October 28, 2010

Helvetica a treat for design eyes

I just recently checked out the documentary Helvetica from the Library.

"It's a movie about fonts?" my husband asked me doubtfully when I proposed watching it together.

"Well... it's actually just about one font," I admitted.

Needless to say, I enjoyed it much more than he did. The pace was quick, the visuals lively and fun, and the interviews of design greats were inspiring. The film covered the origins of Helvetica and its rise to popularity, showing the startling difference between advertising of the 1950s and 1960s. It also made you so much more aware how pervasive it is as a font choice in both Europe and the United States. The interviews were balanced between those who found it an indispensable font for all purposes and those who thought it was bland, generic, overused, and dated.

I would recommend it for anyone interested into a sneak peek into the world of typography and graphic design – I promise you don't have to be a designer to be entertained by it!

October 26, 2010

Charley Harper fan

His subject matter was most often animals illustrated in a beautiful, simple, modern style uniquely his own. I really really like it. Check out the book on his life, the adorable children's books, the 2011 calendar, and the official website.

And I just found these fun alphabet flashcards!

October 25, 2010

Anthropologie is coming!

The store is coming to Grand Rapids!  Nothing better than being inspired by beautiful products arranged in beautiful displays amongst some beautiful interior design. Some people get on their mailing list just to be inspired by their luscious visuals.

The website is pretty fun too – what is your home decorating style? Craftsman, artist loft, cottage, or modern cabin?

On a design note, they've done a remarkable job of bringing the layered and textured to the design of their website. For a medium that frequently uses Photoshop effects to create shadows and shine, it's nice to see a more illustrative and organic look on a website.

October 20, 2010

I want to make these masks!

Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood of CraftSanity podcasting and blogging fame, I do love your ideas! Just recently she posted step-by-step instructions on making fun little masks. If I only I wasn't in the middle of not working on a quilt! I am doggedly trying to accomplish the current project list before taking on any more. A skim of the steps makes it clear that another trip to the fabric store would be in order. So I will wait.

Anyone else with creative and adventurous children just might want to whip these up though. So fun!

October 19, 2010

old is new at Target

And this news is a bit old. A while back I noticed an ad for a new line at Target which looked curiously old-fashioned. For the most part, I associate Target with modern and clean, bright colors. However, I have to admit I was attracted to the classic illustration style featured on some of the items. I made a mental note to write a blog entry about it.

Fast forward a few weeks, or perhaps a month, and I am finally writing about it. The line at Target is by John Derian. Apparently it is for a limited time. Who is John Derian? Judging by his lovely website he sells quality home decor items in his signature style, albeit at a different price point. Take a look at this great painting below (I do seem to have a thing for stark black and white flora). Explore a bit. If nothing else the site is a visual feast.

October 18, 2010

pinstripe acorns

I have taken special note this fall of the many thousands of acorns that our oak is depositing upon our yard, sidewalk, driveway, and shoulders... It seems the freshest ones are dressed in sassy seasonal pinstripes! I am quite delighted with their black and tan style.

October 15, 2010

Calder Plaza = playground

Turns out my daughter is a big fan of public art. Enjoy her constant motion as she explores Red Paperclips by Christopher Weed (The nicest guy! Had the pleasure of working with him on Artcation day) and the Grand Rapids favorite, La Grande Vitesse by Alexander Calder (otherwise known as "the Calder").

October 14, 2010

bits, pieces, and a nest

Here is an interesting collage piece by Kate Rivers. It's rather large and it is made of paper scraps plus pieces of books – all from her own life. She discusses how the nest is a metaphor for home, which she has lost due to her frequent moves as an adult.

I can't fully explain what it is that attracted me to this. I like the texture. I like the use and re-use of items that would be mere trash independent from each other. I like the concept of "nest" and "home."

October 13, 2010

fabric favorite from ArtPrize 2010

ArtPrize is done and over with but I can't resist sharing a few of my favorites. True to my recent creative interests, I found this fabric piece, Water Triptych by Roslyn DeBoer to be absolutely beautiful. I love how abstract it is and think it would be fun to do some unconventional things with fabric and thread (another reason why I am really excited about the Stitch Alchemy event coming to the Library!).

October 12, 2010

accordian fold postcard delight!

One of the biggest challenges of my job as an in-house graphic designer is keeping my work fresh. All of the Library's big events are annual affairs so each time they roll around I have to toe the line between sticking to the established and recognizable look from the year previous and doing something that's new and fun.

This year's Celebration of the Book event is going to be a week-long series instead of one jam-packed day. Each event has a very distinct theme and audience. I think all of them will be successful but there is not likely to be much overlap between the audiences. With that in mind, I started to think about how I could give each individual event its due glory.

From here, I came up with idea of doing a series of postcards. Since the final piece needed to be one brochure, I linked all the individual postcards together. The brochure is accordion-folded (think zig-zag) and I even got it perforated so each individual card could be separated. And sticking with my vision, the back of each card is designed like a real, throw-it-in-the-mail postcard. I would be thrilled if someone took the initiative to mail them but even if they don't they are still pretty fun.

Keeping with the theme, I designed a series of posters instead of just one single poster.