Archive for Design

Day One

In an experiment to write something about design every day.

I noticed today something that interests me. The use of abstract geometric shapes in combination with vintage photos, line art, nice sans serif type and 1970’s color palettes. This combination can be seen used well in the work of Mark Weaver, Scott Hansen of ISO 50 and Cristiana Couceiro. It is a visual and aesthetic direction I am interested in exploring.


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Selling Your Life

I have seen the link to this website in a couple of different places over the last couple of days. I finally gave the link a click when I saw the domain name. I mean, how awesome is

Selling all of your stuff as an art project is not new. This guy did it almost ten years ago and got a book deal out of it too. My favorite part is the journey to visit his stuff. This seller has a different goal, to fund a 14 month stay at M Lab in Alabama. I also like that is is going to give away the rest to a local charity.

Having sold or donated all of my possessions not once, but twice in my life on different sides of the world I can say that it is liberating to dump the junk and travel light. But I can also say that starting over is harder than you might think. Especially when you have to start buying things like pots, pans and silverware.

I wish Megan luck in her goal of selling her things and making a difference in Alabama with M Lab, and more luck in re-establishing herself 14 months from now. It’s not easy.

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I Love Books

Books on a  shelf

I really do. I love the texture of the paper, the crack of the binding, the smell of the ink on the page. Especially the smell of the ink on the page. Mainly uncoated paper, it smells better. Just ask my kids. They think it is weird. One thing I REALLY like is getting free books. And whenever I see a post like this one at Design Observer I find myself thinking “How can I get a stack of free books like that?” And it is a great spread of topics too, not just best business card designs or how to make something spin in Flash books. Those are easy to get for free. I am talking about books like this one and this one.

Man, I need to get famous so I can get some free books.

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Jan Wilker Lecture

Jan Wilker lectures at Michigan State

I went to a lecture last night in East Lansing sponsored by Michigan State University and the Detroit chapter of the AIGA. Jan Wilker, half of the New York design team of karlssonwilker inc. was the speaker, and he did a fine job. It was so nice to be able to go down and see him speak. To go from a complete barren wilderness of design lectures (with the notable exception of Tasmeem) to a 1 hour drive is heaven. I will be going back down in February to see Stuart Bailey from Dot Dot Dot.

Jan had some interesting work and ideas, and it was a pleasure to hear him speak. I will leave you with my favorite quote from the evening. The context was a story about all of the interviews he and Hjalti were giving in Belgrade, Serbia while working on a project there. “It’s so exhausting, trying to be smart”

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A Fine Farewell

Drawing of leaving faculty

A teacher often wonders if the work they do actually helps their students in life. At least I do. That question was answered a little bit yesterday when a group of my students gathered together to give me and the other faculty of the Art Department and farewell party. They had a cake with the above image (can you guess which one is me?) on the top and these cards that they all signed. It was great to know that they all learned something from me and will miss me when I am gone.

The drawing was done by a student named Kulood who goes by KiKi. Left to right is Michael Rodriguez, Terence Dowse, me and Sean Hottois.

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The Roots of My Profession

Albrecht Drurer print

Jason Kottke linked to a wonderful BBC Documentary the other day on the development of Gutenberg’s printing press. Stephen Fry goes on a quest to discover how and where the original press was created. He also works with master printers and a type founder to re-create a copy of the press and cast some type. I have seen pictures of a matrix used to cast lead type, but have never seen how one works.

You can’t watch it on the BBC website (unless you are in the UK) but it is available in six parts on YouTube: part one, two, three, four, five, six.

I hope to somehow get this all in one place and show it to my students how this whole thing started. Without Gutenberg, I wouldn’t have a job.

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Turns Out I Was Wrong

I can admit when I am wrong, and I admit, I was wrong. After reading a very nice comment from Mr. Richard Grefe himself on my previous post, the Adobe┬« Font Folio┬« Education Essentials might not be as shady as I had first suspected. As Mr. Grefe states in his comment the AIGA isn’t going to make any money form the deal and there is no small print restricting usage after graduation. And thanks to Mr. Armin Vit at Speak Up, we now have a list of the the font families included in the collection. It is a well rounded collection that will serve students well in school and after graduation.

Only two complaints remain. First, I still find fault with the way Adobe is numbering the fonts. Would it really be so hard to say 25 font families for only $149? That is still just $6 per family and a great deal for the fonts included with the collection. And second, what is the deal with including Rosewood? I guess being able to produce a cowboy retro piece or a Hatch Show Print-esque poster is important. Oh well, nothing is perfect. And to echo the words of Armin, it is a step in the right direction after all.

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