31 July 2009

Twitter twouble

Mmm, by the looks of this infographic if Twitter was just 100 people, it might just be finding itself in some.... twouble. Here's the data (with more comprehensive data here, ooo... I just love charts and graphs!) and the Flickr post. One question however, what do the 20 grey people represent? On the other side of the equation, here's a quick read from Fast Company on why Twitter has staying power.

Photo from Flickr website.

29 July 2009

City congrats

When it comes to design, we don't often think of cities as being part of the equation. But the design of a city is vital to how well it can sustain business and economic growth. Considering all the talk recently about the high percentage of people who will be living in urban areas in the future, its something we need to pay more attention to and the World Design Capital (WDC) would like ensure we are aware of how important it is.

- 'The future success of each city lies in the hands of those who plan, design and manage the shared spaces and functions of their city.'

The WDC is a biennial designation appointed to cities based on their accomplishments and commitment to design as an effective tool for social, cultural and economic development. Just last week the WDC announced the shortlist of cities that will move on to the next round of evaluation in the hopes of becoming World Design Capital 2012. The selected cities are the City of Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and the City of Helsinki (Finland). Past honors have gone to Torino (2008) and Seoul (for 2010).

The final jury deliberation for the 2012 honors will take place in September 2009 in Montreal, Canada, with the official announcement of the WDC 2012 designation occurring during the Icsid World Design Congress in Singapore on 25 November 2009. I'll keep you posted!

Photo from the WDC website.

Gnarly waves hit SoCal

Although I live in one of the best places to surf in the world, I don't surf (but I might just be putting a board in the ocean soon believe it or not). But just because I don't surf, doesn't mean I can't appreciate the ocean at its most splendid. Check out some of the amazing waves that hit the West Coast over the last week. Some of the best surfers in the world were thrilled with the conditions while competing in the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, which ran from 17 July - 26 July. The photo above was taken on 24 July at the Wedge in Newport Beach. Summer surf is in full swing and just, well... swell!

Photo from the Surfline website for Chuck/surf-shot.com

28 July 2009

Coolest date around

Gone are the days of Inkadinkado my friends. A new modern calendar takes it to the next level. How it's done is pretty cool. And well, who doesn't like a kooky unique calendar? This Ink Calendar by Spanish designer Oscar Diaz is as unique as them come and something you definitely haven't seen before. He has has designed a calendar that uses the capillary action of ink spreading across paper to display the date. Here's how it works -

From Diaz' wesbite;
- The Ink Calendar makes use the timed pace of the ink spreading on the paper to indicate time. The ink is absorbed slowly, and the numbers in the calendar are "printed" daily. One a day, they are filled with ink until the end of the month. A calendar self-updated, which enhances the perception of time passing and not only signaling it. The ink colors are based on a spectrum, which relate to a “color temperature scale”, each month having a color related to our perception of the weather on that month. The colors range from dark blue in December to, three shades of green in spring or oranges, red in the summer. The aim of the project is to address our senses, rather than the logical and conscious brain.

Currently the Ink Calendar is being shown as part of SUEÑOS DE UN GRIFO/Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. If you're looking to have a hip crib with a cool calendar, this is the one... and certainly hipper than Inkadinkado!

Photos from Oscar Diaz website.

27 July 2009

Photo of the week

Sydney, Australia. It's Monday, perfect for a photo from Down Under, since it's always the most down day of the week. Does anyone really look forward to Monday I wonder? Anyway, the beautiful Sydney Opera House was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jorn Utzon and completed in 1973. It comprises a series of large precast concrete 'shells' each taken from a hemisphere of the same radius and covered with glazed ceramic white tiles. Funny, I do remember thinking how amazing the expressionistic modern design of Opera House looked from a distance (when I was there in 1998) but when you got up close it sure needed a face lift. There were many broken and missing tiles and it wasn't as clean as I thought it would be as how it looked from afar. Well, since then Sydney has hosted the 2000 summer Olympic games and we all know the city was cleaned from head to toe for the festivities. Clean or not, the Opera House is one of the most distinct landmarks in the world and amazing to see up close and personal, where it exposes most of its unique personality.

24 July 2009

The coolest concert yet

Concert shows have come a long way... or am I just getting old? I can remember the coolest concert entertainment back in the day was watching a young Tommy Lee, strapped in a metal harness like a race car driver, performing a drum solo suspended high over the audience in a gyroscope-like 360 degree spinning contraption. But let's not go too far back. These days U2 is pretty hard to top. The band collected top design teams Hoberman Associates, Innovative Designs and Barco to create an expanding and transformable elliptical screen for their latest 360° tour. It's a fusion of architecture, stage scenery and extreme technology that stretches upwards to form a 7-story cone around the band, displaying footage directed by the Irish artist Catherine Owens. And the real mind blowing coolness... it changes shape during the performance! The word insane comes to mind, and I'm not talking about Tommy Lee. Check out the stage in more detail at SpaceInvading and more in print at Fast Company.

-Constructed of stainless steel and aircraft aluminum, the display is made of 888 LED screens, with 500,000 pixels spanning across them, providing concertgoers with clear and visually stunning images. It has a screen area of 3,800 square feet, and weighs approximately 60 tons (120,000 pounds).

I would assume Bono and the guys will be offsetting their carbon footprint somehow for schlepping this behemoth stage around the world... ?

Photos from Fast Company website.

23 July 2009

Out with the old, Inn with the new

During all the road trips through the years, how many times have we come across a familiar face? I can name a few; Taco Bell, Red Roof Inn, Denny's, Bob Evans, White Castle, Howard Johnson's and... Holiday Inn. But the Inn is familiar no more, for a little while anyway. The new logo and branding for the Holiday Inn, done by Interbrand, just feels a little overdone to me... over beveled and over shadowed with too much green. It also has a little Japanese character thing going on doesn't it? All that said, it certainly is a happier and more welcoming logo then the old one, something about it says 'Come on in and stay with us' which is a good thing and hopefully most others with feel the same. And I agree with Brand New, good riddance to those reverse italics (just awful). But the bottom line is this, let's hope the inside matches the outside and that the staff exudes a friendly and welcoming attitude as well. Because it's the employees who will ultimately help the brand live up to its potential. Enjoy your stay!

Photo from Brand New website.

A world of soap

While perusing some of the great work from recent graduates of the University of Brighton (see Great Grad Design post from 11 July), I came across this poster from Alison Haigh I thought was brilliant. It captures not only the ideal of the laundromat in its shape and form, but also takes on the idea of the world as soapy continents. Very clever. You can see more of her work on her website here. Here's to a place that gets photographed time and time again, and to Alison for giving it a new... spin!

Photo from University of Brighton website.

22 July 2009

Join me for fika?

What is fika you ask? Well, it's a new word I learned from Sandra Juto, a very talented illustrator and photographer from Sweden. Fika is Swedish meaning to have coffee and from what I can tell from her blog, they seem to have a lot of fikas in Sweden! But not your over commericalized Starbucks kind like in the states. Coffee is art over there and meant to be enjoyed sitting with friends having conversation and dessert or simply the pleasure of a moment by yourself reading or relaxing. That is the way to do it my friends. Just look at the lovely coffee art Sandra photographed at one such fika break. It would be nice if I actually drank coffee, but I don't. I will however have the occasional cappuccino and I do enjoy almost everything else coffee related, the smell of it brewing, coffee ice cream, and coffee in the deepest richest, deliciously chocolately desserts! But it's the idea of sitting for a short while in a small cafe contemplating life with good friends that's so enjoyable. However, if my travels ever take me to Sweden, I'll be sure to have a fika for Sandra!

Photo from Sandra Juto website.

20 July 2009

Photo of the week

Los Angeles, California. So on Friday, I was in LA for a one-day conference for InDesign. Love going to those things! Learning just a few tips and tricks is worth the price and travel time from San Clemente. Well, the traffic coming home isn't worth it (almost 2 hours, most of it stop and go, I loathe LA traffic)... but I digress. While walking around during lunch break and to and from the parking garage, I brought my camera because LA is a great subject and always so gritty and well, pretty dirty. So instead of taking photos of buildings (which I always do and did on Friday) I also like to find mundane subjects that somehow interest me. For instance these pipes in the underground parking garage. Nothing special and not something you'd probably give a second glance to. But I see a fantastic grid for use on a print project... where would the type go, the image placement. I'll for sure be using this photo as a grid for an upcoming project.

16 July 2009

Info resume

Mmm... now this is an interesting concept for a resume. You know I love info design and graphics, but Michael Anderson has taken it to a new level with his info resume. Yes, that's right folks, gone is the standard objective headline that captures your attention first and the centered listing of experience that follows. Boring right? Not anymore. Mr. Anderson makes sure we linger longer on his, we need to decipher and read the information, for we actually can't get away with scanning it and knowing everything about him in 3 seconds flat. The only caveat for me... the rainbow colors fall short and make it look like an Excel spreadsheet was involved. More interesting colors would make this resume sit on top of the pile for sure!

Photo from Michael Anderson website.

14 July 2009

Frankly, I'm hungry

Time is closing in on prepping for dinner, so I'm a little hungry at the moment. Which is why I probably needed to post something food related (and because I'm a huge foodie!) Museum cafes and restaurants are starting to get some real publicity lately and the latest one is the new FRANK Restaurant in the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). It's a very distinct Frank Gehry-designed space with casual and chic décor, but of course! With striking Modern Danish furnishings and a contemporary installation of Frank Stella's work, you might not ever leave the restaurant to tour the museum! Bon appétit!

Photo from the AGO website.

It's a bird, it's a plane... it's Helveticons!

What are these and what do they do? Good question. I was a little stumped myself when I first saw the cool Helvetica typeface inspired Helvecticons web and application interface icons. Somehow I wanted them to be a fun game of typeface Scrabble or Boggle. But no... they are just very cool looking icons for web developers.

Photo from the Helveticons website.

Ride on sister

Growing up in New England, I rode a hand-me-down bike with a huge sparkley aquamarine banana seat and the highest sissy bar you could imagine. Thankfully in my teens I graduated to a humble 3-speed from Sears, which I washed and waxed every other ride, loving it like the brand new car I thought it was. Nowadays, I enjoy the same kind of casual biking lifestyle here in Southern California, and if you're lucky enough to live in within a mile or two from the beach (which I don't), you most likely have a bike. But not any old bike. If you've got yourself a beach cruiser, then you are part of the beach community coolness vibe, especially if you attach a boogie board or surf board to the side of it. But here's a new kind of beach cruiser, made entirely in the USA. Introducing the Dutch Master by Core77. Only 25 hand made limited edition cool babies will be available for purchase. Here's what the website says... The Dutch Master is a smooth-riding, rugged urban bike that celebrates New York heritage and local manufacturing. Based on the beloved Worksman Newsboy frame used throughout the New York delivery community and fitted out with premium components and a dash of BMX flavor, the Dutch Master toughens up the typical cruiser, mashing classic European aesthetics with contemporary parts. Check out the bike and the hefty $1560 price here to see if you're interested. Unfortunately, I'm not interested in the price, but I love the bike. I think I'd almost rather have that sissy bar bike back. Hey, it might just be cool again. Again? Well, maybe.

Photo from Core77 website.

13 July 2009

Photo of the week

Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore. In a post back in April I mentioned the Singapore Botanic Gardens, for they are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year. I was thinking about bamboo this morning and all its wonderful uses, hence the photo of bamboo today taken at the gardens. Bamboo is a wonderful resilient, hard-as-nails material used for flooring, cutting boards, picnic plates and utensils, kitchen accessories and of course for the ever popular tiki bar. Cheers!

10 July 2009

Great grad design

Ahhh.... there's nothing like perusing fresh graduate work. So untarnished by client demands, no rules or formats to follow and no one asking, 'Could you make it a little bigger?' Check out some really great work at the online show of the graduating Graphic Design and Illustration classes of the University of Brighton in Britain.

Photo from the GDI09 show website.

Let it rain

Now this I haven't seen... an umbrella that folds into a handbag! How cool is that! Stylish and functional in design, Yanko Design showcased this cool invention by designer Seung Hee Son. Now, if it would only rain here in SoCal.

Photos from Yanko Design website.

09 July 2009

Hawaii or bust

Couldn't resist this neato infographic on Hawaii. The weekend is almost here... so pour yourself a fruity rum drink, kick back on a lounge chair and pretend the Waikiki sand is between your toes! Mahalo! (click on the graphic for a better view)

Photo from Fast Company website.

07 July 2009

Ooo, ahhh, kerning

Pretty lacy undergarments or perfectly kerned letters? Yup, I'll take the latter. I'm not a big fan of $50 bras and $20 panties, but the Victoria's Secret kerning I am! The newly updated VS logo isn't a whole lot different than the old one. However, the one major change is huge and whoever did it, knows what they are doing. How refreshing! With just a little finessing of the Trajan font and adding the perfect kerning, the VS logo is more sophisticated (and now typographically correct). I'm still not going to buy any bras from them though, but maybe a t-shirt with those sexy letters!

Photo from Brand New website.

Text definitions

The poster above by Bernie Roessler is a thoughtful typographic representation that defines a generation of texters and its new language. It was done for a poster contest for Speak Up in collaboration with Veer back in 2004.

Image from Speak Up website.

06 July 2009

Photo of the week

Singapore. I love when decay creates odd color, pattern and shape. This photo I took of a decaying column is just that. I like to get in close and see all the years of neglect taking its toll. What a fascinating story it could tell.

05 July 2009

Red, white and blue redux

Since I missed actually posting red, white and blue yesterday, here's a follow up. Just this morning I came across a painting by Ohio artist Jill Gallenstein on DesignSponge. She is currently showing at the exhibition Frenz at the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia. It's no surprise I am drawn to her paintings, for they are marked with meticulous detail and patterns and are richly elegant in both composition and symmetry. Just beautiful!

Photo via Design Sponge blog.

04 July 2009

Red, white and blue

Here's something to think about... if we take away the colors on the American flag, does it mean something different to us? Visually, perhaps so, but I believe the power and beauty of anything lies in its inherent meaning and what it ultimately communicates, color or no color, and the American flag is no different. Shown above, 'White Flag' is the work of Jasper Johns and is the first of his paintings in which the flag is presented in monochrome. For me, it represents simplistic beauty with deep meaning. Instead of focusing on the red, white and blue colors, the focus is on the symbolism of the star and stripe elements themselves. Happy 4th!

Photo from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

03 July 2009

Bag me

Ha! I got a big laugh when I saw this. Although I drive an SUV, I work from home and therefore don't have to bear any horrendous commute so many others do, so my mileage is close to nothing every year. Except to run errands, go to various meetings and the market... where I use the stack of canvas grocery bags tucked behind my drivers seat. If you don't have eco-friendly grocery bags, you can find some here.

Photo from The Crew blogspot.

Heart prints

I'm not a heart and rainbow kind of gal (okay, maybe when I was 8 and my sticker collection was replete with them), but this graphic interpretation using two fingerprints to create a heart is so simple and clever, it's hard not to love. Jason Munn of The Small Stakes, created the poster for a performance at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Happy 4th to all!

Photo from Jason Munn website via Spagat.

01 July 2009

Still going strong at 80

Lately, the creative world has seen an influx of movies focusing on art and design. (Helvetica, Objectified, Art School Confidential) And now, another great movie about a design icon has emerged. The new documentary “Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight” directed by Wendy Keys, is now playing in select U.S. locations. It provides convincing evidence that he is worthy of being called the most influential graphic artist of our time. Last week Milton Glaser celebrated his 80th birthday and a 60-plus year career that is still going strong, without a hint of stopping. You can find it playing in your area here. For those in Orange County, you can catch the film on 27 August at 8pm at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach. See you there!

Photo from idsgn blog.
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