Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beautiful Type-Only Commercial from Starbucks and Product(RED)
Thanks to my FIU student Aaron for sending this in. In a continued effort to reinforce its commitment to the communities that grow its coffee beans, and to continue being a responsible global company, Starbucks will donate five cents to Product(RED) from Nov. 27 to Jan. 2 with each purchase of a (STARBUCKS)Exclusive coffee drink: Peppermint Mocha Twist, Gingersnap Latte and Espresso Truffle. On the 20th anniversary of World AIDS day on Dec. 1st, Starbucks will donate five cents for every coffee drink sold. To read more, visit this press release at the Starbucks website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Would be Funny, if it Weren't So True...
Thanks go out to my past MDC student Robin for sending me this video, parodying an experience that a graphic designer might have while working with clients.

A professional graphic designer's job is to be a partner and consultant in the ultimate success of the project, which will be of mutual benefit to both the client and the designer. Here, the designer is presented as a lackey, following all the obviously bad suggestions of the graphically-uninformed clients.

Educated graphic designers understand that they are more than just software operators. They are experts in visual communication, understanding how to create clear and attractive messages. To be effective, a graphic designer must guide the client through the creation of the work, explaining why a certain design approach might have been selected, and why certain ideas just won't work. Graphic design should facilitate communication, and is never just decoration.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Paul Rand Talks about Graphic Design
Thanks go to my FIU student Andrea for posting this YouTube video in which Paul Rand talks about that career we all love.
25+ Sites That Use Only Typography as a Design Element
Thanks to my FIU student Elizabeth for posting this blog, which lists about 37 sites that use typography as their only design element. See? It can be done. That's why having strong type skills is important.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

IDW Presents Graphic Biographies McCain and Obama
IDW Publishing has just released on October 8th a pair of graphic novel biographies of John McCain and Barack Obama. Use the link to preview the comics and to find a local comic book shop selling the comics.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Eight Steps to Drive a Graphic Designer Crazy
Thanks to my past MDC student Robin for sending me the link to this funny blog article. It's in Spanish, so I'll translate and synopsize the posting below.

1. Send your graphic designer files created in Microsoft Publisher. Where the heck's the kerning and tracking controls in Publisher, anyway?
2. Ask your designer to set your ad in Comic Sans. Yuck!
3. Ask your graphic designer to fill up all that negative space. Go for that BrandsMart look!
4. Send your graphic designer your logo via fax, so that he or she always has to rebuild it.
5. Use subjective descriptors when communicating to your graphic designer: "I want a super-cool design." Very specific, yeah right. ;-)
6. Tell your graphic designer to use your favorite colors: pink, green, brown and  silver. Hoo boy!
7. Give your graphic designer the assignment one day before the deadline. We like working under pressure. Not!
8. After the previous seven steps have been performed, be sure to complain to your graphic designer about the ugly design he or she has done! :-P

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MDC Productions Summer Camp
Over the summer, I participated in a week-long workshop introducing a group of middle-school students to the graphics industry (particularly working with Photoshop). Linked up below, I have a 5-minute video from WPBT in Miami, in which I make a brief appearance. (I can't believe I've gained so much weight over the summer; I've lost a few pounds since then!)

Monday, June 30, 2008

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

Thanks go out to my FIU student Mirsad for sending me this interesting item. Read the paragraph below:

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

Monday, June 02, 2008

Dove Video Shows Why We Have a Distorted Perception of Beauty

Thanks to my FIU student Lina for sending me this video from Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, which shows how models are retouched in Photoshop to enhance their features. Such retouching reinforces a distorted view of physical ideals.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Radiohead's All I Need Brings to Light Human Exploitation

Thanks to my FIU student Camila for sending me this link to Radiohead's All I Need video as an example of using strong messages in advertising, a topic of class discussion. The Radiohead video presents two parallel stories of a young boy in the West, enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, and a young boy in the East, forced into slave labor. The ending is quite jolting. The director, Steve Rogers, weaves his story using compelling cinematography by John Seale, and shakes viewers out of their complacency by bringing awareness to our own practices that affect human beings overseas.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke in an Apr. 30th MTV press release:

It's an interesting thing, because if you are in the West, it's a luxury to be able to talk about the importance of human rights for everybody, but yet in the East or the poorer countries where slave labor is going on, if you talk to certain companies,...somehow the rights of the workers are secondary to economic growth.

In contrast to Benneton ads, discussed in class, the Radiohead video presents its message purposefully to try to affect change in this important social issue. Benneton has been criticized for presenting strong, sometimes shocking, images solely for the purpose of promoting its clothing brand, oftentimes disregarding the pain and suffering of others.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Typographic Stylings of the Barack Obama Campaign
Thanks go out to Angelica, my FIU student, for sending me this link to an Apr. 2nd N.Y. Times blog posting by Steven Heller and Brian Collins on typography and branding in the Barack Obama campaign. Collins praises the campaign's art directors for their consistent application of design across a wide variety of media, and by thousands of volunteers from state to state. Collins also discusses the aesthetic and emotive qualities of the typeface Gotham, as used in the Obama campaign:

It has a blunt, geometric simplicity, which usually makes words feel cold and analytical...but it also feels warm. It’s substantial yet friendly. Up-to-date yet familiar...And Gotham has another quality that makes it succeed: it just looks matter-of-fact.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Island of San Serriffe
It sure has been a long time since my last posting; you can be sure I've been quite busy with all my classes, but now with the summer lull, I hope to resume regular postings. First off, Jeff, a past student from MDC, sent me the following article for April Fool's Day, from the Museum of Hoaxes.
Publishers of
The Guardian, a UK newspaper, often ran special reports, focusing on an obscure country or new technology, designed to attract related advertising. Tired of the parade of little countries no one had ever heard of, Philip Davies conceived the island of San Serriffe, as a hoax for the April 1, 1977 edition of the paper, which ran a seven-page article dedicated to the fictitious island, complete with fake maps, history and advertisements--all built around typographic references. The island is shaped like a semicolon, the capital is Bodoni, and its dictator is General Pica. The hoax proved to be extremely popular and is well-known to this day.
Thanks also to Robin, another past MDC student, who sent me this link to San Serriffe from WikiTravel.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Graffiti: High Art or Contemporary Urban Folk Practice?
In a Dec. 11th article in AIGA Voice, Steven Grody discusses the merits of grafitti art. He says that while graffiti artists might not use common art terms, they do understand, and obsessively arrange visual weight, in their compositions. In the end, there is really very little difference philosophically between the art inside the gallery and that spray-painted on its exterior walls. Grody writes, "While some would recognize a Matisse, would they also understand the radical aspects of his art?"
Be on the Lookout for E&G Subs Coupons
From the Jan. 10th Creativity Online email newsletter. Minneapolis ad agency Colle+McVoy has designed a guerilla marketing campaign involving stickers attached to phone booths. Curious people who lift the sticker are treated to a free Erbert & Gerbert's Sub sandwich. Very unusual. Do you think it will work?