This American Life

What They Don’t Teach You In Art School.

A while ago, actually quite a while ago when I was in art school, I was sitting in a critique for one of my lithography classes. I don’t know how the class got on the subject, but we switched from talking about the nuances of each others work and began talking about why we were in art school to begin with. There was quite a bit of discussion about learning how to make this or that, and about developing a critical eye. The standard art school bull shit. At one point though I had an epiphany.

I didn’t go to art school to learn how to draw or paint. I didn’t go to develop a critical eye for things.  I knew those things, or I had a pretty good idea about them. My epiphany was I went to art school to learn if I wanted to do this everyday, and to learn how to get rid of the crap I was making as I strove to hone my skills and be a better artist.

I think this is one of the most important things I learned in the four years I was there. I needed to figure out if I was going to be able to make things every single day, and I needed to learn how to edit my work. To get rid of the stuff that wasn’t so good. To learn from why it didn’t work, and improve on it.

If you are going to be in a creative field, some of the most important things you will need to learn are “Can I do this everyday and still love it”. “Can I see the things that aren’t working, and get rid of them”. “Did I learn from what didn’t work, and can I improve upon it”. Ironically this along with how to make money are things they don’t really emphasize in art school.

The videos below are from PRI. They are Ira Glass from This American Life talking about storytelling and creativity. He does a much better job of explaining what I tried to.

Design Friday, George Lois.

Everyone is probably familiar with George Lois work, even non designers. Lois is best known for more than 92 covers he created for Esquire magazine between 1962 and 1972. Those covers offered a controversial statement on life in the 1960s and 1970’s and had a direct impact on magazine design at the time. His cover subjects included Norman Mailer, Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Germaine Greer, and Richard Nixon, and a host of others.

Born in New York City in 1931, Lois was raised in the Bronx. His arts career can be traced back to its beginnings when he attended the High School of Music and Art, in New York and then the prestigious Pratt Institute. After Graduation Lois had a brief stent with Reba Sochis before being drafted into the army for the Korean war in 1953.

In 1955 after his discharge from the army, ent to work for the advertising and promotions department at CBS where he designed print and media projects where he worked until being hired by the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1959. One year later Lois was recruited away from DDB by Fred Papert and Julian Koenig to form Papert, Koenig Advertising. Lois spent seven years at the firm before leaving to form his own company. “Lois”.

As Lois formed and began o take on clients, he developed what he called  “The Big Idea”. Some of his more well-known contributions to the advertising world have been; creating the concept and prototype designs for the “New York” magazine supplement for the New YorkHerald Tribune (forerunner of what became New York magazine). Lois also created the legendary “I Want My MTV” campaign in the late 1980’s and he helped create and introduce MTV’s spin-off channel VH1. Lois was responsible for the re branding of renamed Stouffer’s frozen foods products to Lean Cuisine. He developed marketing and messaging for Jiffy Lube stations. He created the initial advertising campaign to raise awareness of designer Tommy Hilfiger.

Other clients include: Xerox, Aunt Jemima, USA Today, ESPN and four re-election campaigns for U.S. Senators: Jacob Javits, Warren Magnuson, Minority Leader Hugh Scott, Robert Kennedy. In addition to print and advertising, Lois also has created music videos and broadcast design. His one music video, “Jokerman” by Bob Dylan, won the MTV Best Music Video of the Year Award in 1983.

A point of note, George Lois is the only person in the world that has been inducted into The Art Directors Hall of Fame, The One Club Creative Hall of Fame, and holds Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, as well as a subject of the Master Series at the School of Visual Arts.

Not that it really matters since his contributions have still so great, but it should be noted. George Lois has been accused of stealing credit for others’ ideas and for exaggerating his participation on certain campaigns and designs. The June 19, 2009 episode of “This American Life” Ira Glass featured a segment in which several of Lois’ former associates claimed he took credit for ad campaigns, ad copy and Esquire covers that were partially or wholly the work of others. The program contained interviews from Carl Fisher (the Esquire photographer who shot the famous Sonny Liston cover claimed by Lois) and two of Lois’ former partners, Julian Koenig and Fred Papert.

On May 18, 2008, the New York Times published a correction of an April 27, 2008 review of a George Lois art exhibit. In the correction, the Times stated that the “Think Small” Volkswagen ad campaign and the “I Want My Maypo” campaign were not created by George Lois. The correction identified Julian Koenig and Helmut Krone as the creators of the VW ad campaign, and John and Faith Hubley as the creators of the Maypo campaign, contradicting Lois’ published claims of credit for these ad campaigns.

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It’s All About the Juice

After watching “Food Inc.” for the second time on my flight to Vegas over the Thanksgiving holiday, I am trying to be more conscious of the food that I put in my body. For the last 4 months I have been really trying to do the buy local, buy organic, know where this food product came from thing when I go to the store. I have to say for the most part I am doing really pretty well. As in I won’t any chicken that I don’t get from whole foods, and then I am pretty dubious about it. Watch the movie you’ll understand. The same thing can be said about both beef and pork. If you want a good example of the pork issue download and watch the last HBO episode of 2008’s “This American Life” about hog farming in America (Episode 6, Pandora’s Box). Anyway that isn’t what this post is about, but the object I am going to talk about did get me thinking about fresh local food.

What this post is about is the amazing Orange Juice squeezer designed by Jaren Goh. Simple, Efficient, and absolutely beautiful. The squeezer features a hand crank, with a container for the juice at the bottom. I love the clean lines and the humble façade. I also like the fact that it has a small foot print which is ideal for my kitchen.

Orangin easily unfolds itself, opening into a citrus juicer, allowing you to add up to half of a large orange or smaller melon. The design is reminiscent of an old school pencil sharpener with a crank shaft. It is a simple and interesting kitchen machine distilled down to a basic functions, to make juice. Jaren Goh fuses the function and the form into a seamless product that is interesting for the person using the device, and is beautiful to look at. There is a certain level of fun in the elements that encourages making your own juice, through which you see that fresh fruit  is a vital and healthy alternative to what you buy in a box or jug.

This was a red dot design award winner for 2009, and will soon be available on the Yanko Design Store.