Food for thought‘[...] do not think that good design can make a poor product good, whether the product be a machine, a building, a promotional brochure or a business man. But [...] good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential. In short, [...] good design is good business.’
Thomas J. Watson Jr., IBM CEO

Brandient 101 Romanian Identities

March 22, 2010, 11:59 AM

Brandient — the leading branding and design company in Romania, one of the most awarded in Eastern Europe and the one I’ve had the pleasure to be part of for the last 3 years — celebrates a wonderful milestone: over 100 brands and identities, developed over the last eight years. To honour this event, an exhibition will be held at Carturesti Verona in Bucharest (sub_Carturesti coffee shop). The opening event will take place on 26 march, at 5.00 PM, when Brandient’s designers will share their experiences during the “Brandient 101 minutes about design” talk. For more info, you can read the official press release.

The exhibition will be open from 26 march till 7 april. We’re preparing another surprise, so stay tuned.

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On succes with three top creatives — or how designers & photographers can be a lot funnier than Seinfeld

March 15, 2010, 12:22 AM

If you ever thought that a bounch of old creatives couldn’t be even half funnier than Jerry Seinfeld, you’re dead wrong. Watch Michael Wolff, Erik Spiekermann and Oliviero Toscani ‘chit-chatting’ about success in one of the DBA‘s The Edge talks:

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Knowing Mr. Toscani’s work and the fact that he’s such a flamboyant italian (say what you will, but the obviousness of their nationalities is very funny), it’s no wonder how easily he steals the show, giving headaches to Erik and Wolff :)) Every gesture is priceless, and the bit about the European union just made me burst into tears laughing :))

Here’s a favourite quote from Toscani: “Creative Director? Not even God directed creativity.” And while I’m at it, one wise word from Mr. Wolff: “Our species is both as brilliant and as thick as it’s possible to imagine.”

/via Sorin Bechira, i think :)

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Saul Bass On Making Money vs Quality Work

January 20, 2010, 1:19 PM

“It costs every designer money to make beautiful [things]…”
—Saul Bass

Wow. All those nights of madly trying to find the right shape, the right colour or the best proportions don’t seem so insanely wasted now. Beautiful things just take time. Sometimes you succeed in making them, sometimes you don’t. Many times you feel like quitting. But it’s all part of being a designer. We all have our ups and downs. The important thing is to keep searching, pushing yourself to do something better, more beautiful, wittier, to keep learning more and more.

Luckily, we have the great ones to remind us why we do this:


(via the silver lining)

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“Voyages Extraordinaires”—16th theme from Design Challenge

December 21, 2009, 8:02 PM

The 16th theme for the periodical Design Challenge was a series of covers for Jules Verne books. The mandatories demanded the design of three jackets, hinting the graphic style for the entire series (54 in total).

Here are my designs:

You can also check out Ciprian’s wonderful solution here.

Design Challenge is a group of creative people that test their wits and talents on periodically-given themes (usually on a two-weeks basis). The themes are given by rotation and are based on less comercial topics like book covers, movie posters, music covers and others (most of us work as brand designers so we try to challenge ourselves with something different from what we do every day).

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Town Magazine: B&W photo+typography=perfect marriage

December 9, 2009, 1:29 PM

Wonderful spreads from the Town Magazine (1952 -1968):

You can read more about it here.

(via Things To Look At)

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Serifed wayfinding in Gatwick, London

November 1, 2009, 4:06 PM

This really drew my eye last night as I was checking out in Gatwick, London: serifed wayfinding.

How about that, these chaps don’t give a damn about legibility theories and it’s such a good thing they don’t, every sign looks so beautiful, friendly and comfortable to follow. Only ermergency signs are written in sans, mostly on green colour (did see one on yellow, but I think it was just a mistake), well differentiated from the others. Take a look:

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Steal or copy — treading the fine line

October 30, 2009, 3:41 PM

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”
—Albert Einstein

“Bad artists copy. Great artists steal.”
—Pablo Picasso

“Instinct […] is memory in disguise—works quite well when trained, poorly otherwise.”
Robert Bringhurst

•••

iancu-design-challenge-15-bike-ride

Last night I couldn’t go to sleep before making this poster (larger here)—it stood as a sketch in my Moleskine for two days. It is one of my works for the 15th Design Challenge (the theme being a bike-day-or-ride poster with the title “I want to ride my bicycle”). The concept is great: a giant, red-striking, italic B (Futura UltraBold, of course) suggesting the word “bicycle”, helped by the small bike icon (InfoPict Two) and being part of an already very well known song line, “I want to ride my bicycle” from Queen. Add that big red letter over a black&white photo (bikes in their urban environment) and you have a clear winner. Looks great (I actually have people that can testify, so please excuse the self-praise :P)

However, this poster—most likely—wouldn’t have been born without seeing another poster three days ago, browsing Flickr. This one was made by Gabriel & Svoboda, exibited at the A:Event—larger here.

Gabriel-Svoboda

Now, the obvious troubling question is: how much is my poster mine?
Sure, they only have the big italic B in common, and the black&white poster is obviously not the first or the last one to make use of a huge, dominating letter as the main focus of its composition. Just as I’m not the first to use red Futura UltraBold over black&white photography—Barbara Kruger did this way back, and she’s in most design books so almost every designer has seen her work at some point, even if only by visiting Centre Pompidou.

Usually we don’t really remember our influences, mostly because we always filter everything we see and learn through our own personality, through our own creative talent. I didn’t think of Barbara Kruger at all when I designed the poster, I only remembered her while writing this analisys. God knows how many other influences I had. But I did know about the other poster, I specifically wrote down in my sketchbook to use the big italic B to illustrate my own ideas.

In the end, I guess it comes down to how much the work is your own, to how well you’ve managed to bring it close to your soul, to how much you believe in it. To how much you’ve “stolen” it or made it your own, as Picasso says. Do I like the poster? Of course, I’m proud of it. Is it mine? I think so. But being an intelligent person, I’m never completely sure of anything (“Only fools are 100% sure, son” “You sure, dad?” “Of course, son”).

This having been said, in commercial work there’s a pretty different story. The last thing you want is to find out that your design resembles another—your whole effort for differentiating your client can be ruined just because somebody somewhere had a similar idea. This is why market research is important, just as keeping yourself informed on other fellow designers’ work is (but this also influences your work—feel the irony?)

Come to think of it, there is this recent case that touches the same problem: Wolff Olins’ Docomo vs Pentagram’s MAD. Many hurried to cry “copy-cat”, but that’s just plain thought-less reaction. All designers, consultants and advertisers (the serious ones, that is) know how many elements are involved during a project. And we all know that you can’t reinvent the wheel. The basic shapes will remain the same, nobody can “own” them, just like T-Mobile can’t own magenta—that’s just against common sense.

(quotes reminded by Adi – RO link)

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Michael Bierut shares 5 secrets from 86 notebooks

October 27, 2009, 12:49 AM

It’s always so inspiring to listen to Michael Bierut. This time he talks about five things, ‘five secrets’ he’s learned while working, and he shares them while explaining five relevant projects:

If you’re lazy or just here for a quick reminder, here are the five:
• Listen first, then design
• Don’t avoid the obvious
• The problem contains the solution
• Indulge your obsessions
• Love is the answer

Use them wisely :)

(via designobserver)

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Type & patterns — beautiful work by Andrew Townsend

October 22, 2009, 7:46 PM

I wish I made these. They’re that beautiful. Andrew Townsend‘s NTU Degree Shows 09 invitations and print materials look just wonderful. Mixing patterns with colour and a strong typeface surely hits the right spot. See for yourself (definitely browse his website for more treats):

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(via Graphic-Exchange, thanks Cipri)

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