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Posts Tagged ‘Mirko Ilic’

UnBeige Can Read: Hot Summer Reading

We know, you thought that we forgot how to read, what with our erratic drug-addled posting and avowance to swear off words for life. But a stack just landed on our desk and they’re good ones. Just in time for you grab ‘em on your way to the beach this weekend.

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We second Speak Up’s good review of The Anatomy of Design. This is one of those books you see and say, man, why didn’t I think of that first? Which is exactly what the book is all about. Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic strip pieces of graphic design down to their inspirations and influences, tracing from whence they came. They also categorize visual trends so specifically that you never realized “fake dripping spray paint” or “fascination with skills” were so damn prevalent. Also, the cover is puffy.

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Todd Oldham has long been a champion of the artist Charley Harper: Oldham designed an exhibition of Harper’s work and also created some textile designs with his distinctive illustrations. Now Oldham’s literally written the book on Harper, with Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life a gorgeous 420-page monograph that includes huge pretty pictures of his work in Ford Times magazine, The Giant Golden Book of Biology, and hundreds of paintings, murals and drawings.

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Through some magical process, AIGA NY’s Fresh Dialogue events turn into books published by Princeton Architectural Press. We don’t know how it happens, but Making Magazines is the latest to emerge. This conversation by the founders of super-smart, super-beautiful indie mags Topic, Esopus and Bidoun includes the text of the talk and full-color photos of whatever they were talking about, inserted appropriately. The conversation was probably really captivating in person because we sat down to quickly page through this book and ended up reading it all in one sitting.

And that’s it for this editon of UnBeige Can Read. Wear your sunblock, and remember, you don’t have to take our word for it.

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Y Did It Have to End So Soon?

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Sure, we made it home safe, but we’re not happy about it. We wish the Y Conference in San Diego could have lasted a whole week. Now we’ve heaped praise upon these stars to the south before, and it’s not really news that this little regional conference is no longer little or regional. What Y is, however, is small enough for even the lowliest student to hobnob with the biggest of big-time speakers. The conference fee is relatively cheap. And we don’t think we have to mention the beyond-perfect climate (72 and sunny; okay, make that very sunny).

As we smooched old friends goodbye at the Red Circle Cafe Saturday night, realized that were it not for Y regulars Stefan Bucher and Petrula Vrontikis, we’d have never known about the wonder of Y. We thanked Terry “Stampy” McCaffrey for changing the way we think about those little perforated stickers. And we praised conference chair Adam Rowe, who has been doing this for an incredible seven years, although we’d like to offer one popular thought to mull over for the next year: 12 white guys and only two women?

On our way out we were busy describing the plot of Idiocracy to Tucker Viemeister when his eyes drifted towards the ceiling. “It’s a shame we can’t get these guys some lightbulbs,” he said, as we followed his gaze to two burnt-out lights over the bar. Ah, the curse of the man who can do everything. Next to him was Mirko Ilic, forever cursed as the only man confident (European? crazy?) enough to take his shirt completely off while sunbathing in the lawn of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. We may have missed hearing Ilic speak, but it didn’t matter; he was pretty much presenting all weekend.

Finally, we got totally busted by our newest best friend Stefan Sagmeister who promised to bore us again and again with his deja vu-inducing presentation. We turned bright red and said that we didn’t think everyone felt that way, it was just that we happened to be at every single conference. “But so am I!” he laughed. Man, that Stefan Sagmeister is downright impossible not to look up to–and not just because he’s like seven feet tall.

So if Y was the question, what was the answer, you ask? Probably the most important thing we learned that when you Ask a Ninja (and believe us, we did), the answer is most likely going to be “Thomas Kinkade.” See you next year.

More Y Conference coverage.

USPS’s Terry McCaffrey Predicts Star Wars Stamps Will Rule the Universe

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Terry McCaffrey is chair of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, of which the blogosphere’s fair Jessica Helfand is a member. She’s the latest in an illuminated list of design names like Bradbury Thompson and Meredith Davis who’ve served (apparently Steven Heller was on it once but attended two meetings, found the committee too bureaucratic and quit).

But with all those big names, 50,000 letters from the American public annually, and the collecting community clamoring for single color engraved designs–it seems like when it comes to stamps, everyone has their own agenda.

Until the Elvis stamp they didn’t do anything contemporary (remember the old or young Elvis contest?). The USPS was only allowed to start making a profit two years ago, but they made $26 million on Elvis–and that’s mostly from collectors. They’ve also made $53 million for breast cancer research from a 1999 stamp.

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Here’s the crazy thing about stamps: When they make mistakes, people want them more. For example, McCaffrey learned today that in the Buckminster Fuller stamp based on that famous Time cover, the artist made a huge mistake and put six sides on his geodesic dome-head instead of five. Mirko Ilic was good enough to point that out from the audience. Whoops.

Maybe they should purposely make a mistake on the upcoming Star Wars series (available May 28) since McCaffrey predicts it will blow the lid off the USPS. At first the committee didn’t want it because it honored living people, which is against postal rules, but McCaffrey argued that it’s not Harrison Ford, it’s Han Solo. They’re printing 500 million, just to start.

Sagmeister and Kent Nichols (who are either brand new BFFs or old friends) manned the peanut gallery throughout the presentation, cheering “I love you, Stampy!” If that’s the official term of endearment for McCaffrey, then we say, Stampy, we love you, too.

More Y Conference coverage.

Sagmeister Asks a Ninja

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We know what you’re wondering…what the hell is a ninja is doing on stage at the Y Design Conference? Ask a Ninja creators Douglas Sarine (dressed and in character as Ninja) and Kent Nichols began their presentation by answering that very question.

Ninja: What are we doing at a design conference?

Nichols: Well, you’re wearing all black. Don’t you fit in?

But fitting in became irrelevant once they showed the latest episode of their web show, which amazingly featured an interview with Blades of Glory stars Will Ferrell and Jon Heder. Ninja was upset they didn’t kill anyone with their “blades” of glory. This is a show that started in their tiny West Hollywood apartments.

Nichols and Sarine first started down this dark path with an animated screenplay about ninjas in Orange County, which has evolved into one of the most popular shows in history–Ask a Ninja has been viewed over 20 million times. With Ninja as moderator, they engaged in a discussion about creating with accessible tools, having an audience that pushes back, and developing a brand, but mostly they were just really, really funny.

Of all the audience questions, Sagmeister asked the best one. “I have a question about light,” he said in that sexy Austrian purr. “Is it a particle or is it a physical state?”

Ninja: You live in the light you create.

Nichols: The light you take is equal to the light you make.

Sagmeister laughed and seemed to be pleased with the answer.

More Y Conference coverage.