, the graphic designer who defined the visual style of the 1960s and 1970s, has died at age 91 of a stroke. Thanks for all the color, Mr. Glaser. You've seen his work everywhere, from the iconic "I ♥ NY" graphic for a 1977 tourism campaign to the incredible poster included in Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits album in 1967. He was also co-founder of New York magazine. From the New York Times
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“We were excited by the very idea that we could use anything in the visual history of humankind as influence,” Mr. Glaser, who designed more than 400 posters over the course of his career, said in an interview for the book “The Push Pin Graphic: A Quarter Century of Innovative Design and Illustration” (2004).
“Art Nouveau, Chinese wash drawing, German woodcuts, American primitive paintings, the Viennese secession and cartoons of the ’30s were an endless source of inspiration,” he added. “All the things that the doctrine of orthodox modernism seemed to have contempt for — ornamentation, narrative illustration, visual ambiguity — attracted us.”
Mr. Glaser delighted in combining visual elements and stylistic motifs from far-flung sources. For a 1968 ad for Olivetti, he modified a 15th-century painting by Piero di Cosimo showing a mourning dog and inserted the Italian company’s latest portable typewriter at the feet of the dead nymph in the original artwork.
For the Dylan poster, a promotional piece included in the 1967 album “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits,” he created a simple outline of the singer’s head, based on a black-and-white self-portrait silhouette by Marcel Duchamp, and added thick, wavy bands of color for the hair, forms he imported from Islamic art.
From 1967 through the 1980s, Emory Douglas was the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, the revolutionary social justice and political organization founded in Oakland, California. Douglas was the art director, designer, and primary artist for The Black Panther Newsletter and created the iconic Black Panther flyers, handouts, and posters. His work is as relevant, and as necessary, right now as it was 50 years ago.
Art historian, artist, and professor Colette Gaiter referred to Douglas as "the Norman Rockwell of the ghetto, concentrating on the poor and oppressed."
To this day, Douglas creates powerful work that communicates urgent ideas and calls for action.
image: "All power to the people" by Emory Douglas (1970)
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Peter Stults is a New York-based graphic designer and illustrator who has used his quarantine productively: by designing movie posters for an imagined Lando Calrissian spin-off trilogy.
These are beautiful and delightful retro-chic. But my favorite detail is on the third poster, where Jean-Claude Van Damme gets special billing for his role as Darth Maul.
A better world is possible, folks. Check out Stults' Twitter feed for a bunch of other awesome throwback movie poster re-designs.
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Speculative Identities is a site run by Roger Strunk that analyzes and examines the graphic design and UI details of science fictional companies. For example, the myriad corporations that comprise the worlds as seen in Blade Runner and Total Rekall, or looking into the ways that the divergent timelines from Back to the Future II impacted the logos for Pizza Hut and USA Today.
Even more recently, they've taken a branding approach to one of my favorite dystopian sci-fi corporations: Cyberdyne Industries from the Terminator films.
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A new research entry is set to land on the site tomorrow, so stay tuned. And be prepared for a long read.
Strunk reverse-engineers from each and every iteration of the Cyberdyne logo as it appears across the movies in order to create the kind of standard branding standards sheet that any corporation would get from a graphic designer. These includes rules on things like fonts, color strategies, and permissible variations of the logo. And—because it's Cyberdyne—this extends beyond the instances of the logo as it appears on company badges and clothing, but also the variations that occur in divergent timelines.
It's an impressively comprehensive breakdown, approached with specificity and care of a professional graphic designer, as if they were actually hired to brand this multi-temporal company. Strunk even speculates into how this company's branding came about, both in-universe and in the real world. It's pretty fascinating stuff. Read the rest
This week, on the same day, I had not one but two friends tell me about designer Sonia Harris' "swearing patterns." Of course, I instantly became a fan. Her hidden-in-plain-sight patterns are subversive yet perfectly understated.
For example, this t-shirt's design appears to be a fancy mandala at first glance. But look closer and you'll see the words "Insufferable Wanker" cleverly incorporated into the pattern. (Ms. Harris, you get me.)
She got started drawing the patterns (using an iOS app called Amaziograph) while she was going through treatment for breast cancer, writing that swearing is a meditation for her:
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Despite my desire to create and soothe myself with art, I was also very angry at the bad luck of having spent decades dealing with pain from endometriosis only to get breast cancer just as I thought there was an end to it. The disgusting effects of the treatment, the frightening and painful experiences kept on coming... Hence my patterns contained a lot of profanity. I wanted to swear and I needed to swear. If I could have, I’d have been shouting those profanities from the rooftops! But I had no strength to raise my voice or even stomp around, so that left my drawings. I could write down an exclamation of disgust, carefully and lovingly so that seeing it gave me strength, reminded me that I have a voice and I am still alive. Seeing the repetition of my words and patterns calmed me, the inherent beauty of them made me feel in harmony with life again and able to rest.
Through a mix of archival and current footage, this lovely documentary puts Milton Glaser's iconic I ❤ NY logo in historical context. Read the rest
While these guns, knives, and bombs look deliciously real, they are in fact masterful digital art confections by artist Cristian Girotto. Let's hope a candymaker gets inspired! Read the rest
knt.remembr is a pretty great track from Knxwledge, but man, what I would give to have that wallpaper! Update: thanks to Deb Chachra for identifying the source: Dan Funderburgh's "Vigilant Floral".) (via Dark Roasted Blend) (Hi rez)
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The City of Los Angeles posted on Facebook -- with this awesome ad -- that they are hiring for a Graphic Designer, sorry, "Graphics Designer." Applicants clearly must know MS Paint inside and out.
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Standards Manual is one of the greatest recent projects in archival graphic design. Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth painstakingly recreate notable graphics standards manuals from NASA, the EPA, the American Bicentennial, and the New York Transit Authority. Next up is Identity: Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, an overview of the iconic design firm behind many logos still in use today. Read the rest
The textures in this series of letterpress mockups by Hydro74 (aka Joshua Smith) are almost tangible. Read the rest
If an artificial intelligence reviewed your favorite logo, how would that logo fare? now you can find out with Logo Rank, a nifty tool by the guy behind Brandmark. Read the rest
Ben Barrett-Forrest created The Design Deck, a nifty set of playing cards that each have facts about graphic design on them. Read the rest
The long-awaited documentary Graphic Means just premiered at the ByDesign film festival, describing a half-century of world-changing analog-to-digital shifts in how graphic designers worked. Here's the trailer. Read the rest
The Principle of Proportional Ink is a great primer on how to avoid what Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West call "visual bullshit," like this craptacular graph above. The rule is very simple: Read the rest
Rotten Tomatoes compiled a highly subjective list of striking movie posters.
Since the Moonlight and Sausage Party posters are well-known, here are a few lesser-known posters they list. Note: poster quality and film quality do not necessarily correlate. Read the rest
"Keming" is a nickname for bad kerning, and the fine folks at F**kYeahKeming have gathered some of the world's finest examples. Lots of "flick" and "click" kerning disasters, but some novel ones, too. The veracity and provenance of these have not been verified, but as long as we want to believe they're real, that's all that matters online. Read the rest