The Moonlight sconce is online for the People’s Design Award. Help by voting for the win! Voting closes OCT 12 2010 3 PM PST / 6 PM EST.
To celebrate the opening of his documentary premiere in SF last month, a number of Banksy murals popped up throughout San Francisco. The simple and poetic stencil-based images combined with the surprise and accessibility that comes from the public context make for a powerful visual delivery.
A bouquet of colorful hand-scrawled text against a stark textured background. When it comes to album art, personal and expressive beat cool and collected any day.
The band’s in top form too. Check out The National’s High Violet.
This year was my first visit to SXSW Music. I stuck around for a few days after giving a SXSW Interactive talk (thank you for those who attended!) and was blown away by the energy and the discovery taking place on such a massive scale. I picked up a few new favorite bands and some timely reminders about music as a form of artistic expression:
music is personal.
Each person’s navigation through the endless waterfall of musical expression is unique.
music is best shared.
As solitary an experience as music can be when you’ve got your headphones on at home, it’s something entirely different when you’re with friends or strangers, enjoying a familiar sound or discovering something new.
music is connection.
One of the most exciting things to see at SXSW is a relatively obscure band snowballing followers by performing passionately, 8, 9, 10+ times in a weekend, and watching word of mouth transform off-the-beaten-path bands into legends by week’s end. The best bands, regardless of genre, make you smile regardless of whether you’ve heard of them or not.
Some of my favorites (just scratching the surface): The Middle East, Broken Bells, Local Natives, Here We Go Magic, Shearwater, Surfer Blood, Miike Snow, The Very Best, The Walkmen (with local 5 piece brass ensemble @ Digg Shindigg), and of course his Orchestra, which was especially endearing for its unique context (secret venue in a power plant parking lot, with DIY flamethrowers and human mic stands, with VIP transportainment by the RVIP Lounge).
I wear contact lenses. I also design medical products from time to time. A theme that comes up over and over again with clients is the customer desire for products that feel less ‘medical’.
If you have to have corrective lenses, for example, it shouldn’t feel like a blemish or a disorder. Related products, from saline solution to lens cases, should feel like they’re part of a healthy, positive lifestyle. We’re all different, and none of our bodies are perfect. Rather than make products that call out imperfections and feel clinical, the best medical products should propose a healthy relationship between you and your body.
Check out the revamp of the Bausch & Lomb ReNu multipurpose contact lens solution below. When I unboxed the new version, it felt like a bottle of Vitamin Water, not like something I’d find in a doctor’s office.
Above: The old ReNu contact solution packaging.
Above: The new ReNu contact solution packaging.
To learn more about the rebrand, check out Pentagram’s entry.
In the Jewish tradition, on the day of the Lunar year when a parent had passed away, you light a candle and say a prayer. The candle is called Ner Neshama which means soul candle and signifies the memory of a lost one. It burns for almost 24 hours. This is the third year that I’ve lit a candle for my father and it’s a startling feeling to wake up the next day to see it burning. You go to work, nine hours later you come home and it’s still flickering on.
If you’re reading this, a suggestion: when you leave this page, don’t tweet, blog, poke, update, text, or IM. Instead, pick up the phone and call someone you love, or better yet, go see them in the flesh. Let’s cherish the living and celebrate those that have lived.
Retina-burning colors, clashing patterns, bold attitudes. 9-to-5ers in outfits they’d never dare to step into otherwise, except maybe on Halloween. Is it hypocritical? No way. I think it’s refreshing to see people step out of the sober and embrace the opportunity for expression against the white canvas of winter.
Starving and on the way to a Whole Foods this past Sunday for some ideas for dinner, I decided on a whim to stop in at a local Middle Eastern grocery store instead. I start chatting with the owner, after having tasted a batch of hummus she made by hand moments before I arrived. She brings me tea and urges me not to rush off until I finish it. While I’m hanging out and drinking my tea, with 3 bags of groceries on the counter, I make new friends and share some laughs.
In Turkey, I had a similar experience. You can’t go into a business without being approached with sweet tea and a friendly greeting. It immediately takes the “Business” out of business, and suddenly you’re dealing with people as well as their goods. I feel there’s a lesson here about service design - slow down, get personal, and don’t be afraid to give without getting back in return. The connection is worth the effort.
Above: a Turkish tea pot - water on the bottom, concentrated tea on the top slow-brewed, combine the two liquids to taste.
Small tea glasses (not venti) are found everywhere in Turkey and are the equivalent of a handshake in both small and large businesses.
Album Art was “invented” in 1940 by a young designer, who proposed that putting artwork on the covers of albums, instead of the earlier treatment of silver or gold type imprinted on a heavy, solid color background (like an encyclopedia), would increase record sales. He was right.
Before that, designers created visuals to imprint a mental image and a mood on the covers of sheet music. From exotic to seductive to classic, the examples below (from the 10’s, 20’s, 30’s) show how an appropriate use of imagery and a touch of drama turn an otherwise cut and dry medium (staff lines and dots w/ flags) into an emotional piece of literature. All using about 3 colors.
Pretty sexy for 1931. The “too distracted to care about my hat” is a nice touch.
Flights were a bit more expensive back then and many years before Vegas was an option for exotic getaway.
Apparently I need to spend some time in Ohio.
Must have something in the repertoire for when grandma comes by for tea.
The simplicity is contemporary and would also make great packaging for saltines or raisins.
A while back, I read an article in the NY Times about how fickle we are when it comes to consumption, especially when it comes to something as elusive and subjective as wine. Cliff notes version: Most people can’t tell the difference between $10 and $80 wine. Connoisseurs train themselves to learn what $80 wine is supposed to taste like. For the rest of us, ignorance is bliss.
Now I’ve had an $80 bottle a countable number of times in my life, and of course there’s a difference when it’s a great wine. I’ve also had $80 wine that’s terrible. So for the 95% of us that need some guidance, the role that emotion plays in the decision making process (especially when we have little else to go on) is incredibly powerful.
This is one of my favorite wine labels, a $4 Trader Joe’s special. The wine is nothing special - the identity is iconic. The symbolism itself is fantastic: Fuerza, “force” or “strength” in Spanish, represented by a little red man peeling back the paper label. Clever. I’ve probably bought over a dozen bottles of this stuff when I’m looking for “nothing special” wine.
Compare this to the $160,000 1787 Chateau Lafitte. I suppose you could call this the “Anti-label” - it feels like it’s from a case of one-offs. It’s initialed “Th.J.” because it was part of Thomas Jefferson’s own wine collection. The thing feels personal, above all - unique, precious, valuable.
When I went wine tasting in Baja California’s wine country, I found a small-batch producer that had a small sample run labeled with duct tape and the initials of the owner. To this day it’s probably the best and most memorable wine I’ve ever had. Orange peels, cloves, pepper. The mental image of this rustic bottle had something to do with that, or maybe it had everything to do with that.