Thursday, December 10, 2009


I was browsing new cd's in the library last night and found a musical group called Ozomatli


I noticed their logo first because it reminded me a little bit of one of the logos Push Pin Studio came up with for Solo, a publishing group.  I wonder if that was a conscious inspiration for the designer of the group's identity mark.

The band is just cool, too! Their website describes them as "culture mashers" and their music is:
a notorious urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga
The story behind their name is interesting too. Apparently, the Aztec Stone of the Sun calendar has a 20 day cycle with particular tasks for particular days.

Ozomatli (the monkey) is on day 11.
Among the Aztecs and the Mayans, the monkey has been associated with dance, art, beauty and harmony.  This specific day shows our life must reunite with art, that our ways of being, dressing, acting, must be each day more and more artistic, harmonious, beautiful, etc. (
Finally, here's a poster of the band that ties it all together. I'd love to do this kind of symbolic/conceptual design!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Clement Mok was another designer listed as influential. Here's some information that was on Will Sherwood's website, Success Secrets of the Graphic Design Superstars. 
Clement Mok is a designer, digital pioneer, software publisher/developer, author, and design patent holder. Mok, a former creative director at Apple, founded multiple successful design-related businesses — Studio Archetype, CMCD and NetObjects. He was the Chief Creative Officer of Sapient, and the president of AIGA. Currently, he consults for Sapient and other Fortune 500 companies on a variety of design planning and user experience projects.
Quote from Clement Mok:
As much as young designers are good at creating compelling imagery for today’s cultural currency, they still don’t have the life experience in understanding how to make things usable. They can make them desirable, but mastery requires a lifetime of learning.

Examples of Mok's work:

Fourth of July Flag - it's interesting that he chose to use non-traditional colors for the flag. I like it because it suggests a more complex, inclusive understanding of what this country could be.

Identity for Republic of Tea -- I've always liked these:


Other examples:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Since we weren't able to cover all the influential designers in class, I thought I'd look up a few that weren't presented. 

Chip Kidd seems to have his plate pretty full -- Associate Art Director at Knopf, editor-at-large for Pantheon, writer, and percussionist. I've probably missed some things. His blog is very well done and witty. The name of the blog itself is pretty funny -- Good is dead. Very entertaining! Here are some images of his work - particularly his book covers. I found that I wanted to just keep looking at them to take in all the weirdness, the funniness or the details depending on which of these the cover possessed.

New Pepsi logo

I'm a Diet Coke drinker myself but I will never look at the Pepsi logo in the same way again. Too funny! I doubt this guy intended it but it kind of captures some of the health problems caused by America's obsession with sugar and junk food! Not that I'm separating myself from that obsession, of course.

Can't get enough of this guy...


More by my new friend Gunter. 

I'm drawn to the powerful simplicity of many of his designs. This one is for the International Prison Watch organization. Many of his images are black, white, red and gray which reminds me of the Constructivists. If you're interested in some of the more typographic posters he's done for theater, you can check out my typography blog.

I believe this is for the UN World Day Against Racism and Violence. The shattered hand and complementary colors make this an intense design. 

This image for peace seems to avoid the cliche of the heart (mostly, anyway) .

This final image is obviously more complex and really interesting. It's a poster for something to do with freelance photographers, I think. The combination of type and image is great.

Gunter Rambow

We saw a few images of Gunter Rambow's work in the Megg's History book and he was one of the designers I really liked. I went to find some more of his work. I'll be picking some out to share. Here are some images from his work for S. Fischer which is, as far as I can tell, a publishing house. That would make sense given the theme. There are many, many images on his website but they aren't particularly well marked in terms of dates. In addition, they're in German so I couldn't tell what half of them actually mean. Google translator can only help so much.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bob Dylan's Brain. Milton Glaser's Design.

This is an image from a 2008 Vanity Fair magazine article. Since we're looking at Postmodern design, I thought this would be a good example of the old (1966)

becoming new again and the use of typographic space that's not on a grid. Imagine creating something with this typographic detail before design software was available.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Neat movie poster - with a message. Would this be considered conceptual art?

I had an idea...

If anyone ever actually reads this blog, do me a the comments section below this post, type in the name of one object (e.g., chair, tea cup) -- any object will do -- and I will do 50 sketches of it and will post them.  I need something to sketch and you can be my inspiration!


Karly Barrett is a designer who was gracious enough to include sketches she did while developing a logo for bioTrekker - an interesting environmental campaign. I like reading her blog because she includes lots of info about the process of designing. She gives a great description of the process on her blog but I'm just including the images here. I've had a really hard time getting myself to sketch every day even though I know that by doing so, my graphic design work would improve. I've heard this from more people than I can remember. It just doesn't come so naturally to me. This will be good inspiration.



Monday, November 2, 2009

Great Danes

After watching Helvetica in class last week, I had a lot of fun doing web searches on the various designers the movie featured. I have dozens of blog posts in the wings now. For many of the sites I found, I have no idea what series of clicks led me there. The web is just a great thing. I found a site that allows you to create "word clouds." You can look at my Typography blog if you're interested or go here.

I also found a really interesting Danish design company called e-types. I have often thought of myself as a minimalist and was initially really excited about finding this company. As I went through the numerous projects they'd done, however, I began to get a little bored! Their aesthetic seems to be very much in line with the Swiss International style. To their credit, they put a little twist on it sometimes and don't align everything just perfectly. Here are a few of their designs I like.

The Danish Arts Council logo was my favorite. Their materials describe the Arts Council as supporting artwork that "pays tribute to art that goes against the grain of society." If you look at the logo, you can see there's one little line out of place to represent going against the grain. Very subtle. Too subtle?

The next image is from a fashion ad for a company named Noir. Love the logo that's readable upside down and downside up. Clever.

Finally, I picked their treatment of a series of
DVD's about Denmark's history. I liked how the logo color was altered for each time period. As I look at these examples, I notice that they're all pretty dark. That was an unconscious process on my part. Dark thoughts.

e-types has a great website so check it out if you want to see some of their other designs.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Don't judge a book by it's cover...

...unless you're a graphic designer.

I was looking through AIGA's Design Archives book covers and found some that illustrate the design style we're learning about in Graphic Design History. The one on the left looks like the classic Swiss style to me: use of the grid, simple, straightforward communication. Le Corbusier book cover is interesting because he was a designer during the time period we're looking at so, no doubt, the book cover designer took concepts from that time period and modernized them somewhat.

These other two just caught my eye so I'm including them. The Beat the Reaper cover just seems really intense to me -- I like that. I'm not sure if this would follow the Swiss style because it's so jarring -- bright colors, jagged edges. Seems too energetic for the Swiss style. The L is for Lollygag is just a fun little cover that made me laugh. Apparently, this silliness continues throughout the book. I hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Alvin Lustig

As I was preparing for my part of the presentation on the Late Modern period, I came across some of the designs of Alvin Lustig. The link here takes you to a great site about him. There was something about them I really liked so I thought I'd share. He was overshadowed by some of the bigger designers of the time and died very young. I especially like his book covers.

I was surprised about how much I enjoyed learning about this time period in design history. I liked more
of the artwork than I thought I would. Lustig's designs seem very clean to me. It looks like a lot of his pieces have either a strong vertical emphasis or a strong horizontal emphasis. I like his work because it seems very precise and visually interesting.