Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category

Recession Aesthetics

June 20, 2009

DishSoapCompositeThanks to the tanking world economy, this year I suddenly found myself confronted by a perfect storm right in my very own kitchen: I needed to obtain the vast quantities of calories required by a ravenous teenager and his younger brother without having to declare bankruptcy. The blissful era of strolling around the local food co-op with a petite handheld basket containing a single grass-fed steak at $26 and a recycled-paperboard pint of $5.99 organic raspberries was over. And so it came to pass that in January I bravely pushed a doublewide chrome shopping cart into the land of excess that is Costco. I quickly realized that shopping there isn’t just about food, the experience is an education in the subtleties of how the graphic design of brands sells products to their intended audiences.

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Album Art: Life in Digital Tinyland

May 4, 2009

captainfantastic
It’s 1975 and my thirteen year old peer group has just had an earth-shattering realization. After staring at the elaborately illustrated cover of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy for most of an afternoon, pondering the question: could Elton John be gay? (news flash!) we decided en masse: of course he was! He was gay WITH Bernie Taupin! Obviously he couldn’t simply be gay on his own, and we felt very sophisticated for figuring all of this out just from studying the artwork. Worshiping the record jacket was a crucial part of the experience of listening to LPs. Album covers and liner note designs contained rich fields of information to be harvested, inviting listeners to spend hours happily searching the images to decode their meaning. Today, the visualization of music has dwindled to the size of a tiny icon in the era of the downloadable MP3. As the artwork’s dimensions shrank, becoming more like a postage stamp than a poster, its role and importance faded. Let’s face it: does anyone download songs today because they fall in love with the 240-square pixel cover on a computer screen? Very doubtful.

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Vapid Revenge

March 21, 2009

netdisaster2

Bookmark this under mindless ways to waste time on the internet: Netdisaster.com, an arsenal of virtual weapons to unleash upon your least favorite website.

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Fully Baked

March 19, 2009

153combo

Letters proud enough to stand tall and cast a shadow of their own bring as much drama to the printed page as they do to the 3-D world. Yesterday our D-Crit class was treated to a walking tour of found street typography, led by Paul Shaw. We were en route to the Humanities Branch of the New York Public Library to learn research methods needed to delve deep into the treasures of the stacks.

This fabulous dimensional building number sign at left (I believe it was on 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues) directly relates to these two ads I found at the library in a 1935 issue of Baker’s Helper, a magazine for the baking profession. (Whatelse?)

Reminiscent of the title sequences to black and white MGM movies, the typography delivers a much-appreciated dash of old Hollywood glamour to the humble world of pies and a mundane Manhattan block.

A Tie Worth Having

March 19, 2009

Photoshop tie

via noquedanblogs.com

Party Snack Explosion

March 18, 2009

Ritz Crackers

I’m not sure when it began, but I love the current Ritz Cracker campaign. They aren’t using flashy starbursts or terrible gradients. Just flat colors and light shading. It’s so very fun, in the vein of 1950’s advertising. Of course if it were up to me, I’d get rid of the poorly photoshopped Ritz logo on the open boxes.

‘Round the Clock Protection

March 14, 2009

Original Dial

Shut me in a room with access only to Flickr, and I’d be happy as a clam. Roadsidepictures has an incredible album of vintage packaging, you know, back when products where fun. Look at that package of Dial soap! Wouldn’t you much rather have that sitting in your bathroom than this?

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Coming or Going?

March 13, 2009

DisneyExit

Gorillas Don’t Blog holds a steady spot in my rss reader. The author posts vintage photographs from Disneyland and the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. My recent favorite is this picture of the exit gate at Disneyland back in the 1960’s. It’s a far cry from the gate today…

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Dazzled by Science

March 12, 2009

scitech21

AceJet, a lovely blog of found art and typography, tipped me off to this amazing set of 1950s and 60’s magazine ads for science and techonology companies. More than 180 ads showcasing the beauty and abstract qualities of modernist design can be found here on Flickr, posted by BustBright. I clicked through every example, awed by the impact, simplicity, and straightforward intelligence of the graphics. They aren’t trying to sell a temporary disposable lifestyle, they’re previewing an entire future.