'Tis the season to run from the stores to the parties, to deck the halls, to re-connect with old friends and avoid awkward relatives. And yet, like all other seasons, we still need to get our work done. So Design Observer and Poppin have teamed up to help one lucky reader through the season of doing-it-all with a very special sackful of gifts:
Maps are fascinating, but they are rarely perfectly accurate. It's hard to project a three dimensional object onto a two dimensional surface — some level of distortion is bound to occur. But one man has spent the last 40 years working to create a perfect map. Profiled this week on Wired, Gene Keys started his obsession with maps in 1973 when writing his thesis on a land dispute between Russia and China.
All Gene Keyes ever wanted was a perfect map. It would have all the features in proportion, measured and accurate down to the closest tightest possible measurement. It would be a map he could look at for hours, days, years. Was it too much to ask to find a flat surface that projected the globe with minimal distortion, high accuracy, and maximum aesthetic appeal?
The Design Observer 10th Anniversary Store is open for just one more week — closing December 15th at midnight. We've added some very exciting rare book offers, we still have a the Bantjes, Scher and Niemann "Sustainability" posters, and a few more t-shirts.
For you type fans we have a Letterpress Sampler! One copy each of: Mark Jarman / Unholy Sonnets (Aralia Press 1994); Thomas Bernhardt / Beautiful View (WDNY 1994); Sharon Olds / My Son The Man (Aralia Press 1996)
Paul Celan was one of the major German-language poets of the post-World War II era. His poem "Wolfs-Bohne" (Wolf's-Bean) was published in 1997 and we have 5 of the 50 limited edition hardcover copies signed by the translator Michael Hanburger. Quarter bound in buckram over marbled paper-covered boards. Designed and set in Monotype Helvetica and printed letterpress.
In 1996, Richard Wilbur won the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America. This book, a limited run of 100 copies, commemorates the event and is signed by both Richard Wilbur and Stanley Kunitz.
The Voice Impersonator is a collection of 104 stories by Thomas Bernhard: eighteen suicides; six painful deaths; twenty-six murders; thirteen instances of lunacy; twenty surprises; four disappearances & more!
Looking for a truly unique gift to give a designer this holiday? At this year's AIGA National Conference, David Hisaya Asari, president of AIGA SF, asked 21 designers to sign two baseballs. And we're auctioning off one of those baseballs this week! Bidding starts at just $1 and goes through December 14th.
The 21 generous designers who signed the baseballs are: Sean Adams, Dana Arnett, Eric Baker, Marian Bantjes, Michael Bierut, Andrew Blauvelt, Aaron Draplin, Maria Giudice, April Greiman, Jessica Helfand, Kit Hinrichs, Nicole Jacek, Michael Mabry, Debbie Millman, Clement Mok, Noreen Morioka, Jennifer Morla, Bonnie Siegler, Lucille Tenazas, Rick Valicenti and Michael Vanderbyl. Check out our slideshow of all 21 signing the baseball.
Here in America on this day of ritualized thanks, we are reminded that saying "Thank You" is a meaningful, yet all-too-often overlooked part of everyday life. And so we say thank you to all our readers whose contributions we recognize with sincere gratitude. We are nothing without you.
We've gathered a few food and thankfulness related posts from our archive. Happy Reading!
Artist and farmer Matthew Moore describes his Digital Farm Collective, a multimedia project created to spur dialogue about the future of the family farm.
Way back in 2009 Alexandra Lange hosted her first Thanksgiving in her then newly finished home. While she hasn't updated us, we assume it went well.
Timothy Beatley describes a new tradition in the planning department at the University of Virginia: the 100-Mile Thanksgiving, for which students prepare the annual feast, trying to use food produced within 100 miles of the Charlottesville campus.
Letters have the power to grant us a larger life. They reveal motivation and deepen understanding. They are evidential. They change lives, and they rewire history. The world once used to run upon their transmission — the lubricant of human interaction and the freefall of ideas, the silent conduit of the worthy and the incidental, the time we were coming for dinner, the account of our marvelous day, the weightiest joys and sorrows of love. It must have seemed impossible that their worth would ever be taken for granted or swept aside. A world without letters would surely be a world without oxygen.
We have 15 copies of the 2000 First Things First poster, and at only $5.00 it's easy to own this piece of history.
Want something one-of-a-kind? Then check out these three journals found by William Drenttel on his last trip to India. They are all 9"X13.5", one of the journals has lined paper and the other two are unlined. He brought back only these three, so when they are gone, they're gone.
In April of 2012 the A to Z Project was created by Free Arts NYC and Red Peak Branding to rally the creative community around the belief that art education is transformational and should be available to everyone. They asked 45 premier artists, illustrators, typographers and designers to lend their talents to create a letter, number or symbol. Last night they debued an original alphabet created through that collaboration.
New York City-based artists — including one of our founding editors Michael Bierut, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, typographer Tony DiSpigna, street artist Eric Haze, architect Michael Arad, illustrator Izak Zenou and many more — created the original typeface comprised of 45 letters, numbers and symbols. From this typeface, Red Peak Branding created the new Free Arts NYC logo and brand identity.
Can you guess who made each letterform? (A full list is under the alphabet.)
A Tony Di Spigna B Rafael Esquer C Alan Dye D Diane Von Furstenberg E Stephen Doyle F Joe Mimran G James Victore H Hugo Guinness I Carin Goldberg J Jennifer Meyer K Michael De Feo L Erin Fetherston M Julia Hoffmann N Matteo Bologna O James Nares P Martin Finio & Taryn Christoff Q Todd Diciurcio R Bob Gill S Eric Haze T Alex Olmsted For A.A. Antonio Azzuolo U Ivan Chermayeff V Bob Barrie W Brian Collins X Michael Bierut Y George Lois Z Izak Zenou 1 Michael Arad 2 Jessica Hische 3 Misha Nonoo 4 Timothy Goodman 5 Kingbee 6 Catherine Malandrino 7 Rachel Roy 8 Michael Perry 9 Brian Messana And Toby O’rorke 0 Fabien Baron ! Warby Parker & Lawrence Weiner + Trey Laird @ Cnnctd+ $ Sam Sohaili % Gage Hamilton ? Cynthia Rowley ’ Harper’s Bazaar # Steven Rojas
"Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it." — Emily Dickinson
Dear Bonnie, a new truth-telling weekly advice column, begins soon! All we need are questions from you. Submit your professional, social, ethical or design related dilemmas to DearBonnie@DesignObserver.com. All questions will be posted anonymously unless you expressly request otherwise. You should also know that a preference will be made for clever sign offs (Jittery in Georgia, Mixed up in Memphis, and the like).
By day, Bonnie Siegler is an award-winning designer and has owned her own design company for 20 years. She is the founder of Eight and a Half, a multidisciplinary design studio based in New York, and before that, cofounded Number Seventeen. She recently served as the chair of the 2013 AIGA National Design Conference, is the 2014 Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts at the University of Hartford, and has taught in the graduate design programs at Yale University and the School of Visual Arts. Recent clients include Late Night with Seth Meyers, HBO, Brooklyn Public Library, The Criterion Collection, Random House, The New York Times and The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
Editor's Note: By submitting any content to Design Observer Group sites and and it's authors you give Observer Omnimedia LLC permission to republish or reprint, either online or in print, all such content.
Montage Revisited Charlotte Bundgaard Arkitektskolens Forlag 2013 An investigation, from a Danish architect, into new approaches to industrial-based architecture. The author proposes "montage" as a strategy to engage increasingly flexible and high-tech manufacturing processes. [NL]
Space & Psyche Elizabeth Danze, Stephen Sonnenberg, Editors The University of Texas at Austin 2013 The latest volume from the Center for American Architecture and Design is an anthology that explores the relationship between buildings and psychoanalysis. As the editors argue: "Buildings are inert objects, but our experience of them transcends the physical realm and extends into our deepest consciousness." [NL]
Have you ever wanted to get away from it all? How about to a beautiful, alien landscape like the one above. To a town with fewer than 1,000 people? A Frontier Fellowship might be right for you. According to Epicenter:
The Frontier Fellowship provides creative professionals the opportunity to live and work in Green River, Utah (pop. 953) for a minimum of four weeks. It is sponsored by Epicenter, a design studio instigating positive change through community-based projects and programs. From this rural place, and in the context of the frontier, Fellows have the opportunity to generate new work that is informed by the surrounding desert landscape and the residents of Green River. Epicenter facilitates Fellowships throughout the year, and encourages applications regardless of one’s background, focus, or specialty.
Epicenter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in a historic building in downtown Green River. It houses an office space, small basement workshop, outdoor workspace, five full-time employees, and volunteer groups throughout the year. While in residence, Fellows spend half their time working on personal projects and half their time contributing to a project initiated by Epicenter. Fellows are given printing privileges, internet access, use of a bicycle, Family Meal Plan membership, use of tools, and workspace. The Fellowship is currently both free and unpaid. However, there are funding possibilities for workshop supplies, community-based projects, and living/travel stipends.
Growing up in an urban-ish environment, I was always thrilled to visit my extended family in rural Tennessee. My relatives were great, but what I really liked about these trips was the way the landscape transformed from brick and concrete to the captivating geometry of the farmlands — with lots of tractors.
I'm not the only one who dug the tractors. Lee Klancher has been photographing and writing about them for more than half a century. His book Red Tractors: 1958-2013 was published this fall by Octane Press. In an article about the book on Collector's Weekly Klancher says;
“The part about tractors that’s really interesting to me,” Klancher says, “is the role they played in our society, transforming it from primarily agrarian to urban. In the mid-19th century, most of the U.S. populace was farming. By 1993, the government actually stopped counting farmers as a unique population group. Today, the world we live is incredibly urban, the rural way of life is essentially gone. That’s an enormous shift, and tractors enabled it. Without the tractor, without the mechanization of the farm, a larger percentage of the population would still have to be out there farming. I don’t think the dot-com revolution would have happened without tractors,” he adds. “If you look at the Internet, that’s the product of an industrialized nation.”
A Kickstarter project we can really get behind! Rob Saunders, Curator of the Letterform Archive has designed a 2014 calendar with each month featuring a rare masterwork from the Letterform Archive, exquisitely reproduced in high fidelity and full color. The calendar includes 232 birthdays of letter artists and 12 new fonts.
Brain Food is a potential tool that teachers and parents can use to ignite creative thinking in school or at home. The exploratory activity deck is a collaborative project from AIGA Portland and The Right Brain Initiative that incldes 50 activities that integrate regular school subjects with an artistic approach, modeling. With the Brain Food deck, kids are encouraged to create a choreographed dance out of sports moves; learn the art of subtractive poetry; make pop-up museums; and imagine their own food carts.
The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to give away Brain Food to 44 (and counting) Portland metro area public schools that Right Brain serves. Every teacher within these schools will receive Brain Food, inspiring them to bring creativity into the learning process, and feel supported by the creative community. (And of course backers will receive a deck as well.)
Today we're launching our 10th anniversary celebration store, featuring items from Design Observer contributors. Check out some of our favorite books, posters from Marian Bantjes and Paula Scher, and our own Design Observer t-shirt. The store will be open from November 1 through December 15. We'll be adding new items every week, so check back often!
Richard Balzer has spent the past five years curating an online collection of his phenakistoscopes, praxinoscopes, and zoetropes — "optic toys". According to The Verge "More recently, he began converting these curiosities into GIFs and publishing them to his Tumblr, allowing 21st-century viewers to see what early animation looked like before the dawn of cinema and modern photography. The results are equal parts mesmerizing and grotesque." Happy Spooky Viewing!
Title sequence for Seconds, directed by John Frankenheimer.
To celebrate the creepy and the spooky, here's a short list of films we recommend for your Halloween viewing pleasure.
Seconds (1966) Directed by John Frankenheimer. With Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella, John Randolph, Frances Reid. Why? A beautifully shot creepy film with titles by Saul Bass — what else could you want?
Island of Lost Souls (1932) Directed by Erle C. Kenton. With Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams. Why? Bela Lugosi. 'Nuf said.
The Shining (1966) Directed by Stanley Kubrick. With Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers. Why? Too many reasons to list but we'll start with one of the best trailers of all time.
The Birds (1966) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. With Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy. Why? Hitchcock devoted his life to freaking you out while entertaining you. He deserves some props each October 31st.
And of course we're anxiously waiting for this one to come out. Hopefully before next Halloween...
"The Wire Poster Project" consists of 60 typographic posters, each one representing one of the 60 different epigrams preceding every episodes of HBO’s critically acclaimed series, The Wire. Produced by graphic artist Oliver Munday, each purchase will benefit the Baltimore Urban Debate League. Wire fans might remember the organization from the series’ fifth season when (just after being taken in by Howard “Bunny” Colvin) character Namond Brice gives an award-winning speech about HIV and AIDS in Africa in a BUDL event. Each WPP purchase will help real, at-risk kids like Namond Brice in Baltimore.