Hardwired for beauty

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a well known cliché but this article from Co. Design points to new scientific data which suggests beauty may be in the DNA of the beholder.

We generally regard DNA as the blueprint for our genotypes and phenotypes, but the double helical molecules also carry information collected over the course of humanity to ensure our survival although it’s more accurate to say our genes are the ones which survived. For better or worse we are not so removed from our primitive ancestors and some our deepest impulses are responses to external stimuli activating those ancient reactions.

Primitive responses in our brains can be utilized in design, whether we use it for good or bad is up to the more evolved parts of our brains.


Best finds from the Foundries

This article from Fontfeed is an enlightening look at the difference between typography contests and best of lists. I’m leaning towards best of lists and this one from typefacts.com is my favorite. There’s some great scripts and I really like Our Type Stencils and Euclid looks sharp.

Designing typefaces seems like an amazing and amazingly difficult job. So many characters and spaces between the characters to design. Not to mention glyphs and ligatures, but the payoff of seeing a typeface you created communicating in a design would be worth it.

Would anyone other than a designer appreciate a custom made font as a present?


Today is a mix up of different things not really related but all good.

First up, keeping with my newfound love of the podcast, is John Hodgeman of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart fame with Chris Hardwick on the Nerdist podcast. They are really funny together and I love the way John Hodgeman uses words.

In other celebrity news, there is a new book out about Banksy. ‘Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall,’ by Will Ellsworth-Jones. The New York Times put out this great review of the book and even if I wasn’t already a Banksy fan I would still be excited about the book, based solely on this article.

From the world of web design I found this interesting article from sixrevisions.com. I agree with the author, knowing HTML and CSS and being a web designer go hand in hand. I am currently learning how to code and I’m not going to stop, but there have been some huge advancements in web design technology. From Joomla and Drupal to Dreamweaver and Bootstrap, not to mention the drag and drop options available from hosting services, it is definitely not necessary to know how to code to build a website, but if you want a good website…

And finally, something of the novel. It is rumored Japan has a 3D printing photo booth. Pose in front of the camera and a 3D printer generates a tiny replica of you. 3D printing is starting to take off and this kind of commercialization proves the interest is there from the people with the money. It’s easy to get money to print medicine and clothes, but for something as pointless as rendering 3D likenesses of the general populace, someone sunk their own money into it.

Hope you all enjoyed the collection today.

Happy President’s Day!

A day late and dollar short

Hope everyone had a good Valentines Day, I did, so I didn’t get to post like I wanted to. Or save money.

I have recently discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. I won’t go into the list of podcasts I’ve listened to over the last week because they don’t all fit into the purpose of this site, but I have enjoyed Design Matters 2013 from Design Observer. I recently listened to an interview with Jen Bilik who runs Knock Knock which combines design with humor and writing to create unique items.

Here’s the link to the podcast of Debbie Millman talking with Jen Bilik. Enjoy.

Get a job, hippie!

I don’t graduate until December of 2013 but it is never too early to start looking for a job. I found what I believe to be a great career advice article. The points made in the article seem like good ideas.
I also feel the urge to pull my portfolio site until I can make it look better after seeing some of the examples. I’m in Web Design 2 right now so I should be able to fix it up soon…

Let me know what y’all think about the article, has any of these things worked for anybody?

Super Bowl Extravaganza

The Super Bowl is the biggest marketing event of the year where everyone with at least $4 million dollars to spend on their campaign gain access to millions of people world wide.

I’ve collected a few ads from YouTube. Mostly I liked the all the ads at least a little bit, but the most disappointing thing to me is the number of ads I’ve seen before. When you get a shot to be in the spotlight, you have to bring your A game.

First up is a Mercedes commercial for the new CLA-Class of cars.
I really like Sympathy for the Devil so immediately they hooked me. If I were a young professional thinking about buying a luxury car I would want to identify with the lifestyle the car (and a pact with the Devil) promised. And as the affordable price of the car foils the Devil’s plan, the choice of Sympathy for the Devil makes perfect sense.

Let’s just get all the car ads out of the way first.

This sexy commercial from Fiat ties in their logo and a new convertible model with a sexy model running topless on the beach. They did a great job of building suspense before the payoff of the cut bikini string and the revealing of the new convertible Fiat 500 Abarth.

I love this ad because it uses so many little tricks to activate nostalgia (who doesn’t remember high school and prom), sympathy (walking in the door alone to prom), shock (making out with the prom queen), and triumph (speeding away with a black eye and the largest grin of your life.)
Playing on so much emotion with such a positive ending really makes me want an Audi.

This ad is unique among the stimulus overload of the Super Bowl itself, and the half-time show, and most of the other ads. The calm, soothing voice of Paul Harvey coupled with still pictures made this ad stand out among the hullabaloo surrounding it.

These next two go together because Volkswagen caught some slack for an ad some perceived to be racist. Maybe people are a little too quick to play the racist card. For one, the stereotypical Jamaican accent was shown in a positive light. I don’t think suggesting Jamaicans are happy is a racist thing.
Secondly, the pre-Super Bowl ad features Jimmy Cliff making hundreds of sad or angry people happy. On the YouTube page for this ad there is even a link to buy Mr. Cliff’s new album. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think portraying the Jamaican people as bringers of happiness is racist.
As for the Super Bowl ad, it is clever and memorable because of the juxtaposition of a white guy from Minnesota with a Jamaican way of talking. It suggests the Volkswagen makes people so happy it changes the way they see the world and even the way they talk.

Pre-Game Volkswagen ad

Volkswagen Super Bowl ad

Another ad surrounded by controversy leading up to the Big Game belonged to Coca-Cola.
Some felt it was a racist depiction of Arabs because the Arab character was leading camels through the desert. Again, maybe too fast on calling racist. Maybe the winner of the race changed because of the backlash, but during the game, the winner was announced and the Arab character definitely came out ahead.

The Race

The Last Laugh

I don’t think any of these ads are distasteful or insulting but they definitely garnered more attention because of the controversy.

The best ad for Twitter during the Super Bowl was the black out. More people tweeted about the blackout than Jacoby Jones’ 108 yard return.

Oreo had one of the better tweets.

Their pre-planned Super Bowl ad was great too. Everyone, even the fire fighters, talking in whispers made a riot in the library into a humorous and memorable event loosely based on their product.

And finally, an ad for GoPro cameras works because of the unusual first person viewpoint, which is what their product promises. Albeit not usually from a baby’s view point. Babies may be cliche in Super Bowl ads but GoPro showed off their products’ abilities in a new and interesting way.

So there it is, the Super Bowl Extravaganza. In a mere 364 days we get to do it all over again.

One last fun fact: There are more Super Bowl parties than New Years Eve parties.