October 30, 2010
October 29, 2010
It's no secret that my biggest vice is travel. But it's easy to get weary from being on the road too often, so after the conference in Albuquerque a couple weeks ago, I told myself no more travel until Christmas. I used to go to the World Series almost every year, but it has gotten less fun and more expensive over the years, so I gave up that tradition. It crossed my mind again when the Rangers made it into the Series, but I told myself no. And then my friend Myron emailed that he had gotten selected in the lottery to buy tickets. Damnit. And then LAX to DFW was on the e-fares this week, so flying is cheap. Damnit. You guessed it. I'm on my way.
Posted by Jon Berry at 10:20 PM
October 27, 2010
It seems that Sears may have a new logo - introduced in much the same way the Gap logo redesign was. What, no furor from people who probably have no business judging design anyway? Well, lets hope not. Okay, snarkiness aside, I think it is kind of interesting. I first noticed the logo on the tag of a tv commercial recently, and then checked the website wondering if it was just in that commercial or if it was a new logo - the website showed the same logo. Admittedly, I don't know the last time I had been to the Sears website or a store, so I don't know how recent the change is. And with not seeing the logo in a store or on bags etc, its unfair to judge it completely (much like the Gap logo.) I did find it used in several applications, though the old logo also still shows on many others (sometimes both in the same place.) It seems to be a soft rollout and gradual change. And my perception of Sears is of it having an image problem for twenty years, so its hard to fault them for the need to make a change. Their last logo has been around since 2004 (last pic above), when they shifted their previous all-caps double-stroke logotype from 1984 to upper and lower case (complete with a red swoosh, which mercifully disappeared later.) It still felt dated, and I don't know that it did much to change the image of Sears away from "where Grandma buys her pantyhose." At the same time, its a tough challenge: how does Sears show its 'softer side', yet still address its successful hardware and automotive side? Part of me thinks their previous 1969 logo has some equity and is still clean and classic enough to work today - and work for both sides, but I'm curious to see how this new logo plays out. While decidedly leaning to the feminine side, will it be used it different weights to feel more masculine in certain environments? It at least seems an improvement over the previous logo, though that's not saying a lot. It's an odd situation - from the challenge to the rollout to the solution. Maybe I'm being too forgiving in an attempt not to be Gap-like-reactionary. But let's wait and see.
Posted by Jon Berry at 10:09 PM
October 26, 2010
October 25, 2010
I've posted a new addition to the recent work page on jonberrydesign.com. This is the show graphics package created for the recent makeover series "You're Wearing That?!?," produced by Authentic Entertainment for WEtv. In the show, stylist Lucienne Salamone helps mothers and daughters who are unhappy with the others style of dress to give them a fashion makeover. Early open ideas and elements focused on a circular transformation from a chaos of fabric patterns and deep colors to clean white compositions, and the influence of those concepts can still be seen in the final package. Colors and type were chosen to reflect the show's fashion focus and female audience, and multiple variations of most elements were delivered. Check out the open and a reel of some of the elements of the package here:
Posted by Jon Berry at 8:04 PM
October 23, 2010
This railroad bridge is on the edge of Manhattan Beach over a major intersection. I've always loved bridges like this, though I have no idea why. I think as a kid growing up in a small town, a bridge like this felt industrial, which to me felt urban, which meant all the promise and excitement that "the city" offered. As an adult, it feels rural, with all the promise and comfort that offers. Or maybe I just love how such rugged brutal forms can create a structure that in its totality feels so elegant. Or it could just be the promise that a bridge always offers to take you somewhere...
October 22, 2010
Apparently a lot of cereal companies lately have been issuing limited edition "retro" boxes over the last year (I missed this somehow.) I ran across these Cap'n Crunch boxes a couple weeks ago, and was at first excited - thinking that they had dropped all the awful bevels and shading and gradations of their newer packaging, not to mention the scary 3D Captain. It was only after researching later that I found a few articles about the limited edition retro boxes that had been issued. Even still, I was surprised to see that their logotype had stayed that much the same (aside from the effects.) And it turns out that it hadn't. These aren't actual old box designs from years ago, these are new completely made-up designs. The actual old labels used a logo that stayed truer to the typeface, but used two levels of baseline (seen in the bottom photo above.) Later years shifted to a consistent baseline of the same typeface. This random wacky hand-drawn logo is a new invention completely. What's even better on the actual old package is the "stays crunchy even in milk" type. It screams its era so much more than the brush script of the new false retro box. So while its kinda cool that they went to the trouble to adopt a simpler label, even if only temporarily, its a little disappointing that they did a fantasy version instead of reproducing an actual one.
Posted by Jon Berry at 9:09 PM
October 20, 2010
A bit of bloggers block today - I think my brain is still fried from everything I took in at the Motion2010 design conference. So I thought I'd share a photo I ran across the other day - Its one of my favorite pics, even though its frankly a terrible shot of me. This was in Torino during the Olympics, and speaking of fried - this was at that point during the games when we were all just incredibly fried from the hours and days. But someone had come through that day with extra tickets to one of the hockey games, so my pal Borys and I jumped at the chance to go. We had just worked from 1am to 1pm and I think the game started at 3 or 4. You can tell I've got the Olympic weight-gain going on (with those hours and free NBC commissary full of good stuff, it happens to a lot of us every time.) I've got a beer in hand, and I'm wearing my favorite hat with my friend Bill's XK9 logo, but its falling off because the two characters, Neve and Gliz (snow and ice) were accosting me either before or after posing for a photo. I love that Borys thought to snap this along with the posed setup pic and capture it. And as much as I hate the way my smile usually looks in pics, its so strong in this one because I'm genuinely laughing that I can feel the same feeling now that I felt at the time. That seems worth sharing.
Posted by Jon Berry at 9:00 PM
October 18, 2010
October 17, 2010
A few snaps from Santa Fe yesterday. I'm in New Mexico for the motion2010 design conference - yesterday had some software training in Santa Fe that completely fried my brain, and now am in Albuquerque for the next couple days. The conference is jam packed from early morning til late night, so hardly a chance to catch my breath. But meeting good folks and hearing good thoughts and ideas is always a good thing, and it always gives some kind of recharge or boost later even if you're not exactly sure how at the moment. Meanwhile, the night's sessions are about to start, so I better just post and get my butt to those...
Posted by Jon Berry at 5:33 PM
October 15, 2010
I often get asked what winters are like here. This is pretty typical. Gray skies and cool breezes and drizzle. Of course, most of our summer was like that this year. I'll admit I kinda like the variety it gives though. But I'm headed to Albuquerque (and Santa Fe) for the next few days for the motiontv design conference; looks like they have some sunny skies there.
Posted by Jon Berry at 5:18 PM
October 13, 2010
So many people have asked me to write about the Gap logo saga that I feel like I have to. Okay, you asked for it. My opinions on it may (or may not) surprise you. In a nutshell - its the Gap: a homogeneous clothing store found in suburban malls. They already had a bad logo. Why does anyone really care if they get a new bad logo? I'm a huge fan of social media, but the pile on reaction anytime anyone changes anything distresses me. "Oh my god Facebook changed its layout!" "Oh my god Twitter changed its features!" "The sky is falling!" Shut the hell up already. Take a breath, step away from it, work with it and get used to it. A week later its not so bad after all, is it? I'm not defending the design of Gap's new logo (or old one). And Gap's handling of the change and the reaction was textbook multiple-time bungling of public relations and marketing. Changing back to the old logo on Monday was the worst thing they could have done, in my humble opinion. By then, the fervor had finally died down. No one had even yet seen how it would be used on tags or apparel or stores. Live with it a while and quietly make alterations or changes later if it still isn't working. Perhaps quietly merge the old and new, as in the example above from Justin Skeesuck in a contest on Scott Hansen's ISO50 blog. That contest, if nothing else, proved that designing a better logo isn't so easy after all, based on most of the entries. (Of course, clients rarely choose the design you think is best anyway, so a contest like that doesn't have the critical 'client filter' aspect included.) And I won't even get into the patently unethical pratice of crowdsourcing or having a contest for a logo design that Gap said they would try - and then rescinded.
Businesses have to understand that making a change is always going to bring a visceral reaction at first. You can't kneejerk back in another direction based on initial reaction. The interwebs howled months ago when Sci-Fi network unveiled their new Syfy name and logo. "worst decision ever!" Today, nobody cares, their image is bolder and more consistent, and their ratings are up. The howl was worldwide when the London 2012 Olympics identity was unveiled. Today many (of course not all) in the UK have surprisingly found a connection to it after seeing how it used across a variety of applications and in context. And at the least, most begrudgingly acknowledge that it has established the London Olympics as young, vibrant, and distinct from other Games, which was the point all along. Turns out both knew what they were doing, initial reaction be damned. Go figure.
But back to my original point. Its the Gap. The old 80's/90's style logo was perfectly fine. It is a mediocre piece of design, and it works for them, but it isn't a hallmark piece of graphic design. This isn't United Airlines dropping their legendary and successful logo designed by Saul Bass that can be found in design history books and the almost 40 years of brand equity it holds. Or a brilliant piece of timeless design like Paul Rand's original UPS logo bastardized with trendy gimmicks that now already look dated. I don't shop in malls very often, so maybe I'm misjudging the personal connection people have with the Gap, but I found the hysteria and pile-on about the logo change far more ugly than the logo itself.
[update: just ran across this article by Eric Karjaluoto that makes a similar but much more well-written point:]
Posted by Jon Berry at 9:20 PM
October 12, 2010
A couple visits to the LAX Food Truck Lot recently that are worth reporting on: Today I met up with my pals Bill and Al for lunch at the lot. I had been anticipating trying @NanaQueens since Sunday when I noticed they were scheduled to be there this week. Their specialties are wings and banana pudding (why the two, I have no idea, but I'm not complaining because I love both.) I went for the mild wings after a warning that the hot ones are "very hot" and that the mild ones still have spice. For me, they were perfect: with a good spicy bite but plenty of flavor. (Though for Al, who isn't a fan of spicy, even the mild were too hot.) And the banana pudding was just like Mom would make, complete with the Nilla Wafers, though having it topped with caramel sauce was a new treat. @NanaQueens can't come back to the area soon enough for me. Last week was my first truck lot visit after a few weeks in Europe, so I was excited to get back to my beloved trucks, even on a cool drizzly day. One of my very favorites, @VizziTruck was there, and I went for their Jidori Chicken flatbread Piadina with Brie, Queso Fresco and Crème Fraiché. Something about that combination of ingredients never disappoints. I actually ended up saving most of that for a later meal, because I had to try another truck that was there for the first time, @ShrimpPimpTruck. Their Shrimp PoBoy was considerably smaller (thankfully, for me) than a traditional PoBoy, but the shrimp fried in a delicate tempura tasted surprisingly fresh, and the baby greens, tomatoes and remoulade also gave a really surprising and fresh twist to a PoBoy. These are definitely three great gourmet trucks to watch for on the streets of LA.