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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
The 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
The video (after the jump) is a tantalizing taste of what's to come...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seeing beautiful street art in London? Leave a comment on where we can see more work below!
Who would've thought? Graphic designer Cathy Schaefer reunited with her classmate Ken Karlic after they parted ways upon graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign over 25 years ago. Although they're currently working together as Splice Design in Baltimore, Schaefer's career trajectory included an extended stay in New York, where she cut her teeth at Chermayeff & Geismar (she struck out on her own Mexico City before returning to the States).
Knoll was one of her main clients during her time as Senior Design Director at the storied graphic design firm.
The work clearly reflects the Mid-Century Modern heritage of the company, yet it also looks so fresh that it could have been created two days ago... when she uploaded the images to her portfolio on Coroflot.
Inasmuch as the work speaks for itself, she provides only a brief description: "An updated graphic identity unites four merged companies under the umbrella of an international leader in modern furniture design."
The mission of The Noun Project is to collect, organize and add to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language so they can be shared in a fun and meaningful way. The symbols are free, simple, and high quality—not to mention truly delightful.
In this conversation with the Designers Accord, we learn from The Noun Project founders, Edward Boatman and Sofya Polyakov, how a shared visual language can be the connective tissue across disciplines and geographies, and why you don't need to be a designer to be an effective communicator and change-maker.
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Designers Accord: The Noun Project strikes a perfect balance between function and folly—providing amazing quality scalable icons for everything from the universal human icon to a sasquatch. Share the background of how your initiative came about—what was the initial inspiration and who's involved?
Edward Boatman: The Noun Project is one of those ideas that slowly grew and evolved over time. I think the starting point was my sketchbook. One summer I started to draw the things that used to fascinate me when I was a child: Sequoias, Trains, Cranes, Combines and a lot of other "nouns." After doing this for some time and creating a nice stack of sketches, I thought to myself it would be great if I had a drawing that depicted every single concept or object in existence.
Then a couple years down the road I was working at an architecture firm putting together a lot of presentation boards and I was frustrated that I couldn't quickly find icons for very common things such as airplanes, bicycles and people. I thought about taking my old noun concept and tweaking it a bit to solve this real world problem I was experiencing.
I started talking to my really good friend Scott Thomas and my wife Sofya Polyakov about building on the original idea. We decided the biggest impact could be made by building a platform for visual communication. Symbols serve as some of the best tools to overcome many language, cultural, and even medical communication barriers. Having designers from around the world engage in creating a visual language doesn't just create symbols for what already exists, it also creates symbols for what we want to see in the world—things like Community Gardens, Sustainable Energy and Human Rights.
Sofya Polyakov: We launched the site on Kickstarter in December 2010 using mostly symbols that already existed in the public domain, like the AIGA transportation suite and the National Park Service symbols. The response was incredible—we received tremendous support not only from the design community, but also from the autism & special education communities, teachers who wanted symbols to help kids read, librarians, app developers, etc. We were written up in TechCrunch, The Atlantic, Fast Company, PSFK, Engadget, as well as a lot of international blogs. Half of our traffic still comes from outside of the United States, which is something we really value because it's fascinating to see how people from around the world "see" the same concept. For example, what does a symbol for "Protest" look like around the world? You can now go to The Noun Project and find the answer.
DA: You've already built amazing momentum—from sketchbook to meme. What does your team look like and how do you carry this forward?
EB: As the CEO, Sofya is the brains behind the operations side of running the business and also handles all of our marketing and community outreach. Scott and his team at Simple.Honest.Work have done an amazing job managing the design, development and UX of the site. I look after the growing collection of symbols to make sure we adhere to high design and user comprehension standards, and I also work with the international community of designers who are creating them.
SP: We also recently got accepted into the Designer Fund, so we've been very fortunate to have incredible mentors and advisors from Twitter, Groupon, Pinterest, Stanford's d.School, Google, 37Signals, and others. Besides being some of the most talented designers today, our mentors are also incredible people. I honestly can't think of too many industries where someone so successful, whose time is so valuable, just volunteers their time to help out a start-up. It's amazing to have so many talented people around you who want you to succeed.
New York design fans were treated to a small reprieve from the heat wave last Friday at the closing party for Herman Miller's Soho Pop-Up shop, with Metropolis Magazine and House Industries. To celebrate the finale, House Industries teamed up once again with The Awesome Dudes from Philly to offer guests tote bags screen-printed onsite with a variety of typographic designs.
Metropolis paid tribute to the relaunch of Alexander Girard's textiles, and House Industries exhibited recent work from their projects for Eames, Girard and Herman Miller.
LifeCycle certainly expected ads from DDB Singapore to raise their profile, but the creative team's recent wins in the Outdoor category of the Cannes Lions have brought the international spotlight to the local bike shop with two locations in Singapore.
How often does a good ad comes along? and how often does a small local business get a chance to work with an award winning agency? LifeCycle had the opportunity to work with a team of great creatives from DDB Singapore led by Thomas Yang and Andrew Hook (Creative Directors), whom created the LifeCycle's outdoor and print ad campaign titled "Terrain," "Roadmap" and "Cityscape."
Each one is accompanied by a brief poem. "Cityscape" reads:
You live in a little box.
You get into a little box that drives you to another little box.
And you spend your day thinking little boxed thoughts in your little box.
Till it's time to leave for the other little box.
Unbox yourself. Get a life. Get a cycle.
journeying to the Elevator,
bravely navigating past Office Politics,
catching your breath at Cape Watercooler before
you venture to the unknown land they call the Pantry.
Step out. Get a life. Get a cycle.
The artwork is beautiful in itself, but I'm also interested to see that the ads aren't specific to LifeCycle or Singapore itself; rather, the clever use of bicycle components in silhouette speaks to the appeal of alternative transportation in cities the world over. Thus, they're a serendipitous visual complement to, say, the Bicycle Film Festival, which celebrates the very same.
After cruising down '95 for the first three days (Philly, DC & Richmond) of his road trip, Dave has ventured inland for the second leg of his cross-country circuit, which sees a couple studio visits in Charlotte, NC and Atlanta, GA. Keep up-to-date with all of the adventures on Route 77 by following @DaveSeliger on Twitter!
Day 4: Charlotte, NC
As I'm finding with many experiences on this road trip, I really didn't know what to expect heading down to Charlotte, NC. While doing my pre-trip research I discovered that Charlotte had what seemed to be the biggest hotbed of graphic design in the Southeast. So I did the only thing I could think of and sat down for some mouth-watering BBQ with top-notch designers Rachel Martin, David Sizemore and Matt Stevens (whom I've covered before).
Graphic designers Rachel Martin, Matt Stevens, and David Sizemore
The question on my mind was why graphic design in Charlotte has thrived in a world primarily dominated by the social media- and start-up-driven Bay Area. Each of the designers I spoke with in Charlotte has had their own unique path to success. Martin runs her own design studio and chooses to work only with "socially responsible" groups and "good people who do good." Stevens left a firm after a decade-long career, spent 90 days with Facebook, and is now finding his way on his own. Finally, Sizemore works for a large branding firm by day and does freelance illustration by night.
Design seems to flourish in Charlotte both because of and in spite of the location. Martin came from NYC where she was "just a number," but in Charlotte, "I can shine and do my own thing." Stevens had some perspective on the topic given his recent stint on the West Coast with Facebook. "The West Coast is more saturated with talent," said Stevens. "Everyone out there is extremely talented and it pushes you to raise your game." Stevens also described how there is more of an "education piece that has to happen with a lot of clients" in Charlotte about what exactly design is and how it best improve their business. But Charlotte is also just a "great place to live," with nearby mountains and beaches, as well as a low cost of living, an extremely attractive prospect for any young designer.
A city like Charlotte also creates an environment for a more tight-knit community of designers. "It's a very sharing community," said Martin. Projects and clients are passed along when a designer is too busy, while design collaborations that help reinforce the community self. One of Sizemore's upcoming projects is even centered around neighborhood-specific t-shirts that represent pride in one's location and community.
We also talked about design in the age of the Internet. Although the Internet is not new at all, its applications have become more increasingly intertwined in our lives, especially as designers with portfolios of our work. "I have a big stage now," said Stevens. "There are few limitations if you're making good stuff and putting it out there." This stage allows designers, like the ones in Charlotte, to no longer have to worry about doing work on the national or global scale just to gain recognition; a local project can now become just as famous internationally through utilization of the interconnectivity of the web. Designers can then focus on what Stevens, Martin, and Sizemore see as the more satisfying local projects.
Lastly, design is an opportunity, if not a responsibility, to make the world a better place than you found it. "Architects have a civic duty to design buildings that improve society," said Martin. "Graphic designers should also have that civic duty to shape the world through good design." [Ed. Note: David Berman makes a more emphatic statement about this notion.]
Helvetica. It's a font. It's a movie. And now it's a set of cards. Tennessee designer Ryan Myers has released Helveticards, a gorgeous set of playing cards with—you guessed it—Helvetica as both the type for the cards but also the cards' primary subject matter.
As Myers explains on his site, "I wanted to take a new approach on how the cards are used and bring them to a more usable and modern design." Indeed, the cards themselves read more like a study in typography, with one big, gorgeous character as the centerpiece. The further utilize the font, Myers spells out each number ("Five of Hearts", for instance) in black and white. And even the suits lack serifs: the clubs, for instance, are basically three circles collided together, with no stem.
Printed in high gloss, the cards are almost too nice to play with, more apropos of a gallery exhibition than a casino room. But at $10 for a deck, they'd make a fine addition to any designer's studio—or poker table.
Reporting by Temenouzhka Zaharieva. Images by Michail Novokav and Dimitar Dimitrov.
"Can happiness be manipulated?" was my natural question after Stefan Sagmeister, one of the most interesting guest speakers at the Sofia Design Week 2012 Professional Forum. "Yes!" Sagmeister answered, "Happiness can be trained like we do with fitness training."
Austrian by birth, based in New York, the designer has had his own agency, Sagmeister Inc., since 1993. Last month, all of this changed when Sagmeister Inc. relaunched as Sagmeister & Walsh with an eye-catching announcement (warning, NSFW) to prove that "we'd do anything for design." Using his own body to make a design statement is not new for Sagmeister—he also employed this tactic with his famous AIGA poster from 1999 advertising a speaking engagement at Cranbrook by carving the details onto his torso.
With a stellar list of clients, including Lou Reed, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, The Guggenheim Museum and Levi's, Stefan Sagmeister certainly needs no introduction. He explains that he is trying to stay small and to work only on projects which he finds interesting, but they include a wide range: the design of magazines, advertisements, posters, installations, films and books. His work often involves experiments in which the main protagonist is himself.
Sagmeister has an established tradition: every 7 years he closes the studio for experiments—a year-long sabbatical in exotic places. "The sabbaticals are the best strategy that I have come to in my life", said he. On the last such leave in Bali he began working on a feature length documentary that explores happiness and that seeks to prove whether people can consciously increase their own happiness. [Editors Note: See the review from Sagmeister's screening in New York City last fall] The film is still in production. The organizers of the festival explain that Stefan Sagmeister agreed to speak at the forum of Sofia Design Week provided that we contribute to its implementation.
In a rather cheeky gesture to celebrate Her Royal Majesty's Diamond Jubilee, a creative team at the London office of Leo Burnett is pleased to present a Pantone palette in the form of Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in a full spectrum of vibrant hues, "from the Primrose Yellow she wore at Will and Kate's wedding in April 2011 to the tasteful Lilac Snow outfit she wore last year during a visit to Northumberland." Noting that the past six decades have seen the queen regnant bedecked in "a full spectrum perfectly colour-coordinated ensembles," Will Thacker and Blake Waters have created a "bespoke, limited-edition, numbered colour guide."
Designed to capture and commemorate some of the Queen's most memorable colour choices since her coronation—featuring PANTONE Colour references and citing the date and location that determined her outfit colour choice.
Waters shared the (possibly apocryphal) tale of their inspiration:
It was a balmy Wednesday when Will Thacker and Blake Waters were enjoying their afternoon tea in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, at another Royal Garden Party.
Doubling up on the finest cucumber sandwiches, they found it hard not to notice another splendid block colour outfit worn by her Maj'.
After much debating and a couple more Earl Greys, the pair decided to celebrate her success at wearing one colour so gracefully.
More information is available here, including color notes such as:
PANTONE 13-4411 Crystal Blue "Blue is a colour staple in the Queen's wardrobe. It's a colour that communicates constancy and it is also symbolic of her devotion to the British people. Blues traditionally have calming properties and she is often seen wearing them during difficult times. Blue is also seen as de-stressing so it's no surprise she was sporting a serene blue to a Royal Garden Party in 2010.
Designers! This is your last chance to enter the Core77 Redesign Challenge for the DESIGNED IN USA Logomark! After much discussion, you asked and we delivered a challenge to let you flex your communication design muscles to redesign the USA brand certification logomark for Designed in USA.
Current design for the Designed in USA Logomark
Between now and midnight PDT Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 designers are invited to submit your redesign of the DESIGNED IN USA Logomark. Entries will be judged by the editorial department of Core77 and the Creative Team of RKS, and the three best will be determined and revealed. Winning designs will then be added to the website for download and use by the design and business community. Designs will be judged on the basis of creativity, appropriateness, applicability, and iconic potential. Good luck!
Winner: $150 from RKS and $100 Gift Certificate to Hand-Eye Supply and opportunity to work with Lance Hussey to refine the final design.
If you thought Field Notes, the now famous 48-page memo book, was just another Futura-fueled riff on retro design, you obviously never read the statement on the back flap. "Inspired by the vanishing subgenre of agricultural memo books, ornate pocket ledgers and the simple, unassuming beauty of a well-crafted grocery list, the Draplin Design Co., Portland, Oregon—in conjunction with Coudal Partners, Chicago, Illinois—brings you "FIELD NOTES" in hopes of offering "An honest memo book worth fillin' up with GOOD INFORMATION."
Draplin Design Co. is the brainchild of Aaron Draplin, a thoroughbred American who's serious about graphic design and how it's evolved over the past century, especially when it comes to everyday items for everyday, working people. After two decades of trawling to swap meets, flea markets, yard sales and antique fairs for gems of Americana (otherwise known as junking), Draplin has amassed an incredible collection of old memo books, simple, saddle-stitched pocket books that were once given as freebies to farmers and those in the agricultural business to advertise products like feed, tools or machine parts.
Draplin wasn't only interested in the books as ephemera, he wanted to know who designed them, who printed them and who stitched them together. He describes them as "purely utilitarian and free of anyone attaching anything cool or uncool or ironic to it...Some are really colorful and others are really, really spare. They're all different, so I want to think that someone was actually going through and laying every little bit and piece out."
Law enforcement is an extremely complex line of work, as police officers have to keep up-to-date with events and people in the community, but usually from the sidelines or through second-hand information. Tools that can augment police officers' mental models of the communities they serve, especially in an ever increasing information-rich world, are critical to the future of policing.
And that's where graph theory comes in. Graph theory looks at objects (nodes) and the relationships (edges) between them. These objects could be people, computers, or buildings, while the corresponding relationships could be family ties, Internet connections, and roads. As Facebook and other social networking tools continue to bring our world closer together each day, social network applications of graph theory are becoming a hot topic. Ever hear of "six degrees of separation?" Thanks to Facebook, it's now closer to four or five.
Criminal networks are really just a specific example of social networks. Currently, law enforcement agencies use link analysis, a basic application of graph theory, to attempt to understand these networks. Link analysis produces a visual output of relationships between nodes, but "people tend to believe that actors in the center or at the top of a graph are crucially and most important." Instead, Renee van der Hulst describes a framework for using social network analysis (SNA) for crime analysis. Beyond just outputing a visual graph, SNA provides a mathematical approach to quantify the "characteristics of network activity, social roles, positions and associated social mechanisms."
A simple graph of a social network, including nodes and edges.
In 2011, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University implemented a pilot program of SNA in the Richmond, VA Police Department to test its effectiveness. The Richmond City Police Department asked the researchers to identify the reason behind why "two groups of previously friendly males" were now engaging in a "rash of violence" against each other. The researchers mined a police informational database for details concerning twenty-four persons of interest, as well as any connections four people out.
Sergio Membrillas has been working as a freelance illustrator ever since he graduated from the University of Valencia, at least he has been, according to him, "after the fear and all that stuff." His style is influenced by" Saul Bass, Miroslav Sasek, Human Empire Studio" as well as "retro stuff." You can definitely see a mix of handmade, folk art and even outsider art styles mixed with a playful, childlike approach to line work and typography.
Sergio has done illustration and design work for magazines, advertising campaigns, clothing, album covers, even a hair stylist's shop. Of all his work his personal favorites include "the Hairy Monsters project. In the beginning it was going to be five characters...but now I'm doing a lot of them. I love the mixture and the poetical feeling. And one off my favorites projects is the Music For Toys Festival I do every year. I love the spirit of the festival and I have a lot of freedom. My clients are the best!"
WIth so many clever language experiments on exhibition in MoMA's "Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language," it makes sense that the exhibition catalogue would be equally cheeky and avant garde. So instead of taking the traditional check list approach, introduced by the appropriate essays and commentary, of course, MoMA commissioned David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey of the design group Dexter Sinister (whose work is also in the show) to come up with something a little more enlightened.
Reinfurt and Bailey decided to make the catalogue the third issue of their journal Bulletins of the Serving Library, which continues the legacy of Dot Dot Dot, their "previous house journal which ran for ten years and twenty issues." The catalogue/issue acts not as a compendium but a companion piece with thirteen essays, articles and visual works. It begins with "MMMMMMMMMMMM...," by Andrew Blum, which appeared in The New York Times in 2003 under the title "The Modern's Other Renovation." It's about MoMA's history of logo redesign, beginning with the controversial 1966 decision to lower the upper case "O" and continuing to Yoshio Taniguchi's subtle 2004 redesign. (Did you know that the little "o" was initially so unpopular that it wasn't officially used for twenty years?)
To give you a sense of the rest of the catalog, Blum's article is followed by Bruno Latour's essay "How To Do Words With Things" and Graham Meyer's "Let's Eat Grammar." Chris Evan's untitled contribution spells out ETHICAL MOP, one letter per page, and Jessica Winter's essay "Brought To You By The Letter I" is preceded by an image of the big round googly eyes shared by every character in Sesame Street. Dexter Sinister write the last story themselves, a dense piece about the meeting point between mathematic and typeface design. This is followed by ads, but they're the nicest, most pleasant ads you've ever seen, designed like works of art accompanied by their museum cards. There's a lot more, including a pull-out reproduction of Robert Smithson's "A Heap of Language," and yes, a concise exhibition check list. Usually issues of Bulletins of the Serving Library are $15, and this one's only $5, so you really should just get one of your own.
Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, which opened at MoMA this Sunday, is a survey of text-based art over the last sixty years. The exhibition is divided into two parts, beginning with the Modernists in te 50s and concluding with twelve contemporary artists, including Tauba Auerbach, Kay Rosen and Paul Elliman. The new crop of artists that use type in sculpture, photography, video and installation are a fine testament to the enduring legacy of typography, but the earlier group of Dadaists and Futurists address letterforms in what strikes me as a purer way—in their raw form. Both groups are playful, but the Modernist work still seems more experimental, even today.
Exhibited chronologically, as they are, it's difficult not to compare the two. I appreciated Tauba Auerbach's tongue-in-cheek "All the Punctuation" (2005)—a piece of paper with every punctuation mark typed one on top of the other until they become a muddled splotch—as well as her piece "How to Spell the Alphabet" (2005), which spells out the letters of the alphabet phonetically and gets you to consider the sounds of single letters in a whole new way (above). But I'm an unabashed sucker for letterforms printed on plain paper, and the Modernists, with their strikingly bold, nonsensical typographic compositions, may do it better than anyone, with exceptional examples by Raoul Hausmann, Christopher Knowles, Liliane Lijn, El Lissitzky, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Henri Chopin.
When Chanmi Grace handed me her business card I almost asked her to design mine right there on the spot. Her cards are slightly wider than average and they're thick enough to be used as a weapon. Seriously, these corners could take an eye out. Moreover, the eye-catching visual identity she designed for herself looks like a chemistry formula with the letters in her name standing in for elements. Coincidentally, her name includes some of the main elements for basic life: C (carbon), N (nitrogen) and H (hydrogen). I love how she plays with letterforms, stretching out the C in Grace to the length of two letters so both names take up the same amount of space even though they have a different number of letters.
Her typeface Dodu Curbe is a sophisticated serif that's also readable. The slightly elongated lines gives it an elegant, swan-like appearance.
Chanmi describes it as "a modern typeface, but more formal in appearance...[with] slightly higher visibility by giving more weight to serif. The font is a modern, neoclassic typeface in reaction to experimentation with proportions. The descender is slightly shorter and extended compared to other modern typefaces like Didot and Bodoni."
The sophistication of Scott Langer's graphic design work belies his age. At just 22-years-old he's a graduate of Art Center College of Design, a program that traditionally attracts older students and weeds out the young and unready. During his undergad, Scott studied at The Gerrit Rietveld Academie as part of a student exchange, interned for Project Projects in New York and, during his last two semesters, freelanced for Marc Atlan Design. In the Fall he'll begin his MFA at Yale.
One of the things I most appreciate about Scott's work is that once you get past the elegant and refined composition of his books, the content is equally as considered. Instead using any old text lying around to apply graphics too (yes, this is a common student practice), Scott chooses content that informs his typographic choices. For example, both the booklet and the typeface developed for "A Code Decoded" explore how telegraphy was a precursor to the text or instant message.
"Telegraphy, as the first true global network, permitted applications such as message routing, social networks (between Morse operators - with gossip and even marriages among operators via telegraph being observed), instant messaging, cryptography and text coding, abbreviated language slang, network security experts, hackers, wire fraud, mailing lists, spamming, e-commerce, stock exchange minute-by-minute reports via ticker tape machines, and many others. The parallels between the first global network are abundant.
"I was interested in looking at how problems were solved in the telegraphic network and how those solutions could relate to the Internet. This resulted in the development of a typeface that restored Internet privacy through the use of a cryptographic code. The code is interspersed with the story of the telegraph and the Victorian Internet. As the story progresses parts of the typography are replaced with the code and by the end it is entirely in the code typeface, forcing the viewer to learn the code to understand the text."
As you prepare your entries for the HEINEKEN Sustainability Challenge, we thought we'd take a moment to look at one of HEINEKEN's most recent innovations in packaging design: the STR Bottle. Leveraging some of the key components of the Sustainability Challenge, the STR Bottle uses recyclable aluminum cans and pushes forth new packaging innovation in the market. Core77 had an opportunity to chat with Mark van Iterson, Global Head of Design at Heineken, and John McGuire, Project Manager Packaging Innovation Heineken International, about the design and innovations introduced in the STR bottle. The aluminum can was introduced to high end nightclub environments around the world and the UV-sensitive ink illuminates under black lights to reveal a surprise graphic on the bottle.
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Core77: HEINEKEN has a long history of innovation for both on-premise and off-premise packaging and design. How does HEINEKEN define innovation? Why is it important for your category?
Mark van Iterson (MvI): We define innovation as everything that adds value to the consumer experience. That could be packaging, but also the way we serve the beer, for example extra cold. Or merchandise items like the perfect glass or tray.
Innovation sets us apart from our competitors. Heineken is progressive and inventive, while the category is relatively traditional. In the end innovations will create added value and differentiation.
What were some of the key cultural and design considerations you were trying to address when you started work on the STR Bottle? How does the final packaging design look towards the next phase in packaging?
MvI: STR is for specific types of outlets and occasions; night, dance, top end. These outlets and its consumers are very design minded, and sensitive for the looks of things. STR bottle is a typical progressive and outspoken design statement; very stylish, minimalistic in a way, but also iconic. Subtly branded, and with a hidden surprise in the UV inks that only flair up under black-lights.
The progressive nature of the STR design could also be considered as a scout for the Heineken brand. It's exploring new territories.
New bottle holders introduced last week at HEINEKEN's "Club of the Future" in Milan
The most exciting design innovation for the STR bottle is the technique used to affix a UV-sensitive ink to the aluminum bottle. What are some of the processes behind this technique?
John McGuire (JMcG): UV or Invisible ink as it is also called, has its origins in anti-counterfeiting. The ultraviolet ink becomes visible when exposed to the black light. It's this ability look different in different light sources which we were after. Careful consideration for how the print is constructed and placed on the non-printed areas of the bottle ensure that it has the signature purple tone that is now synonymous with image of the STR bottle in bars and clubs.
MvI: The beauty of the UV inks is that it is designed as a surprise. The technology in itself was not revolutionary, this way applying it is. It creates excitement and talkability.