Posts tagged with "Graphic Design":

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A Barbara Stauffacher Solomon retrospective explores her lesser-known work

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: Breaking All the Rules runs through January 20, 2020, at the Architecture and Design Center of the Palm Springs Art Museum. Organized by Brooke Hodge, the museum’s director of architecture and design, it is not a traditional architecture, graphic design, or art exhibition, but straddles all these lines, hence the title (similar to that of a small monograph on Ms. Stauffacher Solomon published by Hall of Femmes). If you are in Palm Springs, it's an exhibition worth checking out. The Architecture and Design Center occupies E. Stewart Williams’s Santa Fe Bank Building, one of those great Palm Springs banks that took inspiration from a world-famous architect; in this case, Mies van der Rohe. The “universal space” holds several pieces from Stauffacher Solomon’s diverse career, which is hard to pin down. Although visually powerful, the narrative can be a little difficult to piece together. Stauffacher Solomon is best known for her graphic design at the Sea Ranch on the Northern California coast. She has been credited with the invention of “Supergraphics” as a result of her work there, and she got almost as much press coverage as the architects for her simple, bold moves. But that work has been largely excluded from this show, as it focuses on selections from the rest of Solomon's career. It is important to understand her story. "Bobbie" grew up in San Francisco and lost her first husband to a brain tumor at a young age. In order to make a living and raise their daughter, she moved to Basel, Switzerland, to study with Armin Hofmann. This sets the stage for Stauffacher Solomon's subsequent work in graphic design, landscape architecture, and fine art. She is always moving between the rigor and discipline of Swiss Modernism and the radical spring of groovy California. She reveals some of this in the videos on display, which provide a context for appreciating the drawings, paintings, and new supergraphic—and her own mischievous delight. A group of eight of Stauffacher Solomon's ping-pong-themed paintings takes up the most space in the museum. Immediately, the visitor is intrigued by the sound of ping-pong being played somewhere just out of sight. The paintings, the exact size of ping-pong tables, hung horizontally when originally shown in 1990 at the San Francisco Museum of Art. In Palm Springs, they are displayed vertically, which is interesting given the relatively low ceiling height. Each canvas depicts a lushly illustrated green Californian landscape complete with white lines and nets. In addition to the sound of ping-pong balls bouncing, there are several actual ping-pong tables with paddles and balls. The paddles and balls were removed in San Francisco, but here, all are encouraged to play. An accompanying selection of drawings shows these rectangular green spaces in the urban landscape.
“To ping is to sing.” “To pong is to go wrong.”
Commissioned for this show, Solomon designed a new accompanying supergraphic overlooking the Ping-Pong tables with those few words. A supersized red ball appears to hurl through space. Stauffacher Solomon's supergraphics at Sea Ranch were rooted in the severity of her mentor Hoffman’s training but also showed her rebellious side, with bold use of color and humor (find the suggestive figures in the Sea Ranch’s Moonraker Pool Center next time you visit). Her work there, painted in a few days, covered an unfinished building that had gone over budget. Since her contributions to supergraphics and Sea Ranch are well known in the design worlds, this smaller show explores less familiar aspects of her career. Following the success of her interpretation of Swiss Modern graphics, Stauffacher Solomon returned to school at the University of California, Berkeley, and worked with the overlaps of architecture and landscape architecture. She ended up painting all kinds of green rectangles, including the series that resembled ping-pong tables. Her master’s thesis was entitled “Notes on the Common Ground between Architecture and Landscape Architecture.” Her ideas later coalesced in a book from Rizzoli, Green Architecture and the Agrarian Garden. This phase depicts her evolution from almost pure graphics to landscape depicted graphically. Yet her first book from Rizzoli, and the art that accompanied this period, was still rooted in the discipline of graphic design. Her journey moves on to a series of artworks that she gathered in a second book from Rizzoli, Good Mourning California, which embraces her home state and its many quirks yet foretells its possible demise. Some of the drawings of women seem influenced by German-American artist Richard Linder. The pieces are rougher, wilder, even angry. Without watching the two videos in the exhibition, it might be difficult for the uninitiated visitor (i.e. not a design aficionado) to make sense of Breaking all the Rules. Listening to Stauffacher Solomon describe her life and work on the videos provides the necessary frame of reference. She describes her early art studies, working as a dancer at San Francisco’s Copacabana nightclub while still a teenager, meeting her future husband at 17, befriending leading bohemians, rebuilding her life as a very young widow and mother, being disciplined by Swiss Modernism, applying that discipline to California in the 1960s, becoming the darling graphic designer of the city’s architecture scene (no surprise—trying to rein in the future chaos of postmodernism), and trying to synthesize thoughts on architecture, landscape architecture, design, the environment, and everything else. It will take a different show (and larger venue) to tell Bobbie Stauffacher Solomon’s design and personal story more completely, but this is splendid first look. Be sure and play some ping-pong.

Your Umbrella, Your Perletti

New contest on Desall.com: Perletti and Desall invite you to create a new umbrella, able to distinguish itself from the competitors thanks to its design and style details that make it a very distinguishable product.

Perletti is looking for concepts and product ideas for a new umbrella; you are thus invited to explore solutions aimed at its customisation and style that may help the Perletti brand to be easily recognised by the final user. You are free to give your own interpretation to the product drawing on your creativity and background.

For more info: http://bit.ly/PerlettiDesignContest

Contest timeline Upload phase: 19th March 2019 – 18th June 2019 (1.59 PM UTC) Client Vote: from 18th June 2019 Winner announcement: approximately before the end of September 2019

Total awards €5000 Participation is free of charge and open to all creative people (at least 18 years old).

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Two shows explore the art and designs of Elaine Lustig Cohen

Two shows in New York City explore the legacy of 20th-century graphic designer Elaine Lustig Cohen. Though known primarily for her design work, the show at The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU will highlight Lustig Cohen's sculptures, putting them on display in the neoclassical interior of NYU's Duke House. The show at the Jewish Museum focuses on Lustig Cohen's work for the institution, centering around six exhibition catalogs she designed for the museum in the 1960s. The show will also include other work that she designed for the Jewish Museum along with some of her paintings.
 
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Masterpieces & Curiosities: Elaine Lustig Cohen is on view at the Jewish Museum through August 11, 2019.

Graphic Objects: Elaine Lustig Cohen’s Sculptural Works is on view at The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU through February 24, 2019.

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Fikra converts abandoned bank into ground-breaking graphic design event

The inaugural Fikra Graphic Design Biennial, the first biennial on the topic in the Middle East, is currently being held in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The event showcases the collaborative work of hundreds of designers, industry leaders, and institutions from over 20 countries that provide visitors with a glimpse of some of the most inventive and revolutionary graphic design projects in the Middle East. The event space is in the historic Bank of Sharjah building located in a well-known modernist block in Sharjah that was built in the 1970s. Dubai-based T.ZED Architects was commissioned to renovate multiple floors of the block’s long-abandoned bank in order to house the Biennial. The architectural firm preserved and restored many of the antiquated features and remains of the bank through the process, contributing to the exhibition’s unconventional approach. Despite the recent face-lift, the Ministry of Graphic Design will be the building’s last tenant before it is demolished in the coming months. The event is organized by Fikra, the Sharjah-founded graphic design studio that acts as a global stage for artists, architects, and designers in the Middle East, encouraging them to join the global design conversation, collaborate with one another, and analyze the ways in which graphic design transforms the rapidly evolving world of the 21st century. The exhibition’s artistic directors, Na Kim, Prem Krishnamurthy, and Emily Smith, developed a fictitious organization dubbed the Ministry of Graphic Design to structure the show. They describe the Ministry as a “playfully formulated but serious-minded pop-up institution" dedicated to promoting dialogue, research, and understanding within the local, regional, and international graphic design community. Mirroring the hierarchical governmental structure of the United Arab Emirates, the Ministry is composed of six different departments, each one touching on a different feature of historic or modern graphic design. The departments are headed by a diverse team of curators, and each leader is accountable for the content and contributions of its exhibitions. Among them are the Department of Mapping Margins, the Department of Graphic Optimism, the Department of Non-Binaries, the Department of Flying Saucers, the Department of Dematerializing Language, and the Office of the Archive. The Fikra Graphic Design Biennial is open now through November 30.

Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018

Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi1958-2018, an exhibition that explores sixty years of graphic design and art work by three influential women artist-designers: Anni Albers, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Rosmarie Tissi. Connected by shared circumstances of identity, each is a 20th century woman connected to a well-known male artist or designer and business partner, with mutual friends, patrons, places, and communities. Working through and inspired by constraints, all three demonstrated an affinity for geometric, hard-edged forms. They made work with a common ideal, exemplars of the Bauhaus ethos: unity in art and design. In the work is a vivacity that feels always new, timeless, and individual. Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018 features a selection of art and design objects –typography, textiles, prints, paintings, posters, sculptures, trademarks, and books, design and/or art—in chronological order beginning in 1958. The three women’s overlapping careers span the arc of the Modernist era—from the Bauhaus, to mid-century Pax Americana, to Postmodernism, and into the present. Curated by Phillip Niemeyer, a graphic designer and director of Northern—Southern, a gallery and art agency in Austin, Texas. Anni Albers (1899–1994) began her career as a textile designer at the Bauhaus. She freelanced in Germany until 1933, when she emigrated to America with her husband, Josef. She taught at the Black Mountain School (1933-49). She was the first woman designer to have a one woman show at the Museum of Modern Art (1949). Her book of collected writings On Designing (1959) is considered a classic in design thought and an important text in the lineage of the "design thinking" discipline. Later in life she explored print as a medium for design and art work. She worked and wrote until her death. Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016) learned graphic design working with her first husband, Alvin Lustig. Alvin lost his vision before he passed—Lustig Cohen would create his designs based on his spoken instructions. After Alvin's death in 1955, Lustig Cohen worked as a freelance designer in New York. She designed the typography for Philip Johnson's Seagram Building (1956) and the iconic graphics for the seminal Primary Structures exhibition at the Jewish Museum (1966). In the 1970s she painted, often large and subtle geometric compositions. A group of her paintings were recently shown at Philip Johnson's Glass House (2015). Rosemarie Tissi (1937–present) was published in the Neue Graphik (1957) while still at student in the Swiss School of Art and Craft. She founded the studio O&T with Siegfried Odermatt in 1968. Tissi has been a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale) since 1974, and ADC (Art Directors Club) since 1992. She is the recipient of numerous awards and prices including three Swiss Federal Scholarships for Applied Arts. She still works today. Opening reception: March 1, 6-8 PM
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Pratt exhibit showcases three influential but undersung 20th-century designers

Pratt Institute's Manhattan Gallery is hosting a chronological exhibition of the work of three 20th-century designers whose careers spanned most of the modernist era. The roughly two-month-long show covers the work of Anni Albers, Elaine Lustig Cohen, and Rosmarie Tissi, three designers whose lives crossed paths with famous men but who were successful in their own right. In chronological order, Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018 highlights typography, prints, sculptures, books, paintings, and more from the three practitioners, who tended to produce highly geometric forms across media. Lustig Cohen learned graphic design from Alvin Lustig, her first husband, who would dictate his ideas to her after he lost his sight. She did the typography for Philip Johnson's Seagram Building, and is known for her large geometric paintings from the 1970s. Albers, meanwhile, was an influential textile designer for the Bauhaus, and later emigrated to the United States, where she taught at the Black Mountain School (1933-49). Though many may know her as the wife of artist and educator Josef Albers, she was the first designer ever to get a solo show at MoMA, in 1949. Tissi is the only surviving member of the group. She founded O&T (Odermatt & Tissi), her eponymous studio with Siegfried Odermatt, in 1968, and she is still in practice today. Tissi designed the poster for the show, pictured at top. Albers, Lustig Cohen, Tissi, 1958-2018, which runs from March 2 to April 28, is curated by graphic designer Phillip Niemeyer, who also directs Northern-Southern, a gallery and art agency in Austin, Texas. An opening reception is scheduled for March 1 from 6 p.m.–8 p.m.; more information on the exhibition can be found here.
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Graphic designer Ivan Chermayeff passes away at 85

  Ivan Chermayeff, one of the founders of the modern profession of graphic design, passed away on December 3 at age 85. Born in London to design royalty, his father Serge was a Russian-born industrial designer, author, and architect of the De La Warr Pavilion (with Erich Mendelsohn). Ivan was brought to the United States as young boy in 1940 (along with his brother Peter, the co-founder of Cambridge Seven Associates) and raised in an intellectually exciting world of artists, architects, designers and intellectuals. He claimed to have attended 24 schools, a dozen of which he had no "memory of whatsoever and another dozen (which) had no effect on me.” He finally graduated from Yale, but in a recorded interview he asserted it took him “7 years to recover from his education and he would have better studied chemistry” in preparation for being a designer as it would have taught him “discipline.” He rejected the idea of being an architect who “work on things that take a long time, and often fail because of lack of funding or whatever reason...With graphic design there is the advantage that 99 percent of what we do is produced” and he loved seeing his logos “quickly posted all over town.” His firm Chermayeff & Geismar (joined in 2006 by Sagi Haviv) practically defined the image of corporate America and they designed logos for Pan Am, Mobile Oil, Chase Bank, Xerox, NBC, State Farm Insurance, Hearst Corporation Showtime and many others. But the firm also designed identities for major non-profits and cultural Institutions: The Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, Cornell UniversityNational Geographicthe Kennedy Center Honorsthe Southern Poverty Law Center, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur FoundationConservation International, the Library of Congress. He is also credited with designing the red number nine sculpture at 9 West 57th Street in New York City. Chermayeff believed that “design is really common sense any kind of imagery that communicates is valid.” One ends up, he quipped “stealing from many minds,” and that his great design source was “to ask belligerent questions.”  When someone presents you with a problem its important is to find out “if the problem you are presented is the real problem.” Often, he believed “it is not.” He served as president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and his firm received the AIGA Medal for graphic design and visual communication in 1979. They were honored for “the clarity and organization of their graphics systems, and for their pursuit of consistent details that work at every size and scale to solve the problems of multilingual programs.”
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Postmodernist Dan Friedman helped change how the world viewed graphic design

The Chicago Design Museum’s current exhibition brings the ’80s and early ’90s back through the work of postmodernist graphic and furniture designer Dan Friedman. The show, Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist, was originally curated by the artist himself prior to his death in 1995. Continuing his brother’s legacy, Ken Friedman leads the exhibition with curatorial assistance from Chris and Esther Pullman, Mara Holt Skov, and Steven Skov Holt. Friedman, who posthumously won the 2015 AIGA Medal, was instrumental in shifting the world’s perspective of graphic design from a mostly commercial endeavor to a visual art form. The show includes a wide range of his work, from furniture and experimental sculptural installations to found art and his signature new wave typography. Coining the term “radical modernism,” Friedman helped define an era and style that included contemporaries like Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Jeff Koons. This very personal exhibition looks back into a time that can only be described as radical.

Dan Friedman: Radical Modernism Chicago Design Museum 108 North State Street 3rd Floor Chicago Through August 12

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Like design standards manuals? Then you'll love this new bookstore

Perhaps it's the contemporary obsession with nostalgia, but somehow, just like Brutalism, dated design manuals have made a comeback. Thanks to a few within the design industry—notably "typomaniac" Erik Spiekermann and filmmaker Gary Hustwit—the thirst for graphic design guides and their retro-chic has flourished. These books have become coffee table musts. But where to buy them? Sure, they can be purchased online, but if we are to truly wind back the analog clock, nothing quite beats a visit to a proper bookstore and a new one in Brooklyn has the answer.

Graphic designers Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed opened their new graphic design bookstore yesterday, along with their new design office, Order. Located in Greenpoint, the store was designed by New York architect Miran Jang in collaboration with Smyth and Reed. According to the owners, it is the only specialized graphic design bookstore in New York City.

Order specializes in branding, corporate identity, publications, signage, and wayfinding design. The Brooklyn-based pair favors a straightforward typographic approach, preferring function over decoration. Their work has been recognized by institutes such as the Type Directors Club and The American Institute of Graphics Arts.

Formerly of Pentagram, Smyth and Reed are also the two designers behind Standards Manual. The venture started off when they unearthed a 1970 edition of the New York City Transit Graphics Standards Manual and decided it would be a good idea to reproduce it. A 2014 Kickstarter campaign asked for just over $100,000 to print 1,000 books. The pair eventually raised more than $800,000. People actually wanted this, who knew?

Naturally, a second standards manual followed, this time for NASA and also from the 1970s. And this time their fundraising fell a mere $58,000 shy of $1 million. Their current Kickstarter, for the 1977 EPA Graphic Standards System, has already reached its goal.

These design manuals and a selection of curated graphic design books from a variety of publishers including Chronicle Books, Gary Hustwit, Harper Collins, Hartley and Marks, Hachette, Laurence King, Niggli, Phaidon, Prestel, Unit Editions, and Yale University Press are available to purchase at their new store.

Standards Manual store 212 Franklin Street Brooklyn, New York

Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10–6 p.m.

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You can help choose the graphics for California's new Caltrain fleet

Against the odds of the current political moment, California is moving ahead with plans to electrify its Caltrain commuter train system in the northern part of the state. The organization in charge of the upgrades needs help choosing graphics for the new fleet of electric trains. Caltrain, a regional commuter rail serving San Francisco and its environs, has seen daily ridership double to 65,000 since 2005, according to a project website. The transit authority is aiming to transition from its current fleet of diesel-fueled locomotives to next-generation Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains that not only run on electric power, but are propelled along their length, instead of pushed or pulled like traditional trains. The all-car propulsion technology has been shown to shorten overall trip times, a byproduct of the smoother acceleration and stopping capabilities possible when each car is independently-propelled. The electrification of the Caltrain system will also help lay the groundwork for California’s beleaguered and over-budget high-speed rail line (HSR). The multi-phase HSR network is still on-track for the 2025 debut of the Silicon Valley to the Central Valley line and will also run on electricity. Converting the Caltrain system to electrical power now is a basic requirement for the high-speed rail line’s later operation. Like the HSR itself, the effort to electrify the Caltrain system, however, will not be cheap: Cost estimates for the upgrades are currently estimated to bet roughly $1.3 billion, a large chunk of which will need to come from the now-recalcitrant federal government. President Trump’s budget proposal left funding for the improvements unmet, along with several other major mass transit infrastructure projects across the country like Los Angeles’s Purple Line and New York City’s 2nd Avenue Subway extensions. A recently-released congressional draft budget proposal, however, allocated some $100 million toward the electrification project (and partial funding for the other projects, as well). Either way, Caltrain is moving ahead with purchasing 96 new train cars that would be configured into 16 six-car trainsets. The authority also has the option to purchase an additional 96 cars to be configured variously at a later date, according to a bulletin issued by Caltrain. The proposed graphics schemes envision four potential options for the fleet, all of which employ Caltrain’s signature red, white, and dark gray color schemes. The schemes, which feature a variety of striping and color blocking patterns, can be voted on at the Caltrain website. The train operator will spend the next year and a half collecting design feedback and—funding permitting—expects to debut the new trains in between 2019 and 2021.
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In memoriam: Elaine Lustig Cohen (1927–2016)

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Elaine Lustig Cohen, a friend, collaborator, mentor, and endless source of inspiration. Through her matchless work over the past seven decades, she gave us an image of what it means to do everything—whether as an artist, a designer, a dealer, an archivist, a thinker, or something else beyond professional names—with elegance and grace. We miss you dearly, but your memory and legacy remain with us. With love, Prem Krishnamurthy and P!
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André Tavares delves into the anatomy of the architectural book

Superficially, The Anatomy of the Architectural Book is a book about books. Its uniqueness lies in its exploration of how architects utilize their design skills in bookmaking. André Tavares blends two distinct histories, architectural history and bibliography, resulting in a thorough exploration of the architectural book. He examines the relationship between visual communication methods in architecture and print applications, noting the roles of innovations in both fields through history. The book is divided into two parts: the first refers to cases studies of the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition and Sigfried Giedion's 1929 book Befreites wohnen while the second analyzes what Tavares deems the five essentials of architecture (texture, surface, rhythm, structure, and scale) and how to communicate them through the printed medium. An extensive collection of images guide the reader through the book; most are examples of well- and less well-designed architectural books. The images chronicle the history of bookmaking and visual communication: etchings, printing, lithography, chromolithography, etc. In the passage discussing rhythm—one of the five essentials of architecture as they relate to the architectural book—Tavares examines three methods of organization: "step-by-step, brick-upon-brick, and close-and-closer-still." He explores how these are applied in visual communication by Auguste Choisy in his spatially-organized account of the Acropolis in Athens, Gustav Eiffel's chronological sequence of photographs of the Eiffel Tower, and drawings by Claude Nicolas Ledoux that communicate architecture through scale. Considering the views of architect and architectural magazine editor Pierre-Alain Croset, Tavares concludes that "the inhabitant of a building, or the reader of a book, must form a complete experience for themselves by connecting sensory stimuli." Indeed, the author demonstrates the opportunity for sensory stimuli in reading and understanding his investigation of architectural books; the reader is engaged to pursue his or her own investigation. Throughout the book, Tavares studies the work of designers, architects, and architectural critics including: Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, Giovanni Battista da Sangallo, Sigfried Gidieon, Gottfried Semper, William Morris, Alekseï Gan, Moiseï Ginzburg, El Lissitzsky, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Philibert de l'Orme, Humphry Repton, A.W.N. Pugin, Andrea Palladio, Erich Mendelsohn, François Blondel, Frank Lloyd Wright, and numerous others. While the book discusses the history of bookmaking and architecture, it is not organized chronologically but instead topically, an intentional strategy of Tavares. In terms of the book's design, the text is arranged in two columns: a wide column for the primary text and a smaller one for the notes. A simple arrangement of images allows them to correspond smoothly with the text. I recommend this book for those involved in publishing book on architecture and design. Tavares’ correlations and observations of architectural books and printed materials are stimulating and impactful from such perspectives. More details on the book, which is co-published by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) and Lars Müller Publishers, are available here.