Sufjan Stevens’ new song “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

Sufjan Stevens has a new album called Carrie & Lowell which comes out March 30/31. Now he’s released a new single called “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross” which I’d describe as a return to the old Sufjan. More traditional in sound, it combines Sufjan’s voice with a steady plucking guitar and the slightest trace of river flowing in the background. It doesn’t get more calm and lovely than this.

Sufjan Stevens's new song "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross"

Bobby Solomon

February 16, 2015 / By

Matt Cooper Shares His Experience Designing Line Icons

An Exploration of Line Icon Design by Matt Cooper

I enjoyed this post over on Medium by Matt Cooper who writes about his experience over the last 18 months designing line based icons. For a while there everyone was in a tizzy over whether or not line icons were legible or not though that fervor seems to have died down. Now we’re starting to see some well-executed icons in this style like the one’s Matt has made, which to me show the validity of line based icons.

If you’re curious to see more examples you should check out Designspiration’s collection of line icons. A plethora of icons to inspire your own work.

Bobby Solomon

February 11, 2015 / By

A’ Design Awards 2015 – International Call for Entries (Sponsored)

A’ Design Awards 2015 – International Call for Entries (Sponsored)

The A’ Design Award & Competition is the world’s leading international annual juried competition for design. The A’ Design Accolades are organized in a wide range of creative fields to highlight the very best designers from all countries in all disciplines. Entries to the competition are peer-reviewed and anonymously judged by an influential jury panel of experienced academics, prominent press members and established professionals.

Categories include ‘Arts, Crafts and Ready-Mades,’ ‘Movie and Animation Design,’ and ‘Visual Communication.’ A full list of categories can be found at adesignaward.com/categories.

The A’ Design Prize, given to award winners, includes PR, publicity, and marketing services, in addition to an exclusive invitation to the glamorous Gala-Night and Award Ceremony at Como Lake, Italy, where award winners are presented their exclusive trophies, hardcover yearbook of best designs, and certificates.

A’ Design Award winner projects will be exhibited in three countries in 2015, a tour ending in Dublin, Ireland, to celebrate Dublin’s 2015 World Design Hub designation.

Submit your work at adesignaward.com/registration.

Deadline for entries to the A’ Design Award & Competition is on February 28, 2015. Results will be announced on April 15, 2015.

 

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Tensegrity Space Frame Light Lighting Structure by Michal Maciej Bartosik

 

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Osaka – Sao Paulo Restaurant by Ariel Chemi / AGCH arquitectos

 

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AIR LINES Aircraft Livery Design by Didier Wolff / HAPPY DESIGN STUDIO

 

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Bragazzis Olive Oil and Vinegar Typographic Excellence by PACKLAB

Bobby Solomon

February 9, 2015 / By

Siggi Eggertsson Makes Screensavers Cool Again with Saver Screensson

Siggi Eggertsson - Screensaver

The screensaver feels like an icon of the past. Sure, we all use the standard Mac screensaver with the photos of majestic looking animals or vibrant flowers, floating on mobile like strings that dance across our displays. Yet the screensaver feels like it needs a reinvention, a sprucing up if you will.

Icelandic designer Siggi Eggertsson has you covered with his new project Saver Screensson. Using his own drawings he’s created a screensaver that layers upon itself, creating incredible designs that shift and transform as the time passes. I’ve been using it since Friday and I can’t imagine going back to any sort of standard screensaver.

Bobby Solomon

February 9, 2015 / By

What The Canadian Flag Could Have Been

Arcade has a great piece on the creation of the Canadian flag as we currently know it, spurred by an effort to distance themselves from Britain during a political crisis in the 50’s.

In the summer of 1964, with construction of the groundbreaking Montreal Expo underway, a new national symbol was seen as key to the modernization of Canada. The creation of a new flag was meant to be a truly public and participatory process in which citizens were invited to take part in the profound reshaping of their country’s national image.

I found it fascinating that their flag was designed so recently. In my mind flags have such a provenance and iconic nature that they seem like they’ve been around forever.

Below is my favorite rejected flag design. I love the simplified version of the maple leaves, the gaggle of geese, and the Japanese aesthetic it embodies. In fact, when you do a Google Image Search of the image you see primarily Japanese sumi ink paintings. Anyone know who created this version?

Canada Flag Design - Japanese

Bobby Solomon

January 30, 2015 / By

The Craftsmen of Ireland

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At the end of last year, I was delighted to hear that Jameson had invited me to Ireland to interact with some of their local craftsman, tour their incredible distillery, and—of course—enjoy some delicious Irish whiskey.

Never having been to Ireland before, I knew I was in for a treat. Telling friends and co-workers about my journey I was told stories about cozy, old pubs that buzz until late into the night, lusciosus green hills that seem to last forever, and encountering folks who were some of the nicest they’d ever met. This was one of the elements that still stands out so vividly to me: how kind the people are.

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The first craftsman we visited was a burly man named Garvan de Bruir, a leather crafter working in the quaint town of Killdare. We drove almost directly from the Dublin airport to his studio and was greeted with a spread of sandwiches, salads, and good beer, which was much needed after a 14+ hour flight. Garvan’s kindness matched his creativity as we snacked in an impressive studio he designed himself, not content only creating objects with leather.

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The De Bruir line of leather goods are fantastic, too. He makes a little bit of everything such as luggage, bags, wallets, keep-all trays, and, most surprising of all, bow ties. I believe hearing the words “leather bow tie” might induce a cringe amongst most but his design is flawless and, when you see Garvin himself wearing one, you suddenly see how well it works.

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We were given the opportunity to make leather aprons for ourselves using De Bruir designs. Watching Garvan and his apprentice work looked simple but in actuality is a lot like watching cooking shows on television: “I can do that, no big deal,” you say in your head. As I learned, leather crafting is not simple. Thankfully we had expert teachers who led us through process with ease as we chatted about other small leather good brands from around the world. It was two days of hard work that led to a beautiful product that should last me forever.

After this, we took off for the town of Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city and home to a number of glass blowers. Waterford might sound familiar and that’s because it was the home of Waterford Crystal. Well, that was until 2009 when they declared bankruptcy and laid off most of their artisans. Still! That didn’t stop companies like The Irish Handmade Glass Company from filling the void with their very in-demand skills.

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If you’ve never seen glass blowing in person, it’s hard to fully understand the beauty of the process. We were treated to Richard Rowe showing us how a master glass blower goes about his craft, tranforming globs of molten glass into precious pieces of art in minutes. It’s an intimdating craft that has an element of danger—or at least you think this from the view of a spectator, which is a part of it’s allure.

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The last leg of our trip was a tour through the Jameson Distillery in Cork, a facility that’s been around since 1795. The distillery is indicative of what I saw a lot of in Ireland: a rich history and heritage now being augmented with contemporary design and architecture. As you walk around you’re overwhelmed by the age of the place, that has been the brand home for hundreds of years.

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They’ve been plying their craft, slowly but surely moving toward the present and future of whiskey. The grounds are mostly lined with old building made of stone and wood, like a Dickensian setting of some sort. This setting continues in the past until the near end, where you’re guided to the new wing of the facility a state-of-the-art complex that resembles a Bond villains lair (but in actuality, distills golden, whiskey goodness).

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They even have (what I would call) a whiskey labratory officially titled the Irish Whiskey Academy. It offers a number of courses on the history of whiskey, how it’s produced, and—yes—extensive tastings. The tastings were particularly interesting because of the variety of flavors and nuance a whiskey can take on. Some had fruit notes, some where quite smokey; others were younger and thus quite potent, a specific taste for specific people. Getting to soak up the details of a whiskey like that is not something that happens very often—especially in such a storied place like the Jameson Distillery.

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In all, Ireland was a fantastic place to visit. The weather was warm, the people were warmer, and the whiskey never stops flowing. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Bobby Solomon

January 27, 2015 / By

Sonos Doesn’t Have A New Logo, It Has A Beautiful New Visual Identity

Bruce Mau Design's New Sonos Logo Isn't A Logo

It’s been nice to see Bruce Mau Design’s work for Sonos get the recognition it deserves, the team has done a beautiful job. Of particular note has been how the lines radiating outward from behind the logo resembles sound waves thanks to the moire pattern used – except it’s wrongly being called a new logo. By many. The Sonos logo hasn’t changed, only the visual identity has been refreshed. From Bruce Mau Design:

This new iteration of the Sonos visual identity advances the idea of the modern music experience – not singular or monolithic but a rich diversity of expressions. Performance imagery from Sonos Studio, new product photography and the introduction of three big graphic tools that can be mixed and remixed, deliver a creative and variable language while still providing the stability of a recognizable system.

As designers we should do our part in educating the folks who don’t understand on the difference between logo design and visual identity. At the very least it’s good for people who aren’t as fluent in design speak to understand what it is we do exactly (and why they’re paying so much for it). Hat tip to Bryan Byczek for pointing this out.

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2015 / By

Bold, Folksy Branding for Mibici, A Used Bike Non-Profit

Really like the boldness of this brand identity for Mibici, a small non-profit that brings used bikes from the U.S. and distributes them in rural communities in Costa Rica. It was created by Pupila Sestudio along with with Matti Vandersee who did a great job of making a non-profit that may have gotten list visually stand out from the pack. The hand-drawn bike illustrations are especially charming.

Bold, Folksy Branding for Mibici, A Used Bike Non-Profit

Bold, Folksy Branding for Mibici, A Used Bike Non-Profit

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2015 / By

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