Confuse the eye

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Tim Newark’s 2007 book Camouflage

There’s a fantastic piece about the history of camouflage in Topic Magazine this week.

Before camouflage hit the runway, artists in World War I used their creativity to disguise soldiers and protect them from aerial reconnaissance and long-range enemy fire.

To learn how to blend in, the French military turned to an unexpected group—the people who knew best how colors and textures could be used to trick the eye, a resource France had in abundance: artists. Known as camoufleurs, these artists became part of a special military unit that provided camouflage services to the Allied armies during World War I. The camoufleurs would join soldiers in the trenches, painting camouflage patterns directly on weapons, or painting canvas covers with disruptive patterns: brown, black, and green splotches or bold stripes, to make it difficult to see where the weapons’ edges started and stopped. Sometimes devotion to this artistry was dangerous, and in one instance, an artist was shot in the hand when he left a trench to put the final touch on a camouflage pattern.

The camoufleurs also provided the army with color charts that showed different tones of the terrain, depending on the area and season. One such color chart, featured in Tim Newark’s 2007 book Camouflage, looks like an impressionist painting, with golden hues that resemble the sun hitting leaves in the fall, or white and brown tones, like peeking through the leaves of a tree.

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The relationship between the user and product in mind

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“Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design.”

Dieter Rams

Coles Phillips “fade-away” technique

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The story goes that he developed his “fade-away” technique as a money-saving exercise. Upmarket magazines would typically print covers in full-colour, but Phillips’ style allowed them to print a single or two-colour cover and have their magazine still look great.

Artist Coles Phillips (1880 – 1927)

Nigeria’s World Cup kits are 🔥

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In an interview with Fader Magazine, Nike FC’s Design Director Pete Hoppins says the Nigeria kit was actually the easiest one to design:

Nigeria was actually the easiest! That’s everyone having fun. We worked closer with the players and the Nigerian federation to make that happen. The hardest were Brazil and England, just like always. It’s got to be a yellow kit and a white kit, respectively. You have to deliver that. Otherwise, you’ll be shot. [laughs] How do you move those forward every two, four years? Especially when you’re trying to innovate the performance. We’re not just going to add things to the kits for the sake of it.

What Nigeria is hopefully going to allow us to do in the future is show that some of the more traditional teams that if you are willing to be creative in the partnership, you can ultimately have something more culturally relevant that connects with the youth.

Read How Nike turned Nigeria’s World Cup kit into a fashion phenomenon

The design of the classroom from 1750 to today






The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids by Alexandra Lange 

The design of the classroom is a technology, and you can interpret that in a lot of different ways. Architects can make that look more, and less, typical. But the point is the instruction, the interaction in the classroom, not that it looks more like a circle or more like a square or whatever else.

(via NPR)

Balenciaga’s $1490 ‘T-Shirt Shirt’ is ugly but awesome

Via @Balenciaga on Instagram
Via @Balenciaga

Luxury fashion house Balenciaga knows how to nail the type of ugly design that gets people talking.

In Fall 2017, it debuted the Bernie Sanders-inspired logo he used for his 2016 campaign. But this time around, the company once referred to as “the master of all” by Christian Dior, will release a double-shirt as part of its Fall 2018 lineup.

Said its creative director Demna Gvasali on the rule-breaking t-shirt shirt:

“I think it’s very interesting, the definition of ugly. I think it’s also very interesting to find this line where ugly becomes beautiful or where beautiful becomes ugly. That’s a challenge I like. I think that’s a part of what fashion stands for and I like that people think my clothes are ugly; I think it’s a compliment.”

Ugly can be beautiful. Prada’s head fashion designer Miuccia Prada agrees: “The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human. It touches the bad and the dirty side of people.”

The rebel in me loves the concept, but not with that hefty price tag.

 

RIP Bill Gold, one of the best movie poster artists of all-time

RIP Bill Gold, considered one of the best movie poster artists of all-time. Below are a couple snippets from the obituary in the New York Times but the whole article is worth reading.

Long before poster artists turned to photography and computer-generated images in the 1980s and ’90s, illustrators like Mr. Gold billboarded movies with freehand drawings, based on scripts and first screen prints, that hinted at plots and moods and mysteries, without giving away too much — priming audiences for love, betrayal, jealousy, murder.

“Classic movie posters are memorable; they are held in as much affection as the movies themselves,” Lars Trodson wrote on the film website The Roundtable in 2009. “When a classic movie is matched by a classic poster, you’re held in the thrall of a distinct and pleasurable memory. The poster image becomes part of the movie experience, and is, in the end, another of the reasons why movies are so essential to us.”

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(h/t Little White Lies)

Tom Wolfe: ‘Logos are strictly a vanity industry’

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In 1972, Tom Wolfe criticized companies for creating logos for no other reason but to look modern:

The abstract total-design logo is the most marvelous fraud that the American graphic arts have ever perpetrated upon American business. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, these abstract logos, which a company (Chase Manhattan, Pan Am, Winston Sprocket, Kor Ban Chemical) is supposed to put on everything from memo pads to the side of its fifty-story building, make absolutely no impact–conscious or unconscious–upon its customers or the general public, except insofar as they create a feeling of vagueness and confusion….Yet millions continue to be poured into the design of them. Why? Because the conversion to a total-design abstract logo format somehow makes it possible for the head of the corporation to tell himself: “I’m modern, up-to-date, a man of the future. I’ve streamlined this old baby.” Why else would they have their companies pour $30,000, $50,000, $100,000 into the concoction of symbols that any student at Pratt could, and would gladly, give him for $125 plus a couple of lunches at the Trattoria, or even the Zum-Zum? The answer: if the fee doesn’t run into five figures, he doesn’t feel streamlined. Logos are strictly a vanity industry, and all who enter the industry should be merciless cynics if they wish to guarantee satisfaction.

To which Mark Wilson at FastCoDesign adds his two cents:

I can’t top Tom Wolfe–but I’d add just two more observations to his own:

1. Paying a Pratt student $35 to make a logo is. . .pretty much what Nike did to create the swoosh in 1971, the year before this criticism was printed. Wolfe surely would not have heard of the tiny Oregon shoe company yet, meaning his criticism was, at least partially, prophetic.

2. You could replace “logo” with almost any overrated trend and “business” with “the American people,” and this whole excerpt still sings. Try “fancy hamburger” or “wide leg pant.” Wolfe makes an almost algebraic argument in this passage that any product that one must rub their chin whilst critiquing is almost surely a fraud.

Of course, logos are ubiquitous. Branding is critical. We think in logos. We associate items with certain brands.

Businesses will hop at any chance to flash their latest logo on stationery, a building, football club jerseys, whatever, to impress. No siren nor Jumpman goes unnoticed.

The H(earring) project turns hearing aids into high-fashion accessories

The H(earring) project turns hearing aids into high-fashion accessories
Image courtesy fanddstudio

Hearing impaired photographer Kate Fichard teamed up with a former design school classmate at the Paris-based F&D studio to create a fashionable hearing aid.

Called the H(earring) project, it just won first prize for accessories at the most prestigious festivals for young designers, The International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, France. Kudos to the F&D team for injecting some style and design into hearing aids, what some would consider high-fashion.

Go inside the apartment of graphic communicator George Lois

Renowned graphic communicator George Lois takes us on a tour of his apartment. Located in Greenwich Village, what he calls “the best part of Manhattan,” the apartment is full of art. Even the chairs.

'I have chairs all over the house that I don't let anybody sit in. 'Don't sit in that chair!' But it's a chair. No, it's not. It's a work of art.''Click To Tweet

Lois may be most recognized for creating the iconic “I Want My MTV” slogan. But he also designed 92 Esquire covers. He also spearheaded the 1960s Creative Revolution that shaped modern day advertising. Some even think he inspired the attitude of irreverence in Don Draper from Mad Men.

Take it from George Lois: “You have to have the good eye.” There is no doubt the man had a knack for aesthetics.

Millennials are turning their apartments into “house jungles”

Millennials are turning their apartments into “house jungles”

Hilton Carter keeps 180 plants in his house. Apparently, he’s part of a millennial trend that’s obsessed with houseplants.

From The Washington Post:

Others prefer the term “urban rain forest” or the cutesy “jungalow.” In this aspirational landscape, outlandishly and photographically lush is ideal, and filling your home with plants is “urban wilding.” In less enlightened times, we probably would have just called it “decorating.”

The obsession helps generation thumbs bring a little outside, inside.

Writes Tovah Martin, the writer behind houseplant books The Indestructible Houseplant and The Unexpected Houseplant: “One of the first waves of houseplants was after the Industrial Revolution.” The move to cities compelled folks for more greenery, and albeit, oxygen.

“I think the current cycle has a lot to do with people hunkering down. A houseplant is therapeutic. It gives you something to nurture.”

PS. If you want to take care of your own houseplant, Amazon has a whole bunch on sale.

Creative infographics from Pop Chart Lab including a poster of every emoji

From hand-illustrating every emoji ever to showcasing all varieties of beer, a taxonomy of rap names, and a compendium of basketball jerseys, the artists at Pop Chart Lab turns data into creative infographics.

Not surprisingly, the visuals make perfect posters for the wall. You can order a standalone print, pair it with a handmade frame, or request a print mounted on a panel. Check out the Popchart website for more cool prints.  

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Every Emoji Ever
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The Very Many Varieties of Beer
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Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names
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A Visual Compendium of Basketball Jerseys

Craving wilderness/Out to Live

More ‘inspiration boost’ patches from the Asilda Store.

One of the main benefits of walking in nature is that trees inspire feelings of awe./ Craving Wilderness Embroidered Sew or Iron-on Patch

Craving Wilderness Embroidered Sew or Iron-on Patch
Craving Wilderness Embroidered Sew or Iron-on Patch

Disconnect and live a little./ Out to Live Glow in the Dark Outdoor Embroidered Sew or Iron-on Patch

Out to Live Glow in the Dark Outdoor Embroidered Sew or Iron-on Patch
Out to Live Glow in the Dark Outdoor Embroidered Sew or Iron-on Patch