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GDUSA Newsletter



William Drenttel. Mike Hughes. Michael Cronan. Alvin Eisenman. Each a transcendent creative force who passed away very recently. I mean no disrespect by grouping these individuals together to make a couple of points that struck me as we prepared our 51st anniversary ‘People To Watch’ and ‘Students To Watch’ reports which go live soon. First, today’s top professionals and students do not spring from the void, they stand on the shoulders of giants such as these. Arrogance or ignorance of this truth is as unacceptable as it is widespread. Second, designers die but design lives. This may be the world’s most depressing and/or uplifting bumper sticker. Either way, it’s honest. The community perpetually renews itself; the past shapes but does not limit the present; and new waves of designers meet the challenge of communicating information, culture and values. Life, death, hope, sorrow, past, present, future. I need a Scotch.

— Gordon Kaye,



Sagmeister Gears Up For Client


Sagmeister & Walsh created a versatile identity for Function, a company that specializes in mechanical design and engineering. Inspired by Function’s expertise in designing hinge and linkage systems, the studio came up with a creative typographic system based on hinges and pivots ‒ the new company logo depicts a gear that is made up of movable links. From this typeface, Sagmeister & Walsh were able to create an entire series of illustrations, icons and patterns ‒ all of which reflect Function’s scope of business ‒ that are used on both its print and online marketing materials. LEARN MORE >

Sagmeister Gears Up For Client


The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau is now known as VisitLEX, playing off the organization’s longtime website address. The new name ‒ and a striking blue horse logo by BLDG Refuge of nearby Covington ‒ invoke the history and traditions of the Kentucky city, and to communicate the diversity, confidence, and appeal of the community. The logo incorporates the new title and teams it with an altered version of Edward Troye’s portrait of the legendary racehorse Lexington, with the stallion was shaded a bright blue. BLDG Refuge also created a full identity package that promotes the unique experience Lexington offers visitors while projecting a more refined and modern sensibility.  SEE MORE >

Feeling Blue Is A Good Thing

Feeling Blue Is A Good Thing


Leading international law firm Shearman & Sterling’s firm-wide brochure, created by design firm Odgis + Co., places visual emphasis on the interconnectedness of its worldwide presence. Clean infographics present highlights of the client’s broad knowledge base and global influence. The award-winning design firm is headed by Janet Odgis, who works with some of the world’s most prestigious corporations and foundations. She recently had two articles in the NYLMA News, a publication of the the Legal Marketing Association. SEE MORE >

Visualizing Interconnectedness


Since 1971, it has been the business of non-profit San Francisco Heritage to preserve and enhance the city’s distinctive architectural and cultural identity. SF Heritage approached Chen Design Associates with the goal of reaching a greater number of San Franciscans, while staying firmly grounded in their core values of advocacy and education. The design firm, headed by Josh Chen, developed new logo identities for several SF Heritage programs, along with an overall business identity system, and a redesigned Heritage News ‒ all with the aim to widen their membership base. SEE MORE >

Chen Preserves Non-Profit's Core


Franke+Fiorella was asked to develop a global brand identity for Syngenta’s products marketed to the renewable fuels industry. An extra challenge: because of its international scope, the project entailed developing a strategy and brand name that would work worldwide. Indepth customer insight studies helped the award-winning Minneapolis-based design firm create a well-defined brand strategy, which informed the design development process. The brandmark, which also had to work within the construct of Syngenta’s global brand identitity system, is intended to express the concept of technology, nature and growth. Franke+Fiorella also helped launch the firm by producing a range of marketing collateral. SEE MORE >

Franke+Fiorella Fuels Brand


Mesophere is a San Francisco startup that is developing software to make cloud systems more accessible. Brett Wickens, a partner at Ammunition ‒ and widely known as designer of the Sopranos logo for HBO ‒ wanted to capture the idea of interconnected networks while paying homage to the mesophere itself which, as everyone knows, is the portion of the atmosphere from about 20 to 50 miles above the earth’s surface. In lowercase, the top of every letter is curved; to take advantage of this the Wickens’ team chose a rounded font to highlight that quirk and echo the curves. Atop that lettering lives an animated network of curvy nodes that tug, color shift, and generally evolve over time. LEARN MORE >

Atmospheric Identity Morphs



And The Oscar Goes To 180 La


Concluding a two year process, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences raises the curtain on a new logo featuring a triangular image with an Oscar statue. Creative agency 180 LA, the Santa Monica CA-based division of 180 Amsterdam, developed the new identitity. The triangular shape is created from a spotlight above, which unites the A (for Academy) with the iconic statuette, rendered in the colors white and gold. The changes come as the Academy prepares for the opening of the its new museum in 2017, and came with The announcement of the new look also included several other visual inspirations, and an explanatory video. The Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer, Christina Kounelias, states that the organization hopes the identity accurately reflects its “community of artists, their diverse talents, and the creative process they employ to bring disparate ideas together into a single vision.” The logo will be formally introduced at the televised awards program in March. READ MORE >

Absolut Goes Minimal. Full Stop.


Absolut has issued a new minimalist logo featuring a new typeface and the word ‘Absolut’ followed by a full stop. Anna Kamjou, Global Director of Design Strategy at The Absolut Company explains: “The brand has become so iconic that we no longer needed the full three-line logo to convey ourselves. By removing ‘Country of Sweden’, and ‘Vodka’, we’re putting the focus on the most important part of the brand ‒ Absolut. The word itself not only means the perfect, the complete, and the ultimate, but it also means the open-ended, infinite and indefinite.” SEE MORE >

Decker Adds Energy To Mathematica


Mathematica, an organization that provides policymakers with high quality research and evaluates the effectiveness of programs, engaged New York’s Decker Design for a brand strategy to energize its publications while retaining its existing visual vocabulary. Decker preserved the logo but added a series of bold, illuminated “M” graphics that reflect what the client does: provide a consistent structure while recognizes that the challenges it is asked to analyze are always changing. The “M” also serves as a flexible piece of art that may be used on report covers, brochures, in advertising and in promotional materials. SEE MORE >


Reader’s Digest introduced a new look, and an enhanced reader experience with the January 2014 issue, hoping to recapture several of the magazine’s most iconic features as well as the magic that once made it America’s darling. To this end, the publication introduces a new digital experience, which includes a mobile phone app and a refreshed website for its five million digital users. Design Director Dean Abatemarco and team touched virtually every page of the magazine, website, tablet, and iPhone editions. The goal: to highlight the brand’s unique mission, i.e., to create an engaging reading experience through a curated collection of “uplifting, entertaining and useful stories that enrich readers’ lives.” The new issue includes a return of the table of contents on the cover, and upgraded text and cover stock. LEARN MORE >

Reader's Digest Rejuvenates

Reader's Digest Rejuvenates

Hische Wordmark Has Energy


Contact Energy, a top generator and retailer of energy in New Zealand, recently introduced a new identity designed by the NZ office of Designworks ‒ who, in turn, tapped renowned letterer and illustrator Jessica Hische to develop the wordmark. Contact Energy wanted something that felt like it had heritage to it but was still modern and forward thinking. Hische’s solution: a brush script that has a lot of energy unto itself. SEE MORE >

Lippincott Retools B+D Identity


Black+Decker has introduced a new global brand identity for its consumer branded power tools, outdoor power equipment and home products. Lippincott worked extensively with the company’s employees, customers, end-users and other key stakeholders to research, encapsulate and distill the brand essence ‒ “Powering People.” The new idenitity is simple and clean, and modernizes one of the already most recognizable brands in the world. A new products and marketing campaign is expected to follow. LEARN MORE >



Surtex Show Registration Open Annual Trade Show For The Surface Design Industry

The SURTEX® show brings together the owners and creators of surface design (artists-designers-studios-agents-brands-licensors) and manufacturers, retailers, marketers that utilize surface design for their product development needs. Online attendee registration is now open for the May 18-20 event at the Javits Center in New York City. Show attendance is free to qualified art buyers-licensees who register by the early registration deadline of May 13. Penny Sikalis, show manager, states: “Aside from the financial benefit of pre-registering, those taking advantage of early registration will get valuable advance information to help make their pre-show and on site experience more productive.” VISIT >


The Economist Campaign Blitz


The Economist has launched its first major advertising effort of recent times. Aptly entitled “City Blitz,” it’s a robust, targeted, outdoor effort that includes billboards, posters, coasters and bus panels featuring common objects like binoculars, a globe, and a pinata to demonstrate what sets The Economist apart from other publications ‒ global insight and opinion. BBDO New York is the agency; David Lubars is Chief Creative Officer, and Jean Robaire and Kara Goodrich served as Creative Directors on most executions. SEE MORE >

The Economist Campaign Blitz


Rhode Island School of Design president John Maeda has left the school to take a job at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, the powerful venture capital firm based in Menlo Park CA. Maeda, who is considered a leading authority in the fields of art and technology, will also consult for eBay. LEARN MORE >

Goodbye Risd, Hello Silicon Valley


Julia Beardwood of Beardwood&Co. has been named by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) as one of 12 winners of its 2013 class of Entrepreneurial Winning Women. Beardwood started her brand and design consultancy in 2004. Instituted six years ago, the EY Entrepreurial Winning Women program aims to help women whose companies show great potential to scale big and become market leaders. LEARN MORE >

Beardwood Is A Winner



Don't Take No For An Answer


Gideon Amichay, an award-winning advertising executive, cartoonist, speaker and teacher, believes that “No” is not a barrier to success but a facilitator. In his book ‒ “No, No, No, No, No, Yes. Insights From A Creative Journey” ‒ Amichay contends that “No” is an essential tool for direction, motivation and innovation. Based on his best-selling book in Israel ‒ and a 2013 TEDx talk of the same name ‒ the new release takes readers on an illustrated journey of the author’s own lifetime confrontations, negotiations and relationships with the word, and demonstrates that it forces us to reexamine, to explore, to rethink, to change directions, to get better. SEE MORE >

Aiga Turns A Sprightly 100


“The AIGA Centennial is a chance to look back at our roots as designers and to look forward to our growing impact in society,” says AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé. “But more than that, it’s an opportunity to capture the many reasons that design matters.” Celebrations kicked off earlier this week with the launch of “100 Years of Design,” an interactive online exploration of design’s legacy and growing impact. Visitors are encouraged to learn more about American communication design through significant works, interviews and profiles, and to contribute their own favorite examples. For “Centennial Voices,” an essay series that will be published on the organization’s website throughout 2014, AIGA is inviting industry leaders to contribute personal reflections on the past, present and future of design. AIGA’s 67 chapters across the U.S. will mark the centennial with dozens of events and activities throughout the year; highlights include exhibitions, networking receptions, parties and celebrations honoring AIGA Fellows. One of the largest will be “The AIGA Centennial Gala” in New York City, honoring a special class of 24 individuals with the AIGA Medal for lifetime achievement in design. In addition, several public exhibitions are planned to highlight design’s impact and the history of AIGA: these include “Facing Forward” at the AIGA National Design Center in February and “Century: One Hundred Years of Typeface Design” in April. Meanwhile, “Drawn to Action: Posters from the AIGA Design Archives” at the Denver Art Museum invites visitors to discover how design can be a tool for change, and “A Visual History of AIGA” at the Museum of Design Atlanta will showcase work created for AIGA by great talents. READ MORE >


Julia Morgan, known for her role in the California Arts and Crafts architectural movement, has been recognized for her architectural achievements with an AIA gold Medal. READ MORE >

Julie Morgan Wins AIA Gold Medal


Take Five! Career Tips From The Creative Group


Have a job interview coming up? Be prepared. Nail everything from the first impression to the final question with these five interview tips:

1. Do Your Homework. Research beyond-the-basics information about the position and company by searching the company name for relevant news and asking people in your network if they have insight about the organization. As relevant interview questions come up, strategically share your newfound knowledge.

2. Be Aware Of Your Body Language. Subtle cues, such as facial expressions and posture, will affect how others perceive you. Make sure you’re coming across as confident and capable by smiling genuinely, making eye contact and offering a firm handshake.

3. Tell Stories. Share anecdotes that provide specific examples of how you’ve helped solve business problems. Describe the challenge, talk about your process and actions, and outline the final results.

4. Ask Thoughtful Questions. This is not the time to inquire about salary. Rather, follow the interview questions with thoughtful questions of your own. For example, ask the hiring manager to describe an aspect of the job that might surprise you.

5. Be Yourself. The key to making a strong first impression is to simply show the real you. Avoid rehearsed responses and fluffy jargon. Instead interact in a way that’s honest and genuine.

For more career advice, visit the TCG Blog. The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. For more information, please visit

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