visual design

nendo Gets an Exhibit.

If you happen to be in Israel in the next 5 months you might want to swing by the Design Museum Holon because they are hosting the first exhibit for Japanese design firm nendo. The exhibit chronicles nendo’s work from the studio’s inception in 2002, looking not only at the object they have created, but the creative process and design thinking that goes into them as well.

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The exhibition will stretch from the interior to the exterior of the Design Museum Holon’s grounds, to provide an overall thought-provoking and immersive experience. A museum-first, the show will deal with the challenges and the related solutions that nendo – a studio led by one of the most prominent talents of this generation, Oki Sato -has encountered while interacting with the different typologies of objects and their unexplored areas. “This presentation investigates the only space in which Sato could not intervene, the space in between but on which he actually powerfully does: what is in-between, what is un-design and the carefully calculated operative-area left to light and air.

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Lead Belly.

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Boston based design firm Visual Dialogue has designed the art for the new Lead Belly box set. Similar to their work for the Woody Guthrie box set “Woody at 100” the design work here captures the enigma that epitomizes Huddie Ledbetter – better known as Lead Belly. There is a wonderful blend of typography and vintage photos of the artist, along with letters written by the artist and images of the original releases. Working closely with the Smithsonian Institutes Folkways label, Visual Dialogue has created a definitive box set featuring 108 songs on five discs. While digital music has made a huge dent in the sale of records and CD’s, it is this kind of design work that keeps me coming back to buy physical products.

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Send Massimo Vignelli a Letter.

Massimo Vignelli, the legendary Italian graphic designer, is very ill and spending his last days at home with his family. Over the last week a number of sites have been asking for fans, designers, and everyone to send Vignelli a card or a hand written letter. You may not know who he is, if you don’t work in the field of design. You do however know who he is, because his work is everywhere. Vignelli has had a massive impact on the field of visual design since he arrived in the United States in the 1960’s, and his work will have an impact for decades to come. Luca Vignelli put out the call to the internet last Friday on The Creative Review, asking that anyone for whom Vignelli was an influence or an inspiration to write him a letter. Yes a real physical snail mail letter. I dropped mine in the post last Saturday. Below are a couple of videos of Vignelli talking about his work. The first was produced by Mohawk Paper about a year ago. The second, if you have time to watch it, is from VCU and is 23 minutes of Vignelli talking about design, theory, practice and principal. Both are worth watching. Both show why Vignelli is a true master of design.

You can send him a note at the following address.

Massimo Vignelli
130 East 67 Street
New York, New York 10021

 

 

Give Me a “T”. Leica Has a New Camera.

Photo websites on the internet have been burning up with news about the new Leica T mirrorless camera system today. I have to admit it is a stunning piece of industrial design. The thing looks gorgeous, but will it make you a better photographer? Probably not. You are only as good as you are, and you improve with practice. This is why a pro photographer can get a pretty impressive image from an iPhone.

The real kicker for me with this camera is the price. I did a recent Pounds to Dollars price conversion using the prices shown on DPreview and the entire set up, not including the case will set you back $7807.00 before taxes. For that kind of money you can get a hell of lot more gear that is equal to or better. It might not look as pretty, but will still take a photo and get you behind the lens time. The second part of that sentence is what helps you to become a better photographer.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the price Leica has set. All their gear is outrageously over priced. They are a premium luxury brand, and people will pay just to have a camera with that red dot on the front. And, Leica lenses are some of the best in the world, so the price you pay for good glass kind of makes sense.

OK, I’ll admit it. The video above makes me kind of want this camera like everyone else. I do love good visual design, and the Leica T has it in spades.

Sebas & Clim’s “Tiny Story”

Telling a story doesn’t always involve lengthy dialog, or expansive visuals. Sometimes it can be told with simple graphics, no real dialog, and a basic visual metaphors.

This is a great example of that from Sebas & Clim. Tiny Story is a series of simple statements enacted by very simple shapes animated against a grid on a primary background. Simple, and complex at the same time. Absolutely wonderful. Oh and I really love the fact that it is portrait, not landscape orientation.

Design Friday. Alvin Lustig, American Design Pioneer.

In Alvin Lustig’s short career he virtually defined the modernist look for a generation of Americans in the post World War Two decades. Lustig’s contributions to the world of design touched so many points of interest that he would have easily been a credible candidate for  the AIGA Lifetime Achievement award when he was alive.

By the time of his early death at the young age of 40, in 1955 Lustig had already introduced already introduced the principles of Modern art to graphic design that have had a long-term influence on contemporary practice. His ideas about what good design is and how to achieve it were carried forward with an almost religious zeal that was also championed by other designers of the day. Lustig, like others fervently believed in the curative power of good design when applied to all aspects of American life.

His work was often considered generalist yet as a graphic designer he excelled and established standards and rules that are still practiced and followed to this day. His works from the late forties still have a fresh quality to them, that in today’s digital age are mimicked by designers even if they are not familiar with Lustig’s contribution to the world of design in the mid-twentieth century. If one were to reconstruct, based on photographs, Lustig’s 1949 exhibition at The Composing Room Gallery in New York, the exhibits on view and the installation would be remarkably fresh, particularly in terms of the current trends in art-based imagery.

“Lustig created monuments of ingenuity and objects of aesthetic pleasure. Whereas graphic design history is replete with artifacts that define certain disciplines and are also works of art, for a design to be so considered it must overcome the vicissitudes of fashion and be accepted as an integral part of the visual language.” Steven Heller, Eye Magazine.

Looking at Lustig’s work as a whole, his 1949 paperback cover for Lorca: 3 Tragedies, might be considered a small portion of his overall legacy as a designer. It is however a masterpiece of symbolic acuity, compositional strength and typographic craft that appears to be, consciously or not, the basis for a great many contemporary book jackets and paperback covers. This work truly defines Lustig’s style and sums up the visual aesthetic of his short career.