Since Jack Left


Hard to believe it’s been a year since you called
your last family reunion. The one at the hospital.

Pretending to be a tough guy.
Eating pizza and shooting pool and trying hard
not to remember that you were dying. Then you did.

The long, blurry line of black cars and black suits and old uncles.
We carried you down from the Baptist church and wore dark sunglasses
And tried to be like you. Tried to be men.

When we got home, no one would sit in your chair. It was too soon.
Football in the swampy yard with saw-horse end zones and broken hearts.

I know you’re up there fishing that no-limit river
Where the mountains rub against the sky.
And I know you’ve got Red and Gary to help with the boat,
But sometimes I wish I could sit with you awhile, again
Just to watch the lines.

Into the West


journey_arrow.gifThis past Monday, I started a new position with Journey Group, Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I’m looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of print design & the process behind high-quality production. Journey has some really terrific clients including the United States Postal Service and World Vision magazine.

For the time being, I’ll be commuting over an hour each way, so we’ll be looking to move in the not-too-distant future. Good thing gas is so cheap and houses are selling like hot cakes…

Cult of Objectivity


massimo.jpgThis afternoon I had the great pleasure of listening to a living legend: the incorrigible Massimo Vignelli.
He spoke at the Grace Street Theater in Richmond on his life and practice, most prominently the iconic work of Vignelli Associates.

I came away refreshed and newly inspired. He discussed his usual fare: long-term clients, limited typefaces, working on the grid, expansive range and the pursuit of timelessness. Something he knows a thing or two about.

“I see graphic design as the organization of information that is semantically correct, syntactically consistent and pragmatically understandable. I like it to be visually powerful, intellectually elegant, and above all timeless.”

Massimo Vignelli (1931…)

Just Your Type


pentagramcal.jpgLooking for the perfect gift for that hard to please typophile on your list?

Well, look no further. You’ll be sure to squeeze their serif with this 2008 wall calendar from my dear friends at Pentagram. They’ve produced a desk/wall version (12 x 18) and a fantastic super-sized version (23 x 33) featuring a different typeface for each month of the year. They have them for sale over at KenKnight.com. And to those of you who think this post belongs in Obsolescent, I have only one thing to say: iCal can’t touch this… ever.

Touch & Go


pegasii.gif

The only way to claim the fertile ground is to break away from the pack and move beyond the frontier. Find things that you think are magical and rip them to shreds. That way you can see their guts.

Before the holiday, I had the pleasure of guest lecturing for a History of Design class up at JMU. I primarily focused on full-scope branding and the amazing opportunities that await young designers who are willing to push the envelope. More and more, I’m seeing the web and interactive media as our design Xanadu. Inspired by the recent writings of Armit, Khoi and Jeremy, I really wanted to get the students to project the epic scale of the design giants they’ve been studying (folks like Eames & Rand) into their own work and embrace the possibility that they could be the one to create the metaphorical IBM logo or Lounge Chair in this new media.

Make Way For The Champ


superest.jpgWho is the Superest of them all?

This simple question serves as the premise behind a delightful game being waged between Kevin Cornell (of Bearskinrug and ALA fame) and Matthew Sutter (hailing from sunny InkFinger). Basically, one player draws a hero with a super(esque) power, then the opposing player draws a hero with a power that trumps the first. This goes on and on, deep into the realms of absurdity and glory. It’s not unlike Extreme Rock, Paper, Scissors… but with really terrific drawings. Have a look!

Christmas Came Early


domusset.jpgThe Bryant Family Library had a major addition over the weekend.
We made our traditional fall pilgrimage to the Green Valley Book Fair and spent more than a few hours drooling over the printed page in all its glory. By far, the catch-of-the-day was this beautiful 12-volume collection of domus magazine – the premier Italian magazine for architecture and design for over 75 years. It contains selected articles from 1928 – 1999. My wife’s parents were nice enough to get it for us as an early Christmas present, and it promptly became one of our most prized possessions.

There’s just something so thrilling about seeing your design heroes described as “up and coming”.

Brave New Sound


In RainbowsThe brand-new Radiohead album In Rainbows was released for download today.
After wading through a very slow page load and online transaction (due to the heavy traffic, no doubt) I was able to download the entire album (that part was quick) as mp3 files. It’s mine. I own it. No DRM to rain on my parade.

Of course, the really newsworthy part of all of this is that I got to set my own price. Zero dollars. Ten dollars. One hundred dollars. Well pounds and pence technically. But, the point is that I got to decide the value of this music for myself. That and the fact that the band actually gets to keep the money I paid for their album since they’re not paying a label for distribution and promotion. Total paradigm shift. Very exciting stuff. Oh, and the album is excellent as well. Name your price and pull down your very own copy here.

AOL Top 100


top100 Like music videos?
AOL recently released their “Top 100 Videos” beta into the ever-growing pool of AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) apps that are hitting the scene these days. Early adopters love stuff like this.

It runs on both OS X and Windows and really showcases the capabilities of the new generation of desktop widgets. The design and usability is far better than I would have expected from a company like AOL. This sort of thing has the potential to boost AOLMusic’s credibility enough to make it an actual competitor with the likes of iTunes… maybe. Here’s what they have to say over at Adobe Labs and here’s the actual download site.