Category Archives: Oddities

January 17, 2018

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

The Understated Beauty of a Pencil Factory

©Christopher Payne Even in a world increasingly dominated by everything digital, we owe so much the simplest of inventions: a pencil. The greatest ideas start off with graphite on paper, the most beautiful art and prose could not be anything without it. In a recent series, Christopher Payne, whose photographs …

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©Christopher Payne

Even in a world increasingly dominated by everything digital, we owe so much the simplest of inventions: a pencil. The greatest ideas start off with graphite on paper, the most beautiful art and prose could not be anything without it. In a recent series, Christopher Payne, whose photographs were recently featured in the New York Times Magazine in an article about one of the last pencil factories in the United States, artfully documents the breathtaking rhythm and order of a pencil factory.

The subject of Payne’s photographs is a factory called General Pencil located in Jersey City. General Pencil dates back to 1860 and produces a wide assortment of art supplies. Payne visited General Pencil many times to capture the different steps of pencil production, and the way his photographs capture the process is simply breathtaking. One of them has a composition reminiscent of Rothko with clean, rectangular planes of color. Some of the paintings that amaze me most are ones that look like photographs, but what draws me to many of Payne’s works are that they don’t look like photographs. The lines are too perfect, the colors too are crisp and clean, the compositions too perfect to be anything out of reality. But not only are they photographs rather than designs, they are pictures of something as mundane as a pencil.

Christopher Payne is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. He specializes in photographs of small factories, as well as architectural photography.

In fact, we were featured in No.2: A Story of the Pencil, a documentary that explored the history of the pencil, just in case you missed it.

Graphite to be recycled © Christopher Payne

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Editing Pencils © Christopher Payne
new york branding sports graphic design studio
©Christopher Payne
new york branding sports graphic design studio
©Christopher Payne
new york branding sports graphic design studio
©Christopher Payne
new york branding sports graphic design studio
©Christopher Payne
new york branding sports graphic design studio
©Christopher Payne
new york branding sports graphic design studio
©Christopher Payne
new york branding sports graphic design studio
©Christopher Payne

December 21, 2017

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

Museums Decorate for the Holidays

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Alan Kane’s “Home for Christmas” © 2017 Peter Nicholls/Reuters The Tate Britain It’s around this time of year when you can drive down a street and see house after house illuminated with strings of lights. But those types of decorations were just decorations on houses. At the Tate Britain, artist …

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Alan Kane’s “Home for Christmas” © 2017 Peter Nicholls/Reuters

The Tate Britain

It’s around this time of year when you can drive down a street and see house after house illuminated with strings of lights. But those types of decorations were just decorations on houses. At the Tate Britain, artist Alan Kane is taking Christmas decorations to a whole new level with his installation Home for Christmas. In the past, the Tate Britain has let artists create their Christmas tree for the past quarter of a century, but this year, they let Alan Kane decorate the entire facade of the museum.

Artist Alan Kane often uses everyday objects, and this takes decorating for the holidays to a whole new level. The museum will be lit every night until January 6th.

“Within his various projects and collaborations, he draws attention to the dividing line between art as defined by academic convention and art as a more commonplace creative act. His inclusive, humorous work blurs the distinction between innovation and tradition, the amateur and professional, and perceptions of high art and low culture through the insertion of familiar and often comic objects into artistic contexts.”

-The Tate Britain

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© Tate Britain 2017

The American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is continuing a 40-year tradition of the Origami Holiday Tree. Organized mostly by volunteers from Origami USA, the origami ornaments reflect exhibits in the museum. Once the theme is in place, usually around April, volunteers from all over the world begin folding. The pieces, some of which have never been made before and can take weeks to perfect, begin arriving in September. The museum has 40 years worth of origami stored in boxes. This year, it will be on display until January 7th.

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© 2017 American Museum of Natural History
Origami from the 2013 tree © 2017 American Museum of Natural History
Origami from the 2013 tree
© 2017 American Museum of Natural History

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art also continues its tradition of a Christmas Tree. This year, it is a Blue Spruce Tree that is 20 feet high. In 1964, the Museum received a donation of over 140 crèche figures from the late 18th Century. They are between twelve and fifteen inches high each and are pliable, so they can change poses. They form an 18th Century Neapolitan Nativity scene.

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© Metropolitan Museum of Art
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One of many Crèche figures featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Christmas Display. © Metropolitan Museum of Art

November 19, 2017

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

Metro Cards: An Undervalued Medium All Around the World

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about Barbara Kruger’s limited edition metro card. So, I started thinking about MetroCards. Almost every person in a city has them. When you visit a city with a metro line, chances are you walk away with a card in your pocket. As such, they …

new york branding sports graphic design agencyA few weeks ago, I wrote about Barbara Kruger’s limited edition metro card. So, I started thinking about MetroCards. Almost every person in a city has them. When you visit a city with a metro line, chances are you walk away with a card in your pocket. As such, they are a powerful place to display images, designs, and propaganda. I cannot think of a better way to reach an entire city- and even if you disagree with the design of a Metro Card, practicality forces you to have and use it anyway (at least if you live in a city) Some MetroCards are very utilitarian, but they could be beautiful. When I researched metro cards around the world, however, I was impressively underwhelmed by the designs of metro cards. Considering how efficient metro cards could be to communicate an idea about the city they belong to, many cards I found to be outdated looking, ugly, or just plain boring. Below are some of the metro cards that I found interesting.

Toronto

The Toronto metro has a daily ridership of around 950,700 and opened in 1954. Personally, I love the Toronto metro cards. The card is practical yet visually pleasing. It is streamlined, modern and understated.

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Tokyo

The Tokyo Underground Railway was built in 1927. This is one of my favorite metro card designs. It is used by 6.33 million people a day.

new york branding sports graphic design agency

London

The London Tube was the world’s first subway system. It first opened in 1863 with the Metropolitan line, which is where the term ‘metro’ comes from. Regardless, their current cards’ design is modern and clean.

New york branding sports graphic design agency

Moscow

When I searched for images of the Moscow subway system, my jaw dropped. It is highly ornate and luxurious, a far cry from the wonderfully familiar but unfortunately rat-infested New York subway system. 

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new york branding sports graphic design agency

Stockholm

The Tunnelbana network is full of art and beautiful architecture, but it also happens to be one of the most expensive metro systems in the world.

new york branding sports graphic design agency

Washington, DC

The Washington DC metro line is the third busiest metro line in the United States and opened in 1976. Its design features illustrations of Washington’s iconic buildings and monuments.

new york branding sports graphic design agency

Dubai

The Dubai Metro opened in 2009. It was the world’s longest driverless metro system until 2016.

new york branding sports graphic design agency

What do you think? These are the nicest Metro Cards that I could find. Overall, I am not as impressed as I should be for many of the designs for cards seen by millions of people every day. It will be interesting to see what happens to metro cards (and their designs!) as technology begins to phase out the use of physical cards in subway stations.

July 15, 2017

POSTED BY

Rafael Esquer

CATEGORY

Replacing ‘Integrity’ for ‘Trump,’ A Sad Story of Design Plagiarism

© Copyright Left, Tom Jamieson for The New York Times; right, Chang Lee/The New York Times The branding of the Donald Trump’s company is a lovely coat of arms. The Scottish looking design is used on golf properties and merchandise in the US. It flaunts three lions and two chevrons …

© Copyright Left, Tom Jamieson for The New York Times; right, Chang Lee/The New York Times
© Copyright Left, Tom Jamieson for The New York Times; right, Chang Lee/The New York Times

The branding of the Donald Trump’s company is a lovely coat of arms. The Scottish looking design is used on golf properties and merchandise in the US. It flaunts three lions and two chevrons on a shield below a gloved hand gripping arrow. The branding is appropriate for the kind of business it sells, except the design is plagiarized from another family’s coat of arms!

That’s right, a company with the power to hire a professional to design something original opted to shamelessly steal the image for its brand identity. The design is an exact replica of the emblem granted to American diplomat Joseph Edward Davies in 1939 with one change: they have taken out the word “Integritas” (Latin word for integrity) and replaced it with “Trump.”

This is so wrong and embarrassing beyond I can express in this post. You can read more about it in this New York Times article.

What would you do as a designer you receive this design brief?

  • Take an existing design from another country
  • Replace one the word “Integritas” for ‘Trump”
  • Apply the “new” logo to merchandising and properties
  • Done!

My answer? I quit!

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May 29, 2017

POSTED BY

jamak

CATEGORY

All Things Hand Painted, Van Zee Sign Co.

Ithink the best part about working in Soho, isn’t the beautiful people, the millions of food options, or the history per se, it’s the art and inspiration found in every corner. Colossal Media are constantly painting signs by hand, new shops that dictate style all over the world are opening …

Ithink the best part about working in Soho, isn’t the beautiful people, the millions of food options, or the history per se, it’s the art and inspiration found in every corner. Colossal Media are constantly painting signs by hand, new shops that dictate style all over the world are opening up every day, and Canal Street is bustling with vendors selling literally anything you want (handbagperfumefirecologne anybody?) As a designer, it’s so important to keep your head up and really take in everything that’s around you. You never know what will spark your next great work.

That brings me to this morning. Walking to work from the B train I was looking around and reminiscing about my time here. It’s been so nice to feel a part of this community, to have a purpose walking through Soho, a sense of belonging. So when I saw a sign painter through the window of the new Chef’s Counter Club on Spring Street, painting their signs by hand, I smiled and thought about how nice it is they value something like that. When I saw him waving to me I was surprised and did a double-take. I recognized that face, Will Van Zee, from Pratt. Turns out I went to school with this kid like 4 years ago and he’s up here doing big things.

Started from scratch 3 years ago, Van Zee Sign Co. has been carving out a name for themselves as a premier NYC sign painting company, doing work for companies like Industry City, Chelsea Market, Deluxe Cycles, and Flyrite tattoos. Will Van Zee is the principle painter, a great dude, and always willing to chat about all things sign painting. With careful attention to detail and always trying to better himself and his craft, he’s exactly the kind of person you want painting your sign. If you happen to be in Pittsburg this weekend you can also check out his work at the Artsmiths Of Pittsburgh’s THAT TYPE SHOW, opening May 27th, and make sure to check out his Instagram which features all things hand painted.



May 27, 2017

POSTED BY

Michael Enten

CATEGORY

All Things Hand Painted, Van Zee Sign Co.

I think the best part about working in Soho, isn’t the beautiful people, the millions of food options, or the history per se, it’s the art and inspiration found in every corner. Colossal Media are constantly painting signs by hand, new shops that dictate style all over the world are …

Sign Painting new york city creative graphic design studio

I think the best part about working in Soho, isn’t the beautiful people, the millions of food options, or the history per se, it’s the art and inspiration found in every corner. Colossal Media are constantly painting signs by hand, new shops that dictate style all over the world are opening up every day, and Canal Street is bustling with vendors selling literally anything you want (handbagperfumefirecologne anybody?) As a designer, it’s so important to keep your head up and really take in everything that’s around you. You never know what will spark your next great work.

That brings me to this morning. Walking to work from the B train I was looking around and reminiscing about my time here. It’s been so nice to feel a part of this community, to have a purpose walking through Soho, a sense of belonging. So when I saw a sign painter through the window of the new Chef’s Counter Club on Spring Street, painting their signs by hand, I smiled and thought about how nice it is they value something like that. When I saw him waving to me I was surprised and did a double-take. I recognized that face, Will Van Zee, from Pratt. Turns out I went to school with this kid like 4 years ago and he’s up here doing big things.

Started from scratch 3 years ago, Van Zee Sign Co. has been carving out a name for themselves as a premier NYC sign painting company, doing work for companies like Industry City, Chelsea Market, Deluxe Cycles, and Flyrite tattoos. Will Van Zee is the principle painter, a great dude, and always willing to chat about all things sign painting. With careful attention to detail and always trying to better himself and his craft, he’s exactly the kind of person you want painting your sign. If you happen to be in Pittsburg this weekend you can also check out his work at the Artsmiths Of Pittsburgh’s THAT TYPE SHOW, opening May 27th, and make sure to check out his Instagram which features all things hand painted.

Sign Painting new york city creative graphic design studio

Sign Painting new york city creative graphic design studio

Sign Painting new york city creative graphic design studio

Another cell phone running outta space… #signpainting #keepitcasual

A post shared by Will Van Zee (@vanzeesignco) on

A method to the madness #signpainting

A post shared by Will Van Zee (@vanzeesignco) on

May 23, 2017

POSTED BY

Michael Enten

CATEGORY

Berlin’s Pirate Printers

One of the most appealing aspects of printmaking is its constraints. Ink + surface = print. Simple as that. What you can do with those elements, is up to you. I’ve seen screen printers use chocolate sauce as ink to decorate crepes, I’ve seen skateboards used as surfaces, and countless …

new york city creative graphic design studio

One of the most appealing aspects of printmaking is its constraints. Ink + surface = print. Simple as that. What you can do with those elements, is up to you. I’ve seen screen printers use chocolate sauce as ink to decorate crepes, I’ve seen skateboards used as surfaces, and countless of methods of actual printing. So whenever I find something new in the world of printing, my ears always perk up.

Enter Raubdruckerin (German for Pirate Printers). This printing collective based in Berlin looks for objects such as manhole covers, drains and other urban surfaces around the city that can be turned into prints.

According to their website, they use

“Urban structures like manhole covers, grids, technical objects and other surfaces of the urban landscape, to create unique graphical patterns on street wear basics, fabrics and paper. Every piece is hand printed, mainly on-site in the public space, as a footprint of the city…. The main focus is to explore the surfaces of cities, searching for overlooked, seemingly insignificant details on the pavement, which turn out to be true urban design pieces. They reveal unobserved parts of cities, that are full of history, diversity and creativity.”

As a sort of relief print, these reflections of the city tell a story, more than any regular screen printed shirt, or LaserJet print could. These have a literal and metaphorical mark of the city. Created in public, these prints have a connection to the community that a lot of printers strive for. The Pirate Printers take the print shop to the streets and invite the public to join. What’s most interesting to me about this project is the way they were able to look at their surroundings and translate it to print. It’s inspiring to see such a disruptive method to a traditional practice, and it leaves me curious as to what else can be used to print.

Take a look below at some of their products:

Print new york city creative graphic design studio Print new york city creative graphic design studio Print new york city creative graphic design studio Print new york city creative graphic design studio Print new york city creative graphic design studio Print new york city creative graphic design studio

 

May 15, 2017

POSTED BY

Michael Enten

CATEGORY

The Story of Reddit’s r/place

A couple weeks ago something amazing happened. Something immature, sure, but beautiful none-the-less. Reddit, one of the most popular websites in the world (with close to 8 billion page views per month), decided to conduct a little April Fool’s Day social experiment. With the creation of a subreddit called r/place, …

hero
A couple weeks ago something amazing happened. Something immature, sure, but beautiful none-the-less. Reddit, one of the most popular websites in the world (with close to 8 billion page views per month), decided to conduct a little April Fool’s Day social experiment. With the creation of a subreddit called r/place, Reddit turned to its users and asked them to work together to create something unique.

According to Reddit’s blog:

“Each year for April Fools’, rather than a prank, we like to create a project that explores the way that humans interact at large scales. This year we came up with Place, a collaborative canvas on which a single user could only place a single tile every five minutes. This limitation de-emphasized the importance of the individual and necessitated the collaboration of many users in order to achieve complex creations. Each tile placed was relayed to observers in real-time.”

As users began exploring the subreddit, they quickly realized that they needed to work together. The first group completed work to appear was a Dickbutt (a popular meme on the website). Striking a resemblance to early cave paintings, these artists used a grid method to depict this rudimentary, yet recognizable meme in the bottom left-hand corner of the 1000×1000 grid map. From there, r/place exploded into different factions ranging from a blue corner, to maps of all different kinds, to famous works of art. Small wars broke out over the precious real estate, but in the end, you will be pleased to know that there were no hate symbols, (some insensitive one’s but this is the internet here people).

After 72 hours we were left with a weird, but striking portrait of what an anonymous, crowd-sourced piece of art will look like (estimates have it at over 60,000 users participated). For an absolutely amazing account of what took place between internet dwellers, check out http://sudoscript.com/reddit-place/. Take a look below at some of the highlights.

 

"Dickbutt" the first recognizable image to appear in r/place
“Dickbutt” The first recognizable image to appear in r/place
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The “Blue Corner”
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Van Gogh’s The Starry Night

May 8, 2017

POSTED BY

Michael Enten

CATEGORY

Las Vegas’ Neon Museum

Tomsik Photography Las Vegas… The Entertainment Capital of the World… a city synonymous with1 sin, gambling, money, and lights. I’ve never been there, but as a designer, I’ve always been fascinated with the branding of Vegas. One casino trying to out do another on a dusty strip in the middle …

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Tomsik Photography

Las Vegas… The Entertainment Capital of the World… a city synonymous with1 sin, gambling, money, and lights. I’ve never been there, but as a designer, I’ve always been fascinated with the branding of Vegas. One casino trying to out do another on a dusty strip in the middle of the dessert. With amazing buffets, the best gambling, the prettiest girls, or (for today’s purposes) the brightest lights, Las Vegas is a wonder for the senses. Every casino, every night is lit up with aggressive neon lights battling the night until the early hours of the morning. But what happens to all the extravagant and over the top lights and iconic signs after a casino closes, or gets rebranded into the 21st century?

Welcome to the Neon Museum of Las Vegas. Since 2012, the nearly two-acre “Boneyard” and Gallery houses nearly 200 signs are of a bygone era. Open for private tours, weddings, photo shoots, educational programs and special events the Neon Museum is one of the coolest and weirdest museums I’ve heard of. With seven restored signs, some of the collection highlights include the Lucky Cuss Motel, the Bow & Arrow Motel, The Silver Slipper, Society Cleaners, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Normandie Motel, the Hacienda horse and rider, the Landmark and 5th Street Liquors.

Take a look at some of the highlights below and make sure to schedule a tour next time you’re in Vegas for your bro’s bachelor party.

 

 

May 1, 2017

POSTED BY

Dana Chou

CATEGORY

Look Back at Coachella 2017: Not the Music, But the Art

When people think of Coachella, the first things that would come to mind are the insane lineup of musical megastars, good vibes, flower crowns, and just an all-around amazing time. Although tons of big names like Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead headlined this year’s lineup, they weren’t the only focal points for …

When people think of Coachella, the first things that would come to mind are the insane lineup of musical megastars, good vibes, flower crowns, and just an all-around amazing time. Although tons of big names like Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead headlined this year’s lineup, they weren’t the only focal points for this year’s festival.

Coachella has also become a site for crazy, Instagram-worthy art. Ever since this unique art and installations were first introduced to the festival in 2009, the pieces have been garnering more and more attention, and rightfully so. This year’s musical jamboree featured staggering pieces from 4 different artists from around the world. Although they were all wildly unique from one another in meaning and artistic style, they were all, without a doubt, eye-catching and memorable for all.

Music festivals can full of memorable pieces of art and design. Take a look at these awesome posters from Green Man Festival.

CHIAOZZA GARDEN by Chiaozza

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Andrew Jorgensen

 

new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Andrew Jorgensen

 

new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Erik Voake

 

CROWN ETHER by Olalekan Jeyifous

new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Andrew Jorgenson

 

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber
Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Andrew Jorgenson

 

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

IS THIS WHAT BRINGS THINGS INTO FOCUS? by Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Andrew Jorgenson

 

new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Andrew Jorgenson

 

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

LAMP BESIDE THE GOLDEN DOOR by Gustavo Prado

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

Coachella new york city creative graphic design studio firm
Image by Lance Gerber

 

All images (c) Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival