May 15, 2009

Bike To Work Day San Francisco. This guy wins the linkheavy person of the week award.

Well, it’s Friday, so that means update time. It is also Bike To Work Day, here in NYC, part of the larger celebration that is Bike Month, which means the folks who got their bikes blessed last month at St. John The Divine will hit the streets once again (though they’ve probably been riding this whole time).

Since I work from home, I wont be biking anywhere, except maybe to Target, as I have some things to pick up. I did, however, consider putting together a morning ride to all the Bike To Work Day stations around the city, for us work from home (and potentially unemployed) folks, but it was Thursday night and I was at happy hour when I realized I forgot to tell anyone about it. Oh well, maybe next year. Here’s the weather.

-Kristina Sacci, writer of CPB Blog, won a prize in a cupcake contest here in Brooklyn this week. Her cupcakes are God’s answer to sadness. See for yourself.

-Kristina Sacci also slays design and illustration dragons. She recently updated her site. See her work here.

Steven Heller waxes poetic on Hand-Drawn type.
(via Design Observer)

-Back in December I wrote a “People You Should Know About” post about design author, Ellen Lupton. She’s interviewed on Portfolio Center. Check it out.
(via Design Observer)

-Kind of old news but Serial Cut has a new site up. Go there. Be inspired. Consider moving to Madrid. I know I did.

The Dieline’s Top 15 Fonts for Packaging Design. Some freebies in there. Do it!

-I kind of want need this.
(via Swiss-Miss)

V-Scanwiches: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread (and scanners)

March 13, 2009

a scan of the coveted V-Sandwich

Last year, one of my favorite hypothetical local hangouts shuttered their doors. I say hypothetical because I never actually hung out there, but I always liked having the option of hanging out there, were I ever inclined. Hypotheses aside, The Tea Lounge on 7th and 10th closed, interestingly enough, they day after I perhaps might have kissed a woman for the first time on one of their sidewalk benches. Truly, it was a sad day. Not only was I being robbed of one of my favorite hypothetical hangouts, but also a monument to newfound love and true Annie Hall-esque romance.

I was not forlorn very long, however, because within weeks of the closing, my local paper reported that the space would soon be occupied by a Vietnamese sandwich spot. If you haven’t yet experienced a Vietnamese sandwich, stop reading this and go find yourself a Hanco’s and order two. Skip the bubble tea though; superior bubble tea can be had elsewhere.

So anyway, I was totally stoked. Vietnamese sandwiches are among the best sandwiches in the world. If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies were a scale of how good V-sandwiches compared to other sandwiches, V-sandwiches would definitely be TMNT II: The Secret Of The Ooze which is, in my humble opinion, the best in the series. After all, it practically launched Vanilla Ice’s rap career. And that’s my point entirely: V-sandwiches are so good they could launch a rap career.

I won’t tell you what they put inside them (b/c honestly, I’m not sure). You’ll just have to find out for yourself. I will however direct you to this awesome new blog, Scanwiches. Described simply as scans of sandwiches for education and delight, it truly is both educational and delightful. Plus, it just so happens they have scans of not only one but several V-sandwiches. Go forth and be delighted.


(thanks Kristy)


March 4, 2009

And now for the weather!

Simply beautiful. Features the work of many talented artists and designers, some of whom you might recognize (see Mario Hugo who is also featured in this week’s Flavorpill)

20th Anniversary of Do The Right Thing
This deserves its own post but I’m feeling especially lazy at the moment. Nevertheless, if you haven’t seen this film, add it to the Netflix cue. Not only is it one of Spike Lee’s best films, it’ll show you the origins of what all the cool kids are wearing these days.

speaking of old stuff. . .

Jurassic Web: The unrecognizable Internet of 1996
Funny little piece on about the “world wide web.”

Alex Trochut and Dvein team up for this TOCA ME title sequence
So good it makes my skin crawl.
(via Design Is Kinky)

Vintage Record Covers
I’ve had this site bookmarked since like 2003. I have no idea how I found it and I can’t read Kanji, so I have no idea what it is. All I know is it has tons of record covers.

And just in time for this week’s linkheavy, the band who single-handedly brought back red motorcycle jackets and inter-dimensional portals, Phoenix unveils the art for their upcoming album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

(via Pitchfork)

Bloomberg Has A (Design) Posse

February 24, 2009

Long before most of us even knew what an Obama was, NYC Mayor, Mike Bloomberg had the politico-graphic design game on lock down. Back when I used to intern at Graphis, I relished the days when I’d get to peruse the many boxes of entries sent in by designers all over the world. I remember holding in hand a copy of a Vince Frost designed magazine, and nearly fainting with excitement. I was but a lad and suffered the occasional bout of design-induced syncope.

Around the same time, Bloomberg had sent over a couple boxes of things: letterheads, calendars, t-shirts, and the like. I was amazed at how well designed everything was. All the pieces were thoughtfully designed, making use of a simple color palette of orange and white, a unified system of typography, and an overall aesthetic that was business but with a freshness one wouldn’t exactly expect from a politician (though Bloomberg is obviously more than just a politician).

A couple years down the line and Mike is ruffling a few feathers by seeking a third term as mayor, but it’s no big surprise that he’s doing it in style. Head on over to and have a look around. It’s not necessarily a content-heavy site but it damn sure looks good.

I’d love to know who’s responsible for his design work. Top-notch stuffs!



February 16, 2009

I haven’t done a linkheavy post in awhile. Here’s a bit of today’s weather.

NY Times Magazine has a great piece on the NBA’s most underrated player, Shane Battier. It’s relevant to this blog because it talks a bit about the numerati and the role they play in professional sports. I’ve been following Shane Battier since he played at Duke. It’s good to see he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Cover Art for Yeah Yeah Yeahs new album It’s Blitz

I’m really digging the artwork for Yeah Yeah Yeah’s upcoming album, It’s Blitz. Sometimes all it takes is a photograph. I really hope they don’t feel compelled to put any type on it.

I’d be lying if I told you I had ever actually read a Harry Potter book but maybe if they had these penguin style covers designed by MS Corley, I’d be more compelled to pick one up.

The Boom Is Over. Long Live Art. The NY Times is on fire this week. This wonderful piece takes a look at past economic downturns and how they shaped the art worlds immediately after them. There is mention of Fab 5 Freddy and Basquiat, two artists whom, until recently, I had no idea were related. If you’re wondering what designers do to make it through tough times, here’s a link to Michael Bierut’s tips on getting through a recession.

Somehow I missed the memo about Cake Wrecks. Hilarious!

photo by Jeff Baxter

MOMA takes over Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue Subway Station! I hardly take the subway anymore but this is pretty cool.
(via swissmiss)

25 Random Things about Graphic Design (and stuff)

February 6, 2009

scene from my childhood. note: I’m on the other side of the picture.

At a dinner party the other night, I decided to take advantage of a lull in conversation to discuss what I thought was a pretty interesting topic. “Facebook is on its last legs,” I said. “Soon it will become Myspace.” A conversation topic it did not make. The most I got was a shrugged shoulder. Not even two shoulders but one singular shoulder. Defeated, I changed the subject but I still stand by it; Facebook has indeed gone the way of Myspace and nothing supports my theory more than the 25 random things meme.

The idea goes as follows. You post 25 random things about yourself, preferably unknown facts from your childhood. You tag 25 of your friends. They in turn post their own note and tag 25 more people. As everyone on Facebook knows by now, it’s really caught on. So much so, in fact, that the backlash has already found its way into TIME Magazine – err website…whatever.

Well, despite my belief that Facebook has reached its tipping point, I still find myself on the site several times a day. Funny enough, the 25 random things are what keep me coming back. In honor, I’ve decided to do a 25 Random things about Graphic Design post. Why? Because it’s what Paul Joshua Pfeiffer would have done, you know, if he wasn’t busy being Marylin Manson and everything(I honestly don’t know if this is true. Wiki says it is not, but you have to wonder where the whole thing got started).

25 Random Things About Graphic Design

1. Claude Garamond, publisher and legendary type designer responsible for designing the letterforms that led to some of the most widely used typefaces throughout history, died in poverty at age eighty-one.

2. The Michelin man has a name, Monsieur Bibendum. He’s also a century old.

Monsieur Bibendum

3. The Nike swoosh was designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971, while she was a student at Portland State University. She was paid $35.

4. Woody Allen uses the same typeface in the titles and credits of nearly all of his movies. The typeface is Windsor.

5. Peretz Rosenbaum is one of the most influential graphic designers of the 20th century. He is responsible for the IBM logo, the old and arguably most recognizable UPS logo, the Westinghouse logo, and many other design icons. You know him as Paul Rand.

6. According to, the median salary for a graphic designer in the United States is $45,704.

7. The worlds first website(as we know them today) was launched in 1992. You can still visit the URL here.

8. What we now call sans-serif typefaces were once known by a number of names: Egyptian, Antique, Grotesque, Doric, Heiti, Lineale, and Simplices. I think sans-serif works just fine, thank you.

9. Walker, the sans-serif typeface designed by Matthew Carter for the Walker Arts Center has up to 5 “snap-on” serifs that can be attached to each letterform using keystroke commands.

10. Georgia, another typeface designed by Matthew Carter, is named after a tabloid headline which reads “Alien heads found in Georgia.”

11. Baseline magazine, first published in 1979, was originally intended to be a promotion vehicle for new typeface designs.

12. Newly defunct The Designers Republic was hired to design the in-game artwork, packaging and manual for The Wipeout video game series as part of a carefully marketed ploy to position the game among the “fashionable, club-going, music-buying” audience the publisher was trying to attract. The results make Wipeout games some of the most visually stunning ever.

13. Due to the incompatibility of the letterforms in the title of Avant Garde magazine, Herb Lubalin first created the typeface Avant Garde, with its many ligatures, out of necessity. It wasn’t until later that he created a full set of glyphs.

14. The term “Web 2.0” emerged sometime in 2002 (despite the claim that Tim O’ Reilly coined it in 2005) with Dermot A. McCormack’s book Web 2.0: the Future of the Internet. . .

15. The Coca-Cola logo was made using a style of hand lettering called Spencerian Script. (thanks for the correction Nick)

16. Jerry West is the silhouetted player in the NBA logo.

Jerry West taking it to the hole

17. The late Tibor Kalman once had a party in a supermarket to commemorate the arrival of his book Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist. As party favors, he gave guests signed canned goods.

18. The Great Seal of the United States was designed in the 1770’s by the then secretary of congress, Charles Thomson.

19. The Red Cross is known as The Red Crescent in Muslim countries. Its logo also changes from a cross to a crescent.

20. Raymond Loewy, known primarily as an industrial designer, also designed a crap-ton of logos including the logos for Hoover Vacuums, Exxon, and Shell.

21. Vince Frost is the shit.

22. Facebook uses a modified version of the typeface Klavika for its logo.

23. Myspace, Arial Rounded Bold.

24. Thank God this is almost done. *bangs head against wall*

25. I leave you with this.

Design Smoke, Notorious (not quite a review), and tips on getting paid (literally)

January 19, 2009

still from Design Smoke interview with Jen Forss

With the abundance of blogs out there, how do you set yourself apart from all the rest? One way to do it is to have interviews. That would only make you different from about 70% of the folks out there. If you REALLY wanted to set yourself apart, you’d get yourself a video camera, a fisherman’s cap, a canoe, and a cigar, and if you’re particularly industrious, a Midwestern sunset. Then you go out and you find some of the real heavyhitters in your chosen field and you channel your inner James Lipton and record some truly compelling interview footage. Oh, right — Design Smoke has already done that and done it quite well. Featuring interviews with folks like Steven Heller (I think I might be bordering on fanboy), and Jen Forss of Non-Format, Design Smoke isn’t so much a blog, as it is a full scale production. I have to admit that when I caught wind of it, I was skeptical, but after watching the interview with Jon Forss, I was hooked. Dude had a canoe. That’s about as ‘pimp’ as you can get. I have said enough. Here’s the link already:

In other news, I was generously given a ticket to see Notorious this past weekend. While I’m going to refrain from writing a review, I will say it’s definitely worth seeing. If you can you should fly out to Brooklyn and watch it at The Court Street Cinema. Only there can you see the movie and have the entire crowd sing along to pretty much the entire soundtrack. It’s a messed up thought but I think hip-hop might have its first Rocky Horror Picture Show. Maybe not. Sadly, my question regarding the identity of the Ready To Die baby was not answered. Although, my friend tried to convince me that she was, in fact, the Ready To Die baby. I don’t think so, lady. Good movie though. B+

What else, what else? I only recently became aware that I could have clients pay me via paypal. I hadn’t even told anyone that I was accepting paypal, when lo and behold I got an email saying I had a payment on paypal. Funny how the world has a steady current. That being said, if you haven’t already begun accepting paypal, you should definitely get on that. This is worth checking out too: How 20 designers charge their clients.

Happy MLK day! As always, to be sure it was an actual holiday, I checked the google homepage for affirmation.

Ed Fella and The Cranbrook ‘Style’

January 14, 2009

Ed Fella, detail from his Cranbrook Thesis Project, 1987

There isn’t many an art school whose name, when mentioned, brings to mind a specific style of graphic design. Most student work reflects the prevailing trends of the day. Cranbrook, however, is one of those rare schools with a name that is synonymous with a design ‘style.’ The graphic design work of many Cranbrook alums often treads the line between art and pure experimentation. The reason for this is due to Cranbrook’s approach to teaching, which, according to Meggs, “has long emphasized experimentation while rejecting a uniform philosophy or methodology.” I think it could also be attributed to the work of graphic design legend, Cranbrook alum, and CalArts professor, Ed Fella. His work has had a tremendous impact on not only his students, but on an entire “generation” of designers. His typographic experimentation, which could possibly be traced back to Dadaism, was a precursor to the deconstructed type now synonymous with the early to mid 90s (David Carson).

While I’ve never been big on the whole 90s aesthetic, Ed Fella’s whimsical work has inspired me since I first came across it, back in college. There’s a kind of intimacy in his work that you don’t (and probably shouldn’t) find too often in graphic design.

Phil Lubliner, Bingo, 2004

There are a couple designers working today who I’d say come out of the same tradition of typographic experimentation, and whose work I find equally enjoyable. Fellow Brooklynite and Pratt grad, Phil Lubliner’s work has a quality all its own. Alex Trochut’s work has the same whimsical quality but in digital. Lastly, and the inspiration behind this entire post, is the work of Cranbrook alum, Matthew Gavin Walsh. His site is essentially a blog, but a blog like no other, because it is made up entirely of his doodles, illustrations, and random musings. The Ed Fella influence is apparent, but Walsh’s brain is operating on it’s own wavelength. Just a quick scroll down the page and you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience.



January 7, 2009

I’m working on a longer post about Charles Dickens and Notorious B.I.G. (not the movie), but in the meantime, here’s the weather forecast.

Yo Brooklyn! The Museum of Drunken Art
On display at Sputnik, here in Brooklyn, art by drunk people. Who wants to go?

Designing Through The Recession
Tips on staying afloat from Michael Bierut.

Apple Drops DRM in iTunes
You can steal share music from iTunes now!

Oliver Lincoln Lundquist, Designer, Is Dead at 92
Steven Heller writes about the life of Lundquist, the architect and industrial designer who led the team that created the United Nations logo.

Redesigning America’s Future
Ten design policy proposals from The US National Design Policy Initiative.
(via Design Observer)

Objectified Trailer: Upcoming film by Gary Hustwit (Helvetica)
This looks pretty darn good. Might just have to sign up for the newsletter.
(via Design Observer)

and lastly…

Top notch designer, Felix Stekolshchik, redesigns his portfolio
I heard it’s powered by kittens in oversized hamster wheels.

People you should know about

December 15, 2008

When I think of design authors, the first person who comes to mind is Steven Heller. After that I got nothin’. In the past, it wasn’t something I’d given much attention. Lately, however, I’m finding myself just as interested in the author of an essay as I am its content. My guess is there are definitely some “heavy hitters” out there, the folks who write about design, and write about design A LOT. Ellen Lupton is one such heavy hitter.

Author of eight books on design, and countless articles and essays, her bio reads like a bibliography of design institutions and resources. She’s contributed to Print, ID, Eye, Metropolis, The New York Times, New York Magazine, and other publications. Even more incredible, she not only writes about design but is fully active in the community as a designer, curator, and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at MICA.

In her bio it says she has ‘recently focused on bringing design awareness to broader audiences’ and it’s apparent even on her site. It includes an essays section featuring writings on a variety of topics pertinent to design, an interviews section with interviews she has done with notable graphic designers (Michael Bierut, Carin Goldberg, Jonathan Hoefler, Paula Scher), and even a section with tips on how to become a design author. It’s an incredible resource for designers, or anyone interested in design at all.

I’m going to continue my search for heavy hitters and posting about them here. In the meantime, check out Ellen Lupton’s site, and definitely bookmark it.