Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Mo’ Money, Mo’ (Design) Problems

April 7, 2008

I finally got my hands on one of the redesigned five-dollar bills this afternoon (while buying tacos!) and man, what a mess. I understand that the Federal Reserve isn’t really in the business of design, and that their chief priority is to discourage counterfeiting, but they couldn’t have made an uglier bill if they had tried. The insanely out of place purple “5” is probably the most egregious misstep, as the Fed somehow tried to shoehorn Helvetica into a bill that is otherwise serif’d-to-the-max. Not to mention the cloud of yellow “05”s that dot the front and back of the bill, which appear to have been added by a retarded, blind child. All of our new currency has been laughable, but this just about takes the cake (previous cake-taker: Alabama’s Helen Keller Quarter.)

And at the other end of the currency-design spectrum, we have this redesign of Britain’s coinage:

Now THAT is awesome money. By modernizing the Shield of the Royal Arms, which has then been segmented among six denominations, the Royal Mint has developed a thoroughly contemporary design that is as artistically successful as it is utilitarian. No purple, no Helvetica, no blind-idiots running amok. Bravo, Brits.



March 24, 2008
FedEx Logo

With the NCAA Tournament on hiatus until Thursday night (and let it be noted that last week I was RIGHT ON THE FUCKING MONEY when I predicted Davidson would end up in the Sweet 16. Go Team Brock!) I thought it would be a good idea to discuss something completely unrelated to collegiate athletics. Ergo, logos. Specifically, the FexEd logo, pictured above. It’s almost certainly my favorite corporate logotype. While I appreciate the simple san-serif type, a mash-up of classic modernist typefaces Futura and Univers, the logo’s true brilliance is in its use of negative space. Take another glance at the image above, this time focusing on the white spaces between the letters. Notice anything interesting? Yep, an arrow, plain as day, nestled between the “E” and “x.” And it’s no accident. The logo’s creater, Lindon Leader, has this to say:

“The power of the hidden arrow is simply that it is a ‘hidden bonus.’ It is a positive-reverse optical kind of thing: either you see it or you don’t. Importantly, not ‘getting the punch line’ by not seeing the arrow, does not reduce the impact of the logo’s essential communication.”

And it is the arrow’s incredible subtlety that really makes the logo work so well. In an age where consumers are constantly bludgeoned by heavy-handed attempts at branding, the FedEx logo is a breath of fresh air, a logotype that actually respects our intelligence. Infinitely superior to that goofball with the awful haircut and dry-erase marker that’s currently pimping UPS. (interview with Lindon Leader at the Sneeze.)

Sam Weber

March 4, 2008
Carried Away
The Tempest

Sam Weber is one of my all time favorite illustrators.  This guy’s skillz are robust, people!  And he’s been published everywhere:  The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Playboy, DC/Vertigo Comics, Random House, The L.A. Times, ESPN Magazine, Wired Magazine, Penguin, SPIN, Paste, and on andonandonandon.  Just supremely talented.  Bottled awesome, really.

“Aww Boy, I’m Just So Tired of All These Star Wars.”

March 3, 2008
This was too incredible NOT to post. It’s the end credits for Star Wars done in the style of Saul Bass (who created the title sequences for The Man With the Golden Arm, Vertigo, and It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, among others.) (via kottke.)

Shiny Binary

February 19, 2008


Dream Machine
Soft Type

Some absolutely stunning Photoshop work by Nik Ainley. Some day I hope to have his degree of Photoshop handles. Slowly but surely, Brock, slowly but surely.

Monster Mess

February 16, 2008


Since its release, internet nerds (and I use that as a term of endearment, considering I’m fucking King Dork) have complained that Cloverfield was nothing more than a shaky-cammed  cocktease.   The fact that we never got a true reveal of the oh-so-mysterious monster was a real sticking point for a lot of people.  Personally, I thought it added to the experience — these critics are the same people who complain that they never get any answers from LOST, all the while ignoring the fact that this type of entertainment is enjoyable because of the mystery, not in spite of it.  It’s the means, not the end, people.  It’s an inevitability that whatever answer is provided simply won’t live up to the image in your head.  Which is why the above image is such a disappointment.  What you’re seeing is the Cloverfield monster in $99, 70-points-of-articulation toy form.  And it’s just not very cool looking.  I would have been perfectly happy never knowing that it’s just some pasty, daddy long legs/praying mantis amalgam.  But whatever, killjoys.  There you have it.  ROAR!



February 13, 2008


After months of drawing pretty girls, I figured it was time for a change of pace, and thus the above piece was created (click the image to see it bigger.) I used myself as a model for the zombification process (which I gave a sneak peak of a few weeks ago), and then fleshed things out (pun intended) using Photoshop and Illustrator. This was my first go at Illustrator since high school, which proved to be a bit of a challenge, but I masked my inexperience by putting everything into Photoshop and texturing the shit out of it. I know the text is nearly illegible (which was done on purpose) — it reads “diabolos,” which is the Greek root for “devil.” Figured it was appropriate. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a hankerin’ for brainnnnsssss.

John Alvin

February 11, 2008

As a design student, I was disheartened to learn over the weekend of the death of John Alvin, who was perhaps the preeminent poster artist of his generation.  You may not know his name, but if you’ve been to a movie theater in the past few decades you’ve almost certainly been exposed to his work.  A true artist, Alvin often imbued his posters with an effervescent glow that tended to place his work somewhere between the golden haze of Old Hollywood and our contemporary cinema.  He will be missed.  (A gallery of many of his posters can be seen here.)

Blade Runner


Short Circuit


It’s Funny Because It’s True

February 8, 2008

Mellow Yellow

I’m not sure why I find this so amusing. Wait, strike that. I know exactly why. Because on the inside I’m still a 12-year-old boy. And because bodily functions = funny. It’s just a fact, people. (via MakeNoSound.)

Well Played

February 1, 2008


What, no Helvetica? (via The Triumph of Bullshit.)

Dan McCarthy

January 30, 2008

3 of Hearts

Everything Loved

A couple of years ago I ordered a print from Dan McCarthy. I have been a huge fan ever since, even buying another print as a Christmas gift for my little brother. Full of dinosaurs, ghosts, skeletons and stars, McCarthy’s work could be defined as paleontological surrealism. And not only that, he sells a different print each month for CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. Check him out.