_archive for the ‘Design’ category

New Orleans: an Interactive Tribute

10/01/08 :: by magalish

I recently discovered Triple Canopy, an online arts magazine that involves a collaboration of different types of artists and writers sharing their perspectives on current social issues. The site itself is quite nicely designed. The intuitive interface almost makes users feel as if they’re flipping through a printed magazine—hitting the arrow key to go to the next screen feels just about as natural as turning a page.

The third issue is now completely live and is a tribute to the city of New Orleans and its residents, commemorating the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The issue reaches viewers on multiple sensory levels and has a powerful impact.

The issue begins with a short introduction that talks about the symbolism of the tragic event. It goes on to include artwork by Rudolph Radlinger and Roy Ferdinand, both local New Orleans artists. Also featured, is photographer Will Steacy, who spent time in the city during the year after the storm, taking beautifully disturbing photographs that document its aftermath.

The section titled Homemade Memorials introduces an ongoing sculpture project that memorializes desecrated, destroyed, and forgotten buildings using photographs that readers have submitted. I’ll be interested to see the future pieces that result from this project. This issue also includes a directory listing various community projects, organizations, and other ventures in New Orleans, as well as virtual tour through NOLA’s Ninth Ward. This article points out how isolated the region has become and how its devastation has, sadly, become a spectacle for tourists.

I found the audio portraits of struggling Ninth Ward residents to be particularly moving. There’s something about hearing stories of people’s experiences told from their own mouths that makes the reality of the tragedy hit home.

Speaking of the next president (and design)…

09/19/08 :: by stina

I can’t recall an election where so many young, creative people were so motivated by and interested in and excited about politics. Or at least a candidate. This isn’t an analysis without variables, mind you… our bff the internet has played a major roll in getting people fired up about a national cause. But still. Let’s look at some non-candidate sponsored items available for purchase today…

It started with the now famous Shepard Fairey illustration, which has since become sort of the unofficial logo of the campaign. (the poster is no longer available, but you can get stickers here).

And turned into this:

Look how many creative, talented people (and this is just a smattering of what’s available) are putting their skills to work to support their candidate for president. Outstanding! I mean, really, the first time that I can remember seeing people actually personally invested in an election.

A search for “obama” on Etsy yields 1486 items. That is some serious support. By contrast, a search for “mccain” only brings up around 300. And most of those are anti-Palin, not pro-McCain. Tell me this is a sign.

This also kind of negates my earlier, disgruntled post regarding the role of designers in affecting change. Eating hat. Now.

WPA posters thanks to FDR and forward-thinking government projects

09/18/08 :: by stina

I was pleasantly reminded of the WPA National Park poster series while perusing Shorpy (thanks to patrick’s tip) this morning. I love the bright, pre-computer graphics and the adventurous, frontier-sy feeling of exploration and, dare I say, majesty they convey.

I can only imagine (enviously) what it must have felt like to tour the country in the late 30’s, stopping at national parks where you legitimately might have been the only car on the road. It’s a lovely thought… and quite a departure from the madness of summertime in Yosemite Valley now.

For those hungry for a little history lesson, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) was part of FDR’s New Deal, instated to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work. A key part of the WPA was the Federal Art Project, whose purpose was to make art accessible and relevant to everyone, not just the elite. As a result these, along with 35,000 other designs, were printed into 2 million posters during the course of the project.

This Travel and Tourism series became well know for it’s bright, bold colors and it’s dramatic portrayal of our famous national parks. As an avid hiker, camper, and visitor to our (mostly western) national parks, I find these particularly beautiful and inspiring.

If only our current government would have the cajones to revive the idea that art can be a positive and motivating influence on the masses. Maybe our next president will… after all he’s already shown an appreciation for art.

Obama-Biden 2008!

Shorpy - 100 Year Old Photo Blog

09/15/08 :: by Patrick

Shorpy is a blog about old photos and what life a hundred years ago was like: How people looked and what they did for a living, back when not having a job usually meant not eating.

Get lost in time perusing these magnificent images depicting life in the first half of the 20th century. Pictured above is Thomas Burgess.

In 1911 Thomas W. Burgess was the second man to swim the English Channel. It took him 22 hours and 35 minutes. It’s not clear if this photo is from that event, but he’s definitely not dressed for recreational swimming. Burgess also swam for Great Britain in the 1900 Summer Olympics. George Grantham Bain Collection.

Via SimpleBits.

Pretty cool navigation

09/10/08 :: by monika

I really like the navigation on Red Issue. Well even the clothes, the photography and the type is kind of cool.

Hello Sour Sally!

09/10/08 :: by monika

It’s just sooo cute… You’ll love Sally

crafty paper flowers = welcome break from digital life

09/04/08 :: by stina

I love the computer (and especially the internet), don’t get me wrong. but I have a dear little spot in my heart for things made from (what appears to be) paper and glue and scissors. Esp when I haven’t had time away from the computer in a really long time.

Zoe Bradley apparently has the best job in the whole world that allows her to create amazing installations of flowers and paper dresses.

Sooooo cool. But her site could be more perfect… Maybe she wants us to redesign? Zoe, call us!

via design*sponge

Design Police is watching you

08/28/08 :: by monika

Bring bad design to justice! Be a part of Design Police

Data Resolution

08/28/08 :: by pwang

I don’t have an iPhone and am unaware of any visual redesigns since this was published, but I think in general this video editorial is applicable in a lot of cases, including its case study for Apple’s general design strategy, where sometimes user-interface design prioritizes looks and associates that with a user-friendly design. Mr. Tufte in this video really sheds light on data resolution, and what it means to be simple while not being sparse. There ought to be no reason that constraints in the medium should affect the level of detail in the message.

How design can save democracy

08/25/08 :: by brocksteady

How design can save democracy is an excellent (yet still flawed in my opinion) demonstration of better ballot design created for the New York Times by AIGA’s Ric Grefé and Jessica Friedman Hewitt.

It’s amazing that after encountering countless issues with voting ballots, even the most basic design fundamentals (like oh, say “clear page design”) still aren’t in the vocabulary of our government officials. The US is full of communication experts and graphic designers who would be more than happy to resolve the problem, yet no one seems able to cut through the politics to address this as a non-partisan design issue.

Somehow, clear communication was addressed for nutrition labels, so why not ballots? It’s not rocket science.