Last year I invented an aeronautical research company called Aeolas International. Their sole purpose was to take my Youtube personality hostage and post videos of their scientific findings. Ideally people would think that this was actually happening and I would eventually become mega famous. This didn’t happen exactly as planned, but the process of diving deep into a self initiated project was terrific and something I would highly recommend. I’m excited now to get a chance to further explain the project; the motivations behind it, the process, and what eventually unfolded.
Some of you may know that I am also a musician. Most of the work I have online is design related, but I also maintain a Youtube page where I mainly post covers of my favorite songs. I’ve been posting over there for about 2 years now and some videos have done quite well (150K + views). Most chill somewhere around 15K. Overall it’s been a great way to get my musical side out there and generate a fan base. An example of a “normal” pre-Aeolas video is below.
At the end of last year I decided it was time to switch it up. I was enjoying my periodic recording sessions, but I wasn’t nearly as into it as I was when I started. The market had become significantly more saturated with cover artists and I felt like I was just one of thousands of people doing exactly the same thing. Initially, I felt like I was distinguishing myself with higher quality recording techniques, but even this became relatively commonplace. After an intense brainstorming session, I decided it would be best to invent an old aeronautical research company called Aeolas International that would take me hostage. I didn’t really have much of a plan beyond that when I started.
This is absolutely everywhere on the internet right now because it is absolutely awesome. The Nike Music Shoe video features Tokyo DJ duo Hifana playing different Nike shoes via bends, bounces, and slams. Easily one of the most creative branding videos I’ve seen in a long while. The last time I got this excited over a soft sell video like this was probably Only the Brave. Talk about inspiring too. After watching Music Shoe I want to run, paint, jam, fly and do just about everything creative I can possibly do.
With Dubstep branching out to see how far the genre can be pushed a ton of new ideas start to surface and a fusion of appealing sounds start melting together. One group i’m really excited about is Sepalcure which is a collaboration of Brooklyn’s Praveen and Machinedrum. the duo is doing a fine job of taking hints of soulful house and dubstep to create what they call Lovestep. One thing that Sepalcure has that other dubsteppers don’t usually have and ISO50 fans might also really enjoy is fine art direction by the multi talented designer Sougwen Chung. As you can see above and below her posters and videos of her work are a perfect fit for this heartfelt music.
Sepalcure’s debut performance alongside Untold, TRG, Pole, 2562 & more is February 13th at Unsound Festival NYC.
Below is a “Lovestep” mix done by Percussion Lab Founder/Sepalcure’s very own Praveen.
TRACKLIST Pangaea – Memories Burial – You Hurt Me TRG – Broken Heart (Martyn Remix) Untold – Dante DFRNT – Tripped (Synkro Mix) Synkro – Inhale Sines – Memories Are Here DFRNT – Tripped (Ital Tek Remix) FaltyDL – Party Joy Orbison – J. Doe Sepalcure – Deep City Insects Floating Points – K&G Beat
Sourced from Man About Town -- note the interesting article name
A while ago I posted on an article about different techniques for naming your brand. I’ve found that method of brainstorming to be particularly helpful, but sometimes you need an extra spark. I wanted to put another tip out there I’ve found success with recently. Maybe if you’re in need of a brand name this will help you find what you’re looking for. (Of course this sort of thing works for band names too — really any entity that you’re charged with naming.)
So if you’re like me, eventually you run your brain dry of ideas if you’re just sitting around trying to think of the perfect name. Per project, I usually have about two or three days worth of *just* thinking in me. After that I go crazy and try desperately to convince myself that something I thought of is actually amazing. One week later, when I realize I’m delusional, I am back to the drawing board, nameless. My favorite place to look for inspiration these days is no longer song lyrics or the dictionary — it’s fashion magazines.
I suppose any sort of magazine would do, but fashion magazines seem to work best. The titles of articles and photo spreads in fashion magazines are rife with clever turns of phrase and exciting word combinations. Basically anywhere they have to think of clever titles for something pretty abstract is where you want to look. A photo shoot where everyone is wearing black for example, probably has some unusual name (otherwise it’d be really boring). You don’t really see it on blogs, but print writers seem to have a insatiable desire to think of the cleverest name for every article they ever write. Some are completely useless for our purposes, but you can usually find enough of a catalyst to get on the right creative track. I like to make a two column list and combine cool words at random, in hopes of striking something exciting. Here is a short list of a few I noticed in the magazines sitting on my desk (and my thoughts on what they could refer to):
Away with Words (maybe for a publisher?)
Under Statements (minimalist clothing line)
Mind Field (think tank or angel fund)
Sharpsuiter (lame prom-type clothing line)
Her Friend the Bandit (versatile…could be clothing, or maybe a hipster joint)
Elements and Gravity (probably for a jewelry line OR cosmetics)
Some fun ones — if you look for long at all you are bound to find something amazing. Of course it may be perfect for a project you aren’t even working on, but it’s always good to keep a running list. I have the PERFECT name for a bar if I ever decide to start one (I’m not telling). Anyway, it’s an idea, hopefully it helps out!
(I realize there are elements of creative thievery at work here. In a way, you are harvesting another person’s creativity for your own benefit, but I don’t think there are any trace elements of plagiarism at work. In most cases, the phrases or words implemented by the writer are common, and are structures you would have come across eventually, either in conversation or everyday life etc. People may disagree, but I think this is a safe technique.)
Recently I’ve been obsessing over an often overlooked part of web design: the login form. There are few sites that have aggregated examples of login forms for perusal; this one by Design Reviver is pretty good. I’d prefer the list to be more like 500 examples, but it’s easy to go in search of other cool login form designs. The ones above are fun, but I’ve yet to find one that really knocks my socks off. Anyone know of some really superb login forms?
One of my favorite trends is the use of oversized text in the forms. Tumblr was one of the first places I saw it. Scott and I discussed it a long time ago in reference to the Nike login form, pictured above. Still not sure what it is about the giant text field that feels so right — maybe it just seems to reinforce what you’re writing. Like “Yes this IS my email address. BAM.”
My rebranding Playboy project came to a close last week with the end of our fall semester. If you read the last article, you are familiar with the first part of this project, which was the new logo for Playboy. While it is absolutely the flag bearer of the entire project, the logo development represented a small amount of the work we were required to do for the overall project. The final deliverable for the class was a book in which we the explain history of the brand, walk through our rationale for the new identity, explore the process of the logo development, present brand standards and guidelines, and show example brand implementations and extensions. Other than this required content, there was no specific criteria for the book. Each student also gave a short final presentation explaining their rebranding and the choices they made along the way. Everything was created for the Nature of Identity class at the Academy of Art, as part of the graduate graphic design program.
I really enjoyed the conversation the first post on this project generated. I was excited to see that the new logo was as polarizing as it was — I feel like these types of solutions are the most exciting and rewarding for me. I noticed that many people were up in arms about the idea of Playboy removing nudity and becoming an all article magazine. While I would like to note that the new strategy was purely a conceptual exploration constructed in an educational environment, I actually do think they might be well served to switch things up this drastically. Playboy was once irreverent and boundary shattering. They are no longer. I can think of no better way to recapture this audacious spirit than by doing something this extreme…
A little while ago, I wrote about my current class assignment to reinvigorate a brand that is “dead, dying or defunct”. As we are nearing the semester’s end next month, I thought it would be a good time to begin describing the process of this project. The final deliverable is a book, in which we describe the history of our chosen brand (and why it’s time for a update), outline the new identity guidelines (visual standards manuals, usage considerations etc), and show potential extensions (mock ups of storefronts, products, etc). For this process post I’ll describe my brand choice and eventual logo development.
(project permalink on my site)
When I wrote the first article, I was considering No Fear as my primary option. With such a versatile name, I figured I could take the brand in a number of different directions. However, as much fun as it would have been to revisit the dominant clothing of my middle school years (along with LA Lights), I was concerned that the project would not really extend anywhere beyond a basic brand overhaul (new logo, visuals, products, etc). I saw little opportunity for humor or much conceptual work, and I opted to move in a different direction.
I decided to rebrand Playboy — a brand that many might say is arguably not dead, dying or defunct. Like many magazines, they actually are “dying” (financially), but for my project I focused on the decay of the overall perception of the brand. The graph below displays how I feel the brand has progressed in a more abstract fashion. Basically, these days, I would say most people would be embarrassed to say they read Playboy. A baseless assumption perhaps, but when was the last time you saw someone reading Playboy in public?
To keep up with the increasing trashiness of the American Men’s magazine, Playboy has been forced to reposition itself as “one of the boys” as it were, and is now indistinguishable from the Maxim’s of the world. Rather than hold on to the sophisticated standards of their early years, Playboy has come to embrace its unfortunately crude place in the magazine world. This evolution (rather, devolution) is tragic and the original soul of the brand has been lost. Maybe not “dead, dying or defunct”, but Playboy has certainly lost something along the way. I saw an opportunity to bring some of the original classiness and sophistication back with a drastic repositioning…
I’ve noticed these high end chocolate companies springing up left and right over the past few years. The paper-made thing seems to be the prevailing aesthetic of retail chocolate branding; employing one-color screened ink on kraft paper along with things like wax seals and cardboard hang-tags to give off that organic, handmade vibe I guess. It’s usually done to good effect but it’s nice to see a fresh take every once in a while.
When I first saw San Francisco-based Tcho Chocolate I was struck by the name (no, I didn’t trade my studio for a chocolate factory down by the pier) and then by the design. I regrettably couldn’t find many decent pictures of the actual packaging, but suffice it to say you need to hold it in your hand to really appreciate the finer points. The letterpress and gold leaf inlay are a very nice touch that I don’t think is really captured properly in the above shots.
The video above goes over the concepts that informed the TCHO branding. I particularly like the central idea of chocolate as currency; design firm Edenspiekerman’s implementation of that concept is well executed. The result is a striking design which vaguely conjures the notion of European currency whithout making you forget you’re supposed to eat it. I don’t really enjoy chocolate on it’s own but they still had me wanting some just from the packaging.