Category Archives: Design

Coversourcing – Book Jacket Design Competition

So, I caught this link on Coudal’s Fresh Signals, and decided I wanted to give it a try, so I thought of this idea, hashed it out, then read the terms and conditions:

This competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over who is a resident of the UK or the Republic of Ireland except for employees of The Random House Group Limited (the promoter), its subsidiary companies, their families and any other company connected with the competition.

Ill see what happens.

Crowdsourcing Cover Design

My Font Experiment

Kris SansSo, If you don’t know this about me, I really enjoy typography. So with that being said, I wanted to make a simple font, with a straight line and a circle. Thats it. Rules were that I could rotate the line any degree however I could only crop the line and circle at 90 degree angles, the only rule i bent was to slightly increase the x height of the lowercase o, apparently your eye plays tricks on you if you don’t. So here is my complete lowercase set for what I am calling Kris Sans. Simple like my name, no frills and my first attempt at creating a font. Surprisingly, this took a lot longer than I thought it would. I can see how people get lost in the little details of a letter on the micro level.
Kris Sans

Johnny, Where have you been?

So, what’s been going on you say? Well, a lot, last weekend J and I went to Denver to visit a friend. So, how was denver? It was fun, We saw the art museum, which is one of the coolest, craziest buildings. We went skiing, 3 1/2 mile long runs… in 30 inches of fresh powder. Nice (besides my mogul face plants). We watched showgirls all the way through uncut, pure insanity. So that’s Denver. You know I was surprised by the amount of forced design I saw on the main strip there. Everything is so new and the branding is very calculated, so it gives the city a movie set type of feel, instead of the gritty non-time square nyc i’m used to. So, it seems once again that I love NY. (the city, not the show, minus a few choice quotes, “I’m afraid of parrots because they don’t know how to speak English diction”)

As far as this blog, i’m movin on up, to my own host, I figured it was pretty lame for a web designer to use a stock theme for his blog, so I am working on skinning my own blog over at johnnybrazil.com, however it is not linked because I am not ready to push, however it will be soon.

Also, I finished the beta test of my most recent site for the law firm Donahue & Goldberg.

And Speaking of law firms, I also just recently busted out some CMS (Content Management Systems) skills for my Morgenstern Jacobs & Blue site. Originally a static site, I recently retooled a wordpress theme to act as the dynamic interface for this site. I will be launching it soon.

Links to follow.

In Response to Landmark Websites

Over at Speak Up Armin posed the following, i’m summarizing because you can get lost in all of the comments over there, and I wanted to solidify my point as a complete idea:

Milton Glaser’s Dylan poster. Paul Rand’s IBM logo. Paula Scher’s Public Theater posters. Massimo Vignelli’s New York subway map. Kyle Cooper’s Seven opening titles. These are only a few landmark projects of our profession… But when it comes to web sites, I can’t think of a single www that could be comparable — in gravitas, praise, or memorability — as any of the few projects I just mentioned. Could this be?

My Response:

While you talk about the IBM logo, and the Dylan poster, as landmark, they are landmark to designers. The average American doesn’t relate. Within the design field you are talking about what designers find influential to the future of that particular medium.

What we have in web-design is individual’s who inspire approaches. People like Jeffrey Zeldman, Eric Meyer, Khoi Vinh, and Dave Shea, just to name a few. Champions of CSS, standards, and grids in web design. These guys may not all be designers but they give designers the inspiration to create future design just as Paul Rand inspired by his work.

Speaking of Dave Shea what about The CSS Zen Garden, arguably one of the most influential websites in modern web-design. While the website has over a hundred versions, (not all beautiful) the impact on showing the possibilities of CSS have made a definite impact on the medium.

Think about how design is evolving. Design is now created to change. Michael Bierut’s Saks Fifth Avenue Identity has hundreds of variations. The NYC logo (for good or for bad) was created as a container for future iterations, and so on…

(side note: while I am a big Kyle Cooper fan, when I think landmark and film titles I think Saul Bass.)

Follow Up 1:

>(Armin stated that:) This discussion is about designers, not the average American.

My Response:

Yes, I understand, I was just using this point to set up the rest of my statement, that the concept of landmark design in today’s design world is evolving, in print and on the web, we need to broaden the scope a bit.

Follow Up 2:

>Other member’s sited Threadless as a possible landmark website.
>Someone else posed the question, who are influential web designers?

My Response:

Threadless is a store and a very niche market. I don’t know how much impact it has on the design community at large.

The question is really what constitutes as landmark print design in the last 7 years?

As far as influential web designers. I already made a case for Khoi Vinh, although Armin discounted nytimes.com already. But what about his beautiful A Brief Message.

I think there is a strong case for the guys at Coudal, I mean Armin himself is taking part in their Layer Tennis tomorrow.

What about the guys at A List Apart. Who not only educate, but lead by beautiful simplistic example.

All of these guys are all stripping down the web to it’s essentials and working within the confines of the medium, using system fonts, CSS and images, all while teaching the community at large how to follow suit. Try that print designers.

Design:Related or Behance

Social Networking for Designers

I recently joined two new social networks, both related to design. I have been a member for a little bit now, however, until now I haven’t posted any projects. I am going to do a little comparison. I am posting the same work on both sites, and I will then track my progress on both. The site I get better use out of I will use. So check out my profile at Design:Related profile or my profile at Behance Network or both.

Do I really need another two social networking site to update? Sure, why not (although I have to work on the social part). So far, Behance seems to give me more options on how I present my material, however posting my portfolio on Design:Related was quick and easy. As I use it I’m sure my pro’s and con’s list will grow. For a while, I was unsure what projects to highlight. Currently my thoughts are to post design that I have had free reign to experiment with. Some are working out techniques, other’s are works that bands have used for promotion. I will be adding personal projects occasionally to my portfolios as I get inspired and I will post links here.

NYC Taxi or Why I’m Tired of Wolff Olins*

NYC Taxi

A few weeks ago I was in a cab with j and finally wanted to know what the deal was with the redesign of the NYC Taxi logo. I insanely asked my cab driver expecting him to go into a design brief about the subject; to no avail. After seeing it for some time, looking out that window it bothered me, it looked haphazard, slapped together, and the letter spacing of AXI unnerving. I got to my destination, got into a conversation about the evening and that was that.

Tonight I just saw a post via quipsologies about the background and some critiques of the logo. Understanding first hand how politics and too many cooks in the kitchen can interfere with a well thought out design concept, I can’t help but appreciate the attempt. However, it makes me sad and nostalgic about the times when good classic design won (I’m only 26, so I don’t recall such a time, but i’ve heard stories). When not everyone was a designer, when graphic design was clean and not ugly. While Carsonesque design has it’s place, NYC Taxi’s are a staple, they are above a trend. Classic design transcends words like futuristic, and edgy. From ugly on purpose to football uniforms, i’m tired of the anti-design, I love NYand I’m tired of design that so quickly becomes dated.

By the way NYC already has a logo and I love it.

*Wolff Olins created the NYC logo incorporated into the taxi logo as well as this abomination sometimes referred to as the Lisa Simpson Giving Head logo.

Word It! October

Word It - Look

Over at Under Consideration Armin Vit and Co. have created a powerhouse family of websites that I have come to check regularly over the years for inspiring, and creative content. While my google reader sends me regular updates to Quipsologies and Brand New, when I have some extra time I find myself over at Speak Up, the hallmark of the family of sites.

One of the great features of Speak Up is a great design community creation called Word It. It is an excercise in design and allows any visitor to submit their interpretation of the word to be featured (randomly pulled from the current month’s submissions) on the home page.

Get on with it Brazil. Ok, so I have been wanting to submit for years now, but never actually buckled down, so inspired by this months word Look. I decided play off of the old Kool Cigarettes mascot Willie the Penguin.