Jay-Z and Droga5 Recreate Reasonable Doubt and We So Get It

September 2, 2009

Readers of this blog know that aside from my love affair with Fleetwood Mac, I am a HUGE Jay-Z fan, and sometimes, with varying degrees of success, I try to find parallels between graphic design and Jay-Z. Lately, Sean Carter,who apparently is a Grizzly Bear fan, has been all over the blogs. His new album, Blueprint 3, though not officially slated for release until September 11th, was leaked earlier this week. Luckily, you don’t need torrents to hear it, because you can stream the entire thing here on MTV.com.

BUT, that’s not the story here. Hov recently teamed up with ad agency, Droga5, on a spot for Rhapsody. In it he recreates, in realtime, the cover art of all his albums. Not only is it an awesome concept, but it’s flawlessly executed. From the first shot of the Reasonable Doubt recreation, I was sold.

Don’t take my word for it though. See for yourself.

The thread that binds Pentagram, Bill Golden, and Jay-Z

January 2, 2009

The best place to fill your head with other folks’ baggage is on blogs. To be more specific, in the comments section on blogs. For this reason alone, I make a point of limiting how often I leave comments, as well as how often I read comments. However, the comments section of a blog can occasionally be a great place for discourse. Sometimes people actually have positive things to say, or better yet, there’s an actual exchange of truly valid ideas, and out of the exchange comes tiny unpopped kernels of enlightenment. At the very least, you get a quote you hadn’t heard before.

So today, I offer you this quote, originally posted on Brand New by Pentagram partner Michael Beirut, in response to the melee that has transpired in the comments section of a post about Paula Schere’s design for the packaging of new tea sweeten-o-fier Truvia.

“I happen to believe that the visual environment … improves each time a designer produces a good design and in no other way. We tend to overstate our case in the most complicated manner, and to confuse the simple purpose of our perfectly honest, useful little craft with the language of the sociologist, the psychiatrist, the scientist, the art critic and sometimes even the mystic. The obvious function of the designer is to design.”

It’s from Bill Golden, aka the dude who designed the logo that inspired such rap lyrics as Jay-Z’s “I keep one eye open like CBS.” It is also Beirut’s favorite design quote, which according to him, he pulls out once a year, and while it’s a little early in the year, I’m glad he didn’t hold back. As some of you know, I like to champion the idealists and sometimes go on and on about design changing the world but this quote by Bill Golden is like a smack in the back of the head from a wise old uncle who’s gone through enough to know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Reasonable Doubt. Arguably the greatest hip-hop album of all time.

If this hasn’t abated your appetite for comment banter even Paula Schere joins the fray, leaving a lengthy explanation about the decisions she made while designing the package.