Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Good music, good type

Back from five days in Chicago. Fun? Greek food, Millers Pub, the Art Institute and the grubby, noisy pool of humanity that inhabits most urban cores. I stayed in the 'burbs, which, with unusual snowfall, limited my travel options.

I did get to see the Edvard Munch show that opened there recently. Munch succeeded in building an image of a tormented, mentally ill aberration. His portrait, above, with the light source below, highlighting his craggy features, was done intentionally to promote that image.

Some of the most striking pieces, beyond his famous and much manipulated "The Scream" are his woodcuts. Most are four color prints made with two blocks. His use of stark contrast and large solid areas of black and white made it possible to ink only certain sections and use one block for two colors with amazing effect.

It was inspiring to see so much emotion derived from so little line and form. The most exquisite work, obviously, was in the creative thought prior to the first cut.

I sound like a boring textbook, don't I?

On the music front, I was having a chicken Caesar in a sports bar in the B concourse at O'hare and there's my playlist, at least a lot of it, on the background track. Even down to the old, 4/4 Der Kommissar by Falco. This isn't high art, just some tech-ish, funky 80"s shit.

It was a little scary to know that I must have things in common with some unknown sound company out there. Maybe these tracks are created with some complex algorhithm that goes through protocols matching age/income/mental stability with cheesy radio playlists and comes up with weird tracks. Anyway, it seemed like a sign, that is if I were into superstition.

Oh, were you waiting for the good type? My older brother teaches typographic design, history of design and something else I can't remember. He designs fonts and they are for sale at several of the on-line font sources or at his site, Nobodoni.com. Check it out.

Sorry George for the miniscule plug, it just got buried under the Chicago blather. Your site looks very nice.

More later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good music, bad type

So far, the highest number of comments has been for music recommendations. Next are fonts, then design. Be sure to read the comments for ideas on new music. Fuels the creative spirit and gives you something new to listen to.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bauhaus Follow-up

I got a recommendation to use Futura to replace the evil Bauhaus. I have not pitched it yet. I have to do it over the phone and with pdf's. I used extra black, bold and text. Once again, weight in.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Polititian update

Despite the point person overlooking a citizen committee charged with defining the logo's tasks, the approval was granted. committee hell has been temporarily avoided and I am moving forward with a stylebook for the usual business paper.

I am a little touchy still about using Rotis Sans as I now see it everywhere. I am a cynic and a contrarian and hate to be a follower.

Angst is cleansing.

Why I design the way I do

Domus, a hefty, perfect bound design magazine for the industrial design industry has been around nearly as long as I have. I lost touch with it many years ago, but stumbled onto it again doing some Google®. Domus is their online teaser for subscribing to the magazine. More important to me than the subject matter is their strict adherence to THE GRID. Looking back at my past work I began to suspect that I am mired in the kinds of design that shaped my thinking many many years ago—publications such as Domus. Swiss, Swiss, Swiss, clean, clean, clean. I don't seem to have many samples doing some of the relatively grid-free designs I see in the work of younger designers, and especially students. I used to think that student work that flowed over a page or site was simply trying to find THE GRID. Now I realize I am the one stuck in a certain meta-think. Not that any of this is bad. I can either let THE GRID be a kind of work pattern/trade mark of my design, or, I can practice more free-flowing solutions.

I would really like to post samples of others' work that demonstrate both/either. Have at it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Too ugly to live, or really nifty?

I have a small job for a client who requested this font: Bauhaus This was designed in 1969 and belongs there as far as I am concerned. Around this time, Lettraset, a company who makes "rub-down" type, introduced a great many hip, modish fonts. Like most designs, they were quickly adopted and used everywhere. Most had little merit, except some really nice ones such as Avant Garde, created for the magazine of the same name.

So vote. Best left in the past, or really hip today? (they always predict wide ties coming back but I have yet to see '60's hipster ties exactly matching what's in now.

Oh, and the replacement sync cord for my Nano ipod cost $19.95 plus tax.