Great photo, highlighting many design issues. Taken by By chriswoebken
Great photo, highlighting many design issues. Taken by By chriswoebken
In an age where people rarely send letters or faxes. In a world where saving paper and ink would be seen as a huge advantage. In a time when every home has a desktop printer but those printers are used to print out address, or phone numbers or tickets. Why does the default paper size have to be A4?
One of the biggest uses of A4 is for stuff like this.
Every single one of these notices could have been produced on A5. Indeed they would have looked better on A5. In fact, I'll bet the total print area of most of these notices could fit on A5.
So why don't we have smaller, A5 printers. Why isn't A5 paper the standard paper size you can buy in Tescos? Why isn't an A5 printer more common place at home?
Wouldn't that be a more useful and a more efficient size?
Here's a thing for a Friday.
I spotted this FedEx logo (Kinkos colour version) in Austin earlier this week. What's happened to the famous hidden arrow?
Either this is a mistake by someone, which is really bad or it's an approved arched version of the classic logo which would worse.
Can anyone shed any light?
There is always lots of talk on the web about privacy. With an election looming we can only expect this to increase.
I'm a teeny weeny bit paranoid about privacy. I shred, regularly. But I'm also an advocate of being open online.
But like a lot of arguments the issue isn't as simple as privacy yes or no. You can say you live in London without mentioning the exact street. Or as Tom said once, "Privacy. Get over it."
Now, I don't want to debate privacy here. I really don't. People cleverer than I have written better things elsewhere. But I do want to talk about a type of transparency that would make my life easier.
We've all experienced frustrating email conversations where you're trying to arrange a meeting with someone. Sometimes they go like this:
A: Yeah let's meet up, when's good for you?
B: Sometime next week?
A: Yeah great. Tuesday?
B: Perfect. Morning or afternoon?
Natural delay of a day or so.
A: Oh, sorry. Tuesday has gone now. Internal thing. How about Wednesday?
B: I can't do Wednesday. I could next Monday though? 10am?
A: Ahhh. I'm free all day Monday apart from 10. Thursday at 3?
B: Perfect. See you then.
Natural delay of a day or so.
A: Sorry. Really sorry, client coming in at 10 now.
And so on.
It seems odd to me that I can very easily find pictures, phone numbers, address, likes and dislikes, marital statuses, of people I barely know and yet there's no easy way to see the availability of slight associates. I'm not suggesting making our calendars available to everyone, but I would like to see a pretty basic busy/not busy thing similar to how Google show you the chat status of people you have previously emailed.
And not just inter-company, something broader than that. Something vague. Something useful if you're trying to gauge the availability of someone but useless to a stranger. Something where you can get an idea of hereish, soonish, nowish.
In this example, because I've had a few emails with Rob I can quickly see his basic availability. No details, just free or busy, like the calendar at the start of this post. I know this is not perfect interaction design, it's just a quick sketch.
I used to think this was the biggest marketing overclaim I'd ever seen.
Until I spotted this.
This food staple was being handed out at Liverpool St. home of London's finance industry. I know there's been a banking crisis, but I'm confident the commuters rushing through that station can afford a loaf of bread.
I can't stand Stephen Bayley. There are loads of reasons why, but here's the most recent one.
That, in case it's not clear, is a whole book, a design book no less, called Woman As Design - before, behind, between, above and below.
The blurb says, "Stephen Bayley discusses how the female body works as a sign, a symbol...as a designed object." Does everyone else find that offensive? Abhorrent, even? It's not ironic or provocative, it's stupid.
It's precisely because I dislike him so much and because I am a well rounded human being that I read his piece first in a magazine article called 'Designs Of The Decade'. It's very good. Here's what he had to say.
Ignore the iPod bit and read the second paragraph.
"I do think we're coming to the end of a sort of sinusoidal wave, which began just after the second world war, in which life was all about making more, consuming more and so on. In architecture this is quite clear. The Chelsea Barracks is the last gasp of Richard Rogers, he is now as much an historical anachronism as Quinlan Terry."
Leaving aside that fact I hate people who say "I do think" and "I do believe" and so on; thank fuck Modernism is over.
I have always felt guilty that as a designer I don't like modernism enough. I mean, I like white spaces and hard edges and everything, but I don't feel the need to align my whole life to modernism. I would love a Huf Haus, but I'd be just as happy in a Victorian terrace. Sorry.
Christmas is a good example of modernism facism. Designers always try and fuck Christmas up by making it stylish and modernistic. Christmas should look like this if you ask me.
And he's right about the Chelsea Barracks thing too. People are looking beyond steel and glass in big cities. I'm not a steel and glass hater and I'm not a big fan of Chelsea red brick - it's nice to see a mix of both.
And there's another very interesting point in that second paragraph.
"I do think we're coming to the end of a sort of sinusoidal wave, which began just after the second world war, in which life was all about making more, consuming more and so on."
“Why should we so gratuitously assume, as we constantly do, that the mere existence of a mechanism for manifolding or of mass production carries with it an obligation to use it to the fullest capacity?”
I do hope Stephen is right and we're moving towards the end of that era.
I realise this is an incredibly simplified version of Modernism. But I'm glad it's dead. And thank you Stephen Bayley for letting me know.
Still hate that book though.
I was always led to believe that the great innovation Sky had brought to the world was displaying the score in the top left hand corner of the telly during football matches. Which is good and very useful, especially if you turn the TV on in the middle of a game.
So why, dear listeners, do the BBC not do this for Wimbledon? It's especially annoying as a game of tennis has a lot more scoring than a game of football. The score changes every minute or so and therefore when I come in from the terrace with a glass of Pimms I like to know what the score is.
The BBC only seems to show the score when the camera is on this view below:
but not any other view. Maybe that's the only camera that has the little graphic on it.
I despair when I see stuff like this, and you see it everywhere. Does that building really need all those signs? Do they have to be so ugly. Does that huge slab of space have to be made so aggressive and so intrusive by the addition of graphic design?
There should be some humour in there, a light touch to make passers by smile. There is an opportunity to do something with half a street for God's sake! Failing that (and that's a tall order admittedly) just keep it simple and quiet. One sign would be enough. Two at a push.
Sure, it may not be the designers fault. Maybe the site manager just ordered 12 signs. But someone should have considered the context. Someone should have stood back and thought for a minute. That someone, in my opinion, should have been the designer.
This is nothing new. You see this everywhere, all the time and you always will.
And then there's this. You see this everywhere too.
That's the logo for a company called 'design clarity'. Design. Clarity. So fucking clear you can't read the bloody sign because they put the logotype through a shredder.
I don't know if that's supposed to be ironic or even a joke. I think it's just shit. And wrong. And a little bit depressing. There's nothing worse than designers trying too hard to be clever.
I always assume you lot read all the same blogs as me. Which is very wrong, I shouldn't do that.
At first, I thought that was a printing error and something had been left out of the circle. But no, that white circle is their logo. Really.
That's shockingly bad, isn't it?
I saw this s'morning. Awful isn't it.
I can see what they're trying to do with the whole orange and passionfruit and water in the middle thing. But, seriously, the execution is shocking.
And it the graphic device is so fucking big. It's like the opposite of when the account people make the logo bigger and the device smaller. Awful.
Which is a shame, because I always liked that Brains ad...
There's a lot of navigation around at the moment. The future apparently is micro processors telling you (and everyone else) where you are.
But, today, let us concentrate on the posters.
I'm pretty sure that BT have absolutely no idea where anything is, but they're jumping feet first on to the band wagon.
Aside from that insipid blue what I really hate about this is the London Eye compass. Actually, using that circle for a compass isn't a bad idea, not necessarily a good idea, but certainly not a bad one. That shape says London and it says compass - that makes sense.
But we all know what a compass looks like don't we? And that funny star shaped thing in the middle, that thing you only get on compasses, that reinforces that it's a compass, doesn't it?
It's a horrible font. It doesn't sit comfortably in the composition and it doesn't feel like it points North. Look at it again in the top picture. It looks like a mistake.
Further proof that what you leave out is as important as what you put in.
Every Christmas there is some design mag or, these days, high falutin' design blogger, who writes about the ugly visual nature of Christmas. Which is bollocks, obviously.
Christmas is a time for family and friends. For pausing. For over eating and for getting drunk. And Only Fools and Horses. Nothing to do with graphic design whatsoever. Your Christmas should be as naff, or as gaudy as you like. Similarly it should be as elegant and as well designed as you like. If your front room looks like an episode of The Royle Family that's fine by me. If all your decorations match the front cover of Elle Deco, then that's fine too. It's Christmas.
And besides there's a far more visually offensive festival just around the corner. May I introduce you to the graphic design horror show we have come to call Valentines Day.
I hate Valentines Day. For many reasons. We do not celebrate it. I judge you if you participate in it. But let's concentrate on the awfulness of the design.
I have never seen anything well designed in conjunction with this horrible occasion. Unlike Christmas there is no elegant Elle Deco version of Valentines.
Let's start with the colour. Red is possibly the most useful colour in the world. There are a lot of nice reds in the Pantone book. And I'm partial to a bit of pink. I'm even wearing a pink jumper today.
But Valentines designers never use a nice pink, or a nice red. If you looked up Unelegant Colour Combo in the dictionary you would see this.
Every single fucking cliché known to cupid is dragged out and used in February.
You want cheap and tacky, you got it. With most things in life, you pay more you get more elegant marketing collateral. Not Valentines. You get shit pink and shit grammar.
Lots of Love from Him. Him? The Good Lord Above? He sent you a Valentines card. Whoda thought?
I know what you're thinking now. Oh he's wrong, he's just picked some bad examples. There are loads of nice Valentines cards out there. Maybe some vintage ones would be nice? Wrong.
I'm sure you're all at home hand printing beautiful Valentines cards using Godfrey J Pantone's own special red. But they are not nice either. Trust me.
I don't know what else to call this really.
You must have a look at this. A disgruntled designer has published the Pepsi band guidelines for the new logo online. They are truly hellish.
There are almost no words to describe the awfulness contained with the PDF. Have a look at the full story here. Via DO.
Look carefully on the top left. Pizza Hut has changed it's name to Pasta Hut.
No joke of a lie. Pizza Hut is now Pasta Hut.
Go to the website and watch the cheesiest flash video (again top left) of two workmen replacing the neon Pizza with a neon Pasta. Unbelievable.
And here's a picture of a new Pasta Hut restaurant from the Daily Telegraph. I was starting to wonder why they keep saying, "these are strange times" on the news...
It won't have escaped your notice that there's a crisis happening in the banking world. All the big household names are affected. It's slowly engulfing us all and it gets closer to home every day. I've resisted writing about it for a long time but I can hold off no longer.
Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce the Kerning Crunch.
Let's look at Lehman Brothers first. A big, strong, confident piece of typography. Standing squarely at the helm, staring rivals in the face. No problems over here matey.
But look a little bit closer. In particular take a look at the A.
Is that acceptable? Too close for comfort? Should the authorities be called in?
The O and T are gentler, but still a teeny bit close for my liking. The problem is that the Kerning Crunch causes us to question our existing value systems. Perhaps we've been sailing too close to the wind for a long time. How close do we want to get?
The worst offender has been glossed over by the main stream media. But, have no fear, that's what this esteemed blog is for. Take a closer look at the L and A in Barclays.
Trouble lies ahead my friends.
Some of these banks are their own worst enemies. L, A, Y and S are never going to be an easy set of letters to kern.
But these guys are all about taking risks, aren't they?
This is the William Morris pub in Hamersmith, which is neither useful or beautiful.
Which is odd* because William Morris famously said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.
Here's something else that's neither useful or beautiful. Introducing the modern day Useless Saucer.
I hate saucers. Bloody useless saucers. Here's the worst modern day offender, the Conference Useless Saucer.
Ever tried to stand chatting, at a conference, holding a cup of coffee in one hand, a saucer in another, an agenda and then trying to drink the coffee? It's hard isn't it? Especially when the point of a conference break is to stand chatting!
Another one that annoys me is the Table Too Small Useless Saucer. This is especially annoying when you've got kids. Waiters have a habit of putting the most dangerous part of eating right in front of the kids, boiling hot coffee, sharp knifes or open bottles of wine. This problem is exasperated by the fact that the table is short of space. This problem is exasperated by the fucking useless saucers. Look I made an infographic!
I just don't see the point of these saucers.
The point isn't to hold the tea bag, you should take that out beforehand. Obviously. And the point isn't to look good either. If I went round my Gran's house I would expect a cup and saucer like this.
But in yer modern day coffee houses you get this hideous hybrid.
It's like they've used a trendy coffee glass and then thought, "Fuck! We forgot the saucers! The Englishmen will be revolting!"
But no one cares anymore. David Cameron doesn't wear a tie. Traditions change. And anyway, my Gran doesn't go to Costa Coffee.
I also know that saucers used to have a point. People used to pour tea into the saucer and drink it from there. That way it was cooler, quicker and you could slurp at it which aerated it and made it taste better. I know that because Richard Seymour told me over lunch. He knows lots about saucers and you should expect some exciting saucer news from his direction very soon...
Until then. Unless you're a Grandparent ditch the Useless Saucers.
In a little digital natives / silver surfer crossover thing I've been posting Useless Saucer pics to Flickr for over a year now. A few months ago my Mum and Dad went to Venice and uploaded pictures of all the "Useful" Saucers they saw to their Flickr account. Bloody digitally literate piss taking parents.
* Yes, yes, I know that Kelmscott House is in Hammersmith. But still.