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Posted by Ray  |  15 Jan 2013  |  Comments (7)

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Just over a week ago, the NYC Department of Transportation announced a much-needed update to street signs throughout Manhattan, an ongoing effort to simplify the unforgivingly opaque verbiage of current signage.

The 6,300 signs that DOT will replace in Midtown and Lower Manhattan include 3,300 commercial parking signs and 3,000 other signs for nighttime and weekend parking for the general public, hotel and taxi stands, street cleaning and no standing areas. The new signs reduce the number of characters needed to explain the rules from 250 to about 140, making the sign appear less visually cluttered while reducing five-foot-high signs by about a foot. The new design also places the day of the regulation before the hours of the regulation, eliminating abbreviations and retaining all necessary parking information while making it easier to read.

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Once again, JSK—Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, for the uninitiated—turned to Pentagram for their graphic design prowess as the DOT hopes to build on the success of their previous collaboration with the design firm, the previously-seen "LOOK" campaign... or, as Pentagram Principal Michael Bierut speculates, perhaps they were just chagrined by this Louie C.K. non sequitur:

(Fans can watch the second part here.)

I'm kidding, of course—longtime New Yorkers are well aware that it can take years for initiatives to work their way through the bureaucratic labyrinth of lobbyists and legislators. It so happens that this particular proposal dates back to 2011, when City Council Member Daniel J. Garodnick asserted his commitment to "syntactic clarity" in the public sphere; of the new signs, he dryly notes that "You shouldn't need a Ph.D in parking signage to understand where you are allowed to leave your car in New York."

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Posted by Ray  |   4 Jan 2013  |  Comments (5)

BarackObamaSignature.jpgvia American Thinker

From NPR via Mashable: "As many had expected he would, the president did sign the fiscal cliff agreement with an autopen. The bill was back in Washington, D.C., while Obama was in Hawaii on vacation. So, it was signed by an autopen machine that produces a copy of the president's signature." Beltway commentators have questioned the, er, Constitutionality of his vicarious inscription, but Obama's autograph-by-proxy apparently passes muster, obviating the need to send a physical document par avion. The issue first came up back in June 2011, when CBS published a side-by-side comparison of the two signatures (on an earlier bill) for armchair graphologists:

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This time around, Mashable has posted a short promo video of the Autopen of Interest.

Legality aside, I was particularly interested to see that the "Signature" in the logo for Automated Signature Technology is in none other than Mistral, which triggered an uncanny allusion to a very different implementation of the same font. As Willem Van Lancker noted in his in amateur review of the film (from a design perspective), the typeface was recently featured in the logo of Nicholas Winding Refn's noirish 2011 thriller Drive.

Drive-byMikieDaniel.jpgvia Mikie Daniel

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Dec 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Want to 3D print, but don't have the scratch for a 3D printer? A Polish company called Pixle has released a fun-looking iPad app called Foldify, which lets you print 3D designs out of a regular printer...sort of. Check it out:

Obviously the $1.99 app is not going to revolutionize your design firm's rapid prototyping capabilities, but at the very least, Pixle has just cut the homework time in half for every design student taking Package Design 101.

Posted by Ray  |   7 Dec 2012  |  Comments (1)

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As any graphic designer surely knows, the Internet is home to at least as many bad (or non-) infographics as it is a source for clearly-articulated, visually-compelling ones. This twofold criteria is the subject of Chad Hagen's "Nonsensical Infographics": they're certainly a treat for the eye... but the mind, not so much. Rather, as the title of the series suggests, the vibrant geometries are intended to be metacommentary on the opacity of these purportedly digestible graphics.

The science of infographics is an interesting beast. Infographics' level of success is always based on how much and how well they communicate their data—the classic form follows function. In this series, I reversed these roles—form is king and dictates what the infographic communicates. Welcome to the world of fictional visual information.

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In other words, these infographics convey information about infographics themselves: inscrutable though they may be, they are often more beautiful for it. Thus, despite its aesthetic affinity with the work of, say, Andrew Kuo, Hagen's work probably has more in common with Tatiana Plakhova's data visualizations, which express the same sentiment through radically different execution.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  28 Nov 2012  |  Comments (2)

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Up top: Ferry Porsche and Maximilian Hoffman

In the photo below, of the Frank-Lloyd-Wright-designed Hoffman Auto Showroom, at right you can see the large planter in the center of the rotating car platform. And atop that planter you can see a box with the now-familiar Porsche logo on it. But back then, in 1955, that logo was brand new.

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You'll recall that the Hoffman Auto Showroom was intended to sell Jaguars; so why, you ask, is it filled with Porsches during its 1955 opening? Hoffman commissioned the space in 1953, but just two years later his business arrangement with Jaguar had evaporated. This wrinkle happened close to the Showroom's launch date; Frank Lloyd Wright had designed a leaping Jaguar statue to go onto that planter, in the center of the showroom, and Jaguar craftsmen had completed it and shipped it over to New York. After the Jaguar/Hoffman relationship evaporated, the statue was shipped back to Coventry, so the only thing it really leaped was the Atlantic. Twice.

Now back to the Porsche logo. Porsche was a logo-less company until (rumor has it) Ferry Porsche—son of company founder Ferdinand—had lunch in New York with Max Hoffman. The suspiciously colorful story, which contains at least one geographic error, goes like this:

In 1952 while dining in a New York restaurant, Max told Dr. Ferry Porsche all cars of some standing in the world have a crest. "Why not Porsche, too?" he asked. "If all you need is a badge, we can give you one, too!"

Ferry then grabbed a napkin and began to draw the crest for the state of Baden-Wurtremberg [sic] with its curved stag horns. He added a black prancing horse from Stuttgart's coat of arms and the word PORSCHE across the top and handed it back to Max asking, "How about something like that?" With a bit of refinement and color, the famed Porsche Crest was born and today remains true to Ferry's original sketch more than half a century ago.

(The error is the attribution of the crest to "Baden-Wurtremberg," which is both misspelled, and the incorrect region.)

The Internet being what it is, another story has it that Hoffman penned the logo himself. The needle on my BS meter is quivering.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Nov 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Remember the camo-dipping technique we looked at last month? To refresh your memory, it's a good way to get a complicated pattern (provided you can acquire the material) onto a complicated surface. Well, turns out you can use the technique for really complicated surfaces—like the human hand:

While it's true I couldn't think of any practical reason why you'd need the inside of your hand to look like carbon fiber, hydrographics still has plenty of useful applications. There have been lots of times when I needed to stash my deer skulls in nearby forests where the neighbors wouldn't spot them, and this stuff really saved my bacon.

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If they had this coating in the first place, they wouldn't have ended up like this. Oh, the irony

Posted by Ray  |  16 Nov 2012  |  Comments (2)

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Wish I could make it out to Cali for this one: Rapha San Francisco Cycling Club is pleased to present All Chips On the Table: The Bicycle Art and Design of Garrett Chow, an exhibition featuring Chow's work as Lead Graphic Designer at Specialized, as well as his graphics for MASH, the urban cycling brand which he co-founded. Per Rapha:

From the co-creation of MASHSF to bicycle paint schemes for cyclocross star Zdeneck Stybar and Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, Garrett has been a continual inspiration in the bicycle industry with designs, illustrations and paint jobs over the years. The exhibit is your chance to see all of this live and direct.

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While the exhibition opened two weeks ago, a couple image sets hit the web earlier this week—shots from Mike Martin of MASH (reproduced here with permission) and Bike Rumor as well—a welcome dose of pure bike porn to supplement the tantalizing teaser photos from Rapha.

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We had the chance to talk to Garrett about his inspiration and what drives him in the studio and on the road.

Core77: You're clearly as passionate about cycling as you are about design. Which came first for you, bikes or design?

Garrett Chow: The tired cliché that as a designer, one's job never really "shuts off" sadly holds more truth than a lot of us would prefer to admit. Devoted cyclists seem to hold a similarly unflagging sense of commitment and allegiance to their two-wheeled pursuits—whether it's through constant training, watching one's diet, or wrenching on bikes, it seems like there never enough hours in the day. I'd say that both pursuits intertwine to occupy the larger focus in my life, and seemingly in equal measure.

I've been doing both for as long as I can remember. I grew up riding and drawing and making/publishing a skate 'zine as a kid—these inclinations precipitated in my study of Illustration and Graphic Design in college. I was tangentially involved in the bike industry for many years having worked on corporate-identity and branding for a friend's bike shop, Wrench Science, but it wasn't until MASH and then Specialized that I 'formally' entered the industry.

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Posted by Ray  |   9 Nov 2012  |  Comments (0)

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With NBA season underway here in the states, ESPN has shifted from baseball jargon to more bombastic neologism such as 'lob city,' 'highlight factory,' etc. Not that they'd know anything about it, but Dublin-based creative duo Mark+Paddy have invited fellow Irish creatives to 'posterize' clients—or at least their inane bromides—in "Sharp Suits," a series of limited edition prints for Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Ireland's creative community have gotten together to release a lot of pent up anger and sadness through the medium of the A3 poster, all in aid of Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Ad creatives, designers, animators, directors, illustrators and more have taken time out to dress up their favourite worst feedback from clients, transforming quotes that would normally give you a twitch, into a diverse collection of posters.

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The resulting graphics are a mix of Coretoon-worthy visual puns and cheeky graphic treatments—I've posted some personal favorites here, but all of the 70+ designs can be seen in the online gallery. The group exhibition at the Little Green Cafe & Bar wrapped up two days ago, but the prints are still available online as of press time, at the very reasonable price of €10, with all proceeds going to the children's hospital.

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Posted by shaggy  |   9 Nov 2012

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Core77's affinity for producing and following technology that blends old and new, analog and digital, was directly inherited from our new-media design shaman Tom Klinkowstein. Tom—whose tales from the 70's, of applying analog film techniques to videotape editing (with the help of iron filings to identify otherwise invisible tracks) still inspire us—now has an example of that ethos enshrined in the hallowed archives of the MoMA permanent collection: a poster from 1980 for Laurie Anderson which synthesizes a number of totemic technologies in a fashion that suits the eclectic performer. This marks an excellent score for everyone involved—Congrats!

Posted by Ray  |   2 Nov 2012  |  Comments (1)

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Alexandra Baker is one half of Asheville, NC-based studio DNA Illustrations, specializing in medical graphics for editorial and commercial clients. Along with partner David Baker, she has some "20 years of experience working with images dealing with surgery, anatomy, disease process, patient education and immunology."

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Baker's been on track to be a medical illustrator—a highly specialized niche which requires an eye for detail and a steady hand, not unlike medical practitioners themselves—since her undergrad days at UGA, and her work has garnered many accolades over the years.

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Posted by Ray  |  25 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Seeing as our sister site Coroflot hosts portfolios from the world over, It's always interesting to see where members hail from. Karl Mynhardt is a perfect example: he's one half of Cape Town, South Africa's K&i Design Studio, which he and his wife Ida (hence "K" and "I") launched last year. They've since won a Design Indaba Emerging Creative award alongside a growing list of local clients, as well as campaigns for international brands.

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The photography highlights the tactile qualities of Mynhardt's work, as in the art direction for Wawa Wooden Surfboards and the Open publication, which won a Sappi Think Ahead Award.

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Posted by LinYee Yuan  |  15 Oct 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Although 'zines have been a popular format for artists, writers and provocateurs since the '70s, in China, an independent arts press is a relatively new phenomenon. Welcoming visitors at The Factory in the Dashilar hutong design district was a collection of over 100 Chinese zines on display. The exhibition, PAPER INSTINCT, takes an interesting look at the bubbling DIY youth culture in China.

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Art and literature chapbooks were displayed side-by-side with more polished lifestyle catalogs. I particularly liked the illustration and comic books, although the photography books have more cache in a multi-lingual context.

PaperInstinct-SpecialComix468.jpgFrom Special Comix by Badger & Press. Click for full-sized Image.

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Posted by Ray  |  19 Sep 2012  |  Comments (0)

NomaBar-Birdland.jpg"Birdland"

Once again, Core fav Noma Bar will present new work during London Design Week, on display at Outline Editions' booth at DesignJunction. His latest series of work abides by his simple yet compelling vector aesthetic, a handful of visual puns with punchlines for titles.

NomaBar-Ouch-OpenFace.jpgL: "Ouch"; R: "Open Face"

NomaBar-PopArt.jpg"Pop Art"

In lieu of the "specially commissioned, Heath Robinson-esque embossing device/sculpture" (as in last year's exhibition), Outline Editions is offering new limited-edition prints from Bar, as well as Kristjana S. Williams, Anthony Burrill, Marion Deuchars, Malika Favre and more.

NomaBar-FatalAttraction-ThereinLiestheTail.jpgL: "Fatal Attraction"; R: "Therein Lies the Tail"

NomaBar-TheLastEmperor.jpg"The Last Emperor"

Outline Editions
Stand C2
Designjunction
21-23 New Oxford Street
London, WC1A 1AP
Hours: September 19, 3–9PM; September 20, 10AM–7PM; September 21–22, 10AM–6pm; September 23, 10AM–5PM

Posted by Ray  |  14 Sep 2012  |  Comments (2)

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For anyone who was old enough to understand irony in the 90's, Seinfeld was one of those cultural touchstones that has arguably jumped the shark: the infamous Kramer print wasn't quite as ubiquitous as the Tarantino film poster as a dorm room decoration, but its one of the countless ur-memes from the seminal sitcom.

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Designer and illustrator Rinee Shah has paid tribute in a series of rather more understated prints that's recently gone viral. Where Nathan Manire's homage featured an assortment of iconic props in vector form, Shah's distributed food-related quotes and images across nine different graphics, including a confectionary roundup and an expletive-worthy treat—hence, Seinfood.

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via UrbanDaddy

Posted by Ray  |  11 Sep 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Last month, Melbourne was graced by a special exhibition from Herman MillerTHEN X TEN: The Power of the Poster at fortyfive downstairs gallery space in Melbourne. "Simply designed to communicate a message, posters are all too frequently the tools of advertisers. But under the direction of a keen eye and talented hands, posters have the power to spark action, elicit emotion, and join the ranks of art."

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Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to see the show in person: the celebration of the print format, featuring classic posters from the Herman Miller archives alongside ten newly commissioned works, was only on view from August 14–25.

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Thankfully, our friends in Zeeland and Australia HQ Sydney have documented the exhibition quite thoroughly, with photos from the opening, including Creative Director (and Curator) Steve Frykholm's talk at RMIT, and a few installation shots, as well as images of the work.

HermanMiller-ThenxTen-SteveFrykholm.jpgSteve Frykholm (1986)

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Kam Tang, whose work is pictured above, writes: "A departure from the padding of traditional office chairs, Aeron's Pellicle material was like a new dawn; I wanted to capture that in my design by taking the chair out of the office and transforming it into a landscape." Check out additional artist statements here.

HermanMiller-ThenxTen-JohnMassey.jpgJohn Massey (no date given)

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   6 Sep 2012  |  Comments (4)

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In the last entry you saw me preparing roadtrip directions. Rally racing drivers need to prepare directions too, with each step containing way more information than us civilians need. For one thing, they're operating in three dimensions, being as concerned with road pitch and angle as they are with directionality.

Actually, strike that—they're operating in four dimensions: At the breakneck speeds at which they travel, they need to factor in time and pre-calculate which way the car ought to be drifting—leftwards, for example—when they hit a particular berm and leave the ground, so that the leftward momentum will bring them back down safely onto the road at the end of that step.

Obviously a rally driver cannot afford to take his eyes off of the road, so a navigator rides shotgun to call out the "plays," as it were. They carry what are known as "pacenotes" in place of what we'd call directions.

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If I screw my directions up, I go five miles out of my way and lose ten minutes. If rally drivers screw their directions up, they go five feet out of their way and lose their lives over the side of a cliff. Because of this, they need to record a lot of information in each step, which can be a combination of little sketches, icons and/or rally driver shorthand letters and numbers. For example, what would be a mere left turn to you or I, to a rally driver might be a decreasing-radius downhill left-hander. The navigator must communicate this to the driver more quickly than that would take to say, so they develop a verbal shorthand.

As you can see in the variety of pacenotes below, there's no established standard for how they ought to be drawn; it largely depends on the artistic and organizational tastes of the drawer or whatever graphics program they're using.

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As for who's drawing them, that's the responsibility of the navigator, who's also called the co-driver. In the video below you can see the popular motorsports competitor Travis Pastrana pre-driving a rally course with his co-driver as they work out the notes. You can also get a sense, as they tackle the course full-speed in the second half, how crucially important the pacenotes are. It is literally the difference between life and death.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   5 Sep 2012  |  Comments (7)

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As fascinating as it is to watch trained industrial designers do their thing, I find it equally interesting to see non-designers doing design without realizing it.

To set this one up, I have to go back in time a bit. In 1990, I was a teenager who needed to drive from Alfred, New York to Oakmont, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. It was a couple hundred miles and there were no major interstates connecting the origin and destination. Furthermore this was pre-GPS, pre-internet, pre-cellphone; the only thing I had was a road atlas, something they used to sell in every gas station.

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Even at 18 I'd been on enough solo roadtrips to know how to do it: You needed the atlas, a ruler, a pencil, three differently-colored pens and a notebook.

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First you broke out the atlas and used a pencil to draw a straight line between Point A and B.

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The problem was that traveling between states, Point A and B were on different pages, so you had to find some border town that was visible on both maps, try to figure out if that border town was the shortest distance between A and B, and use that as Point A-and-a-half.

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Posted by Core77 Design Awards  |   1 Sep 2012  |  Comments (0)

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2012! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to Core77DesignAwards.com

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The objective was to create a visual identity for the Swiss Fine Fragrances and Cosmetics company Valeur Absolue, that would invigorate the Fine Fragrances market.

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How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
Via Twitter.

What's the latest news or development with your project?
After creating the visual identity for Valeur Absolue, we have recently also developed the packaging for their new perfume range. In addition, we have been working on the design of their communication and point of sale campaign, which will be launched soon.

What is one quick anecdote about your project?
The client really pushed our boundaries for this project; we did almost 10 rounds of reworks. But it was worthy; sometimes, even if we get tired, it's good to have a client that push us till our limit. The visual identity we've created was very well received and they have been delighted with the end result.

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What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
Thirty minutes before we were due to send the 10th round of creative executions for the client to evaluate, with everything almost ready, Gustavo Piqueira -- the head of Casa Rex who was also the creative director of this project -- had one last idea for the brand design. So, we raced to complete the last design excecutions and still get them to the client within deadline. And guess what? That was the visual identity selected and released by Valeur Absolue.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  31 Aug 2012  |  Comments (3)

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Fan fiction, or "fanfic," is the phenomena whereby fans of a particular fiction series like Star Wars or the Harry Potter books begin writing their own spin-off stories to share with other fans. Writers get points from the community for both how interesting their stories are and their fidelity to the universe of the original; for example, no one gets kudos for writing about Han Solo running an auto body shop in Massapequa.

The closest industrial-design-related thing I can think of to fanfic are those RC guys that we saw in the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier post, though you could argue that, impressive as it is, it's not quite ID. But an interesting graphic design version of fanfic just came to my attention: Darren Crescenzi, a Portland-based Brand Designer for Nike and a Game of Thrones devotee, has essentially "re-branded" the house sigils from George R.R. Martin's five-tome epic. (By "house sigil" I mean coat-of-arms, a family crest; click here to see an earlier post on the subject.)

As reported by Fast Co., Crescenzi re-interpreted what were of course only written descriptions of each sigil mentioned sporadically throughout the books, and found himself engaged in a massive graphic design exercise:

"That endless pursuit of visual consistency [required at Nike] was one of the driving forces behind the look and feel of the poster. I never thought of the project as a series of logos; The approach was much more that of creating an icon set."

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Crescenzi's finished product, which comprises some 42 crests on a poster, is undeniably beautiful. However, he is selling them as prints, which somewhat alters the project from being a labor of love to a vehicle for profit. That makes us very curious to see GoT author Martin's take on them, as he is famously prickly about fan fiction, particularly where it concerns profit.

Posted by Ray  |  29 Aug 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Data visualization, as a specific form of graphic design, is as much a phenomenon of the Information Age as the Internet itself, not least for the sheer amount of data that we generate and consume on an ever more granular level. Besides the fact that we've all seen plenty of examples of bad data viz—even as companies and clients increasingly adopt the format—and particularly egregious examples overcomplicate the matter. Yet this is precisely why data viz remains a promising frontier for the creative expression of quantitative information: at the far end of the specturm, data sets can serve as parameters for mathematically-derived abstract artwork, but those that clearly and compellingly represent a vast amount of data are arguably even more beautiful, as exemplars of visual communication.

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Which is a long way of saying that this "Wind Map" by Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas (a.k.a. Hint.fm) is pretty effin' awesome. Just as the natural world continues to amaze and inspire us, so too do we strive to understand and harness the power of nature: besides capturing the mercurial fluid mechanics of variations in atmospheric pressure, the zoomable wind map demonstrates, say, the regional feasibility of wind power.

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Digital artist and designer Jer Thorp brought the Wind Map to our attention on the occasion of Hurricane Isaac; so too are our thoughts are with those weathering the storm in New Orleans...

Posted by Ray  |  23 Aug 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Parallel to the growing appreciation of food, we're seeing more and more designers tackle the issue of how and what we eat, from product design to intensive research to enviable interiors. In this spirit of food-related creativity, a new London-based publication called The Gourmand offers a highly visual yet brilliantly understated journal of food and culture, something like Apartamento's foodie cousin. "The Gourmand was born as a means to share this exciting cultural shift and to celebrate food as a catalyst for creativity."

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Our friends at Sight Unseen highlighted perhaps the most relevant feature from the debut issue, which is available now: the collaboration between art director Jamie Brown and photographer Luke Kirwan. Brown's expository text for "A 20th Century Palate" complements the compelling imagery to a tee: "There are few things that rival my insatiable hunger for colour and pattern, my appetite for food is one. Combining the two would surely go down well."

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The concept was born—to represent design movements of the 20th century through specially arranged plates of appropriate foods, finished with hand cut patterned paper table cloth backgrounds.

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Posted by Ray  |  23 Aug 2012  |  Comments (2)

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In anticipation of significant new releases across its expansive portfolio of product offerings, Microsoft has unveiled a new logo, the first major update in 25 years.

From Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8 to Xbox services to the next version of Office, you will see a common look and feel across these products providing a familiar and seamless experience on PCs, phones, tablets and TVs. This wave of new releases is not only a reimagining of our most popular products, but also represents a new era for Microsoft, so our logo should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning.

Microsoft1987.jpgThe original 1987 logo

The design team at the Seattle-based tech juggernaut has reduced the iconic 'waving' flag ideograph into a rather more abstract array of four squares, Zen-like but for their colors. Similarly, the typographical decision to replace italicized Helvetica Black with Segoe feels a bit fresher, in keeping with contemporary brand identities.

Starting today, you'll see the new Microsoft logo being used prominently. It will be used on Microsoft.com—the 10th most visited website in the world. It is in three of our Microsoft retail stores today (Boston, Seattle's University Village and Bellevue, Wash.) and will shine brightly in all our stores over the next few months. It will sign off all of our television ads globally. And it will support our products across various forms of marketing. Fully implementing a change like this takes time, so there may be other instances where you will see the old logo being used for some time.

We're excited about the new logo, but more importantly about this new era in which we're reimagining how our products can help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.

For a bit of commentary, our friend Don Lehman's posted a bit of incisive industry insight into the new logo over at his Tumblog: "It's a little generic, but nice looking. It's clean and simple. It looks the way you would expect a Microsoft logo from 2012 would look like. Most people won't know there was change. That's a good thing." (It's also worth checking out the 'Microsoft Inc. Logo History' sidebar on Wikipedia.)


Microsoft1982.jpgThrowback to 1982

via Laughing Squid

Posted by Perrin Drumm  |   9 Aug 2012  |  Comments (0)

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We've seen some pretty spectacular thesis projects by up and coming designers over the years, but never before have any of those projects involved a 6+ month-long road trip through small towns all across Sweden. Erik Olovsson, who recently completed his Master's Degree in Graphic Design - Storytelling at Konstfack, noted how easy it is "to be sitting in the office and surf design blogs instead of finding inspiration from reality... It's rare that a designer gets a deeper insight into the client's business." With that in mind he bought an old motorhome, cleaned it up, gave it a bright new graphic paint job and hit the road seeking face-to-face interactions with small business across the country.

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The crux of his mission is his strict no-fee policy. Instead of money, he takes payment for his design work in trade, with a preference for goods or services that will help him on his way. "Perhaps something to eat? Gasoline? New tires? A new hairdo? A hot shower?" he suggests. So far he's traded a t-shirt design for a massage and web advice for cinnamon rolls. Overall he's found that when no money changes hands the client/designer relationship is much more collaborative and equanimous.

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He recently held a concert on the roof of his van, did the brand identity for a Swedish-owned mango factory in Burkina Faso and completed a poster for a letter writing group (check his blog for images of the group's founders' Wes Anderson-esque vintage letter writing suitcase). It's too bad that his thesis didn't include plans for a Designjet, as we'd gladly cook him a hot meal in exchange for some modern Scandinavian design. Currently, he's in Östersund, and you follow his journey on Instagram at #eriksdesignbuss or on his blog, where he posts images of his travels as well as his work in process.

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Posted by Ray  |   8 Aug 2012  |  Comments (0)

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We first highlighted the work of French graphic designer Malika Favre about a year ago and we were, ahem, excited to see her illustrations for Penguin's recent edition of the Kama Sutra this past Valentine's Day. She's pleased to announce her first London solo show, "Hide and Seek," at Kemistry Gallery in Shoreditch.

Malika Favre's Hide and Seek tells the story of an intriguing and sophisticated woman travelling from one pattern to the next, hiding from the unsuspecting viewer. The woman sometimes reveals herself to us for a short moment in time, only to run away towards her next mysterious destination.

Fascinated by patterns in everyday life, urban surroundings and architecture, French born Malika Favre has put together Hide and Seek, her first solo show in London. Malika's work is bold and minimalistic, exploring the relationship between positive and negative space.

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The viewer fills in the gaps literally and figuratively: "Working within a narrative core, she always likes to play with the viewer's imagination."

The artist notes that "there is such beauty and intrigue in those repetitive concrete balconies, I felt like creating a series of abstract prints based on the architectural patterns that no one really notices." Thus, "the prints on show work together as a series of optical experiments, [which Malika hopes] will make people see the beauty in their everyday surroundings, leaving with a smile and feeling sightly dizzy."

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The video (after the jump) is a tantalizing taste of what's to come...

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Posted by An Xiao Mina  |   1 Aug 2012  |  Comments (0)

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I've been observing the growth of mobile in the developing world for years now, ever since I encountered texting culture on a trip to the Philippines years ago, long before SMS caught on in the United States. Behind a small anecdote like this are big numbers and trends.

A recent post on The Reboot's blog turned me to some great infographics they developed for the World Bank's Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile report. The report looks at the growth of mobile telephony and data-based services in handheld devices.

Certainly, "World Bank" and "compelling infographics" are two phrases designers rarely think of together, but as Reboot designer Mollie Ruskin noted, visual communication couldn't be more important:

We have found that many of our colleagues in the social sector undervalue the role of communications design. This perspective is understandable—when creating a $200 million program to overhaul a nation's water and sanitation system, the significance of fonts and colors and layout can seem quite minor.

Yet this stance has real drawbacks. No matter how well that water program might get put together, its purpose and intentions must still be communicated to a range of audiences: government officials who need to support the program, community members who are asked to participate, and international policy makers who may decide when and how the money is spent.

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And so it was great to see the new infographics in place, which make big, complex statistics about mobile for development easier to digest and interpret. Take, for instance, the big bold graphic noting that 75% of the world has access to a mobile phone—a staggering number that seems only more likely to grow in the coming years. Or the illustratations of potatoes, grain and bananas, to show the increased income of farmers in India, Niger and Uganda, respectively, thanks to mobile applications.

The biggest callout box is text, beautifully illustrated to drive home a simple point: "The mobile revolution is right at the start of its growth curve." Whether you're a World Bank economist or a freelance designer reading Core77, that's definitely something to think about.

Posted by core jr  |  24 Jul 2012  |  Comments (0)

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Reporting by Kyana Gordon

Let the graffiti games begin. With the Olympics just mere days away, street artists have been making their presence known around England. Even Banksy couldn't resist an opportunity to show his satirical support with these two new pieces. One stencil features a javelin thrower armed with a missile while the second is a portrait of an Olympic pole vaulter in mid-jump landing in the direction of a filthy mattress below.

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Equally impressive is other Olympic-themed work that has cropped up all over. This timely McDonald's jab (in case you aren't aware McDonald's will be the only French fries, or 'chips' sold at London Olympic venues) by an unknown artist was photographed by Pogorita outside the Brighton tube station.

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Even this piece of a female diver plunges headfirst into an open toilet captured by Tim Callaghan makes quite the provocative statement. And a multi-colored pigeon by Ronzo depicts city birds getting in on the action.

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Seeing beautiful street art in London? Leave a comment on where we can see more work below!