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

Different ways of looking

March 4, 2011, 5:18 PM

Few days ago, I happened to walk past a beautiful scene: a bright-orange pot, holding a tiny, Little-Prince-like tree, caught up right in the never-ending battle between light & shadow. Obviously, I had to stop for a look and a quick shot:

Half an hour later, still thinking about the photo, I felt like putting more emphasis on the subject, closing the frame in and warming the whole scene even more — while I was quite skeptical about Instagram at the beginning, dismissing it as yet another ‘hipster-app’, I came to love it quite fast after giving it a try: it’s fast, it’s simple and it lets me focus on the subject and on the title — a great exercise for any creative person (true, some use it to share their breakfast menu to the world, but I guess that can’t be helped in the current no-privacy world). So here came the second, more focused treatment, titled ‘It’s mostly about being there at the right time, eyes opened.’

'It's mostly about being there at the right time, eyes opened.'

As my Instagram account publishes instantly to my Twitter account, one of my followers retweeted it. While it’s always nice when people ‘like’ your stuff, seeing the retweet made me look at the photo again. Oddly enough, there was something new, something I didn’t see the first time. Or, better said, I realised that, in spite of the title, my eyes haven’t been open enough.

Graphic Design: Visual Comparisons (1964), by Fletcher Forbes Gill

As a big fan of Pentagram, I have pretty much all the books they’ve ever made, starting with the above beauty, “Graphic Design: Visual Comparisons” (1964), written by Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes and Bob Gill before the official birth of Pentagram (the Fletcher Forbes Gill studio eventually became Pentagram in 1972). The simple drawing on the cover, depicting the book’s title, would’ve probably went just as well on the cover of Alan Fletcher’s later book, The Art of Looking Sideways (2001). So with these two  constantly roaming through the back of my mind, I saw an entirely different scene, where the orange pot was no longer the main subject, but where several other much more interesting ‘characters’ were ‘looking’ around in many different ways. The title this time, ‘… and there’s always more than just one way of looking.’

'... and there's always more than just one way of looking.'

After this, I started playing around some more, trying black & white versions of the photo, other crops and so on. None made me happier than the above one, but it really was a great to be reminded that one can look at things from so many different perspectives. Of course, the scene had quite a lot of things to play around with and focus on, but the same exercise can be done with almost anything, even just one single object. For example, I remember one of the assignments my high school design teacher told me about: you are given a single push pin — you have to come up with a complex pencil drawing composition on a large A1 paper, based only on that tack. Now, there’s a challenge, if you needed one.

And since I mentioned push pins, there’s no better way of concluding it than with this Milton Glaser poster:

Milton Glaser's "Looking is not Seeing" poster.

Further links and credits:
— thanks to Roxana for helping me see things differently;
— you’d probably enjoy my Instagrid photo collection (now over 100);
— you can buy Milton’s poster on his website.



And Snow Covered The Land…

February 8, 2010, 11:18 AM

Such a wonderful thing to draw aimlessly on a torn paper, randomly picked among the piles of books and papers on your desk, never knowing what you’ll eventually get to — and not even suspecting that it’ll be related in any way to future events. If Mr. Glaser says ‘drawing is thinking‘, could it be that drawing is also a small peek into the future? I wonder…

(also on flickr)



Comic Sans — to hate or not to hate

May 2, 2009, 12:23 PM

A fun, interesting and tought-provoking short documentary about the typeface we all love to hate: Comic Sans. Makes you think that nothing must be taken lightly, especially when it comes to human perceptions (and design in general).

Here’s a challenge:
try designing a logo using Comic Sans (that’s not for a cartoon magazine, of course :P).

Comic Sans from Sam and Anita on Vimeo.

(via design observer)



Snow everywhere

December 26, 2008, 6:20 PM

NW view of Straja Peak, Valea Jiului, Romania.

Few things can compare with the pleasure of freeriding through the snow powder, down the slopes of the mountain, through woods and alpine plains alike. I only hope that I’ll still be able to ski — meaning, we’ll still have enough snow — in Romania ten or twenty years from now.

Happy holidays everyone, snowy or sunny, just as you like it :)

You can view a larger image, along with others on my flickr. Two videos with my brother and I freeriding are also online on youtube, here and here :)

Later edit:
Well, it seems ‘freeriding’ is a snowboarding term, so the better thing to use would be backcountry skiing :)



Massive Attack To The Heart

August 3, 2008, 3:45 PM


(view larger on flickr)

Superb concert last night in Bucharest. It thrilled me to see that not only did they know in which country they were (this may sound odd, but many artist coming here for the first time mistook us for Budapest—a big mistake, considering the ancient national issues between romaniand and hungarians), but most of their impressive type&image screen kept rolling strong headlines in romanian, among some being facts about our political problems. It really showed how serious Del Naja is about his campaigns and how much it means to him to fight for an idea through his music and shows.

And the music… well, it was enchanting, hypnotising, hair raising. Can’t wait to get the new album :)



Simple Joy

July 19, 2008, 10:02 PM

(view larger on Flickr)




Soon It'll Be Ok

, 10:00 PM

(view larger on Flickr)



Chasing Clouds

June 23, 2008, 12:46 AM


(view larger on flickr)




Hespera's Gate

, 12:43 AM


(been here before—view larger on flickrHespera wiki)





I wanna be a poster

June 22, 2008, 6:42 PM

I’d sure love to turn this photo into a poster :) Big type would look great on it, especially Akzidenz Grotesk or Franklin Gothic. Ragged left, of course—would work better than ragged right with the photo flipped, I think.


(view larger on flickr)