Thursday, December 29, 2005

BRAND IDENTITY
AIGA Changes Its Name

The trade association formerly known as American Institute of Graphic Arts has changed its name to AIGA, the professional association for design, according to their web page, dated December 22nd. The name change results from changes in job descriptions, technology and professional practices in the industry over the years. The career was once known as "commercial art," signifying art, typically illustration, done for advertising or marketing purposes. The industry later became known as "graphic arts," emphasizing its printing and production tracks. Now, industry practitioners wish to be known as "graphic designers," emphasizing loftier concepts of design.

The powers that be at AIGA want the public to think of their association as the de facto trade association for graphic designers. They want its members to help reinforce the AIGA brand identity by using the initials after their names: "We encourage active members to join many of your colleagues in using the initials 'AIGA' after your name in email signatures, business cards, etc., to show your support of the profession and your commitment to the standards for professional practice."

The issue that many designers face is that membership in the AIGA, the Graphic Artists' Guild (GAG), the Printing Association of Florida (PAF) and other trade associations are accomplished by simply paying a membership fee. Membership in these trade associations does not imply any type of license or certification. Sure, there are benefits to membership, but I feel the name change is intended to reposition the AIGA to connote a higher level of prestige.

The graphics industry has always had open doors for anyone wishing to work as a graphic designer. There has never been any kind of licensing or certification required. Anyone with a computer, scanner, printer and software can open up shop--even from a home studio or office. Entry into the field is easy, but it is flooded with people lacking formal training. The AIGA provides another means by which a graphic designer's skills can continue to grow, but don't expect it to give your resume a higher level of prestige. If you're interested in joining the AIGA, do it because you wish to associate with other graphic designers, share and gain knowledge and skills and grow as an industry professional.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

LOGO DESIGN
I Hate to Keep Harping on This, But...

Saul Bass designed his original AT&T logo in 1983, and it has remained more or less intact until this year. Branding specialists, more than anyone else, know that logos must be used consistently, and that any inconsistency in the application of a company's logo degrades the brand identity. It's important to design a logo with staying power, and not a trendy one that relies on the current technology. As we all know, new versions of software roll out every six months, so in less than a year, something else will be trendy, and your logo will be out of date.

   

Compare the UPS logo with AT&T's; you can see that gradients or blends were used to make the highlights and shadows on UPS's mark, while AT&T's mark appears to be executed using the latest 3D ray-tracing technology. In a few months we may see a new logo executed using technology that makes AT&T's logo look out-of-date. Remember when the blue-and-white iMac or G3 computers were the coolest thing? Compared to today's G5, they look old. Computer technology has a shelf life, but brand identity must not.

Here is a link to a PDF listing the evolution of the AT&T logo. The new AT&T brand avatar is presented in 3D and (in the upper left corner) as line artwork; two logos means less memorability, so why not just have one? The simple one.

Related posts:
October 13th--Simplicity in Logo Design link
November 21st--What Do You Think of the New AT&T Logo? link
November 23rd--Reaction to New AT&T and UPS Logos link
November 25th--AIM Jumps on the Bandwagon and "Rebrands its Avatar" link
December 1st--Judges Select Logos for LogoLounge III Book link
VIDEOS
iTunes Music Store Offers NBC, SciFi Channel and USA Networks TV Shows, Over 3 Million Videos Downloaded

Customers have downloaded over 3 million videos from the iTunes Music Store since Apple began offering music videos and individual episodes of ABC and Disney television shows on October 12th, making the iTunes Music Store the world's most popular video download store.

Yesterday, Apple announced it is now also offering episodes of NBC shows such as "Law and Order," "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," USA Network shows such as "Monk," SciFi Channel shows such as "Battlestar Galactica," and classic shows such as "Dragnet," "Adam-12," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Knight Rider."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

SOFTWARE
Adobe Completes Merger with Macromedia, Announces Three New Product Bundles

Adobe Systems, Inc. announced in a December 5th press release that its acquisition of Macromedia, Inc. was finalized on Saturday, December 3rd. As a result of this mutually-agreed upon and eagerly-awaited transaction, each share of Macromedia common stock will be converted to 1.38 shares of Adobe stock.

In a separate press release issued on the same day, Adobe announced three new software bundles of combined Adobe and Macromedia software.

The Adobe Design Bundle combines Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium (Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, Acrobat 7.0 Professional, Version Cue CS2, Bridge and Adobe Stock Photos) with Flash Professional 8 for $1599. The Adobe Web Bundle combines Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium with Studio 8 (Dreamweaver 8, Flash 8 Professional, Fireworks 8, Contribute 3 and FlashPaper 2) for $1899. The Adobe Video Bundle will be available early in 2006 and will combine Adobe video software with Flash 8 Professional.

Notice that Photoshop CS2 and Dreamweaver 8 are sold in the same bundle as Fireworks 8 and GoLive CS2, but as mentioned in a September 15th post, Freehand MX is no longer part of Studio 8. Freehand MX is still for sale, and listed at the bottom of the last column of the Adobe Products page.

Monday, December 05, 2005

VIDEO
Milton Glaser Art is Work

   

Milton Glaser is a creative and renowned graphic designer best known for his Bob Dylan poster and his I (Heart) NY logo. This six-minute video presents Glaser's views on graphic design as a business practice and as a method of expanding social consciousness. He expresses his love of teaching, saying it makes him feel good to convert those that are in an inactive condition into individuals who are constantly questioning and seeking solutions.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

LOGO DESIGN
Judges Select Logos for LogoLounge III Book

LogoLounge III, to be published by Rockport, will be available Fall 2007.

Sire Advertising announced in a November 18th press release that two of its logos are being included in the book. Its logo for the Housing and Redevelopment Insurance Exchange incorporates a house with a large letter "H"--an appropriate use of a dimensional symbol. The organization's lengthy name is de-emphasized. The massaging hands logo for Sozo Healing Arts expresses the intimate nature of mother and child and is appropriate for a company specializing in pregnancy massage, Swedish massage and deep tissue massage.
  


elf design announced in a November 21st press release that its designs for Have Wax, Will Travel, traveling esthetician; Poppyseed Cake, invitation and card company; and a heart and ampersand logo for a wedding were all chosen for inclusion.


Tactical Magic announced in a November 30th press release appearing in Memphis Business Journal, that its logos for Fulmer Helmets, The Eyewear Gallery and Nuance AV--all powerful, yet simple marks--will be included in LogoLounge III. The Fulmer Helmets logo expresses speed and freedom in a simple image, combined with a tasteful amount of shading and dimensionality. It's amazing how well the lower case "g" can be perceived as a pair of glasses in the Eyewear Gallery logo. The Nuance AV logo combines the shapes of the A and V in a sine wave, perfectly representative of electronic devices.