Graphic Design

The Road to Colorado

cub-lakeIn 48 hours I’ll be heading to Colorado for 5 days of hiking and taking photos in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is an annual trip, but this year is a bit special since we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park system in the United States. While noodling around on the internet over lunch I did a search on “National Park Posters” and found that the park service has a site dedicated to the posters that have been created for each of our National Parks so I decided to have a look. What I found is series of new posters that have been produced in the famous WPA style of the 1930’s and 40’s but with an updated look. The posters capture the spirit of the originals, and have a specific style guide that has obviously been applied to each, help to create a consistent look across the grouping. The look of the imagery varies slightly from poster to poster, with some that are obviously manipulated photos, or a digital painting that used a photo as a guide layer, but I have to say they are well done and work. The Park Service is selling the posters to help fund the National Park system and what you get for the money is a 13 by 19 inch poster printed on recycled paper that is signed, numbered, and dated. Below is a small sampling of the collection.

 

yosemite

yellowstone

olympic

kings-canyon

 

grand-canyon

grand-tetons

 

dunes

cub-lake

capital-reef

black-canyon

arches

acadia

cub-lake

A New Symbol For The South.

HatI’ve never lived in the South. I have cousins that live there and my brother moved to Alabama a few months back, and that is about as deep as my relationship to the southern United States gets. I know the south has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and I know that the confederate flag is a symbol of controversy for many living there and not living there. It is a symbol that has long been divisive and polarizing, occasionally popping up in the news when there is a call to ban or abolish it from public use by a state or local government. So I can’t imagine the challenge of designing a new symbol for the south that would be inclusive, embrace the traditions and heritage of the region, and not spark arguments from those that believe the confederate flag is sacred.

Last year PRI and WNYC asked 70k ft to do just that, and they did. Below is the imagery that they created and some of the thinking that went into the redesign. The embedded links go to the South website and to the PRI site where the team discusses in detail the process, the thinking, and the reaction to the new symbol for the southern portion of the United States. It is an interesting read and listen if you have the time. I have mixed feelings about the end results. I like the new symbol better than the tired old confederate flag, but I’m not sure it will resonate with southerners. It’ll be interesting to see if this new symbol takes hold and develops traction in the future.

Studio360_redesign_challenge_70kft10_6gXLb89

Truck

Rosa Parks

Studio360_redesign_challenge_70kft25

Monday Morning 80’s Flash Back.

If you were wondering what era was having an influence design these days, look to the 1980’s. Everything from 8bit game graphics, to over saturated color pallets, collage, geometric shapes and patterns. It’s all there and it’s all retro. Well retro to some, nostalgic to me, I grew up with it. When I was starting out, it was 1950’s and 60’s retro design that was influencing many, so it’s no surprise that a 1980’s retro look is hot right now. I guess that means the 1990’s grunge look will be creeping in soon if it already isn’t.

Below are two examples of 80’s influenced videos to start your week off with. They feature new takes on bad effects that were produced by state of the art gear 30 years ago. 8 bit graphics, and audio to remind you of the games your dad used to play at the arcade, and loads of bright colors. The thing I love about both of these examples is how the visuals have been filtered through a new set of eyes, and a memory of this style handed down from a generation before and faded memories of early childhood.

Herb Lubalin: Typographer

Well here is one more book to add to the design library list for the studio. Unit Editions has released a new book on design master Herb Lubalin with a focus on typography. If you don’t know who Lubalin was, or if you aren’t sure of what he is most famous for in terms of type, he designed Avant Garde Gothic, Serif Gothic and Lubalin Graph. Now before you bash Avant Garde, understand that when used correctly it has a precision, and coolness that exudes modern. The issue is, like so many typefaces that became a casualty of the desktop publishing boom of the late 80’s, it was over used, and used badly by so many designers. When used right, without every ligature thrown in, Avant Garde Gothic is a well tooled typeface with refined geometry and clarity.

1_HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_COVER_full product_optimised2 2_HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_BACL_COVER_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUABLIN_TYPOGRAPHER_WEBSITE_BANNER_page header_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_1_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_2_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_3_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_4_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_5_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_6_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_7_full product_optimised2 HERB_LUBALIN_TYPOGRAPHER_8_full product_optimised2

 

“Herb Lubalin claimed not to be a great typographer. ‘In fact,’ he said, ‘I’m terrible, because I don’t follow the rules.’ This new book proves the opposite. On every page it features Lubalin’s typographic genius (logos, layouts, lettering and typefaces), and places him at the forefront of 20th century typographic innovation. 

Herb Lubalin is, by today’s standards, a typographic master. Everything he did – working in collaboration with some of the giants of lettering and type – had the sparkle of genius. 

He even had names for what he did: he described it as ‘graphic expressionism’ or ‘conceptual typography’. Using his ability to adapt, merge and create new typographic forms, he was able to enhance and amplify meaning in ways that hadn’t been seen before. 

Having published two books celebrating the genius of Herb Lubalin as a graphic designer working in many spheres, this new volume concentrates solely on Lubalin’s typography.

It comes with new texts, new design, new photography, and lots of previously unpublished material – and with a price tag that makes it accessible to a wide audience.”

Money, Money, Money.

new-zealand-bank-note

Why is it that almost all foreign currency looks so much better than the American dollar? I’m not bashing the buck, but from a design perspective, to me foreign currency is simply more visually interesting than the American greenback. Case in point, the currency of the year awarded by The International Bank Note Society for the New Zealand for its $5 polymer note. The design features the face of New Zealand native mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary, with a backdrop of Mount Cook and, a yellow-eyed penguin seemingly printed with what looks like metallic gold foil.

Now, with that said, I don’t think this is an award winning piece of design in the true sense. It is busy, and burdened with an abundance of imagery, and various patterns, but if you look at it in terms of a contemporary painting or print, it’s quite successful. I know that the reason for the patterns, color, overprints, and such are due to security issues and a need to foil counterfeiters, but this is something I might hang on a wall, and that is often the case for foreign currency with me. I’m not going to do that with American currency.

For more about the competition you can find it in this article at theguardian.com along with a video. And below are some additional curency examples.

ARS-50-Front

BDI-2000-Front

CHE-50-Front

CHN-100-Front

GMA-100-Front

MDV-1000-Front

NZL-50-Front

SCO-5-Front