AIGA Metro-North Panel Examines Spec Work and the Future of Design
Spec work is the Comic Sans of design-project models. Much like the hated typeface, spec work appears to spell death for design as a profession, not to mention contempt for the designer's craft. So last night's AIGA Metro-North panel discussion at the Ossining Public Library, whose purpose was "to explore if, why, and how spec work has a rightful place in the way projects are structured," had an apt title: RESPECT.
Hollywood vs. The People of Walmart
The immensely popular website People of Walmart is easily as enjoyable as a screenful of LOLcats, in addition to being many times more meaningful. The amazing array of common freakery on display calls one's attention to a part of America that is ignored by mainstream media, sneered at by sophisticates, and pandered to by politicians.
Designism 4.0: Is Sustainability Sustainable?
At Art Directors Club's Designism 4.0 event last night, the word "sustainable" was heavy on the breath of all four panelists. "Sustainable" has entered common usage as a catch-all designation for eco-friendly lifestyles, but it took on extra meaning here as a sort of euphemism for "economically viable."
Critic Armond White's New Book Keep Moving Chronicles MJ's Career
Two-time New York Film Critics Circle chairman Armond White is about to release his first collection of criticism in nearly 15 years: Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles. The 118-page book brings together 21 pieces that have appeared over the last 25 years in publications such as The City Sun, The Village Voice, New York Press, and First of the Month.
Graphics.com/Learning Turns 1! Free Tutorial!
Today is a special day for Graphics.com/Learning, its one-year anniversary. Unfamiliar with the site? It's a comprehensive online resource for graphic designers, featuring more than 80 video tutorials on topics including (but not even close to limited to) Adobe-app tips and tricks, logo design, where to find design inspiration on the web, and project management.
The Screen of Memory: Terence Davies's Of Time and the City
Of Time and the City, the new film by Terence Davies (the British writer/director of Distant Voices, Still Lives, The House of Mirth, and The Long Day Closes), blends archival footage of post-World War II Liverpool, personal reminiscence, poetry, pop music, and cultural/political analysis into a life-affirming, era-summarizing thesis statement/autobiography. It gives an invigorating workout to your every movie-watching muscle.
Obama's Designers Speak!
Candidate Barack Obama was reportedly made "a little uncomfortable" by the famous "O" logo (pictured above) created for him by Sol Sender, a Chicago-based graphic designer. That was just one of the interesting election tidbits disclosed at "Designing Obama," an event at NYC's Art Directors Club sponsored by Sappi Fine Papers. In addition to Sender, the discussion included Obama '08's head designer Scott Thomas and Steven Heller, who served as moderator.
"Like, Oh My God" = "I Am God": Heidi Dangelmaier and 3iying at AIGA's GAIN Conference
This past weekend, The Roosevelt Hotel, a short walk from Manhattan's Grand Central Station, hosted GAIN, AIGA's conference on business and design. Sold out for more than a month, the conference boasted more than 20 extremely accomplished presenters, including big design names such as Brian Collins and Stephen Doyle as well as a few notables from outside the design world, e.g. New Yorker writer and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.
The TONY 40 Whitewash
I'll start with a cliche-amending statement: Sometimes it only takes one picture to obliterate a thousand words of cant. That's what happened with this week's Time Out New York cover story, "The New York 40," a roundup of photos of, and interviews with, "New Yorkers who've made a positive impact on the city" since the magazine's inception in the mid-'90s. Of course, the TONY editors didn't dare to include non-celebrities in this group, but all things considered that's the least of their offenses.
Design Meets Documentary: Gunnin' for That #1 Spot
Today's documentary films rarely surprise me. These days, it seems doc-makers don't have the talent or the intuition to know how much distance to take from their subjects--either they're alienated from the reality of what they show by prejudice or partisanship (e.g., Borat), or they're complicit, complacent, slavish (Shine a Light, An Inconvenient Truth or any of the other recent hagiographic political docs that lack contrasting perspectives). Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has made an antidote to this poisoning of an art form: the new must-see documentary Gunnin' for That #1 Spot, about elite high-school basketball players coming together for a historic game/summit meeting at Rucker Park in Harlem.
FUSE Conference 2008 Addresses Design, Culture, and Branding
Pity Terry T. Schwartz, senior director of brand design for ConAgra Foods. After a far-out morning talk by University of Hawaii professor and "futurist" Jim Dator, who urged the crowd at this week's FUSE conference to become "tsunami surfers" in order to build a "dream society," Schwartz had the hard task of bringing the proceedings back to budgets and quarterly reports. By way of a segue, he offered, "I'm not here to talk about the end of the world; this is about how to sell more Poppycock and Fiddle-Faddle." His awkward transition summed up the entire conference, which attempted--sometimes excitingly, sometimes uncomfortably--to straddle the line between "design culture" and corporate culture.
Mediabistro's "Advertising: The New Creative Agency" Panel
The speakers at last night's Mediabistro event at Tribeca Cinemas expressed quite a few essential insights, even if no consensus was reached on pretty much any aspect of the discussion's broad topic: the future of advertising in a digital age.
Goldfrapp and Big Active's Seventh Tree Design Coup
Those who helped themselves to Seventh Tree, the just-released fourth album by English pop duo Goldfrapp, when it leaked onto the internet last year as well as those who pre-ordered it on iTunes should consider picking up the deluxe-edition CD version of the album. Singer Alison Goldfrapp and hot London-based firm Big Active have created packaging that argues powerfully for the continuing importance of design to the pop-music experience.
A Bush-Bashing Design Bash
After Thursday evening's Designism 2.0 panels and the political-design omnibus that was AIGA's Cause/Effect event, held today at The New School for Social Research, I don't care if I never see another Bush-bashing poster, t-shirt, sticker, or website. I could also do without the tossed-off condemnations of conservatives that this week's speakers delivered with alarming frequency, in some cases going so far as to wish, with a broad smile to assure us it was all in fun, bodily harm, even death, upon their ideological opponents.
Heidi Cee in Plain Sight
I was mostly left cold by the presentations at last Friday's School of Visual Arts symposium on propaganda, entitled "Where the Truth Lies," until a late-afternoon speech by media studies professor Stuart Ewen brought chilling contemporaneity to the timeworn issue.