Posted at 14:02 in The Design Disease, What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
This building has appeared in Walworth behind the Elephant and Castle.
These coloured tiles look gorgeous. And they're ceramic too which gives them a sensible robustness most building cladding doesn't have.
I love the way they merged the colours in a pixelly way. It gives a must nicer gradient than a straight vignette would. The black and white bench is a nice touch too.
Posted at 10:12 in What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Posted at 13:46 in Typography, What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Most days I cycle round the Elephant and Castle and my route takes me through a housing estate where they have this delightful little elephant in the kids playground.
I say delightful, because this little elephant is a smaller version of the bigger famous elephant and castle sign.
Posted at 11:36 in Seen and heard, What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
There seems to be two theories on this as James (Mr Vacuum Cleaner) points out.
1. Customers suggested it to the company
2. "The name and the face were both Duncan's ideas, put there (in his charming account) because the lonely cleaning armies of the early morning and late night liked to use an object they could address as a friend." As we suggested here.
It was probably just a good idea someone at Numark had and someone internally just made some face stickers. We don't know who actually designed the eyes and the smile, and maybe we never will.
Posted at 12:54 in What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Anyone know? Someone must know?
The closest we have so far is this "The name and the face were both Duncan's ideas, put there (in his charming account) because the lonely cleaning armies of the early morning and late night liked to use an object they could address as a friend."
Can anyone shed any light?
Posted at 10:19 in Seen and heard, What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
I like those Supertelly ads you see kicking around for Sky. Not the full ad with the robot arms, I hate that one, but the simple one that's just colour and type.
I was hoping to post about it with a short description of why I like them. But I can't really work out why I like them. So I'm going to blog about it as very rough notes. Maybe we can work it out together.
1. I'm a designer. I'm a sucker for colour. We all are. Normally I hate those 3D glass effect logos, but the Sky one is well done and they use it effectively. And those colours so nice.
2. That song. Oh my Lord that song. So creamy and so rich. So gorgeous.
3. Something about the media dictating the creative in a good way that doesn't sound as shit as that. There's something in the sheer completeness of the execution that makes me think this is the bit leading the campaign.
What do I mean by that? Lots of screens are starting to appear, but they're not really tellys, they're more like animated posters. It's very rare to see any creative that's been adapted well for that format and that's probably the problem, they all feature creative that's been adapted for the format. These almost feel like they were designed with animated posters in mind.
Short little bits of moving image that work as 10 second idents after Sky News, work as silent posters on the Tube and work as 60 second ads on the TV at home.
And still looks good as a web page background. Yes, something like that.
4. Supertelly. A brilliant expression. Supertelly, you can imagine people saying that in pubs and cafes across the land.
Colour, sound, thoroughness, those alone are not recognised reasons for liking something. But who cares about that?
The nice people at Veer are offering one of these amazing KERN zip up tops (worth £69) for FREE when you buy any image or typeface from veer.com. That's a fab offer. I've had mine for a few days now and have enjoyed explaining it to everyone I meet.
Brilliant. And you could probably do with some new fonts.
Posted at 07:11 in Typography, What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
Philippe Starck's design reality show 'Design for Life' starts tonight on BBC 2 at 9pm.
I'll admit to being skeptical and I'm not a Starck fan, but I'll reserve judgement until I've watched the show. There's some stuff on the web, from biogs of the contestants, a Facebook page and these articles in The Guardian and the Indy. Most of the designers have web pages so helpfully, I'll copy the biogs and their links below. Let's all watch the show and then report back tomorrow morning.
Ana-Maria Stewart Pasescu
From: Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire
Ana-Maria's passion for design stems from when she lived in Romania and had to make her own toys to keep herself amused. She moved to England at the age of 10 after her parents were forced to flee the Romanian revolution. Excitable and fanatical, she often draws the thoughts she has in her head straight onto her bedroom wall. She is a free thinker: doors that don't open both ways genuinely frustrate her; she'd love to convert an old phone box into a shower; and she's dreaming up a way to make the shopping trolley a more user-friendly object. Ana-Maria graduated with a degree in Furniture and Product Design from De Montford University, Leicester, and worked for a brand design company for a year until quitting because she was not getting enough creative freedom. The timing was perfect, however, because shortly after leaving the job she was invited to join Starck's School of Design.
Helen recently graduated with a qualification in product design from Lincoln University and describes herself as a fun designer. She loves design brands such as Alessi and Ikea as well as quintessentially British design icons, such as the red telephone box. The lack of females in the world of product design spurs her on to make a name for herself in the industry. She believes the experience of working with Starck will help shape the rest of her career and life: "The ideals I'll get from him could inspire me to start my own business, or take those ideals to a new workplace and hopefully change it or make it better – it's just such an amazing opportunity."
Ilsa is feisty and fiercely independent. She left home when she was 18 and has supported herself ever since. Her go-it-alone attitude is her driving force but she's so used to doing everything for herself that working as part of a team doesn't always come easily – she doesn't think before she speaks and that often gets her in trouble. A self-confessed workaholic, Ilsa's never happier than when she's busy – she lectures in 3-D design at Liverpool Community College and she's trying to bring a newly developed range of conceptual light products to the market, all while studying for an MA. She loves designs that have a twist of irony and surprise people – like her practical design for a vertical coffin which will save space in already overcrowded cemeteries. It caught Starck's eye – and led him to invite her to Paris.
From: Fulham, London
Jessica, a self-confessed introvert, is serious-minded and desperate to make her way in the design world – although so far she has not found it easy. After graduating in product design she was unable to secure a job in the industry, but after three years working in retail, she has quit her sales job and thrown herself back into design. Her main drive is to find ways of simplifying complicated products to make them more user-friendly and more suited to a sustainable world. She has a flair for thinking outside the box, she loves loud colours and dresses in a very distinctive style.
From: Inverness, Scotland
Lachlan is the youngest of the 12 students at Starck's school of design. He has just completed the first year of a degree course in Product Design at Dundee University in Scotland – and is prepared to put his second year on hold to seize the opportunity with Starck. Lachlan's father has been the main inspiration for his interest in design – he studied architecture before becoming a surveyor and always fostered his son's interest in building styles and form. He also introduced Lachlan to the work of Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who remains an influence on the teenager. He loves the way Starck believes that excellent design should be for everyone and not just for a wealthy elite.
From: Sevenoaks, Kent
Michael is a quietly confident young man who makes friends easily and will have no trouble bonding with the rest of the group. He graduated in 2008 from the University of Brighton with a degree in 3-D Design. As a child, he used to infuriate his parents by dismantling everything from telephones to televisions – but this apparent vandalism betrayed a deep fascination with how things work and how they are put together. He is eager to work with Starck because of the way he has adapted his philosophy of design and now believes in designing less in order to help achieve a sustainable planet.
At the tender age of 22, Nebil's confidence is astounding – he compares the way he works and thinks to Salvador Dalí and Philippe Starck. "Personally, I'd like to think I'm one of the best designers of the future," he says. Of Turkish Cypriot descent, Nebil didn't enjoy his childhood – as a hyperactive child he hated school, and his father was always on his case. His only salvation was going to Cyprus during the school holidays to help his grandfather in his cobbler's shop. At 15, Nebil saw a book of Starck's work and from that day realised he wanted to be a designer. At school he began to visualise how 3-D objects were made and realised this was his true calling in life. Nebil believes it is fate that this opportunity to work with Starck has come along for him.
From: Middlewich, Cheshire
Polly received a First in her MA in Product Design from the University of Leeds and believes that she was the best student in her class. She's hugely determined and has her heart set on becoming a renowned international designer by the time she is 40. What infuriates her in the male-dominated design profession is the countless men who design products for women. She is confident and believes she could teach Starck a thing or two – she has a watch of his that drives her insane because of how complicated it is to use. Polly is a leader in group situations. She thinks that coming up with the ideas is her best quality in design – and, interestingly, she doesn't see the fact that she can't draw as a problem.
One of the older members of the group, Robert, already has a career as a designer – he freelances, designing packaging for food products. Robert is a quiet, focused individual who likes to work on his own and is not a natural team player. He therefore may find it less easy than some to mix socially with a large group of fellow students. His first memory of design is sitting on his father's knee and helping to fill in a big scrap book. It left him with a strong desire to work creatively. He feels his thirst for a challenge will enable him to do well at the school of design.
The oldest of the 12 students, Robert has taken a real
gamble to pursue his dream of being a top designer. He had a secure job
as a sign fitter, but gave it up after five years to retrain as a
designer, enrolling in a BA in furniture design at Sheffield. His
passion in design is to create products that are functional and
appealing but that also help create a sustainable world – and he's
excited to work with Starck, whose interest in sustainability is well
known. He has no qualms about being the oldest student at the school of
design and is confident he will fit in. The idea of spending a few
months in Paris is also appealing – in the past he has gone off for
months at a time travelling to far-flung parts of the world.
Originally from Holland, Trevor is the BFG of the group. But beneath his gentle exterior lies a man with strong opinions, who is prepared to do battle with Starck if he doesn't agree with what the master has to say. Trevor came late to the design game – he has a degree in Marine Biology – but nothing has inspired him quite like it. Now at 27 he has gone back to the drawing board and is studying Product Design at Bournemouth University. He may only have been studying for a year but he knows that the rest of his life is going to be devoted to design in one way or another.
You're probably not aware but there's a team of around 42 (plus interns) working on Noisy Decent Graphics these days. It's time we all had some well deserved rest. So apart from the excellent Summer Of Design Books reviews (more on that later) that's it until Monday September 1st, when we shall be back.
Same Bat channel, same Bat place, same Bat fonts.
Meanwhile keep the Summer of Design Books reviews coming in, they'll still go live in August. They're always really popular and I love reading them. Find out how to post one here and someone from the team will approve them as quickly as possible.
The hottest place for the coolest cats at the moment is Silicon Roundabout.
I was fortunate enough to be in the Dopplr office the other day when Matt Biddulph had a eureka moment. "Silicon Roundabout!" he exclaimed. How we laughed.
But look! He's made a Google map of all the cool Boom 2.0 companies working off Silicon Roundabout and he's started a social networking site (that's what they do after all...) for Silicon Roundabout residents.
Silly season? You must be joking.
In other logo related news; whilst I was at Dopplr, Russell and I dropped off a present of some mugs.
Been meaning to do that for a while.
I reckon there are only four films I've seen more than once, properly, all the way through, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Lion King, Lord of the Rings and Heat. Breakfast at Tiffany's used to be my favourite film but now I think it's Heat.
One of the things I love about it is the attention to colour. Almost everything in the film is cold steely blue colour. Sure, it's easy enough alter the grading but they've also used blue lights, blue clothes, the sky and the sea. All to add to the subtle blue effect.
It was on telly last night so I tried to take some pictures to prove my point. You can't really see what I mean because the tungsten lighting of my lounge alters the colours. But there are some more pics on Flickr if you're interested.
Posted at 00:48 in Seen and heard, What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
I've been seeing these vans for years, but never managed to get a photo until the other day.
I know it's a very geeky designer joke but it always makes me smile when I see one. They used to have a division called eps maintenance. Wouldn't that be brilliant? Your eps is corrupted so you ring eps maintenance and they race round and fix it!
The divisions they have now are called EPS Social Housing, EPS Building Services, EPS Security, EPS Refurbishment. Very funny.
(For the non geeky designers reading this, eps is a file type like a jpeg. It stands for Encapsulated PostScript.
About two years ago I was looking at a map of the world and noticed that Britain seemed disproportionately large.
My companion remarked that this was because in days of yore whoever was drawing the map always made their country look bigger and more important. This nugget of information sticks in the brain.
So for the last two years I've been taking pictures of Britain on world maps. Not accurate maps, but drawings or illustrations of maps. The differences are amazing. You might assume that all maps were accurate, or at least accurate-ish. But no, designers play fast and loose with the truth making the host country bigger, more important or more central.
Look at Britain in these photos. Look at the size of it compared to Europe. It's the same, but different.
Americans will be used to seeing this map of the world.
Whereas Europeans will be used to seeing this map of the world.
In this instance one isn't more accurate than the other, but the perception is very different and the power designers wield in shaping that perception is huge.
New Zealanders can often play Spot Our Country. Next time you see a map of the world on the BBC News or in the paper, look for New Zealand. Odds are it will have been left out in the name of aesthetics. If it's not left out then it's cropped to within an inch of it's life.
Most New Zealanders would probably prefer their maps to look like this.
The answer to most of these problems is to look at the world via Buckminster Fuller's amazing Dymaxion Map.
Back to where we started. Over the last few months I took lots of photos of maps, you can see them on Flickr.
Today I traced over England, Scotland and Wales. Please note these tracings were done quickly and aren't massively detailed. The results are quite odd.
They all look pretty different don't they? You know it's Great Britain, but some of them are wild approximations.
Next I dropped them all on top of each other (here I left off Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland because I wanted to compare just one shape).
That's a bit higgledy piggledy so I filled them all in.
Viola! The mean shape of England , Scotland and Wales by 14 graphic designers. Not very accurate, is it?
This isn't a cartography blog and I know some of these maps are over stylised for a reason but I want to make a wider point about graphic designers and the assumptions we make and how easily they are accepted. If you look at all the maps on Flickr they all look kind of OK. When I put them all together it looks like madness. Like people having been taking liberties with the truth.
Think of other times you do this.
Hierarchies are a good example. The point of bold and italic and underline is to make one piece of text more important than the other. But how many times do you see a poster where the text is bold, italic and underlined? I bet I could get a load of notices like that and achieve the same effect as the 14 shapes above. Everything would be bold.
Premiumisation - there's a word that really fucks me off. I once heard the MD of a famous packing company droning on about how his firm's USP was that they could design premiumisation into any old piece of packaging. In case you're wondering, that means lots of over elaborate folds, some foil blocking and a healthy does of script and moody photography. Problem is, take a look at the chocolate cakes in Tescos, I bet you'll find 10 'premiumised' brands, 4 value brands and nothing inbetween.
What I'm saying is that graphic designers have a certain amount of power, people tend to trust what they see without much questioning. We should use that power carefully.
My coins arrived the other day. Lovely aren't they?
Great graphic design if you ask me. It's engaging, it's fun, it will entertain your Grandad as much as your 5 year old nephew, as the designer says, "It's easy to imagine the coins pushed around a school classroom table or fumbled around with on a bar - being pieced together as a jigsaw and just having fun with them." It's practical, it's relevant and it's appropriate. It's different, it's very now and yet it won't date. It's brilliant. Literally.
I've only met one person who doesn't like them so far.
The designer, Matt Dent is one of the speakers at Interesting 2008, that'll be good.
Posted at 08:22 in Graphic Design Reviews , What The World Would Look Like If It Was Run By Graphic Designers | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
More tales from Chicago.
We were lucky enough to have a visit to the Hillside Fire Dept. If this was a different blog I'd say how kind they were for showing us round and how brilliant the tour was. Hero is one of those tags that gets bandied about too easily, but people that run into burning building for a living qualify in my book.
Anyway. This is a graphic design blog so take a look at some of the gorgeous hand painted typography. A few more pictures over here.