Who said Powerpoint was useless? This is quite possibly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen — hip-hop and rap tracks represented in the form of Powerpoint charts and graphs. (Note: Each slide is a link to the YouTube video of the song referenced.)
Archive for the ‘graphic design’ Category
I was trolling through the hundreds of Safari bookmarks I have collected over the years, hoping to organize and purge a bit. I came across these two sites, Strange Maps and Radical Cartography. I’m not sure why I bookmarked them in the first place. It may have been as simple as the fact that they’re just plain-old interesting. Who new cartography could be so cool? Now, I’ve seen some good-looking maps, and some that just work better than others. This is something entirely different. These maps provide insight. They transcend simply giving you a sense of size, distance and proximity. They tell stories. They shift perspective. You leave them with a sense not only of place, but of meaning.Take the Hungry Gulf Crocodile, seen above. More than just being a map, it tells you somthing fundamental about that place. The Persian Gulf can be a dangerous place, but risk hazard becaise that’s where the oil is. Granted, it has a distinct Western (American) bias, but that’s fine. This isn’t intended to be journalistic fact, rather op-ed rhetoric. In any event, it makes its point.
What was just another bad logo is now a public health problem. It seems the promotional video for the London 2012 Olympics mark (above) is capable of causing seizures. This logo has turned out to be an absolute PR disaster, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. I even heard milquetoast Matt Lauer take a cheap-shot at it on th Today Show.
What worries me is the damage this debacle does for design in general. One of the fundamental problems that faces designers today is their (in)ability to explain their work to laypeople. The running joke is tha “even our parents think we sit in the corner and draw pictures all day.” It’s hard to build value in the eyes of the public around something that seems as simple as a logo.
I’ve already seen the public questioning the nearly $800,000 in fees that Wolff Olins commanded for the logo design and development. There’s actually some jerk on YouTube who has posted a video of themselves redrawing the logo in real time as a way of questioning its cost. What they fail to explain is the weeks and months of constant exploration and iterations that culminated with this logo. As a (reformed) designer, I understand the value of the work that goes into a project like this. To be honest, $800K seems like the “friends and family rate”. If a large, high profile privately-held corporation commissioned the same level of work, it would cost considerabbly more. So, let me be clear: I hat this logo on a gut level, but I understand it rationallly.
For a good overview of the reactions of the graphic design community to the logo check out this post over at SpeakUp. (Warning!!! They do attempt to defend the logo as a piece of design.) Be sure to take a gander at the riot that is going on in the comments section.
I came accross this great article by the great Bruce Nussbaum at Business Week. It’s the transcript of a somewhat provocative lecture Mr. Nussbaum gave at Parson’s a few weeks back, a call to arms for designers to start thinking about what it means to be a designer in the 21st century. While much of the text dwells on being green and sustainable, there is a bigger theme concerning simply being aware of the world around you and challenging assumptions.
For what it’s worth, I think this speech is a must-read. My favorite passage…
…Design has evolved from a simple practice to a powerful methodology of Design Thinking that, I believe, can transform society. By that I mean Design, with a capital D, can move beyond fashion, graphics, products, services into education, transportation, economics and politics. Design can become powerful enough to be an approach to life, a philosophy of life. But it can do so only when Design by Ego ends and Design by Conversation begins.
When I heard this story about a new application of military technology to advertising on NPR today, I couldn’t wait to get home and see it. I was trying to imagine what it would look like. Glows in the dark? Blackhawk helicopters? Holographic? I mean, it sounds kinda cool on the radio.
Well as it turn out, it’s just and another example of urban spam, and in my opinion, a more egregious example than most. Why? Because it had the potential to be cool. This electroluminescent technology is visually interesting, but a ReMax ad hardly does it justice. It’s the same lame ad they run in the daytime, just tarted-up for the evening. There are plenty of brands that could use the technology as a part of the creative execution, not just as a bell and/or whistle. I’d love to see that trippy Lunesta butterfly glowing around town. It’s just a shame that my first exposure to it had to be so banal.
Let’s just hoe that Atlantans don’t mistake it for a bomb.
Graphic designers are an odd group, one which I am proud to consider myself a member. We’re always lamenting that nobody, especially clients, understand what it actually takes to design a piece of printed matter and bring it to life. It’s a common joke amongst designers that even our parents don’t really get what we do. Of course, we never really take the time to explain it properly, either. The net result is that most people think we pictures all day.
So, when I found this site, Printernational, I thought it might actually be a step towards explaining graphic design to the world. The site offers detailed, yet easily understood, explanations for common design questions like “What the hell is a Pantone?” or “Why can’t you just pull the photos off of our website?” It’s a great resource for designer and layperson alike.
For those of you more interested in theories behind design than the technical production, there’s this great compilation of essential design books and magazines. We all have our favorites, and the classics are classics, but my vote would have to go to Ellen Lupton’s Thinking With Type. It’s a simple, readable, interesting introduction to typography that virtually anyone could learn from. Her book DIY is pretty amazing as well.
As I move away from being a full-time designers and towards becoming a full-time account planner, I can’t help but think that the two disciplines have a lot to learn from each other. If more planners understood design and more designer understood planning, the world would be a better place. At least we’d have better looking Powerpoint presentations.