Beautifully Briefed, Late January 2023: Winter Potpourri

From book design and minimalist photography to … well, book design and what absolutely isn’t minimalist photography, plus some street signs and another warning about Adobe. Let’s dig in.

Book Design #1: People Really Do Judge a Book by its Cover

From University College Cork — that’s Ireland, folks — we have something that, on the surface, seems obvious: a book cover “is the most likely factor to convince a person to read a book if they are unfamiliar with the work or its author.” Maria Butler, a PhD candidate in the School of English and Digital Humanities at UCC, reminds us why.

Design by Kimberly Glyder.

You’re reading Foreword, so you likely agree — and shown above is one of those worth-a-thousand-words images: the first of the 2023 titles I’ve set aside for my favorites of the year, and absolutely something good enough to make me pluck it off the shelf without knowing anything about either the title or author.

Bonus: See 70 (!) more of my Favorite Book Covers of 2022.

Book Design #2: Shift Happens

A fantastic website has clicked our way: Shift Happens, for a book about keyboards.

A screenshot from the Shift Happens website. Great stuff.

This project not only scores with great web design — check the interactive version of the book, pictured above — but what also seems like great book design. It’s a Kickstarter project (or will be, next month), so the usual cautions apply, but I might just go ahead and take the leap.

Couple of interesting book design items, by the way: the TOC is at the back, the endpapers are awesome, and the macro photography is tops. The book design reminds me of The Playmakers, still my favorite book design project ever.

Bonus: Tim Walsh, author of The Playmakers, is still going strong. Nice.

Photography #1: Minimalism

The winners of the Minimalist Photography of 2022 awards are in, some are fantastic. Here are a couple of favorites, from the architecture category:

“Prince Claus Bridge in the Netherlands,” by Arthur van Orden
“Blue Window,” by Andrea Richey

The Minimalist Photography Award is the only foundation that deals extensively and professionally with minimalist photography as a branch of photography in which the photographic artistic vision takes the lead.

Milad Safabakhsh, President of Minimalist Photography Awards
Photography #2: Wonders of Street View

This is Colossal brings us another gem from Neal.Fun: the Wonders of Street View.

“Wall Driver,” indeed.

Direct quote, just because: “A man with three legs, a vintage car scaling a building, and an unsettling formation of people donning bird masks are a few of the scenarios highlighted in the terrifically bizarre Wonders of Street View.”

I didn’t know it was a thing to dress up and pose for the Google cameras. Perfect.

Street Sign Style Guide

Speaking of street views, did you know there’s a style guide for highway signs? Would you believe that I’m a fan?

Interestingly, there is an I-42/I-17 interchange in Phoenix, but this ain’t it: these signs are representational.

As with most things government, there’s confusion, too many regulations, and yet it’s based around good ideas. Beautiful Public Data has a guide to the guide.

Adobe Steps in it, Again

From DPReview: “If you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, you might want to go and turn off a new setting immediately. It’s been discovered that Adobe has automatically opted users into a ‘Content analysis’ program that allows Adobe to analyze your media files […] for use in its machine learning training programs.”

It’s important to note that Adobe only uses the files saved in the “Creative Cloud,” something I don’t do as a matter of course, but even still, this is yet another example of Adobe using its monopoly position in the creative field to take advantage of its paying customers.

Adobe, unsurprisingly, didn’t return DPReview’s request for a comment/clarification.

Gallery Update: Dublin

Named for the city in Ireland, Dublin in Georgia is an hour or so southeast of Macon. It’s my third trip there, and, like last time, I enjoyed Gerald’s company.1He seemed to enjoy the trip, rain notwithstanding, but apparently the creative juices didn’t flow. (Sorry, man.) Details here.

It has a photogenic downtown, too:

Corker (of a) Building, W. Jackson St.
Fountain and Holiday Tree, N. Monroe St. and Bellevue Ave.

The Welcome Park includes a clock and bell complete with clover, reminding visitors that the name is, in fact, a tribute:

Dublin Welcome Tower #1

As has become typical, my favorite — “best” is debatable, of course — shot is a close-up that’s almost an abstract. In this case, a turquoise box car in the appropriately-named Railroad Park:

Pull Down for Camel, Dublin Railraod Park

Just off the main drag we found an item thankfully not yet painted over:

Aqua Fox, Jefferson and Madison

. . . Which may, in fact, be a holdover from a bygone era. In fact, I’d be remiss if I didn’t call this subject out:

Laurens and Dublin Mural (No Biases Shown), S. Lawrence St.

The only people of color depicted here are Native Americans, relegated to viewing (probably from afar), and two Blacks, very much shown “in their place.” (Dublin still prominently features a Confederate memorial, as well.) Let’s hope that this small city continues its journey into the 21st century, one step at a time.

See the updated gallery here. As always, once in the gallery, click on any photograph to start a slide show.

  • 1
    He seemed to enjoy the trip, rain notwithstanding, but apparently the creative juices didn’t flow. (Sorry, man.) Details here.

Beautifully Briefed, Thanksgiving Edition (November 2022): Book Sculpture, Architectural Arcades, and Artists Sunday

This time, art from old encyclopedias, architectural art, and an appeal to add art to your post-holiday shopping and giving plans.

Books as Art — In a Different Way

Cara Barer says, “Books, physical objects and repositories of information, are being displaced by zeros and ones in a digital universe with no physicality.  Through my art, I document this and raise questions about the fragile and ephemeral nature of books and their future.”

It’s more than that, though:

As This is Colossal puts it: “With cracked spins and crinkled pages, the manipulated objects reference the relationship between the natural and human-made as they evoke flowers at peak bloom.”

As a book designer, I’m glad that the titles used aren’t something a designers labored over but rather mostly instruction manuals and old encyclopedias. Either way, they’re a beautiful way to make commentary.

See more at her website.

“Photographic escapades in arcades and colonnades”
Liberty Station, San Diego by Keith James

Few scenes set my photographic heart aflutter as does the view down a long covered walkway towards a distant, barely visible vanishing point. As a self-confessed symmetry addict drawn to architectural images in black and white, photographing these vistas scratches a deep creative itch.

Keith James, MacFolios

His article is well-illustrated, informative, and speaks to my heart: I love a good arcade — although, in some cases, I feel like an entry or exit makes the point:

Vassar College Chapel Arcade, September 2021

This is not the first time I’ve admired Keith’s work. His “Architecture Meets Sculpture in Black and White: the Interplay of Light and Form” was great work. Both articles are highly recommended.

Artist Sunday

For those of you in the United States, this weekend is the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s also that most American of traditions: a shopping weekend. I have spent recent years boycotting Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and am encouraged by the emergence of Giving Tuesday. Here’s something to add to that list:

Photographer Chris Sherman developed the concept of “Artists Sunday” in 2019, after noticing a bump in sales on that day in November. “The idea struck,” Sherman told Hyperallergic. “What a great time to patronize artists — during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.” 

In 2020, Sherman launched the project alongside Cynthia Freese, a fellow artist who has also spent extensive time on the boards of arts nonprofits. On a dedicated website, Sherman and Freese provide artists and arts organizations with free marketing materials to promote the event. Now in its third year, over 4,000 artists and more than 600 towns and cities across the country have signed onto the initiative, which takes advantage of special events and partnerships (with nonprofits, individual artists, and businesses) to spread the message.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Architectural Photography 2022 Awards Shortlist

As most of you know, I’m not a huge fan of photography competitions. Like I did last year, though, there’s an exception for this one: not because it’s better than some — there’s still the problem with rights, methods of compensation, etc. — but because it’s so up my alley. (Pun intended.)

If you’ll pardon the cliché, great architectural photography is more than the sum of the building’s parts. These great shots show just that:

Cycling Under the Circles, Berlin, Germany, by Marco Tagliarino (Exterior)
Shapes of Soul, Milan, Italy, also by Marco Tagliarino (Interior)

Entry photographs are divided into six categories: Exterior, Interior, Sense of Place, Buildings in Use, Mobile (with Bridges being this year’s theme), and Portfolio (focusing on the theme of Transport Hubs).

Glass Floor, Tokyo, Japan, by Tom Ponessa (Buildings in Use)
Architecture 1, location not listed (but pretty cool, IMHO), by Stephane Navailles (Bridges)
Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, China, by Kangyu Hu (Transport Hubs)

There are many more to be enjoyed: ArchDaily has an article and gallery up, and the Guardian has a gallery, too. Enjoy.

The post’s featured photograph, top, is Nest, Dali, China, by Alex Chan, from the Exterior category.

Updated Gallery: Milledgeville

The small city of Milledgeville, on the banks of the Oconee River in nearby Baldwin County, is a favorite for photography. In this case, Gerald and I stopped on our way home from Sandersville, and spent some time wandering the historic district.

Aged Signage, 101 W. Mcintosh St., Circa 1911
Fall Color, First Presbyterian Church (#1), S. Wayne St.
(Extended) Weathervane, Old Courthouse Building, 201 W. Hancock St.

I especially liked this gate:

Gate and Stairs (Going Up), 129 S. Wayne St.

We were these the day after (part of) the Deep Roots Festival, which meant some street decorations lingered:

Deep Roots Festival Balloons, S. Wayne St.

Oh, and happy Halloween:

Happily Haunted Window, S. Wayne St.

See all my photographs from Milledgeville in the updated gallery. Thank you for visiting. See you in November!

Gallery Update: Downtown Macon

The first Friday of fall saw Gerald and I out celebrating the beautiful weather — and his new “creative camera,” a Leica M8 in pristine condition:

M8 @ Bearfoot (#3)

Which of course meant a quick spin around downtown. I was using my favorite lens, the 90mm macro, resulting in lots of detail shots:

Capitol (Theatre) Details, Second St.
Windowmaker, Mulberry St. Ln.
Peeking Across Third (Street), Downtown
Street Art Detail, Cherry & Third
Street Art Detail, Poplar & Third

With these latest additions, the Downtown Macon (2022+) gallery is at eighty photographs. Take a look.

Gallery Updates: Andersonville and Americus, Georgia

Last weekend, Gerald and I took a summer road trip and photostroll through southwest Georgia — with stops in Andersonville and Americus.

Andersonville is a sobering place: “The deadliest ground of the American Civil War.” Further:

Nearly 13,000 men died on these grounds, a site that became infamous even before the Civil War ended. Their burial grounds became Andersonville National Cemetery, where veterans continue to be buried today. This place, where tens of thousands suffered captivity so others could be free, is also home to the National Prisoner of War Museum and serves as a memorial to all American prisoners of war.

National Park Service

We just visited the National Cemetery section of the park, with its closely-spaced Civil War graves, memorials, and reminders that it’s still in use today.

Bench and Garden, Andersonville National Cemetery Rostrum
Stalag XVII Memorial Detail (WWII), Andersonville National Cemetery
Maine Civil War Memorial Statue (Photo #2) Amongst Graves, Andersonville National Cemetery
Illinois Civil War Memorial (Detail #2), Andersonville National Cemetery

Later, we headed just down the road to the small city of Americus:

Wall Painting Detail #1, Sweet Georgia Bakery and Cafe, 134 W. Lamar St., Americus
City Municipal Building and Windsor Hotel, W. Lamar St., Americus
Window Arch #2, 106 W. Lamar St., Americus

Both galleries — Andersonville and Americus — have been updated with new photographs. The new items start with “2022,” and remember that clicking on any photograph starts a slide show for that gallery. Thank you!

Gallery Update: Madison (Part 3)

As promised, I returned to Madison, Georgia, to complete the gallery my camera battery didn’t permit last time. Special thanks to Gerald, who accompanied me around the beautiful downtown historic district and on the lovely drive from here to there.

This round is mostly details, taken with my stunning new Leica APO lens. (Introduced in this Macon post.) The whole line has been discontinued, so I am incredibly glad to have gotten one while they’re still available — every single photograph shows just how good this lens is. I’ll try to do it justice:

Morgan County Courthouse #6
Light Detail, 131 E. Jefferson St.
Madison Welcome Center, Madison Square
Flower Detail, Organic Market
Building and Light Detail #2, W. Washington St.
Hart & Crown Sign, Madison Square

I’ve revamped the gallery with the new shots mixed in with the old. Several are improved versions of shots taken last time, meaning those were deleted in favor of the new ones.

132 Madison photographs have been posted in all. Peruse and enjoy; remember to click on any individual photograph to start a slide show, and if you’d like, click “buy” to get options for fine art prints in a variety of sizes and finishes. Thank you!

See also: Madison Part One and Part Two.

Beautifully Briefed, Early July 2022: The Autopian, The Ford Heritage Vault, and an Eames Follow-Up

Car site The Autopian scores with book design, Ford posts old marketing material gold mine, and more on the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity in this edition of Beautifully Briefed.

Autopian suggests book design

The Autopian, founded by a couple of former Jalopnik writers, is a new automotive gem: in these days of more-of-the-sameism sites trying to make money of others’ ideas, the Autopian has a retro style and interesting, original content.

Including this short post from their Cold Start column:

Sometimes you may encounter an old car ad and realize that the design of it could lend itself very well to something completely different. In this case, this 1958 Ford Zodiac ad, with its rich, saturated colors, striking dress on the model, and evocative name with understated typography just feel like something you’d see on modern book cover design.

Jason Torchinsky, Autopian Founder

The ad:

A 1958 Ford Zodiac (European)

His book design idea “realized”:

Jason’s book cover mock-up. Love the author name.

Nice.

The Ford Heritage Vault

Ford has taken the unusual step of posting a good chunk of their old — 1903 to 2003, their first 100 years — marketing materials online: “promotional materials, photographs, and all kinds of other historical goodies,” according to CarScoops.

“Our archives were established 70 years ago, and for the first time, we’re opening the vault for the public to see. This is just a first step for all that will come in the future,” says Ted Ryan, Ford archive and heritage brand manager.

Here’s a personal favorite: the 1965 full line brochure, showing the cars set in architectural drawings — presumably, matching the car to the house:

The 1965 Ford Family of Cars brochure

Fancy a drive down memory lane?

More from the Eames Institute

We discussed the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity back in April, but Metropolis magazine has published an extensive article covering a visit to the Institute.

Modernism has largely been diluted from a series of ideas rooted in social change to one of just style—Instagram moments, if you will. The Eameses insisted that they did not have a style or even an “ism.” […] Modernism was an idea, not a style. With the establishment of the Eames Institute, I hope Charles and Ray will be remembered most of all for their ideas and processes.

Kenneth Caldwell, Metropolis
An exhibit at the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity.

With our ongoing struggle to use materials more efficiently, many of the Eameses’ ideas and ideals need to be taken for the solutions that they are: style with incredible substance.

Read the whole article at Metropolis. (Via ArchDaily.)

Beautifully Briefed, Late June 2022: AIA’s Best Architectural Photography, 2022 Logo Trends, and … Buick!

Three items for the end of June, 2022: AIA Los Angeles announces photography awards, the 2022 edition of the Logo Lounge logo trends report is out, and Buick makes its new logo official. Let’s get into the details.

AIALA Photography Awards

The Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|LA) has announced this year’s winners of the annual Architectural Photography Awards, and there’s some pretty great stuff:

Ryan Gobuty: Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM)
Taiyo Watanabe: C-Glass House (Dillon Beach, CA)
Tim Griffith: Mission Bay (San Francisco, CA)

See more at AIA|LA. (Via Archinect.)

2022 Logo Trends Report

The always-excellent Brand New points us at Logo Lounge’s 2022 Logo Trends report, it’s 20th annual look at what logos and branding, as a group, are looking like this year.

Logo Lounge 2022 Logo Trends Report

[W]hile there are still corporate-looking marks being crafted there is a stronger effort to find ways to identify products that are artisanal and handcrafted.

Bill Gardner, Logo Lounge

Corporations trying to be more human. (News at 11.) But then, my use of that particular phrase perhaps betrays my lack of being in touch with the modern corporate world; I think publishing is a different animal, and prefer being part of that world despite the regular influence of corporate entities there, too.

Nonetheless, following logo trends is, from a purely graphic design perspective, worthwhile — and this report summarizes beautifully. Read on.

Buick’s New Logo, Officially

We’ve touched upon it before, but Buick has, with the release of the Electra Wildcat concept, officially updated its logo:

Official: Buick’s new logo

Electra is Buick’s name for electric cars, simultaneously stating the obvious while giving a big nod to past models — and the Wildcat concept is, dare I say it, borderline cool:

Scandinavian, American, Futuristic, Retro … Buick!

Both Buick and Cadillac have hinted at more Art Deco in their upcoming products, perhaps best illustrated on this concept’s interior:

It’s a head rest, folks.

Nice. (Not even remotely possible on a production model, but still.) Read more on Buick’s new logo and transition to an electric car brand at Car and Driver or The Drive.

See you in July!

Update, 12 August 2022: Brand New weighs in: A New Point of View… ick

New Gallery: Madison (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1, below.

According to Southern Living magazine, “In Madison, Georgia, you can witness the power of tireless historic preservation efforts and take in the glory of old Southern architecture — from Greek Revival to Victorian, this town showcases all the great architectural styles.” (Read their day trip advice.)

DAR Statue and Morgan County Courthouse, Downtown

It’s certainly worth taking some time to visit — and for this guy and his camera, the restaurants, shops, stroll-worthy streets, and simply spectacular historic district represent a great opportunity to add to the treasure trove of Georgia architectural photography.

Building Detail #2, Madison Welcome Center, E. Jefferson St.
Building Detail #1, The James Madison Inn
Gazebo and Stage, Madison Town Park
Metallic Sculpture, Madison Town Park
Train and Silos, Madison

A total of 90 (!) photographs have been posted to the new Madison gallery. Once there, click on any photo to enlarge or start a slide show.

I’m not done, either: I had two lenses with me, but only one battery — which gave out before I could make a round downtown with the second lens. I’ve got another trip through the area scheduled, and will absolutely make the time to return, camera in-hand, to complete the gallery. Stay tuned.

New Gallery: Madison, Georgia (Part 1)

The past couple of days represented a much-needed break from the recent heat wave — an opportunity to get out of the house and celebrate a stunning morning with camera in-hand.

I pass through Madison regularly (it’s along the route from Macon to Athens), and have been meaning to stop and take some photographs for literally years. Today, the first of two parts this week, with more to come soon.

We start at the Madison Morgan Cultural Center and loop through the historic district — and its many, frankly stunning buildings — south of downtown:

Madison Morgan Cultural Center (Detail #4)
507 S. Main Street #1
411 Old Post Road #1
413 S. Main Street, Photographed from Old Post Road

There are a few detail shots mixed in, too, like this one from the Presbyterian Church:

Madison Presbyterian Church (Door Detail)

See the first 34 photographs in the new gallery. (Remember to double-click on a photograph to see larger.) Next time, downtown. Happy Monday!

Updated Galleries: Macon Downtown x3, Automotive

FedEx pulled up around 8:30 this morning and dropped off a new lens. (It wasn’t due ’til Tuesday — bonus!) Given that it was an absolutely beautiful morning, I shelved my plans for the day, picked up the camera, and headed downtown.

Verdict? It’s so a keeper. See for yourself:

Catholic Cross, St. Joseph’s, Macon
Purple Hydrangea, St. Joseph’s, Macon
(Funeral) Chapel, New St., Macon
552 New St. (Brick Detail), Macon
Public Art (Detail #1), D T Walton Sr Way, Macon
Tree and City Auditorium, Macon

Wound up with sixty new items posted. However, the downtown Macon gallery was getting almost too big — confusing, even — so has been separated into three parts:

One more thing: Four photographs have been added to the Automotive gallery, including this rare Mitsubishi Lancer Evo:

Macon Lancer Evo (Wheel Detail)

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

Gallery Update: The Columbus Museum

As I mentioned in the last entry, Gerald and I were in Columbus, Georgia on Saturday, where our primary photographic mission was The Columbus Museum — specifically, its Olmsted Garden.

ArchDaily is to blame here; they pointed me to the following:

Celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., known as “the father of landscape architecture”, the Cultural Landscape Foundation has created an ever-growing digital guide of Olmsted’s most notable works.

I immediately looked up what was near me, and lo and behold…. (Full disclosure: the garden is actually by Bradley Olmsted, one of Fredrick’s sons.)

Of course, the building’s interesting, too, so there’s a good mix of architecture, gardens, architecture from the garden, and — you guessed it — garden architecture:

The Columbus Museum (B&W #1)
Urn, Columns and Bricks, The Columbus Museum
Crawford’s Kindred (B&W detail), The Columbus Museum
Olmsted Garden (Flower #3), The Columbus Museum
Old Pool House (B&W), Olmsted Garden, The Columbus Museum

I enjoyed the visit, and as a result of that visit, added 32 new photographs to the Columbus gallery. (They’re grouped together: “Columbus Museum – Mar22.”) Peruse anytime; purchase if you’d like. Thank you!

Updated Gallery: Columbus, Georgia

Gerald and I were in Columbus, Georgia, today, which included a delicious lunch at The Black Cow — no word whether the name is related to the Steely Dan song — and which meant a few photographs:

United States Post Office and Court House (Eagle Detail), Columbus, Georgia

One of several of the Post Office and Court House (the header photograph is that building, too), along with a few others from downtown:

Lamp and Buildings, Downtown Columbus, Georgia
Arches, Planes, and Sky, Downtown Columbus, Georgia
Tower and Spire, Downtown Columbus, Georgia

Columbus is really well covered in its dedicated gallery: check it out. The majority of today’s photographs, however, were from the Columbus Museum; those will be posted Monday. Stay tuned.