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Archives: April 2008

Canon Announces Nature Photo Contest, Prepares to Be Deluged by Pictures of Sunsets

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According to a national study, 92% of vacation photos consist of at least three pictures of sunsets. OK, we made that up, but it sounds about right, and so we suspect that Canon will be on the receiving end of oodles of sunset shots as the entries start to roll in for its third annual “Photography in the Parks” contest, which challenges legal U.S. residents over the age of 13 (perhaps there are separate such contests for children and/or illegal aliens?) to submit their shots taken in the vicinity of any park or monument in America. This year’s theme is “inspirational nature images.” Translation: sunsets!

The grand prize has an intimidating ring to it: “an unforgettable vacation for two in the American wilderness.” If that sounds too much like the tagline of a bad Chevy Chase film, aim a little lower. The three runners-up get Canon photo gear. What’s the catch? The contest is not open to “professional photographers,” which the Canon legal team has defined as “one who has earned 51% or more of his or her annual income by taking, selling, or marketing photographs, whether as an employee or as a freelance photographer.” So consult your tax returns to make sure you qualify, and then get to snapping some sunsets. You’ve got until September 30 to enter.

The Body Politic: SVA to Showcase Politically-Inspired Fashion Design

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The closest the kids on Project Runway have come to politics is that time they designed new uniforms for the United States Postal Service (whatever came of that? our carrier continues to rock the serge shorts n’ knee socks look), but the students in the School of Visual ArtsDesigner as Author program aren’t afraid to jump into the political fray. And it’s that very fray that members of the MFA Class of 2009 are now hunched over with pinking shears and flag appliqués as they prepare to put on “Model Citizen,” a show and subsequent exhibition of “distinct fashion lines inspired by political points of view” that will take place on the evening of Monday, May 5 at the SVA Gallery.

Curated by Kevin O’ Callaghan under the watchful, politically savvy eyes of program co-chairs Steven Heller and Lita Talarico, the show will feature the work of 19 students, and after parading down the catwalk (what better metaphor for the campaign trail?), the designs will be on display at the gallery through May 31. No word on whether they’ve enlisted Heller to walk the runway, but he does promise us that it will be “an amazing show,” so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Also, we call first dibs on any dress with a superdelegates theme.

Building the ‘Just Creative’ Brand


Interesting follow-up from the second place winner of the readers’ choice in the Logo Design Love Awards. Jacob Cass, proprietor of Just Creative Design, has put up a post explaining, in great detail, how he came to his current identity. From start to finish, he shows his original self-branding work “JackCass Productions” and then, as he moved beyond being fifteen years old, into something more refined. It’s a fun bit of reading and looking over a virtual shoulder. And who isn’t a sucker for behind-the-scenes, process stuff like this? Here’s a bit about an early logo idea that featured a generic little swirl:

I received feedback from peers and from forums and many people told me that there was so many logos that incorporated the Fibonnaci Squirl. After a little research I found this was true and this meant that my logo would not be unique. So I went with the led pencil idea that I thought was working quite well so I continued with that. It was here that I tried to get the best size for the pencil to show off the JCD initials as well as making sure it looked like a pencil.

Peek Over A Shoulder to Listen to Roger Black


Interesting report from the field over at Michael SurteesDesignNotes site. Surtees recently attended a lecture by industry icon and all-around great guy, Roger Black, over at Frog and put together by AIGA. From the post, we learn that Black wound up talking some about the web and the ongoing conversation a designer has to have with his or her audience therein to really make things work. He also got into talking about his own work and how he did things for clients like Rolling Stone and Newsweek. But our favorite part of Michael’s great quick report are the snippets he included from his notes:

Here’s some of my notes from the talk:
“People don’t remember the bad layouts, people back then tried things – they took risks”
“Playing against the expectation”
“Weight, stage and push forward”
“Web = blurry”
“Narrative design; YouTube vs. documnetry, Iraq vs. Vietnam”
“Web 2.0 – open it up”

Dobrow Asks How ‘Green’ is Your ‘Vanity’?


This writer’s fiancee often rants against ‘green issues’ of magazines, saying how counterintuitive the whole thing is and how a real ‘green issue’ would be published solely as a PDF or entirely online. But that, of course, uses a certain amount of rationality, logic and a careless disregard for how the magazine business works. However, she can now count among her allies one Mr. Larry Dobrow whose piece in AdAge, “How Dobrow Celebrated Earth Day (Hint: Hefting a Small Forest),” he picks apart Vanity Fair‘s recent ‘green issue’ from cover to cover and is absurdly funny along the entire route. However, at the piece’s close, he does stop to offer a couple of positive words, such as:

Meanwhile, kudos to the handful of advertisers — Lexus, Fiji Water, Kendall-Jackson winery, ABC Carpet & Home, BMW, GE, Chevrolet and Mini — whose ads echo the green theme. Granted, they’d probably have run in VF if the May issue were pro-seal-clubbing or anti-lettuce, but it’s still heartening to know that their media minions were mindful of coming across as responsible, attentive earth denizens.

Wanted: A Designer Who Likes to Make Stuff about Making Stuff

rm34_cover.jpg We do love a house-of-mirrors effect, particularly when gainful employment is involved, and so we call your attention to this plum position designing about well, design. That’s right mise en abyme fans, the DIYers over at ReadyMade (“a bimonthly print magazine for people who like to make stuff”) are searching for a senior designer to join their Berkeley, California-based team. So if you’re intrigued at the prospect of graphically conveying how to, say, create a chandelier out of soda bottles, transform a Monopoly game board into a jewelry box, or build what the magazine describes as “a Laundromat-inspired modular bench” (pictured on the cover of the current issue, at right) this just might be the job for you.

Learn more about and apply for this senior designer, ReadyMade job or view all the current design/art/photo jobs.

Fabrica’s Office Is Cooler Than Yours

colors SF.jpgThis photo (at left) was taken at last week’s San Francisco festivities for the 73rd issue of Colors, the quarterly magazine established in 1991 under the editorship of Tibor Kalman and today part of Fabrica, Benetton‘s communication research center based in Treviso, Italy. See those two nametagged fellows standing between Academy of Art University graphic design professors Mary Scott and Phil Hamlett? They are Colors editorial director Enrico Bossan and creative director Erik Ravelo, and if they look suspiciously ebullient and curiously jetlagless, we think we know why. They spend their days dreaming up new ideas for Colors (which now encompasses music, books, documentaries, and exhibitions) here:

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That’s the Fabrica headquarters, an architectural complex restored and enlarged by Tadao Ando, and the editorial offices of Colors are nestled inside it. Benetton’s goal was to create a research center for (primarily visual) communications that would have the spirit of a Renaissance workshop or fabrica, and work on the complex, a 17th-century villa near Venice, was completed in 2000. We could go on about the villa’s renovated annexes (now housing a warren of workshops and an auditorium), the juxtaposition of antique tiles and wooden floors with stark reinforced concrete, the series of circular columns that reflect in pools of water, but we don’t want to make you too feel too bad about your own office. For the masochists among you, we’ve got three more photos after the jump.

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The Colors of Money

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Colors, the lush quarterly published in three bilingual editions by Fabrica (the communications research center of Benetton), recently launched its money-themed winter issue in San Francisco, where the Italy-based magazine has teamed up with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Academy of Art University San Francisco to celebrate its 17-year publishing history. Last Thursday’s presentation by the Colors editorial and creative directors at the Academy’s 79 Gallery was so packed that we hear a trio of Dwell magazine staffers (chair lovers if ever there were) took in the lecture while sitting on the floor. The gallery was decked out with a giant podium made of flattened copies of the new issue (pictured above) and photographs from it. Meanwhile, the Italian Cultural Institute is hosting an exhibition of all 73 Colors covers through May 17.

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Bathing Ape’s Secrets of Success

Ever wonder what Tomoaki Nagao and his Bathing Ape brand did to convince people to buy $300 hoodies? We were curious too. Luckily, by way of Jean Snow, we found this section of a BBC documentary on Japanese fashion and design companies making their way over and finding success in the west:

Americans Pick Winners of ‘Europe 40 Under 40′


‘Tis the season of awards and celebrations and conferences and any other reason people can think to get together. Via Archinect, we found out about another one: the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Anthenaeum have announced their picks for Europe 40 Under 40, an award given to both young designers and architects plying their trades in Europe. Bustler has the whole list of names, as well as a ton of images of the various winners’ work and it’s all just spectacular. The only thing we’re curious about is why this is a co-award with a Chicago-based organization and has a jury consisting entirely of people in New York, but is only about young designers and architects working in Europe. But maybe we’re just suffering from too much patriotism. Excuse us while we straighten out our lapel flag pins and give it some serious thought.