Neu Black

arcw Table by architecturew

07.21.12   |   Posted in: Art & Design, Modern Home   |   By: A. Salem Jones
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Great architects creating forms which enrich living. It is a natural evolution for an architecture firm to apply their sensibility and process to areas beyond buildings. Such is the case with the firm architecturew. You may recall their B House Remodel which reinvented a home as a contemporary dwelling.

The firm’s latest project is a modern coffee table which would be a fitting addition the the spaces architecturew is known for. The table is a result of experimentation with simple repetitive materials revealing unexpected patterns and structures. With a nod to classic forms of the past, the innovative materials and flowing shape result in a truly contemporary design.

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The new generation of web typography

05.18.12   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: Kellis Landrum

I love the internet. But as a design professional I can understand why a lot of my peers don’t want to touch it. Too many restrictions, too many technological barriers, too many hoops to jump through. I can’t deny any of this, accept to say that every year, almost every month, what we’re able to do on the web gets better.
For a lot of traditional designers, nothing about the web is more frustrating than a lack of good type options. I’m not talking about being able to use the House Catalog on your site. I’m talking about using basic traditional type with well drawn letters like Helvetica Neue, Trade Gothic, or DIN to organize and brand large volumes of information. Being able to use a good type face with a few different weights and widths can help you communicate in a way that’s clear and concise. It’s extremely useful to organize large volumes of information. And not so coincidentally, organizing and sharing large volumes of information is essentially the whole point of the internet.

Well here’s the good news, in 2012 a whole new world of typographic possibilites is opening up.

Web font’s have slowly started to trickle out, but they still haven’t made much headway on the large scale sites that need them the most. I’d really love to see Facebook, Google, Amazon, and especially Wikipedia start to take advantage of this. But alas, since I don’ have any of those to use as examples. I’m resorting to talking about a few projects I’ve worked on as examples. Roll your eyes now, but if nothing else click through to a few of the juicy type examples and see for yourself what we’ve got o work with on the web these days.

Font Site Sans (Helvetica Neue)
Did I mention everything’s easier with a few extra weights and widths? Did I mention I just want to get the same kind of control I’m used to in print? Well now I can. In fact I did. If you want to see this in action I did quite a bit of work with this on the new Hard Rock Hotel redesign. This is a massive amount of content between rooms, gaming, parties, concerts, etc. Could we have pulled of this kind or organization let alone branding with Verdana? Believe me I’ve tried. I’ve even come close. But while I could get the user experience “good enough” with a system font, it’s like riding the Tour De France on a fixed gear bike. Did I mention Verdana just gets uglier when you use it for headers? Right, lets move on.
I got this whole family for a whopping $17. If you design websites and don’t have a copy of this you should go buy one right now and start using it.

Adobe Caslon
Yes, you’re reading right. Caslon. The same one you use in print has been licensed by Adobe to I did Photoshop comps for with Adobe Caslon, and when we looked at the site in browser the typography looked AMAZING. Granted, Photoshop does a better job rendering type than (probably) any browser ever will, but the type in the browser looks astonishingly close to the comps.
Type does look slightly lighter/heavier at small size between IE, Safari, and firefox as you would probably expect. That said, the type still looks good at small size and the difference between all browsers and Photoshop virtually disappeared for headers or anything above 16px. If you know how to use serif type you love Caslon. It’s soooooo nice to get that classic look on the web. I see JCrew use this all the time in print, and If I we’re working on their site mixing in some Caslon is the first thing I would do.?The only downside? Typekit is subscription based. But if you get a subscription you can use all the font’s they offer across as many sites as you want. Personally I didn’t find a ton I thought were worth using, but at $50/year it’s affordable for almost any commercial project. There are a few noticeable absences of Adobe offereings on typekit (Trade Gothic, where u at?) but if they add more in the future this is a slam dunk.
If you hail from the “Let’em try and sue me” school of thought you can always try converting you’re old fonts to web fonts. This doesn’t work for all fonts (especially older ones), but I got quite a few of mine to work (just for testing purposes, please don’t sue me Adobe legal team). I wouldn’t recommend this for commercial projects, but if you want to try it for your own personal purposes you can use Type Kit’s generator.

There are a few other notable offerings worth linking to. If you’re going to design Photoshop comps it’s a good idea to make sure your fonts are in a format Photoshop can work with BEFORE starting design.

League Gothic
Proxima Nova

Franklin Gothic

If you have any personal favorites, be sure to link to them in the comments!

Dan Mountford

04.6.12   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: Kellis Landrum
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Some pretty amazing stuff from UK Artist Dan Mountford. Dan is a 21 year-old multidisciplinary freelance designer & graphic design student living/studying in Brighton, England. He works predominantly in photography & graphic design. The double exposure / masking technique is particularly nice.

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Carlos Serrao- Photographer

03.29.12   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: Kellis Landrum
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As we’ve gone further down the rabbit hole of photography this year we’ve run across a few photographers that stand out from the rest. Rounding out the top of this list would be Miami Beach native and part-time Angelino Carlos Serrao.
Serrao is probably best known for shooting a who’s who of professional athletes including Kobe Bryant, Le Bron James, Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, Maria Shripova, La Danian Tomlinson, there’s literally too many to list. After shooting at both the 2004 Olympic Games and 2006 world cup for Nike, Serraro has been busy shooting a few a few non athletes on the side like Josh Brolin and Mark Zuckerberg. We can bet if you’re a photographer looking for some inspiration, these shots are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

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Light painting WiFi with Long-Exposure Photos

12.29.11   |   Posted in: Art & Design, Tech   |   By: A. Salem Jones
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This project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs. A four-metre long measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.

The Revolution Will Be Televised

11.17.11   |   Posted in: Events, Tech   |   By: A. Salem Jones
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It’s amazing to see mobilization amongst youth and the power of technology to connect and redefine communications structures. The Adbusters website is a great hub for communication and watching developments. I didn’t realize it until recently, but this Canadian publication was actually responsible for starting the movement.

It’s clear the system has systemic problems. In the U.S. politicians have two masters, the public who votes them in to office, and business interests who control the flow of money to get them reelected. It’s clear that the balance has been shifted to where there is little to no public accountability in government. Librals vote libral and conservatives vote conservative so there’s little fear of losing constituents (approval of congress is ridiculously low). Rather than seeing politics as conservative vs libral or prolife vs pro-choice etc., we should hold fast to the real issue. There is a class divide out there with two sides, the wealth/business on one side and the masses on the other.

Aaron Embry “When All Is Gone”

10.15.11   |   Posted in: Music   |   By: Toshi Jones
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The lyrically deliberate ballads of Aaron Embry seem incredibly appropriate at this particular point in history. They are so accessible that they feel almost as if you had been listening to them for years, like a comfy blanket sitting in your closet just waiting to cozy up to. The melancholy harmonica solos and the passionate vocal pacing keep me wanting more. The video above is just the latest in a string of fantastic pieces Aaron has put out on YouTube via his blog. There is gives the back story to many of the tracks and hints at how he might arrange them when he records full instrumental versions.

Amazon Announces Kindle Fire for $199

09.28.11   |   Posted in: Tech   |   By: A. Salem Jones
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The new Kindle Fire by Amazon looks to be great and absolutely fantastic for the price. The Kindle Fire features WiFi-based web browsing, media playback, many Android apps and portable reading. The screen resolution is comparable to the iPad’s but squeezed into a slightly smaller form factor which results in a smaller but sharper image. Many users will actually enjoy the added portability of the smaller size. The approximate 16:9 (height:width) screen aspect ratio of the device is slightly less square than the iPad’s 4:3 or iPhone’s 3:2. It will be interesting to try one in person.

For the person who wants everything and seamless integration with Mac products, the iPad is a great choice. For anyone content without Apple integration, the Kindle Fire is a similar product for much less.

Sanghon Kim

07.27.11   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: Toshi Jones
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French Illustrator and Graphic Designer Sanghon Kim has taken his unique style and applied it to the moving world. Check out his directorial debut for French band The Bewitched Hands.
Sanghon Kim for French Music Festival Calvi on the Rocks

No Street Art for Brooklyn

06.22.11   |   Posted in: Art & Design   |   By: Toshi Jones
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While there will be no shortage of graffiti in Brooklyn next Spring. However, it will not be housed in the Brooklyn Museum. Art in the Streets, which is currently on exhibit here in Los Angeles at MOCA was slated to travel to New York in February 2012. Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman noted in a statement yesterday “It is with regret … that the cancellation became necessary due to the current financial climate…” Many speculate fear of an increase in street graffiti as a more pressing concern. Museum officials are not denying these claims and news media have linked up a supposed increase in graffiti here in LA to the opening of the show at MOCA.

LAPD and LA County Sheriff’s department have made statements indicating that the immediate area surrounding MOCA has seen an increase in graffiti since the opening of Art in the Streets. Neu Black did a brief survey of the area and Little Tokyo is pretty graffiti free. That is aside from the work directly on the MOCA building, a set of JR eyes and before it was censored by MOCA, a full wall of coffins by Italian street artist Blu (below.)

It is possible LAPD might be referring to the surge in privately commissioned street art murals popping up around downtown. Which they can do nothing about. If there is anything the MOCA show can take credit for, it is bringing street art to greater prominence and providing an increased understanding of this emerging genre.

Australian Artist Kid Zoom

Dabs & Myla with Craola