The Obvious, Shunned by So Many, Is Successfully Avoided Once Again
Spread from I.D. magazine, July/August 2005, art directed by Kobi Nenezri, photographed by Yoko Inoue
Does anyone devote as much energy to avoiding simple, sensible solutions as the modern graphic designer?
Among the design professions, graphic design is an embarrassingly low-risk enterprise. Our colleagues in architecture, industrial design and fashion design are tormented by nightmares of smoldering rubble, brutally hacked off fingers, and embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. We graphic designers flirt with...paper cuts. Thus liberated from serious threats, we invent our own: skating on the edge of illegibility, daring readers to navigate indecipherable layouts, and concocting unlikely new ways to solve problems that don't actually exist...
Call Me Shithead, or, What's in a Name?
Economist Stephen Levitt is interested in more than money. Instead, he wants to know how people make decisions: how they decide how much to pay for something, how they describe themselves to potential blind dates, why they decide to lead a life of crime or go into professional sports. And, of course, what to name the baby.
In their new book, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything,
Levitt and coauthor Stephen Dubner devote a chapter to the economics of baby names. What names are statistically correlated with educated parents? What names are correlated to socioeconomic status? Why are some names popular and some not? And along the way, they tell a story, perhaps apocryphal, of a baby girl who had been given a name with an exotic pronunciation, shuh-TEED
, but an unfortunate spelling, Shithead
Naming things companies, products, brands is a service that a lot of design firms, from Landor
, are well compensated for providing...
The Man Who Saved Jackson Pollock
Brochure for Knoll Associates, Herbert Matter, 1946
A few years ago, I opened the newspaper to find a story
on the resurrection of a beloved graphic icon. It seems a group of railroad fanatics had come together to restore 16 locomotives to bear the black-and-red paint scheme of the long-defunct New Haven Railroad. And they were successful: today the trains are running in and out of Grand Central Terminal, bearing the striking logo
that looks as good now as it did when it was retired in 1968.
I read the article with pleasure at first, and then with mounting exasperation...