Wild Things

I am so excited about Where the Wild Things Are. Heck, I’m excited about the trailer. Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, hand-drawn type, natural lighting and the Arcade Fire? What’s not to like?

It’s adapted from the classic by Maurice Sendak, which plays, I think, a special part in a lot of our psyches, especially the visual artists among us. To back up this hunch, I offer you some selections from Cory Godbey’s curated collection of Where the Wild Things Are inspired artworks, Terrible Yellow Eyes. He began the project/blog two months ago and has already posted almost 100 incredible pieces. Click each for jumbo-size.

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Ana Galvañ

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Pascal Campion

Seven more plus a fur-covered book after the jump.

Continue reading Wild Things

R.I.P. Pushing Daisies

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So, Pushing Daisies is finished, with little hope of rising from the dead. ABC finally aired the final three episode, with the finale airing this past Saturday. It was truly a magical show, with production design outpacing anything else on network television. In case you never watched it, here’s my take on the ingredients that went into its amazing potion:

Characters and plot like Lemony Snicket (cartoonish, punny, clever, full of secrets and back story) involving illusionists, half-brothers, beekeepers, aquatic shoes, pop-up enthusiasts, window dressers, secret recipes, rival Norwegian gumshoe gangs, and so forth.

Sets like Tim Burton (think saturation and wonder like Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, or the dollhouse artifice of the suburbs in Edward Scissorhands) overflowing with detail and color

Shots like Wes Anderson (characters centered in frame with lots of details, fast zoom-ins and so forth)

Narration from the guy who reads the Harry Potter audiobooks; impromptu musical numbers once every five or six episodes (with the actress who starred in Wicked as the singer); Guest stars from A Mighty Wind and all sorts of other good stuff

Dialogue delivery like Gilmore Girls (fast-paced like old gumshoe movies, or more accurately like The Middleman, but no one watched that)

Costumes like uh, frickin’ magic. I can’t think of anything else that has costumes like this show. So amazing.

Ten more brilliant and dearly missed costumes/sets/shots after the jump.

Continue reading R.I.P. Pushing Daisies

TypograFriday: Microcosm

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Every once in a while, a sample set presents itself which offers a fascinating glimpse into the trends and influences of the day. This flickr set of 35 posters for the Flight of the Concords 2009 North American tour is one such example.

The disparate designers of these posters had no unified design spec, though of course they had the same band/tv show/season of year to reference. And yet looked at as a whole, a shocking number come back to the same overall colorschemes (midtone blues, greens and tans, very few dark colors). And in terms of type trends, the set reflects a terrific microcosm of what’s going on in the world of “indie”-flavored typography right now: filled-counter letters are inexplicably still super-hot across many subcultures, lifting from the 70s is perfectly OK, and innocently irregular hand lettering conveys a sense of rakish charm second only to Bret and Jermaine themselves.

Credits for type collage (for each artist, the first link goes to an image of the full poster on flickr, and the second goes to their own site)
Row 1: Diana Sudyka (website), Eyenoise (website)
Row 2: Doublenaut (website), The Silent Giants (website)
Row 3: Nate Duval (website), Mike Davis of Burlesque Design (website)
Row 4: El Jefe Design (website), DKNG (website)
Row 5: Tyler Stout (website), Delicious Design League (website)

TypograFriday: Tuscans

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Did you like the giant S from French Vogue Kirsten pointed out a few weeks ago? Us too!

This style of type is called Tuscan and it originated well before printing. Tuscans can be identified by bifurcation of the terminals — some have speculated that the bifurcation in the earliest examples may have been a typographic equivalent of the sign of the fish, an attempt to signify Christian faith in the letters themselves. Tuscans really hit their stride in the 19th century, during the age of handbills (each trying to outdo one another in typographic excess). This is when the form started mutating like crazy: the ends trifurcated, bulges or spikes erupted mid-stem, letters split into two, swashes and flourishes sprouted out.

Tuscans can be extended or condensed, rigid or expressive: some of the newer digital ones are hand-rendered. So versatile a type style, it’s a shame it’s rarely used contemporarily outside of circus- or western- themed work.

Credits & analysis, after the jump. Continue reading TypograFriday: Tuscans

it was twenty years ago today

Sorry to bring up a bummer, but China is doing all it can to make sure you forget this image. But, it’s pretty important that we remember the things totalitarian states want us to forget. One awesome thing about the internets is that they’ve moved us past the era when technology helped a totalitarian state achieve absolute control over the distribution of information (as it was for much of the twentieth century) to an era when technology actively helps resist totalitarianism.

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The NYT Lens blog has a good expurgation and analysis of this and three other photographers’ images of Tiananmen Square, including how the photographers smuggled the film out of a country already deadset on erasing the memory of the event.

transit map abstraction

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Tokyo Rail Map Poster and Calendar, zero per zero, 2008. Click for larger version.

I got really excited about this map of Tokyo’s complex rail system by Korean designers zero per zero today. It establishes a new abstraction vocabulary (arcs) for railway maps, which since Harry Beck’s 1933 Tube map (more on which below) have tended to use variations on his circuit-boardy angle system. And it uses chocolate brown, which I hope against hope will never go out of style again. And it has an underlying 12×31 grid and comes packaged with post-it notes sized to the grid squares: that’s right; you can use the thing as a calendar! It’s available straight from Korea here — San Francisco friends give me a shout if you want something, we’ll combine shipping! along with smaller folding versions with great info backs. And New York, Osaka and Seoul editions.

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A little discussion of some more great rail maps featuring Messrs Beck, Vignelli, Hertz, Jabbour and Good Magazine after the jump.

Continue reading transit map abstraction

TypograFriday: Wayne White

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Todd Oldham has a book coming out in a few days, entitled Maybe Now I’ll Get the Respect I So Richly Deserve. It’s not about himself; he’s got respect aplenty after all. It’s about Wayne White, and honestly it’s a hilariously appropriate title for the first comprehensive monograph of an artist who’s been making awesome and original art for 30 years.

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Beauty’s Embarrassin!

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What’d I Tell Ya?

His M.O. for the last decade has been basically painting giant, usually funny typography “realistically” into mass-produced “kitsch” landscape paintings — that is to say, using their perspective and lighting and often reflections and gravity too. This, years before things like Panic Room‘s opening titles made a trend of floating type in physical perspective, or for that matter before indie artists made upcycling/overpainting found art cool.

Oh, and he used to do sets for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and directed Peter Gabriel’s video for “Big Time” — possibly the best video ever. Several more paintings [PG-13 for language], and the Big Time video (because we both know it’s been too long) after the jump.

Continue reading TypograFriday: Wayne White

Etsy Schmetsy: The ties that bind

So, father’s day is coming up and you can’t figure out what to give the guy who has everything? There’s always the safe bet of a tie. (Actually, the hipster ties we’ve rounded up here are probably more suited for your beaux, or yourself, than your dad.)

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Credits and lots of commentary after the jump.

Continue reading Etsy Schmetsy: The ties that bind

Portland TONIGHT: DDC at Office PCX

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In case any of our readership is in Portland, we’re so jealous that you get a chance to see the solo show of DDC/Aaron Draplin. Not just an art show but “Portland’s greatest selection of cool office supplies.”

6-8pm at Office. Read all about it.

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Draplin’s aesthetic — which you might recognize from Field Notes, the new Recovery.gov logo*, or his lovely hair organizer — is a mix of working-class Americana and 50s – 70s modern graphics, with occasionally an amazing burst of maximalist minimalism. I am so down to get one of the “career spanning” posters for the show (which features pretty much every project DDC has done since its inception and has today’s date in the title) when they go on sale next week (click for gianter version).

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We are lucky enough to own an earlier iteration of this sort of thing that Draplin did for the Wurst Gallery’s We Heart Gocco show in 2006. It’s all sorts of design-geeky (8: Pantone 123, 42: Futura Bold, 45: CMYK misregistration) and a great introduction to this singular designer.

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*It’s unclear how much of the recovery.gov and TIGER logos was done by Draplin, how much by Mode and how much by Chris Glass but he has both on his poster. In related news, have you seen Chris Glass’ He-Man and the Masters of Univers shirt concept? Can you believe that these are the guys making our federal logos these days? Our new president is so rad.

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BLVR RDR: First Issue

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VOL 1, ISSUE 1 March 2003

THIS IS THE FIRST BLVR RDR ISSUE REVIEW, WILL IT REALLY BE THE LAST:
Yes. No. It’s complicated.
Lots more after the jump.

Continue reading BLVR RDR: First Issue

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