October 29, 2008

30 minutes

actually 27, but well worth your time. If you didn't see it on television, take the time to watch it. Its worth it. The lady explaining her shelves in the refrigerator killed me.
  • YouTube: American Stories, American Solutions
  • October 28, 2008

    its official

    Still following up on the Pepsi stuff that I posted about last week and has been the buzz around all the design circles (not that I know what a design circle is, other than thats just a way to say that I assume its not something normal people are writing or talking about)... Pepsi mailed out promo packs to a bunch of folks (I wasn't one of them) to show off their official new packaging, along with a pretty well done promo video. Based on the dimensions of the video, it looks like it was created for an installation like a building lobby or advertising wall, though without the audio it would certainly lose some of its punch. I think I'm still at the same place I was when I saw the first glimpses. I like the clean and simple packagaing overall, especially compared to their couldn't-be-much-worse current packaging. I don't care for the new changing logo. I think its a clever idea for an ad campaign, but think the actual logo should be a constant and carry on the historic globe they have had for so long. Its a shame to see that go. I've heard a lot of criticism over the typography. While I think it could be better, I don't think its terrible, and again its a vast improvement over the current. This is no home run like the Coca-Cola revamp I've written about a couple times here. Admittedly, I'm quick to praise a clean and simple solution over more overwraught design for most anything, but I'd still say its probably a triple. Once it hits the shelves, it'll be easier to make a real judgment. In the meantime, here's the video:
  • Pepsi redesign promo video
  • October 27, 2008

    energize me

    I'm not sure what this is, but I love it. Garamond has always been one of my favorite serifed typefaces, (due in no small part to the influence of one of my design professors, Meredith Davis, and also the main titles from 'thirtysomething' which was popular while I was in school.) Oddly enough, I can only think of one project that I have used it for - ever. And if you've followed my blog, you know that I've always found some odd beauty in powerlines - they often seem to show up in my 'gallery' posts. So for me, what's not to love about a project called 'garamond powerline'? It looks to be from the website of a German graphic designer named Daniel... whether its a professional project or just a personal experiment or student work, I have no idea. But to me, its beautiful.
  • Garamond Powerline
  • October 26, 2008

    fast gourds

    I walked down to the pier today for the annual Manhattan Beach Pumpkin Races. One of the things that I love about living here is that despite being part of greater Los Angeles, there are events like this that feel decidedly small-town. The pumpkin races are exactly that: Pumpkins with wheels, decorated in some pretty extravagant ways, racing against each other down the hill in multiple heats until they reach a final champion. Nearby businesses were having trick-or-treating, so lots of kids were also in costume. Just another day at the beach.

    October 24, 2008


    Far and away the best campaign-related video I've seen all year. Check it out:
  • YouTube: Wassup 2008
  • October 23, 2008

    bottled up

    More on the Pepsi redesign... In these images stolen from Under Considerations blog 'Brand New', we see more of what might be the new design for Pepsi's packaging. Its worth repeating that we don't know if these are real; and if they are real, whether they are just proposals or actuals. Judging by the comments on Brand New, everyone hates them. While I don't love them, I think they are a vast improvement from the current packaging. I'm still not sold on the changing logo/smile concept. I think its a great idea for an ad campaign, but not a logo. Otherwise, I appreciate the cleanliness and consistency. The wave in the 'e' of Pepsi is cute, but a little too subtle. And if the original globe is gone, what is it even supposed to relate to? And yeah, we won't even talk about the shape of the bottles. Still, I think its better than what they have currently, so at least its an improvement. I'm just curious if some branding execs are flipping out about the leaks, or if theyre jumping for joy about how well we've fallen for some kind of intentional guerilla/viral focus group test.

    October 22, 2008

    changing world

    A lot of people in the design world are flipping out about Pepsi's new rebrand. While it has been announced, it hasn't been released yet. The most information and best images that I've been able to find are from Under Consideration's blog called Brand New. What we know... or think we know... is that Pepsi is changing its blue and red globe to be a smile - and each variation of Pepsi will have a different kind of smile - from a grin to a laugh. How cute. One of the readers of Brand New dug around in the Trademark systems files and found these images - which may not be final, but are a first glimpse of what could be. Not only is Pepsi rebranding the Pepsi drinks, but also Mountain Dew, Tropicana, Gatorade, etc. My feelings are mixed on this one, and I'm trying to wait to judge. Pepsi's brand, logo, and packaging have been truly awful for the last ten years or more. Their latest iterations are examples of what could be the worst in package design. I'm a Pepsi drinker and I have even walked out of a store with the wrong flavor drink because the labels have become so confusing and overdone. But the cleanliness of these examples may not be reflect the final designs that finally appear whenever they do. And I'm a little mixed on changing the logo for each variation of Pepsi. While its a clever and friendly idea, does it dilute the strength of the logo? They are clever because they are variations of the globe, but once the globe is gone, they've lost the basis of their existence. The globe is such a strong symbol with such brand equity, is it one you really want to allow to disappear? However, the strongest venom I have read is in response to Mountain Dew being changed to Mtn Dew, as well as its new design. I can't say I'm bothered by this one. Mountain Dew has a specific target demographic that is imaged around action sports like snowboarding and skateboarding. The new logo fits right in with that world - and the Mtn also fits in with its text-messaging fluent young audience. Plus, Mountain Dew's existing logo does not really have anything to merit it as being one worth saving. The only cautionary part of it is that changing the name is like changing a logo - not something to be done lightly, because it (if done well) should last for years. The branding that goes with the logo can change as times and campaigns demand, but a logo should be a constant. Will 'mtn' seem trite in only a few years? It's going to be an interesting one to watch and see what happens. And like Walmart's new logo, its also an interesting study on what happens when logos go public before they are meant to.

    October 20, 2008


    The other day I was lamenting the continuing preponderance of what I call OliveGardeniate style architecture in Manhattan Beach to my friend Bill who works in construction and real estate. He mentioned a house a few streets down on 35th Street that was having an open house that he thought I'd like. I had noticed it as it was being built and it did look pretty amazing from the outside - no sight of fake 'stupidstone' anywhere. I wandered down for the open house and discovered that the inside was even better than I expected. The surfaces and finishes throughout are nicely chosen and compliment the clean lines throughout, but more than anything, space is consistently used in smart and clever ways. Most rooms feature walls that do not go all the way to the ceiling - some with glass and some remaining open, a feature that creates an open and spacious feeling throughout the house. The top floor is the living area with walls that open to an amazing ocean view. The lower floor features some industrial feeling finishes that add another layer of excitement - I would love to have seen more of that, but of course, its not my house. There was no info on the house inside, but I've heard that its going for 5 million. If you've got that to spare, you could make it yours. I believe the house was done by Lazar Design/Build, who from their website seem to do a lot of smart clean well-designed houses in the area (despite the cluttered and frenetic feeling of their website). Perhaps there's hope for new houses in the area after all.
  • Lazar Design/Build
  • October 19, 2008

    return of an old friend

    It's hard to explain my emotional connection to Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the City' series of books. A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that I discovered the first book at the same time that I moved to Dallas, which was the time that I really (at the risk of sounding too granola-ey) "discovered myself" or found my place in the world - and just like the characters in the book, I was making my first real venture out into the world on my own terms. But the series - which chronicles fictitious life in 1970's San Francisco - also seemed to offer some promise for a nostalgia that I had missed. Like thousands of others, I'm sure, I connected with the lead character, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, as well as parts of many other characters in the books; and somewhere deep down, I believed that maybe someday I would find my own Barbary Lane. Maupin's books are easy reads that fly by and are hard to put down. At one point, I remember buying not only the next book, but the following one as well, because I would feel such a sense of loss when I got to the end of a book and couldn't wait to get the next one. So when I came to the end of the sixth and final book, it was like losing touch with your friends forever. When I was in Munich, my friend Richard mentioned that he was reading Maupin's new book "Michael Tolliver Lives". I knew, but had forgotten, that he had written a new book. In it, he picks back up with Mouse and his life in present day San Francisco - decades later. I finally found it in the Houston Airport and immediately dived into what felt like a homecoming. Though Mouse is 10 years older, I still relate. Maybe only because of the 40th birthday, but I feel my mortality in a way I didn't before. And I see things with a sense of experience and probably jadedness as well gratefulness - today I look back as much as I look forward. And once again, I find things in Mouse's life that I wonder about and maybe hope for - my own Barbary Lane. The new book is every bit what you would expect from the original series - full of characters who truly are characters, and twists and situations that had me embarassing myself by laughing out loud in airports and trying to hide tears on airplanes. I may not have found my own Barbary Lane yet (or have I?), but I am grateful for a new chapter and another visit with that fictional world. Unfortunately, the joy of the visit only comes with another sense of loss once the book ends. Funny how fiction resembles life sometimes.

    October 17, 2008

    o yeah

    In case you haven't seen - a lot of great posters keep coming in to Design for Obama. You can also upload your own, or just print out one that someone else has submitted...
  • Design for Obama
  • October 16, 2008

    blue skies

    So close. Yet so far. I started the season at the largest baseball game in history. And ended it with the closest we've come to the World Series since I lived here. It was twenty years to the day from Gibson's famous home run - video that still gives me goosebumps every time they play it in the jumbotron. And you can't help but love everything about Tommy LaSorda. Talk about blue blood. We didn't win. It wasn't our time. But how can you be upset about just being part of baseball in October, especially when its your own team and your home stadium?