this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all
this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all.
this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all.
this is a private blog for my design students and assorted other survivors. Tro blemakers all.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

remember ...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

apropos of nothing ..

Whilst (ha) re-searching for a current project - I've been looking at
a wonderful mixture of still images from Sofia Coppolla's marvelous film, Marie Antoinette.

Whether you liked the film or not - the films art direction is utterly brilliant.

Comprehensivley elegant -  in both concept and execution,  ( ....  it's all there, perfectly, in the right place, in the right way ) - the films designers created a beautifully subtle,  in fact, masterful colour sense.  Which is allied of course -  with their obsessive attention to and real appreciation of period detail. Clearly the art director, built a beautiful film, based upon an acute awareness of  the period's manners, amusements and ambitions -  and was able to lovingly articulate them, with both charming wit and a real virtuosity.

To me the films brilliance, is most often found in these very details, and, as in any great
work, they resonate throughout it. 

FYI, when the film was shot , it was overexposed sightly, then in post, the gama was digitally further modified, by compressing  the mid tones, giving the film a washed-out feeling. ( it's called a wash, and recently it was done again for the film Atonement )

check out the dog bed, jeez. cleeqez to enlarge the images

for more, do visit the above site, it's rather marvelous

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere
Published April 05, 2008
Harvard Law School
Authored by John Kelly, Bruce Etling,
Internet and Democracy

( please click to see an enlarged image )

This case study is part of a series produced by the Internet and Democracy project. The initial studies include three of the most frequently cited examples of the Internet’s influence on democracy.

The first case looks at the user-generated news site, OhmyNews, and its impact on the 2002 Presidential elections in South Korea. The second documents nontraditional media and the use of cell phone technologies for information sharing and organization of protesters during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.

This third case analyzes the composition of the Iranian blogosphere and its possible impact on political and democratic processes. The objectives of these studies are to write a narrative description of the events and the technology used in each case, to draw initial conclusions about the actual impact of technology on democratic events and processes, and to identify questions for further research.


We used computational social network mapping in combination with human and automated content analysis to analyze the Iranian blogosphere. In contrast to the conventional wisdom that Iranian bloggers are mainly young democrats critical of the regime, we found a wide range of opinions representing religious conservative points of view as well as secular and reform-minded ones, and topics ranging from politics and human rights to poetry, religion, and pop culture. Our research indicates that the Persian blogosphere is indeed a large discussion space of approximately 60,000 routinely updated blogs featuring a rich and varied mix of bloggers. Social network analysis reveals the Iranian blogosphere to be dominated by four major network formations, or poles, with identifiable sub-clusters of bloggers within those poles. We label the poles as 1) Secular/Reformist, 2) Conservative/Religious, 3) Persian Poetry and Literature, and 4) Mixed Networks. The secular/reformist pole contains both expatriates and Iranians involved in a dialog about Iranian politics, among many other issues. The conservative/religious pole contains three distinct sub-clusters, two focused principally on religious issues and one on politics and current affairs.

Given the repressive political and media environment, and high profile arrests and harassment of bloggers, one might not expect to find much political contestation in the blogosphere. However, we identified a subset of the secular/reformist pole focused intently on politics and current affairs and comprised mainly of bloggers living inside Iran, which is linked in contentious dialog with the conservative political sub-cluster. Surprisingly, a minority of bloggers in the secular/reformist pole appear to blog anonymously, even in the more politically-oriented part of it; instead, it is more common for bloggers in the religious/conservative pole to blog anonymously. Blocking of blogs by the government is less pervasive than we had assumed. Most of the blogosphere network is visible inside Iran, although the most frequently blocked blogs are clearly those in the secular/reformist pole.

Given the repressive media environment in Iran today, blogs may represent the most open public communications platform for political discourse. The peer-to-peer architecture of the blogosphere is more resistant to capture or control by the state than the older, hub and spoke architecture of the mass media model.

Note: this articles relevance - may not be immediately apparent. Next week, we begin a series of projects loosely entitled Informatics - design & information - the unlikely alliance .

" The late magician and comedian Tommy Cooper made a lifelong virtue out of failure.

Discovering early on in his career that his magic tricks delighted audiences even when they went wrong, this manic Welshman turned his immensely popular stage performances into a feast of failed conjuring.

By supplementing this purposeful bumbling with the occasional failure-free trick, he also maintained the element of surprise.

For the rest of us, however, the idea of failure seems to be straightforward enough: mistakes, both large and small, are something to be avoided; the opposite of success; the currency of losers. They’re expected of the young as a necessary part of learning, of course, but increasingly less tolerated with the maturity that supposedly grants us enough experience and accumulated wisdom to succeed in life more or less flawlessly.

This in spite of the fact that creative luminaries such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh ("There is hope in honest error; none in the icy perfections of the mere stylist") and Samuel Beckett ("Try again. Fail again. Fail better.") continually remind us that we should perhaps openly embrace failure rather than assiduously avoiding it." written by Matt Soar

A private side note: when I read this piece, I was interested, it was concise and rather elegantly written. Duly impressed, and being naturally curious, I followed, like a dog to the bone, on to the authors web site.

A nice place, full of interesting projects, and excellent writing, where Mr. Soar dutifully included the notice - that he was a " Practicing Graphic Designer " .

I clicked enthusiastically to see his graphic design work, thinking that it likely was the equivalent of his written work, but, I must say, my jaw dropped in disappointment.

Clearly, what he had been so capable of writing - he could not, - to save his life poor fellow - visually design .... not even a little, .... his work was just so, C-.

It was uneventful in concept, familiar, you know, very typical derivative stuff, and was actually rather clumsy in its final execution. My immediate thought was, it all must must be a very outré hipster type joke. But, it wasn't. It was, just, what it was.

I'm not saying any of this to be nasty, and would never be so rude to him in person, but it was a good object lesson, and one worthy of passing on to you.

So do remember mes amis. It's never enough to just talk good design - except maybe at parties, with umbrella drinks and exchange students named Lars.

Eventually you've got to do the work, so, stop talking and Get to it !
The Destination for Typographers

On April 1st, 1977 The Guardian published a seven page “special report” about San Serriffe, a small republic in the Indian Ocean. The report included detailed facts about the geography, culture and economy of this hitherto unknown land.

The newspaper received hundreds of requests from readers seeking further information. However, the island never existed and the report was one of the first April Fool’s Day hoaxes by a national newspaper in Britain.

San Serriffe probably didn’t fool any designers at the time as everything about the place referenced typographic terms.

The two main islands, Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse looked like a semi-colon, the capital was Bodoni and the dictator’s name was General Pica!

The most impressive part was that major advertisers played along with the joke – Guinness, Texaco, Kodak and Vladivar Vodka all ran special advertisements, construction company Costain’s ad read “Costain is changing the face of San Serriffe” - geddit?. Read more about San Serriffe at
Walker Art Center Design Fellowship

The Walker Art Center is accepting design fellowship applications for 2008/2009. The deadline will be fast approaching for June 9. All the information and inspiration you need can be found here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Change We Can Believe In

Above, the new face of British currency, announced by the Royal Mint. The striking new designs, selected from an open competition that attracted four thousand entries, are the work of a 26-year old graphic designer named Matthew Dent. They are Mr. Dent's first foray into currency design.

Below, the new US five dollar bill, introduced last month by the United States Department of the Treasury. The new design, which features a big purple Helvetica five, is the work of a 147-year-old government agency called the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It employs 2,500 people, and has an annual budget of $525,000,000, and is absolute proof that nothing can be designed by committee or administrative fiat. Have you seen the new Vanier Logo ? Shudder... 

Public service ad put out by Transport for London.

too current to resist  .... poignant, simple = effective