March 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
October 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
Today I watched the Helvetica documentary that came out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the font. The idea of a documentary about a typeface really doesn’t seem like it would tickle most, but I found it so interesting.
The font was designed 50s as a clear, modern typeface and its name is from the Latin name for Switzerland. Today it is still one of the most used fonts in the world. Apparently it’s more in our faces than I previously thought. Here are just a few of the places we can see it:
August 24, 2010 § Leave a comment
I came across these images yesterday and was intrigued to find out more about the project. Design office Dowling Duncan create a set of bank notes for the Dollar ReDesign Project by designer Richard Smith.
I think it would be amazing to see a nation with a modern look to its currency. I love this design, but…I just don’t think Obama is worthy of the $1 over Washington.
In their own words:
Why the size?
We have kept the width the same as the existing dollars. However we have changed the size of the note so that the one dollar is shorter and the 100 dollar is the longest. When stacked on top of each other it is easy to see how much money you have. It also makes it easier for the visually impaired to distinguish between notes.
Why a vertical format?
When we researched how notes are used we realized people tend to handle and deal with money vertically rather than horizontally. You tend to hold a wallet or purse vertically when searching for notes. The majority of people hand over notes vertically when making purchases. All machines accept notes vertically. Therefore a vertical note makes more sense.
Why different colors?
It’s one of the strongest ways graphically to distinguish one note from another.
Why these designs?
We wanted a concept behind the imagery so that the image directly relates to the value of each note. We also wanted the notes to be educational, not only for those living in America but visitors as well. Each note uses a black and white image depicting a particular aspect of American history and culture. They are then overprinted with informational graphics or a pattern relating to that particular image.
$1 – The first African American president
$5 – The five biggest native American tribes
$10 – The bill of rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution
$20 – 20th Century America
$50 – The 50 States of America
$100 – The first 100 days of President Franklin Roosevelt. During this time he led the congress to pass more important legislations than most presidents pass in their entire term. This helped fight the economic crises at the time of the great depression. Ever since, every new president has been judged on how well they have done during the first 100 days of their term.
July 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
Dream job #34: Cartographer
While computers have made our lives “easier”, it’s safe to say that I still like things done the old-fashioned way: architecture renderings, snail mail, and maps. Nothing makes my heart more excited to travel than looking at an old, crusty map.
Anyone who has walked along the banks of the Seine in Paris leafing (“Puis-je feuilleter?“) through antique maps from the street vendors knows what I’m talking about. But it’s probably not the right time to invest $300 in something like that (yet!).
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been itching to begin some “map graphics” projects of my own. If it’s layered, hand-drawn, skewed, abstracted, or conceptual, I’m into it. This is just the inspiration I’ve been looking for.
One of my favorite map applications: using its layout to create a pattern:
This one is a more imaginative map from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. (He had bought a large map representing the sea/Without the least vestige of land:/And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be/A map they could all understand./“What’s the good of Mercator’s North Poles and Equators, Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?”/So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply/“They are merely conventional signs!/“Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!/But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank: / (So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best — /A perfect and absolute blank!”)
An old Roman map of showing manner and details of streets without any practical information:
Painting of possibly the first map at Catal Huyuk, Turkey. At first it appears to be beautifully abstracted, but this city didn’t have any streets, so it’s actually accurate and I don’t see how this could have provided any navigation. :
July 13, 2010 § 2 Comments
Exactly one week ago (July 6th), it was Frida Kahlo’s 103rd birthday.
I also happened to watch this movie again last week. It is one of my favorites and, as with most of my favorite movies, I try not to watch it too often so there will still be surprises for the next time.
Julie Taymor and Salma Hayek did an amazing job bringing Frida’s work to life (literally). My favorite scenes include original artworks transforming into scenes. Vibrant, honest, and passionate are all adjectives that come to mind when I think of Frida’s art and the film’s story provides the context.
A few images to entice you: