design

Gotta Go Number 5

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The list of participants in Poster Offensive 5 has just been released. The official manifesto says “The Poster Offensive is an independent, non-partisan poster show, which utilizes the politically potent medium of the poster to showcase contemporary interpretations and critiques of political and social issues.” But don’t let the warm and fuzzy language fool ya. There has been no shortage of sharply pointed and passionate posters in years past.

The Frank Stone Gallery in Minneapolis will host the show from October 28 through November 7, 2010 with an opening reception on Friday, October 29th.

Here’s the list of 71 artists and and as many links as I could turn up without hurting myself. Certainly enough talent to keep you busy for awhile: Kent Aldrich of Nomadic Press, Brian Beatty, Cranky Pressman, Landland, James Boyd-Brent, Chelsea Brink, Thomas Brodahl, Ross Bruggink, Bill Burns, Anchalee Chambundabongse, Candy Chang, Mike Davis, Jamey Erickson of Sevnthsin, Bill Ferenc, TOOTH, Zara Gonzalez, Austin Gullixson, Chad Hagen, Jessica Hall Burns, J. Namdev Hardisty of The MVA, Robb Harskamp, LovelyMpls, Amy Jo, Ben Hribar, Greg Hubacek, Aesthetic Apparatus, Steve Jockisch, Jeff Johnson, Craig Johnson, Josh Journey-Heinz, Daniel Kent of ikhoor, Joe Kral, Selina Larsen, Ben Levitz, Steve Marth, Justin Martinez, Patrick Maun, Aaron Melander, Samantha Michaels, Lukas Mills, Bill Moran, Kelly Munson, Sarah Osborn, Vahalla Studios, Ben Pagel, Jamie Patrick Paul of Lost & Found Dept., Eric Plumb, Aaron Pollock, Andy Powell, Aaron Purmort, Adam Ramerth, John Reichel, Lucas Richards of MouseSaw, Jesse Ross, Chip Schilling, David Schwen, Scott Shore of Lure Design, Johnny Slocum, Mickey Smith, John Solimine of Spike Press, Krista Stout from Papered Together, Mate Steinforth, Colin Strandberg of The Work Steady, Jason Teegarden-Downs of Delicious Design League, Emma Trithart, Adam Turman, Tony Venne, Burlesque of North America, Dustin Yerks, Nick ZdonTodd Zerger of BrainstormOverload and Peet Fetsch (who is also organizing the Poster Offensive effort! Thanks Peet.).

Time and Tide Waited for 3 Years

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While looking for info graphic inspiration on the site informationisbeautiful.net I found this gorgeous tide chart designed by Wilfred Castillo as a student project (at San Jose State in California) three years ago – back in 2007. Definitely beautiful enough to hang in the house except it isn’t available. Sorry to get your hopes up but better to have loved and lost right? Willfred’s site showcases some other nice work you can’t have too and is worth a visit.

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Welcome to MNimal

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If you love elegantly restrained interface design AND believe that to describe Minnesota as “fly-over country” is to seriously overlook the first rate creative work forged in the heartland then do I have a site for you! Mnimal.com is an impressive and growing gallery of websites that attain that elusive minimalistic clarity. Thanks to curator Joshua Serbus and coordinator Andrew Hafferman for including BrainstormOverload in the collection. We’re delighted to be in such impressive company.

It’s Refreshing To Be Noticed

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The recent (and long overdue) restyle of my portfolio BrainstormOverload has been recognized by the good folks over at RefreshStyle.net. Hopefully you recognize it there in the bottom-left corner. Who’s behind this collection of “refreshingly stylish web design” you ask? In a word – Canadians. While those of you living below the Mason-Dixon Line may be challenged by this notion I can assure you that Canadians love design just like you do. But don’t take my word for it – check out 350 Designs (the makers of RefreshStyle) for yourself. It’s fun to see sites for brands you aren’t familiar with. Oh, and if web design isn’t your thing you’re in luck. There is actually a suite of sites including: StationaryStyle.net, DrupalStyle.net and ArchitectureStyle.net. If you don’t love any of those things seek immediate medical attention.

Happy Winter Solstice

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Winter Solstice has been celebrated by many cultures for many thousands of years. And why not – it’s a big deal. What better occasion to gather together and find comfort in our connections with friends and family than the longest night of the year? Modern life often finds us far from our relations which is why sending a card is such a nice tradition. The time it takes to create, write and subsequently read brings us closer to one another. Granted it’s not quite the same as an all night, star-gazing, bonfire amidst the megaliths but it’s a nice bit of ceremony none the less.

So, in an effort to celebrate connections with colleagues, friends and family I’ve created the third annual, limited edition, BrainstormOverload Winter Solstice Card. Since I can’t send one to everyone I’ve linked to a pdf version of the design here. It won’t have a personalized note that way but given how I’m inclined to go on perhaps that’s best.

In the design on the front of the card each season’s solstice (or equinox) is represented by two arcs. A gray one for night and a colored one for day – the length of each being determined by the number of hours of light or darkness translated into degrees of circumference around a circle where 360 degrees signifies 12 hours. Possibly more than you wanted to know but it underscores how everything in Nature is simultaneously beautiful and meaningful. I hope it will bring a little color and connection to your evening on December 21st and that 2010 is a beautiful and meaningful year.

Download printable pdf version

A Fortunate Calendar

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The second annual RedBlackBrown Collective calendar is done and available just in time for everyone who thinks ahead… but not too far ahead. Six designers, three Asian restaurants and 12 fortune cookies went into producing these limited edition, silkscreened, desk calendars. Now we’re looking for 100 good homes and offices where they’ll be well loved by design savvy people who would like something a little snazzier than the calendar the insurance company sends. Printed on cover stock by French Paper Company the calendars reside in a CD jewel case that folds open to stand proudly on your immaculate desk or works just fine closed on a stack of papers you would like to avoid dealing with. Either way it’s your call – just do it with style.

Calendars can be acquired from any RedBlackBrown Collective member you can lay your hands on or by clicking your mouse (which you probably already have your hand on) using this link for the RedBlackBrown Shop.

More pictures on flickr
Featured on notcot.org

Turning on the Pattern Tap

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The navigation design for the new BrainstormOverload portfolio site has been accepted into the jurried collection at Pattern Tap. There are many sites that agrigate beautiful designs but Pattern Tap takes a more utilitarian approach that is actually quite useful. Well designed user experience components (headers, forms, login functionality, etc.) can be browsed as collections and serve as inspiration to help overcome your own design challenges. It has proven to be a valuable resource so I’m excited to have contributed something in return. Thanks again for Jeff Zerger and Colin Petit for the development on the bsol site.

I’ve Been Objectified

The bright red envelope in my mailbox yesterday signaled the much anticipated arrival of Gary Hustwit’s new film Objectified and an evening spent on the couch, in rapt attention with hot cocoa in hand. Directed in a style very similar to his last film Helvetica this movie is a collection of interviews with a series of fascinating characters from the industrial design world. Some of them are practically caricatures of themselves which like cow hide on an Eames chair makes for a secondary dimension of entertainment layered over the primary theme –  a dive into a tremendously interesting, important, impactful and often overlooked design field. As the movie points out the sexy stuff from Apple or BMW gets noticed as design but in actuality everything is designed at some level even if that level is a pretty disheartening, single-minded drive to get one more piece of trash into our overflowing landfills via your living room. But take heart, design has exploded onto the radar of the mba set and become the primary business advantage for many products. Designers and manufactures are also coming to recognize that sustainability will be the next advantage. Together with consumers everyone involved is becoming more demanding and if the trend is toward more elegantly designed and more sustainably manufactured products that is a good thing.

Check out the trailer and then reserve a spot on your sofa and make extra hot cocoa so you’ve got enough to get you through the extra features – you’re going to want to soak up every minute of this film.

Rent Objectified from NetFlix before it gets all scratched up.
Or buy it from Amazon, directly from the Objectified store or from iTunes.

If you come away wanting to be even more objectified iTunes recently interviewed Gary Hustwit and posted the podcast.
(note this and the iTunes link will open in iTunes)

TCHO Chocolate

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Chocolate
TCHO chocolates come in four 70% cacao flavors made from organic, fair trade beans. Chocolatey, Fruity, Nutty and Citrus. These flavors are derived from chocolates inherent nuances and not from additional ingredients so the affects are subtle but quite distinct from one another. Citrus has a sharper almost malty impact at the back of the mouth and an after taste that lingers like wine. Fruity is a rounder, richer flavor that seems to happen more on the sides of the tongue and is my preference. I’m looking forward to trying chocolatey and nutty next.

Design
I discovered these little squares of chocolate in a small grocery store in the tiny town of Point Reyes Station, California and couldn’t resist the simple pleasure of the foiled, geometric designs on bright colored wrappers. I was delighted to discover the chocolates themselves also have a complementary geometric design engraved into them. TCHO’s is definitely a design friendly company. The identity and packaging were designed by Spiekermann Partners in Berlin and you can even read about the design from Susanna Dulkinys’ perspective on the site.

The TCHO website is nice and clean, full of fun information and the only site I’ve seen that boasts a colophon. They also have an ongoing blog.

Interactive types will appreciate that TCHO went through a beta phase and has now fully launched version 1.0. I would recommend you find some of this great chocolate. You’ll enjoy the experience while rewarding a company that values design as a partner in its business. If there is not a location near you try ordering online. As an interesting side note the first web based order was placed by Herbie Hancock.

Online
TCHO Chocolates

Location
Pier 17 (on the Embarcadero)
San Francisco, CA 94111
phone: 415.981.0189

Available in Minnesota at Product Exchange on Lake Street. Find other locations.

Update (11.13.09)
It looks like I’m not the only one to notice TCHO. Scott Hansen has a nice post on his iso50 blog worth checking out. If you can forgive him for the fact that he does “not really enjoy chocolate on it’s own” it is worth taking a gander at his fantastic poster designs while you’re at it (I already have three so try not to look as a poor substitute for self-control).

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