TGIF

TGIF

TGIF!!

Two great reasons to smile today.

Reason 1: beautifultype.net
Reason 2: It’s Friday!

TypoGraphy Is Fun : )


Table

Stop and Smell the Sawdust

Four easy steps to designing and building your own social media site.

If you’re a creative professional and you ever find that the ephemeral advertising/marketing/graphic design world that the fruits of your labor live and (usually pretty quickly) die in is needing a little out-of-office boost this project might be right up your alley.

Step 1: rescue castoff old headboard from your father’s woodpile.
Step 2: deconstruct (discovering six beautiful oak boards and maple bedposts under the awful, thick, poop-brown stain – notice that the backs of the oak boards, unfinished, and with pronounced saw marks, are actually way nicer than the “finished” side – then while looking at your pile of wood start to imagine
Step 3: recruit a cardboard box to help hold up your deconstructed pieces and using the pictures in your head start moving the wood around (having a few clamps to hold stuff together will be an asset)
Step 4: add poplar accents in tribute to the woodpile, tweak idea, cut wood to finished sizes, assemble, paint and stain.

You’ll find that limited tools and even less experience in woodworking needn’t hold you back. Lessons learned from your career – about things like contrast, scale and proportion – will prove to be beneficial. And in the end, you’ll have a mobile social media device that could even outlive Instagram, Twitter, Facebook et al. If used correctly it will be a site where you can combine pretty much all social media – keep in touch with your friends – talk about the news – share your likes – network – and you’ll even straighten your neck, smell smells and touch something other than a flat piece of glass – with no limits on words or characters or data.

Taking time to stop and smell the roses did me a world of good.

(I acknowledge the irony in the fact that I’ve had to resort to using social media to make a cheeky statement about social media.) (What effect will using the word poop in this story have on our search engine optimization?)


Yes, I’m a hater

The new CFL

As most Canadians already know, Winnipeg was in the nation’s spotlight last week as we played host to the 103rd Grey Cup game. At his state-of-the-union address in the days leading up to the big game commissioner, Jeffrey Orridge unveiled a new logo and promotional video branded with the slogan “What we’re made of” for the Canadian Football League.

The image on the left is the new CFL logo, accompanied in the row by its direct descendants. The three laces in the new symbol, the unveil told, are a nod to the three downs as in the Canadian game. Will anyone see it for the first time without explanation pick that out? I doubt it. And didn’t graphic designers already exhaust the slivered arc in logos much earlier this century? The presence of the maple leaf, the unveil also told, is proudly Canadian, though I find it disproportionately tiny and insignificant. The claim was that the new logo is modern and young (of which I am neither) so they may not care what I think. But I am a passionate fan and know that my first reaction is similar to most of the reactions I’ve heard and read – I don’t like it. In fact, my first reaction was “I hate it.”

In fairness to the league, the new logo was easy to read from a distance on the field. And though the promo spot didn’t do much for me when I first saw it on my iPad I thought it, and the logo looked great in high def on a large flatscreen during the game.

The league hopes the brand transformation will bring new, younger fans to a game that has flatlined in attendance and dropped in television ratings of late. The new marketing efforts will include apparel from Adidas (I saw a guy wearing a hat with the new logo so large I’d need a fivehead, not a forehead, to make it wearable), and there will be revamped websites and mobile apps for the league and its teams to better connect with fans. As a sports fan in general, and a huge fan of our three-down football, real-time statistical updates and league information at my fingertips is something I desire. I’ve always felt in past that the CFL was lacking in fulfilling that desire.

The league’s new website (cfl.ca) launches on Wednesday. “There will be more to come. Much more to come,” is what Orridge said at the unveiling.

I’m hoping he can deliver on that promise and I’m sure I’ll eventually warm up to the new brand. I really hate being a hater.


Typographic genius?

Typographic genius?

 

I did a logotype for the toilet paper roll.

Typographic genius? Or just a crap idea?


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Great Minds Think Alike - Fringe Festival

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A Source of Inspiration

Inspiration for your next great idea can come from anywhere (and hopefully not straight from advertising and graphic design annuals and websites).

One of my favorite resources is garbage in the streets (I’m serious). I see shapely and shiny things on the ground all of the time and can’t help but pay my respects by picking them up and putting them in my pocket.

The best picks usually find a home somewhere within reach of my computer and I’m always optimistic that their humble graphic beauty will be able to help me out in some way on some future Fusion project.

I’m convinced the shapes in the sardine can key, blue thing with the tail and other elements in the photo subliminally migrated to the logos you see here.

And if Batman calls one day to do a new visual identity or rebrand I’ve already got one source of inspiration on the shelf in the form of that piece of found blue felt. It could turn into a kick ass logo or campaign graphic.


Mea ho’omana’o

Like any design nerd I tend to spend way more time than I should art directing snapshots and looking at graphic design and advertising instead of “enjoying the sites” while on holidays.

I believe mea ho’omana’o is how you say souvenir in the native tongue of Hawaii. I brought back a few souvenirs for the Fusion blog from my recent vacation to the island state.

 

This sign made me stop in my tracks. I like the rhythm of the repeated shapes in the logo.

 

In a gallery with works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Miro and Chagall I spent the most time with beautiful busts by Woodrow Nash. Turns out he was a graphic designer and illustrator in his earlier professional life.

 

Kapalua is the top golf course in Hawaii and home of the PGA Tournament of Champions. I like the way they incorporated a pineapple into the butterfly.

 

So much of the local design was casual/organic/friendly. Especially in Paia, a little town with a 60s hippy vibe on the north shore of Maui. I’ve seen photos of Willie Nelson wearing an Alice in Hulaland t-shirt.

 

In among brand name stores like Tiffany & Co., Rolex and Louis Vitton in the Shops at Wialea was a gallery called Mouche (they have a website). Filled with contemporary graphic art of subjects from popular culture it turned out to be one of my favourite places to see.


Human Rights Museum

For Izzy (and Terry)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is opening this week (Friday, September 19th). This is a day I’ve been greatly looking forward to for a long time.

It was a decade ago (give or take a few weeks) that we were hired to develop an identity and design advertising and marketing materials to aid in raising the capital needed to fulfill the dream of the late Izzy Asper to build this site — and the dream of his family to build it in his memory after his untimely passing in 2003. I remember getting to see conceptual illustrations of the proposed building before the general public got their first looks, and thought it was a pretty special privilege for all of us at Fusion to play a part in this undertaking at such an early stage.

I know our role in getting the museum done, in the grand scheme of things, was pretty minimal, but I do feel the life we helped breathe into the project, now that it’s completed, is a reason for us to feel proud.

And while many people reflect on the life and achievements of Mr. Asper on opening night (justly so) the opening of the museum has me also reflecting on the life and achievements of Terry Kuzina, Fusions’ founding father.

Terry led our creative team in the days that CMHR was getting going and he was so passionate about what we were working on for them. It was a point in his life where he was starting to cut back on his work week while thinking about some sort of semi retirement and talking a lot about his golf game. I always thought it was the perfect feather in his graphic design cap, him getting to put the first face on something so important for the city of Winnipeg.

And, sadly, like Izzy Asper, Terry did not live to see the completion of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. But I’m pretty sure, were he there on Friday, that he’d be thrilled. And impressed by the museums’ greatness.

Congratulations to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, our city’s newest shining star!


Made You Look

I recently spent some quality time (thanks to my colleague Andrea Tria) with a graphic design book that’s been around a while that I’d only ever seen online and never had the chance to hold in my own hands. It’s titled Sagmeister: Made You Look.

(If i comes before e except after c why isn’t he Sagmiester?)

A short review is that, love him or hate him, I think everyone would agree Stefan Sagmeister’s book is fabulous visually, extremely entertaining to read, with fine examples of brilliant creative, and it’s definitely recommended by me. If you can’t find it or don’t really want to buy it you can probably ask Andrea if you can borrow her copy. She’s so nice she’ll likely say yes.

The book also reminded me of an embarrassing moment in my life that involved a former Sagmeister employee.

Years ago I volunteered to help organize a graphic design conference in Winnipeg. Our committee had dinner with invited speakers the night the event kicked off.

Sitting to my left at the table was Luba Lukova, a Bulgarian-born New York illustrator whose work I really admire. We talked a lot about our similar European roots (many of my ancestors came from Romania). But as Luba and I were agreeing we were practically neighbours, in a roundabout way, the man sitting to my right, Sagmeisters’ guy, who was also speaking at the conference, spilled a glass of water in my crotch.

 

 

Talk about a conversation killer.

 

 

And an abrupt end to that dinner.

Not that long after the conference ended this issue of Creativity came out. The guy on the left is the dude that wet my pants. Creative coincidence? Probably. But they do also say you never really know where your next great idea is going to come from.


My Brush With Immortality

Today I join the sporting world in mourning the death of Tony Gwynn, one of histories’ all time great baseball players. A dual sport star (his basketball talents were NBA worthy) at San Diego State in the late 70’s and early 80’s he went on to become one of the purest hitters to ever grace major league diamonds over a twenty year career as a San Diego Padre. Gwynn passed away in California at the young age of 54.

What has this got to do with the Fusion blog, advertising, design, and Winnipeg?

About ten years ago we were approached by a local entrepreneur to help create an identity and marketing materials for a sports grip-enhancement product he had invented. Tony Gwynn was among a small group of former sports stars our client hired to endorse the product. Packaging and primary sales materials revolved around his image and words.

I was lucky enough to work on the account, and actually flew to San Diego at one point for a photo shoot. A baseball autographed by Tony Gwynn is proudly displayed in my home.

Much like most of the ephemeral offerings of the advertising world, Tony Gwynn’s life came and went relatively quickly. But the impact he made in his time as an athlete, and on the young people he surely touched as a college coach following his playing career, will stand the test of time. Though I barely crossed his path it made me a little sad to learn of his passing.