For every two graphic designers, it seems, there are three opinions. I’ve been studying answers to questions we pose each year to our People To Watch and Students To Watch — favorite book, fine artist, music, website, etc. — to mine for clues as to what you all are thinking, feeling, planning, doing. As usual, it is largely a fruitless and patternless task. For example, the 2014 design students cumulatively listed 55 favorite bands; not one single musician is mentioned twice. Another example: this year’s group of working designers mentioned 51 fine artists, with no overlap but for two mentions of Miro and Picasso.
Nonetheless, I did manage to find a couple of points of consensus. One relates to favorite gadgets: the Apple “i’s”, as in iPhone, iPad, iPod, are popular. Yawn.
Movies turned out to present a more intriguing accord. Among this year’s People To Watch cohort, Blade Runner is the clear favorite.
Every time I watch Orange Is The New Black — the exceedingly popular tv comedy-drama based on the prison memoir — I try to match up the women’s faces in the opening credits with the characters in the show. Apparently, I’ve been wasting my time, since none of the women appearing in the opening credits actually appear on the show.
The story behind this unusual approach: show producer Jenji Kohan and design firm, Thomas Cobb Group, wanted to communicate that the show would tell many stories of women behind bars, not just the story of the memoirist Piper Kerman and her tv version Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling).
To achieve this, the Venice CA design group photographed real women in jail in closeups that manage to hide their identities but create a sense of intimacy. Executive Producer Gary Bryman explains that they asked each woman to “visualize in their mind three emotive thoughts: think of a peaceful place, think of a person who makes you laugh, and thing of something you want to forget … Thomas found this really interesting sweet spot of cropped compositions that would not necessarily reveal who the person was, but at the same time provide a portal into their soul through their eyes.”
An interesting twist to this design approach is the inclusion of the “real” Piper in the opening credits. The author of this riveting tale is the blue-eyed woman who blinks about a minute into the opening and can be seen below.
You On Demand is China’s first ever in-home on demand service. With its rollout, millions of Chinese will have direct access to some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters in high definition, right in their homes. Red Peak Group took on the unique challenge of communicating this very exciting service but very foreign product concept to a market that’s been cut off from the majority of Hollywood films and in which the predominant method of access to films is black-market, bootleg copies.