Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Adam Howard’s Post

As I am working on album art for my next single that I am releasing, I have been looking at a lot of album art. This is one that I have always enjoyed, mostly for how intriguing it is. It is a photograph of Ben Cooper (Radical Face) sitting on a worn roof that has been distressed and that has the addition of these bird shapes.

The album art I think really gives a sense of what the album is about as well as how it feels. The Album is called 'ghost' and it is about older houses and the stories which they contain. It involves the idea that the memories and stories of an old house are trapped within the walls like ghosts, but they are worn and aged with time.

The art captures the idea of ghosts with both the symbols used of birds and the umbrella for a sort of hovering flying feel and the visual distress added to the photo (especially with Ben's head being scratched out). It also feels much like the music itself, which feels very earthy in tone and free with creativity.

Anyway, I think that it is wonderfully done and that it matches the music very well.

Two songs can be listened too here:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Will Pitney’s Post

Anything but…

Because you are in a graphic design class, I would assume you know about the 2012 Olympic logo that London has chosen.  So, I don’t need to go into why I think it was a waste of 400,000 pounds.  Thankfully, the UK newspapers asked people if they could come up with a better solution than the current logo.  So, while anything but the shabby logo would do, some really well made designs arose.

So, without further a dew, I present an alternative made by a concerned citizen.  Overlooking the oversized ‘L’ and the poor kerning on the last ‘N,’ it is a great logo. It reads London then immediately slips into the rings.  The iconic rings multiplied provide a legible, clean and classy symbol for a worldwide event.  It reads London then immediately slips
into the rings.

The second rocks my socks off.  Having the color gradient blend the skyline with the rings works wonderfully.  Like the other Olympic logos of the past, it draws from current art movements. This embodies the middle ground between modern and post-modern logo and for that I applaude. (clap clap clap)

In the end, these logos embody a time-honored tradition in history.  No effort spent looking edgy for the younger audiences, no crazy European numbers and no seizure inducing colors.  Just effort in being aesthetically pleasing.

Caitlin Martin’s Post

I was recently introduced to the work of Jessica Hische.  She is an incredible designer.  I really admire how broad a scope she can hit.  She designs, illustrates, sets and creates type and font, she does it all.  Everything she does is very unique and there is somewhat of a small trend among her work, but nothing she could be completely defined by.  I like the way she does things because she doesn't just stick to one thing, she dabbles in everything.  My favorite work of hers was some of the book covers she did.  She did an entire series of "Wizard of Oz" book covers that were awesome.  I am completely inspired by her and I hope you will be too.

Caleb Khazoyan’s Post

For this post I've chosen to look at Microsoft's new phone operating system – Windows Phone 7 (WP7). Now I realize, this isn't standard print design. I'm not looking at their advertising or their packaging in this post. Instead, I'd like to look at the design behind these devices through two different lenses. The first is from a purely aesthetic standpoint. Second I'd like to analyze them from the perspective of content delivery. After all, the end goal of design is less to look artistic than it is to simply get the information across in the best way possible.

Aesthetically I find it's a mixed bag, though with more pros than cons. Android's interface(s) are a convoluted mess (remind me how of Windows was 10 years ago) and the iPhone is simply old, slow, and not aging particularly gracefully. This is something new, different, and uncharacteristic of stereotypical Microsoft design. Is it perfect? I wouldn't say that. Is it excellent? That I'd agree to. I really love the simplicity of it all: the use of a single color, simple boxes, and very clear type. I'm not entirely convinced that I like how it mixes in some much busier icons (namely those with photos pulled from your phone on them, which may or may not look good). At the same time, I don't really see a way around it, as a wall of 20 blue squares would be far more annoying to me. The other interesting choice that unfortunately isn't captured in a still image is how everything is subtly changing all the time based on the updates the phone is receiving.

Of course, artistic flair is only one piece of design. Its core purpose is to deliver information. I won't delve deep into the new UI paradigm Microsoft is working off of (simply put the idea is to distill the usual system of needing a single app for every task by merging the more common tasks into a larger hub). Instead, I want to look at subtitles like how their use of typographic hierarchy and layout change how users perceive the information they're being given.

As with any smartphone, WP7 uses a large amount of vertical structure to organize data. As opposed to the use of color bars and gradients as with iOS, these phones use only type, and even then rely almost entirely on positioning and point size to sort information. This was mildly confusing for me at first glance, as it keeps things much more fluid than the average iPhone interface, which is much more rigid and compartmentalized. With WP7 boundaries are much less solid. They still clearly exist, but a solid box or block of color is unnecessary to maintain clarity.

Building off of the idea of fluidity and breaking out of boxes, the entire system adds a unique twist to the tabbed interfaces we're all used to. Rather than having an unending chain of arrows in the top of the screen as per iOS, the new Windows phones use the far right edge of the screen to hint when more information is to be found. This combined with a horizontal text menu (again with typographic tweaks to clarify where you are) is a much more efficient system for organizing information as it shows the user where he/she is and everywhere they could be. Such a design choice allows all of the information to flow beyond the small confines of the screen and feel less isolated from every other element.

Simply put, I really do like the path Microsoft has taken. It's different, it's clean, and it gets the point across just as well while breaking the confines of older, more mature systems. Is it perfect? Of course not, but I feel it's a step in the right direction.

Brent Ellis’ Post

I have always been fascinated by the work of Oklahoma State University. I feel like they do so much well in their Marketing Department. In the many areas of graphic design and marketing, they even cover the little things, and turned them into major things. They start off their image of web presence bold and strong. They have a web template that the pages are used, and consistency is a beautiful thing they do well. One of the things I think they have going for them is their school color, orange. This color is used EVERYWHERE; which in my opinion is a very good thing. It is in their logo, their website, their publications, their images...EVERYTHING! It becomes something that is very recognizable and is a means of which they can identify themselves, simply by a color. It's amazing how much weight color can have.

In their typography, they use classic typefaces, one being Sabon, but not only that, they have created their very own typeface (OKSTATEU)! Many people use fonts that are classic and recognizable, but how few actually create their own? This alone I think gives them some gold stars. It shows they really do care about their image, and standing out from the crowd. Sometimes its the little things that make the difference, and I think this is one of those. They use typographic hierarchy  in their publications with bold headers and sub-heads, as well as incorporating the OSU orange, such as in the alumni publication, STATE magazine. In their posters and such, they give generous white space, which makes it feel good, as well as good leading and not crowded.

The logo for OSU is well done because it can be produced in either three, two or one color reproduction, so it can be as elaborate or simple and cost effective. It is simple enough it can be used very small or as large as desired. It's shape is such that can be used on a variety of places; Posters, coffee cups, vehicles, billboards, or whatever. It is also simply very attractive.

They use large images which are beautifully designed into the page, and make it interesting to look at. The images, as well, incorporate orange. The web page has a girl wearing an orange scarf, that ties into other elements such as the logo, the brand campaign, and balanced with the orange text at the bottom. The images often bear students either with OSU attire, or wearing orange clothing; or buildings or icons of the university campus. The most beautiful thing is it all ties in together. Whether it be the web site, posters, brochures, images, text, color or type, everything brings you fully back around to Oklahoma State University. 

Melissa Parkard’s Post

Melissa Parkard’s Post

Imagine that you are a tourist walking down the streets of Amsterdam.  You are overwhelmed with the flyers and bulletins that saturate the sides of buildings.  Suddenly, there is an image of a woman crawling out of a wall towards you.  You give this particular ad a second look because of its unique presence among the many other posters. 

Every year, at the end of June, there is a unique festival in Amsterdam that presents a wide range of theater performances from students, both local and international.  Actors, dancers, singers, mime artists, (film) directors and other performing artists will make their debut at one of the many professional theaters in Amsterdam.
The International Theatre School (ITs) Festival Amsterdam is the biggest European festival to scout more than 200 talents in over 70 productions.  ITs workers are “dedicated to actively connecting young theatre makers and dancers from all over the world.”  ITs Festival Amsterdam is the catalyst for young artists that hope to increase their chances of employment.

The story described above is exactly what happened to me as I toured Amsterdam’s streets last summer on the European Art Tour.  Amsterdam is a charming city filled with visual stimulation but I this poster I encountered certainly stood out as something special. 

In 2009 ITs employed advertising agency, Arc-Leo Burnett, of Amsterdam to create a unique, eye-catching ad series to promote the annual festival.  The ITs theme for the year was “Where actors/actresses emerge” and the ads were meant to communicate, quite literally, this message.

I think that the ads are very dramatic and eye catching which is what they were meant to do.  It catches your interest enough to draw you in so that you will read the sign.  Visually this campaign works fantastically.  From a more critical standpoint it can be confusing.  The bloc format of the text can be confusing to read and often leaves a single letter of a word hanging. Its good for a poster to draw you with something dramatic but when there is nothing there when they look it is not so effective.  On a different note, since ITs is so popular it may be more of just a reminder of the event.  The ITs logo is highly recognizable and the event is highly anticipated, so that may be all that is needed is just to get the image of Its out in the public as a reminder.  Overall, I think the campaign is genius.  I just wish the type was more readable.  

Dana Holroyd’s Post

Bas Brand Identity, a Swedish firm, created the packaging for Garant's line of herring. I chose this product to discuss, because I think it is important to keep in mind that we won’t always have projects to work on that are aesthetically pleasing. I think that the designers for this product were very successful in creating a pleasing design, for an unpleasing product. I think that if I saw this on the self it would catch my eye, strictly for the design. On an earlier post it was mentioned that, “Good design can make a mediocre product sell well.” I think that in order for this product to sell well, it would be very important to have a successful design. I don’t think that this design is extremely visually pleasing, but I think that the designers were successful in solving the solution for the product. It is very simple, but still visually pleasing. 

Matt Hoffmann’s Post

The need for sincerity and humanity in design.

Good design can make a mediocre product sell well, and it can (for a short time) sell a bad product. But a great product with good design will sell itself ... eventually. A sincere advertising campaign can take your base logo/product design and bring to the people. The company I want to bring to your attention is Blendtec. Have you ever heard of them?

Have you ever heard the catch phrase “Will It Blend?”.  On a fifty dollar budget the inventor and founder of Blendtec, Tom Dickson more than quadrupled his blender sales by sincerely engaging people. How did Tom Dickson manage to engage these people?

1.Through his honest Character and personal charisma-He is an engineer, 
not a slick actor.
2.By appealing to a persons child like curiosity and wonder at destruction.
3.Having a quality product, and a quality logo to legitimize what Tom 
was doing.
4.No special effects, just one man blending footballs, cellphones, rakes, glow sticks, lighters etc.

This silly video series brought a fondness and admiration for a product that would otherwise be considered just another industrial appliance. His companies logo is not exceptionally brilliant, but it sticks in the mind of anyone who has seen his videos.

Here are some of his videos:

Bringing an element of humaneness and sincerity can transform your otherwise cold product into one that people view with fondness. Sincere design can bring people to view an otherwise cold corporation with a level of fondness, but if it is false sincerity it is easy to spot, and will hurt the companies image in the long run.  A good example of this hypocrisy cab be seen in PB. PB's ts logo is intended to show how “green” it is and imply that it is not a totally malevolent evil faceless corporation. After all they have pulled, I would have felt better about them being a faceless corporation, rather than this fake friendly image PB tries to sell.

Back to Blendtec, I am a very cynical person when it comes to “advertising” but in this one instance of a sincere social-media driven campaign, I am convinced of this products worth. While watching Tom Dickson happily destroy stuff with his super blender, you get an unspoken yet clear message: If you can blend (insert, Iphone, chicken, laptop, etc), then you know that this blender makes a mean smoothie. Tom presents the viewer a problem and lets you come to the obvious conclusion. Sincere design shows that the product your branding, you actually believe in and matters to you.

Mitchell Murry’s Post

I personally love Kleenex’s packing and the way they present themselves. Every holiday season they tend to come out with a special packing to make it fashionable to have a Kleenex package in your house.

When I was in Walmart recently, I noticed their new design. I was fairly impressed until I found some not so impressive  

Shown to the left is a more impressive box design for this years holiday season. They colors are rich and warm and provide the welcoming feeling to grab a Kleenex, even If you are in the worst mood possible or miserably sick.

Then you get down the isle and you see these really awkward boxes. I do not understand what they were thinking. Apparently they wanted a box that would fit in the kitchen. I do not see a lot of the holidays in these types of cakes and pies. Maybe the cherry’s and peppermint cake, but I do not want to be satisfied when I have a cold from a slice of cake or pie box Kleenex. It could be just the complete opposite designs that are conflicting for me. There does not seem to be any consistencies between the two holiday boxes and that is the main argument for me. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Caitlin Martin’s Post

This is the design of my friend Lizzie Nelson, who graduated last year from JBU. She is in Colorado now pursuing her design career. I really like her design, partially because I can see so much of who she is in it. No matter what she does she somehow shines through.  She takes simple phrases and shapes and beautifully illustrates them, in doing this she accentuates beauty in simplicity. She also uses so many different mediums, which I think is brilliant. Her design is not just spent behind a screen, it is spent making things and photographing things. I think it keeps design fresh and exciting. I'm using her design because she's not a professional yet, she's someone who we can all relate to on multiple levels. Her work encourages me to really use the time I have here developing and honing my skill. I hope you enjoy!