Every time I’m at Faye’s Video (btw they’re not just about VHS tapes and employee film ratings, they make awesome espresso too) I notice the cover for Jaques Tati’s Trafic. I’ve never seen the film but the cover art is striking to say the least. I finally decided to look it up to get more info and came across this post at Balduin about the various versions of the poster for international release. While the cover is great, I was really blown away by the titles (second image), that’s got to be my favorite part. Now I’ll have to rent the DVD just so I can screenshot it and print it out.
I saw Avatar last night (in full 3D IMAX glory) and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of how I used to feel when I would play video games as a kid — not so much because of the graphics or anything like that, more because of how in it I felt. I remember when I used to play Zelda for example, my imagination would just take over and for those couple hours I lived in that universe (I was a nerdy kid). Avatar is like this; it is very easy to forget you are watching a film and think you are actually physically along for the ride, as there are no visual limitations to give you any indication otherwise. There were moments when you could hear the whole theater let out audible gasps as something incredible came on the screen. The first time you see one of the giant mining machines is pretty amazing. Of course the plot follows an extremely predictable trajectory, but seriously who cares. When things look this cool I am willing to make concessions on freshness of plot.
I saw the film with a few friends, one of whom is an interaction designer. He was mesmerized by all the crazy user interfaces the characters were manipulating. The spherical and detachable computer screens were a favorite. Meanwhile I couldn’t get over the choice of typeface for the subtitles; Papyrus (or some variant, essentially the same thing). The rest of my friends thought I was a huge nerd when the first thing I said out of the theater was “What was with that subtitle font!?” It is crazy to think (in my opinion) that $280 million went into this movie and they chose the one font that is at the end of most typography jokes (save maybe for Comic Sans). I know it probably fit better than a super clean sans serif (and I can’t imagine there weren’t hours of discussion over this point), but seriously, Papyrus?
Further: Kottke describes another interesting issue, regarding the realism of the Na’vi’s technological development. I don’t necessarily agree with his point (I think they were as advanced as they wanted/needed to be given the physical and spiritual qualities of their world), but he makes an intriguing argument.
The Auteurs has a post on their picks for the top movie posters of the decade. Considering that the vast majority of modern movie posters fall short of the standards set in heyday of film, this must have been a difficult list to assemble and a boring task to complete. Nevertheless, they have managed to dig up a few gems. Good to see The Bank Job in there — always a favorite — but I was pleasantly surprised by Funny Games, hadn’t seen that one.
Design Matters, the long running design radio show by Debbie Millman, is making the jump to the small screen. SVA is producing a TV version of the show and will be taping the pilot episode this Friday. The first two guests are Milton Glaser and Stefan Sagmeister. To top it all off, the show will be directed by the wonderful Hillman Curtis. I’m not sure where the end result will be available, but I’m sure those details will be revealed in the coming days. I’m hoping for the Thursday 8pm slot on NBC.
If you’re in New York, the taping is open to the public — more information can be found on the Facebook event site. Why don’t I live in New York. Sometimes I want to defollow all of the New York designers on Twitter because all these cool events make me jealous.
I recently met Debbie Millman when she was in town to give a talk at school. Her talk was terrific and I’ll try to do a short write up later this week after I go over my notes. I also participated in her workshop about visual storytelling, which she led having just released her new book. She had each of us write a short story, which she reviewed and then set us on our mission of illustrating the story using all sorts of fun tools. It was fun to write fiction — I’ve become rather used to this “blog style” of writing that I forgot there was a whole other way to go about things. (My story is here if you’re feeling adventurous.) The workshop was great — I love periodically going back to the drawing board, literally, and breaking out the pencils pens and crayons. It was also great to just let loose creatively with no rules, objectives, or criteria. Something I certainly don’t do enough.
I’m posting these stills from Buffalo ‘66 partly because they’re awesome and partly because it’s a good chance to tell the story where me and Dusty saw Vincent Gallo at my neighborhood market on a Tuesday. It was surreal, I think we must have been staring uncontrollably because he was in line and had this look on his face like “are these idiots going to ask me something or stab me?” (all love knife style). We also saw him with Sean Lennon at a bar once and got some horrible blurry iPhone shot of him and Dusty. So I guess that makes us officially stalkers now.
I came across some screencaps from John Carpenter’s 1988 They Live over at the excellent I love Hotdogs blog today (you may remember ILHD from the film titles post) and was immediately struck by the “Obey” scenes. Looks pretty familiar right? Cool to see the inspiration for Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant campaign, looks like a terrible movie though. Although Roddy Piper cameos are always welcome.
In one of his books, A Place of My Own, Pollan describes how he personally, with no carpentry experience, built this small structure behind his house in Vermont. This whole thing might be ringing a bell if you read the Linda Aldredge post, but remember her tree house is a real, fully livable home, isolated in the woods, in a tree. She definitely wins the battle of priciple, but Pollan gets the honorable mention for pragmatism. Although how many people just happen to have an acre of woods in their backyard? Or happen to own an acre of raw forest for that matter… I think this is an east coast thing, the woods always look amazing out there.
This “writing house” — as he describes it — is a great concept and I am willing to bet it’s an incredibly productive environment. I often find that working in the same space as I live presents unique challenges to motivation and focus. This seems like a cost-effective alternative to having different addresses for your working and living spaces.
How many of you work primarily from home? Do you find there to be a conflict between convenience and distraction in the home work environment? Comment
Art & Copy is a film about advertising currently making its way around the country. The film is an in-depth look at some of the best and most creative minds in the business. As director Doug Pray states, “I felt it could be a more powerful statement to focus the film only on those rare few who actually moved and inspired our culture with their work. And that higher standard made me want to make a film that reflected the same kind of disciplined artistic approach that my subjects used.” It looks really interesting and I’m really excited to see it.
The frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from really — and especially you don’t have any idea where they are going to come from tomorrow. — Art & Copy
We’ve been watchingThe Persuaders in class over the last few weeks and, while it’s not specifically about graphic design per se, it’s easy to draw useful parallels between the two disciplines of advertising and design (as they are often one and the same anyway, whether you like it or not). If you are interested, you can watch all of The Persuaders on the website.
This winter is shaping up to be a pretty excellent time for designers as far as film is concerned. Art & Copy will be in San Francisco in early November, Objectified comes out on DVD on October 13th (so sad they had to push it two weeks due to a “manufacturing snafu”…how ironic), and Visual Acousticswill be here November 6th.
I think I am most excited for Visual Acoustics — I remember writing about it a while ago and have been surviving off of Shulman’s wonderful photography in the meantime. Also worth mentioning is The September Issue, the film chronicling the development and process behind the largest issue of Vogue Magazine. I saw this one recently and would recommend it, but it wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping. It’s exciting to see design related films making their way into the (almost) mainstream!
Side note: Art & Copy employs a beautiful ampersand in the logo for the film. Not sure what it is, but it’s very excellent looking.