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Michael Bierut – Design by Hand

Posted by Alex

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A great article by Michael Bierut about how things have changed in the world of design since the incorporation of the computer. An excerpt:

Design work that would have taken me a week in 1980 can now be done on a personal computer in less than an hour. Cutting and pasting, when needed, is done in the basement, often by interns. I get the impression that this kind of work, to which I once applied myself with the pride of a master chef, is now viewed as a chore like dishwashing. (The New York Times)

image via threedots

Mum+Studio+Aeroplane+UR

Posted by Jakub

Mum4 stunning and steady tracks for a monday afternoon, i’ve included more Studio which I re-fell in love with over the weekend and some recent purchases of tracks that I only had on vinyl. The Underground Resistance track is a must listen if you want to get a taste of the melodic side Detroit Techno.

Múm – Flow Not So Fast Old Mountain Radio

Studio – Origin

Aeroplane – Aeroplane

UR – Abandoned Building In Mono

+81 Magazine

Posted by Alex

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I had a chance to travel to Japan last June and I came back with many new sources of inspiration. I spent a lot of time digging through little design shops and actually had to leave some clothes behind to fit all of the great books I found. One of my favorite finds was +81, an interview driven magazine about graphic design, fashion, photography, cities, etc. They present a ton of work in each issue and it can be a great source of visual inspiration when you are looking for something stylistically very different than what you see in most American design publications. With articles presented in both Japanese and English, you see a lot of very creative layouts and unique type treatments. They experiment quite a bit, and with each issue focusing on a different theme, you never really know what to expect. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a change.

You can usually find it at Japanese language bookshops here in the States (I know Kinokuniya carries it in SF), or you can check out their website for subscription information. (Currently about 40% of their readership is outside of Japan)

OZ And Other Scenes

Posted by Scott

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I love the 60’s because everyone was tripping balls all the time and then they would come out with crazy magazines to prove it. Case in point: OZ. These covers need no explanation, they are simply incredible. The overall idea of the magazine is definitely reminiscent of Avant Garde, but a lot of Herb Lubalin’s work seems somewhat tame and reserved compared with the over the top stuff (at least for the time) we see in OZ. My favorite cover is the one featuring The Doors “Strange Days” album photo with maybe the most awesome magazine logo ever slapped right on top of it. Also, the date and cover info are printed in the weight lifter’s armpit so that’s a bonus. It must have been nice back then when all you had to do to “freak out the establishment” was put some naked girls or a midget with circus people on your cover.

OZ started out as an Australian satirical humor magazine but then moved to the UK and began life anew as a “psychedelic hippy” magazine (I am sure the genre was overflowing at the time). Featuring art by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat and design direction by Martin Sharp, issues of OZ have become collectors items in the years since it’s demise [source].

You can browse cover scans of all the of UK issues of OZ here. On a side note, Google books features the some of the text of “Graphic Design: Reproduction & Representation Since 1800” which makes mention of OZ and Sharp.

Dropular: 24hr. Beta Signup

Posted by Scott

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If you’re at all familiar with the excellent FFFFOUND and it’s ilk, you’ll no doubt recognize Dropular as yet another social bookmarking site. I’ve always enjoyed FFFFOUND and it’s clever grouping, it’s really easy to just keep digging and finding more and more good stuff over there. But I guess I missed their public sign up phase (if there ever was one) because I never got my own account and was never able to participate. So when I heard about this new site and last week’s beta I jumped at the chance. The good news is they have opened the beta up for another 24 hours which spans all of today (Monday, Feb. 9) so anyone can join in (just click “register”).

Dropular has a slick interface and an ever slicker bookmarking system which is absolutely seamless and dead simple (click for video demo). I am not sure if Dropular will suffer for it’s open registration model — I always felt the exclusivity of FFFFOUND served it well — but at the very least, Dropular is a great way to organize all the images and video you love. You can follow my Dropular stream here (there’s not much up yet but I’ll be adding every day).

Bishop+Deodato+Starbuck+Mangione

Posted by Jakub

DeodatoFirst of all, i’m going over this Deodato(which is the cover art above) live version of Do It Again and I realized I heard the best thing ever which is just ONE guy whistling really loud in the middle a key solo like it was the only record he had at home. These 4 tracks have something in common other than just being old, you can file them all under Yacht Rock which is an amazing genre of music if you like your brass section epic, your bass guitar lines soft and smooth, your keys saturated like off white stage light glare and most importantly strings being played like your in a 70’s spy movie chase scene in speedboats. It’s an easy genre to rip on i’m sure for people that don’t dork out on the certain instruments that I mentioned before but if you take all the labels off of it or any bad memories then this music has a lot to offer in my opinion.

Stephen Bishop – Save It for a Rainy Day

Deodato – Do It Again

Starbuck – Moonlight Feels Right

Chuck Mangione – Give It All You Got

SF Chronicle Redesign: Archer

Posted by Alex

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The San Francisco Chronicle just unveiled a redesign of their print edition this past Sunday. According to them, the new look is “brighter and more modern” and retains “its distinctive, classic character.” I’ve never felt like the Chronicle was fantastically designed, but this most recent incarnation is definitely a step down for me. The colors give it a USA Today-esque vibe, and I don’t feel like I can take it seriously at all.

Central to the new look is the incorporation of Archer, the “colorful slab serif” by H&FJ, as their principal headline typeface. I like Archer, always have. I really like the ball terminals on some of the uppercase letterforms, and I think they did a great job crafting a distinctive and more exciting slab serif. I’ve found it very useful for clients that want to look reliable, safe and friendly, and still seem unique and exciting. Given my general fondness for the face, I was surprised to feel such disgust when I saw Archer staring back at me on Sunday morning.

I think it’s a combination of things that ruined Archer for me. First, it’s played out. As much as I love it, I see it everywhere these days (assignments at school, adverts for just about every paper company, home and garden magazine, etc). That sort of typeface proliferation is fine for something like Helvetica, but Archer is too distinctive to work in so many different scenarios effectively, let alone a national newspaper. It reminds me slightly of what happened to Papyrus over the years. It was distinctive font that was rendered completely useless by millions of people browsing through their font list and picking the most “unique” looking. Of course, Archer is not included on your computer when you buy it, or as specialized as Papyrus, but a similar thing seems to be happening at least to some degree. Either way, I was sad to see two things ruined for me on Sunday morning: Archer and the SF Chronicle.

What do you all think? Is Archer the next Papyrus? Any Bay Area readers still receive the print edition of the Chronicle and like the redesign? Let us know in the comments.