Late last year, we conducted a Readers Choice survey — asking thousands of very tolerant readers to identify a few of your favorite things — artists, movies, books, apps, colors, typefaces, and the like. Obviously, all of these responses depend on context as well as project and client. But many of you were kind enough to attempt an answer in the spirit of the moment. My initial thought was that the survey results might provide insights and story ideas for 2015 but, as I wrote recently in the Jan/Feb GDUSA magazine, it is wondrous and scary how little you all agree with each other. About anything. Nevertheless, some of the data are suggestive, amusing, even intriguing. I present some of the results here and will do more later.
A few months ago, I was approached by Project Runway to participate in an episode that included the HP and Intel Pattern Challenge. I listened intently as the producers explained the challenge even though I knew exactly what they were going to say since I am a huge fan of the show. At this point in the competition there were only seven fashion designers left. Each remaining designer would be paired with a “Next Generation Achiever” to help inspire a pattern that was then made into a textile and incorporated into their runway look. And they wanted ME to be that inspirational person!!
After I finished doing the happy dance followed by consecutive shrieks of joy I regained consciousness and started to panic. How in the world was I going to be an inspiration?
I started to think about the role of a graphic designer and how powerful design can be when used effectively. As creative director at GDUSA magazine I am fully immersed in the world of design and I continually find that the best designed projects are those that come from a labor of love. For me, this labor of love is Barbalu.
Each fashion designer had the chance to spend an hour with their innovator to draw inspiration for their pattern. I had the pleasure of meeting Alexandria von Bromssen at the future home of Barbalu. As I explained to Alexandria, Barbalu is a soon-to-open Italian restaurant near the South Street Seaport. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated my beloved hometown of New York City and the restaurant in which we stood was filled with more than 6 feet of storm water. Everything was gone. But now — nearly a year to date — the brave owners are rebuilding in the same location. The business needed to start from scratch and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to help them redesign their entire identity.Read More
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.Read More