// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nik Ainley: Shiny Binary Goodness

ShinyBinary is the web home of Nik Ainley—a designer who taught himself Photoshop in his spare time. (Punk). His raw artist skills are rivaled by his incredible sense of typography. This guy is way in front of the curve.

( via EyesOnCreativity )

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Colleague Who Spikes the Ball

In my humble design career, I’ve served in rather obscure firms that were void of fanfare. In these jobs I’ve had the privilege of working and serving with some supremely talented individuals. Generally speaking these are normal people who set out to do great work without the need to seek attention or notoriety for doing so, and in retrospect have been mentors to me.

One such person is a current colleague and friend, Dan. Dan shared with me today an incredible insight regarding experiences he's had working with people who seek attention and those who do not. He shared with me how Hall of Fame NFL football player Walter "Sweetness" Payton, after scoring a touchdown, would hand off the ball to a lineman so they could spike it in the end zone—a place he found himself quite often. I had never really thought about that simple act, but Dan explained why Walter did that.

Dan said that in part, Walter Payton never wanted people to get the impression it was his FIRST touchdown.
He fully expected to score a touchdown each and every time he touched the ball. In fact, that was his job—a job he did better than anyone who ever played the game, so he never felt the need for attention in this fashion. Secondly, he enjoyed sharing the celebration with those who helped him get there.

I'm sure you’ve all experienced working with a colleague who finds the need to spike the ball. You can spot these people from a mile away, though these people don't often realize it for themselves. But in Dan I am honored to be working with someone who selflessly hands the ball to others, so they can share in the team's successes.

I thank Dan for being a mentor. To me and to others. He does so by what he does, rather than what he says (or doesn't say). His actions speak louder than any spike ever could. And for that, and specifically for our in-house design team, I salute him.

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Psalms: On Single-Mindedness

Lord of reality
make me real
not plastic
pretend phony
an actor playing out his part
I don’t want
to keep a prayer list
but to pray
nor agonize to find Your will
but to obey
what I already know
to argue
theories of inspiration
but submit to Your Word.
I don’t want
to explain the difference
between eros and philos
and agape
but to love.
I don’t want
to sing as if I mean it
I want to mean it.
I don’t want
to tell it like it is
but to be it
like You want it.

( via Psalms of My Life - Joseph Bayly - Tyndale Treasures , copyright 1969 )

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Neocon, Alvin Lustig, and a Design Realization

Neocon is just another furniture show to many. But to me, it's the Superbowl of design. Something I look forward to for months ahead of time. It's an experience that for me is way more valuable than any other design show in terms of charging my creative batteries. And for those who know me, being creative is not generally one of my deficit areas. But something's different about Neocon.

It inspires in a totally unique way. I see colors. Shapes. Materials. Applications. Human enthusiasm and possibility. Execution and good old fashion trade sales. Real ideas being pitched and sold for real money. Not just great ideas, but great ideas with legs. Ideas that are going places. Ideas with schedules and agendas. You get the idea. Rubber meets the road, if you will.

Anyway, in my weekly design group meeting today I spoke to the team about my enthusiasm and perspective regarding the show. I recently received approval from my supervisor to take the whole commercial design team to Neocon so they too can experience this magnificent event. Shortly after discussing this but in the same meeting designer Alvin Lustig came up, as I referenced having posted about him in an article in BarryBlog just the day before.
Out of both discussions came a vivid realization regarding the value of design.

As I thought of going to Neocon, I pictured myself back in time and walking the show with Alvin. As we walked together, his presence was felt everywhere. Why? Well, Alvin designed the timeless furniture in the Knoll booth– a tradeshow booth he himself also designed. Continuing further through the Merchandise Mart we notice the catalogs, advertising and collateral pieces being handed out at the show, that as it turns out, he too conceptualized, designed and produced. As mid day approaches and we begin to consider lunch, we're guided to the food court area by Lustig's comprehensive signage system. Pretty much anywhere you look, you see his design influence.
One person with such an over arching perspective and skillset, in addition to the ability to think big.

One other important factor in Lustig's sucess was the fact that he was often hired by clients who trusted him, and by trust I mean the fairly rare kind of trust where the client has the confidence to step back, and to step away from preconception. A client who has a vision for something bigger than themselves. A vision so big not any designer could accomplish it. This is part of why he was so successful, aside for a tremendous intellect, drive and talent.
If clients really want their result to have, well, results, they will get out of the way of strategic thinkers and innovators and let them do what they are gifted to do. Any designer can conduct themselves in a karaoke type of service to the end product, but only when a client trusts a designer can true innovation and break through work actually take shape with true voice.

I literally had a dream about Neocon the other night. This from a person who barely ever dreams. But it's people like Alvin Lustig who lead the way with projects that not only get results, but inspire. To dream. To build. To take the bar a notch higher. And who in the end serve the entire process best through genuine creativity, guts, big picture thinking and ultimately value to a companies' bottom line.

See ya' at Neocon. June 12. I can't wait.

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Born Modern: Master Designer Alvin Lustig

Considering his amazing but short career, Alvin Lustig has indeed earned his master status in the world of design, and his design legacy lives on. He was a book designer. Graphic designer. Interior designer. Furniture designer. Retail store designer. Exhibition designer. Signage designer. Textile designer. Teacher. Spend some time at alvinlustig.org and learn from a true master. You can find a brilliant article by Steven Heller about Lustig called "Born Modern" here, or at the AIGA Medalist site. The AIGA medalist is given to "the most distinguished in the field, awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements, services or other contributions to the field of graphic design and visual communication." When you visit either Lustig's site or the Medalist site, you'll see why he is considered a master. His work for Knoll furniture is what caught my attention many years ago, but equally as amazing is this signage system for Northland Shopping Mall in Detroit..

By the time he died at the age of forty in 1955, he had already introduced principles of Modern art to graphic design that have had a long-term influence on contemporary practice. He was in the vanguard of a relatively small group who fervently, indeed religiously, believed in the curative power of good design when applied to all aspects of American life.
– “Born Modern” by Steven Heller
( via That's Right)

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BarryBlog Diversion: Jewellery You Don't Need

Generally, BarryBlog is about the business of design and other such matter. On occasions however I wander. Like this post. In my travels to the the great NOTCOT, I discovered Fun Forever, a stuff blog (like swissmiss and other such hunter and gatherers) that showcases a bunch of cool rings. One particular jewellery designer caught my eye: Pippa Knowles. Pippa makes really clever and covetable wears, including the BarCode Collection. So please excuse this BarryBlog diversion, and know that in the big picture, I fancy paring down to amassing. Perhaps window shopping is okay.

( Here are all the goods via FunForever ).

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Garamond and Bob Dylan: Typo_Dylan

Classic Dylan tunage. Classic typestyle Garamond. A match made in...the computer. Turn up your speakers, then see for yourself.

( via notcot )

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Hotel FOX: Lifestyle Art in Copenhagen

Volkswagon, in conjunction with the launch of their new VW Fox automobile, invited 21 international artists from the fields of graphic design, urban art and illustration to turn central Copenhagen's Hotel Fox into individual works of art—and as a result the world’s most exciting and creative lifestyle hotel. 61 rooms, to be exact. Each room is an individual piece of art. From whacky comical styles to strict graphic design. From fantastic street art and Japanese Manga to simply spaced out fantasies. Flowers, fairytales, friendly monsters, dreaming creatures, secrets vaults and more. Extra Large, Large, Medium and Small rooms. Fun.

( via CJ )

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Friday, May 11, 2007

eBay design.addict: Mid-Century Modern

design.addict is an eBay Power Seller who sells amazing and hard to find mid-century modern furniture and accessories. What's really cool about design.addict's store is the photography of the products. There are multiple angles and shots, with great comments as to the exact condition, good or bad. Once you go to his feedback page, look for "items for sale" link and check out what he has on auction. If you're a mid-century modern fan, you will love this.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Motorola RAZR: Bad Design is Bad Business

According to a recent article by Business Week's Bruce Nussbaum regarding Motorola's RAZR phone, bad design is bad business. According to Nussbaum this is an indicator of the understanding or misunderstanding of design by senior managers of companies. Design is more than style, more than a fashion statement. If the product's promise can't deliver, your product/service will ultimately annoy the heck out of your consumers. And you will pay. Read the rest of the article here.

( via
NussbaumOnDesign blog )

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Illustrator Will Staehle: LONEWOLFBLACKSHEEP

Great illustrator and designer. Find Will Staehle at LONE WOLF BLACK SHEEP

(via NiceToMeetYou )

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Nissan's Profit: SHIFT_2.(ugh)O

Found this article by Advertising Age's Jean Halliday to be intreging. She writes on how Nissan posted its first profit drop in eight years for the fiscal year ended March 31 and saw vehicles sales fall in its two biggest markets: 4% to just over a million units in the U.S., and 12% to 740,000 units in Japan compared to the prior period. According to Nissan Motor Companies' President-CEO Carlos Ghosn, Nissan has lost its marketing magic. Athough the automaker's models are well-received by consumers, the Nissan and Infiniti names fall "somewhere in the middle of the pack" when it comes to brand strength. He seemed to be committing to a marketing push to solve the problem:

“Building our brand power is critically important.”
It's a big turnabout for a company that staged one of the industry's most dramatic comebacks following near-death in the late 1990s. Though it's still in the black, Nissan's profits were off 11% globally for the year and more than 50% in the last quarter. All told an interesting article about the part brand can play in the mind of the buying public. And one more thing—a tidbit I found remarkable is the fact that in 2006 Nissan spent 943 million dollars in advertising alone, some 7.9 percent LESS than the previous year. J-e-e-s-h that's some big money.

Read the rest of the article here.

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ihaveanidea: An Ad and Design Community

ihaveanidea is a self professed mechanism for communication, self-analysis and intellectual growth, documenting the world's creative community and disseminating this priceless knowledge to help it grow and flourish—adding fuel to the industry they so passionately love.

There are several reasons why you might enjoy the site. For one, and like many endeavors in life, your participation adds value to the whole. Also, there are incredible interviews with many of the industries best talent. Many names I've never heard of, but I prefer that, because I have learned in 20 years doing this that some of the best talent in the business are normal Joes. These people may or may not be judges on award committees, speakers on the design circuit, or famous whatsoever. But some of these people's creative will blow you away. People like Todd Waterbury of Duffy origin and now Weiden+Kennedy NYC; Joe Sciarrotta, Executive Creative Director Ogilvy, Chicago; any many others. If you care about design you'll dig deep in the creatives area. Other nuggets include a literature review section; a job post site; Ask Jancy (Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto); a creative directory listing; an event calendar; some user submitted design and ad articles; among other things.

I'm just scratching the surface on this site myself, and plan to spend more time as possible. I have registered which gives me a key to the newest and best advertising on the site. Again, submitted by site users like me. Nice.

( via adverbox )

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Alex Dupue: The Fantastic Fiddler

Admittedly, posting YouTube videos are a blogger's easy way out in terms of effort, but since I do fancy myself as a purveyor of all things innovative, I thought this worthy to share. Now come on...Owner of A Loney Heart. Smooth Criminal? See for yourself— the fantastic fiddle of Mr. Alex Dupue.

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Greg Pattillo: Beatboxing Flute Player

On the heels of what I believe is a rather lack lustre American Idol season that has a beatboxer still in the running, I must say that I am so tired of beatboxers. But Greg Pattillo is a bit different. Judging by the fact that some 4-1/2 million people have already seen this, I may in fact be the last to have heard about it. Or are you?

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Saul Bass: Not Coming To A Theatre Near You

Though I'm by no means a movie buff, I can't help but enjoy the work Rumsey Taylor puts into his "not coming soon to a theatre near you" site– which assumes a bias towards older, often unpopular, and sometimes unknown films which he believes merit a second look. For me the site has a particularly interesting section called Titles Designed By Saul Bass. With a well done intro by Rumsey, a review by contributor Jason Woloski and contributing editor Thomas Scalzo, the whole section is a great resource whether you're a Bass fan or a movie fan. Check out the entire notcoming site for yourself.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

hellovon: Great Illustrator

Twenty-six year old London based Von is an incredible illustrator who needs no half baked introduction from myself. Instead of me rehashing a bunch of stuff that's already on his site, just check it out for yourself.

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