Category Archives: Creativity

BRANDING | 2012 Brand New Conference Quotes, Etc.



A brand is not what it says. It’s what it does.

We do work in not knowing. That, I think, is the best definition of creativity.

Weird works, and that’s what you talk about. No one talks about standing on a gray carpet, people talk about, ‘I was driving home last night and an owl hit the car.’ That’s weird stuff.”

Creativity produces weird shit. That’s what creates monopolies for businesses. Weird shit creates monopolies, because it’s all you can think about, all you can talk about. So weird works, it really, really works.


*Image and quotes via

I wasn’t able to attend the Brand New Conference, so I appreciate this roundup of good stuff. Click the link for much much more!



ARCHITECTURE + GRAPHICS | Pajol Kindergarten – France



I’m a sucker for interesting, bold, and not-too-kiddie environmental graphics in schools. This project, for an elementary school in France, fits the bill on all fronts.

The dynamic stripes of color are wonderfully integrated throughout the school – in both interior and exterior applications. Click the link above to see the original post (and additional images) by Graphic Ambient. The best part of the project may be the fact that the school is like a candy-colored oasis in the middle of a dirt-filled construction zone.

I can’t speak to whether the classroom spaces function in an optimal way, but, regardless, I find this to be an example of the the unique design touches that can add a bit of oomph to educational facilities. Good stuff!


(H/t David Airey)

CREATIVITY + INNOVATION | Redesigning “Teachers”

Teach Curiosity

I recently (and finally) watched the film Waiting for Superman – a film about the educational system in the United States and the woefully inadequate way it serves too many of our children.

The film was eye-opening to say the least.

With the impact of the movie still fresh in my mind, I was pleased to come across this post in my RSS feed. Once again, the power of design has revealed itself to me.

The well-presented concept of teachers “connecting the dots” for students, inspiring their dreams, and nurturing their potential – along with a happy orange-y yellow color scheme – gave me back a bit of the hope that was drained by my movie selection.

Just as there are designers who care deeply about their craft and strive to express authentic meaning in their work, there are certainly educators who approach their profession in the same way. Perhaps, these are the same teachers who would appreciate this design effort and use the bright imagery to remind them of the amazing legacy they leave with each student who passes through their classrooms.


SIGNAGE | In Cardboard

Temporary cardboard signage

Who would have imagined that die-cut cardboard could be such a wonderful material to use for interior signage? Not I.

Thankfully, designers Isidro Ferrer, Pablo Alabau, and studio Zaragoza Versus were innovative enough to develop this signage system for the Spanish Pavillion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

It’s a brilliant idea, if you ask me. Particularly, for short-term, temporary spaces where material waste and expense are things to be avoided, wherever possible. Along these lines, as the article at the link points out, the use of cardboard also has its merits for tradeshow applications: it’s lightweight, recyclable, and inexpensive.

I wonder if this idea – or something similar – will catch on…


GRAPHICS | Saul Bass & The History of Film Titles

A Brief History of Title Design from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

Interestingly, upon reflecting on the impact of film titles, I realize that, though titles are an important aspect of the opening moments of a film, I must confess that (unlike other products of “design”) I only take note of them when they are particularly striking or unique. Otherwise, they tend to fade into memory rather unceremoniously.

The video above is a quick trip through the history of some of the most memorable film title sequences produced. Included are some of my favorite title sequences, such as: those from the television series Dexter, the classic 90’s film, Seven, and the recent James Bond production, Casino Royale (perhaps, my top choice overall).

Looking at these clips, I wonder: Who is it that decides how much creative time and talent to devote to title sequences — the producer…or director? Or, are certain studios or movie genres more apt to utilize the titles as an integral part of the overall film experience?

For his part, designer Saul Bass had his own reflections on the utility and purpose of film title sequences.


Years ago designer Saul Bass explained how he approached film title sequences to me when I interviewed him for an article. “Find an image that will be provocative, seductive yet true to the film,” he said. “It has to have some ambiguity, some contradiction, not only visually but conceptually. Not just isolating the prettiest frame, but finding a metaphor for the film.“

Beginning with his 1955 work on Otto Preminger’s “The Man with the Golden Arm,” Bass transformed the way film title sequences were perceived forever. He approached the task with a graphic designer’s eye, so that stills from his title sequences easily translated into a powerful iconic poster for the movie.

Reducing the visual communications about a film to a single image was a daring notion at the time. Bass recalled that before he did “The Man with the Golden Arm,” films had been promoted with montages consisting of salient elements of the story. “The conventional wisdom on how to sell a film was the ‘see, see, see’ approach,” he said. “See the missionary boiled in soil. See Krakatoa blow its top. See the virgins dance in the temple of doom. The theory was that if you talked a film in pieces, there would be something for everyone.“ This interview with Saul came to mind as I watched “A Brief History of Film Titles” edited by Ian Albinson for the website “Art of the Title.” As the titles in the video folded one into another, I could see where Bass came in and influenced generations of designers of film title sequences thereafter.

Quote above via