Amazon

Madmen Illustrated.

I’m a huge fan of the TV show Madmen. I still have last season on my DVR so I can watch episodes at my leisure this winter and have a little Madmen fix when I need it. So last night while cruising through Amazon I discovered this.

Mad Men: The Illustrated World, by Dyna Moe

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This fun illustrated paperback takes a look at the culture of the ’60s through the lens of the hit AMC show Madmen, offering up important information like drink recipes, women’s hairstyle tips, appetizer menus, and, as an added bonus, paper cutout dolls of everyone’s favorite office manager, Mrs. Joan Harris. The illustrations are great. If you have done the Madmen Yourself on Facebook, or seen any of the Madmen desktop wallpapers for your computer, then you are familiar with Dyna Moe’s style. At $8.50 on Amazon, it’s a must have for the die-hard Madmen fan.

The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game.

In the late 1920’s a group of surrealist artist led by Salvador Dali, invented a form of art known as the “exquisite corpse”. This was a game like collaboration process where a group of individuals would create a composition by writing two to three lines of text, and passing it to the next individual. The only rule was each subsequent participant could only see the last line of what was written before them.

Following in the tradition of the exquisite corpse, Brooklyn-based designers Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski and Matt Lamothe have reproduced the process, in the form of an illustration project that brought together 100 of today’s most talented illustrators and designers to co-create an illustrated book based on each other’s work. The book entitled “The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game”, is an absolutely wonderful work that has taken almost two years to complete.

The process that was set up by Rothman, Volvovski, and Lamothe is really very simple. Each artist contributed one page to the book. The first five were given a few starter words to inspire their drawing, then each of the following artists only saw the page that immediately preceded theirs and used images to build on the story. Along with this conceptual continuity, there was a visual reference that was carried through the entire volume. A horizontal line that starts at the left edge of the first page and ends on the right at the end drew all of the images togetheracross the book. Like the rules of the exquisite corpse suggest, each artist was allowed to interpret the line ever any way they liked, which most did with incredible ingenuity. The book unfolds accordion style which allows the reader to open it and reveal the interconnected line and all the artwork.

The project is an instant piece of creative culture history, from the illustrated introduction by McSweeney’s Dave Eggers of 826 Valencia and Where The Wild Things Are fame, to the meticulous making of its cover, to the all-star roster of contributing artists.

The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game is available at Amazon for 20 bucks.

The Graphic Design of Racing Cars

I have always been fascinated with the graphic elements on racing cars. Especially vintage racing cars from the 60’s and 70’s before massive product sponsorship trumped any sense of style with a gigantic marketing message. Gestalten has a new release coming out that is available for pre-order on Amazon. “Go Faster The Graphic Design of Racing Cars“, by Sven Voelker. and I am thinking this might be the next book I add to my collection.

Fast cars, anarchy, and graphic design collide on the pages of this book as it chronicles the history of race car graphics and the design behind them. Most people don’t know that racing giants from the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, and Lotus developed their looks not by marketing strategists or graphic designers. In the early days it was by chance.

Go Faster is a collection of over one hundred examples of racing car design that documents the carefree racing world where they were created. Go Faster not only takes its readers on a breakneck ride through images of racing history, but each colorful racing car is featured next to a blank white model. The model shows the lines and shape of the vehicle in its unadorned state. This side by side placement helps the viewer see exactly how the graphics modulate the look of the car. And it gives plenty of room for the viewer to imagine their own possibilities for graphic design in motor sports.

In the book you can see how stripes, colors, logos, and numbers combine to help the car stand out from all others on the track as they go by at top speed.

The time and effort invested in the graphic looks of the race cars is a strange  juxtaposition compared to the aerodynamic shape of the bodywork created by the  engineer for car. But it is precisely this amateur quality, this anarchy and randomness that results in the irresistible attraction that racing cars and their graphics have on us.

Author Sven Voelker is a car enthusiast and graphic designer in Berlin. He is responsible for the global corporate design of the Suzuki Motor Corporation and other clients.