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Speak Up



Speak Up is an open forum to discuss matters related to Graphic Design.



Updated: 2009-04-20T22:20:34Z

 



Parting Thoughts

2009-04-20T22:20:34Z

Some of our contributors and friends offer some final words on Speak Up. These were requested not just to make us feel good but to be able to share what Speak Up may have meant to others. We will also... Some of our contributors and friends offer some final words on Speak Up. These were requested not just to make us feel good but to be able to share what Speak Up may have meant to others. We will also take this opportunity to express our gratitude for all the wonderful parting comments you've left in the last couple of days. It was very reaffirming to know that all of our efforts were put to good use. This concludes the end of our broadcast. I can still remember the Saturday afternoon I discovered Speak Up. I spent hours reading the archives. I felt as if I had come late to a party — casual, good natured, sometimes a little rowdy — but it was filled with people who weren't afraid to be passionate about graphic design and weren't afraid to, yes, speak up about that passion. I felt right at home. There was so much I didn't know then. I really didn't know what a blog was, exactly. I didn't know that I would meet Armin and Bryony and end up working with Armin for two wonderful years. Nor did I know that some of the other names I read on Speak Up for the first time would become colleagues and, eventually, friends. And of course I didn't know that one day I'd help start another blog, one that for a long time would be unfavorably compared to its predecessor. There was so much I didn't know that afternoon six years ago. Thanks to Speak Up, there is so much I've learned since. And so it goes. Whatever one can say about Speak Up it is undeniable that the effort put in by Armin and Bryony to create this forum is commendable and exemplary. The work involved in keeping up a public forum such as this must be overwhelming, and they did it with a combination of professionalism, spunk, wit, and pure passion for graphic design, yet without any significant monetary compensation. We all love the internet, not only because there you can find great information and entertainment, but because you can get it often for free. But free is not a simple function of the internet. It's people like Bryony and Armin who do all the hard work and who make it the great place that it is. And by putting Speak Up to rest it will be just a little less great. Wishing you all the best in your future ventures. Truth be told, I said my own good-byes to Speak Up a few years ago. Things change, people change, places change ... but in its time and place, Speak Up was both a groundbreaking forum for design, and a formative part of my current career. It's hard to imagine now that Speak Up was once the only blog devoted to graphic design, and that it was influencial enough to shake some timbers in the American design establishment, and forge some careers. Blogs are everywhere now; there are so many all chattering away that it's hard to concentrate from the din. And while we made a lot of noise on Speak Up from 2003–2006, we were, for a while, the only noise. "Noise" is what many would have said of the discussions, arguments and brawls that took place during that time, and while much has been made over what was or was not publishable or valid, there is no doubt in my mind that Speak Up opened doors previously nailed shut, broke down walls, and looked into cupboards and under floorboards. The discussions which happened there opened things up between the major players in design and the single practitioners, and created a previously unheard of environment to openly question the how and why of the way we practice design. I have said it many times before, I will say it again: Speak Up was not an online journal with commentary: it was a place for gathering. The articles written were never meant to be definitive or pedantic: they were like bones tossed to the crowd, and it was the ensuing discussion which contained the meat. That discussion was sometimes informed and erudite, often funny, frequently embattled, sometimes ascerb[...]



Letting Go

2009-04-14T13:36:11Z

It is hard to speak about Speak Up in the past tense, please excuse me if I trip along the way here in case I momentarily forget we are placing our beloved under 6-feet of code. I find myself mourning... It is hard to speak about Speak Up in the past tense, please excuse me if I trip along the way here in case I momentarily forget we are placing our beloved under 6-feet of code. I find myself mourning with relief as we accompany Speak Up in its final days, simply holding hands, quietly sitting by its bedside, focused on its slowing heartbeat. It wasn’t long ago that Speak Up was an active teenager openly defying and challenging anything and anyone, slowly maturing into a more focused adult in search of a new voice, one that was less about being heard and more about being listened to. To all of this Armin spoke to yesterday, the evolution, the changes, the people, the challenges, the growth from child to teenager, from young adult to busy parent. With Brand New, Quipsologies, and most recently Word It by its side it seems Speak Up has raised its voice and its children, somewhat losing its voice along the way. There seems to come a point when one should better remain silent than go down the path of repetition, joining the senile in the same conversation day after day — Speak Up was rather terrified of joining the lot in Florida, card table by the pool to reminisce and re-converse. Like with any loved one, saying good-bye is not easy. Speak Up has been a part of my life for the last seven years in a way only our daughter Maya has been able to surpass. Constantly talking about it, planning for what could happen next, what was said the day before, what the upcoming year could mean, where this and that could take a new life… over coffee, over lunch, at dinner, in the subway, walking in the park, in the dark, and during early dawn. It has mattered not when or where, but what. What can we do to make it better? What can we provide that is different? What…? In the last few months the answers to these questions have become less encouraging as we realize how much ground Speak Up was able to cover during its tenure, and how much we have changed in this time. Going from frozen disgruntled Chicagoans that knew little about so many topics covered in the site, to the self-employed parents we are today. Much has happened in the process including relocations, blogs, websites, jobs, more jobs, incorporation, clients, three books, a child… I treasure the freedom that the sum of events has enabled me and my family, and I recognize that the process has been hard and full of small and large lessons, most if not all shaped by the life of Speak Up. For good or bad, one of the lessons acquired is the ability to recognize when one should let go. And that day is here, a day where we will pull the code on Speak Up. A day in which we can begin to repeat ourselves as we remember its life as it happened, as we celebrate the challenges, the misses and the greatest hits (UPS!). A day where we can remember Speak Up for what it was, and not for what could have happened in Florida. Good night my beloved. I shall miss you in life, and relive you in conversation. [...]



Goodbye, Speak Up

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

This is not easy. Not as I write this. Not as I made the decision with Bryony. Not as I made the realization. It is not easy to say goodbye to Speak Up, but this is what this post is... This is not easy. Not as I write this. Not as I made the decision with Bryony. Not as I made the realization. It is not easy to say goodbye to Speak Up, but this is what this post is meant to do. We are closing Speak Up for good. This is our third-to-last post. Tomorrow we will post a goodbye from Bryony and the day after that a series of goodbyes from some of our contributors and friends. And by this time next week, comments will be shut down and a new façade will overtake the Speak Up you have come to know. It comes as no surprise that Speak Up has changed since its launch in September of 2002. I started the blog on a whim as a place to vent some frustrations and as a place for the endangered breed of traditional graphic designers in a jungle of web designers and developers. The beginnings were humble, with my basic writing skills, non-existent editing experience and a handful of visitors that had found solace in this blog. Somehow that was enough to propel Speak Up for the next two years, snowballing into larger and rowdier crowds gathering and chatting as if they had never had a chance to talk to other designers in this unfiltered manner. And, well, they hadn't. None of us had. And it was liberating, exhilarating and we figured things as we went along. Between 2003 and 2006 we were constantly growing, yaking, doing, messing, having fun and driving some people crazy along the way. It was awesome. Then things started to change, for better or for worse. When we started we were outsiders. I was a young designer from Mexico that no one had ever heard of. In my mind and heart I had it in me to become well known. Not sure why, but I just wanted that. And, in some sort of microcosmic way, I did. And my outsider status was gone. The same thing happened to some of our most popular authors, like Debbie Millman and Marian Bantjes who, all of a sudden, you couldn't turn a corner without someone mentioning their name. Also, for a long period it seemed like we could all write posts all day long and keep Speak Up active forever and ever, but for the majority of our most ardent authors like Mark Kingsley, Tan Le and Jason A. Tselentis, life and work happened and their time for Speak Up became limited. Ditto for me. I also had less time to write and comment. Other authors left as they lost interest or time, or when we differed in the kind of content we expected on Speak Up. Then there was the fact that now everyone had a blog. Blogdom wasn't just the provenance of a devoted few anymore and with the ease of setting up a blog, people would post their own thoughts on their blog rather than commenting on Speak Up. This is no complaint, it's just an observation that became clearer as more and more designers would e-mail me to let me know about their blog. I always believed that the amount of time and energy that we — authors and commenters alike — were all investing in Speak Up would be impossible to maintain in the long run, it was bound to crash at some point. And it did. Since 2007ish, we have had less authors, less posts, less comments, less traffic, less energy. It's natural I guess. We also split that energy into sites like Brand New, Quipsologies and now Word It — all topics that were born on Speak Up but that were prime for their own blogs. I also strongly believe that the kind of general-topic and long-form writing of Speak Up is just not as appealing as it used to be. With so many web sites devoted to quick bursts of visuals and the proliferation of short-message communication enhanced by Twitter and Facebook, it becomes increasingly hard to hold the attention of anyone. But this could all be debated. Maybe we just became lame or boring. It's hard to define all the attributes that contributed to the decreased activity on Speak Up. And since the end[...]



A Texas State of Mind

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

In less than fifteen days, Bryony, Maya (our daughter) and I will leave Brooklyn, NY for Austin, TX. Moving away from, arguably, the Design Capital of the World to the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World. About six months... In less than fifteen days, Bryony, Maya (our daughter) and I will leave Brooklyn, NY for Austin, TX. Moving away from, arguably, the Design Capital of the World to the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World. About six months ago I raised the question here about the need to live and work in New York in contrast to smaller markets. Now I can admit that the question was driven by our decision at that time to move to one of the latter. Much of my career, and the growth of UnderConsideration, has been chronicled on Speak Up so here is one more entry into this wacky life and career path we have taken that hopefully illustrates the integral balance that lifestyle and work play when you are running your own business, in charge of your own destiny. Living in New York is not easy, and that is no secret. It's expensive. It's competitive. It's crowded. It requires a slightly masochistic attitude to survive the subway rush hour, the exorbitant real estate prices, the crappy A/C window units during muggy Summer days, the ridiculously small spaces of everything and the cost of eating out, ordering in or even of buying $2-avocados at the grocery store. Of course, in return, you have a wildly imaginative and active city flooded in galleries, museums, events, interesting people and endless surprises. What happened to us was that we became completely immune to all these benefits by a) procreating and b) going on our own operating from a home office in Brooklyn. Quite organically we became secluded of the New York that people outside of New York come looking for when they move here. The very New York we moved here for, actually, and the New York that costs an arm and a leg to live in. Our new New York was not even New York anymore, it was Brooklyn. Central Park became Prospect Park. Delis became bodegas. Starbucks became Connecticut Muffins. Gristedes became Key Food. (Sorry for all the local parlance). And our regular forays into evening events for AIGA or other design socials were replaced by bath time and story time. Weekends at museums and galleries or even working weekends, turned into excursions to the park, its playgrounds and its small yet awesome zoo. Things lovingly changed. Work-wise, going across the river in the subway became a time management challenge: A one-hour meeting would eat up three hours of your day. Sure, we established our own destiny by not having a Manhattan office but when you can save thousands of dollars on an office lease and hundreds of dollars in tax write-offs every month, well, it becomes a no brainer. And we also noticed that our face-to-face meetings with clients could be counted with the fingers of a single hand and, instead, the amount of PDFs we have prepared range in the dozens and hundreds. One of the reasons we wanted to be on our own was to devote more time to the online world of UnderConsideration which lowers the need for live interaction with people. On top of that we had the surprise of a massive book that turned us into hermits that barely saw the light of day. And we enjoyed it. Paying to live in New York without living in New York did not make sense anymore. Plus, all three of us were tired of Winters, even after surviving three in Chicago, so we were ready for a change. We decided to look at it very clinically: We can move anywhere, so what city would be the best fit for of our lifestyle? Denver and Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; and Austin, Texas all came up as the most viable options. We narrowed it down to Portland and Austin, since Colorado is cold and snowy, and talked to designers in both cities to get a sense for lifestyle and design environment. Both cities were comparable: Exciting, young design scene, with medium potential for findin[...]



Qs / Vol. 27 - 28 / March 30 - April 5

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

The top 15 out of a 42-quip week.... The top 15 out of a 42-quip week. A = Authors | C = Community A / No. 85 / Armin / Best Apple laptop customization ever: Snow white. A / No. 1 / Armin / A new dollar sign has been approved by U.S. congress. * [Via Design Observer] A / No. 9 / Armin / A t-shirt of Super Mario as if drawn by da Vinci. A / No. 87 / Armin / Using Internet Explorer 6? Here are some hypothetical (and hilarious) splash pages when your browser can’t display the content. Language NSFW. [Via Design You Trust] A / No. 83 / Armin / Business card in the form a store receipt. A / No. 86 / Armin / Walking on Eggshells or How to Design the Book Cover for Columbine. [Via Subtraction] A / No. 12 / Armin / The Smoking Type Generator: Type something and watch it form as the cigarettes burn. A / No. 11 / Debbie Millman / With these new body scanners, you might as well go naked to the airport. A / No. 91 / Armin / Visualizing the wireless signals around us. [Via Brandflakesforbreakfast A / No. 10 / Armin / Tired of looking at your computer-filled workspace? Check out this Flickr set, Workspaces - No computers! [Via Drawn] C / No. 6 / Josh B / Scientists make the blackest black ever. C / No. 69 / Koz / 120 crayon names with hex & RGB codes. C / No. 67 / Catalin / A monster list of 40 fresh websites & 20 Twitter accounts you must follow for a daily inspiration boost! C / No. 7 / Niki V / 50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory. [via PSDTuts+] A / No. 3 / Armin / “In hopes of drawing attention to my work and this site, I am offering free Pen & Ink illustrations.” You heard the man, go ask Mark Mahorney for a free drawing. For the complete Vols. 27 and 28, please visit [...]



The Early Bird Gets the Ticket to F5

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

Fellow blogger and conference organizer, Justin Cone of the fabulous Motionographer, is offering two free registrations for the Speak Up audience to their upcoming conference F5. If you are in New York on April 16 and 17 and are 100%...

Fellow blogger and conference organizer, Justin Cone of the fabulous Motionographer, is offering two free registrations for the Speak Up audience to their upcoming conference F5. If you are in New York on April 16 and 17 and are 100% certain that you can attend (please do not take someone's chance if you will flake at the last minute), enter the promotion code speak up at this registration site. Only the first two will get it. Even if you are not one of the lucky two, $280 for this kind of conference is a steal.

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April Fools: An Unsung Modernist-era Hero

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

As we embarked on the process of researching all the material for our Graphic Design, Referenced book we secretly hoped that we could uncover something that neither Phil Meggs, Richard Hollis or Steve Heller had. Surely there was something or... As we embarked on the process of researching all the material for our Graphic Design, Referenced book we secretly hoped that we could uncover something that neither Phil Meggs, Richard Hollis or Steve Heller had. Surely there was something or someone they could have missed. On the surface it seemed we wouldn't have our Indiana Jones moment, and it was only after writing a few of the profiles that we were able to piece together the story of one designer who was briefly referenced by some of the most prolific designers of this time, among them Joseph Muller-Brockmann, Alexey Brodovitch and Lester Beall. It wasn't until we went back to the RIT Design Archives, remembering that the Lester Beall collection had a significant amount of client correspondence, that we were able to confirm this unsung design hero: Ingrid Berthold. Design history has deeply celebrated the work of its most famous luminaries, the ones that helped shape graphic design as we know it today: From the early émigrés in the 1940s like Alexey Brodovitch, Erik Nitsche, and Ladislav Sutnar, to the American trailblazers like Alvin Lustig, Lester Beall and Bradbury Thompson, all the way to the corporate design mavens of the 1960s, Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Massimo Vignelli and Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar. And it's until recently that other designers like Robert Massin, Cipe Pineles or Sister Mary Corita Kent have been getting the attention they deserve. The difference between these designers and Ingrid Berthold, however, was that they were able to create a name for themselves by acquiring individual status and acclaim. Berthold remained constantly behind the scenes, as the right hand designer for many of the most celebrated designers. An unknown Batman's Robin. Even other designers who have been placed in secondary roles are more well known: Tom Carnase generated hundreds of lettering beauties that are more commonly acknowledged to Herb Lubalin, Brett Wickens did most of the actual imagery that accompanied a large part of Peter Saville's album covers for Factory Records, and Ed Benguiat has been designing logos for half of New York's most prominent designers. Not Berthold. Her contributions to the design canon have gone mysteriously unnoticed despite them being integral. Berhtold was born in 1916 in Leipzig, Germany but grew up in Berlin where her father, Hans Berthold, worked as the bookkeeper for the famed H. Berthold type foundry, which had been founded by his uncle, Hermann Berthold. Her childhood was filled with the scent of molten metal and sounds of typecasting. Her time in Berlin was cut short, and in 1936 she and her family fled to Zurich, Switzerland escaping the rising Nazi regime. Through his knowledge of the graphic arts industry, her father was able to secure her a job with Joseph Muller-Brockmann, who had just started his own design studio. From Muller-Brockmann, Berthold learned the tenets of the International Typographic Style and while she wasn't allowed to design, she observed his process and at night she would trace Muller-Brockmann's work to understand the hierarchies of his design. An original tracing by Berthold of Muller-Brockmann's Musica Viva poster. Image courtesy of Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection. In 1944, Berthold and her family emigrated to the United States where they settled in New York like many of their expatriates. There she joined Harper's Bazaar where she was a typesetter for Alexey Brodovitch, the commanding art director of the magazine. Three years later Berthold was hired by Cipe Pineles who had been recently hired by editor Helen Valentine to be the art director[...]



Qs / Vol. 27 / March 23 - March 29

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

The top 15 out of a 27-quip week.... The top 15 out of a 27-quip week. A = Authors | C = Community C / No. 53 / Mattus / Thinking of designing a sphere logo? Don't. A / No. 73 / Armin / I don’t typically fawn for in-depth, personal projects by students, but Gretchen Nash’s Dear Gretchen is amazing. I had the chance of seeing it at the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. The handmade paper graphs are just too much. A / No. 82 / Armin / A deceptively simple graphic: Length of basketball shorts, then and now. [Via DesignNotes] A / No. 63 / Armin / Very clever math formulas for everyday things like “Raisin = Grape + Time.” [Via Build] A / No. 78 / Armin / Introducing Google Classic. (Not really). [Via BuzzFeed] A / No. 71 / Armin / On the cover of Creative Review’s April issue: Their very own hand-lettered taxi by Indian master letterers. C / No. 58 / Diane Faye Zerr / Moleskine launched it's new site in Beta. Pretty nice. Check out the new MSK feature to layout pages, import contacts, import your calendar and print to fit into your Moleskine notebook. Thanks to NotCot C / No. 59 / Able Parris / Font Series: Arial is Everywhere (via designworkplan). A / No. 65 / Armin / Nick Sherman reports on the typographic usage in art at the famed Armory Show in New York. A / No. 76 / Armin / Beer logo sweaters. Yup, you read that right. [Via Draplin] A / No. 61 / Armin / With a title like this, who needs an explanation? Retro Apple Logo fruit salad. [Via Design You Trust] C / No. 61 / Joshua Levi / An ongoing collection of history proven wrong predictions and self-help books that should not be on sale in wake of the global financial debacle. All books shown are still available to buy from Amazon. C / No. 54 / Diane Faye Zerr / This article by a mom of a third grader wants schools to stop teaching handwriting. I'm a mom too, but I would not encourage my son to quit when times get tough. The comments are plenty, good and bad. A / No. 66 / Armin / “Portraits of musicians made out of recycled cassette tape.” Easier Quip’d than done. C / No. 57 / Kelly Smith / Inkd: The World's First Market for Original Print Design has launched! For the complete Vol. 27, please visit [...]



Bookmarks: USA

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

After all the international bookmarks I thought I would bring it home this time around and take a peek around our own backyard. With all the design press, be it in magazines or blogs, there is plenty of real estate... After all the international bookmarks I thought I would bring it home this time around and take a peek around our own backyard. With all the design press, be it in magazines or blogs, there is plenty of real estate to see the work of American designers and for the most part it would seem as if we know everyone. The bookmarks of U.S.-based designers I did in the past sixteen months are mostly of independent or freelance designers and less from the medium to big sized firms. Having put together a few of these Bookmarks posts, it's funny to see how American the work below looks. Neither a good nor a bad thing, but nice to see that globalism hasn't stripped away the personality and sensibility of each country. As with all these posts, the selected do not represent the final say on American design, nor is this by any means an exhaustive survey. Jessica Hische jhische.com Helen Yentus helenyentus.com Soulellis Studio soulellis.com Tnop tnop.com Rumors rumors-online.com Arlo arlo-tm.com End Communications endcommunications.com [...]



Qs / Vol. 27 / March 16 - March 22

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

The top 15 out of a 36-quip week.... The top 15 out of a 36-quip week. A = Authors | C = Community A / No. 55 / Armin / URL and web site of the year? YourLogoMakesMeBarf.com. A / No. 50 / Armin / From The Department of the Insane: A room covered in thousands of white Post-its. [Via Design You Trust] A / No. 60 / Armin / Lovely illustration, typography-heavy work by Andy Smith. [Via Drawn] C / No. 36 / Jill / Free Fonts to Download. So many fonts, so little time. C / No. 50 / Plamen / A better logo for Google? A / No. 58 / Armin / Meet Brandy Agerbeck, graphic facilitator. Amazing stuff. [Via Design you Trust] A / No. 45 / Armin / An extensive compilation of the in-movie variations of some of Hollywood’s most popular logos. A / No. 49 / Armin / Griping about the Adobe applications user interface. [Via ISO50] C / No. 37 / Plamen / "Advertising is dead. Long live packaging." A / No. 47 / Armin / Slightly useless (but funny) chart: Kitchen position in relationship to living room from a bunch of sitcoms. Left or right? [Via Dark Roasted Blend] A / No. 54 / Armin / The “Face of Disaster” alphabet. [Via SwissMiss] A / No. 51 / Armin / One of my favorite Pentagram projects is the 9-year-old Library Initiative and five new ones that have opened recently are good reason to learn about this project. A / No. 56 / Armin / An animation showing the evolution of the Batman icon. A / No. 40 / Armin / Logo cliché alert: Avoid the power-up symbol. A / No. 44 / Armin / New web site and fresh work from the always amazing Louise Fili. For the complete Vol. 27, please visit [...]



How Designers Fail

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

The idea and act of failing has become a buzzword with the economic downturn, but graphic designers fail every single day, and have been failing successfully through most of the 20th century into our current one.... The idea and act of failing has become a buzzword with the economic downturn, but graphic designers fail every single day, and have been failing successfully through most of the 20th century into our current one. Headlines appear daily in the news media about one failure or another: the economy, banking, auto industries, education, and morale. But in the article below, you won't find help for hanging tough in a down economy or keeping your spirit up when clients decide to leave. Instead, this is about how designers fail to meet their personal expectations, job dreams, and long-term goals from their very beginning as students. During college at the University of Arizona in 1992, I learned with other design freshman that revisions were part of the discipline; if you cried at critique you were a wimp, and the computer was just a finishing tool. Later, as a transfer student at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in 1994, faculty tried to scare us out of the program: Either the person sitting next to you or you yourself will graduate from this program; only 1 in 3 of you will leave the program and find work as designers. But something has happened since I was a college student in 1992: students just don't believe these things. They feel design is easy and success is easily earned; they get themselves in trouble when they define success too specifically, revolving it around fame, fortune, or a combination thereof. Always Right, Always Best, All the TimeAt its root, failure is the opposite of success, but few young designers encounter failure. Worse, they are over-confident because of how adept they are (or think they are) with computer media: parents or former art teachers have patted them on the back for years, praising their performance with Adobe, iWork, or iMovie. These adults lavish the youngster with wowie-zowie amazement creating what I call the Blue Ribbon Craving: an overabundance of shallow praise too often and too early creating a desire for more praise more often. Illustration by Mark Andresen markandresenillustration.com Unfortunately and incorrectly, this praise somehow translates into I am good at art or I am good at design, manufacturing the false notion that they are always correct, and so long as they click it up on the computer, it's good. And they expect the same in school, where the youngster takes the congratulations they have amassed over the years and heads to the classroom with pie-in-the-sky dreams, and a sense of entitlement: I have earned my parents and high school art teachers' praises; I know the computer; I am ready for college and I will conquer it with a succession of A+ grades. The truth: it's not like that. When these students do less than grade-A work, tears will flow; when they do grade-C work, they hit a depression so deep that some cannot recover. (Let's not even talk about grade-F work, which stirs a panic attack beyond anything George Costanza ever experienced.) Rather than learn from the critiques and repeated suggestions to change one thing or another, they leave for another major: All of these changes? My work is bad? Forget it, I'll go elsewhere. Some will argue that these drop outs play into the natural state of attrition, sorting out the can-do students from the cannot. Does it have to be this way? Why can't all design students learn to cope with stressful critiques and do-it-over suggestions? Because some of them have been fawned over during years of grammar and high school, and it's not easy to teach them new tricks. But that's what college is for, and students can learn t[...]



Qs / Vol. 27 / March 9 - March 15

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

The top 15 out of a 35-quip week.... The top 15 out of a 35-quip week. A = Authors | C = Community A / No. 25 / Armin / Finally, some Barack Obama imagery that is not slick at badpaintingsofbarackobama.com. [Via VIBE] A / No. 26 / Armin / The Cut Copy footwork poster. [Via SwissMiss] C / No. 23 / Plamen / Absolutely No Smoking! A / No. 24 / Armin / Lined paper everywhere to jot down your ideas, courtesy of the School of Visual Arts’ “Think” campaign. [Via Design You Trust] A / No. 28 / Armin / The Periodic Table of Typefaces. [Via SwissMiss] C / No. 21 / Able Parris / Why Twitter might die. Discussion encouraged. A / No. 40 / Armin / Logo cliché alert: Avoid the power-up symbol. A / No. 37 / Armin / Looks like your chances of being eaten by a shark are as good as of getting to do any design work for the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. C / No. 18 / Paige / Hyperbolic Mandala. Or, pretty math visualization. C / No. 26 / Diane Faye Zerr / A typeface inspired by Paul and Linda. Introducing McCartney by Daniel Cassaro. A / No. 29 / Armin / The Readability “bookmarklet” may the be web designers’ worst enemy, as it strips away all the design off any page, leaving behind nothing but butt-ugly typography. [Thanks at Difaye for the link] A / No. 33 / Armin / Pictures of shattered things that don’t actually shatter (i.e., rubber duck). [Via It’s Nice That] A / No. 27 / Armin / Marian Bantjes pimps Strathmore’s thistle. Wow that sounds dirtier than it is. [Thanks @Gelatobaby] A / No. 36 / Bryony / Illustrator Jorge Colombo goes to town with these New York sketches done in the Brushes iPhone app. [Via Gothamist] C / No. 24 / Plamen / And the Periodic Table Of Video Game Characters . For the complete Vol. 27, please visit [...]



New: Word It

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

Word It has been a fixture of Speak Up since April of 2003, a visual respite from the generous amount of text that typically adorns this web site. Since then, more than 1,250 people have generated more than 4,400 Word... Word It has been a fixture of Speak Up since April of 2003, a visual respite from the generous amount of text that typically adorns this web site. Since then, more than 1,250 people have generated more than 4,400 Word Its, and it remains one of Speak Up's most popular and active features. But it has always been more of a sideshow than a main attraction, and as we were going through the full archives it was evident that Word It needed to be a main attraction. So we have moved all the archives into a new, independent blog. Introducing: Word It. We have painstakingly tagged all Word Its to provide a new way of experiencing the oldies (and not so oldies) but goodies. Like the image above, which shows most of the Word Its tagged with "Isotype." The options are endless, well, for now, they end at around 2,500 tags like "Cooper Black" and "Comic Sans", "George W. Bush" and "Dick Cheney", "Red" and "Blue" or "Exclamation Point" and "Question Mark". And as new Word Its come in will be dutifully tagging away. At this point it's worth giving a much deserved shout to Steven, who more than two years ago, when we launched Quipsologies, called it. He even got the URL right! So, anyway, we hope that all you Word It creators follow us on over to the new abode and keep the little squares coming. [...]



The Proof isn't in the Pudding, it's in the Proofs

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

This past Monday, we had the pleasure of seeing Graphic Design, Referenced printed in full color and as spreads for the first time — try ponying up the cash to print 200 tabloid sheets, yikes — with the arrival of... This past Monday, we had the pleasure of seeing Graphic Design, Referenced printed in full color and as spreads for the first time — try ponying up the cash to print 200 tabloid sheets, yikes — with the arrival of the printer's proofs. At this point we didn't go over any text, what done is done, and concentrated on layout and image color. It always amazes how things mysteriously "drop" from file to proof and I don't mean that to be a swipe against printers, but it always happens, something goes missing. In this case we caught a few images and a couple of bad image-box crops that we failed to catch earlier. All in all the proofs looked great and hopefully we didn't let anything too embarrassing slip by. Below are some less than stellar photographs of the proofs. Click on images for bigger view. [...]



The Graphic Design Speaking Engagement Rider

2009-04-14T13:35:18Z

In loosely legal terms to the best of my understanding, a "rider" is an addendum made to a contract that specifies certain things not covered under typical circumstances. Say, you are buying a house and use a state- or Bar-issued... In loosely legal terms to the best of my understanding, a "rider" is an addendum made to a contract that specifies certain things not covered under typical circumstances. Say, you are buying a house and use a state- or Bar-issued contract, well, it might have no clause that states that the 13-year-old cat piss smell must be removed, so in your rider you would say something like "Crazy cat lady must get rid of cat piss smell." I'm no lawyer, so the wording might vary. However, in Rock and Roll terms, a rider is a document that specifies the indulgent, frivolous, pampered whims of artists. The most famous rider is, of course, Van Halen's 1982 concert rider that requested M&M's with an all caps warning: "ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES." This may be the most representative of the caricature or Rock and Roll excess and power indulgence, but as The Smoking Gun reveals in their rider collection, there are plenty of documents prescribing the strict needs of everyone from Robin Williams to Ted Nugent. For example: Celine Dion requires a temperature of 73°; Jennifer Lopez requests a white room, with white couches, white flowers, white draps, white candles, and white tables; and The Game will not wear a name badge, so "security is to be briefed to who this person is." More regular requests are deli spreads, bottled water (specific brands of course), PlayStations and condoms. In the past six months I have done a lot of talks around the U.S. and they have as much glamour as the bucket of KFC chicken that Ice Cube demands. There is no first class flying, no trailer, no dressing room, no after-meal requests, no temperature control. Disclaimer: I love doing these things, don't get me wrong, but maybe it's time that graphic designers put on their diva hats and start making some demands for their presentations. So, dear event organizers, here is my ludicrous design-related rider for my upcoming speaking engagement: A. At the Venue 1. No dressing room is required, but a Green Room, where speaker can rest after flying coach is. 2. Green room must have the following items: 2.1. A Helvetica, special edition Moleskine; absolutely no regular Moleskines. 2.2. A MacBook Air loaded with the Adobe CS4 Master Collection and the entire type libraries of Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Emigre and Chank Fonts; remove all italic font files from each type family. 2.3. A Pantone Solid Chips Two-book Set; remove all pages that have 4-figure PMS colors, only 3-figure PMS colors are acceptable; why use PMS 1795 when PMS 179 will do? 2.4. A Blu-Ray edition of Helvetica. 2.5. A Blu-ray player. 2.6. A copy of Stefan Sagmeister's out of print Made You Look; do not attempt to replace with Things I have Learned in my Life so far. 2.7. A first edition copy of Philip B. Meggs' A History of Graphic Design. 2.8. Design samples from local designers that are using varnish in innovative ways. B. Refreshments 1. Coca-Cola in Turner Duckworth-designed aluminum bottles; no "classic" glass bottles or cans. 1.1. Absolutely no Pepsi within 100-feet of the speaker. 2. A selection of Jones Soda beverages; labels can only contain pictures of dogs, color or black and white are both acceptable. 3. Retro-edition versions of General Mills cereals. 4. A pre-2003 Hershey's chocolate bar with tin foil and matte paper wrapper; no plastic and do not attempt to fake it with store-bought aluminum foil and printing a wrapper in Epson. 5. Personalized M&am[...]