// 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).

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Trajan in the Movies. Enough Already.

Since I'm perhaps the last blog to post on the overuse of the font Trajan in the motion picture industry, I thought I would throw in some trivia to have something somewhat original in this post. As for the font Trajan, it was created by Carol Twombly in 1989 for Adobe as part of their Adobe originals collection.. She based it on the inscribed characters from the Trajan column in Rome (AD 113). As you see from this movie, it's way overused.

More on Trajan from Stacy's thesis continuation in romanboldoblique:

The base of Trajan's column featured classic Roman letterforms. It is believed that these letters were first painted, then carved into the stone. This gave them a nice free formed feel and sharper serifs. The letters are called capitalis monumentalis or Roman square capitals.

History lesson complete. Enjoy the movie. You're welcome.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

John Maeda: New RISD President. Interesting.

The Board of Trustees of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) announced on December 21, 2007 that John Maeda, Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Lab, has accepted the offer to become the 16th president of RISD.

For those of you who don't know him, this won't interest you. For those who do, it's hard to imagine the endless possibilities of this announcement. It's also interesting to see a working designer (albeit a somewhat limiting title for his actual accomplishments and qualifications) become a school president. That sort of changes the playing field a bit. Wow. I have enjoyed his blog over the last 2 years, and his book Thoughts On Simplicity is amazing. Even though this is a surprise to many, I do see it working and I so applaud the trustees of the school for making such a bold move.


On an unrelated note, the RISD video announcing the new president is by no means representative of this forward thinking university. In fact, it reminds me of late 80's IBM quick cuts. Some of the video is just plain awkward and uncomfortable, and it's uncharacteristically contrived. Hey, that's my perspective. And that's why they call it BarryBlog. (I'm still a Maeda fan).

( via Businessweek )

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Luke 2: Christmas Story Podcast

powered by ODEO

Click the arrow in the pink circle above (or here if that doesn't work) for an audio Podcast of Luke 2, the Christmas Story, as read by artists and musicians including Building 429, Newsboys, Third Day, Toby Mac, Matthew West, Jars of Clay, Barlow Girl, Zoe Girl.

You may legally redistribute this to friends, family, colleagues, churches, blogs, or anywhere else you would like to share the Christmas message, as provided by the publisher of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Reading Study: Americans Reading LESS

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announces the release of a PDF Report called To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, a new and comprehensive analysis of reading patterns in the United States. The new reading study, To Read or Not To Read, gathers statistics from more than 40 studies on the reading habits and skills of children, teenagers, and adults. The compendium reveals recent declines in voluntary reading and test scores alike, exposing trends that have severe consequences for American society.

"The new NEA study is the first to bring together reliable, nationally representative data, including everything the federal government knows about reading," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "This study shows the startling declines, in how much and how well Americans read, that are adversely affecting this country's culture, economy, and civic life as well as our children's educational achievement."
To Read or Not To Read expands the investigation of the NEA's landmark 2004 report, Reading at Risk. While that report focused mainly on literary reading trends, To Read or Not To Read looks at all varieties of reading, including fiction and nonfiction genres in various formats such as books, magazines, newspapers, and online reading. Whereas the earlier report assessed reading among adults age 18 and older, To Read or Not To Read analyzes reading trends for youth and adults, and readers of various education levels. To Read or Not To Read is unique for its consideration of reading habits alongside other behaviors and related outcomes including academic achievement, employment, and community involvement.

Read the rest of the story here, and/or download the whole PDF or just the Executive Summary. In some ways, the fact that people are reading less doesn't seem too breakthrough to me.

My take: It's obvious people have more choices when it comes to news, entertainment and learning channels. For publishers, this represents an amazing opportunity to differentiate. For publishers with truly unique and distinctive offerings, this is a time to identify and leverage properties and opportunities. Product opportunities and communication opportunities. Storytelling has never been more in vogue, and good stories stand the test of time. Publishers who listen, communicate and respond to their current and potential consumers stand to gain brand loyalists. Loving a brand beyond reason (aka LOVEMARKS) is possible when relevant relationships are forged, and when a company not only delivers need but also anticipates and exceeds it. I look forward to being a part of creating opportunities for a publisher who sees this information with a lens of optimism. And who responds with a renewed desire to see good books, or in my case The Good Book, perform better than ever with new and exiting new avenues and communication methods.

(via The Penguin Blog )

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Manuel Lima: The Beauty of Visual Complexity

VisualComplexity offers this introduction:

Visualcomplexity (Manuel Lima) intends the site to be a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project's main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web. I truly hope this space can inspire, motivate and enlighten any person doing research on this field.

"Functional visualizations are more than innovative statistical analyses and computational algorithms. They must make sense to the user and require a visual language system that uses colour, shape, line, hierarchy and composition to communicate clearly and appropriately, much like the alphabetic and character-based languages used worldwide between humans."

Matt Woolman - Digital Information Graphics
See all 532 VC projects here. Or Manuel's whole portfolio beyond VC here.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

The Gift: Ruth Harms Calkin

It's Christmas Lord

It's your birthday.

What can I give You–

You who have given

So much to me?

I search and search

Through my talents

My possessions

My friendships

My loves

But with all my searching

I find nothing new.


Whatever I could offer

Is always that

Which You have first

Given me.

And now in the soft silence

I hear you say

What I want from you–

Is you.

© Tyndale LIVING BOOKS 1993

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just Because: A Night At the Roxbury

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Vector Magic: Last On The Internet To Post This


V-E-C-T-O-R M-A-G-I-C. There
, I said it. Now I'm officially the last blog on the internet to post about this web tool. So why would I then, when absolutely every other blog already has? Well, that's quite simple really. I want it on my blog so I'll know where to find it.

Now in the rare event you don't know, Vector Magic is a nice raster to vector tool, somewhat like Adobe Illustrator's Live Trace, and Streamline (does that still exist?). Anyway it's all web based which makes it all portable for all you world travelers.

This site is the result of a Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Laboratory research project by James Diebel and Jacob Norda. They've strived to make the site easy to use, with a minimum of fuss. Try Vector Magic out. It's fun and free.

( via every blog in the known universe )

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Ferarri 312PB Scaled Down Original

Wonder if he works as slow as he speaks? Sounds like he took a whole bottle of muscle relaxers before this interview. No matter what, you gotta appreciate this guy's mental fitness and endurance. Now if he can only find a 12 inch tall driver. Here's the full scale model for reference.

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BBoy Lazy Legz: Mind Over Matter

Too many reasons to list why this guy rocks, no least of which is his music choice at the end of the video. I'm a big Grits fan.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

UnderConsideration: The Design Encyclopedia

Speak Up, Brand New and Quipsologies are all by Underconsideration. Another gem they're responsible for is the design encyclopedia, a project powered by DocuWiki. It's too much to describe here, you just have to check it out. To say it's a valuable resource is a huge understatement. And because it's a Wiki, it's also a living, breathing document. Enjoy.

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Seperated At Birth? Dieter Rams and Apple’s Ive

Nearly every designer knows the name Jonathan Ives of Apple, Inc. But how many know the name Dieter Rams? Thanks to Onur at the great blog tuning slide, I’ve been newly introduced to this great talent.

I’d always heard that Jonathan Ives and his design tendency at Apple to "eliminate the unnecessary" was in some ways influenced by the design created in the mid-1960's at the German manufacturer BRAUN, but never new the face behind it all–Dieter Rams. It's really remarkable to see the similarities between Dieter’s work back then and the iconic Apple approach now. See here and here for two great examples.

I’ve been influenced by a great many people in my career as well. While I’ve never worked for a well known design company, I have worked with some incredible talents and have followed the work of many designers through the years. So I guess it should come as no big surprise that Jonathan Ives has been influenced by others as well.
In discovering the similarity in design approach between Dieter and Ives, I find it quite exciting to look back nearly fifty years to shed some light on what was being considered back then in terms of design. In my research I found a quote from Dieter describing what was different back then. It really hit home for me. He stated...

At Braun they were always willing to take a risk - nobody could tell you if a product would become successful. We as designers cannot work in a vacuum. The entrepreneur has to want it; the people at the top of the company have to want it…What’s missing today is that these kind of entrepreneurs are no longer there. Today there is only Apple and to a lesser extent Sony, but not to the same degree as was the case with Olivetti and BRAUN, or Peter Behrens at AEG, or Herman Miller and Charles Eames, Florence Knoll with Saarinen and so on. These kinds of connections are missing today
Apparently I’m a bit late in the game here, and a lot of blogs have already discussed this very comparison between BRAUN and Apple design before. If you find this as interesting as I do, here are a couple more resources.

designboom’s take on the subject
37signals take
DesignMuseum article
The complete tuning slide post
Erik Spiekermann on the BRAUN Apple
37signals post on Ives

One more thing... Here's another forward thinking quote from the 1960’s by Dieter Rams...

Good design is innovative. Good design makes a product useful. Good design is aesthetic. Good design helps us to understand a product. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is honest. Good design is durable. Good design is consequent to the last detail. Good design is concerned with the environment. Good design is as little design as possible. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
Who was forward thinking enough over 40 years ago to suggest a concern for the environment? Wow.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

ARCHITONIC: Architecture and Design Source

ARCHITONIC is an excellent resource for so many things. Especially if you’re an architect, but also if you have any interest in furnishings, graphic designers, auction houses, furnishing suppliers, materials and much more. It’s an outstanding site for research, and they provide a catalog request option for a direct link to manufacturer catalogs. Very cool. Architonic’s goal is: the best products, materials, designs and concepts for the best in architecture - always up to date, impartial, selective. The result: more than 40,000 products from 4,000 designers and 1,000 manufacturers.

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Kidsmodern: High Design For Kids

Kidsmodern is devoted to design for kids. The products are accompanied by the portraits of young artists and designers, combined with stories surrounding the design classics of the 20th century.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

New Canon Rebel 300D. New Possibilities.

My friend Tom let me take his camera (Canon Digital Rebel EOS 300D) to Costa Rica. I quickly realized this camera was a natural extension of my hand, eyes and brain. So after some begging and groveling, he let me buy it from him. Yesterday I put it to the test with still life found objects around my house. Below is what I came up with. Keep in mind these are without any lighting besides what was coming in the window, and it was rather gloomy and rainy to say the least. So overall I am very happy with the results. If you like the photos, they are available for your commercial use by way of a commercial Attribution Creative Commons license. Hey, it's all about sharing. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

UPDATE: I have uploaded several new today (12/03/07)

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

I Have Been There.

Have you? Jesus has, and He is standing with you now.

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