New Photos

Posted in Photography by Natalie on February 24, 2010

Check out some new photographs I’ve snapped over the past couple weeks while strolling through Brooklyn and the Burgh.


Effective Type

Posted in Art & Design by Natalie on February 24, 2010

Continuing to look at typography and it’s role in design, I have to address the concept of book covers and the graphic novel. If there is anywhere where font and image need to co-exist harmoniously it’s within the frames of the comic book. A great example – one of my all time favorite graphic novelists, the artist that really turned me on to the genre, Chris Ware.

I remember reading this book years ago after my sister decided to check it out from the library to bring on vacation. By the end of the week my entire family had read it. This act of  excellent book selection was prompted by a Ware exhibit we had seen together earlier that summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Ware is a master of design layout. Within the borders of the page, his frames are all over the place in different shapes and sizes. Occasionally arrows point to the next sequence, creating an exciting world for the viewer, but sadly not for his protagonist, Jimmy Corrigan. This book cover is a great example of how effective Ware is at combining image and typography. Various fonts are at play here, but with the tight color scheme and the radial balance it all works; drawing the viewer’s eyes to absorb every word.

If you want to see more of where that came from, check out Drawn & Quarterly’s website. The site is very visually appealing, and a work of art in its own right. And it should be as they publish works by the likes of Clowes, Brown, Ware, and Barry.

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Typography in Branding

Posted in Art & Design by Natalie on February 24, 2010

I think typography is one of those aspects of design that largely goes unnoticed, unless of course it’s really bad. But in almost every design equation you can be sure that words are a part of the formula. According to Design Basics Index by Jim Krause, typography becomes a sort of obsession for those designers who focus their time and energy to achieving the most appropriate and effective serif. And, having heard first hand of the perfectionist nature of designers (and even experienced my own inability to just walk away from an ongoing project), I don’t doubt this for a second. So this week, while thinking about typography and design I tried to just focus on the things I see everyday.

Now, this idea came to me as I was zoning out while working at a certain retail establishment in the city. Instead of actually listening to the customer bitching about the hangers (Um, yes ma’am, they’re what we use to hang clothes), I was trying to think of just what type of type I was going write about. And then it suddenly occurred to me; the light bulb floating above head suddenly turned on – labels. Labels and branding are a prime example of typography and probably one of the most active and out there representations. I spend hours each week looking at these logos – most notably the name of the store itself and it’s sister companies. All highly recognizable and reflective of the atmosphere they aim to cultivate within each store.

Anthropologie services the high-end customer while at the same time striving for a very bohemian look (paradox? yes. but that’s the fashion, people.). Their logo is whimsical, yet tailored. The sketchy quality is balanced by the rich looking design feature and straight-forward font of the brand.

Free People tends to cater to a younger crowd. This is inherent in the logo’s loose and free font. It fits the hippie-dippy feel of the clothing it’s stamped on. In addition, nothing says teenager like a dragonfly graphic.

Last, but surely not least, Urban Outfitters. Urban Inc. is the parent company within which all of these stores fall, and Urban Outfitters is its most recognizable store. Urban bridges the gap between the young aesthetic of Free People and the chic, sophistication of Anthropologie to bring a hip, urban sense of style that capitalizes on anything within the pop culture stratosphere and peddles it to it’s customers as something uniquely artsy. This logo design for a back-to-school line is a prime example. Urban wants to visually overload their customers, so we think we’re looking at something new and one-of-a-kind. And they’re highly successful at achieving just that – their logo, aesthetic, design is…cool.

Science is Art

Posted in Art & Design, News & Current Events by Natalie on February 22, 2010

Here are the winning photographs and illustrations from the 2009 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. Now, I’m not saying I know what any of things actually are, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t look cool. But I will say that anyone who claims that art and science aren’t link is a damned fool.

Eric Reichbaum Photography

Posted in Photography by Natalie on February 22, 2010

Check out Eric’s site for great pictures of various locales, events, and people around New York City and beyond. Eric’s photos are diverse, and he has a born knack for capturing his subject(s) at unusual and captivating angles, which results in creative compositions that engage the viewer. In addition, on his website he takes time to explain all the whats, hows, and whys for each of his photo shoots – a nice treat for the untrained and casual eye. Highlights: photographs of music events (if you have happen to wear anything made of hemp and/or shower less than 5 days a week, these are especially not to be missed) and the Brooklyn landscape.

Photoshop Tricks, I mean, Treats.

Posted in Art & Design by Natalie on February 22, 2010

An interesting, and totally creepy, example of the ways in which Photoshop can be used to alter an image for the better (?). Lots of us stare at pictures of celebrities daily, but this is definitely way more entertaining than anything you’ll find on PerezHilton. Just thought this was a simple and creative example of how to have fun with the digital design tool.

Text Masking

Posted in Art & Design by Natalie on February 18, 2010


Posted in Art & Design by Natalie on February 18, 2010

A Photoshop exercise in Text Masking.

Ad Update

Posted in Art & Design by Natalie on February 17, 2010

A few weeks ago I posted an image of an outrageously offensive yet hilarious old-timey ad. Well, just recently the Huff Post decided to publish a serious of these archaic marketing tools, and there are some real gems included.

Check it out.

Now yinz know not to break the rules!

Posted in News & Current Events, Pittsburgh by Natalie on February 11, 2010

When you live in an major city there is a sense of community. With your friends and neighbors you conquer the bustling, gritty city streets. You all know the quickest way to get downtown or the best local bar for a cheap shot and a beer. You form a bond with your co-patriots, and this bond comes with colloquial quirks (Yinz?!) and social pacts that all adhere to. One of these social “norms” is the act of reserving what you believe to be your parking spot on a crowded street. If you’re a resident of a particular road or avenue where parking is hard to come by, you can be sure that you will put any inanimate object you come by to hang on to your parking spot, and you’ll be damned if somebody violates this sacred code and steals it. Absurd? Yes. Aggressive? You bet. Let the Parking Wars begin!

With the recent blizzards eclipsing the North East, these rules take on a whole new level of ferocity. There have been several articles in various newspapers around the globe telling tales of renegade parkers – people with no sense of morals or common decency. Those who will toss your chair, orange cone, or kitty litter box aside and steal your spot! Well, some fine residents of Pittsburgh had their own solution in dealing with these delinquents.  Enjoy.

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