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Bright Lights to Shine on New AIGA Medalists


AIGA is awarding four design visionaries with its highest honor, the AIGA Medal: Ralph Caplan, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Armin Hofmann and Robert Vogele. Each will be presented with the Medal at “Bright Lights: The AIGA Awards” on April 19 in New York. The celebration benefits the AIGA Design Archives, a public, online collection of excellence in design and Worldstudio AIGA Scholarships for underprivileged design and art students.
Of the upcoming event, Su Matthews of Lippincott – who co-chairs the event with Pentagram’s D.J. Stout, says: “Bright Lights is going to be a memorable night of video premieres, cocktails and mingling to celebrate the legendary designers who shaped our profession.”  
The newly minted Medalists join a legacy of distinguished design practitioners – including Steve Frykholm, Milton Glaser, John Maeda, Jennifer Morla, Paul Rand and Paula Scher – who have been honored for lifetime achievement and contributions to the field of design and visual communication.  
Almost needless to say, Caplan is an influential author and design advocate; Cohen is a pioneering graphic designer, artist and archivist; Hofmann is a legendary Swiss designer and educator; and Vogele a groundbreaking design entrepreneur and mentor. Information about the brilliant careers of these medalists, see aiga.org/medalists. As for the “Bright Lights” event and slideshows of the four Medalists’ work, visit aiga.org/the-aiga-awards.
Ralph Caplan (Photo: Judith Ramquist), Elaine Lustig Cohen, Armin Hofmann, and Robert Vogele


Pentagram’s Cosmo More Spontaneous


Cosmopolitan has been redesigned. Pentagram’s Luke Hayman and his team, working closely with editor-in-chief Kate White and Cosmo design director Ann Kwong, create a bolder version of the popular women’s magazine. The new direction is intended to make the tone “more irreverent, light and accessible.” Stories are shorter and told with more visuals, says editor Kate White, and the goal is to “not look like a magazine” in this tablet and twitter era. Hayman responded to the challenge with a design that captures the humorous, sassy tone of the content while establishing a supple, easy framework that sets off the variety in the pages. As implemented by Kwong and her team, the magazine’s pages have an added sense of depth, with layered elements of transparency, underlining, cutouts, shadows, titled angles and tinted boxes. Section openers almost function as mini-covers; single edit pages are separated from ads with a vertical tapered graphic bar slightly wider at top than bottom; there are fewer words; the formerly tight columns of justified text have been jettisoned for a looser, more relaxed grid; and the redesign employs a mix of fonts that includes Helsinki, Router, and the typewriter-esque Parry and Tiempos, which communicate immediacy. The magazine’s photography has also been updated, with less of the gauzy, self-consciously “sensual” imagery of the past and more of a bold, brash and heightened sensibility for an “anything-can-happen spontaneity.”


Just A Blip On The Screen


Chermayeff & Geismar has designed a new visual identity for Blip.com. Formerly Blip.TV, the network is a leading provider of original web series, with 350 million individual viewers a month. Chermayeff & Geismar were hired in large part because of their track record creating identities for media giants such as NBC, PBS, Univision, Showtime and National Geographic. The design firm’s first recommendation was to abbreviate the name simply to “Blip,” obtain the URL Blip.com, and use it instead of Blip.TV for the destination site. The shorter name allowed the creation of a focused, bold wordmark that distinguishes Blip from competitors, while seeking to position it as on par with any of the major television networks. Says partner and designer Sagi Haviv: “Abbreviating the name to just ‘blip’ allowed us to create a focused mark with nothing but a slight interruption – a blip – with a dot of the ‘i’ shifted slightly to the right. And without the explanatory modifier ‘tv,’ the company can now… claim exclusive ownership of the word ‘blip’ as a trade name like Target or Showtime.”


Tscherny Poster On Track


Running throughout the winter in the NYC subways, this poster for SVA was created by New York designer George Tscherny, who taught the first course in graphic design at the college in the mid-1950s. Tscherny is responsible for the current logo, which he unveiled in 1996, made from brush strokes “to avoid the ‘hard-edge’ sameness of corporate trademarks.” Fast-forward to 2012 and Tscherny placed his original design above a new icon for the digital age – the QR code. The posters included no wording to indicate its affiliation; instead, viewers scanning the QR code were led to a video of artists engaged in acts of creative expression. Tscherny explains: “The School of Visual Arts balances a very broad agenda, ranging from technology-based programs to painterly pursuits. In designing the school’s identity program back in the late 90s, I sought to reflect that range with the spontaneity of a painterly mark and the icy perfection and elegance of the Bodoni typeface for its signature. In the QR poster, I maintained that contrast by retaining the painterly mark but by substituting the perfection of the Bodoni signature with the brutal competence of the QR icon.” Serving as creative director on the poster was SVA Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes.


Ferroconcrete Wins Oscar (Assignment)


Ferroconcrete, the Los Angeles-based branding and design firm, executed a high-profile program for TBS entitled “The 31 Days of Oscars.” It was conceived as an epic montage that seamlessly transitions through several iconic Oscar award winning films. The goal, explains Creative Director Yolanda Santosa, was to engage audiences both young and old by curating classic footage ranging from the 1940’s to the late 1990’s, transitioning scene into scene, and weaving them together with a few surprising twists. The project encompassed extensive film research, editing, visual effects which included 2D and 3D modeling and animation, and type design and animation. Notes Santosa: “From action to romance, drama and war, even outer space, the sequence pays homage to the unique emotional voyage that Hollywood promises and never fails to deliver.”


Drawing Board To Cutting Board


Veteran brand designer Mary Pisarkiewicz of PM & Co. has introduced a new blog that deals not with graphic design, but with the culinary arts. LOVE - The Secret Ingredient shares essential cooking tips, charming anecdotes, and dishes designed to impress. For over 30 years, Pisarkiewicz has expressed creativity through design practice; clients have included A&E Television Networks, Hearst, DC Public Schools, RBC Capital Markets, and Brooklyn Public Library. While still dishing innovations from her art department, it is her creativity in the kitchen that drives the new blog.

New Sustainability Standards Offered

Re-nourish, a respected online tool advocating sustainable systems thinking in the graphic design community, has set forth a new set of standards for the new year. The standards address three areas: print and digital projects, design studios, and printers. Site principles Eric Benson and Yvette Perullo describe the initiative as an “attempt to help answer key sustainability and ethical questions that graphic design and printing professionals face to combat greenwashing concerns that continue to dirty the industry. The Re-nourish Sustainable Design Standards assist to answer queries that many designers and printers are wrestling with daily. For instance, what criteria defines a greener printed or digital design project? How can one tell on first glance which printed ephemera is greener than another without transparency to its manufacturing? Benson and Perullo caution that the standards are not a certification program, per se, but instead a logical set of criteria for continued improvement towards a more sustainable print supply chain.


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