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FOREAL's Sculpted Alphabet

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:01:54 +0000

FOREAL is a two-person German design studio, with an emphasis on art direction and illustration. Its talents in the latter were recently shown off nicely via a promotional project in which it created imaginative letters of the alphabet using one of the firm's illustration tools, Maxon Cinema 4D. A few favorites are below, with the entire series browsable on the FOREAL site and a few available for purchase in poster form.

So You Missed SXSW Again? Not to Worry

Wed, 19 Mar 2014 10:52:11 +0000

Whether due to the constraints of time, money or geography, most of us have never attended this annual gathering, which celebrates all that's cool in the music, film and interactive domains. The closest I got this year was watching the Ed Snowden webcast but, who knows, maybe next time... Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to catch up, thanks to a growing online collection of slides from presentations given at the event, as well as those created by attendees. A few of these are shown below, with the collection hosted on the Slideshare site.

Adobe Pretends it Wants a New Logo

Mon, 10 Mar 2014 14:43:54 +0000

Adobe's logo is based on a design created by the wife of Adobe co-founder John Warnock, way back in 1982. Do you really think the firm has any intention of changing that "iconic" A? No, of course not. And yet it recently tasked a number of talented designers to rethink the logo, for no apparent reason. It would seem the designers were only to happy to play ball, knowing that their efforts would come to naught but that they would nevertheless benefit from Adobe's extensive reach.

A cynical exercise all round? Be that as it may, here for your amusement are the contributions to date in this pointless navel-gazing waste of time. A tip of the hat to Sagmeister & Walsh for drawing attention to the superficiality of the endeavor.

Natalie Shau
Alex Trochut
The Made Shop
Sagmeister & Walsh

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Sagmeister & Walsh

Red Bull's Music Academy Turns 15

Wed, 19 Feb 2014 14:28:32 +0000

Now in its fifteenth year, the Music Academy is something of a movable musical feast, taking place in a different city each time. During these two-week events thirty selected participants, including producers, vocalists, DJs, instrumentalists and musicians, assemble to record music and participate in lectures, collaborations and performances in the host city's clubs and music halls. This year the festivities will be held October 12 through November 14 in Toyko.

Interesting enough, but why we mention the ill-tasting beverage here is a full-length film that was created to mark the event's 15th anniversary, What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music. Shot during the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York, it includes such folks as Brian Eno, Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers and Richie Hawtin, and ostensibly "explores the challenges that a life in music can bring." Also worth noting is a tie-in book from German publisher Gestalten, For The Record: Conversations with People Who Have Shaped the Way We Listen to Music.

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Monster Keyboard Proposed for Photoshop Shortcuts

Mon, 10 Feb 2014 16:23:25 +0000

The latest Kickstarter project to catch my attention is something called the Shortcut-S. Its creators are apparently long-time Photoshop users who tired of the program's myriad and increasingly complex keyboard shortcuts and decided to create a device to make them all available via a single touch.

To that end the keyboard has 299 dedicated Photoshop keys, with an additional 20 available for user customization. The Kickstarter project, which hopes to raise the not-so-modest sum of $185,280, will make the keyboards available for a pledge of $109. And if it's funded, there will apparently be overlays created for additional applications.

I'm not convinced of the practicality of this. I use Photoshop all day but to be honest not for work that requires a steady stream of complex shortcuts. But if I was a professional retoucher, this might seem like an answered prayer. Then there's the size — I'd have to buy a new desk to make room for it and of course keep the cats off it. So while I hope the project gets funded, I think I'll be spending that hundred bucks on more memory for my aging system.

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This World Made Itself: The Intersection of Animation and Performance

Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:10:56 +0000

Combining animation, video and live performance is tricky enough that artists rarely tackle it. But Los Angeles-based animator, designer and multimedia artist Miwa Matreyek seems to have come up with a compelling mix in the form of This World Made Itself, which she'll be performing February 7-9 at the The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles, along with her earlier Myth and Infrastructure.

The artist's bio indicates that "She is interested in the slippery meeting point of cinema and theater/performance, the moments of convergence where fantastical illusions are created, and the moments of divergence where the two struggle against each other."This World Made Itself is thus a solo performance that combines projected animation with Matreyek's real-time silhouette, in a piece that traces the history of the earth from its inception until our own era. Looks epic!



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Fontyou Beta Tests Collaborative Type Factory

Tue, 21 Jan 2014 13:53:29 +0000

Paris-based Fontyou was founded in 2013 with the idea that while designers share a love for type and often create new letterforms, they lack the time or technical skills to extend their ideas to the point of creating a complete font. One aspect of Fontyou is that it provides designers with a place to share such work for comment by the design community and receive inspiration from other work. In some cases Fontyou also plays the role of working with such type fragments to turn them into fonts or vectors sold on its site, with a percentage of royalties going to the creator of the submission.

Fontyou is now extending this idea by beta testing what it ambitiously calls "the first collaborative type factory." The idea is that those accepted can not only post type ideas and fragments but can build on the submissions of others. If such a collaboration ultimately results in a product that seems viable, Fontyou will then polish it before making it available for sale, with all those contributing taking a cut of the royalties. You can request access to the beta program on the Fontyou site.

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Adobe Extends the Photoshop Photography Program

Tue, 14 Jan 2014 15:29:13 +0000

That's right, the Creative Cloud Photoshop Photography Program, which includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, the standard 20GB of cloud storage and a Behance membership with ProSite, lives on. Introduced in September of last year as a "limited time offer," this allows those who are registered users of Photoshop CS3 or later to access the above apps for $9.99 a month, on a yearly subscription. You can't knock the price, although once the subscription ends you'll have to find creative ways to open and edit your PSD files. The offer was set to end December 31 but now you can subscribe until February 28, 2014, on the Adobe site. Unless, of course, the offer is extended once again.

For the Love of Tools

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:27:47 +0000

It wasn't so long ago that "graphic artist" was a trade like most others, with skills and practices that traced their origins back decades, if not centuries. In those days designers were surrounded in their studios by tools, few of which remain in widespread use in the digital age. But as designers, our love of tools, and a sense of the importance of the hand of the creator, remains. Just think of Photoshop's Pencil, Pen, Brush and Eraser tools — it's clear that we're still closely attached to the notion of using tools, even if they're just metaphors of real-world counterparts.

So if you're a big fan of tools, you'll probably want to check out the latest offering from Pop Chart Lab. This small firm has made a name for itself thanks to its goal "to render all of human experience in chart form." While this might take some time to complete, along the way we've been treated to some worthy infographics, available as large-format prints. Now comes The Chart of Hand Tools, which packs 300 carefully-rendered tools into a 24 by 36-inch space, printed on archival stock with brass and aluminum metallic inks, priced at $32.

Click the image below twice to enlarge.

Typographic Christmas Tree Ornaments

Thu, 19 Dec 2013 15:38:41 +0000

More specifically, asterisks from a variety of fonts cut in sheets of beech plywood. Dubbed Typeflakes, these are the work of Leon Bahrani, who makes them available for £14.99. Each sheet provides 18 decorations, complete with a hole for the string. Below you'll find Helvetica Neue Bold, Bauer Bold Titling, Gill Ultra Sans Bold, Copperplate Gothic Bold and NeuAltisch Plain.