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Job Wouters AKA Letman

05.21.2009
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His designs are transparent, leaving room to breathe. Them letters got things to say, they are so clear it tickles your eye and make you blink. What is this colourful craft?”

Letman’s real name is Job Wouters. You wouldn’t expect anybody with a name like that to produce anything less than remarkulous (that’s a new one for all you biters). He’s from Amsterdam, but is influenced by everything from old western wood type to graffiti from the most chollo-esque LA ghettos. Is this shit as bomb as I think it is? Probably.

Letman.com

America is Fucked

05.07.2009

Via SpiekerBlog

I couldn’t agree more.

Designing Experiences

04.24.2009
objectified

Around the time that I first heard Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I thought to myself, “I wish there was a documentary about Wilco recording this album.” It’s an increadible album, and something made me think there had to be a story behind it. Fast forward a few years, and while hanging out at dear Matty K’s house, he said he got cool documentary about WIlco. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Gary Hustwit was an executive producer of that film (“I am Trying To Break Your Hear”) and a few other docs about small bands. Helvetica was his directorial debut, and the film totally blew me away. Hearing the smartest designers in the world speak so eloquently and thoughtfully about a subject so dear to my heart was thrilling. I wondered why no one had made this movie before. It was around the time after watching Helvetica that I decided to go to art school to study graphic design.

Thank you Wilco

Soon after Helvetica, I heard the same director was working on a film about Industrial design called Objectified. I started following his blog, and there were some interesting bits. Marian Bantjes had a funny rant about a toothbrush, and I learned about Michael C. Place from Build designing that beautiful logo. Then I read a post about a screening of the film in San Francisco. Then I read about how they needed volunteers to help out with the screening. I sent Gary and email, and he promtly responded.

Wednesday night I went to the Kabuki Theater to see the film, and it was awesome. I met Gary right away. He was a totally nice guy, and seemed to have an interesting demeanor for a guy that was premiering his movie. He appeared very calm and laid back. I guess he’s a professional.

There were a lot of questions I wanted to ask him, but whenever I think of questions ahead of time, I quickly forget them and talk about bullshit. So I asked him how the premiers in London went, and other stupid stuff. I was just trying to stay cool for how hard I was fanning out. Connor came with fellow film major and I introduced him to Gary. Connor asked if he was gonna be watching the film, and Gary said the only thing he was gonna be a watching was his beer disappear.

The film itself was awesome. Hearing Dieter Rams say his 10 Commandments of Design in German was awesome (my favorite is “Good design is as little design as possible”), as was watching Johnathan Ive speak about the production of Mac Books. Intensely interesting stuff.
The big idea I’ll take away from the film is this: Designers design experiences. Actually they design objects or interfaces, but the important part of the equation is whats going on between the viewer/user and the object/interface. I suppose this is obvious, but when you think about it like that, you realize all designers are just problem solvers working with different tools and substrates/media. Like when you design a book, you are in turn dictating how the reader will enjoy that book. It’s an enormous responsibility, and very difficult to do it well, but hey, what else am I devoting my life to?

Everyone should watch this film.

After the show I was chatting a little more with Gary and he said that he made Helvetica and Objectified because they were films he wanted to see. I told him about wanting to see a Wilco documentary and then realizing that there was already a great one released. He said that the Wilco doc went way over budget, took a long long time, but was overall a total success. He said if it hadn’t have been as successful as it was, his company would not have ever produced Helvetica or Objectified. I told him how my life would have been a little different had I not seen Helvetica, and he said “Well I guess you owe it all to Wilco then!”

Nightlife

04.20.2009

The more I live in San Francisco, the more I go to bars. It constantly astounds me to see how many there are in the city. Every neighborhood has their main drag, and lots of the bigger neighborhoods have a lot more than one. This city has more bars than asian ladies over a hundred years old, and that’s saying somethings.

Shooting for the stars

Going out and getting drunk at a bar is great—don’t get me wrong—but this is such an attainable goal for evening plans. I have been trying to open my eyes up to a less predictable and more interesting nightlife.

Last week I saw Fleet Foxes at the Fillmore on Tuesday, and then Born Ruffians/ Franz Ferdinand (they put on a great show!) at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Wednesday. I’m going to see the SF premier of Objectified on Wednesday with friends Connor (expert filmmaker and documentary connoisure) and Corinna, and I think this is going in the right direction, but where do I go from here? Here’s what I’m thinking: bars, to concerts, to documentary premiers, to art openings/ exibitions, to rap battles, to cock fights, to street races, and finally drum circles.

A little more about Objectified

I follow the Objectified Blog, and there was recently a post about how they need volunteers to help out at the screening of the premier which I already had tickets to. They said they’d buy back any tickets for volunteers, and we’d also get a free poster! If there is one thing I love, it’s free, high-quality printed ephemera. If there is another, it’s documentaries.

So I emailed the address the post told me to, and got a response from Gary Hustwit himself!

I can’t wait for Wednesday, and I’ll be sure and write about it on Jamilo Pitts.

Aged Beef

03.18.2009

Every once in a while, we throw a party. I’ve only been a part of one—New Years Eve, 2008—but I loved every minute of it and have been looking forward to my next one since then.

I designed the invitation for the New Years party, and it was a hit. A traditional design contrasted with some barely offensive text on the inside. We even got them printed, but the majority of people just saw them on the email we sent out.

I was excited about making the invite for Corinna’s party, which is a college theme. I just realized it’s awfully close to her “Animal House” theme of September 2008, but whatever. I don’t think we’ll get any complaints.

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I had the idea of constructing the type with the quinticential frat party staple: party cups. Since we have a window looking out on our patio (where most party attendees usually hang out) I thought it would be the perfect place for my party cup type.  The lighting was exactly what I was hoping for, and I had a ton of fun laying out the cups. I love doing this shit.

Desiderata

03.18.2009

When my dad was an English teacher at Arroyo Grande High School, he had only a few posters on the wall. One of those was his favorite poem, The Desiderata (literally: things to be desired). It was a cheesy looking poster, printed on cheap paper with a design you’d expect to see on the wall of a public classroom. The poster was crap, but the content is great.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

—Max Ehrmann

What I like most about this poem, compared to similar things in the Bible or whatever, is it’s succinctness, clarity, and I appreciate that it doesn’t discriminate on religion. I don’t know if I’d like it to be taught in schools, but I will absolutely show it to my kids.

My roommate Corinna (aka Beefball, aka Meathunk, aka Baby Bee) recently got a new shower curtain, hand towels, and floor mat for our bathroom. We agreed that some artwork in there would compliment the look, and Baby Bee suggested framing expensive wrapping paper. While this would yield a totally acceptable end result on par with shit you’d see on a lot of HGTV design shows, I couldn’t help but think that there would be something for more fun to make than that. That’s when I got the idea of framing multiple compositions (probably 10” by 10”) all in a row. At first I was going to take the pattern from the shower curtain, but now I’m thinking of doing hand drawn type writing The Desiderata across four panels. I think it’s gonna be the bomb. I’ll post pics if I do it.

Datt Moringstreet

02.03.2009

Recently, my friend J-Dong posed and interesting question.

What would
Dana Moore’s and
Matt Kingstreet’s child look like?

Well, I think we have our answer. Before taking the time to consult a specialist and produce the image to the left, I made a short list of things we might guess about the future of this little he-she.

  • S/he would love concerts. That’s why s/he is pictured at a music venue.
  • S/he would love Amie. I’m not sure what Amie’s child is going to look like, but let’s assume she procreates asexually.
  • S/he would love to drink Joose and get shitty. In fact, Datt’s friends would probably call him/her Datt Ralph.

The best part about Datt Moringstreet is that it’s more possible than you might think. All we would really have to do is steal some eggs from Fertility Futures. Or, they could easily fall in love.

Animal Collective – My Girls

01.29.2009

I’m very excited to see these guys in May. Until then, this is on repeat. Anyone who wants to come, is more than welcome to crash at my place.

Watch this in HD

Idea: Designer signs for beggars and bums

01.27.2009

Designing signage seems like it would be a lot of fun. Whenever I see things up on the insides of BART cars, I always think “So many people see that everday, why didn’t they do a better job designing it?” The answer is that BART probably can’t afford decent designers, but that’s besides the point.

Anyway, I got thinking about a way that signage I design could see some good crowds, then I remembered an idea my brother Cameron had about advertising the company we work for, HubPages. There is a bum that hangs out around our office building. Hundreds of people see him everyday, so if we gave him a shirt that said “HubPages.com”, then it might prove to be a good way to stretch our advertising budget. Especially considering he only has the one shirt.

The problem is, bums get dirty, and who wants some vagabond wiping his butt nose with your logo? So what’s the thing vital to the begging industry, that no self respecting bum would treat harshly? Their sign. So here’s my idea. Get the signs printed on sturdy poster board, put your URL at the bottom, and distribute to bums in high traffic areas.

This example isn’t as designed a real Designer Bum Sign would be, but just to illustrate the point.

Or you go with something a little more timely. Why not?

Any thoughts?

18 things I learned in the first semester of fart school

01.20.2009

I wanted to write down some of the big ideas that I learned while attending my first semester at CCA. I took Graphic Design 1, and History of Modern Art. I learned more in the first one.

This quote from Paul Rand sticks out in my mind:

Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.

  1. It’s true. Everyone that added any sort of adornment or unnecessary frill to their work was asked why they did it. Pretty soon, I could tell the shitty answers (“it just didn’t feel right without it”) from the good ones.
  2. Don’t leave widows in a final project. Widows are single words, usually at the end of a paragraph, that have been knocked down the next line of text all by themselves. They create unsightly white space.
  3. Don’t letter-space upper and lowercase
  4. Doing anything to cut corners is quickly noticed and drastically effects your grade. Doing things that look like they were difficult and took a lot of time are appreciated, but don’t necessarily bump up your grade.
  5. Good design should be invisible. Generous leading may look chic, but not if it was done for no reason.
  6. Symmetry is boring.
  7. The details in typefaces can be extremely subtle, and teachers may think it’s ridiculous that you don’t notice them.
  8. Just because a teacher is a successful designer, doesn’t mean they are fun to kick it with. This came as a shock, as I thought that all designers would be tons of fun. Sounds dumb now, but it totally made sense in my head.
  9. Art school is not for dummies and it is not easy.
  10. Art degrees can get you in just as lucrative businesses are normal degrees. As long as you’re studying graphic design.
  11. All nighters aren’t that bad.
  12. I was an idiot to ever go to school for something I didn’t love.
  13. Someone has had, and used every good idea you’ve ever thought of, but it’s still fun to try.
  14. Turning in a project you had fun doing is more fulfilling that getting a good grade on something you hated.
  15. Sketching with a pencil is better than sketching on a computer.
  16. The more work you do up until you start the project, the easier and better the project will be.
  17. Don’t take feedback personally, even if it really was an attack, and the person meant it.
  18. Be weird. Push it. I didn’t do this enough. Now I’m regretting it