Friday, September 30, 2011

Nothing Is Beatle-Proof!

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by Jessica Messerschmidt

At first I struggled to find a topic mostly because I wanted to post about something that would interest people and not just inform. Not that informing isn’t important! I stumbled upon the idea for this blog entry in my "History of Rock and Roll" class (which is an awesome class I might add). Sooo… being a fan of the Beatles, as I am sure many of you are also, I'd like to talk about the 1968 Beatles movie “ Yellow Submarine”.

Heinz (ketchup!) Edelmann, was the man who designed and illustrated the comically hallucinogenic landscape of Pepperland for the animated film. This is the work that he became famous for. Unfortunately he is not with us anymore. He was 75 and lived through the 60s and 70s so I am sure he lived a bad-ass life.

In the 1960s he was experimenting with a stylized, soothingly fluid, almost Art Nouveau like manner with a modernized twist. The style of his work specifically for this film was typical for the era in its graphic, psychedelic and whimsical ways. The use of color and organic feeling corresponded perfectly with the nature of the time and music interpretation. The work was extremely imaginative. Nothing made sense but at the same time it made complete sense to the minds that chose to interpret it.

I’d like to say that this style and all that has influenced it is inspiring to me specifically. In my work I tend to lean towards a very stylized and colorfully graphic approach. It’s a way that I can try to entertain instantly with a playful and eye catching design.

Ironically once the film was complete, he altered his approach to avoid being categorized as a psychedelic artist, becoming considerably less airy and decorative and turning to what was on the surface his darker side. This in particular is something that I am sure many artists have a problem with.

I'll leave it with this: One of the first things Edelmann would tell a student was not to pursue a career in illustration. He believed that illustration was the quickest way to penury because, he would argue, illustrators were never adequately paid, unlike their colleagues in advertising.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Day Drenched In Design

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Street Smarts + Book Smarts

by Pat Mendoza

That’s how AIGA describes the 2011 offering of their 365 | Design Effectiveness. “It takes more than good looks to make a design effective.”, they say. So then what makes a design effective? Is it the historically significant packaging of Espolón brand tequila? How about the functionality of the ID badge that folds out into a map for the DIY conference? Or maybe it’s the promotional booklet reporting the remarkable awareness being created from MTV’s popular shows profiling teen pregnancies? The answer is yes. All of these projects provide a perfect balance between the customer’s needs and the designer’s creative visions. They remain value driven but still exceed their client’s expectations. They consider a target audience whilst translating across multiple platforms. But how you ask? Take a look and see for yourself.

This year’s AIGA 365 contains project briefs that range from the standard logo and type design to the skillfully zany idea of creating a fully functioning bike rack made of old parking meters. Through AIGA’s design archives I was able to digitally retrace my rain-soaked footsteps and look over the work again without fear of damaging the design with my dripping wet fingers. Fortunately for me, the return to the featured projects introduced me to a small firm from Washington D.C by the name of Design Army (click here to download the July/August 2009 spread on Design Army in Communication Arts). Design Army has been selected to have ten projects featured in this year’s exhibit including the aforementioned bike rack and a brilliant concept of a tag-less To/From wrapping paper. A paper for the “wrapping challenged” if you will. The piece that stood out to me, however, is the same project that gripped me in the gallery; a poster promoting a musical titled Chess. I remember looking over this piece at length while in the gallery, and looking at it again, this time on my dazzling MacBook Pro screen, I can remember why. The use of the shape of a queen chess piece to form the negative space of a woman’s heel? Brilliant. The use of purple to allude to the queen’s prominence in the story coupled with its attention-grabbing compliment of orange to shape the figure of a woman’s leg and high heel shoe? Imperial. Perfectly laid and margined type? Scrupulous. I don’t just want to find out more about the musical. I want this poster to hang on my wall. Unfortunately, revisiting this particular piece brings back a sense of bitter-sweetness. While I appreciate the memorable characteristics of this poster, I only wish I took notice to the creative minds behind it while still in the gallery, so that I would have been able to look over some more of their selections. If only there was a way for the college to facilitate a field trip to this firm, similar to ones in the past, so that students were able to dive further into their creative processes… Oh well, I’m just a kid with a dream.

Anyway, my latest journey to the Big Apple led me on a saturating tour of the SoHo neighborhood, a mind-freeing lunch with friends, and a viewing of some of the most outstanding work the design field has to offer. All culminating with another awe-inspiring moment back where it all begins; Times Square. But through all my sights and travels I believe the true inspiration lies in the city itself. In the town full of opportunity. Diversity. Evolution. It’s only fair that effective design be so important in a city moving at such a fast pace. It’s a jungle out there. One that requires a harmonization of book smarts and street smarts. Move forward and stand out, or get passed by in a New York minute.

(For more on our NYC trip, go here. – Ed.)

(click image to link to exhibit site)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


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by Tom Dombrosky

My interest in Pandora's redesign pertains more to web design. Pandora just recently changed their website and they are one of the first websites to use HTML5. HTML5 still is in development and supports HTML1, XHTML1 and DOM2HTML. HTML5 is probably better for Pandora than other websites because they stream music. And while Pandora once relied completely on Flash, they no longer do. They converted to HTML5 making apps for smartphones and iphones more conducive to Pandora. Without Flash, Pandora made a more simplistic and clean website that still offers more features than their previous website.

The music player is now prominent and the album art is expanded, all for a more visual experience. Many people stopped using Pandora long ago because it was difficult to use. This inspires me to create a clean, visually appealing website and to stay on top of my websites design.


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by Meagan Kelso

Originally I was going to write about the movie I saw in advertising. As it was very inspiring, but as life usually does, it took a crazy and unexpected turn. Recently I lost a really close friend of mine. She died in a car accident along with another friend while two more kids I went to school with were injured.

I had known her for around nine years. When we got to high school she was in my art classes. As time went on we became good friends. There was a small group of us kids that became really close in our time during art club and art classes. We ended up becoming close, and we spent our first year at PCAD together. We were even thinking about living together. She’s even the one who convinced me to buy a Hyundai, which was the worst advice she had ever given me. She was so carefree, fun, and full of life. It’s hard for me to accept that a person so alive is now gone.

When my best friend sent me a text on Wednesday September 21st, I was almost back to my apartment. I was coming home from class. I never expected what I read next, “there was a car accident…ben and tasha are dead.” I got out of my car and sent back one simple word, “No”. I thought it was some kind of sick joke. I could picture her perfectly in my head, laughing, happy and alive. The first thing I did when I got inside was go to her Facebook page. I mean certainly if something like that had happened the whole world would have stood still. I thought maybe if I got on and looked at her wall, there would be a status update saying she was in her room watching TV with her dog, but all I saw were comments saying R.I.P. – and that’s when it hit me.

Although this is a tragic event, out of death comes life. And through our life we encounter many forms of inspiration. And death can also inspire. Her short life has shown me that we can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen. We all have to sit in the driver's seat and take the wheel. We have to be active and make our own decisions. We have to find inspiration in anything we can because we only have a short time here. We need to look at things in life and hold them close. Never take anyone, anything, or any opportunity for granted. And although I will miss Tasha like crazy, she will always live on through her art and through the art of all her friends. I love you Tasha, you were an inspiration to everyone you knew, and you will continue to inspire even after you’re gone.

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Monday, September 19, 2011


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Check out the re-branding campaign for the Chester Zoo in North West England. It's low concept, high impact and something that's surely going to get a reaction out of both the zoo's visitors and the design community.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


by Nicholas Belcher

Most of this list is stuff everyone in the design program here at PCA&D should already know. Some of it's advice we've heard before, but there's something here for everyone to try.

The ones I really enjoy specifically are: #9 ("Listen to Music"), #10 ("Be OPEN"), #11 ("Surround yourself with creative people"), #17 ("Go somewhere new"), #21 (which is bolded in the list and self-explanatory), and I especially love #25 ("Stop trying to be someone else's perfect"). I believe 25 can be taken a couple different ways, because in our field, we do deal with clients who want something very very specific. But we do have to try and push our (in our eyes) better ideas and see where it gets us at least. We're all into design because we love doing it, but sometimes you just gotta try something new and I think this list shows some good ideas.

If you never "free write" for inspiration, you should consider trying it. If music has never been an inspiration, perhaps give it a shot when looking for inspiration. I just thought this list was a good outline to keep in mind as we continue our adventure into the waters of graphic design. In the words of Pat Mendoza; "as we get 'waist deep' this year before becoming completely submerged in the world of design after graduation."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


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by Lisa DeAngelo

I'm not the type to watch a lot of television. In fact, I currently don't have cable. For the most part I don't miss its distracting qualities, but when it's available I do like to indulge. When I'm not watching the Food Network (my favorite channel), you'll most likely catch me watching Comedy Central.

It's a channel that has provided me with much entertainment through the years. I mean, who doesn't like a good laugh? Plus, I give the network major props for reviving one of my all-time favorite cartoons, Futurama (Bender rocks, BTW. Just saying.). Speaking of revival, Comedy Central is no stranger to giving new life to old things. Example? Their logo.

When the network was born, their logo featured a simplified graphic of a globe. A cityscape pops out from the representation of the United States, showing cute, little “broadcasting lines” coming from a building's antenna. The network's name proudly pops out in yellow on a banner that bares resemblance to a film canister. This old school logo is illustrative and creative, but it has a lot of things going on in it! Even though I look back fondly on this one, I have to admit less is more sometimes. I'm not surprised the logo eventually got simplified.

Early in the new millennium, Comedy Central felt the need to freshen up their logo. The new version had a similar concept but it was much more type-driven. All-caps make the name of the network bold and noticeable in front of circular shape below it. Buildings still pop out from above the network's name, but this time they are more stylized. The countries on the globe also were changed to look like a talk bubble, but it still resembles the old logo, having a tiny bit poking out from underneath the text. I like what they did with it. They stuck to some old themes, simplifying it in a stylish and hip way.

Now, to the most recent changes in the logo... The current one hasn't existed for very long, but it's certainly stirred up controversy in the year of its existence. I'm not going to lie, the first time I saw it, I was shocked. It seemed so different. So corporate looking! In all its simplicity, the logo is made solely from text. A “C” is centered inside another backwards “C”, looking strangely like an incomplete copyright symbol. The network's name is also displayed, having the word “Central” upside-down to mimic the other switched up “C”.

It was hard to comprehend at first, but the logo totally grew on me... It's kind of humorous actually, which I guess is appropriate. The new logo looks structured and silly all at the same time. Also, as drastic as the changes to the logo are, the new logo still stays true to the circular imagery each of the old logos possess. Plus, so much can be done with this one. It can be scaled as big or small as you want, it's only one color so it makes it incredibly easy to incorporate on TV and print and it now has a nifty icon that is instantly recognizable.

Not everyone likes the new logo. Some people have made fun of it... But if the logo made you laugh somehow, didn't it do it's job?

Someone made up a twitter account for the logo. Needless to say, it's hilarious. Check it out.

Friday, September 9, 2011


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THE 2011 CREW:
(back row, l-r) Mindy Tang, Christa Zinner, Sally Yacovelly,
Lisa DeAngelo, Meagan Kelso, Tom Dombrosky, Jessica Messerschmidt
(front row, l-r) Patrick Mendoza, Nicholas Belcher, Gene Testa

This course focuses on corporate identity and brand development — the varied uses of the mark and brand — showing the power that visual communication components must achieve. Emphasis is placed on strong, viable solutions and techniques of approach. Projects range from personal branding (mark, stationery system, and résumé), to re-branding logo design and collateral, including literature design and other peripheral materials.