Most people think of branding as a logo. And most people think of a logo as visual identity. A logo is one component of your visual identity system which makes up one part of your brand. A great example of this is Weiden and Kennedy Sao Paulo new visual identity which is shown in the video below. They break down the inspiration for the logo design and then show how it is translated across a series of touch points as part of a larger identity system. No this doesn’t establish their branding. Branding is much larger than just a logo, visual identity system or editorial voice. Branding encompasses everything that establishes a relationship with a product, company, or service. The example in the video is one hell of an awesome logo and identity system though.
Well, thanks to Kickstarter I’ll be dropping 80 bucks on yet another design book. The 1977 EPA Graphic Standards System is being reissued, and it is a gorgeous piece of graphic design. If you have seen any of the other Graphic Standards books that have been reissued, like the one for NASA, or the New York Metro, you know how these can be a valuable resource and source of inspiration.
Designed by Chermayeff & Geismar the book will be reissued as a hardcover book printed in 14 Pantone® colors. It will come with a slip-case and the reissue will also include 48 pages of photographs from the EPA-commissioned Documerica Project (1970-1977). If you want to see what you are getting for your money the video below gives you a brief history of the system and shows off the original book as well as the new reissue. For a bit of irony, Republican President Richard Nixon narrates sections of the video dedicating the founding of the EPA. I wonder if 47 years from now we will all be watching a video where President Trump kills it?
When I began my design career a few decades ago, the majority of the work I produced was passive, printed material. Design was broken into a few various genres, but almost all of it was passive in some form or another. I started my career as a graphic designer, but over the course of time, thanks to technology that was being defined and invented in the late 1980’s my function as a designer changed. By that I mean the work I did went from I created something, people looked at it and I had no real feedback loop to determine the overall impact or experience that was achieved by the final piece. As computer technology changed the toolset I used to create visual images, it also changed the way people interacted with design, and began to blur the definition of what a designer is and the roles they play in business, product development, brand interaction, and ultimately what we call user experiences today. I no longer define my career as “Graphic Design”. Graphic design is simply one element of a multi-faceted set of disciplines that I practice on a daily basis. “Designer” is a more realistic term, because like so many in the field today, you are called upon to wear so many different hats, and develop work that interacts directly with business, marketing, engineering, advertising and more.
As computer technology changed the toolset I used to create visual images, it also changed the way people interacted with design, and began to blur the definition of what a designer is and the roles they play in business, product development, brand interaction, and ultimately what we call user experiences today. I no longer define my career as “Graphic Design”. Graphic design is simply one element of a multi-faceted set of disciplines that I practice on a daily basis. “Designer” is a more realistic term, because like so many in the field today, you are called upon to wear so many different hats, and develop work that interacts directly with business, marketing, engineering, advertising and more.
The 30 minute film below is from the “Design is Future Congresstival” held at Disseny Hub Barcelona each year in June. It showcases the main highlights and strong ideas from the 15 speakers that took part in the Design is Future 2016, as well as from the presenter and curators of the event. These individuals speak directly to what the role of design is in today’s world, and the impact it has. Design is no longer the last mile. The point at which someone says “Make it look good”. It is no longer styling, it has evolved for the better as more people have become aware of its impact in the last 20 or so years. The video is really worth watching if you are involved in any aspect of design. As Doug Powel, Design Principal and Director of Design Education at IBM says, “This is an amazing time to be a designer”, and I couldn’t agree more.
There are times when I see a piece of work that I wish I could see in context to the environment, and the video below is one of them. Every time I am at a sporting event and I see the wrap around animation that rolls on those LCD panels that ring the stadium, I’m curious about the pre-vis planning that goes into developing them. And in the case of the video for Aperol produced by Buck, I’m curious not only about how they planned it out, but how they executed it, and what it looked like at the Australian Open. Think about this, you have an animation that has to play in sequence as it wraps around the court, starting at one point, and ending at the same point. And it has an aspect ratio of something like 1500 to 1.
So how do you set that up? How do you plan for delivery to something like a Cayin digital signage system, get everything rendered correctly, and make sure playback is seamless? So many questions, so little time.
With all that said, the animated piece below from Buck is once again a great example of the quality of work these guys do. It captures the Aperol brand so well, plus the casual and somewhat elegant feeling of a tennis open so well. There is a really fresh feel about the look with a retro nod to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s stylistically. The warm color pallet enhances the fact that when this was released it was mid summer in Australia, where an Aperol spritzer would be quite refreshing on a warm summer afternoon. It makes me wish I had been there
It makes me wish I had been there. Not only to see the animation in context but to imbibe a bit as well.
Last year, the National Park Service celebrated 100 years of service, and to commemorate the anniversary Uinta Brewing is ready to release Golden Ale Park Series Beer. The rotating park series was brewed in celebration of the diverse landscapes across the United States and the over 84 million acres of natural beauty that our National Park system promotes and protects. The packaging is available with four different park-inspired packaging that reflects the style of travel posters designed during the height of the WPA era of the 1930’s. While the beer inside the can will remain the same, a refreshing golden ale with an ABV of 5.3% and notes of Wilamette hops and Crystal malts, the outer packaging will feature a rotating line-up of National Parks. right now there are just 4 parks represented, but hopefully they will release more over the next year. I love the design and illustration featured here. It’s a refreshing approach to a product area that can at times be predictable, even in the craft brewing segment.
“Many of the explorations that have inspired our beers have happened in and around National Parks and we’re excited to pay homage to that with this rotating series. We’re fortunate to have five National Parks within 5 hours of the brewery and hope that our Golden Ale encourages consumers to get out and explore those that surround them.”
Uinta’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Mills
Well it’s about time. Communication Arts has finally released every issue, 400 in total, of their magazine in digital format. This is every issue dating all the way back to 1959 now available for download. They aren’t free. They are going for $9.99, but if you are looking for solid research materials and don’t want to have hundreds of hard copies lining your shelves, this is a good way to go. When I got the email about this, this morning I was hoping they might be offering a bundle deal. Something where you could get every issue for a fixed price, or buy a decade at a time for a fixed price, but apparently not. This means if you want them all it won’t be cheap. You’ll be spending $3996.00 for every issue from the current one all the way back to August of 1959. If you run a design library, or if you have a firm that can afford it this would be a valuable research tool for past styles, trends, advertising and communication history, and a barometer reading of the sociopolitical landscape from a design communications perspective.
When I got the email about this, this morning I was hoping they might be offering a bundle deal. Something where you could get every issue for a fixed price, or buy a decade at a time for a fixed price, but apparently not. This means if you want them all it won’t be cheap. You’ll be spending $3996.00 for every issue from the current one all the way back to August of 1959. If you run a design library, or if you have a firm that can afford it this would be a valuable research tool for past styles, trends, advertising and communication history, and a barometer reading of the sociopolitical landscape from a design communications perspective.
If you don’t want to drop any cash on these, you can still look through all the covers going back to 1959, and get a really nice overview of how design styles have changed over the last 58 years.
Having spent more than half of my life working in the graphic design and communications business I have seen many design trends come and go. One thing that is certain, is the state of graphic design is in constant flux. This is reflected in “Graphic Design Today” an in-depth survey on progressive contemporary graphic design from Gestalten. In recent years, graphic designs relationship with adjoining disciplines such as illustration, three-dimensional installation art, industrial design, interactive design, UI/UX design has pushed the further development of the discipline. And this in turn is raising the bar for graphic designers.
This book from Gestalten examines and documents the current state of graphic design, identifying some of the most visionary young designers at the top of their game with examples of their progressive design aesthetics in the printed form. The book features a wide range of graphic design samples ranging from poster design, book, and magazine editorial design as well as typography. Most of the work is print oriented and shows a trend that I find interesting, a desconstructavist approach to visual design that blends elements of the 1980’s 90’s and early 2000’s into a unique style that intentionally manipulates and distorts traditional rules and ideas with a playful and experimental verve.
Graphic Design Today features design trends from Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, France, Great Britain and the USA. Through abundant visuals and illuminating texts accompanying each featured project, and a foreword by François Rappo, renowned typographer, and teacher at ECAL Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, this expansive volume provides an in-depth look at the state-of-the-art of contemporary graphic design and is going in my design library.