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thoughts and observations about design, information architecture and design history
Friday 05|31|02

Came across a post today that pointed me to a piece about the CBS Eye logo. (thanks scrubbles) The logo was designed by William Golden in 1951. It was designed for screen viewing and with motion in mind. This is quite interesting, because many times a logo or brand is designed first for letterhead or stationary system and it is only later adapted or force fit into other media and uses.

The CBS logo is a brilliant example of symbol design. It has withstood the test of time, of adaptation - color, line treatments, backgrounds etc - without diluting the strength of the mark. The piece also talks about Golden's inspiration for the mark from Shaker and Pennsylvania dutch symbols. Golden said, about his mark "It is used so often that it sometimes seems like a Frankenstein's monster to me, but I am grateful it is such a versatile thing that there seems to be no end to the number of ways it can be used without losing its identity."

Golden was influential in the design world by upgrading the role and responsibility of the designer within the corporate world. To learn more info about Golden and his work, there is a great book about Golden, that was put together by his wife Cipe Pineles after his death that covers his work and his career. The book is long out of print, but you can find it used - I have 2 copies from used book stores. You can also check out this short bio and work featured in the Agha issue of PM Magazine.

Posted by erin at 06:01 PM | in History :: William Golden :: | Link | Comments (1)

Wednesday 05|29|02
Cool Cats!

In the vein of interesting collections, I stumbled across this site which has an incredible collection of record album covers available for viewing. Most are from the 50's and 60's. Gathered together they are quite impressive and fun to browse. I especially like the treatment of the typography. I miss the size of LPs. CDs just don't come close.

If you are interested in more album cover art - check out the work of Alex Steinweiss. He was art director and designer at Columbia records in the 40s and essentially invented the modern album cover as we know it today. This book covers the history of Steinweiss's work and has a ton of great examples of album cover art.

Another great album cover designer is Paula Scher. Now at Pentagram as a partner, Paula started out as an art director for Atlantic records and CBS records.

Posted by erin at 11:34 PM | in History :: Sites of Note :: | Link | Comments (2)

Tuesday 05|21|02
Some more collections

Some more collections of magazines to look at and visibly see the course of time. Individual issues don't always seem that interesting, but gathered together and compared to the other periodicals, well, they cause me to lose several hours as I look at the design trends - typography, illustration shifting to photography - as well as the look at what was important at the time in terms of the subject matter.

Life Magazine Covers
Some Crazy Modified Magazine Covers
Time Magazine Covers
Fortune Magazine
Old Charm, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Mademoiselle and Vogue's

Posted by erin at 10:53 PM | in History :: Magazines :: | Link

Tuesday 05|14|02
Bygone Days of Travel

I found another really interesting site specializing in the ephemera of travel. This site: Vintage Labels: The Lost Art of Travel is chock full of examples of the travel labels that you used to get for your luggage when travelling by Air, Ship, and Rail.

The site dissects the label and the communication responsibilities for the label as well as discussing a brief history of travel. The galleries collection is the meat of the site and features hundreds of vintage labels from all countries. You can browse thumnbails by different categories and countries as well as see the labels at full size.

Each label is a mini poster with interesting fonts and illustrations. This is a great collection - especially for the style and typography of the times. I look forward to the site owner's additions to the collection.

Posted by erin at 12:12 PM | in History :: Sites of Note :: | Link

Sunday 05|12|02

Great article appearing in the latest issue of Print Magazine about Typography Blogs. The article discusses Lines and Splines (a fave) and Textism (another frequently visited site) and how the online type blogs are tearing down the snobbish walls erected around formal typgraphic discussion.

I found the article, by Joe Clark (of NuBlog fame), online for your reading pleasure.

I applaud Print for publishing the essay, as it is one of the first articles I have seen in the slew of offline magazines that I still read, that references the topical blog.

In the same issue of Print, Rick Poynor laments the lack of "real" criticism in design. This refers to true criticism about designed works rather than the critical writing or theoretical writing about the topic of design in general. If he looked around online at the plethora of blogs that talk about design, he would find a lot of designers, albeit online, web, IA, ID, experience types, writing critically about the work of others. Criticising the experience, the design, the choices the designers made.

In the meantime we are inundated with sites, books, annuals, features in magazines, that fawn over the work of a designer with little to no critical analysis or discussion of their work. Until the sides are balanced or some of the online writers make the leap into the "printed word", there will seem to be little in the way of critical writing by designers. These designers are generally unknown in the circle of "design writers" so to Poynor they probably don't exist - but they are here and vocal and writing and "seeing" the work of others.

Posted by erin at 08:55 AM | in Magazines :: Typography :: | Link | Comments (1)

Saturday 05|11|02
Graphic Design Novel

Eye Magazine online has a nice critique by Rick Poynor about Chip Kidd's novel "The Cheese Monkeys".

This was a terrific, fun novel - especially if you are a graphic designer who went to art school. I wrote a review about it for Amazon right after I read it and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be entertained for an afternoon.

Posted by erin at 05:46 PM | in Books :: | Link | Comments (1)

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