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Posts Tagged ‘David Carson’

The Tote Bag That May Get You Fired

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Who was the copywriter on this unprecedented display of designer hubris? Who manufactured such an item? Who has the balls to carry one around? Anonymous confessions accepted, plus bonus points for whoever can help direct us to where we can purchase one of these things. We’ve been looking for just the right gift for David Carson.

Thanks to Margaret Yang.

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David Carson, Where Are You?

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Notorious no-show David Carson has been the butt of two pretty funny jokes in the last few weeks and we’d be downright irresponsible if we didn’t make fun of him, too.

First, Debbie Millman vamped on “Design Matters” when Carson cancelled a few weeks ago by reading the transcript of a previous interview and performing a somewhat brilliant intro. We guess it helps to know in advance that there is a very good chance your guest is going to flake.

But the Be A Design Group boys seem to be seriously offended by his absence since they created this comic strip and wrote a pretty scathing rant, calling him, fondly, “David Car5on.” Marc English has more good dirt in the comments.

The only thing that puzzles us is Carson’s been showing up on time, primped, pressed and tanned for his Helvetica Q&As

Hangin’ With the Helvetica Crew

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Gary Hustwit is not only a hero to graphic designers everywhere, he happens to be one of the nicest, most genuine guys we’ve ever met. His nerves were somewhat soothed after the premiere of Helvetica, where they had to turn 150 people away–150 people!–and he was finally enjoying a well-deserved beer. Listen, we’d be thrilled about this movie no matter what–just the existence of a feature-length film about design is reason for us to cheer–but we’re telling you, this is a great movie. The design community should be sending Gary Hustwit love letters for a very long time. You can write them in any typeface you want, too, because he’s definitely ready to start looking at something else. Maybe a nice serif.

Hustwit has had more than 100 requests to screen Helvetica around the world and at most of those screenings a designer from the film will join him. In Austin, that designer was David Carson, and to answer your next question, yes. We met David Carson. We weren’t so sure about him at first, you know, his bad boy reputation and all. That and the fact that he’s actually kind of like the villain in Helvetica. And although most of his sentences do start “Well, I’ve never really gotten along with ______, but…” or “Me and _______ don’t really see eye-to-eye, so…”, we found him to be pretty open and delightful company on two separate occasions. He’s got a great sense of humor. And to answer your second question, yes. He is even more tan in real life.

Helvetica World Premiere

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We just barely snagged a seat in an extremely tightly-kerned crowd at the world premiere of Helvetica here at SXSW, where the entire audience sported buttons reading “I love/hate Helvetica.” Okay, okay, everybody has been making their little jokes about “the movie about a font.” But guess what–this is not really a movie about a typeface. Helvetica is just a character in this wonderfully-made film, which just might be the best history of graphic design we’ve ever seen.

Director Gary Hustwit‘s film will lead even the most design clueless through an intelligent global survey of design. But designers won’t be bored. It’s not a simplified primer; instead, it’s the soul of graphic design–straight from the source. Massimo Vignelli preaching that there are only really, three typefaces (we thought it was five; he must be getting pickier). Sagmeister saying clean type is boring. Paula Scher explaining illustrative type. Rick Poynor explaining Modernism. David Carson epitomizing grunge type. Experimental Jetset bringing it all back around.

The story of graphic design is meant for the big screen. With the exception of a few conferences and maybe the work of someone like Hillman Curtis, we just don’t get to see ourselves like this. And damn do we look good.

Especially Erik Spiekermann, and an adorable Michael Bierut, who are the real stars of this film. Bierut delivers the best monologue in the whole movie–an awesome treatise on corporate design that got the biggest laughs and a hearty round of applause.

True to subject, the film itself is simple and beautiful. There are some lovely animations of Swiss designs and cool shots of how type gets made. And there’s an exuberant quality about the whole thing–a lingering shot on a corner of a poster, the spare but expressive music, and the stunning, overwhelming ubiquitousness of this typeface that means nothing and everything, all at the same time. The film festival guy who introduced the film said this, and got a laugh from the audience, but by the end of the film it was apparent: Designer or not, you will never, ever see the world the same again.