Everyday Experiments – In Full Bloom

The first cellphone camera I ever used was in an imported unlocked Nokia so-called “smartphone”. It was an expensive flip phone with a screen that rotated 180 degrees. It had some form of limited office functionality, texting, and a 0.3-megapixel camera that shot postage stamp-sized images and no video. I thought it was the greatest phone ever, and the ability to take somewhat decent photos with my phone was a game-changer. Then in 2007 and the world changed.

When the iPhone went on sale in June of 2007, it was light years ahead of the competition. It had a whopping 2 megapixel camera and 320×480 pixel resolution screen. The day it went on sale I was 4th in line at the ATT store to make sure I got one before they sold out. At the time, I had no idea how much this single piece of technology would change the way people create with images, video and audio.

Fast forward 15 years and the impact has been very obvious. So much so that Apple has built an entire marketing platform around “Shot on iPhone” that focuses exclusively on the creative aspect of the handset. One of the best examples being a series of videos by Donghoon J. and James T, called “Everyday Experiments that show people how to create some pretty amazing videos with their iPhones and things they have at home. Something that would have been impossible to do with my Nokia in 2005, or even using a “Flip Video” camera that was hugely popular at the same time.

Everyday Experiments as well as the rest of “Shot on iPhone” show just how far we have come in a very short period of time. If you are into using your phone for creative endeavors I encourage you to take a look at the “Everyday Experiments” content. It’s well-produced and they have a section of behind-the-scenes videos that show how these two actually make the videos Apple commissions from them.

Jose Cuervo Encourages You to Date More Human

1stAveMachine has created a spot for Jose Cuervo that is absolutely hilarious. Using two robots and actual conversation from online chatbots that visualizes the awkwardness of first dates, especially through dating apps. (not that I would know having zero experience with dating apps). The spot titled “Date More Human” shows a conversation between two robots trying to make small talk.

1stAveMachine used an AI chatbot to develop the dialogue, which was based upon icebreakers and banter from real-life experiences. And it shows how much chatbots need to improve, and how far they have come.

1stAveMachine’s unique collaborative approach brought together directors Marc Reisbig and professor Miguel Espada for Reisbig’s comedic, yet cinematic, storytelling chops and Espada, a university professor specializing in AI with extensive experience with robots and film making.

The campaign rolls out this month across digital and social channels and, via a paid partnership, and will get distribution on the Tinder dating app.

Creativity Explained

When I started my career in design, everything was done by hand. It was essentially analog except for the individuals that were setting type on very rudimentary computers that were dedicated to doing that one thing – setting and outputting type that was specified by the designer and then pasted up to be photographed on a stat-camera.

In addition to that, I would also be asked to rub down “Letraset” type from large alphabet sheets, setting headlines or other display items by hand. It was slow, tedious, work that required concentration and patience. You learned a lot about typography because Letraset was expensive, you had limited character counts, and undo was removing anything you screwed up with masking tape and starting over. If you want to know more about all of this I recommend watching “Graphic Means“.

When Adobe first hit the graphic design world with Postscript fonts for use in programs like “Illustrator 88“, (yes, that’s the original name because it was introduced in 1988. The link takes you to a very informative video from 1988 if you want to engage in Throwback Thursday) it caused a seismic shift in the industry. Suddenly graphic designers not only had greater control over the creative process with access to hundreds of fonts and greater control over how it was laid out on the page. By the way, I’ve been using Adobe products since 1988 and much has changed since the dawn of the computer graphics revolution. One thing hasn’t though, and that would be creative inspiration, and creativity itself.

Recently Adobe has launched a new section of their Creative Cloud website that focuses specifically on that very topic – creativity. Creativity Explained is a new series to guide you through the basics of art and design with the first section focusing on what else, typography. There are six articles including an interview with German designer Eric Spikermann. (the guy speaking in the video above). Some of the articles are pretty fundamental but still worth reading and informative. It’ll be interesting to see where Adobe takes this site, and whether or not they introduce more advanced content and concepts moving forward.

The IBM Poster Program

In the late 1960s, Paul Rand created a Design Guide for IBM that guided a group of very talented graphic designers on the visual execution of posters and advertising graphics for the company. More often than not Rand is the name that is associated with all of the work, but in reality designers, Ken White, John Anderson, and Tom Bluhm, and photographer Rodger Ewy created a large volume of the visual design work for IBM.

A new book documenting the posters these designers created. “The IBM Poster Program: Visual Memoranda,” showcases some of the most iconic examples of mid-century corporate graphic design with a unique commentary on corporate communications of that period. It also shows how Thomas J. Watson Jr.’s mantra, “Good Design is Good Business” infiltrated every facet of the IBM organization and created a lasting influence on curated corporate design in the United States.

This just went on my reading list.

“In the late 1960s, IBM was one of the world’s pre-eminent corporations, employing over 250,000 people in 100 countries and producing some of the most advanced products on earth. IBM President Thomas J. Watson Jnr. sought to elevate the company’s image by hiring world-renowned design consultants, including Eliot Noyes and Paul Rand. As well as developing the iconic IBM logo and a corporate design guide, Rand also brought together a remarkable team of internal staff designers. 

One of the designers he hand-picked was Ken White, who, along with John Anderson and Tom Bluhm, headed up the design team at the IBM Design Center in Boulder, Colorado. Together, they initiated a poster program as a platform for elevating internal communications and initiatives within the company. These posters were displayed in hallways, conference rooms, and cafeterias throughout IBM campuses, with subject matter including everything from encouraging equal opportunity policies to reminders on best
security practices to promoting a family fun day. Designers often incorporated figurative typography, dry humor, visual puns, and photography to craft memorable and compelling messages. Many of the posters won Type Directors Club awards and a large number were ‘re-appropriated from walls by enthusiastic IBM employees.

While Paul Rand’s creative genius has been well documented, the work of the IBM staff designers who executed his intent outlined in the IBM Design Guide has often gone unnoticed. The poster designs by White, Anderson, and Bluhm included in this book represent some of the most creative examples of mid-century corporate graphic design, while offering a unique commentary into corporate employee communications of the period. They also embody the full extent to which Thomas J. Watson Jr.’s mantra, “Good Design is Good Business” permeated every facet of the IBM organization, and created a lasting influence on curated corporate design in America.

Lund Humphries Books