Underline

The small design studio out of Ontario Canada is made up of six designers with very different backgrounds that have come together to make a quiet but powerful team. They work with strict grids but playful illustrations that are sure to delight. they have a specialization in delicate but beautiful geometric icons. Their finesse and attention to even the finest details can take low status products and line and bring them into the high class. the contrast of their type create both intensity and life into their designs. Often large magazine style layouts combined with powerful photography and playful illustrations are just a part of what they bring to the table. The use of type in their layouts is beautiful with delicately floating strands and beautiful curves, they can also be bold and strong with corporate letters. One of their most interesting aspects is their quirky illustrations. They have a variety of shape and line often used with all over compositions to make busy but playful pieces. They can also be more stylized and cartoon like, giving a wide variety of styles that they can offer. They can be grungy and skilled with a variety of photography and illustration overlays, showing a use of grunge and corporate letter forms. They work to use everything in their design studio to underline the ideas that the clients bring, focusing on the most important art of design; clear communication with an interesting delivery that emphasizes the concepts.

Ellen Weinstein

Ellen Weinstein is a designer and illustrator working out of new york. her distinctive style mixes the storytelling of illustration with the crispness and iconographical immediacies of design work. She describes her work as trying to tell an entire story in one moment, in one snapshot. She often writes out the narrative in full and searches for a single line to boil it down to, to capture the essence of the story and the emotion in one line. It is a challenging way to approach illustration but is successful because of her masterful understanding and execution of composition and color theory to narrate a much grander story than the one immediately recognized. She has done work for the New Yorker, her illustrations capturing a sense of whimsy and lightheartedness with animals hodgepodged together in crazy and delightful new creatures symbolic of the fragmenting and rejoining of the human identity as our worlds become increasingly interconnected and globalized. 

Her more serious editorial designs are haunting in their ability to mix environmental clues and figures to denote the struggles of race and sex throughout history. It is a mixing of techniques and executions that make them stand out in contrast to many other illustrators. She is unafraid to confront delicate topics and brings them to light with a creative and esoteric development of figure ground relationship and colors.

Design Thinking Movie

The movie Design and Thinking explored new ideas about how to create and think about design. It is a way to think about making products and experiences for consumers. I loved the reality of the film and its way to show that there is a way to fail successfully because of Design thinking, not accepting the status quo but always seeking out new designs and ways of creating to make the products better. The ability to do many quick ideas with low cost so that you can fail without sacrificing millions. 

The methodology of moving through hundreds of sketches and ideas, moving and working with brainstorming until they have ways to enact the prototypes without spending a fortune. Design thinking is translating the methodologies of design problem solving is applied to business and government projects. The ability to try new things with a risk of failure is an important part of design. Not being afraid to take risks and learn from failures is part of what makes kids in garages beat out large corporations.

Skype is a good example of how the business world could learn from Design Thinking concepts. Skype was using design thinking to rethink the way to make phone calls without the traditional restrictions of cell phone and home phone carriers. Using the internet in a new and exploitive manner to make a business model that was different than the traditional. They were going to give the program away for free. Free text and video chatting with anyone in the world using your home wifi. When the owners of Skype tried to sell it, they were laughed at and ignored because the cooperate world could not imagine a system where this could work and make money. Now Skype is a household name and making a significant shift in the future of phone calls and long distance communication. It will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years as more of the world gets high speed and reliable internet connections. Because Skype was not afraid to fail by trying something new, and being flexible through the process and designing the user inner face with the consumer in mind, they have succeeded in an ever evolving world of business. 

Agency Work

During class, we had the opportunity to hear from two professionals working in agencies. I found it to be a very informative and interesting presentation. The atmosphere of working in the agency world is a dynamic and high energy. You have to be married to your job and be willing to work long hours, pull all nighters and work with clients. The importance of self discipline and creative thinking is part of what makes the job demanding and so rewarding. The presenters were both working in the position of
Art Directors more than doing the nitty gritty of the design as much as collaborating and orchestrating communication between clients, administrative, business and art professionals to shepherd the project through from beginning to end.

I found it interesting that they both focused on the burning love of design as their main motivation in being in the agency setting, having the team environment and getting to round out their knowledge with a bit of everything. The larger salary and earning potential wasn’t a key motivator and is good to take into consideration when deciding what type of job to apply for.  The importance of being a well rounded person was also key, being someone that has a lot of knowledge about a lot of subjects focuses on the importance of a never ending curiosity.

The need for a creative environment and how that is catered to in the agency world was a refreshing idea after working in a small office bullpen space with no interior design considerations. It is a stagnant and stifling place to create and sketch but getting to work with fellow creatives in a team setting is appealing about the agency setting. Having a good connection to the team is huge, being able to work and happily coexist and feed off each other’s energy is a large part of being creative. When the days are long and nights are powered by caffeine, needing coworkers you can have a pot of coffee with and a nerf gun war is part of the culture of ad agencies. High achievers working together to creative projects and pieces that have a far longer and farther reach than in house and more structure than freelancing.

Working in an agency allows for more campaign and long running projects. Working with the air craft industry is a prime example, needing products and print media for the new lines and updates for different series of airplanes requires a broad sweep of applications. The ability to explore and push boundaries of a campaign or idea throughout an advertising series with digital and print media with enough funding to make it nation and international impact.

Ebay – Taking the lowest Bid

http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/ebay_settles_for_lowest_bid.php

 Ebay logo

Ebay has a new logo to reflect the changes that have happened to its layout and its way of doing business. But it looks like the logo among with many others, has simply been ironed out and washed to be the same size. It has toned down and lost its playfulness and its friendliness. They colors are less bold and less dynamic, the font simple and . the kerning is tight without the overlap that made the old logo fun.

 The new logo has one font that is all the same size and baseline. It is all business as if its shed its youthful and game changing layout. Which it has. The setup of ebay has changed with many companies using it to sell products at buy it now prices and driving out or burying the smaller auctions and people selling personal items. The new logo reflects this aging of the market and a more business friendly design. The bowl in the B is still fun with some variation of the stroke around it and the A has a slight pinch in it that adds a small amount of playfulness but it is ery subtle. 

 The white field keeps it crisp and clean without any junk littered around it. There is nothing that distracts from it but the tightness of the letters seems to radiate tension. it is a design with a tightness that seems to go against the general trends that let the designs breath.

 Ebay has been accused of going with the lowest possible bid on the redesign that has ignored the excitement of bidding on an online auction in place for the simple and condensed business friendly and organized design. 

Long John Silver’s

Long John Silvers- Underconstruction

http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/follow-up_long_john_silvers.php

Long John Silvers has updated their logo and their brand, moving away from the old blue one with the tagline “we speak fish” that felt almost like a sport’s team with the san serif tall text in blue that is tracked out with a fish above it. Is this the San Fran Salmon or a sporting good’s store selling fishing equipment or a restaurant?

The new logo is far more playful and bouncy like the text is being bobbed about by the gentle lines of waves below it. Using a heavier font that is more friendly with angled lines and a shifting base line helps to make the brand feel more like a restaurant and family friendly to eat. 

The fish is a ghostly fuzz of color for insides which seems a bit strange but a less dramatic blot of color like the pervious logos. The wave lines have also been smoothed out softly and given a less dramatic change of shape that adds a more calming atmosphere that makes a more stable base for the design.  

The fish is a more delicate and better handled variation of line and shape with open spaces to let the fish hover about the logo without being weighted down but the pinky orange color seems to conflict with the somber navy of the text. The lighter greens of the waves could be read as gentle sea waves or wind if the viewer was unfamiliar with the brand. 

The apostrophe in the logo has changed dramatically from the sharp cornered wedge to a much softer, friendlier blob with a hook. it is subtle and a little heavy for the design to fit in the space between the “r” and the “s” and instead is forced above it. It could be read as a water droplet but mostly just feels heavy and teetering on the ravine between the two letters.

It does not align with anything it seems, floating in an awkward space created between John and silvers because of the shifting base lines that mimic bobbers flowing on the waves. But the dot of the I is rigid and solidified over the stem where the other letters feel like they tilt back and forth, this solidness sets it apart from the rest of the logo and makes it feel like a catching point for the eye.

Domino’s Pizza Redesigned.

http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/friday_likes_20.php

Domino’s Pizza Redesigned.

Dominos has made an effort to push their brand back into the front of the pizza market. And create a quality that has been slipping in recent years and following behind the prowess of such establishments as Pizza Hut and Papa John’s.

An important step was rebranding. Gone is the cluttered and jumbled layout of blue and red ink printed over the top of the box with mazes and kids for games as much as advertisements for their pizza, something that felt out of place and vintage without being well done enough to be worth the money. 

The new design takes the same idea of vintage and classic but does it properly.the newly designed box as well heightens the brand and makes for a design with an impact. Getting away from the crazy colors and back to a simple and elegant black and white color scheme, Dominos highlights the homemade quality. They focus the very type heavy copy on the high quality ingredients and the fresh, never frozen dough that will hopefully set this pizza apart. There are still witty and playful sayings and quips that bring humor but do not lower the brand because of the well chosen type and the skillful use of variation through size and shape.

The bottom of the box is also witty with a polite reminder to turn the box right side up so you can enjoy the pizza without it being wrong side up. It also highlights the fact that it is made in the USA and has a dish like design printed so that it looks like the bottom of the black tray. These are just a few of the subtle but important designs that make a difference in the quality of the design and the quality of the product within without changing it at all. Dominos has regained some of its legitimacy simply by updating their design and logo work to a modern color scheme.