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A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...



Posts tagged "design"

Aug 29, 2014
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Jul 02, 2014
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The Electric Information Age Book: McLuhan/Agel/Fiore and the Experimental Paperback

A history of the context in which classics such as The Medium Is The Massage and I Seem To Be A Verb were spawned. (More over at Brain Pickings.) Recommended to me by Frank Chimero.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

Jun 14, 2014
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I Seem To Be A Verb by R. Buckminster Fuller

From Print:

I Seem To Be a Verb focuses on what’s now known as “sustainable design.” The book is a collage of images, bite-size facts, and provocative, inspirational notions by an expanse of artists, musicians, astrophysicists, mathematicians, politicians, and others… which is why my copy’s pages came to fall out of their binding over the past 40-plus years. Fuller himself provides the main narrative, which includes his philosophies—such as “When man learned to do more with less it was his lever to industrial success”—his predictions, such as “When automation frees all workers we will be able to ask, ‘What was it I was thinking that fascinated me so, before I was told I had to do something else in order to make a living?’” And, yes, it’s also a time capsule of 1960s utopian idealism.

Here’s Steven Heller on the designer, Quentin Fiore:

Fiore, who was born in New York in 1920, had been a student of George Grosz (like Paul Rand) at the Art Student’s League and Hans Hoffman at the Hoffman School. His interest in classical drawing, paper making, and lettering attested to a respect for tradition. He began his career before World War II as a letterer for, among others, Lester Beall (for whom he designed many of the modern display letters used in his ads and brochures before modern typefaces became widely available in the U.S.), Condé Nast, Life, and other magazines (where he did hand-lettered headlines for editorial and advertising pages). Fiore abandoned lettering to become a generalist and for many years designed all the printed matter for the Ford Foundation in a decidedly modern but not rigidly ideological style. Since he was interested in the clear presentation of information, he was well suited as a design consultant to various university presses, and later to Bell Laboratories (for whom he designed the numbers on one of Henry Dreyfuss’ rotary dials). In the late 1960s he also worked on Homefax, a very early telephone fax machine developed by RCA and NBC. It was never marketed, but Fiore coordinated an electronic newspaper that would appear on a screen and be reproduced via a sophisticated electrostatic copying process.

Fiore’s acute understanding of technology came from this and other experiences. In an article he wrote in 1971 on the future of the book, Fiore predicted the widespread use of computer-generated design, talking computers, and home fax and photocopy technologies. He also predicted the applications of the computer in primary school education long before its widespread use; accordingly, in 1968 he designed 200 computerlike “interactive” books for school children to help increase literacy skills.

See also: The Medium is the Massage

Apr 16, 2014
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Map of Ellen Lupton’s Thinking With Type

I made this back in 2008, and it’s sort of amazing how many of the ideas there were things I ran with that made their way into my own work…

Map of Ellen Lupton’s Thinking With Type

I made this back in 2008, and it’s sort of amazing how many of the ideas there were things I ran with that made their way into my own work…

Apr 02, 2014
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Feb 22, 2014
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If I remember correctly, my editor and I were on the phone talking about format ideas and trim sizes for Steal Like An Artist, and the problem was that my slides for the original talk were landscape format but books are usually portrait format. So I think Bruce suggested meeting in the middle and making it square.

So I went hunting for square books, and it turned out that James Kochalka’s The Cute Manifesto, one of my favorite little square books, is in the exact trim size we were talking about using, 6x6. So I drew up a cover, printed it out, and wrapped it around my copy to make a dummy book:

dummy book

I took that up to Workman and left it with them, and the story goes that they mocked up a bunch of other covers and laid them all out, but the late Peter Workman pointed to my dummy book and said, “That one.” (I regret so much that we never got to meet.)

It’s very, very rare that an author gets to do the covers for his books, but much to the credit of the Workman design team, they’ve let me in on every part of the process. I think part of what made that cover work is that it’s too stupidly simple—I’m not sure any real book cover designer would dare suggest something so simple.

Anyways, when it came time for Show Your Work!, I really conceived of both books as a kind of “Robin Hood” box set — you steal, and then you share — so it made sense to make them the same trim size. (We’ll see about the box set…)

Oct 08, 2013
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Mike Monteiro: “You are responsible for the work that you put into the world.”

Webstock ‘13: Mike Monteiro - How Designers Destroyed the World

You are directly responsible for what you put into the world. Yet every day designers all over the world work on projects without giving any thought or consideration to the impact that work has on the world around them. This needs to change.

Set aside 50 minutes to watch this really important talk by my friend Mike Monteiro (@mike_FTW). It’s aimed at designers, but it applies to all of us.

Here’s an excerpt that Mike quotes from Victor Papanek’s Design For The Real World:

There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them. And possibly only one profession is phonier. Advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others who don’t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today. Industrial design, by concocting the tawdry idiocies hawked by advertisers, comes a close second. Never before in history have grown men sat down and seriously designed electric hairbrushes, rhinestone-covered file boxes, and mink carpeting for bathrooms, and then drawn up elaborate plans to make and sell these gadgets to millions of people. Before (in the ‘good old days’), if a person liked killing people, he had to become a general, purchase a coal-mine, or else study nuclear physics. Today, industrial design has put murder on a mass-production basis. By designing criminally unsafe automobiles that kill or maim nearly one million people around the world each year, by creating whole new species of permanent garbage to clutter up the landscape, and by choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breathe, designers have become a dangerous breed. And the skills needed in these activities are taught carefully to young people.

In an age of mass production when everything must be planned and designed, design has become the most powerful tool with which man shapes his tools and environments (and, by extension, society and himself). This demands high social and moral responsibility from the designer. It also demands greater understanding of the people by those who practise design and more insight into the design process by the public.

Great, great talk. I also highly recommend Mike’s book, Design is a Job.

Filed under: Mike Monteiro

Mar 29, 2013
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mrgan:

“Work” icon

mrgan:

“Work” icon

Mar 15, 2013
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Don’t get it original, get it right.
— Edward Tufte

Mar 03, 2013
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