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 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


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”.