Saturday, December 22, 2007
ne murdarim pe maini,
ne stropim prin balti,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
ne jucam cu putza,
batem fetite pentru ca le iubim,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
picam din picioare,
ne pisam pe noi,
ne rupem o mana,
stam in ploaie,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
desenam cu orice,
ne jucam cu orice,
suntem capabili de orice,
suntem imbatabili - chiar neinvinsi,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
ne batem cu bulgari de zapada
ne tavalim prin noroi,
facem castele din nisip,
ne asezam pe un scaun si avem o masina,
stam sub masa si avem o casa,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
ne facem de cap,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
intarziem la masa,
facem oameni de zapada,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
mancam ca sa ne jucam,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
ne bagam in seama,
avem prieteni imaginari,
avem lumea noastra,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
dam din inima,
credem in ceea ce spunem,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
ne place sa radem,
ne place sa vorbim,
toti sunt prietenii nostri,
vrem sa fim mari,
vrem sa fim ocupati,
vrem sa fim obositi,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
avem multe intrebari,
avem multe raspunsuri,
avem multi prieteni,
vrem sa stim totul,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
construim ce ne place,
adunam tot si toate,
dam tot si toate,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
omoram cu aceeasi usurinta cu care dam viata ideilor,
raspundem cu aceeasi moneda,
ne plangem de aceleasi lucruri,
ne bucuram de aceleasi lucruri,
Suntem copii si suntem fericiti.
ne simtim bine cand ni se alineaza dorintele,
spunem ce simtitm,
spunem imediat cum ne simtim,
spunem ca suntem copii si suntem Fericiti.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
So here are some things that I want to make clear from start with you, me and a potential-future-me and everybody else.
I don't write/post for you or for the potential-future-me nor for everybody else. If I write something down here I will(am) write(ing)/post(ing) on this blog first and foremost for myself(present moment-tense)... I lived this "comment-expectancy-phenomena" for eight months now while I posted the previously 41 topics... and really didn't like the fact that nobody wanted to comment on those topics ... as I assumebly would have expected... Of course I admit that this is(was)/was(is) MY OWN PROBLEM - no comment about that, but still is an globally-ongoing,-(developing-into-'normality')-, phenomenon... if you think about it.
here another question arose - If not for others why the heck do it? Why not keep a journal? .. a written one.
I have lots of journals - and still cannot logically explain why I am doing this... at least I feel like doing it. But if we were to explain all the choices we made till this point in life...( 4 shaman-lifetimes wouldn't be enough ). ... so, here I am- barely naked and legal - just going with the flow, stopping myself from explaining my actions and just posting stuff, filtered through the moment/instant/lifetime in the breath of the... present-moment-tense.
If not for me - definitely my future me will have a blast reading this stuff here.
Thinking about contradictions now ...!?
yes - hopefully there will be as many in my life as possible... I like contradictions - U-turns - Crossroads - and ...late trains - mainly because all the big systems are infected by this virus.
... but I don't live by contradictions, as contradictory as it may sound, I have an extraordinary life. ;)
My bows to Milton and Storm...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
1. Good design is innovative.
2. Good design makes a product understandable.
3. Good design is elegant.
4. Good design makes a product useful.
5. Good design is unobtrusive.
6. Good design is honest.
7. Good design is long living.
8. Good design is consequent right to the very last detail.
9. Good design is friendly to the environment.
10. Good design is as little design as possible.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Do you think the part of the brain that seeks community is awakened by communal brand experiences like MySpace, YouTube, or the iPod?
Yes. But there is a dark side to this. People develop communities that define themselves and isolate them from others. This leads to a kind of estrangement from everyone else. And before you know it, there's a class or status war, or some other sense that we're more important because of our desires, or a sense of betterment because we have good taste, or because we earn more money. That collective identification quickly turns into a way of excluding others from humanity. We have to be so cautious of this. It is an endless cycle of human history. A collective consciousness develops within a tribe, and everyone outside becomes worthless-it's a prevailing pattern in humanity.
(excerpt from the MIlton Glaser interview - from Debbie Millman's new book - How To Think Like A Great Grpahic Designer )
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
In September 2007, Randy gave a final lecture to his students at Carnegie Mellon. "There's an academic tradition called the 'Last Lecture.' Hypothetically, if you knew you were going to die and you had one last lecture, what would you say to your students?" Randy says. "Well, for me, there's an elephant in the room. And the elephant in the room, for me, it wasn't hypothetical."
Despite the lecture's wide popularity, Randy says he really only intended his words for his three small children. "I think it's great that so many people have benefited from this lecture, but the truth of the matter is that I didn't really even give it to the 400 people at Carnegie Mellon who came. I only wrote this lecture for three people, and when they're older, they'll watch it," he says.
Watch Andy's last lecture
Via Debbie Millman
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
A new flute was invented in China. A Japanese master musician discovered the subtle beauties of it's tone and brought it back home, where he gave concerts all around the country. One evening he played with a community of musicians and music lovers who lived in a certain town. At the end of the concert, his name was called. He took out the new flute and played one piece. When he was finished, there was silence in the room for a long moment. Then the voice of the oldest man was heard from the back of the room: "Like a god!"
The next day, as this master was packing to leave, the musicians approached him and asked how long it would take a skilled player to learn the new flute. "Years", he said. They asked if he would take a pupil, and agreed. After he left, they decided among themselves to send a young man, a brilliantly talented flautist, sensitive to beauty, diligent and trustworthy. They gave him money for his living expenses and for the master's tuition, and sent him on his way to the capital, where the master lived.
The student arrived and was accepted by his teacher, who assigned him a single, simple tune. At first he received systematic instruction, but he easily mastered all the technical problems. Now he arrived for his daily lesson, sat down, and played his tune - and all the master could say was, "Something lacking." The student exerted himself in every possible way; h he practiced for endless hours; yet day after day, week after week, all the master said was, " Something lacking." He begged the master to change the tune, but the master said no. The daily playing, the daily "something lacking" continued for months on end. The student's hope of success and fear of failure became ever magnified, and swung from agitation to despondency.
Finally the frustration became too much for him. One night he packed his bag and slinked out. He continued to live in the capital city for some time longer, until his money ran dry. He began drinking. Finally, impoverished, he drifted back to his own part of the country. Ashamed to show his face to former colleagues, he found a hut far out in the countryside. He still possessed his flutes, still played but found no new inspiration in music. Passing farmers heard him play and sent their children to him for beginner's lessons. He lived this way for years.
One morning there was a knock at his door. It was the oldest past-master from his town, along with the youngest student. They told him that tonight they were going to have a concert, and they had all decided it would not take place without him. With some effort they overcame his feelings of fear and shame, and almost in a trance he picked up a flute and went with them. The concert began. As he waited behind the stage, no one intruded on his inner silence. Finally, at the end of the concert, his name was called. He stepped out onto the stage in his rags. He looked down at his hands, and realized that he had chosen the new flute.
Now he realized that he had nothing to gain and nothing to lose. He sat down and played the same tune he had played so many times for his teacher in the past. When he finished, there was silence for a long moment. Thern the voice of the oldest man was heard, speaking softly from the back of the room: "Like a god!"
Friday, October 26, 2007
...Is this feeling really that bad? Am I really feeling it or is it just playing tricks on me? ... The latter one makes more sense. I am tired, oh so tired... tired of petty complaints, tired of self-indulgent-so-called-friends. What is the purpouse of all this? Why does the whining not stop? Why is everybody behind a mask? What is, of such importance or shame that you all are hiding? The man - behind the man - behind the man - behind the mask, WHO is he not able to stand himself? The light is striking through every(thing)one, the light strikes both, the flesh and the ethereal - always. The light is raising all the questions, the light is switching all the handles...oh so many handles, one for each thought, one for each moment, one for each One...
...Control has become casual, also it can easily slide in becoming causal....
Must become stronger, must become lighter, must float through this Domain. Shut my ears, speak out loud, the dim voice inside my head must reach within. Must touch the souls, must accept, must reject, must know It.
...What makes a man/woman a real woman/man, a real human being? Is it only the pre-cached mask that defines us?...
...God's answer to causality is you, my dear human being, You are the effect, the special effect situated in time somewhere between the Big Bang and the birth of the first living bacteria, somehow somewhere between those two points you were born... .
...Logic is a limitation, a safety device, defy it and you will be set free. Within it's vast entropy you will find Real questions... [O]
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I can illustrate this idea by applying it to the description of haircuts.
Rather than only being able to say of someone's haircut that it is, for example, masculine or feminine, we're as likely to want to say that it's quite masculine, or quite feminine, or unisexual - somewhere in the middle. When we do this, we acknowledge that the sexual possibilities of haircuts don't just fall squarely at one or another of the polar positions - masculine or feminine - but somewhere on the wide range of hybrids between them. In fact we would feel constrained if we couldn't make descriptions in these fuzzy, hybrid, terms.
If you were trying to describe a particular haircut, however, you'd probably want to say more than 'It;s quite feminine', or some other comment about it's gender connotations. You might also want to locate its position along other axes - for instance along the axis neat <--> shaggy - 'It's slightly shaggy' or ' It's very neat'. If that then gave you enough descriptive language to say everything you could imagine ever wanting to say about haircuts, you could locate every example you ever met somewhere on a two-dimensional space - like this sheet of paper. So you could make a kind of graph - masculine <--> feminine on one axis, neat <--> shaggy on the other. On this graph, which is a simple cross in 2D space, any point represents a particular position in relation to the four polar possibilities:
masculine <--> feminine
neat <--> shaggy
I call each of these points a cultural address. I could equally well call it a stylistic address. It is the identification of a particular point in stylistic space, a 'possible haircut'.
Those four terms still constitute an impoverished language in which to describe most haircuts, and to describe a wide range of possible haircuts we would need several others:
natural <--> contrived
wild <--> civilized
futuristic <--> nostalgic
businesslike <--> bohemian.
Each of these polar pairs defines another axis along which any particular haircut could be located. And each of these exists as a 'dimension' in the haircut space, which now becomes multidimensional and no longer easily drawable on a sheet of paper.
We shouldn't forget that each of these poles has no absolute and for-all-time meaning but is also in it's own slow motion, stretching the axis of which it defines and end-point this way and that. A really natural haircut, for example, is no haircut. But when we use the term 'natural cut' we don't think of someone with shaggy locks hanging over their eyes, but of someone who went to the hairdresser and said something like 'Can you make it look sort of natural - a bit windswept?', as opposed to someone else who said, 'Can you do me a nine-inch beehive?'
And there is another complication: the resonances are quite local culturally. A man with very short hair in East London in 1985 would be assumed potentially dangerous and 'hard'. The same man in San Francisco would be thought gay.
And if we look more closely we see that many of the things that we would consider single qualities of hair are actually themselves multi-axial spaces. To describe hair colour, for example, needs much more detail than dark <-->light. It needs an axis of redness, an axis of greyness, an axis of colour homogenity, an axis of shine.
What strikes you as interesting when you begin thinking about stylistic decisions (or moral or political decisions) as being locatable in a multi-axial space of this kind is the recognition that some axes don't yet exist. For example, with hairstyles, as far as I know, there is not a dirty <--> clean axis. That's to say, your hairdresser isn't likely to ask you, 'How dirty would you like it?' It's still assumed that there is no discussion about it: the axis has not been opened up, We would all want it 'as clean as possible'.
Peter Schmidt used to talk about ‘the things that nobody ever thought of not doing’. A version of this happened in clothing fashion. There was recently a style – variously described as non-fit, un-fit and anti-fit ( the name didn’t stabilize) – which was to do with people wearing clothes that exist at the never-before-desirable end of newly discovered axis well-fitted > badly fitted. These clothes were deliberately chosen to look completely wrong. This was beyond baggy, which was a first timid step along that axis. Baggy implies the message ‘These are my clothes, but I like to wear them loose.’ Non-fit says, ‘These are someone else’s clothes’ or ‘I am insane’ or ‘ I cannot locate myself’ or ‘I don’t fit.’
With punk, a brand-new axis opened up: professionally cut > hacked about by a brainless cretin. As often happens, this appeared (and was intended) to be an anti-style style, and was shocking because we had never previously considered the possibility that the concept ‘style’ and the concept ‘ hacked about by a brainless cretin’ could overlap one another. But, as usual, the effect was not to overthrow and eliminate the idea of style but to give it new places in which to extend itself. ‘Hacked about by a brainless cretin’ became not the death of hair-styling but the furthest outpost of a new continuum of possible choices about how hair could look.
This is a transition from polar thinking – the kind of thinking that says, ‘it’s either this or it’s that’, or ‘Everything that isn’t clearly this must be that’ – to axial thinking. Axial thinking doesn’t deny that it could be this or that- but suggests that it’s more likely to be somewhere between the two. As soon as that suggestion is in the air, it triggers an imaginative process, an attempt to locate and conceptualize the newly acknowledged grayscale positions.
I am interested in these transitions – these moments when a stable duality dissolves into a proliferating and unstable sea of hybrids. What happens at such times is that all sorts of things become possible: there is a tremendous energy release, a great burst of experimentation. Not only do the emerging possible positions on this new-born axis have to be discovered and experienced and articulated; they have to be placed in context with other existing axes to see what new resonances appear.
A good – and undigested – example of this process is the ( apparently temporary ) demise of state communism in Eastern Europe. It’s extraordinary that when the Berlin Wall came down everyone assumed that the whole world was about to become one big market economy running on the same set of rules. What happened instead was that the old dualism communism < -- > capitalism was revealed to conceal a host of possible hybrids. Now only the most ideological governments ( England, Cuba ) still retain their fundamentalist commitment to one end of the continuum: most governments are experimenting vigorously with complicated customized blendings of market forces and state intervention.
An example of such a complicated blending is defence spending, which allows a government nominally committed to ‘market forces’ to have at its centre a completely intact command economy within which it can direct the flow of social resources.
The period of transition is marked by excitement, experimentation – and resistance. Whenever a duality starts to dissolve, those who felt trapped at one end of it suddenly feel enormous freedom – they can now redescribe themselves. But, by the same token, those who defined their identity by their allegiance to one pole of the duality ( and rejection of the other ) feel exposed. The walls have been taken away, and the separation between inside and outside is suddenly gone. This can create wide-scale social panic: vigorous affirmations of the essential rightness of the ‘old ways’, moral condemnation of the experimentalists, ‘back to basics’ campaigns, all the familiar signs of fundamentalism.
Essentially, cultures wish to be able to control, or at least channel, such excitements and panics, turning what could be chaotic uncertainty into a power either for revolution or for consolidation. This is normally mishandled. Hostile propaganda campaigns are good examples of fundamentalism at work: they are designed to push the concepts of friend and enemy to extreme and unambiguous positions, and to cement a complete and unvarying identification between two different axes: us < -- > them; friend < -- > enemy.
Zones of Pragmatic Deceit are the social and mental inventions that exist to lubricate the fiction between what we claim to stand for (i.e. simple polar pictures ) and what we actually have to do to make things work (i.e. navigate over networks of axes). These two are often quite different, as situations change much faster than the moral constructions that are supposed to describe them.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
What is not alone is whole, both willing and unwilling to be named object. Once numbered and multiplied, this whole grew at the expenses of zeroes into which it has stepped. One knows construction by deconstruction and ever since Eiffel changed leisure into fatigue. The road of Architecture does not have two directions but only one – meaning that eyes are better transformers than gears, when our understanding grates on matters which will be ever resistant, incomplete. Incompleteness being the trial of psyche; bridge over skill and intelligence. [O]
Brightness of Form was a virtue when sleepy gods were doing the world’s business and helping prolong the season of All. But eventually their sons changed the rhythm of moving evening tides through errors – agents of justice – into nuclei visible on a dial. One of these is the daynight-wintersummer-warpeace. The other is too little to pinpoint since it is disguised as a city and known in each separate flavor or affliction.
The wisdom seen through the little hole cut in Knowledge appears as having been plotted in the course of history by all things other than modesty. Yet modesty alone constitutes the will named as Father who is not I, That which is not world or All-not-in-one.
What then is Architecture? Don’t notice it. However, by supposing that force relates to looks, ie to the musical instruments still harbouring weapons, one can unhinge design of things and cities, releasing the ‘more harmonious than seen’ into each architectonic device whose life lies in killing. Deadly thinking: day in night time.
The same can be said of living the death of architecture which fake lips have reduced to ‘youthful age’. What calls into being follows the thunder – process capable of reversal. Once joined by two lines and a semi-circle, Architecture becomes reductible to parts of speech or organs of the body. Hence ‘co-operation’ thoroughly overdetermines the position of the field and makes harmony into a separate or fourth element. As with knowledge the opening crisis is an anguished if inarticulate experience: partly lunar curse, partly the curled wool before its thread has been straightened.
The Vitruvian realm which limits Architecture to the Art of Building, the Construction of Machines and the Making of Time-pieces acts as the venerable liver which has been split into three and not the famous rail of Roussel on which I suspend the beginning of a circle or its violently cut end – half spurned, half poisoned. Then the doctor forgets to submit the bill to you and hands it to God, the Beautiful or theGood. (It should be a human being who sees divine, ugly, good; better yet, a boy who will never be a ‘man’, as ‘man’ was never ‘god’!)
If every construction were just smoke one’s perception would not be restricted. But dates themselves are senses giving and receiving each other’s small insanities. How to withstand heart’s desire – since editing gets what it wants – at the soul’s expense?
Stirred like a delicious drink, the recess springs forward like hot wine mixed and seasoned by a boasting harlequin who created chess pieces and a separate playing board which consists in the one step upon which the foot does not slip even when frozen.
Life is to Architecture as earth is to watery physical force. The architect has been locked in a trunk while Architecture is staggering mindlessly to lift the load back home. By now, or soon, the sweat will evaporate and be forever lost (cubes have always been pre-historic ). Thus emerges the wonderful order of a world no longer seen as the random gathering of things significant only when clumsy. A world in which each hair-pin, arcade or tribe can no longer posture in the mother’s sensus communis . The shapes are cold, handwritten, dry: one simply cannot find their boundary in the East or in the profound fairy detector with an always extended arm.
It shall remain Unaccountable, faintly whispering – clear of illogic, sure to reason on the course of heavenly bodies, the factor π, law-abiding men trying to derive absence from songs. What penetrates fools satisfaction. Humanity reposes while mighty defenders fight madness in words, gloomy origins of the igloo, the rough millennium whose thousand-year-old ray looks like a statue of a hero gossiping behind the fallen house.
Understanding is absent-minded. The unseen Design: an inorganic sediment. The Ephasians might as well rest, letting their city be governed by children.
Without ending (since the above is neither theory nor object), I believe that even the ugliest architecture is going to be clearer than the handsomest name or the wisest visage. Because what is less wide is more beautiful. To put it simply: god at a distance looks like a construction or an edifice, but only to those who have acquired form. The calculable always equals two times god.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
This is an excerpt from the book "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer" (Allworth Press, Publication Date: October 17, 2007)
The first time I saw James Victore, he was wearing a gorilla suit. And no, he wasn’t trick-or-treating. He was headlining a talk for the New York chapter of the AIGA, the professional association for design. Titled “Mad As Hell,” the presentation was classic Victore: brash, brilliant, and unbridled. Victore didn’t focus on his impressive client roster or his singular talent, but rather crafted a presentation that discussed the designer as a master communicator who had an obligation to inspire social change. The second time I saw Victore, he was speaking at an event, along with Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, for students involved in an AIGA mentorship program. Unfettered by conventional norms, James addressed the students with raw honesty, enthusiasm, and quite a few expletives. In fact, I remember that one AIGA staffer kept track of the number of times James used the word “fuck,” as she planned an exit strategy from her job. She needn’t have worried. Not only did the students give Victore a standing ovation, they spent hours after the event clamoring for the signed posters he was giving out. James is a master designer with a kind, generous, and engaging spirit. The day we met, he picked me up on his motorcycle for a trip to his studio. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking about the responsibility of designers in today’s world, creative freedom, and his parent’s dashed hopes that he would have become a nurse.
Okay, just to get us started, tell me about your very first creative memory.
Have you ever read My Name is Asher Levy?
It’s great. In the book My Name is Asher Levy, the author’s dad is a rabbi. His father’s father was a rabbi. His grandfather was a rabbi. He’s supposed to be a rabbi. But he sees.
What does he see?
As a young child, the author starts seeing perspective and shadows, and he explains that shift in this book. He becomes an artist. He explains how he was born to be an artist. He explains the process. I saw this happen with my son Luca when he was about three. We were in the kitchen, where there was a lamp overhead, and I could see him moving his head; I explicitly remember the white table and the white milk and watching him realize that as you move, your perspective changes. When I read My Name is Asher Levy, I realized the same thing. I remember that. And I tell everybody, anybody who asks, I was born to do this job. I was born to be a designer. This is my dharma.
How did you describe what it is you wanted to do when you grew up?
I was raised on a military base. There was no real option of being an artist. You couldn’t be an artist or a writer because people just didn’t do that. I came from a small town in upstate New York. I remember coming out of high school and people saying, “Well, I hear there’s good money in nursing. You should go into nursing.”
James Victore, R.N.
Yes! I thought it was ludicrous, but I still didn’t know that I could be a designer for a living. Nevertheless, I drew constantly. I was always making up wordplays and bad puns and creating new lyrics for songs. I’d make up lyrics to Led Zeppelin songs that I didn’t understand. The only person I know in the business who thinks like this is Emily Oberman. She and I both thrive on word association. We get triggered—bzzzzzz—and off we go to find all these other associations. And that’s how I work. That’s what I do with my job.
Do you remember the moment you made the decision to become a designer?
Well, when I first got out of high school, I didn’t get into any of my universities of choice because my grades weren’t good enough.
What were you intending to study?
Engineering or physics. I became a physics major at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. I did horribly, and I was asked not to come back for a second semester.
You were kicked out?
Yes, I was kicked out. So I went to work for my father. He had a ski shop. I also waited tables. And I slept in my car. I was crying a lot. It was like, “What the fuck?” Then my dad gave me a card from someone who came by the ski shop. He was from a design and advertising agency. This was something I’d never heard of. So I put some drawings in a folder, and I went to the guy and he was like, “Yeah, okay. We need some help.” He had a tiny little advertising agency, and they made menus and fliers for dry cleaners. That’s what they did. But he recognized something in me. Through him, I got the idea to apply to art school. So I applied to RISD, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Pratt, SVA, and Cooper Union. The only school I didn’t get into was Cooper Union. I made the decision to go to SVA primarily because I wanted to go to New York City: The city of vision, the city of light. That was where I wanted to be. I left with 350 bucks in my pocket, and I showed up at school. But when I was there, I questioned whether or not I belonged there. I couldn’t help but think that I was not like these people around me.
Why weren’t you like them?
I just felt that I didn’t belong. I was living in the YMCA on 34th street. My classes weren’t that interesting, and I was supposed to be studying art and design in New York—and I just wasn’t that interested. So I dropped out.
What did you do then?
I had one instructor in my second year, the graphic designer Paul Bacon. He gave me a D. But when I dropped out of school, I went to his office and said that I’d like to apprentice. I didn’t even know what it meant, but I wanted to apprentice with him. He looked at me and put his pen down and told me that no one had ever asked him that before. Then he agreed to let me do it. I learned a huge lesson at that moment: You have got to ask. I got that apprenticeship because no one else had ever asked. So I started hanging out in Paul’s studio, looking over his shoulder. I’d get there in the morning and sweep; I didn’t really have any jobs. And then I’d hang out. When a desk became available, I tried to do some “real” design. Three months after I dropped out of SVA, I had put together a portfolio with three fake book jackets. I started showing my portfolio, and I got hired right off the bat. I’ve been working ever since.
What do you do when you have a client that gives you negative feedback?
We are professionals. We don’t care about negative feedback.
There are some designers who would say, “Do it my way or bye-bye.”
No. No, no, no, no. This is what we do for a living. The unspoken part of what we do is compromise. Clients don’t just come to me and say, “James Victore, he’s the auteur, we’ll let him do what he wants.” I have very little of that. And the funny thing is when I was a young Turk and trying to push my elbows out as wide as possible, I had the opportunity. I knew a guy in town, Pierre Bernard. I knew of his reputation, so I searched him out and arranged to meet him. He is an amazing French designer from Grapus, a design collective that broke up in 1989. He spent an afternoon with me, which was unheard of, since I was a nobody. As I was showing him my work—a greeting card I was doing at the time for a publisher—I bragged that I had an amazing client who gave me complete creative freedom. He looked at my work and said, “Sometimes complete creative freedom is not a good thing.” That was excellent. I don’t really want complete creative freedom. A lot of people look at my work and think I must have complete freedom, but that’s not what I do. Saul Steinberg couldn’t entertain the idea of working for a client. Paul Rand could. He needed a client. He needed “The Job.” When I worked for The New York Times for a short stint, I called Saul Steinberg to do a project, and he said to me, “Let me get this correct. You want me to illustrate somebody else’s idea? It seems there are two artists on this project.”
Do you consider your work to be good?
I consider my work good. I enjoy doing it, which helps a lot. Unfortunately, I get a lot of feedback, constantly, from people who write me about my work. But I know when I’m “giving one from column A, one from column B.” Overall, I think my work is pretty good, but I don’t think it’s great.
What do you mean by “giving one from column A and one from column B”?
The rule here is there are jobs you do for “god,” and there are jobs you do for money. I try to approach everything as a “god job”—lowercase g. At the beginning of a project, I ask, “What are we going to do, and how are we going to do it? How are we going to make a person fall in love?” And when we start getting questionable feedback about what we’ve done, we have to realize it’s not always possible to do the god job. That’s when I know we just have to get it done and get paid.
How do you know when something you’ve designed is great?
I don’t. Quite frankly, I don’t. Sometimes I think something is awesome, and everyone else thinks it’s crap.
How confident are you in your own judgment or assessment of things?
Less and less as time goes on. Less and less. I’m wrong a lot more than I think. And that’s why I have other people to check me, like my wife, Laura, and my son. As I progress and get older, I want my world to get bigger and bigger and bigger, not smaller and smaller and smaller. But I find that it takes constant effort. I’m not a good judge of my work or other people’s. Especially other people’s!
What do you worry about in your life?
Professionally, I don’t really have any worries. Any. I like what I do. But I am worried about what the state of the profession will be in the future. I’m worried about the state of the world. My concern now is to make a little bit of money. And for the first time in my life, I feel guilty about it.
Why do you feel guilty about it?
In regard to the state of the world. Laura is currently reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In the book, when [Jacob] Marley’s Ghost comes to Scrooge, Scrooge says, “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob!” “Business!” cries the Ghost. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business. Charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business.” This is what I worry about. I like what I do, and I seem to have a reputation for altruism and telling the truth; but at the same time, all that work I do for free. Or I pay for it with my own money. And now I’m worried about making a living for my family. And this bothers me because I don’t know how to do both. And I want a hot rod!
I was just reading about Nan Kempner and her desire to have nice things.
I remember Tibor used to say, “I want to take taxis.”
You mentioned that you were worried about the future of the design business?
The business as I know it. The Internet is changing things in the same way that the invention of ink on paper did. And there is this wonderful, funny question that people like to ask all the time: “Are posters dead?” It’s like asking Twyla Tharp, “Is dance dead?” People try to reorganize and rename things and change them and qualify and quantify them. I just want the spirit of design to remain. I feel now the way Tibor did: People have not fucked with the printed page as much as we still can. I want those opportunities. But I think those opportunities get fewer and fewer. And there’s too many of us. But there aren’t not enough crackpots and artists in the business—they’re all MBAs.
Who do you think right now is an artist in the business?
Any of the designers who are 50 and older. They were around before computers. They were working with their hands. Most younger designers don’t do that.
You work both on the computer and with your hands. Are you equally comfortable with both mediums?
No, I’m dreadful on the computer.
How do you know when a project is done, aside from a deadline?
I asked Pat Duniho that question, because he could draw like a motherfucker. It was beautiful. I asked him how he knew when he was done. And he said, “Well, you have a big piece of paper like this. And you start in the middle and you fill it out and when you reach the edge of the paper, you’re done.”
Knowing when you’re done is essential. That is where most people falter. I think we’re so in love with the fact that we can do this thing called design, and when we get the opportunity, we just want to do it so much! Especially when you get pro bono opportunities. The not-for-profit stuff is the shit because it’s our opportunity to go off and get really creative.
But knowing when you’re done is hard.
The thing that’s great about this profession—and doing it well—is that it’s like medicine. Doctors can see a patient get sick and die, or they can help them get better. We can do that with our business, to a certain extent. You know you’ve done a good job when you can see positive change. That is the most awesome feeling in the world.
You mentioned that a lot of people write and tell you how much they’ve been impacted by your work. What do you think touches people so profoundly?
I don’t know. I got a message from someone this morning telling me he liked the way I told the truth.
How do you think you tell the truth?
I think I either get the opportunity, or I go looking for it. Sometimes I have to go digging for it. There are surface, veneer solutions to design problems, and that’s appropriate if you’re talking bullshit. But to get to the truth, you have to push everything aside. Everything—and then get down to that one perfect little gem.
How do you know when it’s a gem?
I talk to my students about that all the time. It’s about whittling. It’s about taking something and whittling and whittling and getting it sharp and perfect. Then you’ve got something.
Do those things come instantly after all the whittling away?
No, a lot of the time it comes as a surprise. It’s hard work. It’s the time when I’m sitting at the table, and I’ve been working on something for hours and hours and I come up with something and I make myself laugh. That’s what I do. And I’ll ask Laura to come and look at it. And she’ll either say, “That’s funny,” or she says it’s funny and she laughs. When she does that, I know I’m good as gold.
Is it about being funny, or is it about making a connection to something that might not have been done before?
Yes, it’s definitely finding another way to say something. It’s about realizing that you have kept something in your mental files forever, and now you’re going to take it out.
Do you think that it takes a special type of mentality to love your work?
I don’t think so. I think it takes a special type of mentality to not get uptight about my work, a special type of mentality to have a sense of humor about it.
I’ve read that people believe that in your work, you’re able to communicate what other people are afraid to say. Is that something that you’ve consciously worked on being able to do?
No. I’m just inappropriate. That’s who I am. I have a foul mouth, and I like off-color jokes—but I’m not a boorish, Shakespeare’s Richard kind of character.
How would you describe yourself?
I like to think that I’m strong and quick to judge. But at the same time—similar to when I am talking to my son—I am extremely stern, but full of love.
How content are you?
Not. Never have been, never will be. I don’t think it’s possible—unfortunately. It’s something I want.
Do you think that’s what fuels you?
Yes. I wake up in the morning knowing I’ve got to start at 5 or 5:30. I’ve got to get downstairs, I’ve got to get working. I’ve got to sit on the couch and start studying, or I’ve got to go run. And I don’t do that because it’s naturally in me. I do it because I have to force myself to do it, because I know that if I don’t, I’ll be a wreck.
What do you mean by that?
I push myself really hard. I live by lists. I have today’s lists, I have my short-term list, I have my long-term list. It makes me immeasurably happy when I cross something off one of my lists.
Are you a control freak?
I have to be. I think we all have to be in this business. I try not to show it in my work, but I think I am. Definitely.
If you didn’t push yourself so hard, what would happen?
I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably nothing. I just like doing it. It makes me feel like I’m progressing. It makes me feel like I’m getting things done. If I could include “brush teeth,” it would be on the list. But it’s not. Sometimes I recognize that I’m not doing something on the list because of fear; and I see that in myself and I’m like, “Nope. Do it. Do it. Do it.”
Do you consider yourself to be afraid of a lot of things?
Yes. I’m afraid of everything. I am. But I do them anyway. This is my dharma. This is what I was meant to do. I just want to do a good job.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
1. Design a package to look bigger on the shelf.
2. Design an ad for a slow, boring film to make it seem like a light-hearted comedy.
3. Design a crest for a Vineyard to suggest that it has been there, in business, for a long time.
4. Design a jacket for a book whose sexual content you find it personally repelling.
5. Design a medal using steel from 9/11 to be sold as a souvenir and make a profit out of the World Trade Center tragedy.
6. Design an Advertising campaign for a company with history of known discrimination in minority hiring.
7. Design a package for children whose contents you know are low in nutrition value and high in sugar content.
8. Design a line of T-shirts for a manufacturer that employs child labor.
9. Design a promotion for a diet product that you know doesn't work.
10. Design an Ad for a political candidate whose policies you believe would be harmful to the general public.
11. Design a brochure for a SUV that turned over frequently in emergency conditions and was known to have killed 150 people.
12. Design an Ad for a product whose frequent use could result in the user's death.
Milton Glaser - 2003
" Good Design is Good citizenship " Milton Glaser
" The designer should be professionally, culturally and socially responsible for the impact his/her design has on citizenry " Milton Glaser
Monday, June 4, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
DESIGN CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY
PART 1 -
FAME AND FORTUNE
PART 2 -
PART 3 -
THINGS IN COMMON
PART 4 -
CONTROVERSY AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION
PART 5 -
INSPIRATION AND THE ART SCENE
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Deos tihs hpaepn whit the vsuial lnugaege as wlel?
Is it psioslibe?
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
First things after 37 years
Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
Linda van Deursen
J. Abbott Miller
Jan van Toorn
Bob Wilkinson )
signed this Manifesto.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
In common with an increasing number of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched stream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues, instructional manuals, industrial photography, educational aids, films, television features, scientific and industrial publications and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world.
We do not advocate the abolition of high pressure consumer advertising: this is not feasible. Nor do we want to take any of the fun out of life. But we are proposing a reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and lasting forms of communication. We hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes. With this in mind, we propose to share our experience and opinions, and to make them available to colleagues, students and others who may be interested.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The individual opens itself out to the world in order to maintain a far-form equilibrium steady state. The equations of the physics of the open systems and mathematics of communication explain how this is done. If the uncertainty of the environment increases, independence from this state can be maintained either by increasing the systems capacity to anticipate [better perception, better knowledge], or by increasing its ability to influence the immediate environment, i.e. through greater mobility [the ability to change the environment] or more technology [the ability to change the environment], as in the case of nests and dens.
If active independence fails and the fluctuations of the environment are so wild that it is impossible to maintain a steady state, there still remains the possibility of …
This is achieved through the combination of certain individuals. Well-proven strategies include reproduction [especially sexual of course], symbiosis and other types of association. In this case, the equations are clear: an increase in the uncertainty of the environment requires an increase in the complexity of the system.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The uncertainty of the world is its greatest certainty. So if there is one question worth asking, it is this: HOW CAN ONE STAY ALIVE IN AN UNCERTAIN ENVIRONMENT? Perhaps the key to understanding biological evolution is not the concept of ADAPTATION but that of INDEPENDENCE. The idea is promising, because physics and mathematics, their laws and theorems, operate not in terms of adaptation but of independence.
There are three main families of alternatives, the first of which is…
The simplest and most banal way of being independent is to isolate oneself. This is when the boundary is impermeable to any change of matter, energy or information. It is the worst way of being independent, because in this case the stern second law of thermodynamics is irremediably applied and the system slips towards the only possible state, that of thermodynamic equilibrium, in other words, death. There are many ways of being alive, but only one of being dead. Nevertheless, life makes use of many good approximations to this alternative: latency, hibernation, resistant forms such as seeds, covering and simple growth [greater inertia]… The idea is to reduce activity or maintain simplicity, cross your fingers and wait for better times.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
Don't believe your own hype
Try some things with no end result
Have a goal ( or many )
Talk to other designers
Talk to people other than designers
Don't use technology as an excuse
Be true to what you believe in
Don't think about it - DO IT
Don't talk about it - DO IT
" Good graphic design is the result of endless research for beauty in things.
It is hard to teach graphic design as there are no boundaries and limits to it. Try teaching(learning) the basic laws of composition, colour, typography, photography and then tell the ones you teach to break those laws.
Great weapons of graphic design:
Repetition | Substracion | Addition | Contrast | Rythm | Colour contrast | Collaging | Photo manipulation | Texturing | Scaling | Deconstruction | Adaptation | Decontextualisation | Morphing ... of course there are ton-wise more weapons, but those are just a few which I tend to use very oftern. " ( some guy )
" Give back what you learn... share it ... make others exceed your boundaries ... and try to pass/exceed them ... a good way to progress. " ( some other guy )
" Creativity is concept, structural, progressive thinking."
The nucleus of inspiration. It's the key factor that drives to genius. Through perpetous experimentation one can achieve the absolute."
" Trying to look good limits my life.
Everything I do always comes back to me.
Everybody thinks they are right.
Money does not make me happy.
Thinking life in the future will be better is stupid, I have to live now.
Complaining is silly, either act or forget.
Having guts always works out for me.
Helping others helps me." ( Stefan Sagmeister )
" The challenge is to enhance the meaning while not totally abandoning the framework that unites the whole."(Niels Diffrient)
" A gresi este uman
A repeta greseala este tot uman
A-ti impune greselile ca standard este o prostie sau genialitate in forma pura."
" Rules are good, break them." (Tibor Kalman)
"Television is the literature of the illiterate,
the culture of the low-brow,
the wealth of the poor,
the proviledge of the unpriviledged,
the exclusive club of the excluded masses." (Lee Loevinger)
" Writing moves words from the sound world to a world of visual space, but print locks words into position in space. Control of position is everything in print." ( Walter Ong)
" Texts and typography are receptacles for social and cultural meaning. As a vehicle for the dissemination of messages, typography becomes a fundamental part of the " grammar of visual design" and, as such, is central to the process of interpreting and mapping meaning.
The text is not just a form of visual and verbal representation but also a material object with distinct physical features which are, in themselves, semiotic.
A text is a material object and is a reflexion of any physical process associated with its physical production and use. "
" Spatial form in the literary discipline is an essential feature in the interpretation and experience of "descriptive or temporal space"."
" Learn to accept help from others. Learn to help others. "
" EVERY project, idea has the potential in becoming the best one till that time. In a normal evolution it HAS to be the best one." ( don't know who said this )
" The key is to think laterally, embrace the constraints, and think positively about the project." ( Dixonbaxi )
" By creating something, you are personally approving its existence and directing the fate of many resources."(Stephen Peart)
" We construct and construct, but intuition is still a good thing. We can do great deal without it, but not everything."(Paul Klee)
" Photographs become raw material vulnerable to extension and improvement through processes used by graphic designers to create pages : image selection, cropping,juxtaposition, overlapping, bleeding, collaging, scale change and integration with other elements.?(Philip B. Meggs)
" Lenevim dar lenevim organizat. "(@Silvia)
" The uncertainty of the world is its greatest certainty. " (Verb)
" Design depends largely on constraints. " (Charles Eames)
" The toughest thing when running a design studio is not to grow. " (Tibor Kalman)
" This is why amateurs have an advantage over pros:
A pro knows what he can deliver, and rarely goes beyond it. An amateur has no concept of his limitations and generally goes beyond them."
" Processes are far more interesting than ideas
*linked to existing codes
*operating critically or in allignment with preexisting systems of ideas
*a process is the generation of a micro-history of a project
*a kind of specific narative where the entity of the project forms in a sequence
If geological, biological or human history, for instance, have something to teach us it is that these processes of temporal formation produce organisations of a higher complexity and sophistication then instantaneous ideas.
THE SEARCH IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE END RESULT "