ILLUSTRATION | Amtrak Signals It Now Has Wi-Fi
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A quick post:

Amtrak trains are now Wi-Fi enabled and the company released some great ads highlighting this new feature. The illustrations are crisp and modern; and the universal Wi-Fi symbol was nicely integrated into each scene. Nice job.

*cf

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PACKAGING ETC. | Ivory Soap Gets An Updated Look
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I always find it interesting to see how well-established brands, particularly for everyday types of products, go about the process of refreshing the look and feel of their offerings. Hence, the Ivory Soap update caught my eye.

I like the clean look of the new logo; and the vibrant colors used for the packaging of this classic, white soap will most certainly help it stand out on the shelves.

On the whole, I think the new look will prove to be successful in attracting the eye (and dollars) of consumers who: A) have never used Ivory, but might just try it out next time they need some soap; and B) had forgotten all about this white block of cleanliness that was part of their childhood.

*cf

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TRENDS | Consumers are “DEALER-CHIC”
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An excerpt from the November 2011, trend report reads:

Now, we’re not saying that all of consumption will be dominated by discounted goods and services. However, for status-conscious consumers (read: all of them ;-), making the most of discounts and deals is no longer considered cumbersome or even embarrassing, but simply smart.

In fact, DEALER-CHIC is yet another example of the longer-term shifts playing out in the consumer arena, where savvy consumers have more choice, higher expectations, and more control, while mature consumers have an ever-less reverential relationship to brands.

So, here are just three reasons why DEALER-CHIC is set to get bigger and bigger in the coming years:

1. MORE FOR LESS: While many people in developed economies may have less money to spend right now, consumers everywhere will forever look to experience more.

2. THE MEDIUM IS THE MOTIVATION: Consumers are now being alerted to, using, reusing and sharing offers and deals via new (and therefore infinitely more exciting and attractive) technologies.

3. BEST OF THE BEST: With instant mobile or online access to not only deals but reviews as well, consumers can now be confident they’re getting the best price for the best product or service.

Read the entire report at trendwatching.com.

*camille

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PRINT | Egg & Dart
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I happened upon these dimensional (in appearance, anyway) cards while catching up on some older blog posts and thought it was worth a quick post.

I like the visual interest created by the design. It manages to catch one’s attention without trying too hard.

*camille

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ART + TYPE | Chalk Type by Dana Tanamachi
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Custom chalk signage is all the rage, is it not?

Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, your local ice cream shop…it’s everywhere! In an era of computerized “perfection”, these illustrations are delightfully “imperfect”.

*camille

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SIGNAGE | In Cardboard
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Who would have imagined that die-cut cardboard could be such a wonderful material to use for interior signage? Not I.

Thankfully, designers Isidro Ferrer, Pablo Alabau, and studio Zaragoza Versus were innovative enough to develop this signage system for the Spanish Pavillion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

It’s a brilliant idea, if you ask me. Particularly, for short-term, temporary spaces where material waste and expense are things to be avoided, wherever possible. Along these lines, as the article at the link points out, the use of cardboard also has its merits for tradeshow applications: it’s lightweight, recyclable, and inexpensive.

I wonder if this idea - or something similar - will catch on…

*cf

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QUOTE | Book Cover Artist Mendelsund On Design
I came across the following quote on Jacket Mechanical and thought I would share:
…a good design, whatever its intended use, is an aggregation of many small decisions - each one as important as the next. The resulting design is no more or less than the sum of these decisions. Each choice, no matter how seemingly insignificant, matters.
I’ve come to realize that many people seem to subscribe to the view that there is such a thing as “a design” which exists in the abstract - platonically; independent of its component parts. This belief in turn gives rise to the misapprehension that changing a design (a bigger font here, a different color there, a change in layout) does not, in fact, make for a different design altogether. “We’re keeping the design,” I’m told, “but we want some changes.” Such a thing isn’t possible. These details are the design.

*You can see Mendelsund’s work at his blog here.

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VINTAGE + PRINT | Middletown Lumber Newsletter
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In the age of electronic newsletters and impersonal “Dear, Friend” emails, I love the idea of bringing back the hand-worn, vintage feel of the classic, informative, interesting newsletter.

In addition to the beautiful paper selected for this piece, the interesting mix of typography makes this a mailer that - I would presume - most people would love to receive.

*cf

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GRAPHICS | Saul Bass & The History of Film Titles

A Brief History of Title Design from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

Interestingly, upon reflecting on the impact of film titles, I realize that, though titles are an important aspect of the opening moments of a film, I must confess that (unlike other products of “design”) I only take note of them when they are particularly striking or unique. Otherwise, they tend to fade into memory rather unceremoniously.

The video above is a quick trip through the history of some of the most memorable film title sequences produced. Included are some of my favorite title sequences, such as: those from the television series Dexter, the classic 90’s film, Seven, and the recent James Bond production, Casino Royale (perhaps, my top choice overall).

Looking at these clips, I wonder: Who is it that decides how much creative time and talent to devote to title sequences — the producer…or director? Or, are certain studios or movie genres more apt to utilize the titles as an integral part of the overall film experience?

For his part, designer Saul Bass had his own reflections on the utility and purpose of film title sequences. 

Years ago designer Saul Bass explained how he approached film title sequences to me when I interviewed him for an article. “Find an image that will be provocative, seductive yet true to the film,” he said. “It has to have some ambiguity, some contradiction, not only visually but conceptually. Not just isolating the prettiest frame, but finding a metaphor for the film.“

Beginning with his 1955 work on Otto Preminger’s “The Man with the Golden Arm,” Bass transformed the way film title sequences were perceived forever. He approached the task with a graphic designer’s eye, so that stills from his title sequences easily translated into a powerful iconic poster for the movie.

Reducing the visual communications about a film to a single image was a daring notion at the time. Bass recalled that before he did “The Man with the Golden Arm,” films had been promoted with montages consisting of salient elements of the story. “The conventional wisdom on how to sell a film was the ‘see, see, see’ approach,” he said. “See the missionary boiled in soil. See Krakatoa blow its top. See the virgins dance in the temple of doom. The theory was that if you talked a film in pieces, there would be something for everyone.“ This interview with Saul came to mind as I watched “A Brief History of Film Titles” edited by Ian Albinson for the website “Art of the Title.” As the titles in the video folded one into another, I could see where Bass came in and influenced generations of designers of film title sequences thereafter.

Quote above via atissuejournal.com

*cf

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ADVERTISING + BRANDING | ‘Art & Copy’ Film

As a fan of the television show Mad Men (what designer isn’t, really?), it should not surprise me that my Netflix genie suggested I would enjoy the documentary film Art & Copy.

Indeed, the genie was right. What an interesting film this was — particularly in light of the recent death of Steve Jobs. I think those of us in creative fields have been doing more self-reflection than usual this week, wondering what our own artful legacies will be in this world. In Art & Copy, the contributors — most of whom are some of the most prolific and pioneering figures in advertising — speak to the impact their respective work has had in the world of business and brand-building.

If you have any interest in learning more about the genesis of some of the greatest ad campaigns and agencies in the United States, I would recommend you take the time to watch Art & Copy. You’ll hear about the ‘Got Milk’ campaign, Tommy Hilfiger’s debut on the fashion scene, and the classic Volkswagen ads from the 1960s, among other interesting stories.

Oh, and you’ll also learn about a young visionary’s willingness to put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, in producing the ad to launch his company’s new computuer in 1984.

*cf

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TYPOGRAPHY + COLOR | Beatifully Vintage Marvis Toothpaste
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The beauty of this packaging required a quick post. It’s ‘modern vintage’ at its finest: great colors, strong typography, and the design is…just enough.

I may have to track this stuff down to add to my bathroom shelves.

There are more great images at the link - have a look!

*cf

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