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Sights & Sounds

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If you’re like me, you think a good playlist is the answer to everything. I am always on the hunt for my new favorite jam, and find extreme satisfaction in creating unusual groupings of songs. read on

Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light

This past weekend I went to the Yale Art Gallery for the first time in a very long time. In addition to seeing the spectacular new renovations to the museum and their expanded permanent collection, I saw the current special exhibition Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light. Viewers walk through the artist’s diagrams, sketches, and documentary photographs—this is incredibly helpful in understanding the artist’s process, and gauging how much work went into each piece. Once you have some background, you’re free to roam through the gallery and experience each beautifully composed light piece. Some of the larger pieces are so mesmerizing, it feels like you are transported into another dimension—experiencing time and space in a completely new way. Wilfred’s compositions create color combinations I never knew existed. What’s most remarkable about his body of work is that they were created before the digital age of technology, dating as far back as 1919.

I highly recommend taking a trip to the Gallery and experiencing them yourself! Lumia is open until July 23, 2017.

8 1/2 Stories by Bonnie Siegler

8point5_3I had the pleasure of attending AIGA CT’s combined event: 8 1/2 Stories by Bonnie Siegler and Design Observer’s traveling exhibition of 50 Books | 50 Covers. Bonnie Siegler is the founder of 8 1/2 — a multi-disciplinary design studio—so she appropriately shared 8 1/2 stories paired with design mantras. Some of the mantras that stood out to me were: No. 1, Know Your Inspiration; No. 6, Convey Emotions; and No. 8 1/2, Persistence Pays Off. Her presentation was the perfect blend of inspiration, passion, and wit. She shared several projects with us including the National September 11 Memorial and Museum logo, Newsweek covers, and motion projects for The Criterion Collection. It was great to learn more about such an influential graphic designer’s process.

When asked if she had a favorite type of project to work on, she answered saying that it’s hard to choose between books and motion. She explained how she sees a book as an animation slowed down, each page acting as a frame. She pushed this metaphor further by explaining that books put the user in control, while motion gives the designer the ability to control exactly what the user sees. Immediately, a light bulb went off.

As graphic designers, we are constantly informed by different media. It’s really interesting to see just how much print informs digital work, and vice versa; or how much other objects from outside the graphic design realm inform our work. It’s really crucial to understand the importance of choosing one specific medium over another.

To learn more about Bonnie & her studio, visit here.

Transport for London Adds Walking Times to Tube Map

Walking times between stations map

Walking times between stations map

The Tube map for the London Underground just became even more user friendly: Transport for London has added times in minutes to tell you how long it takes to walk between stations. This new layer of information is especially useful for travelers or people new to the city. While Harry Beck’s incomparable tube map design is renowned for its clarity and accessibility, navigating through any foreign city has its kinks. Since the map is not a street-view, it is easy and somewhat expected to take roundabout ways to some destinations if you’re new to the city.

I’m sure I would have put this feature to good use when I studied in London. In the beginning of my time there, the tube was my go-to mode of travel. As I got acclimated and developed a routine, I figured out when it was more efficient to walk. I’m sure the addition of walking times will help tourists, new London-dwellers and commuters, and will encourage people to explore the city more. Overall, I think this new feature adds to the original efficiency of Harry Beck’s tube map, and I am interested to see if this addition starts to catch on elsewhere.

Epson Introduces PaperLab

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Epson just announced the development of the world’s first office paper making system: PaperLab. It turns waste paper into fresh, new sheets. Amazing, but it doesn’t stop there.

PaperLab has a bunch of impressive features and functions, including its removal of water from the paper-making process, its high speed, and its ability to securely destroy confidential documents. But the coolest feature of this system is the control that users have over the new paper. Users are able to select the size and thickness of the new paper, are given different binding options, and even have the ability to make business cards.

We all use paper on a daily basis because of its convenience and efficiency as a form of communication. As designers, paper is one of our most essential tools. It is my favorite way to record the design process: from initial sketches, to prototypes, to the final product. While recycling in a more conventional fashion is great, there is something really fascinating about seeing your used paper transformed into something new and fresh that you can use within seconds. I’m eager to see how this technology will transform the workplace.

To learn more, visit Epson.

Bringing Vintage Book Covers to Life

Ever wonder what bringing flat graphic book covers into the world of animation would look like? Well, German animator Henning M Lederer did just that. Lederer’s work transforms a series of 55 book covers from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, into a dynamic animation. Not only is the concept of reinterpreting print form into animation interesting, but the actual transformation of the retro graphics is visually mesmerizing. While the original book covers alone are good pieces of graphic design, Lederer’s work makes them seem like they were meant to be in motion.

Prepare to be entranced.

Thanks to It’s Nice That for finding this gem.

Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year is an Emoji

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Yep, it’s true. The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is not a word at all. To be more specific, it is the “face with tears of joy,” which is the world’s most used emoji. While a great number of people are outraged, I am intrigued. What makes this so interesting is the fact that symbols are beginning to replace words, making emojis modern day hieroglyphs. We’re reverting back to an ancient form that uses symbols to represent words.

What is most interesting to me is that this particular emoji has such a specific name, but it —like others—is used to convey a range of emotions, thus expanding the intended definition. As a self-proclaimed “Emoji Enthusiast,” I spend time carefully selecting the perfect emojis to insert into conversations, or to replace words or emotions that I’m feeling. But, when we use these symbols, we are leaving them open for interpretation. Does this gap between sender and receiver affect the way we communicate? And, how will this trend of reverting back to symbols for communication progress?

I have so many questions, but what I’ve come to conclude so far is that there are two levels of understanding emojis: the universal interpretation and the personal meaning.

Two Types of Typefaces

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commercialtype

What would an orchestra be without tuned instruments? A meal without quality ingredients? A building without sturdy bricks? A good composition is nothing without the fundamental elements that make it whole. Like anything that is built from individual parts, graphic design falls flat without great typography. While graphic designers are typically interested in putting pieces together, typeface designers are more interested in building the pieces themselves, as Christian Schwartz pointed out at an AIGA lecture last Wednesday at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz of Commercial Type Foundry spent the evening sharing some of the painstaking process of typeface design as well as the beauty of experimentation.

What stood out the most was when Schwartz mentioned that there are two kinds of typefaces: ones that do whatever you want them to do, and ones that do all of the work. For instance, the typeface they designed for Bloomberg Businessweek, Neue Haas Grotesk, works with the various images featured on the covers. It gives the designers flexibility when designing with a range of images. Dala Floda, on the other hand, is a typeface they designed, whose intricate features let it stand alone. As you can see in the image above on the right, the forms themselves are so complex and unique that they actually become the image and the message.

As designers, it’s our job to work with what we are given, and when the materials are crafted with such attention to detail and enthusiasm, the end result is that much better.

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