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Archives: October 2007

1000 Journals, the Book, and Now, 1000 Journals, the Movie

Way back when in 2000, when UnBeige was just a twinkle in Jen Bekman‘s eye, Someguy (aka San Francisco designer Brian Singer) released 1000 journals out into the world. Seven years later, some of those journals are still circulating, their contents and travels documented on the website Lots more information here.


2007 saw two very interesting developments in the 1000 Journals project. A book, The 1000 Journals Project was published by Chronicle Books earlier this year, with incredible reproductions of journal pages. And this weekend in LA, a documentary, 1000 Journals will premiere at the AFI Fest. Directed by Andrea Kreuzhage, the film takes us around the world, tracking some of the journals in circulation and how they touched the lives chronicled in their pages. If you’re in LA this Sunday or Monday, you’ll have a chance to see the film, buy a book, meet Singer, and see some of the original journals. Tickets available here.

CalArts Design Students Launch pub


We’ve just been handed the first issue of pub, the new journal-zine by those crazy kids at CalArts. A nice pink and green cover gives way to a dozen interviews with people like Karin Fong, Jens Gelhhaar, Mr. Keedy and Geoff McFetridge. Our personal favorites are ten pages of Ed Fella‘s “collections” and drawings by Beau Johnson. Copies are $10 but it doesn’t look like online ordering is enabled; we bet you could email them for one.

Dare we say this group of very ambitious students is trying to fill some Emigre-sized shoes? Hmmmm?

Gyro Confuses Real Life with The Onion, Proposes “Ugly Philly” Campaign

Philadelphia-based Gyro Worldwide (“Breakin’ the Rules since 1988″) has devised a new tourism campaign for its hometown premised on the much buzzed about designation of Philly as the “Ugliest City in America,” based on a Travel & Leisure online poll. The agency has created a series of ads that feature “simple, documentary-style photography that tells it like is,” capturing startling unattractive people and taglines such as “Come Visit Uglytown U.S.A!” [cut to shot of director John Waters rolling his eyes and chortling at this way off-tone attempt to mimic his campily clever love/hate approach to Baltimore]

“I’m from Philly. My ancestors are from Philly. And it seems every day I see new levels of ugliness. It’s time we cashed in on our heinousness,” says Gyro CEO Steven Grasse.

Gyro says that it will propose the campaign to the board of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation, suggesting that it run “in hipster publications that beautiful people look at such as Surface, BlackBook, and Nylon.” Their rationale? “Beautiful People love to feel superior to everyone else,” according to Grasse.

Is this a Halloween trick (a couple of days early) or just an astonishingly bad idea?

More Crouwel/Vignelli For Your Monday


Just as we thought we had last week’s AIGA NY Wim CrouwelMassimo Vignelli event all covered, turns out even more wit and wisdom has emerged. Michael Brenner over at DESIGNY has a wrap up of the evening, including images of some of the work discussed (very nice investigative work).

AIGA NY also put together these awesome Proust Questionnaires which Crouwel and Vignelli both answered, and in which we learn that they both have some serious architect-worship. Crouwel names Norman Foster as one of his real-life heroes; Vignelli names Mies van der Rohe. And if given a chance to do it again, they would both come back as architects. Hey, it’s not too late, guys.

Man Builds Better Helmet, NYT Beats Path to Door

xenithx1.jpgA more protective football helmet, the design of which was inspired by a ribbed plastic squeeze bottle, made the front page of Saturday’s New York Times. Created by former quarterback Vin Ferrara, the helmet is lined not with foam or urethane but with 18 air-filled thermoplastic shock absorbers that can help to cushion the head from concussion-force blows–vaguely reminding us of the Reebok Pump, but with a purpose. Plus, the helmet’s flexible disks–which respond differently to low, medium, and high impacts–can absorb hundreds of blows without degrading. The helmet is manufactured by Xenith, Ferrara’s Boston-based startup, and is expected to retail for $350.

After teasing the story on the front page, the NYT digs deep on helmet design, devoting a full page to an ‘Evolution of the Football Helmet’ graphic and timeline (beginning with the circa 1892 “Morrill rubber nose mask,” which would make a disturbing Halloween costume) and a nice sidebar on the controversial studies of helmet effectiveness. Our favorite hmm-never-thought-about-that fun fact: unlike football helmets, which are designed to protect against impacts of various strength thousands of times, bike helmets are designed to withstand just one major, accidental impact.

Steven Heller Week Ends, But the Fun Has Just Begun


As night falls on the last day of Steven Heller Week, we decided to pause and reflect on the week that was:

We quoted, we doted.

We got proliffy and D-Critty.

We gave you two new books, and 10 new facts.

And we thought, for a moment, he was Gandhi.

So powerful were the vibrations from our celebrations that word of Steven Heller Week even reached far beyond the boroughs of New York City, as proved by this Minneapolis paper claiming a certain “Design guru to speak at AIGA show.” It is indeed the man himself, appearing this Thursday at 7pm.

So, all you Hellerheads, pack up the van, grab your peacoats, and let’s go! Looks like this Hellerpalooza is hitting the road.

From the Mouths of Legends: Quotes from Wim Crouwel and Massimo Vignelli


We’re feeling especially quotable today, so in addition to the wise words uttered by Steven Heller, we’ve also got some sage wisdom from the Wim Crouwel/Massimo Vignelli AIGA NY talk last night, moderated by Alice Twemlow (who we hear was “fantastic”). Serifcan Ozcan and Scott Stowell, both of Open, compiled these memorable moments, which you can print out and put alongside those Heller ones you’ve already hung on your wall.

Crouwell: “The grid is like the lines on a football field. You can play a great game in the grid or a lousy game. But the goal is to play a really fine game.”

Vignelli: “Emigre is the worst thing that ever happened to this country. It’s unbelievable the damage they have done. A total disaster. [laughter] You laugh, but you should cry.”

Crouwel: “Neutrality has its own aesthetics.”

Crouwel: “Design is something to help society. You can build. You can add to it.”

Vignelli: “My desk is the only place where I’m happy. I hate vacations.”

Read more

Tomorrow, Get D-Critty at SVA

“D-Crit” is not Chip Kidd‘s D.J. name. It’s the School of Visual Arts’s new MFA in Design Criticism program, the first graduate-level degree program dedicated to critical writing about design in the United States. Tomorrow is your chance to learn all about the two-year program (and catch a glimpse of the man himself on the final day of Steven Heller Week) at an open house for the program that runs from 2:00-4:00pm at SVA (133 West 21st Street). This is the first in a series of events anticipating the D-Crit program’s inauguration next fall. A Design Criticism Reading Series at the KGB Bar kicks off on November 29, and this spring, look for a panel discussion on the future of design criticism.

Sleeping Pigs Don’t Lie When It Comes to Pushing Product At Design Stores


Your life will never be the same once you’ve cast your eyes upon the infamous Sleeping Pig by George Chang for Auto, featured as a best-seller in “Best Sellers and Bombs, and What Stores Are Betting On” in yesterday’s NY Times House & Home.

Flip through the slideshow to see picks from stores across the country–it’s very interesting to see what made it and what didn’t, especially when it comes to brand-name designers: They’re betting on Tord Boontje‘s new table for Moroso, but two Hella Jongerius pieces bombed (like the poor Hella Hippo), as did glassware by Karim Rashid, while John Derian‘s decoupage projects fared well with skeletons but not with playing cards.

New York Picks Design Revolutionaries, Peeks into Fabien Baron’s Bedroom

Any magazine that puts the OXO swivel peeler on its cover merits cover-to-cover reading, and so it goes with the October 29 design issue of New York. The issue highlights “nine New Yorkers who changed–and are still changing–the way we look at the world,” that is: Fabien Baron, Mario Buatta, Santiago Calatrava, Joe D’Urso, Jack Lenor Larsen, Martha Stewart, Massimo and Lella Vignelli, and Eva Zeisel (and among the 25 others who get a quick shout-out are logomeister Ivan Chermayeff, Knopf‘s Book Design Department, and the extraodinary Albert Hadley).

There’s plenty to read here, but we couldn’t turn away from Mark Heithoff‘s photos of Fabien Baron’s Soho loft. It’s everything we hoped for: clean lines, interesting textures (leather shag rug anyone?), Poul Kjaerholm furniture, photographs by Irving Penn and Eugene Atget, and a Bertoia sculpture that’s reminiscient of a Baronian typographical flourish from the pages of French Vogue. Fabien: did we mention that mediabistro is headquartered in Soho? And that we happen to be excellent apartmentsitters?