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Archives: August 2007

The Graphic Design Avenger?

We give up. August is officially the month of stupid design-focused videos. We found out about this one by way of Andy Rutledge who found out about it from Swissmiss who said, “It’s so bad, it’s good.” We don’t know if we can agree with that. We suppose it’s where you decide to draw that line of discomfort.

Bush Presidential Library: It’s Official, Stern Gets the Gig

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The deal is done. If you visit this site with any regularity, you’ll recall that there was some non-secretive debate about who was going to get the commission to design and build the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and where it was going to be. Now, by way of Archinect, we learned that, according to the Houston Chronicle, winning finalist, Robert A.M. Stern of an architecture firm sharing his name, sat down with the President recently and sealed the deal.

New York-based Robert A.M. Stern Architects was chosen out of three finalists by a committee, and the decision was finalized after Stern met last week with Bush at his Crawford ranch, presidential library site selection committee chairman Donald L. Evans said Tuesday.

The library selection committee remains in exclusive talks with [Southern Methodist University] and a decision is expected later this year, Evans said.

We guess they’re still on this secrecy kick. Whereas everyone else in the world knows the stupid thing is going to be built there. Is this some form of trying to build up excitement? Is it an attempt to try and make the other finalist feel bad about itself (any article we’ve ever read about this mentions Baylor University as “the other finalist” each and every time)? We don’t get it.

Revolving Door: Adobe Hires One Half of the ‘Content Aware Image Resizing’ Team

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So, no matter how you felt about it, once you saw that Content Aware Image Resizing video that’s been nearly everywhere (including our site), who did you figure would snatch up the brains behind it? If you guessed anyone other than Adobe, you’re a weirdo and we will forever question your guessing abilities. John Nack, Mr. Adobe himself, has the scoop on all the big deal people the company has recently hired, including Shai Avidan, the co-creator of the aforementioned image-altering, mind-exploding process. In fact, they just hired him this last Monday to work in their Newton, Massachusetts office, right as the video was being becoming the thing to see. Also hired were Wojciech Matusik, experimenter with multi-aperture photography and Sylvain Paris, who will start work for the company soon, who has “worked on techniques for matching tones across photos (‘make my image pop like Ansel’s').”

Karl Rove and His Merry Gang of Architects

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It’s a hot, sticky hump day out here in LA which has got us in one heck of a sour mood. So what could possibly lift our sweaty, humidified spirits? Why Christopher Hawthorne, of course!

In today’s installment, Hawthorne gets political with his tome “Architects want to move closer to the centers of power” starring none other than the Bush campaign “architect” Karl Rove. In fact, says Hawthorne, lots of people want to be architects:

What is it about architecture that makes it so attractive as a metaphorical job description? There’s Bill Walsh, the NFL coach who after he died last month was widely remembered as “the architect of the West Coast offense.” And Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden‘s Rove, often is called the architect of 9/11. Don’t forget James Madison, architect of the Constitution, or Alfred Hitchcock, labeled by one of his biographers “the architect of anxiety.” The computer industry is full of information and software “architects” who do their building with zeros and ones.

And, of course, there’s God: architect of the universe.

The problem with all this, says Hawthorne, is that real architects don’t get the same level of respect; even people like Thom Mayne and Rem Koolhaas want to be more like Rove.

Interesting. We thought they wanted to be more like God.

Archie Boston Brings Us 20 Outstanding Los Angeles Designers and One Amazing April Greiman Hairstyle

We’ve been waiting six months to share this gem with you ever since we first saw it at the Schools of Thoughts conference in March. LA designer Archie Boston‘s cinematic piece de resistance 20 Outstanding Los Angeles Designers features interviews conducted with 20 of LA’s best and brightest back in 1986. And finally, some clips are slowly accumulating on Boston’s YouTube channel.

This may be the only place in the whole wide world you can see footage of Saul Bass, Keith Bright, Lou Danziger, Jim Cross and many others all at once. You can’t beat the stroll through Bass’ studio, but our favorite has to be this clip of April Greiman and a very Duran Duran-worthy mousse job.

Burning Man Suffers Some Premature Burns, Should Be Patched Up In Time for Official Burning

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Amateur pyrotechnician James Addis was arrested on felony arson charges for torching the symbol of the Burning Man festival four days before the scheduled ignition. Early yesterday, the Burning Man went up in flames as thousands of Burners turned to each other in disbelief saying, “September 1 already? How long was I out?”

The official word is that the Man will be rebuilt, in preparation to be reburned Saturday night. Should you need to indulge your inner arsonist, TMZ has a video of the effigy ablaze. We swear we hear plenty of people cheering as what we imagine to be the collective graywater of the entire community falls in a fine shower over the crowd.

Interviewing Michael Cook, the Coolest Explorer-Person Ever

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Is it wrong to fall in love with an interview on a website? We’re really questioning the way we define our feelings after reading BLDGBLOG‘s interview with the guy who runs the Vanishing Point website and goes into abandoned urban landscapes, Michael Cook. It’s perhaps one of the longest interviews we’ve ever found online and full of photos that will make you want to take down all the framed screenprints you have lining your hipster house and replace them with these. In it, Cook talks about not just his site and his “urban exploration,” but more specifically, his recent fascination exploring and photographing Canada’s incredible system of underground tunnels. It’s pretty amazing, both to read about it and the pure visual candy. Honestly, if you don’t love this, we don’t want to have anything to do with you. Ever.

Of Forbes’ ‘Ten Design Trends’ Two Take the Focus

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If you’re an industrial designer given the task to design something that will become “the next big thing,” might we suggest that you make it “green” and in some way alterable by the public at large? We don’t care what it is, from a common plunger to a full-sized luxury car, just make it fit those two criteria. Or so say Forbes in their feature “Ten Industrial Design Trends You Can’t Ignore,” wherein those two specific trends are the central focus. In the section dedicated to photos, they recommend other things like making sure, if it’s going i n someone’s home, to make it all colorful and pattern-y and thinking about women’s needs, but the central focus nearly everywhere in the piece is this stuff about saving the earth and allowing people to make it their own. So do that stuff first. You can figure out how to make it a globalized iPhone later.

LOL Cats Bring in Laugh Out Loud Money

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We’re still a little tipsy from last night’s outing following the conclusion of yesterday’s An Event Apart here in Chicago (which was wonderful), so apologies in advance for the rampant misspellings and run-on sentences, not to mention the odd topics. For instance, would a fully sober person of any sort of right mind post this story in Ad Age about the success of the LOL Cats phenomenon? Maybe, once they’d had a shocked to their system learning that the wonderfully stupid site receives around “500,000 page views a day” and each of their ads fetch “between $500 and $4,000 for week long placements.” As one event goer said last night as we brought the story up, “It’s strange. It’s like something we were all doing in 1995, but with 100×50 pixel images.” And Time seems to agree:

Despite a fair amount of media hype around LOL Cats, including a piece in Time Magazine, there are no good explanations outside the simple fact that many pics are excruciatingly adorable and thus work well as time-wasters. Plus, there’s a universal appeal — that’s gold in the internet’s fragmented hills. Wrote Time’s Lev Grossman, “The great, weird internet meme, which once thundered across the net in vast herds, is becoming surprisingly scarce, which may be why LOL Cats has a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to it.”

Paula Scher, Jake Burton and Gwen Stefani Together at Last

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Let us present to you one Paula Scher, superstar designer, who is representing the design industry in a new campaign for HP as one of a trio of creative superstars. And doing it fabulously, we might add.

HP’s “What do you have to say?” site features ideas and projects for creatives by Scher, Gwen Stefani and Jake Burton. Scher’s contribution is five customizable business identity templates, links to some books we like and resources for those looking to hire designers. After that, you can play with Stefani’s Harajuku paper dolls.

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