Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Memory of a Skeleton

October has arrived. And with it, all things macabre.
Check out these delicately, creepy creations by Caitlin McCormack. I'd love to dub this macabre macramé, but alas, it is actually crocheted.
The artist from South Philadelphia works with thin string and glue to give the impression of bone tissue. McCormack crochets skeletal remains which are bizarrely beautiful, like grotesquely fascinating doilies or lace. She began crocheting these forms after her grandparents passed away. You can read her interview with Make here. 
When she puts the specimens on display, they are remarkably striking—intricate details set against a black background. 
See more of McComack's work at Paradigm Gallery and Studio or follow her on Instagram

Monday, October 3, 2016

Gold Medal Design

The 2016 Rio Olympics passed with a sufficient amount of scandal, but no real disasters. In total, I watched maybe an hour of diving while sitting at a bar, waiting out a rain storm. I've never really gotten into the Olympics. Maybe I'm unpatriotic. Maybe I just don't like to sport. But I do like to brand— and the Olympics provide a very unique branding opportunity. 

Every two years, a different city hosts the Olympic games, and each city gets to design it's own logo, which will be reproduced on uniforms, on swag, in print, online, on stadiums — global exposure for millions, if not billions, of impressions. 

It's a challenging mark to create. It must include the 5 Olympic rings, the city name, the year, and a unique mark. Sometimes this is achieved quite elegantly, sometimes... not so much. 

The AIGA has compiled all the Olympic logos since 1924 and had Milton Glaser grade them on a 100 point scale. You can check out Eye on Design here to see if you agree with his grading (I didn't). Also, see how many of the recent logos you remember— the only ones that felt familiar to me were London 2012 (for it's horridness) and Atlanta 1996. 

As far as favorites, I picked three:
1. Athens 2004 - for bringing back the Greek. This is a simple, classy mark, that modernizes the traditional Olive wreath. 
2. Tokyo 1964 - it so clearly represents the country in a totally simple and uncluttered way. 
3. Montreal 1976 - I like that the rings are worked into the logo itself, though I'm not entirely sure if this is a "M" or a building. 

And what about Rio?

The Rio mark is fluid and organic. The color scheme is fresh. I didn't totally love the dancing dudes though... at least not until I noticed the corresponding family of icons that accompanies it. 
There's a full set of icons representing each sport in the games—clever little stick men sporting. These sort of sold me on the Rio mark. 

So what's to come? On the Eye on Design page, you can also get a sneak peak at the works-in-progress for the 2018 PyeongChang, 2020 Tokyo and the 2022 Beijing game marks. Nothing like spying on the design process! ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Morning at the Felter's Market

Peak farmer's market season has almost passed, but there's one market that never goes out of season.

I discovered the Felter's Market at the Eastown Bizarre Bazaar back in June. Featuring felt food goods, as soft, safe, washable toys for children ages 3+, their products are adorable, creative and they never go bad!
I love this imaginative alternative to plastic toys. But what really sets this concept and booth apart for me, (other than the clever name) is the attention to display and packaging details. Wooden quart baskets, wire bins, gingham table spreads, beautiful tags and stickers— all these things come together to create a lovely little scene. 
And just the other day I stumbled upon an in-store display at Pinky's Place on Alpine. The Felter's Market had built a full-on food stand within the antique mall. Once again, the product presentation really carries through and sells the brand concept. 
And in case your mother didn't teach you to eat your fruits and veggies, The Felter's Market has meals for the diner goer as well. The pieces are separate so you're little chef can build their own meals! (and all at affordable prices!)
The owners, Josh and Sam, started The Felter's Market in Grand Rapids but have recently moved to Canada. Their Etsy shop is on hiatus while they settle in, but you can see what other brilliant things they're cooking up on Instagram!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Political Mystery Solved

Election 2016 is less than two months away, and there's some important questions that have yet to be answered.

But FastCo has answered a really important one for use today...
What Pantone color is Donald Trump?

Donald's skin tone is just as questionable as his political policies, but at least the experts are here to help with that first quandary. 

The Pantone gurus say Donald has an orange to brown gradient range including Burnt Orange, Desert Sun, Golden Orange, Autumn Blaze, Orange Rust, and Burnt Ochre.If you blend together all his hues, we're looking at Pantone 16-1449: Gold Flame.

The color Gold Flame suggests "sturdiness, strength, and endurance, in addition to vibrancy and gregariousness." Color theorists may argue that Donald is orange because it matches his personality... it's a brash color that's extroverted and fickle. Paired with his flamboyant golden hair, we're looking at fiery, animated, temperament.

Interested in seeing what The Donald would look like with a more natural skin tone? Buzzfeed's on it, and... it still doesn't quite look human....

Read more about the process of identifying the gold flame on FastCo.
(and don't forget to Vote November 8th).

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dressed with a Hint of Salt

ArtPrize 8 starts up in Grand Rapids next month, and honestly, I'm finding that each year is really just more of the same... large sculpture, even larger paintings, enormous recycled "piles" and even more enormous crowds. Which is why I'd love to see something like the "Salt Bride" show up in GR.

For this project, Israeli artist Sigalit Landau submerged a black gown in the salt-rich waters of the Dead Sea for two months. 
The artist checked in on the dress at various times to document the gradual crystallization process. After two months, the "Salt Bride" emerged, a glittering, magical masterpiece. 

The dress will be on display at London's Marlborough Contemporary for one more week. Which means, we'll have just missed it when we land in London in a couple weeks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Pokémon Shock

So, after having a half dozen people explain (and one demonstrate) exactly what this Pokémon Go business is, I think I finally understand. And while it's a neat use of technology and augmented reality, I just don't see myself getting hooked. But what do I know, I'm not a gamer*.
What I am hooked on, is the news surrounding this app. Car accidents? Robberies? Dead bodies?

This isn't the first time Pokémon has caused injury to its fans. Back in 1997, at the height of Pokémon popularity, an episode aired in Japan that sent nearly 700 children to the hospital.

The episode was call "Electric Soldier Porygon", and towards the end of the episode, Pikachu uses lightning to blow up some missiles. Animators illustrated this using a rapid strobing technique which flashed red-to-blue to make the explosion look virtual.

The flashing colors had immediate effects – children passed out, or experienced blurred vision. Some even suffered from seizures and temporary blindness. Most of the 685 children that were taken by to hospitals recovered quickly, but a few were diagnosed with epilepsy, triggered by the lighting effect.
"Pokémon Shock" was the result of a strobe lighting. 1 in 4000 people suffered from photosensitive seizures. And since over 4 million kids were watching the episode, the effects were vast. 

After this incident, Pokémon went off the air for 4 months to evaluate their animation techniques. The episode never aired in the US. 

Nintendo stock took a major hit. Unlike this week, when Pokémon Go has their stock rocketing up this week. (And small business are even turning the Pokémon Go fad into creative marketing opportunities.)

Want to see the "Pokémon Shock" clip? Do so at your own risk!

*Also, I've never seen an episode of Pokémon, so I'm still not entirely sure what a Pikachu is....

Friday, July 8, 2016

Burning Art

Danny Shervin from Jackson Hole, Wyoming is lighting the art scene on fire. Literally. 
He calls it Painting with Gunpowder, and basically designs pictures with gunpowder, and then lights it on fire. When the powder burns away you're left with a beautiful etched effect.

It's a process he stumbled upon while a student at the University of Montana. He "paints" primarily wildlife subjects, which he meticulously lays in powder before setting the scene ablaze. Check it out:

I'm curious as to what the paintings sounds like while it's burning. Does it Crackle? Does it Pop? (is it reminiscent to eating a bowl of Rice Krispies??) 

Since I know all you pyros out there are having post-July4th withdrawal, here's another one. 
You can see (and purchase) more of Shervin's work on his website,