We're all fans

This ad makes me wish I still had a TV...
Catch the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday
In the meantime, check out this awesome companion site: wereallfans.com
(Ms. Gaga is up for 5 awards, and is rumoured to be performing with Elton John...)

Fantastic plastic crap!

Showing at the RBC Theatre in Mississauga, ON until Jan. 31
From her website:
"I'm Dixie Longate, America's #1 Personal Seller of Tupperware. I come from Mobile, Alabama, but I moved my trailer with all my kids to Los Angeles a couple of years ago as part of the conditions of my parole. I started selling the fantastic Plastic crap in 2001 and I have never had so much fun drinking for free in my life. Within a year, I was one of the top sellers in the nation because, well, me and some plastic bowls, and a bunch of drunk women somehow equals lots of sales."

The first Apple product I can [probably] live without

The Apple iPad: Like a giant iPhone, without the phone.


Put a lively clove of garlic in some soil last night... let's see what happens!

(See previously: adventures in potatoes)

Theatre that will "lift you"

Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill
Playing until February 28 at the Panasonic Theatre

Design rules

The 7 Rules to Understand Design and Designers

Things I love

Letter stencils! (I didn't realize I had so many!)
If you like collections, you'll LOVE this site.

Design rocks

Recent poster design for the Archaeology Centre at the University of Toronto
(please click for a closer look)

Today's words of wisdom

“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

-Jessica Hische, in an iChat interview over at HumblePied
(previous post about her here)

Gaga, simplified

Brilliant Lady Gaga poster mockup by Workerman
(Thanks Terry!)

Colour me happy.

Christian J. Faur has created an alphabet based solely on colours. For real.

From his website:
"...I have become aware of how difficult it is to find a universal meaning of color that can transcends the cultural boundaries in a similar way that the symbols used in written language and mathematics have become universal. In a failed quest to find universal color meaning, I hit upon an idea of just mapping colors to a pre-existing system that can hold meaning, the alphabet."
Here is his basic colour-coded system:
On his site, you can learn more about how text is processed by our brains, how he assigned the colours, how he expanded the system to include upper case, lower case, numbers, and punctuation, and see some stunning examples of his work in action:
Even more interesting are some of the problems and broader questions his work poses about art, design and typography:
  • Using colour, one can write without the limitation of using glyphs to represent data. As colour has no direct shape ... colour can be used in ways that traditional fonts can not
  • Colour text can be used inside of images to encrypt character data or embed metadata within the image itself
  • Colour can be applied to existing text to render double meanings
And for extra fun, he's included a free alphabet font and Colour Alphabet Converter.

(p.s. What does this mean for us synesthetes???)

The world we live in

"... Being provocative is not just about getting people's attention - it's about really saying something that affects people in a real way, in a positive way. So all the things that I do - in terms of The Fame and in terms of The Fame Monster - it's meant to sort of make it a bit easier to swallow, this kind of horrific media world that we live in."
-Lady Gaga, today on Oprah

Meli-mello, rebranded

My dear friend Melanie recently asked me to help her out with a logo/identity for her website.

The original website banner:

Some process work:
And, the new logo:

Plus, a version for the blog:

Along with her über-talented web designer, she has come up with a really beautiful new website. Good luck Melanie! (And congratulations!!)

The More You Know: Synesthesia

Do numbers, letters or days of the week have colours or smells? They might if you experience the unusual phenomenon called Synesthesia. To a synesthete, one or more sensory channels cause a kind of "cross-talk" that triggers experience in another channel.
A synesthete may experience colours with numbers or letters (very common), colours with sounds or musical notes (also common), taste or touch with certain sounds (less common) or even colours with changes in temperature (more rare).
No one really knows what causes Synesthesia, but neuroscientists are fascinated by it and are conducting research to try to better their understanding. Some believe that we all started out as synesthetes, but lost the ability in early childhood.
More, from Wikipedia:
"In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while [...] numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be "farther away" than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise)."
An example of how a word might be perceived by a synesthete:

I have a sinking feeling

Some new gadget called the Boxee Brown, which shares internet content with your television.
(I would buy it just to look at!)

Vintage resolutions

Delightful illustration by Martin Provensen
from The Fireside Cookbook by James Beard, originally published in 1949
(thanks Steph!)

Beautiful disaster

"On May 1, 1947, just after leaving her fiancé, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale wrote a note. 'He is much better off without me ... I wouldn't make a good wife for anybody,' ... Then she crossed it out. She went to the observation platform of the Empire State Building. Through the mist she gazed at the street, 86 floors below. Then she jumped. In her desperate determination she leaped clear of the setbacks and hit a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Across the street photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive crash. Just four minutes after Evelyn McHale's death, Wiles got this picture of death's violence and its composure."
-from Life Magazine, on the tragic suicide of Evelyn McHale


New ad for syphilis prevention in Toronto

Book review #3

Some inspiring highlights:

-seeing comes before words
-design is still something you do with the hand, eye & brain
-there is no such thing as an un-designed graphic object anymore
-graphic design has a cultural and aesthetic value beyond the mere trumpeting of commercial messages
-graphic design is best when the designer's voice is allowed to register
-designers must acquire levels of entrepreneurial determination
-designers must have a cultural awareness / curiosity beyond graphic design - treat life as research
-designers must be able to talk about their work in a coherent, convincing and objective way - the ability to use words clearly, pointedly and persuasively is at all times relevant to design work
-although designers constantly demand freedom, they really crave constraint

Author's advice
-there are no wrong jobs
-"in a world with no principles, people often respect those who have some"
-everyone who tells the truth is interesting
-when talking to clients, demonstrate understanding, openness, receptivity
-know how to say "no"
-if you're not happy with what you do, change how you do it, or change what you do
-do what comes easy; do what gives you pleasure; do it as much as you can
-if you want to be famous, the first thing you have to do is stop wanting to be famous
-find your design "voice" through your creative convictions, your personality and your awareness
-handwrite addresses on envelopes
-always take time to think

Jessica Hefland on graphic design:
"Graphic design is the visual language uniting harmony & balance, colour & light, scale & tension, form & content. It is the language of cues, puns, symbols & allusions of cultural references and perceptual inferences that challenge both the intellect and the eye."
Bruce Mau on the creative process:
"Ask the right questions, understand the problem, and explore lots of possible solutions."
John Warwick on graphic design:
"There's no such thing as graphic design, only lots of books on it and an assumption that it exists."
Steven Heller on talent:
"Talented designers are predisposed to create good-looking work. We are taught to marry type and image into pleasing and effective compositions that attract the eye and excite the senses. Do this well, we're told, and good jobs are plentiful; do it poorly and we'll produce junk mail for the rest of our lives ... As [Milton] Glaser notes, the key is to ask questions, for the answers will result in responsible decisions. Without responsibility, talent is too easily wasted on waste."
Corey Holms' advice to young designers:
"Pay attention ... Stop talking and start watching and listening."
Ian Anderson on the creative process:
"Looking at something in a different way requires the discipline of giving up what you already have."
Author's final remarks:
"The biggest problem designers face is fear: fear of clients, fear of failure, fear of ideas. Our ability to overcome fear is perhaps the greatest skill we can acquire. Most bad design, most mediocre design, is a consequence of fear. Clients are frightened; designers are frightened; audiences are frightened. The modern world of commerce runs on fear: a marketplace of terror that makes us timid and risk-averse. Most of us deal with fear by falling back on the familiar and the safe. But if we do this, we are not allowed to turn around and say our lives are dull. If we are going to avoid losing our souls, we have to overcome the fear."
(also mentioned previously)

New year, new shelf!

Happy happy happy!

Bloody good type

Not sure who Youth Blood is, but I love this dynamic type treatment...

New year's project

Twenty-six in fifty-two

To profile all twenty-six letters of the English alphabet — one every two weeks — for fifty-two weeks. Let's see what happens...

Glorious monotony

-Chris McGregor

Let the new decade begin!