Tag Archive - Design

Great Counterculture Logos – Part 13

The Factory Records logo by Peter Saville. Continue Reading…

Cover Versions by Littlepixel

Cover Versions by Littlepixel
Classic records lost in time and format, re-emerged as Pelican books. Brilliant!

Great Counterculture Logos – Part 11

Great Counterculture Logos - Hells Angels
While there are many references on the web stating that the Death’s Head insignia was designed by long time “Frisco” Hells Angels President Frank Sadliek, Sadliek himself claims this is untrue. The image which appears on the membership card, as well as other Hells Angels ephemera, was drawn in 1953 by a man whose real name is lost or unknown, but was known to those at the time as “Sundown”. Frank had the original printer’s negative from which the “Frisco” Hells Angels membership cards were offset printed. This may be the reason for the attribution. The logo seems to have been inspired by the insignias of the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron and the 85th Fighter Squadron from WWII (pictured above).

The Human Variable

The Human Variable
I was chatting with an architect friend of mine on the weekend — as we watched our one-year-old daughters unleash havoc upon the playground — about the social component of architecture, that as an architect you are responsible for creating an environment and that your design ultimately has a direct affect on how how people interact within it. He related to me two scenarios: The first one was of a courthouse that was rebuilt and after some time in the new building, it was noted that there were less instances of cases getting sorted out pre-trial, and so, as a result, the courts themselves were much busier. What was theorized was that the lobby of the old courthouse had been adorned with Neoclassical columns allowing for the attorneys from the two sides of a case to step aside and make discreet last minute negotiations that had thus avoided the need to stand before the judge. The new facility, with its cleaner more open entrance way, did not accommodate for such exchanges and therefore more people were doomed to have their day in court.

The 2nd example he gave was of a multi-disciplined research facility. The different departments had been originally quite segregated with separate entrance ways and staircases. But the new design featured a central staircase that all personnel used to access their labs. What began to happen was that researchers from different fields would run into each other coming and going from their days and, in the discussion that ensued, interdisciplinary connections and discoveries were suddenly being made that had previously gone completely unnoticed.

In thinking of these two scenarios this evening and how, just as in architecture, as web designers we can put up unintended barriers to information, or create unpredicted niche communities or a tool that gets used for an unforeseen purpose. What always needs to be accounted for is the human variable and despite all the efforts of content strategists and usability engineers, the main secret weapon in creating a successful website will always be flexibility and a willingness to adapt to your users’ needs.

On Brakhage

“Working in the early 1960s with wide strips of cellophane packing tape, Brakhage captured fleeting things — among them, blades of grass, pieces of flower petals, dust, dirt and the diaphanous, decapitated wings from insects. His process revolved around using the tape to produce a series of facsimile filmstrips: wider than the elegant Super-8 that was his hallmark medium (Mothlight, a mere three minutes in length, was actually shot on 16mm) but long and geometric: they’re a suite of attenuated rectangular portraits. The idea of using adhesive tape as a photographic medium (which is effectively what it is, capturing something in time on a single surface) represents the kind of visual simplicity — indeed, the sheer brilliance — of one man’s indefatigable effort to visualize an idea. It is, in a word, astonishing.”

–Jessica Helfand
“Stan Brakhage: Caught on Tape”

View “Mothlight” here.

Joshua Davis On Pollock & Dynamic Abstraction

Joshua Davis - Kimono
“Among modern artists I conceptually identify with Jackson Pollock – not that I’m a particular fan of his visual style, but because he always identified himself as a painter, even though a lot of the time his brush never hit the canvas. There’s something in that disconnect – not using a brush or tool in traditional methods.”


“Pollock might argue that it’s the process of abstraction that’s dynamic, not the end result, which in his case is a static painting. In my own work, the end result is never static; by making room for as many anomalies as possible, every composition generated by the programs we write is unique to itself. I’ll program the “brushes,” the “paints,” the “strokes,” the “rules”, and the “boundaries”. However it is the software that creates the compositions — the programs draw themselves. I am in a constant state of surprise and discovery, because the program may structure compositions that I may never have thought of to execute or might take me hours to create manually.”

-Joshua Davis

Criterion’s Mishima

I was quite taken tonight by the cover of Criterion’s re-issue of Paul Schrader’s Mishima. Interestingly, from what I’ve found online, not everyone approves, my favourite pan being “this thing reminds me of the make-up gun that Homer invented in that Simpsons episode.”

The design is by Tadanori Yokoo, a Japanese graphic designer, illustrator, printmaker and painter who was not just a contemporary of Mishima’s but also a friend and collaborator (he actually makes a brief appearance in the movie). All of which makes his contribution of the DVD art appropriate not to mention that his design and art are fantastic. A decent survey of his work can be found with a Flickr search.

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