabulous way to celebrate our oxygen-producing friends. Because by using the designer-friendly, ultra-stylish Emma system instead of paper mailings you’re actually saving trees…get it?

Part service project, part just plain fun, Emma has pledged to plant up to 5,000 trees in cooperation with Trees Water & People, but they need your help. Please, visit the site Vote For Trees, and cast your vote for trees. To truly show your support, visit this cedar’s MySpace page where you can actually befriend a conifer.

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