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:
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).
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
His book design idea “realized”:
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:
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
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.
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:
[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.
Catching up with a few unrelated stories that I’ve been meaning to post — including one pretty significant failure on my part, one potentially significant failure, and because not everything should be about fail, an extremely interesting and thoughtful interview.
Tiny Type Museum Sold Out
I was cleaning up open Safari tabs on my phone the other day — the detritus that results from checking things on the fly when out and about, often or never closed — and noticed that I’d sort-of bookmarked something for action and … missed it. Crap!
The Tiny Type Museum & Time Capsule is a celebration by journalist and printing historian Glenn Fleishman of type and printing, and an effort at preserving history for future generations to re-discover. Each custom, handmade wood museum case holds several dozen genuine artifacts from the past and present, including a paper mold for casting newspaper ads in metal, individual pieces of wood and metal type, a phototype “font,” and a Linotype “slug” (set with a custom message), along with original commissioned art, a letterpress-printed book, and a few replicas of items found in printing shops.
The museum includes a letterpress-printed book written for the project, Six Centuries of Type & Printing, in which Fleishman traces the development of type and printing starting before Gutenberg printed his Bible around 1450 up through the present day. This book acts as “docent” for the museum, providing insight into the stages in technological and artistic development that took place, and explaining the importance and nature of the artifacts. It also slides out neatly as part of a sled from the top of the museum case, and provides the visible name.
The letterpress book is still available: get your copy, or subscribe to the podcast. But even if you don’t, take a moment to appreciate the work that went into this — well done, indeed.
Buick’s New Logo
This one … I dunno. The race to do car logos flat black-and-white has seemed like a race to the lowest common denominator. (See previous coverage of BMW, Volvo, Cadillac, and more.) Below, Buick’s old (left) and new (right) logos, courtesy of Motor1:
Thankfully, there’s been a leak — Instagram, natch, so no link here — demonstrating that it’ll still be in color:
Still, not sure. Will have to see the official announcement and package that goes with it; Motor Trend suggests that it might be part of an EV-only future. Stay tuned for Brand New’s take, I guess….
I think innovation doesn’t come in one huge leap. It’s a series of small steps. Accumulations of small discoveries, followed by incremental implementation. And then it all adds up. Innovation is not a single idea—it’s incredibly incremental and additive. Even these small discoveries can change the way we think about things very quickly. So I think every step of the way—problematizing “what are the issues?” and “what are the solutions?” filtering issues of sustainability, supply chain, accessibility, will eliminate many solutions which are not possible. And then you end up with small nuggets of potential. In a way it’s very systematic, innovation, and so is experimentation. It’s the elimination of what’s not possible and focusing on goals.
You know, history is not about the past, really. History is about the story of an individual interpreting history. Historians cannot be unbiased narrators. Every history is a story, and then yes, there are facts—which are important, but the way you connect facts and then make diverse narratives is super interesting.
As you can see, Fox News provides false narratives, and a lot of times they skew the facts, and that’s a problem. It can be used dangerously, but it can also be used productively. I think that’s what makes history rich. It’s not about the past, it’s about projecting into the future. So when I teach students, I ask them to make their own story based upon their research. But it’s a story—so that’s kind of their own reality. And based upon that reality, they can develop diverse narratives and then communicate the story to others. It’s not as if you have different opinions, but you have different stories to share. It’s not about controversial opinions, but about the way we each look at life very, very differently—and that enriches everybody.
The end of winter here in Georgia means beautifully warm days, flowers and trees budding, and photography. Gerald and I took a road trip this weekend, enjoying almost 200 miles of driving — and four photostrolls.
We’ll cover three today, heading west from Middle Georgia:
“It’s like being a musician in front a big audience. You can’t get it wrong. In that instant, you have to be the best of yourself, you bring your mind to a place, not to lose that unique moment.” Hélène Binet is explaining her commitment to working with the venerable techniques of analogue, as opposed to digital, photography[…].”
She manages to capture exactly the kind of thing I strive for — potentially abstract, detail-oriented, yet somehow . . . different:
Many, many moons ago, my late sister attended Vassar College. I had an occasion to stay in Poughkeepsie, NY, where Vassar is located, and went over on a beautiful morning and spent some time wandering around with the Leica.
It’s a beautiful campus; a mix of modern, mid-century, and classic architecture — with a little mid-century thrown in:
For many years, Vassar was a women’s (-only) college, and it was nice to find the National Landmark observatory building — a reminder that even in the 1800’s, women were doing scientific research:
The New England building:
An enjoyable visit, a beautiful, incredibly well-tended campus, and a tranquil late summer morning at a renowned college. I was delighted to visit, and pleased with the resulting photographs. See the rest here.