Speak UpA Former Division of UnderConsideration
The Archives, August 2002 – April 2009
advertise @ underconsideration
---Click here for full archive list or browse below
  
Friday Variety

It’s Friday, I’ve worked hard all this week and I just can’t find anything smart to say this morning. How ‘bout that for honesty? When everything fails I resort to my bookmarks, here are some fun, design related of course, links:

- Parkinson Type Design: there is a 99% possibility that you have held some of his work in your hands.

- Chermayeff & Geismar, Inc.: 100% sure that you have seen their work… NBC, Showtime, Mobil… No big deal.

- Sterling Design: tiny type and funky navigation. Yaaay.

- Aesthetic Apparatus: great, great, really great posters.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 1292 FILED UNDER Designer/Design Firm Profile
PUBLISHED ON Nov.01.2002 BY Armin
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
Darrel’s comment is:

Isn't Jennifer the one that did the big brown AIGA annual?

Yech.

On Nov.01.2002 at 09:04 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Yeah, she did. And 'Yech' is completely right. It was kind of cool and funky, for like the first two pages. You couldn't see the work or make any sense of anything. Probably the poorest annual, in terms of functionality and readability, that I've seen in a while.

On Nov.01.2002 at 09:08 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I thought it was quite embarrasing. The national association of graphic designers highlighting it's best graphic design of a year in an annual that is illegible, doesn't focus on the content, and contains a rant on how bad web design is. That's right about when I wrote of the AIGA as being relevant.

On Nov.01.2002 at 09:23 AM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

Right on Darrel.

From the essay titled “Where were the websites” of such annual — “ This year a multidisciplinary jury of seasoned designers looked at a field of 271 websites, and for the first time since the competition began accepting websites- selected not a single one to honor as exemplary” — Andrea Moed, ironic isn’t it.

On Nov.01.2002 at 10:49 AM
tom’s comment is:

Thanks Armin!

I just spent an hour salivating over Parkinson's site. mmm... type

amazing differences in his before and after logo treatments.

On Nov.01.2002 at 11:25 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I really had no idea what to make of that essay.

I read it as "We're elitist. We think the web is a silly fad. We were so self absorbed with our own talents and making pretty printed pieces and putting them in this ugly brown phone book that we decided it would be easier to write a silly essay than make any attempt what-so-ever at trying to encourage those in the web development field to show an interest in the AIGA and to bring in experienced jurors who could offer insight into the web sites submitted beyond the visual wallpaper."

I was actually more upset with the total lack of any real debate in response to that essay.

The last time I volunteered for the AIGA with for a committee where we have students come in for portfolio reviews (actually, a good event).

At one point, it was brought up that they needed a bunch of volunteers to help get out the postcards to everyone (labeling, stamping, mailing). When I asked 'isn't that what our email list is for?' I just got a bunch of blank stares.

On Nov.01.2002 at 11:30 AM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

>> Parkinson

I interned for a while on a tiny pre-press shop in Lafayette California, which is the shop that Jim Parkinson has used for years- in any case, the shop's owner Steve, used to tell me about his buddy Jim, then he showed me original drawings for original fonts that Jim had done and brought in to be xeroxed, enlarged and what not, now that I think about it, I kinda feel like going back there and seeing if I can get my hands on some bits and pieces of type history.

On Nov.01.2002 at 11:51 AM
Kevin’s comment is:

Does anyone else find the magnifying glass thing on sterling's site annoying and gimmicky. It's not as if the buttons are too small to press normally, and if they were....

After hearing about this ugly Annual Report (which I haven't seen) I wanted to check it out for myself . Searching through the site is a pain. There's an informative rollover in the categories section but all you get in the project breakdown section is an arbritrary number. And you can't zoom in on the work!! Who wants to look at the fine details of the navigation system, give me details of the work.

rant over... can anyone point me to the Annual report?

On Nov.01.2002 at 03:25 PM
Kevin’s comment is:

PS. so that I don't sound so harsh, most of the work is pretty damn nice in my opinion.

On Nov.01.2002 at 03:26 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>can anyone point me to the Annual report?

here.

And there is this review from somebody at amazon:

What was AIGA's purpose here? I thought it was to showcase the award winning work within not just Jennifer Sterling's work.

On Nov.01.2002 at 03:31 PM
Stephen Coles’s comment is:

I have four Aesthetic Apparatus prints hanging on my wall — three just above the desk I am sitting at. If you like any of those posters, do buy. It’s rare to find quality screen prints at that kind of price. Michael and Dan are top-notch fellas, too. Michael designed the packaging for Spoon’s latest (I’m told inside the liner notes you can find one of his trademark animals with a star for its eye.)

On Nov.01.2002 at 03:55 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Kevin:

Pull out your Yellow pages.

Now imagine it wrapped in thick, brown, enviromentally-ugly plastic, and on each page is a huge, irregularly cropped photo of some sort of design piece. The type is set at 5pt and is hidden somewhere in the margin.

(Yea, I know...let it go, Darrel, let it go... ;o)

On Nov.01.2002 at 04:08 PM
Kevin’s comment is:

hehe...ouch

On Nov.01.2002 at 04:26 PM
Hrant’s comment is:

Most graphic designers are artists who couldn't stand the idea of being poor, so now they make consumerist crap, but refuse to face it. And when they get a chance to be "artistic" they go hog-wild. Most people -including, or probably especially, graphic designers- like pretty picture; few people can admire the sublime beauty of *function*. The other day I was looking through a book about crossbows, and there was an illustration of what's called a "goat's-foot lever", used to cock the bow string: it was the most sinuous, sexy thing I'd seen in a long time, but it looked like that *only* because it had to.

Parkinson: his work is very *real*. You can tell he simply enjoys doing good work.

hhp

On Nov.01.2002 at 04:29 PM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

>I have four Aesthetic Apparatus prints hanging on my wall

Which ones do you have Stephen? I have the New pornographers one, the pink and brown

Jennifer sterling also has some extremely sweeet posters, completely different style than AA but very nice nontheless . The one I have is this one which like a lot of her work is letterpressed, I think they just started selling some posters in their website too.

On Nov.01.2002 at 04:32 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Oh! Jeniffer designed the fox river desktop calendar. Yet another complete anti-functional piece.

I think (to sort of paraphrase HRANT) she's a good artist, but a lousy designer.

On Nov.01.2002 at 04:56 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Not to pick sides, but she was nominated for the 2001 Chrysler Deign Awards. No small feat for anyone. And even if it sounds cliché it must be an honor just to be nominated for one of those awards. Just take a look at the winners, even if awards don't mean anything ALL the people included in those lists are bad-asses. Yes, I know, she didn't win, but still... she must be doing something right.

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:06 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Yea. She's succesful, so in that light, what's to critique?

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:11 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>so in that light, what's to critique?

The work remains the same, whether she is succesful or not. I was just pointing out something in her favor, and...

oh! shut up* Darrel ; )

(*meant in fun, harmless way)

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:18 PM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

Armin:

where did you find the list of nominees?

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:19 PM
Armin’s comment is:

There is no list of nominees. I got that from Jennifer's web site, under about us>awards.

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:21 PM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

I though there was an official list

here is an example of the quality of the nominees, ;)

look at the top of this list

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:24 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>here is an example of the quality of the nominees, ;)

D'oh!

Damn it, leave me alone... all of you. It's friday and I'm still at the office, I'm tired and my butt hurts from seating here all day!!! let Jennifer defend herself.

:' (

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:35 PM
Armin’s comment is:

It's only the second time I've been to designgraphik's site, what the hell do they do? besides being trendy?

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:36 PM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

>what the hell do they do? besides being trendy?

AIGA must think highly of them since they were speakers at the convergence event in DC.

They did the website and poster for the event

here

Trendy website for sure, Is AIGA trendy? I guess so, after all they commisioned Sterling to do their annual right?

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:44 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>They did the website and poster for the event

This is so funny! I had never seen that web site, but everything they did matches what I say in "the end of web" (number 06 in the mustache menu). So trendy, almost makes me wanna do some killer maps, yo!

On Nov.01.2002 at 05:52 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

"oh! shut up* Darrel ; )"

Feel free to tell me to shut up anytime ;o)

I've been known to ramble on...

On Nov.03.2002 at 09:44 AM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

>So trendy, almost makes me wanna do some killer maps, yo!

oh no! I better take this down

On Nov.03.2002 at 02:10 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>oh no! I better take this down

Yours is different, it serves a purpose. It let's people know that you are from Mexico, and that you are representin' ; )

I hate it when it's just there for eye candy.

On Nov.03.2002 at 05:22 PM
Lup-Lup’s comment is:

Is there such a thing as purposeful eye-candy? I'm not astute in cartography and initially mistook Luis' map for some whimsical piak-piak. But I like his work sans piak-piak.

On Nov.03.2002 at 08:40 PM
David Cushman’s comment is:

There's beauty in function, but there's also beauty in abstract forms and typography. Communication doesn't have to always be clear to communicate.

Why is "aesthetically pleasing" less valid a goal of graphic design than being functional or selling something?

It's great to have an alternative to the newstodays and k10ks and sufstations, but there ARE designers out there who understand graphic design and its history and know how to set type AND who appreciate Jennifer Sterling and David Carson and WeWorkForThem.

You can talk about issues of real, professional, working graphic designers, without slandering and mocking the trendsetters. To me, it just comes off as bitter, narrow-minded fuddy-duddiness.

On Nov.05.2002 at 10:24 AM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

amen David.

youve seen my official position on the subject

on

Who Do(n't) You Love? on October 25

On Nov.05.2002 at 06:23 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Why is "aesthetically pleasing" less valid a goal of graphic design than being functional or selling something?

There is nothing wrong with "aesthetically pleasing" as a goal, but it should only be one of the goals, communicating the clients needs is the first and foremost goal of design. Gratuitous eye candy, just for the sake of being cool is what bothers me, and WWFT is a good example of eye candy.

And thanks to DClark for pointing us to this interview with Paul Rand who says it better than I ever could:

Question from Maeda: "What is the difference between 'good' design and 'bad' design?"

´┐ŻAnswer from Rand: "A bad design is irrelevant. It is superficial, pretentious, ... basically like all the stuff you see out there today."

And I'm not bitter.

On Nov.06.2002 at 08:57 AM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

It seems to me there is a double standard. On one side some around here cringe at the mere sight of what in effect could be described as trendy but undeniably part of the vernacular of the younger generation.

At some point or another- designers such as Sterling and Carson were and still are, accused of being trendy and lacking substance, especially by the older generation of graphic designers, yet the same people who despise WWFT and DR praise Sterling and Carson

The point I am trying to make is that one of these new kids we are so quick to dismiss as trendy and irrelevant is going to be the Sterling or Carson of tomorrow and we will be very fortunate if we are open enough to embrace them early on.

"A bad design is irrelevant. It is superficial, pretentious, ... basically like all the stuff you see out there today."- PR Indeed, yet by judging all design work by that standard we would dismiss Carson, Sterling as well as WWFT and DR, where is the fun on that??!!

On Nov.06.2002 at 10:24 AM
David Cushman’s comment is:

"Communicating the clients' needs is the first and foremost goal of design." What if the client's need is simply to make something aesthetically pleasing, or something abstract that will leave someone scratching his head?

Who's to say WWFT's clients aren't happy with the work they do?

Clear communication only has to be as clear as is relative to its audience. Sometimes the audience is other designers. Sometimes the audience is sophisticated or open enough to WORK at getting the message.

The AIGA annual in question... is an experiment in presentation and navigation not a good thing, regardless of whether or not you liked it or thought it successful? Wasn't it at least an appropriate audience to experiment on -- other designers?

And what about Bill Cahan? Is much of his work any less "meaningless eye candy" than WWFT or Sterling? Is much of his work more about getting into annuals than getting the client's message across? Or is his work more acceptable to mainstream designers because it includes pictures of men in suits and Akzidenz Grotesk?

It's also funny that accusations of "fuddy-duddiness" are followed up with a quote from PAUL RAND?!? (Not that Paul Rand isn't worthy of respect, but clearly a cranky old fart.)

On Nov.06.2002 at 11:06 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>What if the client's need is simply to make something aesthetically pleasing, or something abstract that will leave someone scratching his head?

They could go to an artist? but I see what you are saying. Those type of clients are few and far in between.

>Wasn't it at least an appropriate audience to experiment on -- other designers?

Very appropriate audience. But was it succesful? apparently not.

>And what about Bill Cahan? Is much of his work any less "meaningless eye candy" than WWFT or Sterling?

This might be just me, but I think Cahan's work is truly unique and engaging. Annual Reports can be confusing and overloaded with business crap that nobody cares about. What Cahan does really well is make the information understandable and aesthetically pleasing fulfilling two of Design's goals. It's eye candy with a purpose and usually carries a message with it.

>Is much of his work more about getting into annuals than getting the client's message across?

That's another issue, for another thread, and it might be true. But awards or not, his work is good.

>It's also funny that accusations of "fuddy-duddiness" are followed up with a quote from PAUL RAND?!?

That's because he is the highest standard of what Design is all about.

>one of these new kids we are so quick to dismiss as trendy and irrelevant is going to be the Sterling or Carson of tomorrow and we will be very fortunate if we are open enough to embrace them early on.

True. In ten years when nobody remembers WWFT I'll be able to say "I never liked them" and I wouldn't be lying ; )

On Nov.06.2002 at 05:07 PM
CABE K.’s comment is:

Armin says, True. In ten years when nobody remembers WWFT I'll be able to say "I never liked them" and I wouldn't be lying ; )

Me says that there are two Mikes in WWFT. Do you think you are more talented or more accomplished than these two designers. Speak up.

I dont agree with those who want to label them Designer Republic wannabees. In 10 years I think thyey will be written about as legends because theyre work is evolving consistently. I can think of four or five friends who count them as steady influences. I am sure there are hundreds of others who would say the same. Are there any designers that you have directly influenced.

Cabe

On Nov.06.2002 at 10:21 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Me says that there are two Mikes in WWFT.

This just a question, not to start a catfight, but what does that have to do with the discussion, did I ever mention anything about a Mike?

>Do you think you are more talented or more accomplished than these two designers?

This is the type of question that would make people regret what they have said. Not me. I don't think I'm anything more than anybody, do I have self confidence in my work and talent? yes. Should I be ashamed of that? No. I think the people at WWFT are talented, no doubt, more talented than me? maybe, it doesn't really matter.

>I dont agree with those who want to label them Designer Republic wannabees.

There is a reason why that label is in place. Until now nobody has labeled my work because IMHO it's original work. Maybe nobody has labeled it because nobody cares. And that's fine by me.

>In 10 years I think thyey will be written about as legends because theyre work is evolving consistently.

Evolving? if I look at the portfolio on the site, everything looks the same, it could be work done in the last months or it could be work from the last three years, there is no real evolution apparent.

>Are there any designers that you have directly influenced.

I hope so, I don't know of any. But when people like Bill Cahan, Rick Valicenti, Steven Heller, Scott Clum or Rudy Vanderlans say the work I do is very good, it let's me know that I'm doing something right.

Now, Cabe, I'm not here to pick a fight with you, I don't know you or any of the people at WWFT. I just tell it like I see it, and it's nothing personal. You can take my comments as opinions and not as an offense, because they are not intended to be.

On Nov.07.2002 at 07:18 AM
codeman38’s comment is:

Regarding Sterling's site-- even when the links are magnified, I have to move my LCD around and *still* have to squint at the screen just to read the links on the front page, thanks to the color scheme. This is generally not a Good Thing.

On Nov.26.2002 at 02:10 PM
Armin’s comment is:

For Darrel's delight:

I picked up a copy of this year's Communication Arts Design Annual and what was in it? The AIGA annual by Jennifer Sterling!

On Nov.26.2002 at 03:23 PM
Jon’s comment is:

>I picked up a copy of this year's Communication Arts Design Annual and what was in it? The AIGA annual by Jennifer Sterling!

I saw that too! Really, it just highlights a fundamental flaw of design contests. Unless the judges sit with a printed piece and actually try to read it and understand its message, they can't possibly base any verdict on anything other than looks. And heck, that AIGA book LOOKS cool. Odds are, they didn't even have a real copy of the book, but only a few slides.

(I did double-checked the CA annual, just to make sure Sterling wasn't one of the judges!)

On Nov.26.2002 at 03:34 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>(I did double-checked the CA annual, just to make sure Sterling wasn't one of the judges!)

Ha.

And that thing is from 1999, I thought eligible entries for a 2002 annual are supposed to have been created between 2001 and 2002. I wonder what happened? maybe the annual did say 1999, but it was so small nobody could read it.

On Nov.26.2002 at 03:39 PM
Jon’s comment is:

Actually, the AIGA annual gives a copyright date of 2001. And yes, it's small.

But that does bring up an interesting point. Do editors of design books even attempt to keep work current when they publish new titles? I remember going to a Logo/Letterhead show at the AIGA headquarters a few years ago celebrating the release of Graphis Logo (3 or 4, can't remember). Anyway, a good portion of the work had already been in previous Graphis Logo and Letterhead books from several years ago. I was rather appalled.

So, do people just continually submit the same work over and over? Is one award just not enough? Does Graphis not have enough submissions, so they have to go back and reprint stuff to fill the pages? (If the latter is true, I'll be happy to fill some space!)

On Nov.26.2002 at 04:29 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>So, do people just continually submit the same work over and over? Is one award just not enough?

I'm sure they do. I can't imagine the judges calling every designer's client to make sure the work was produced that year.Cahan's Annual reports are the same deal, you see them over and over and over... untill you can't tell which year is which. So they confuse you.

>If the latter is true, I'll be happy to fill some space!

You gotta shell out the cash though.

On Nov.26.2002 at 04:40 PM