“The current Eye 80 is a quite expanded issue. At a time when some design magazines are folding or shifting to web only, what is your rationale for pushing full-steam as a print journal? Making a print journal is what we do, and it’s what our readers and advertisers expect, though we do put plenty of energy into the online channels. Furthermore, the medium of the picture magazine still has the ability to convey information and entertainment, and to excite and inspire readers, in a way that other forms don’t yet. Like the illustrated book, the picture magazine is a mature medium. (This, by the by, is the challenge for editorial websites and apps, which are generally at an earlier stage of development, of which more later.) And when that medium’s in the hands of a master art director such as Simon Esterson (and before him Nick Bell [27-57] and Stephen Coates [1-26], it’s what makes publishing Eye such an intense pleasure. Plus we don’t have some of the restrictions (pagination, paper quality, awkward ad placements, middle management, coverlines) that less independent magazines have.
Another point worth making about the confidence of Simon’s art direction: since the redesign [for Eye 72], we have used different typefaces for each issue of the magazine, though the grid remains the same. [From issues 41-72 the display typefaces changed with each issue.] What counts most is the content: the articles and their associated images, but each issue also demonstrates a typeface ‘in action’, through editorial design that frames and communicates that content.”
Despite previously criticising the online music network, LA based producer and grand-nephew of Alice and John Coltrane; Flying Lotus, has recently uploaded a selection of eight random tracks to his Soundcloud account. This track; buriedMIX2, which was slated to appear on Burial’s as yet unreleased DJ KICKS mix album in 2008, is my favourite.
London based designer Simon Foster has created a great little site called Free Faces which aggregates a collection of his favourite free fonts which are all available to download. None of the typefaces presented are Foster’s own handiwork but he does link directly to the font’s original source. What Free Faces does well is nicely package up a cherry-picked selection of free typefaces from all over the web. Each typeface is simply presented on the site with a single character being selected to represent the font. I love this ‘5’ from the typeface: ‘Pompadour’. He does confess that free fonts are not always the best idea, but if you’re going to use them, browsing Free Faces is a great way to discover a diverse but crafted bunch.
‘Hot Sauce Committee Part Two’ by the Beastie Boys is out on 3rd May.
Unfortunately the clean version of the album got leaked but luckily for us they decided to put the dirty version up on Soundcloud. Check it out above. Stand out tracks for me are the first single: ‘Make Some Noise’, ‘Long Burn The Fire’ and ‘Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win’ featuring Santigold.
Lots of packages are available in different formats so no excuses for not picking up a copy. Check here for pre-order details: http://beastieboys.com/preorder.
Fingers crossed they tour the album. It’s been too long since Brixton in 2007!
Seems I’m a bit late to post this but it’s too good not to! For the run up to Christmas 2010 Love Creative got into the festive spirit by sending out and flyposting hundreds of QR code Advent Calendars. It’s a perfect example of digital media working within a traditional medium such as the printed poster campaign. Love avoid the predictable trappings of skeuomorphic digital design with great irony and wit. An effective minimal layout and graphic interpretation of the traditional Advent Calendar that replaces the familiar perforated windows with codes - in this case the hidden treats included video, music, competitions, prizes and tips!
In the past, whenever I found an awesome piece of content online that I wanted to save for future reference I’d add the URL to my Delicious. Whether it be an amazing piece of design, music I had to remind myself to check out or an insightful written piece; Delicious was a great way of collating a resource of inspiring stuff online.
However, after three years regular use and almost 1,000 saved links it has become increasingly hard to locate those vital links. No matter how meticulously I tagged the URLs, the fact that Delicious is a text heavy solution makes it pretty inconvenient and uninspiring when the majority of my saved links are image based.
This was a problem until I was introduced to Pinterest last year. Pinterest in their own words is ‘a place to catalog the things you love’ and is a great tool for creating inspiring virtual mood-boards from content you find online.
Once signed-up, you’re able to create ‘Boards’ to which you can then ‘Pin’ imagery you find online to. You can have as many boards as you like, which makes it great for categorising the stuff you find, and the number of pins you can add to a board is unlimited.
Once an image has been pinned to one of your boards it is displayed alongside your other pins. All your pins are accompanied by the image’s original URL; so on Pinterest there’s no imagery going uncredited and getting lost in the ether.
There’s also a big community side to Pinterest. Their offering is very simple and relies heavily on the tastes of it’s users to curate boards with quality content. And obviously the more people that start using it, the more diverse the content will become.
All boards are public for anybody to view which makes it great for discovering new stuff. And once you’ve found a user who’s pins you like you can ‘Follow’ them, just like on Twitter. And if you really like another user’s pin you can ‘Re-Pin’ this onto one of your own boards.
Normally, only you can pin to your boards but another great feature of Pinterest is that you can also create collaborative boards and curate which other users may contribute to it. This has been particularly useful when I’ve worked on projects with friends, especially with those living overseas.
I’ve created specific boards for projects as well as more general boards for images of things such as inspiring typography and colour schemes. I’ve used Pinterest mainly as a visual version of Delicious where I can collate a growing collection of references. I love that pins are displayed all together; chronologically and all on the same page. Pinterest has fast become a reliable place for design research and inspiration.
By Grant Hunter, iris Worldwide Regional Creative Director APAC
There’s been lots of recent chatter around crowd sourcing and it’s potential impact on new agency models. The term was first coined by Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired article. But the way advertising agencies are structured has pretty much remained unchanged for decades and decades. Digital integration has started to break down the Art Director/ Copywriter team while ‘collaboration’ is preached by everyone. But fundamentally the rest of the agency structure has remained the same. The structures are full of layer upon layer. They are flabby and are looking very outdated.
Over the last 18 months I keep coming back to the similarities between a potential new agency structure and that of a terrorist network. Now I don’t mean I want to wreak havoc and unleash a campaign of fear. Rather we could learn from the way these networks are structured.
A new structure based on a terrorist network would have a central core that’s well organised. It would have deep and precise intel on potential targets. It would have a strong sense of purpose with a clear mission. And an ideology for others to buy in to. It would be hyper connected with global relationships with prospective clients and skilled specialists. By using social networks it would then mobilise a number of splinter cells to create a response. These splinters would be comprised of highly skilled individuals all fighting for one purpose – the idea. This kind of a network would allow various combinations of the cells to solve specific problems. These ‘teams’ of cells would come together for as long as the job requires and then disperse.
This isn’t just a theory; networks like the one I described above are sprouting up all over the planet:
Arcade based in Singapore comprises three ex regional creative directors (a writer, an AD and a digital creative) and a former CEO. They position themselves as an ‘Intellectual Property’ agency. Their website states “We create things. It’s our first love. One thing we do differently from other agencies is develop intellectual property, not just for our clients but for ourselves.” They currently have a network of 20 or so entrepreneurs from an eclectic mix of industries outside of advertising.
Victor and Spoils is a Crispin offshoot. The founders are a former Crispin CD and an Exec Director of Strat and Innovation with a COO from a video gaming and entertainment background. They are based in Boulder. They describe themselves as “The world’s first creative (ad) agency built on crowdsourcing principles, it’s our goal to provide businesses with a better way to solve their marketing, advertising and product-design problems by engaging the world’s most talented creatives”.
You’ll find Guided Collective in East London. The core team are a couple of creative strategists, an ex-agency head who also owns a wine export business, a super producer who is fascinated with animation, a project managing former digital consultant at a global PR firm, a social media maverick and a design whizz kid. They don’t have fixed creative and production departments, because they maintain that they’re expensive and make it tough to build the best team for the challenge. In their words “The best creatives, designers, technologists, web people, writers & fashion folk. All managed by Guided, We send them a brief, they send us their ideas. We shortlist them, they improve them. You get the best results.” And I love their sentiment “Because we treat creative talent as precious.”
GiantHydra – mass collaboration unit are another North America based network. They state “GiantHydra follows a framework similar to many social networks, redesigned to adhere to the true nature of the creative process. This makes for an almost immediate familiarity for the “HydraHeads” — creatives engaged in a project — allowing them to focus on idea generation and development without technology getting in the way.”
It feels that small splinter cells of hyper-connected creative people coming together for short periods of time could be the future. It has the potential to keep the thinking fresh and avoids the tried & tested formulas that big networks often produce. Of course the leadership of these collectives is paramount, just as it is in any agency. It’s all about the talent of the team. I for one also know the value of working with people who ‘get’ one another. I suppose it’s as it’s always been – the relationship between the people within the team and the relationship they have with the client. But ultimately it’s got to be about the creative output. The best idea should always win.
Check out Grant’s blog White Matter, which features the original that this post was edited from, and follow him on Twitter @whitematter.
Around this time last year I was working in Manhattan for a couple of months in the lead up to Christmas and fortunately the studio was a short walk up the Bowery from the new Gallery at The Cooper Union college. The show that was on at the time was Lubalin Now, which presented a very comprehensive retrospective look at Herb Lubalin’s work thanks to the Lubalin Center Archive at The Cooper Union. Accompanying Lubalin’s pieces was a well curated and largely typographic collection of work by some of today’s leading practitioners, who had quite apparently been inspired by Lubalin’s legacy and approach to design. Lubalin Now is, without a doubt, the most inspiring and enjoyable graphic design show that I have been to.
I’ve found Lubalin’s work inspiring since I first discovered it but seeing his thought process and sketches at Lubalin Now makes me look at his work in quite a different way. I can especially appreciate now how conceptually strong and incredibly crafted and refined the majority of his work is.
This year I’ve started collecting Avant Garde magazine which was one of Lubalin’s many collaborations with publisher Ralph Ginzburg. Lubalin was the art director and the magazine provided a platform for his playful typographic experiments to be freely expressed. He once said of his envious position:
“Right now, I have what every designer wants and few have the good fortune to achieve. I’m my own client. Nobody tells me what to do.”
Only 14 issues of Avant Garde were released, running from 1968 to 1971, and so far I’ve managed to track down all but the first five.
So as you can imagine; I was very excited to discover this week that U&lc Magazine (Upper & lowercase), another publishing venture by Lubalin this time focusing on typography, is to be gradually digitally re-released in it’s entirety by fonts.com. Every month from October 2010, starting right from the very first issue, they will be providing links to freely download one volume of U&lc (which works out as a year’s worth of the magazine). The pages above can be found in the first volume here. And November’s batch of downloads can be found here.
Now, having scanned 9,000 pages of the 26 years of U&lc, I wonder if the generous people at fonts.com fancy doing the same with Avant Garde?
Click here to view images from the Lubalin Center Archive by Justin Thomas Kay
Beautifully shot and edited titles for this year’s Flash On The Beach in Brighton by Nando Costa. Here’s a short rationale from the creator:
‘The choice of materials was driven by the desire to graphically represent the concepts of attraction and repulsion. The idea that graphic artists of all sorts attend events such as FOTB because they are inspired and therefore attracted to each other’s work, while at the same time often competing in the same fields as peers, which represents the repulsion factor.’
Blogs provide a free platform for anyone to broadcast unregulated information of their choosing. Whilst many blogs have commercial applications others are purely personal. Whatever the subject of one’s blog, be it a catalogue of found imagery or a diary of personal writings, it is, in some way, representative of the author’s identity. I’m interested in how accurately one’s blog when given the guise of a personal diary can represent or define one’s identity. Blogging can present a forged diary that at once might appear confidential yet is exposed and published to a vast audience, the presence of which puts into question the sincerity of a blogs entries.
The role of the personal diary has always been to collect one’s thoughts and reflect on one’s experiences by documenting them. This kind of documentation perhaps allows one to achieve a more objective understanding of one’s self. The traditional diary system is used to organize emotive phenomena as well as more prosaic routine information. It’s a system embedded in most us from our early school days, one that we are encouraged to employ to aid successful living.
The online digital blog diary makes an important departure from its traditional counterpart by seemingly making the private, public. The introduction of an audience suggests that the role of the blog diary is to project one’s self image, or, more accurately, an image of one’s self - an image informed by the ‘likes’, comments and frequency of visitors. The danger is that this virtual identity begins to supersede and inform the real.
The ever-relevant fable of narcissus comes to mind…
Speaking of narcosis, when one’s life is say, consumed by their blog would one not hold their blog at the forefront of their mind? And with blog in mind, when one interacts with the real world, would one’s first response not be to record it rather than to experience it? Thus immediately placing one’s self at a spectator position, creating a sort of dualistic existence with their surroundings.
In this sense a blog diary becomes a very real extension of one’s life in which day to day experience becomes a means to accumulate data. The blog provides a platform to aggregate that data, in which it is editorialised and published. The process is so immediate and the audience so ever-present that time for personal reflection is often spared or postponed. Perhaps writing and publishing one’s experiences gains a sense of closure that negates the need for any further personal reflection.
The emergence of social networking media such as Facebook has created a culture for the hyper documentation of everyday existence in which there is no longer any Kodak moments. Rather, any situation becomes worthy of recording, from the banal to the sensational, particularly the banal - often more private – moments, for those become the more sensational to publish.
How often are apparently commonplace moments interrupted to create a photo opportunity? A casual drink in the pub is translated to an epic photo album of 50 pictures… somebody changes outfits before going out on a Saturday night, again 50 pictures… another is bored and takes 20 pictures whilst staring into their webcam… all posted within 24 hours of the event.
Photographing day–to-day events has long been a common activity, however, now it is as though when being photographed, one’s mind detaches from the situation at hand to consider the vast anonymous audience represented by the camera. The immediate response is to perform to this virtual audience and thus the virtual dictates the real. Documentation of everyday social and personal happenings becomes a sort of self-surveillance.
The blogs out there that document everyday life in a personal-diary fashion provide entertainment to many. How audience interaction defines the narrative of those blogs will surely evolve as data-sharing media becomes more integrated into the methods we use to document and deposit our personal information.
The faux NES game that was created specifically to feature Darren Aronofsky’s film The Wrestler (2008). Motion graphics artist Kristyn Hume and programmer Randall Furin created the game from scratch, taking influence from 8-bit fighting games like Nintendo’s Pro Wrestling and Acclaim’s WWF Wrestlemania.
Recent advancements in digital media have caused a frequently re-occurring debate amongst designers that questions the relationship between on-screen/web and print design. It appears as though the two disciplines, till recently, have been able to co-exist relatively independent of each other. But with a rapidly improving Internet browsing experience and the advent of devices such as the iPhone and iPad, nearly every commercial client has become desperate to get on the digital bandwagon. The rush to harness technology in a beautiful way has caused so called ‘digital’ and ‘print’ designers to be thrown into one room.
Clearly, some discomfort is to arise but from where do the disagreements actually stem and which method is to consume the other? From the outside it often sounds like neither fully understands the other and so they hopscotch around, tripping each other on terminology and technical tangents. From the inside it feels like a battle of authority and an attempt to align ones’ discipline be it ‘digital’ or ‘print’ with the overriding discourse of communication media. It is as though the two are routed in very different histories.
It is believed that research into electricity began in the 5th and 6th centuries BC with the pre-Socratic Thales of Miletus, however, it wasn’t until 1879AD that Thomas Edison invented incandescent electricity and really changed the way we live… furthermore, the World Wide Web didn’t reach most until the mid-90s, suggesting that its still very early days for digital and web media. On the other hand, the earliest example of a complete woodblock printed book is believed to be the Diamond Sutra from China which dates back to 868AD. When approaching this argument its important to consider that the discipline some regard as ‘print design’ is built on sensibilities that evolved throughout arts and crafts that predate the advent of any kind of printing and harp back to the evolution of calligraphy and glyphic text and image - some of designs most ancient modes of communication. Although seemingly disconnected, the historical narratives that defined print and digital media show a common objective, design for ‘digital’ and design for ‘print’ are both evolved to assist vehicles of communication and connectivity.
In many languages such as English a single word is read from left to right informing our concept of composition with a chronology that suggests ‘left’ points to the past and ‘right’ to the future. We apply this chronology to various media, for example books, as we navigate from front to back cover, or the buttons pressed to skip tracks on our DVD/CD/MP3 players, not dissimilar to the arrows clicked to navigate browsing history in our web browsers, equally our films are fitted with progress-bars that also employ this chronology. Ultimately right is clockwise and left anti, an obvious observation maybe, but it’s striking to think that our visual language is so heavily informed by the way in which a word is read.
There is a clear linear heritage evident which suggests that new media encompasses the content of the old, just as the engraver typographic styles, that in some way owe their form to the tools and methods employed to cut into stone, are now largely used in a print context; the process that necessitates the typographic form is negated, yet the form remains and partakes stylistic value. As content is pushed through various technological moulds, remnants of the previous are carried with it and become part of it. It’s ironic that as digital media becomes less abstract in the use of peripherals such as a mouse and keyboard, it also moves towards a more tactile experience involving touch. This evolution requires that the design of digital media adopts a more tactile approach, one that draws on the language of print design.
Language is the content of communication, be it visual, verbal or abstract, it is a system that enables one to form concepts. From the printed page to telebroadcasting media, technology has always served to communicate and disseminate those concepts. For example, the Internet is a global communications system that provides connectivity between computers (the medium). The World Wide Web (the content) is a collection of interconnected documents such as our various pictures, videos and writings that exists as a service communicated by the Internet. Each fragment of content that comprises the WWW has its unique historical narrative and language; photography, film, illustration, debate. Communication design is rarely so pure that form can follow function - I believe that understanding this process is key to successful design.
So with the advent of the iPad and what not, did the vehicle of communication take such a sharp turn that its precious cargo was flung from the back seat? I don’t believe so. Whilst ‘print’ and ‘digital’ designers argue to assert the craft of their respective disciplines, they become increasingly obsolete as new generations of communication designers emerge with a multilingual understanding of media that holds in perspective the lineage of communication. Now is a time of innovation that requires open minds… and new seating arrangements.