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  • Helvetica is in the Air

    Arts & Culture, Communication Design


    In Gary Hustwit's latest independent documentary, we are treated to a portrait of a familiar face – the typeface Helvetica.

    Hustwit describes Helvetica through a series of interviews with articulate designers and typographers who tell the story of a font that is frequently used based on a highly adaptive character set. Helvetica is everywhere (think: Evian, BWM, American Apparel). Despite it's neutral qualities Helvetica is a face that still seems to inspire backlash or addiction in the hearts of prolific communicators.

    When the Hass type foundry released Helvetica in 1957 it was embraced as the Swiss modernist antidote to overtly emotive typefaces. It was a compelling expressionless blank slate for designers to manipulate. It became ubiquitous. Popular. In the film, we see European grandfathers of design like Wim Crouwel wax poetic about Helvetica and the solutions he found lining its counters.

    The backlash becomes evident when the camera turns to Erik Spiekermann's dismissals of Helvetica as simply "bad taste" and Paula Scher's political diatribe on how using Helvetica is akin to supporting the Iraq war. Scher's insight is based on the opinion that Helvetica is so generic, functional and expressionless that it advocates conformity.

    The cross-bar to the circular debate between good and bad taste is drawn by Danny van den Gungen of the Dutch group Experimental Jet Set. The studio proves in their stunning posters, advertisements and book covers, that when set...


    Communication, Communication Design


    Ever amazed at the number of aesthetic-centered design blogs appearing on the blogosphere, I am [always] pleasantly surprised to find a design-focused resource... with a social conscience.

    Osocio is a designers blog, dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. As the blog founders promise 'It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Formerly known as the Houtlust Blog, Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.'

    The Osocio bloggers include; Armando Alves, Dan Matutina, Gillo Cutrupi, Liz Losh, Marc van Gurp, Noah Scalin and Serge Fenenko. This is a blog worth checking out if you are fed up of techy-focused media cramming your inboxes.

  • Groundswell Seeks Blogging Volunteers

    Arts & Culture, Audio/Visual Design

    About the Organization: The Groundswell Collective is a design studio dedicated to art and social justice. We've been working with activists and artists on web and graphic design since 2006. We're comprised of two freelance designers, and maintain a blog on art and activism. At the Groundswell Blog, we report daily on unique ways of communicating ideas about social justice, particularly through art and design. You will find varied messages and art forms showcased in our pages, as we try to keep our finger on the pulse of the political art community. With an annual readership of 7,500, we are growing rapidly and are in need of interns.

    Description: This energetic, web-savvy intern would be responsible for giving voice to the best thinking on activist art. From conversations with artists and activists, s/he would research and pen articles on artists and designers, their work and exhibits, and trends within the community.

    S/he would also work in conjunction with the co-founders to develop a growth strategy for the blog, including resource gathering and identifying academics, artists, and activists for guest blogging spots. Assisting with press calls, arranging interviews and making pitches to journalists may also be required as needed.

    Additional Qualifications:

    • Excellent written communication skills, proficient computer skills including knowledge of the WordPress platform.
    • Strong organizational skills
    • Interest in political art and art as a tool for social change
    • B...
  • Adobe doesn't know the meaning of sustainability

    Environment, Communication Design

    That's right. I say this because it is not even listed in the spell check or dictionary in it's popular Creative Suite software.

    Language is important. Language is necessary to form laws and policies. Language is an easy way to 'spread the word' of values.

    As words take on new meanings such as Corporate Social Responsibility or Social Entrepreneurism, their proliferation into popular culture can be assisted by designers.

    Listed below are some definitions that my 'spread the word' group have assembled.

    Sustainablity: The practice or process of maintaining an indefinite form of production by protecting the conditions that production depends upon.

    wikipedia currently defines sustainability as: "Sustainability is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely."

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines sustainability as: “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

    If you have or work with an alternative definition please share it. Thanks.

  • product identity

    Well-being, Industrial Design

    هویت یا Identity از لغت Identitas مشتق میشود که به معنی همسان و مشابه است.

    در محصولات هویت را میتوان ناشی از تعریفی که محصول از خود ارائه میدهد دانست. همانگونه که هویت انسانی به پاسخ کیستی میپردازد هویت محصول نیز به چیستی و خصوصیات مورد انتظا راز آن باز میگردد.یک محصول با هویت به وضوح تعلق خود را به یک مجموعه محصولات و یا یک سازمان تولید کننده و یا گروهی از مصرف کنندگان بیان می کند. بدین ترتیب نوعی اشتراک و همسانی بین محصول و نیای آن و اهداف سازمانی تولید دیده میشود. در بیان این اشتراکات زبان یکسانی از قبیل گرافیک و یا سبک طراحی استفاده می شود. د رسطوح بالاترهویت، محصولات متفاوت یک سازمان با هم قابلیت تعامل داشته و یا همکاری میکنند و فرایند یکدیگر را کامل میکنند. این نمونه در محصولات نرم افزاری به وضوح دیده میشود.

    محصول به واسطه هویت خود به یک گروه از محصولات و یا استفاده کنندگان و یا تولید کننده ای خاص مرتبط شده و از دیگر محصولات غیر همگروه خود متمایز میگردد....

  • Focus the Nation at Pratt - 1/30 and 1/31

    Environment, Industrial Design

    Focus the Nation

    **We Stand at a Critical Moment in Human History –

    Help Pratt shine in this national effort!! **

    In the next few years we as a nation will make or fail to make critical decisions, find global warming solutions and fund clean technology investments. These decisions will have a far-reaching and irreversible impact on the lives of today’s students and the lives of their children.

    “Focus The Nation” is a national teach-in on global warming solutions for America- creating a dialogue at over a thousand colleges, universities and other institutions, that will directly engage thousands of faculty and millions of students nationwide.

    *This week, Wednesday and Thursday, January 30th and 31st *

    Over two days you will have the opportunity to meet over 30 of Pratt Institute’s most illustrious faculty, administrators and special guests as they come together and offer a series of exciting programs that are highly relevant to Pratt students, educators, and the community at large. This is a unique opportunity to; explore the impact of sustainability on the future careers of our artists, designers, and architects; see how Pratt is taking on the challenge to reduce its carbon footprint; and to be inspired by real world, environmentally conscience work that is being done by Pratt’s faculty.

    You will also have the opportunity to see exhibits by studios, take part in a nationwide body painting competition sponsored by Architecture 2030 with $20,000 in prize m...

  • Meaningful Design

    Environment, Industrial Design


  • Conceptual Design: Building a Social Conscience.

    Arts & Culture, Communication Design


    Is there a relationship between the conceptual thinking behind Marcel Duchamp's 1917 urinal and contemporary design practice?

    Design writer and Design Observer contributer Nick Currie believe's there is. In an AIGA feature of 1995, Currie presents some interesting thoughts on the evolution of Conceptual Art and its impact on designing for social impact.

    Currie's feature, Conceptual Design: Building a Social Conscience begins by exploring if there has 'ever been “Conceptual Design?”' and moves on to discuss how the conceptual arts of the early 1900s has led young designers to think more about social issues than consumer goods.

    "There’s a generation of young designers who, almost a century after Duchamp, seem to share something of his spirit... Rather than products, these people are designing situations, intervening in existing arrangements, framing everyday activities in ways that make us think of them, unexpectedly, as “design.” And although they’re often satirical in tone, these designers share a concern with ethics and responsibility; one of the reasons the design they make is so often immaterial is their sense that the last thing the world needs is more objects, more consumer goods. The widening ripples of Duchamp’s gesture blend, in their work, with the repercussions of a gathering concern around issues like sustainability, community and responsibility: to be conceptual is, after all, to be thoughtful."

    Although, I do see the connection betwee...

  • Spread The Word

    Environment, Communication Design

    As a designer, design manager and design educator I believe that I can play a role in encouraging sustainability and social corporate responsibility.

    To do so, I have created a 'design thinking camp' focused on 'cause based design'.

    This 'camp' meets twice monthly is open to anybody in the Toronto area who would like to participate.

    Our goal is to host a summit on earth day, April 22 2008 by the name of "spread the word".

    This will be a summit (participation by the attendees prior and during the event make it a summit not a conference) is designed to celebrate those who are already doing this work, to encourage others to take up the mantle and to initiate the conversation within the design community about how the message can be taken to the world at large.

    We will post some of our research here to share with the Design21 Network.

  • HSBC: the scene behind the green.

    Environment, Communication Design


    The Set-up. HSBC has a marketing campaign out called "There's No Small Change". You've probably seen it. Beautiful close ups of leaves. I liked it visually more than almost any green campaign I've seen, but remained very skeptical of their commitment to the environment.

    Then I saw Nicole Rousseau, the VP of Retail Marketing at HSBC, in a panel discussion hosted by the Columbia Business School Alumni Club. The topic was the development of their campaign. I expected stats about the target market, profiles, growth of green marketing, data, data, data.

    What I learned was totally different.

    Nicole worked with green marketing consultant Jacquelyn Ottman and advertising agency JWT. They created a plan to empower individuals to make a difference. The campaign offered little things that customers could actually do, right now, and have an impact on the environment.

    Is This Enough? Is e-billing enough to conquer our environmental problems? No. But it takes the conversation out of "THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS" and into "I am working for change". Big first step, and much props to HSBC.

    Now they could just roll it out, but they didn't. They committed to get the whole organization on board. No small feat for a company with 2000 branches in the US. The understanding was that it doesn't work if your customer is empowered with e-billing while your branch is printing thousands of pounds of single sided paper on laser printers and tossing it out.

    So they ca...

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