Posts Tagged ‘design’
Trinidad and Tobago, the tiny twin-island nation off the coast of Venezuela, has struck gold. Its newly re-released $50 note (TT) earned top billing in this year’s competition convened by the International Bank Note Society (IBNS).
Designed in partnership with the British banknote manufacturer De La Rue to commemorate the 50th (golden) anniversary of the country’s Central Bank, the $50 note shows familiar takes on its national symbols like its coat of arms, a red hibiscus flower, and a red capped cardinal bird, its wings fanned out like a palm tree. The back of the note depicts a smiling carnival dancer, collaged in front of the 22-story Central Bank and Ministry of Finance twin towers, which are the tallest buildings in the entire country…
Read the whole story and see the runners-up at “The world’s best banknotes of the year.”
* Irving Berlin, “I Got the Sun in the Morning”
As we reach for our wallets, we might recall that it was on this date in 2012 that Facebook went public. The IPO was the biggest in technology and one of the biggest in Internet history, with a peak market capitalization of over $104 billion. Some pundits called it a “cultural milestone”; in any case, a great deal of money was “printed.”
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way… But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself”*…
“We’ve taken a complete rethink of how wood is used as a material,” said designer Gavin Munro. His production method upends traditional furniture manufacturing processes that involve cutting down trees, trucking logs, sawing the wood, then gluing back them together, generating a lot of industrial and ecological waste in the process.
Over the last four years, Munro and his team at Full Grown have been nurturing hundreds of willow trees, patiently waiting for the right harvest time. Guided by Munro’s studies in tree shaping and botanical craftsmanship, the trained furniture designer is using grafting techniques to coax the tree branches to form chairs, tables and lamp, and frames…
* William Blake
As we agree that there is nothing like a tree, we might recall that it was on this date in 1898 that the first school of professional forestry in the U.S., the New York State College of Forestry at Cornell, was created by an act of the New York State Legislature. Dr. Bernhard Fernow, then chief of the USDA’s Division of Forestry, was invited to head the new College, and set about creating a 30,000 acre demonstration forest in the Adirondacks. In part to test his theories of forest management and in part to help pay for the program, Fernow and Cornell entered into a contract with the Brooklyn Cooperage Company to deliver them wood… and set about clear-cutting large swaths of the forest. As a result of the public outcry that followed, the school was defunded and closed in 1903. (It “reopened” under new management in 1911 at Syracuse University, where it has been operating since.)
Every self-respecting country has a unique name, a national flag, an anthem, a coat of arms, banknotes, passports, letterhead, and stationery. Newly formed countries have to design them.
* Banksy, Wall and Piece
As we salute, we might recall that it was on this date in 1325 (according to legend) that Tenochtitlan was founded. Located on an island in Lake Texcoco, in the Valley of Mexico, it became the capital of the expanding Aztec Empire in the 15th century, until captured by the Spanish in in the early 16th century. At its peak, it was the largest city in the Pre-Columbian Americas. Today the ruins of Tenochtitlan are located in central Mexico City.
Johnny Gamber cares about pencils– so much so that he’s into his tenth year of blogging about them. Fellow lovers of lead (and of superior sharpeners, stationery, erasers, and the like) will want to head over to his site: Pencil Revolution.
(Readers might also want to luxuriate in Henry Petroski’s glorious paean, The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance.)
* Xi Chuan, Notes on the Mosquito: Selected Poems
As we crank the sharpener, we might recall that it was on this date in 1811, in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, that the angry textile artisans attacked a textile factory– the first of the Luddite Riots.
The Luddite movement emerged during the harsh economic climate of the Napoleonic Wars, when stocking frames, spinning frames, and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the artisans with less-skilled, low-wage laborers. Although the origin of the name “Luddite” is uncertain, a popular theory is that the movement was named after Ned Ludd, who allegedly smashed two stocking frames in 1779, and whose name had become emblematic of those who fight against technology that eliminates traditional jobs (or culture).
Posters promoting the Masters and their masterpieces: From Sydney-based designer Nicholas Barclay, a ten classic works of art, reduced to their essences…
Peruse each of them (about half-way down the page), and check out his other distillations, on Barclay’s site .
* Albert Einstein
As we wonder what the docent will make of these, we might recall it it was on this date in 1979 that The Clash played the Harvard Square Theater on the first leg of their first American tour, “Pearl Harbor ’79.”
When Nikki Sylianteng got a $95 parking ticket last winter, she realized that she was dealing with much more than a fine: she was dealing with a design problem.
“It was my fault,” she admits. She says she had been “so happy to find a parking spot,” she didn’t read the sign carefully enough. But, Sylianteng also felt like she shouldn’t have had to read the sign so carefully.
She suspected there were many parking offenders like her out there, who wanted to obey the law but had trouble discerning what that law was. Cities could make it easier for them, and improve parking compliance, just by making the parking signs clearer. As far as she could see, she was surrounded by a pretty confusing system of signage.
So, she decided to fix it.
She didn’t do this by fighting the ticket, nor by running for city council. Instead, Sylianteng committed act of guerilla civic design, which shocked the gears of municipal bureaucracy into motion. Someday, when better signage comes to a curb near you, you’ll have to thank Nikki…
* Calvin Trillin
As we take the bus, we might send honorable birthday greetings to William McKinley; he was born on this date in 1843. The 25th President of the U.S., McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile (a Stanley Steamer, a steam-engine-powered car built in the late 1890s by brothers Francis and Freelan Stanley). McKinley was also the last President to have served in the Civil War, and the third President (after Lincoln and Garfield) to be assassinated (though some believed Zachary Taylor, who died in office, to have been poisoned).
Although not anyone can be a designer, everyone who wants to can learn the elements of visual design: contrast, transparency, hierarchy, randomness, and so on. In fact, it doesn’t even take all that long. Just watch this 50-second video.
Animated by Toronto-based art director and motion designer Matt Greenwood, this video walks you through 24 of the most important visual design principles, ranging from rhythm to texture to color. It won’t teach you everything you need to know to be a designer, but it’s a good start…
* Charles Eames
As we seek elegance in all, we might recall that it was on this date in 1847 that Richard M. Hoe patented the rotary printing press. Hoe had invented the press a couple of years earlier and improved it before submission. His creation greatly increased the speed of printing, as it involved rolling a cylinder over stationary plates of inked type, using the cylinder to make an impression on paper– thus eliminating the need to make impressions from pressing type plates, which were heavy and difficult to maneuver. In 1871, Hoe added the ability to print to continuous rolls of paper, creating the “web press” that revolutionized newspaper and magazine printing. His first customer was Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune.