debbie millman

Friday, February 29, 2008

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz



A video by Job & Roel Wouters, recorded in Amsterdam at studio Xelor early 2008

Via the always marvelous SwissMiss

Design Matters Today with Stefan Bucher



It is Friday again! That means that Design Matters is live at 3 PM ET. My guest today is Stefan Bucher.

Stefan Bucher is a man possessed. When an idea pops into his head he can’t stop until he makes it real. Over the years this has led him to move from his native Germany to Southern California, where he got himself a degree from a killer art school. It pushed him to work as an art director at one of the world’s best ad agencies in one of the world’s wettest cities. It also got him fired from that same agency less than a year later.

He then moved back to Los Angeles and became the man behind the 344 Design Empire. He has created CD covers for just about every major record company (and for a few minor ones, too.) He has designed albums for Sting and Whitney Houston, and he once rode in an elevator with Hunter S. Thompson. Now that everybody downloads their music on iTunes he has moved on to making books and art catalogs. He’s good at it, too. British Design & Art Direction gave him a Yellow Pencil for “Most Outstanding Complete Book Design” for his design of the five-and-a-half pound “American Photography 17” annual, which—if you’re not following the graphic design awards circuit—is a very impressive thing. In 2004 the Art Directors Club of New York declared him a Young Gun, which isn’t too shabby, either.

He has designed for painter David Hockney, for Tarsem (the director of “The Cell” and the upcoming movie “The Fall”), and for the advanced thinkers at the Open Intelligence Agency. He wrote and designed the gratuitously ambitious book “All Access—The Making of 30 Extraordinary Graphic Designers” and spent two years writing and illustrating “ink & circumstance,” a column on life, love and graphic design for STEP inside design magazine. These days he films himself making ink blot monsters for his runaway blog Daily Monster. The first 100 Daily Monsters are collected in the book “100 Days of Monsters” which is hitting stores this week.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and was recently voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 50,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations. You can go here, through the Sterling link: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/ListenLive.html

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Friday, in Indianapolis

I will be speaking at the AIGA Indianapolis chapter, presenting my latest lecture: Why We Buy, Why We Brand. The presentation is a historical look at the influence branding has on our every day lives - from branding ourselves and the world around us to the role branding plays in the products we buy and the way we live our lives.

Friday, February 29, 2008 12:00pm - 1:30pm
The Westin, Indianapolis
50 South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 262-8100

Lunch will be provided! Yum!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

People In Order



People in Order's Age is part of a series of short films that assembles the people of Britain in a given order. In just 3 minutes, we meet 100 different people who are arranged according to their age, starting from age 1.

Created by Lenka Clayton and James Price

Part of Portable Film Festival

Via the always wonderful Very Short List

Monday, February 25, 2008

e.e. cummings visualized

etc.

The Sweet Old Etcetera is an interactive web project created by Alison Clifford that sets the poetry of e. e. cummings against an imaginary landscape. Initially, the landscape is bare but through gradual interaction, poetry grows from the landscape’s soil and individual letters become protagonists of each story/poem.

The poetry of e. e. cummings is highly visual, playful and experimental. In his collection “Chansons Innocentes” the imagery is of children at play and throughout his other work he plays with language the way a child might break apart a toy and play with the resulting pieces. His breaking of syntactic structures makes some works appear more like computer code rather than conventional poetry and the rhythms he follows are those of speech and phonetics rather than metricality. Perhaps as a direct result of the fact that he was also a painter, his poetry must be read on a visual level with regard to both form and content.

It is this spirit of inventiveness and experimentation combined with a highly visual content that lends itself to interactive web-art.

Flash offers the possibility of making graphic, text and sound objects react to user’s mouse movements, creating a dynamic multimedia experience. Treatment of the poetry of cummings in this way would remove it from the confines of the static printed page, offering a further level of engagement to the reader.

The project is a personal response to the poet’s work, aiming to capture the poems’ playful spirit in an interactive, experimental and highly visual way.

The Sweet Old Etcetera site can be found here.

Via Design Observer.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cheshire Cat Grin

Several versions of one of the best tunes on Radiohead's In Rainbows: Jigsaw Falling In Place, complete with lyrics to enhance your listening pleasure.





Just as you take my hand
Just as you write my number down
Just as the drinks arrive
Just as they play your favourite song
As your bad mood disappears
No longer wound up like a spring
Before you've had too much
Come back in focus again

The walls abandon shape
They got a cheshire cat grin
All blurring into one
This place is on a mission
Before the night owl
Before the animal noises
Closed circuit cameras
Before you're comatose

Before you run away from me
Before you're lost between the notes
The beat goes round and round
The beat goes round and round
I never really got there
I just pretended that I had

What's the point of instruments
Words are a sawed off shotgun

Come on and let it out (4x)

Before you run away from me
Before you're lost between the notes
Just as you take the mic
Just as you dance, dance, dance

Jigsaw falling into place
There is nothing to explain
Regard each other as you pass
She looks back, you look back
Not just once
Not just twice
Wish away the nightmare
Wish away the nightmare
You've got a light you can feel it on your back
You've got a light you can feel it on your back
Jigsaws falling into places, places

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gain Is Back And Better Than Ever

Gain is back!

2008 is turning out to be an exciting year. I am honored to announce that I was asked to chair the AIGA National Biennial Design and Business Conference, GAIN. It will be in October, and we are planning an extraordinary conference. I am working with a really cool advisory committee and have awesome speakers coming. We are still adding more speakers every week, so please keep checking to get the lastest information.

In tandem with the conference, I have been working with Sue Apfelbaum at National AIGA to resurrect Gain, the online design and business journal and I am so pleased to announce that as of yesterday, the journal is back! The following is from my editor's letter:

Welcome to the reinvigoration of Gain: AIGA Journal of Business and Design. The first issue of Gain was launched in 2000, by founding editor David R. Brown and editorial director Andrea Codrington; they were followed by Gong Szeto and David Womack, and most recently Karen McGrane and Liz Danzico (archives are all available). Over time they developed the current mission statement, which we will continue to foster:

“Gain is dedicated to stimulating thinking at the intersection of design and business. Through rigorous case studies and thoughtful interviews, the journal demonstrates how the process of design can be used to solve business problems, foster innovation, build meaningful customer relationships and differentiate products from competitors.”

As we approach the biannual “Gain: AIGA Business and Design Conference” in New York City this October 23–25, we will be working to bring you articles and information from some of the confirmed speakers, as well provide insightful content from some of today’s leading design and business thinkers. We look forward to re-engaging this important discussion and welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas.


So, please register before May 21 to receive the early registration rate, and be in touch if you have ideas for speakers or you are interested in writing an article for the journal. Next week's post will be from the brilliant cultural anthropologist, Grant McCracken, and in the coming months we have articles planned from Alina Wheeler, Jeff Foster, Rob Wallace and many, many more.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Charmed

a magical charm bracelet

Growing up, I had a baby sitter named Nancy who watched me every Saturday night when, after getting all dolled up, my parents went downtown to go out for dinner. I was so taken with Nancy that I attempted to emulate everything about her: I tried to dress like she did; I parted my hair on the same side, and I wore ponytails in the identical style that she did. At the time, she was the most glamorous, sophisticated and kindest person in my life. She always brought me a pack of gum when she came to baby sit, she would let me stay up late watching television and she read to me before I went to sleep. I loved her.

Nancy had a very unusual, very beautiful necklace. She wore it all the time, and it fascinated me. Describing it will be difficult, but I will try: essentially it was a gold chain necklace that held a small spherical charm in the shape of a cage. The charm held brightly colored loose stones. This sparkly necklace mesmerized me. Whenever she came over, she would let me wear it. I would hold the necklace in the center of my palm for hours on end and imagine that the cage held all of the stars in the solar system. Looking back on it now, I don’t really know what it was about that necklace that so captivated me, but in analyzing it all of these years later. I think it was my first encounter with an object that I believed contained both beauty and magic.

Several months later my dad got a new job and we had to move from Howard Beach, Queens to Staten Island. I was inconsolable; I had just started third grade, I had made new friends, and I knew that Nancy would not be able to travel all the way to Staten Island to come to baby sit. I didn’t know what I would do without her. Before we said goodbye, she opened my hand and put a little box in it. I knew what it was before I opened it: the magical necklace. Her generosity overwhelmed me and I cried the entire trip to Staten Island.

Somehow, in the chaos of unpacking our new home, my magical necklace got lost. I was devastated and spent weeks on end searching the house to no avail. In the years since, I unsuccessfully scoured flea markets and eBay, vintage shops and jewelry stores in an effort to find a similar necklace. I never told anybody about my quest, but I never stopped looking for my lost little charm with the loose sparkly stones.

What has remained is the memory of Nancy: her generosity, her warm encouragement, her caring and her love. So it was with a deep sense of returning and giving back that I decided to become a mentor to a 15-year-old student named Alexandra in the High School of Art and Design in New York City.

Alex is incredibly cool and is amazingly talented and loves anime and horror movies and her boyfriend Mark, and she has one of the most extraordinary sketchbooks I have ever seen. Via this experience, I have come to realize that mentoring is about more than giving back. Mentoring is learning about yourself and the world. Mentoring is hard work and great fun and a big responsibility.
In Alex’s senior year of high school, my main task was to assist her with college applications and encourage her to get into the best possible school. Alex had been unsure about pursuing design, she felt she might not be talented enough, and she was insecure about her ability to get into a good program. I was insistent that she not make any decisions out of fear, but rather do the very best she could. And after all of the hard work, we were able to celebrate: she was accepted into the undergraduate design program at one of the best design schools in the country.
Shortly thereafter Alex handed me a beautifully wrapped present. I was perplexed as to why I was getting this gift, but Alex told me that she and her mother wanted to give me something to show how grateful they were for all of my help and encouragement. Alex told me this as I was about to go into a major presentation, but she insisted that I open the present right then and there. I opened it quickly and saw a lovely bracelet with dangly whimsical charms. I hugged her, put the box in my purse and went on to my presentation.

The next morning as I was getting ready to go to work, I remembered that Alex’s present was still in my pocketbook. I took it out of my bag and as I opened the box something glinty caught my eye. I picked up the bracelet to examine at it more carefully. And my heart skipped a beat. “No,” I thought, “it couldn’t be.” But I could see that indeed it was. The familiar round globe, the sparkly loose stones, the little gold cage: it was identical. My long ago lost charm. It was on the bracelet, and now, once again, in my hand.

I saw Alex the next day and told her the story. She was as incredulous as I was. And as happy.

I think when we give something of ourselves, what we get in return is immeasurable. We might be giving back because someone gave to us, or we are giving back because we know we should. Either way, when we do this, something remarkable happens: we get a uniquely human, mutually shared experience. And in that experience, continuity develops. You give something away, you get something in return and the cycle is perpetuated. As long as we are capable, and as long as we participate, the cycle can never be broken.

Design Matters Today with Petrula Vrontikis

petrula vrontikis

Petrula Vrontikis has been a leading voice in graphic design and design education communities for over 20 years. Her work has appeared in over 100 books and publications, and is part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. She is the author of the book inspiration=ideas: A Creativity Sourcebook for Graphic Designers and is an editorial contributor to design publications including the AIGA.org Forum.

She lectures at conferences, universities, and to professional organizations worldwide about her work with Vrontikis Design Office, about graphic design education, and on the subject of inspiration. In 2003 she was selected by Graphic Design: USA as one of 100 People to Watch.

She has taught the senior graphic design studies course at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California since 1989, and was as a national advisory board member of the AIGA from 1999 to 2001. She has served on numerous local, national, and international design juries. In 2007 Petrula received an AIGA Los Angeles Fellows Award honoring her as an essential voice raising the understanding of design within the industry and among the business and cultural communities of Los Angeles.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

AIGA NY Publikum Presentation, Friday February 22


Short documentary on the making of the 2008 Publikum Calendar, directed by Nada Ray

The 2008 Publikum Calendar, designed by Sean Adams, features work by 12 international graphic artists including Chip Kidd, Marian Bantjes, Garth Walker, Luba Lukova, Igor Orsolic, Jianping He, Matteo Bologna, Big Active and others. It is a multi-disciplinary project consisting of a wall calendar, a book, a video documentary, lectures and exhibitions.

Publikum Calendar emerged fifteen years ago amidst the turmoil and war in Serbia. Co-founded by George Mill and Nada Ray, it has grown into an international collaborative publication, publishing works by Serbian and international artists, most notably Paula Scher, Mirko Ilic, Oliviero Toscani, Marina Abramovic, David Byrne, Barbara Kruger, Tadanori Yoko, Slavimir Stojanovic, Karlssonwilker, Andrea Dezso, and more.

On Friday, February 22, I will be moderating a talk with designers Chip Kidd, Luba Lukova, Matteo Bologna and Publikum Calendar founders George Mill & Nada Ray at the AIGA Headquarters (164 Fifth Avenue) from 6:00-7:30.

The Publikum Calendar 2008 exhibition at the AIGA National Design Center is on view until February 22, 2008, so this is your last chance to see this!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tonight in Philadelphia, being Green

AIGA Philadelphia: Greenstock 2008

AIGA Philadelphia’s Spring Lecture series, Greenstock, is a succession of programs focusing on sustainability in design. The first event, called “Local,” is a roundtable discussion by members of Philadelphia’s design community who are currently working in green and sustainable design, and include Bart Houlahan from B Corporation, Angelo Anastasio from Greenable, Andrew Dahlgren from Green Village Philadelphia, Jameson Detweiler from Drexel Smart House and Alex Peltz from Design for Social Impact. I'll be moderating.

Philadelphia Ethical Society
1906 South Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Reception at 6pm, Roundtable at 7pm

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Separated at Birth?

the original and the replica

Lindsay Lohan photographed by Bert Stern for New York Magazine posing as "Marilyn" during her The Last Sitting (which was also shot by Stern).

Is it just me, or is this mind-bogglingly bad?

Look closely, and you can see exactly why simply by the expressions in each of their mouths.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yellow

yellow

i was familiar

one of my favorite things

two red dots

for better or worse

i stole andrea's yellow barrette

New Website: The History of Visual Communication

History of Visual Communication

From the website:

"This website attempts to walk you through the long and diverse history of a particular aspect of human endeavour: The translation of ideas, stories and concepts that are largely textual and/or word based into a visual format, i.e. visual communication. Wikipedia defines visual communication as:

"Visual communication is the communication of ideas through the visual display of information. Primarily associated with two dimensional images, it includes: art, signs, photography, typography, drawing fundamentals, colour and electronic resources. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically oriented usability. It is part of what a graphic designer does to communicate visually with the audience.

The primary tool by which man has visualised ideas is through the usage of writing and, by extension, type: Writing/type is the visual manifestation of the spoken word. And words are what we communicate with. Thus it is no overstatement when we say that type is the essence of visual communication and by extension of visual communication design. Type, where it is present, is simply the single most important element that you put on a page, since it inherently carries the essence of communication and communication is what our subject of study as graphic/multimedia designers is all about. Thus, the history of visual communication, i.e. the history of the visualisation of the spoken word, will largely follow the development of typographic systems, with a special focus on the Latin typographic system, given that this is the one that we are operating under. Although the primary focus will be on typographic elements and methodologies, the course will, of course, also cover pictorial aspects of visual communication, such as illustration, illumination, photography, shapes, colour etc as and where they pertain to the essence of the subject."

Via Design Observer.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

4 Minute Madonna Mania

queen madge

Madonna's new, as yet unnamed album (my prediction: Candy Store) will be out on April 29th and the leaks have begun. Here are some links:

Live version of the first single, 4 Minutes To Save The World with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland (2:11):
http://www.mediafire.com/?3g91gyrtehl

Very brief snippette of (supposed) album version of 4 Minutes To Save The World (:17):
http://www.mediafire.com/?9jm93mlxnnm

Information from Rolling Stone is here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Design Matters Today with Jonah Lehrer

Proust Was A Neuroscientist
Proust Was A Neuroscientist, by Jonah Lehrer

It is Friday again! That means that Design Matters is live at 3 PM ET. My guest today is Jonah Lehrer.

Jonah Lehrer, age twenty-five, is editor at large for Seed magazine. A graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes scholar, Lehrer has worked in the lab of Nobel Prize–winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel and studied with Hermione Lee at Oxford. He has coauthored a peer-reviewed paper in Genetics and worked as a line cook at Melisse (in Los Angeles) and at Le Cirque 2000, and as a prep cook at Le Bernardin. As a journalist he has profiled Brian Greene and Elizabeth Gould, spent several days in the kitchen of the Fat Duck, and recorded bird songs and ruminated on Stravinsky for National Public Radio. He has written for Nature, NPR, NOVA, ScienceNow, and the MIT Technology Review, and writes a highly regarded blog known as the Frontal Cortex. In 2007, Houghton Mifflin published his book Proust Was A Neuroscientist.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and was recently voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 50,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/ListenLive.html

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link: http://www.modavox.com/VoiceAmericaBusiness/

Or you can go here, through the Designers Who Blog link: http://www.designers-who-blog.com

Lots of choices.

Please note that you will need Windows Media Player or the equivalent program to listen in, but you can download the technology for free here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp

Or finally, you can listen to this show, or any of our previous shows, as a Podcast on iTunes, for free. To listen to the Podcasts, you can do either of the following:

Subscribe manually, by going to the iTunes advanced menu, then select "Subscribe to Podcast," then enter the following: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/DesignMatters/rss.xml as the feed.

Or simply do a search on the iTunes music store Podcast directory for “Design Matters.”

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Today with Stefan Sagmeister

Window Art at Deitch Projects
Massimo Vignelli writing on the window for Stefan Sagmeister's exhibition at Deitch Projects

I will be writing on the window of Stefan Sagmeister's exhibit Things In My Life I Have Learned So Far at Deitch Projects, today from 12-3 PM. Hillman Curtis will be there as well filming. Hope to see you there.

Deitch Projects
76 Grand Street, in Soho

Stefan is also blogging this week for the New York Times.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine Gem

Another gem by Jeff Scher
Still from the Jeff Scher film, "Tulips"

Another beautiful gem by filmmaker Jeff Scher, featured on the NY Times Select. "Tulips" is a film about kissing. In Jeff's words:

"Cinema has been fascinated with kissing since Thomas Edison filmed May Irwin and John Rice in 1896 in “The Kiss.”

The kiss is particularly interesting to me, as it’s one of the best things we all get to do, yet almost everyone does it with their eyes closed.

Perhaps this accounts in part for how compelling a good screen kiss is. It’s one of the privileges of the film experience to see something so private and personal up close, invisible to the kissers. With the taboo of voyeurism lifted, we are drawn in, almost hypnotically, to participate vicariously.

Valentine’s Day seemed like a swell excuse to make a kissing film. The moment where the kiss is inevitable is just as delicious as the the kiss itself, so each shot begins just before the kiss. You can feel the tractor beam of mutual attraction and are drawn in yourself, as a viewer."

You can see Jeff's film here.

You can see what inspired him here.

And if you can figure out who the last couple kissing is, do tell.
: )

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

See Jane Die

upsetting and creepy and bad

The blog 90 Day Jane is written by a woman recording her thoughts as she counts down the days until she commits suicide. She started the blog 7 days ago; thus she has 83 days left until she kicks the bucket.

I read about this on the Video Web Report. According to writer Sergio Ibarra, "she (claims she) has already caught the eye of a “HUGE” network that wants to talk to her “very soon.” Given the success of viral marketing campaigns, many doubt the legitimacy of Jane’s claims and expect the whole scheme to be a girl’s three-month attempt at her own 15 minutes of fame."

In any case, I find the whole thing repugnant. I don't think this is "genius" or "brilliant" or the "ultimate in performance art," as some have suggested, as I don't think this qualifies as art. I don't care that she is an atheist (and therefore feels that life has no great purpose) and I don't care that she is or isn't depressed. I do care that she has such a bitter disregard for living and such blatant disrespect of dying. As far as I am concerned, this is irrefutable proof that civilization is indeed doomed.

UPDATE: 90 Day Jane lasts only 7 days
Blogger and YouTube have both pulled her content. In the week it has been on the internet, 90 Day Jane garnered thousands of comments to her blog, over 2,000 links on Google and allegedly a "huge" offer from a television network.

I am left wondering why this type of antic/behavior/initiative provoked such intense feelings, and I was reminded of the reaction that both Shirley Jackson and The New Yorker received after the 1948 publication of her short story The Lottery. In Private Demons, Shirley Jackson's biographer, Judy Oppenheimer, wrote, "Nothing in the magazine before or since would provoke such a huge outpouring of fury, horror, rage, disgust and intense fascination."

Humans have always been oddly captivated with public displays of death or mutilation, whether it be art or journalism. Let's hope that this display will end up simply another footnote in the annals of Web 2.0.

Monday, February 11, 2008

AIGA Next Conference 20/20: The Next Generation of Designers



Last October, I was extremely lucky to be able to host the 20/20 event at the National AIGA Next Conference in Denver, Colorado.

This millennial 20/20 continued the tradition of selecting 20 designers to each present 60-second vignettes for a total of 20 minutes. The young designers featured in this video were chosen as the “best of the next” by a number of design icons and present their interpretation of "what's next in design." Enjoy!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Does God Exist?



The full version of the Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Debate at New York's 92nd Street Y over whether God exists. Listen in at the 16th minute and the 50th minute to hear some great facts by both Hitchens and Boteach respectively.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Design Matters Friday with the legendary Vaughan Oliver

The One and Only Amazing Vaughan Oliver
Design by Vaughan Oliver, Book of Inspiration for Coco De Mer, 2005

It is Friday again! That means that Design Matters is live at 3 PM ET. My guest today is the legendary Vaughan Oliver.

It is not possible to talk about graphic design of the last 20 years without acknowledging the contribution of Vaughan Oliver. Without a doubt, he is one of the most important graphic designers to come out of England in the last 20 years ad his influence can be seen far and wide.

Oliver set up the design company 23 envelope in the early 1980s and was rechristened v23 in 1988. Working with the label 4AD, Vaughan deeply influenced the discipline of record sleeve design working with musicians such as Ultra Vivid Scene, Frank Black, The Pixies, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Robert Fripp and many, many others.

HIs mythical work with David Sylvian is the closest pop music and art have ever been. Written by Rick Poynor, his 2001 monograph, Visceral Pleasures, explores the different phases of Oliver's career and show that at their most expressive and inventive, Oliver's graphic images embody his intense responses as listener as it plunges the viewer into a world of visceral sensation and pleasure. Oliver and v23 now have their offices in Wandsworth, South England, where Vaughan will be speaking with me today.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and was recently voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 50,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/ListenLive.html

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link: http://www.modavox.com/VoiceAmericaBusiness/

Or you can go here, through the Designers Who Blog link: http://www.designers-who-blog.com

Lots of choices.

Please note that you will need Windows Media Player or the equivalent program to listen in, but you can download the technology for free here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp

Or finally, you can listen to this show, or any of our previous shows, as a Podcast on iTunes, for free. To listen to the Podcasts, you can do either of the following:

Subscribe manually, by going to the iTunes advanced menu, then select "Subscribe to Podcast," then enter the following: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/DesignMatters/rss.xml as the feed.

Or simply do a search on the iTunes music store Podcast directory for “Design Matters.”

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.

MANY THANKS TO ADOBE FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF DESIGN MATTERS and to all of our wonderful listeners.

And just so you have it--the rest of the Season Five line-up thus far:

February 15: Jonah Lehrer
February 22: Petrula Vrontikis
February 29: Stefan G. Bucher
March 7: Laurie Rosenwald
March 14: Jeffrey Zeldman
March 28: Abbott Miller
April 11: Robynne Raye
April 18: Michael Hodgson
April 25: Lawrence Weiner

Thank you for listening!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Frozen In Grand Central



A strange sight at Grand Central. A couple of hundred people, indistinguishable from the 500,000 commuters who pass through the midtown station each day, suddenly freeze. They were part of the improv group Improve Everywhere which has put on this public event before, but never in such a theatrical space. A cop was asked what was going on: "I have no idea! That is the craziest shit I’ve ever seen in my life, and I'm a cop!" (Click play to start the clip.)

For behind the scenes info and background, you can go here.

Via the always inspiring SwissMiss.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Awesome Animation

awesome animation

Awesome animation by Alan Becker via the wonderful Laurie Rosenwald.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Circle Game

Last weekend, as is often the case, my six-year-old neighbor Lena, daughter of Mary and Neil, knocked on my apartment door and asked if she could come in to play. As usual, I welcomed her in, and in what has become a ritual of sorts, she asked if we could watch TV. We channel surfed for a bit, but after discovering there was nothing that suited her fancy, she abruptly had an idea. “I know,” she stated, at once adorable and determined, “I can go get my movie.” Thirty seconds later, she returned with a DVD I had to struggle to pry out of her little, magic marker stained hands. The moment after I removed the DVD from the case, she grabbed it back and held it as if it contained the meaning of life. Her eyes glistened. When I looked at the name of the film, I recognized the logo without needing to read it and realized that in my hands I held the holy grail of every girl under ten. In my hands I held the purveyor of fantasy and fascination and folklore, in my hands I held the electrifying, nearly dog-eared version of the one and only wondrous Walt Disney film titled...The Little Mermaid.

As Lena settled in for her magical journey, I remembered my own foray into the divinity that is Disney, and reminisced back to the Sunday evening ritual of my youth: first, the viewing of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom starring Marlon Perkins, followed by the ever Wonderful World of Disney. Meanwhile, Lena was mesmerized watching the adventures of the mermaid known as Ariel, and when it was finished she looked up at me with urgent eyes and asked in a whisper: “Can we watch it again?” This surprised me, and I asked her why. “Because,” was her utterly logical response. I then asked her how many times she had previously watched the movie, and her answer was stated as if it my question were the silliest query in the world: “Millions,” she impatiently said. “Millions and trillions and billions.”

Children love repetition. Whether it is the resplendent “bye-bye, bye-bye” of the Teletubbies or Dora the Explorer’s constant “Vaminos” or Hannah Montanta’s recurrent “Sweet Niblets,” kids seem to be endlessly fascinated by the familiar. As I watched Lena press the play button for a second and then a third time, I started thinking about how much adults love repetition and ritual as well. We have our regular drinks in Starbucks that we order day after day after day. Mike, from my office, boasts that he has eaten the same sandwich for lunch for the past two years. Sue, my best friend since college, used to scold me for dating the identical man over and over and over, wondering when I would ever learn. Food, dating, entertainment—even seats at a conference room table in a business meeting—human beings seem hardwired to stake out a physical and emotional territory and stick with it. We even will go out of our way to resist having to change things.

This week, the New York Times published an article by evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson. In it, she writes, “It is striking how often similar traits evolve in similar environments….all these systems show the same thing: at the genetic level, evolution is, to a remarkable extent, a repeater.” What is it about repetition that we crave? Do humans feel safer with what we recognize? Does consistency allow us to feel more secure?

And what about art? Shouldn’t we expect art and design and literature and music to be fresh and original? Perhaps it depends on the person. Many years ago, when I was working in the magazine business, word on the street had it that a new magazine was coming to Manhattan, and it was going to change everything. Some people were breathless with anticipation and others, like my friend Suzanne and me, were skeptical. As two young women trying to break into the world of mass media, this was yet another barrier to the big time. I’ll never forget the day in the fall of 1986 when the magazine hit the streets: I saw it first and called her from a payphone in the West Village as I scrutinized the first issue: “Ugh, it’s hideous,” I stated. “There is an ugly picture of Chris Elliott looking like an idiot beside the cover line JERKS. And inside: even worse. The type is so small and sarcastic it is virtually unreadable. Forget it,” I said haughtily and laughed, “it'll never last.”

Of course, the launch of Spy that year was hardly a failure; in fact, the magazine so profoundly shook up the fat and happy publishing world, one could argue that it has never been the same since. Suzanne ended up getting a job there and we never, ever spoke about my dire prediction again.

I guess change is inevitable. How else could we evolve and grow? Still, there is something utterly comforting about consistency. Just last night, I lay tossing and turning in bed, once again unable to sleep. I switched the television on, hoping for something good to watch. With 600 channels, I had plenty to choose from: an all but impossible to believe new episode of House that I had previously recorded and two cool movies on demand that I hadn’t yet seen. As I went through my options, I suddenly stopped. Sex in the City was on! It was the episode when Miranda and Steve get married! Joyfully, I put it on. And I laughed out loud as I realized that, like Lena and her Little Mermaid, I had seen this particular episode no less than twenty times before. But lying there in the middle of the night, waiting for the world to wake up, it seemed that there was absolutely nothing that could be better than seeing something I had seen before, and so thoroughly loved, a thousand times over.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Why I Worship Sarah Silverman

Design Matters Today with Kurt Andersen

kurt andersen

It is Friday again! That means that Design Matters is live at 3 PM ET. My guest today is Kurt Andersen.

Kurt Andersen is the author of the critically acclaimed bestselling novels Heyday and Turn of the Century. Now at work on his third novel, Andersen is also the host of "Studio 360," the Peabody Award-winning public radio program about culture and the arts; a columnist for New York magazine; co-founder of Very Short List; a contributing editor to Vanity Fair; and editor-at-large for Random House.

He was a co-founder and editor of Spy magazine, and editor-in-chief of New York. In 1999 he co-founded Inside.com, an online news service. During the 1990s he was executive producer of prime-time specials for NBC and created pilots for ABC, NBC and NBC News. He is also co-author of "Loose Lips," an off-Broadway revue that had long runs in New York and Los Angeles.

As a columnist for The New Yorker from 1996 to 1999, he wrote regularly about design and architecture. He began his career in journalism at Time, where he was an award-winning writer on politics and criminal justice before serving as the magazine’s architecture and design critic for eight years. He has also contributed to the New York Times Magazine, Metropolis and Architectural Record, among others.

Andersen is a trustee of the Pratt Institute and the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Rhode Island School of Design.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and was recently voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 50,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/ListenLive.html

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link: http://www.modavox.com/VoiceAmericaBusiness/

Or you can go here, through the Designers Who Blog link: http://www.designers-who-blog.com

Lots of choices.

Please note that you will need Windows Media Player or the equivalent program to listen in, but you can download the technology for free here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp

Or finally, you can listen to this show, or any of our previous shows, as a Podcast on iTunes, for free. To listen to the Podcasts, you can do either of the following:

Subscribe manually, by going to the iTunes advanced menu, then select "Subscribe to Podcast," then enter the following: http://www.sterlingbrands.com/DesignMatters/rss.xml as the feed.

Or simply do a search on the iTunes music store Podcast directory for “Design Matters.”

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.
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Debbie Millman has worked in the design business for over 25 years. She is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for nearly 15 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of global brands for Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Nestle and Hasbro. Prior to Sterling, she was a Senior Vice President at Interbrand and a Marketing Director at Frankfurt Balkind. Debbie is President of the AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine, a design writer at FastCompany.com and Brand New and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005, she began hosting the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet. The show is titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” and it is now featured on DesignObserver.com. In addition to “Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,” (HOW Books, 2009, she is the author of "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer" (Allworth Press, 2007) and “The Essential Principles of Graphic Design” (Rotovision, 2008).

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