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Guest Post from Image Source
By John O’Reilly

christoph-niemann-new-yorker (1)
The New Yorker has been playing with the theme of Hard and Soft recently, not least with it’s October 6 “Rainy Day” cover by Christoph Niemann, which had an alternative life on the web as the magazine’s first ever gif cover (see the full story and the gif here).

New-Yorker-Cover

The November 24 issue features illustrator Richard McGuire’s, “Time Warp” cover. He explains the image on The New Yorker website“As I walk around the city, I’m time-travelling, flashing forward, planning what it is I have to do.” (McGuire is long-celebrated in the more cultish circles of comics connoisseurs as the creator of “Here” originally published in Art Spigelman’s Raw magazine). The cover (headline image) echoes McGuire’s interest in how our experience of the everyday is layered with different slices of time. But the issue’s features explore the changing relationship between the 2D and the 3D. ‘Print Thyself’ explores how 3D printing is transforming medicine and features the image below by photographer Lori K. Sanders.

printthyself

The caption for the image readsA 3-D printer used by researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute creates a model vascular network.” When we still don’t know what this tech means for us, or how it will radically change our familiar systems of making and distributing, Sanders delivers a highly textural photo, of contrasting surfaces, blocks of colour and geometric shapes. The visual and design shorthand for the future has always been Kubrick and 2001, but Sanders shoots the future like Mondrian – blocks of shape and colour.  “Good Game explores the rise of the professional cyber athlete and is accompanied by an image by photographer Jenny Hueston. The caption reads, “Scarlett [Sasha Hostyn], the most accomplished woman in e-sports, is known for her macro mutalisk style and kick-ass creep spread.”

Cyber-Athlete--e1417097970216

The strange language in the caption comes from the world of gaming (strategies) and that blown out look is a great look for someone living in the in-between of the Hard and the Soft, a space that is neither and both. The kind of dazed-over-exposed visualises a kind of of jet-lag you might get as you recover from the intensity of game space. And if anyone doubts that this is a thing, the feature notes that, “As of last year, gamers of international renown are eligible for P1-A exemptions, otherwise known as ‘athlete visas.’ Robert Morris University, in Illinois, has added League of Legends, a “multiplayer online battle arena” game, as a varsity team sport, and this semester the program began awarding athletic scholarships.”   

Read more about the Age of Hard and Soft on Image Source’s blog.

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1947

In a recent enewsletter GDUSA publisher Gordon Kaye suggested that graphic design trends in diverse areas such as print design, logo design and use of color had become too influenced by digital technology and that designers may begin to embrace more traditional and artisanal approaches. He also noted, in part, that “our 51st Anniversary Print Design Survey reveals a sense among designers that the pendulum has swung too far from print communications” and the element of touch and physicality is being lost in the “digital clutter”. We were greatly honored when design legend George Tscherny  found these comments to resonate and added his own simple but profound message:

too many buttons
too many apps
too much twitter

Mr. Tscherny included his design for the AIGA Centennial in which AIGA invited 100 designers to pick a year from the last century to illustrate. George Tscherny picked 1947 and selected to illustrate the barcode which was developed in 1947/1948 and patented in the early 1950s. The design evokes his plea to “humanize technology,” which Mr. Tscherny explains is not a plea for robots but “rather of thoughts recollected in tranquility* amid all the digital clutter.” We couldn’t agree more!

* “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” -William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads

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 Vignelli_wiki
Photo: Asheind

“Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.” That quote by Massimo Vignelli elegantly summed up his philosophy of design — and, by the way, what did he do that was not elegantly done?

Mr. Vignelli died yesterday at the age of 83 after a long illness. Born in Milan and trained as an architect in Milan and Venice, he was an admirer of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, and spent a lifetime translating the concept of “functional beauty” into everything he designed. He was the leading “modernist” graphic designer, striving for disciplined, intelligent and simplified solutions based on timeless geometric forms. A biography accompanying the presentation of the AIGA Medal to he and his wife states:  “Vignelli design, in both three dimensions and two, is highly architectural in character. Massimo’s posters, publications and graphic designs seem to be built in stories, separated by the now-familiar, bold, horizontal rules. Basic geometry is respected. The investigative design process moves from the inside out: ‘The correct shape is the shape of the object’s meaning.’ The Vignelli commitment to the correctness of a design has taken their work beyond the mechanical exercise of devising a form best suited to a given function. They’ve always understood that design itself, in the abstract, could and should be an integral part of function.”

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