debbie millman

Friday, September 28, 2007

Guess What's Coming Back...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Elements of Branding

branding periodic table

Kirk Littell and George Potts of Kolbrener have compiled a list of major branding terms in a super-creative "Periodic Table." Go to the original in the link below and rollover each branding element to discover each definition. Groups include: Advertising, Direct, Branding, Marketing Communications, M&A, Misc.

Via Kolbrener and Brand Autopsy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Martha Stewart Living Radio Show!

Martha Stewart Living Radio Show!

I am thrilled to report that I was a guest this morning on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Show! I was on the show Design Trends, hosted by the uber-fabulous Gael Towey. It was an extraordinary experience and made my production of Design Matters feel a little bit like Wayne's World! We talked about design, the AIGA and the Corporate Leadership award that she just won, my forthcoming book (three weeks!) "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer," and the role of graphic designers today.

The show is on the Sirius Satellite Network, on channel 112. The show will be rebroadcast tonight at 9pm ET and on Sunday at 10pm ET.

Friday, September 21, 2007

According to Kottke, a "typographic train wreck."

"typographic train wreck"

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Honest Abe will become Colorful Abe with splashes of purple and gray livening up the $5 bill. The government showed off the new bill Thursday in an Internet news conference - a high-tech unveiling that officials say is entirely appropriate for a 21st century redesign of the bill featuring the Civil War president, Abraham Lincoln.

The changes are similar to those already made, starting in 2003, to the $10, $20 and $50 bills. In those redesigns, pastel colors were added as part of an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters and their ever-more-sophisticated copying machines. Originally, the five wasn't going to be redesigned. But that decision was reversed once counterfeiters began bleaching $5 notes and printing fake $100 bills with the bleached paper to take advantage of the fact that some of the security features were in the same locations on both notes. To thwart this particular scam, the government is changing the $5 watermark from one of Lincoln to two separate watermarks featuring the numeral 5. The $100 bill has a watermark with the image of Benjamin Franklin.

The security thread embedded in the $5 bill also has been moved to a different location than the one embedded in the $100 bill. "We wanted this redesigned bill to scream, 'I am a five. I am a five,"' Larry Felix, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We wanted to eliminate any similarity or confusion on the part of the public between the $5 bill and the $100 bill."

Circulation is planned for the spring so operators of millions of vending machines have plenty of time to make the changes necessary so their devices will accept the new $5 - a denomination used heavily in the machines. The bureau will start printing the new notes next week at its facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The goal is to have 1.5 billion $5 bills ready to be put into circulation, at a date still to be determined. The new $5 design also incorporates a number of other state-of-the-art security features. Perhaps the most striking change is a new large-size 5 printed in the lower right-hand corner of the backside of the bill in high-contrast purple ink. That feature was added to help the visually impaired.

Lincoln remains on the front of the bill and the Lincoln Memorial is still on the back, but both images have been enhanced and the oval borders around them have been removed. In place of a border around Lincoln's portrait, the new bill will feature an arc of purple stars. Small yellow "05" numerals will be printed on both the front and the back.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

From 1965: Before Joni was Joni Mitchell

"I was born to take the highway, I was born to chase a dream."

Seems to me, she even knew back then what was coming...

Artist I Love: Justin Quinn

The Sermon by Justin Quinn

To see more images you can go here or here.

Statement by the artist:

The distance between reading and seeing has been an ongoing interest for me. Since 1998 I have been exploring this space through the use of letterforms, and have used the letter E as my primary starting point for the last two years. Since E is often found at the top of vision charts, I questioned what I saw as a familiar hierarchy. Was this letter more important than other letters? E is, after all, the most commonly used letter in the English language, it denotes a natural number (2.71828), and has a visual presence that interests me greatly. In my research E has become a surrogate for all letters in the alphabet. It now replaces the other letters and becomes a universal letter (or Letter), and a string of Es now becomes a generic language (or Language). This substitution denies written words their use as legible signifiers, allowing language to become a vacant parallel Language— a basis for visual manufacture.

After months of compiling Es into abstract compositions through various systemic arrangements, I started recognizing my studio time as a quasi-monastic experience. There was something sublime about both the compositions that I was making and the solitude in which they were made. It was as if I were translating some great text like a subliterate medieval scribe would have years ago—with no direct understanding of the source material. The next logical step was to find a source. Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, a story rich in theology, philosophy, and psychosis provides me with a roadmap for my work, but also with a series of underlying narratives. My drawings, prints, and collages continue to speak of language and the transferal of information, but now as a conduit to Melville’s sublime narratives.
--Justin Quinn

Via Kottke

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

happy happy

the man who created : - )
Carnegie Mellon professor Scott E. Fahlman was the first to use the :-) in a computer message.

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- It was a serious contribution to the electronic lexicon.


Twenty-five years ago, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman says, he was the first to use three keystrokes -- a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis -- as a horizontal "smiley face" in a computer message.

To mark the anniversary Wednesday, Fahlman and his colleagues are starting an annual student contest for innovation in technology-assisted, person-to-person communication. The Smiley Award, sponsored by Yahoo Inc., carries a $500 cash prize.

Language experts say the smiley face and other emotional icons, known as emoticons, have given people a concise way in e-mail and other electronic messages of expressing sentiments that otherwise would be difficult to detect.

Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on September 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.

"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-)," wrote Fahlman. "Read it sideways."

The suggestion gave computer users a way to convey humor or positive feelings with a smile -- or the opposite sentiments by reversing the parenthesis to form a frown.

Carnegie Mellon said Fahlman's smileys spread from its campus to other universities, then businesses and eventually around the world as the Internet gained popularity.

Computer science and linguistics professors contacted by The Associated Press said they were unaware of who first used the symbol.

"I've never seen any hard evidence that the :-) sequence was in use before my original post, and I've never run into anyone who actually claims to have invented it before I did," Fahlman wrote on the university's Web page dedicated to the smiley face. "But it's always possible that someone else had the same idea -- it's a simple and obvious idea, after all."

Variations, such as the "wink" that uses a semicolon, emerged later. And today people can hardly imagine using computer chat programs that don't translate keystrokes into colorful graphics, said Ryan Stansifer, a computer science professor at the Florida Institute of Technology.

"Now we have so much power, we don't settle for a colon-dash-paren," he said. "You want the smiley face, so all these chatting softwares have to have them."

Instant messaging programs often contain an array of faces intended to express emotions ranging from surprise to affection to embarrassment.

"It has been fascinating to watch this phenomenon grow from a little message I tossed off in 10 minutes to something that has spread all around the world," Fahlman was quoted as saying in a university statement. "I sometimes wonder how many millions of people have typed these characters, and how many have turned their heads to one side to view a smiley, in the 25 years since this all started."

Amy Weinberg, a University of Maryland linguist and computer scientist, said emoticons such as the smiley were "definitely creeping into the way, both in business and academia, people communicate."

"In terms of things that language processing does, you have to take them into account," she said. "If you're doing almost anything ... and you have a sentence that says 'I love my boss' and then there's a smiley face, you better not take that seriously."

Emoticons reflect the likely original purpose of language -- to enable people to express emotion, said Clifford Nass, a professor of communications at Stanford University. The emotion behind a written sentence may be hard to discern because emotion is often conveyed through tone of voice, he said.

"What emoticons do is essentially provide a mechanism to transmit emotion when you don't have the voice," Nass said.

In some ways, he added, they also give people "the ability not to think as hard about the words they're using."

Stansifer said the emoticon was part of a natural progression in communication.

"I don't think the smiley face was the beginning and the end," he said. "All people at all times take advantage of whatever means of communication they have."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Charlie Rose interviews the late, great Tibor Kalman

the late, great Tibor Kalman

Charlie Rose interviews one of the greatest designers of all time: the late, great Tibor Kalman. This is a must see.

via Design Observer

Friday, September 14, 2007

AIGA Nashville Think Tank this weekend

AIGA Nashville Think Tank

This Saturday, September 15th, I will be part of a wonderful event in Nashville, Tennessee for the local chapter of the AIGA. The event is called Think Tank and it is all about what is next in design, advertising, and marketing. For more info, you can go here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What The Hell Happened?

once upon a time...


Live from San Francisco: Design Matters with Marian Bantjes

marian's design!

Adobe and AIGA San Francisco are presenting a very special series—Design Matters Live: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Design. Joining me Thursday, September 13th is my dear friend Marian Bantjes.

Marian Bantjes is a self-described [Typo]Graphic Artist. After working as a book typesetter for ten years and a designer for nine, she gave everything up in 2003 to pursue her artistic and typographic obsessions. Her work is complex, structured, sometimes funny and always obsessive. Despite living and working from a small island near Vancouver, Canada, in the past two years she has worked with Pentagram, Stefan Sagmeister, Rick Valicenti, Houghton-Mifflin, Young & Rubicam, Details, InStyle, WIRED, The New York Times, SEED, and Martha Stewart Living ; she has appeared in Eye, STEP, Print (“the vivid word” cover from July/Aug ’06) and Communication Arts; and has had her work chosen for inclusion in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She has been an author on the design weblog Speak Up since 2004, where she writes posts which vary from quirky musings to profane rants. Marian has lectured on her work and given workshops at various colleges, including CalArts, MICA (Baltimore), ArtCenter (Pasadena), Central St. Martin’s (London) and Reading University (UK). The verdict is not yet in, but she may be living proof of what happens when you follow the love instead of the money. Her work can be viewed here (the art for this graphic) or at

For more information about the series you can go to

Monday, September 10, 2007

High Priority in New York Magazine!

HIgh Priority!

This is the artwork I created with my colleague and friend Dan Walter, for this week's High Priority in New York Magazine.

For an archive of past artwork, you can go here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And Now For A Brief Message

A Brief Message: The new site by Khoi and Liz

This week, two of my heroes, Khoi Vinh and Liz Danzico launched a cool new website this week titled A Brief Message.

From the website:

A Brief Message features design opinions expressed in short form. Somewhere between critiques and manifestos, between wordy and skimpy, Brief Messages are viewpoints on design in the real world. They’re pithy, provocative and short — 200 words or less.

Steve Heller wrote the first article, and I had the honor of writing the second. Felix Sockwell did this amazing illustration to accompany the piece:

beautiful illustration by felix sockwell

Pretty cool!

Luciano Pavarotti 1936-2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Way To Multiply?

New Way To Multiply?

Kind of intriguing, but I prefer the old fashioned way...

Via the wonderful Ben and Alice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lost (and Found) in Space

Amazing video captured by the cameras on the side of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) as they're blown clear of the space shuttle Atlantis during the launch of STS-115.

VIa my dear student Aaron Nichols.

Monday, September 03, 2007

What The Buck

A little levity for the holiday...freak-ing hysterical.
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