Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy

I saw this earlier this week on Swiss Miss... but my lag in posting is due to yet another child who was sick all week. Anyway, enjoy the (true!) rants of Louis CK--one of my favorite comedians.


Mark this

Chances are, you've seen a logo designed by Pentagram. Their impressive portfolio includes marks such as Citi, Saks, New York Magazine, Design Within Reach, Godiva... I could go on and on (and on. And on).

Their newest book, appropriately titled Marks, is out in the UK, and available for preorder here in the US. From Pentagram:

Marks, Pentagram’s latest book, collects 400 symbols designed by our partners between 1962 and the present day. The limited edition of 1000 copies has been published by Laurence King Publishing and is identical to the book produced by Pentagram for its friends and clients, sans tote bag but with the addition of a fetching white belly band. The book is printed on French-folded bible paper, bound in a red, cloth-covered softback cover and includes five ribbons for bookmarking.

I've already gone and placed my order, and will be anxiously awaiting it's arrival. A book of 400 symbols and logos? Designed by Pentagram? Ummmm... yes, please.

(Thanks David Airey, via Twitter)


Layer Tennis

Did y'all remember to check out Layer Tennis this week? If not, check it out--interesting competition, I wasn't sure how I liked the WAY different feel of each volley, until I got to Layers 6, 7 and 8; and it became all about typography.

I also dug the last volley, excellent ending. All in all, it was nice Friday procrastina--I mean, inspiration (I keed, I keed... it was actually both).


Sweet Home Alubama

Guitar Hero is a pretty big game in my house; while I continue to fail miserably and get booed off the stage (I'm more of a MarioKart player, anyway), my husband and oldest daughter love it. Their skills are pretty impressive.

There's a new version of GH coming out, the Metallica version. And while I don't think we're going to be buying it soon (we're still trying out the recently-purchased Rock Band), I'm sure many will. But will they notice the spelling error on the box? Rolling Stone did.

The new packaging lists all of the bands included in the game in the background. One of those bands? Lynyrd Skynyrd. Or, as it's spelled: Lynyrd Skynrd.

Obviously spell check isn't going to get this. But I've worked on enough projects like this to know how many back and forths there are, and how many sets of eyes look at the designs before printing. And the one thing that gets me, is that the list of bands is the cover art--as RS points out:

Even the (properly) misspelled Mercyful Fate get their name handled correctly, and the oft-mangled Mastodon pass the fact-checking test.

I don't know... if there's the most remote question on the spelling of something, I'd triple check it. Lynyrd Skynyrd is spelled different enough for me to quadruple check it (as I've done here. Way more than 4 times). But who knows? Maybe the package designer is more of a rap fan?


Not Player Tennis... LAYER Tennis!

Well this is something new: Layer Tennis! From the site:

Two competitors swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work. Each artist gets fifteen minutes to complete a "volley" and then we post that to the site live.

The players may be designers, animators, illustrators or pretty much anything else, and they can use any tool or application they like. The match progresses volley by volley.

A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action as it happens.

The match lasts for ten volleys and when it's complete, opinioned Season Ticket Holders sound off and we declare a winner. Check Tennis HQ for more information and links to past matches.

Ummmm... Yes? How awesome is this?

No? You don't believe me? Check out last year's week 10 and dare to prove me wrong. Remember, each player only has 15 minutes to complete a "volley." Pretty impressive, right?

I am setting ical alarms as I write so I can remember to watch this awesomeness progress. Talk about great Friday afternoon inspiration!


Staying in character

I love Will Ferrell. I like his humor, but what always gets me--every single time--is his ability to stay in character.

Over the weekend, Mattio and I celebrated his birthday a little late (and stimulated the economy) with a trip to the city to check out Will Ferrell's new show, "You're Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush." It was probably one of the funniest things I've seen lately--not only was it well written, but Will Ferrell is brilliant. He never breaks character--not even when interacting with the audience.

A few things:

--Yes, there is full frontal male nudity (which I applaud, only because the ratio of female nudity to male is like, a bazillion to one. Not that I want to see it or anything. Just trying to even things out a little). Actually, it works, in this instance.

--The Condi Rice lapdance? Yeah, it's funny. Alright, it's pretty hysterical. But there's a million hysterical things about this show so it didn't stand out all that much to me.

--Will Ferrell's brother plays the secret service agent. He also played one of the security guards in Elf. I would have never made the connection had I not read this fact in Playbill.

If you are a fan of Will Ferrell, but not of GWB, I highly recommend checking it out (if you can--pretty ironic that Will Ferrell as GWB is stimulating the Broadway economy these days). If not, check out a live showing on HBO March 14th, the night before closing. I think I might just have to get HBO again, if only just for that one night.


Oh type... will you be my Valentine?

Seriously? I love the charms, but the type had me at hello. Or, more appropriately, yours.

I'm actually working on a logo now, and this was the creative burst of inspiration I needed. Thank you, Tiffany. And--ahem, Mattio--hint, hint: I need some pretty charms to go with my new fonts.


Old School

I went to college, ahem, in the 90s--computers were slowly taking over (I remember just. how. big. Windows 95 was), but the school I went to either A) didn't really think that computers were the way graphic design was going, or B) the school and it's administration were really antiquated. Probably a little of both.

My first graphic design class involved xacto knives, rubber cement, rubylith, T squares, and proportion scales (and, if you know me at all, you will be VERY impressed that I could work one of these). There was no computer, there was no mouse, no command Z, no Photoshop... there was me and my paste ups.

Thank God that only lasted a semester. My knowledge of the inner workings of a stat machine have... well, they've never come in handy. Ever. So it was with a great big smile that I read Michael Beirut's account of his path to becoming the designer he is today.

Because I, too, have a T square... somewhere.


Now THIS is a clever use of typography

I'm not as big on the awards shows as I used to be--and even now, I prefer the red carpet for the clothes, over the show itself. So it's not surprising that I had no idea that the Grammys are this Sunday. I was surprised--pleasantly--when I saw the advertising:

I love this--portraiture using only type! Brilliant!

See more by going here, and clicking on the Music Makes Us link.


This makes me sad (not snooty, just sad)

Forbes has an a very interesting article, The Creativity of Crowds, online. The subtitle:

CrowdSpring aims to slash the cost of graphic design work--and democratize a snooty business.

Hmmmm. The article makes designers seem "snooty" because they--gasp!--actually want to get paid for their work. It's like hiring a team of lawyers, and only paying the one who wins you the case. Actually, one of the commenters said it best:

A designer who is worth his salt provides a service to a paying client in exactly the same manner as an attorney or an accountant. There is no difference. If the client simply needs window dressing, then my all means, he may prefer the work of my 12-year-old son to mine, but let's not confuse the issue here. A CAD program does not make me an architect and a copy of QuickBooks does not make me an accountant. Everyone deserves an opportunity to express their creativity, but there are serious liability issues to consider. I'm all for open competition, and in fact, I embrace it. But we should also recall that some of our greatest recent tragedies have come from poorly designed products, illegible signage, and confusing ballots...

...And the Forbes writer? You know, the one who penned this article's ludicrously silly subhead, was likely this year's lucky winner of Mrs. Winters' sixth grade journalism competition. Because why would we pay an experienced writer when anyone with Microsoft Word and e-mail can submit a story?

The article makes me sad; I went to college to do what I do. I LOVE what I do. Few things excite me more than a client coming to me with a dream, and I get to help them make that dream a reality. I hold my client's hands and find printers that are within budget, I show them why that color just isn't going to work, I stay up late at night making sure, in fact, my files are printer ready... because this isn't my hobby, it's my career. Good luck finding that at CrowdSpring.

If you're going to read the article, then I highly recommend reading all of the comments as well. Then head straight to No!Spec to see their (not surprising at all) take on it.

(Thanks, David Airey, SwissMiss)