Ever since I saw his great 2007 Holiday Card on I’ve been waiting to see more from Gavin Potenza. When I awoke this morning this nice little birthday present waiting for me on FFFOUND. I love the concept and I love the fact that it’s purely a design exercise, which is very fitting considering the name of his site (exploratorydesign.org). As I say in my workshops, that’s when most people will do their best work, when there is no spec, no client, no parameters other than your own. Just you, your imagination, and your tools. As he says on his site, this piece was inspired by Otl Aicher, one can’t really go wrong with that kind of source.
It’s minimalist, reserved design like this that intrigues me more and more these days. To me, modernism is about taking all your ideas about color and type and form and expressing them in the most efficient way possible, which I think is the very core of what we are all trying to do as designers. Also, stamps are awesome, I collected them when I was a kid…along with my obsessive hoarding of any other printed material I could get my hands on. Unfortunately I only had access to boring American stamps so it got boring real quick.
Was talking to the guys from Stereogum today about a design project and they sent me a link to Drive XV, the 15 year Tribute to REM’s Automatic For The People. I remember when Automatic For The People originally came out, it was really something unique at the time, one of my favorites. So apparently Stereogum has designers sort of re-imagine the cover art for the tribute albums and I thought this one came out quite well. Really like the type treatment and minimal approach. You’ll notice that it vaguely follows the form of the original. Bonus: name those fonts
Design aside, the Shout Out Louds’ tribute to Man On The Moon is superb, have a listen below. I hear some Paul Simon Graceland in that chorus, anyone else?
Design is alive and well in Prague. There seems to be a very strong street poster scene there and unlike in San Francisco, the posters are actually well designed. I am not sure if this is a function of the fact that most designers in California are busy at agencies doing web design or that Prague just happens to produce great print designers. Whatever the case may be, it was great to be able to walk around and observe my favorite design medium in it’s natural habitat: pasted up on walls and poles, wet, decaying, torn, and looking magnificent. The great part is that no one seems to be taking down older posters so in some places the posters were stacked almost two inches thick. Some of the front layers would be torn away exposing layer after layer of old posters beneath, amazing stuff.
After going though all the shots from Prague I realized how many I had to posters so I decided to split the post off into two parts. I will be posting the other shots from Prague tomorrow.
Was at the beach today listening to Schneider TM’s "Zoomer". It was a beautifully sunny day here in San Francisco, made it a little easier to cope with the reality of being home. The cover of this album is pretty interesting, well designed overall, the collage works to good effect, but I think a bit more time could have been spent on the type treatment.
My brother and I made the long journey home from London via Chicago today. I’m now safely back in San Francisco sitting in the studio wondering where to start; so much to do after such a long time away. Always sort of bittersweet to come home after seeing so many beautiful things in so many new places. But it is nice to do some laundry and take a decent shower. My friend Franklin made a good point tonight: traveling somehow makes you at once appreciate your home and long to travel more. Sort a paradox I guess, or wait, is that a Catch 22? I met so many people while I was away who would ask where I was from and when I told them they would almost always say how beautiful it was here or how they had always wanted to visit. It made me realize that I probably don’t get out and appreciate the city I live in as much as I should. I spent every day I had in those other cities trying to cram in as much as I could, to "see it all", meanwhile I probably haven’t even begun to experience half of what San Francisco has to offer. Such is life I guess, the grass is always greener, or perhaps we juts desire the strange and unfamiliar.
I still haven’t posted the shots from London and Prague as the past week has been really hectic moving around a lot with spotty internet access. But I will be sure to get them posted over the next couple days. Prague and London were incredible, so many amazing things to see and photograph. I can’t wait to start sorting through the shots and processing them, but sleep comes first. I don’t think I’ve had a decent night of it in over a month. The shot above is from Prague, they have a really cool street poster scene there, lot’s of great stuff plastered up all over the place….More to come.
He was also kind enough to present me with a one of a kind package of genuine ISO50 Danish Cheese, which I was able to snap a shot of right before it was devoured after a long night at the Stockholm bars.
Ever since my friend Erin introduced me to Arcade Fire back when their first album came out I’ve been a huge fan. Unfortunately I have yet to see them live, but I’ll make that a priority this year. Here’s a mellow selection for a mellow London morning. Love the lyrics.