Sunday, May 17, 2009

"...from Magellan to Kerouac..."

When you take a trip, do you ever wonder who's made the same trip, or who's traveled farther than your destination...and how far? Before you head out the door or open your book to take your next adventure, check out this site from GOOD Magazine and learn about some of the world's greatest journeys:

Some of the trips they've included are the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Pequod journey from Moby Dick. They also inlcude imagery and facts that highlight different points within each journey:

At the very least, it's entertaining. Maybe you'll learn something that will spark a literary purchase or new hobby. Regardless of the outcome, take an interactive journey of your own, into the past, through many historical nooks and crannies of the globe. Allow yourself to discover.


© 2009 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cardon Copy

Now this is what I'm talkin' about! Practical, accessible, and creative applications for graphic design. Gone are the days of "new", "innovative", "oustide-the-box" solutions for commercial products...ok, maybe not gone, but at least there's something new to look at!

So here it is, "Cardon Copy", a thoughtful solution to what seems to be an ever increasing amount of visual garbage.

{from the website}..."Cardon Copy, takes the vernacular of self distributed fliers and tear-offs we have all seen in our neighborhoods. It involves hijacking these unconsidered fliers and redesigning them, over powering their message with a new visual language. I then replace the original with the redesign in its authentic environment."

Doesn't get any better than that. And I admit, I'll keep an eye open for his work next time I'm out!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

letters + art = an interesting grocery list

The next time you pick up a pen to write a random list or an address, consider this: words are both visual and literary art.

We use words to communicate through books, websites, and other publications; at the same time the
letters used to compose the words are forms, or shapes, that have been carefully crafted to provide visual meaning. Taken a step farther, typography (or the study and design of letters) allows each letter to be whatever it needs to be...conservative, abstract, legible, dramatic...for signs, letterheads, graffiti, book covers, etc. We take words for granted because we see them and use them effortlessly in our daily routines. But the potential for words goes far beyond asking for a favor or clarifying the price of a retail item. Words are at the foundation of so much; movies, music, humanitarian efforts, etc all owe some (or all) of their success to words and their ability to be used in various ways.

But what if we did give our words a few moments consideration when jotting down those miscellaneous bits of typographic detritus? I'm not referring to picking and choosing your words more carefully (although that is a good habit to get into); I mean, consider their shapes, the way they look, how they interact with each other. Instead of writing "1234 Main St" using your personal handwriting, have fun with it. Make crazy shapes, flourishes, scribbles that look more like abstract art than an attempt to cover up an accident. Imagine you're a kid again, having fun with a coloring book but using all the wrong colors. See what happens. I'd be willing to bet that if you did this on a regular basis, you'd see words as more than just a functional visual gesture; your ability to interpret words in new ways could inspire you to communicate more creatively.

{...perhaps this year's holiday cards will have hand-written typography that is tailored to that friend or family member's personality? Or perhaps all the "A's" will look like pine trees. You're only limited by your imagination!}

Consider a note that a child makes in art class for their parent, the kind of note that is stuck to the fridge the minute the parent sees the abstract art waving in the air. Although a child doesn't necessarily have perfect handwriting, they also don't have the limitations that we, as adults, place upon ourselves. We're so caught up in getting our thoughts down on paper, for whatever reason, that we forget to have fun. We forget that life isn't about lists, errands, or "professional correspondence with the intent of bringing about new employment opportunities". Life is about, among other things, using our minds to their fullest potential. Our brains, believe it or not, are not robotic...even though that may feel more comfortable than trying something new.

Doodling isn't for everybody...but neither is taking copious notes about your daily responsibilities or creating a mess of illegible lines because you just want to get your thoughts on paper before you leave the house. Give creative letter and word forms a chance, just to see what happens. Slow down your routine for a few moments and have fun with your "t's" or your "r's". Who knows, maybe you'll be inspired; at the very least, you won't be bored jotting down your grocery list!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

a few crumbs from "ink snacks"

Since the "ink snacks" zine is being discontinued after the current edition is sold, I thought I'd post an image of the concept design. Since this is a concept piece, it was never put into production (way too expensive) but still serves as a nice piece to have floating around the portfolio.

(upper-left: cover; upper-right: table of contents; lower-left and lower-right: sample spread)

I posted the content spread last year but never showed the cover. Everything except the poetry and some of the table of contents is handmade (dark color around the image is just a border for posting in the blog). I believe the dimensions are around that of a cd case.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

same grounds, new aroma

After having my creative attention and resources spread fairly thin over the last few months, I've decided to consolidate my personal creative efforts so that I can enjoy what's most important in life while still being creative.

In addition to "ink snacks", I have several other ideas for zines but do not have the time to develop content and design/produce all of them. When I looked at the foundation of my abstractLatte endeavor in relation to my need to simplify my efforts, I decided to consolidate my ideas into one main zine; its name will follow the endeavor that started it all...abstractLatte. It's an unfortunate situation to not have time to do everything you want to do. And with my list of ideas beginning to collect dust, I knew I needed to make a change. The only casualty in this decision is the zine "ink snacks"; I will discontinue development of this zine after the January 2009 edition is sold out. I will develop specialty zines from time to time but 90% of my efforts will go towards the blog and the new zine.

How will the content of the zine differ from the content of the blog?

The blog will maintain its coffee shop/bookstore vibe, continuing to display articles and resources as well as creative experiments. I'd like to start workshops at some point in the future, a sort of DIY effort to help others give their creativity a tangible home, but that is not in the near future; those will be accessed through the blog. The zine will focus more on creative communication around concepts (to include the same types of content contained in "ink snacks"); look for art and function in equal measure.

As for the baristas and displayed artwork, don't expect any immediate changes but I do have ideas on how I'd like to make adjustments to the barista concept in order to include more people, in a more casual manner. And the artwork? Well, I've never been to a coffee shop (or bookstore) that didn't have art on display so that's not going anywhere!

As usual, check the blog and Twitter for updates on the new zine. I'll post preview images when available.