March 2010

Love it/ dream it/ do it/ AGDA ad for AGIdeas

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To celebrate twenty years of AGIdeas the studio has prepared an aspiration ad for the Australian Graphic Design Assocation in Victoria that invites one and all to go forth and create.

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Cobi by Mariscal

This year AGDA Victoria is bringing out Mariscal from Spain. Mariscal the designer of Barcelona Olympic Imagery and Cobi is one of europe’s most distinctive designers working across traditional graphics, graphic novels, filming making, product design to sculpture.

As a special event arranged with AGIdeas, AGDA Victoria members can participate in an afternoon session of the AGIdeas conference to see Mariscal and another international speaker for $60. AGDA Victoria is also holding a “Friday lunch series” for members with special guest Mariscal. Email Brita at AGDA Victoria for details – vic (at) agda.com.au for details.

Congratulations to Ken, Kristin and his hard working team

Visit AGIdeas here, AGDA here, Visit Mariscal here

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Day 01: South Yarra Sell Out by Studio Pip and Co

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Studio Pip and Co has commenced a “pop up” project for six months in the retail precinct at South Yarra’s new landmark, Seven Yarra – comprising 78 residences on its upper levels and the 72 apartments of the Punt Hill Apartment Hotel.

We are swapping the confines of our out-of-the-way studio space to a shopfront. The space is a working design project, starting with the store’s window lettering, the studio will bring to life the design process and the making of products. In 24 weeks a working studio, gallery, retail space, and a sponsor drop in zone promises to come and go.

During this time a new website will be launched where design meets culture, work for clients developed, design wares sold, along with a little rattle and hum.

Existing clients, past clients and new clients, along with curious people and window shoppers are most welcome. Let’s see what happens when you cross a boutique design studio with a retail experience with a dash of public interaction.

We have develop a range of designer rebels to help celebrate our leap into the unknown – Nine Design Lives, Bloody Mindedness, Scary Ideas, Alien Concept and Tough-as metal type, to assist with spreading the word. Let us know your favourite rebel to help us with developing a limited edition – South Yarra Sell Out poster and tea towel.

Facts:
We are moving in early April 2010

Shop 3/ 7 Yarra Place, South Yarra, Victoria 3121
Email – soldout (at) peoplethings.com
24 weeks commencing 25 March to September 2010
We will be retailing – greeting cards, publications, tea towels, badges

Thanks again to Seven Yarra for supporting this project.

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An old school brand gives way to the future

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A few months ago we decided to stop writing about the ongoing transition of brands. Yet in this instance one can’t let the change of the “vic roads” brand go by without making some comment. Old school brands are fast becoming rare beasts.

The incumbent brand developed in 1989 seems to be inspired by the minimal graphic sensibilities of leading Australian designers of the time – such as Brian Sadgrove’s Futura inspired typeforms and bold colours used in graphic outcomes for Rio socks and Arts Victoria.

When we contacted Sadgrove for some insights on vicroads, he said that there seems to be no record of who designed it — “I have looked through my copy of their ‘Corporate Identity Manual’, just now and for the first time, it has no date and no evidence of who produced it… even the Chief Executive Officer’s introduction is anonymous! Sort of says it all.”

As unremarkable as the incumbent brand is nothing beats a bold uncomplicated brand when applying it to an ad, in print or on a road sign, as the brand itself stands out while complimenting a range of images and image styles.

The new brand of vicroads is by design company Oxygène, who have put in place a distinctive palette of graphic elements. As compared to a less complicated outcome, this new design is rich in graphic treatments – a new symbol and unique typeface employing a range of graphic effects.

Experience has shown that brands with a specific look can be restrictive in application over time. These restrictions become present as the brand ages, and the client seeks to expand and develop new and compelling presentations. A client in this instance makes the decision to break with the look and keep the brand, or modify the brand and update its presentation. The Telstra brand has gone through many such look and feel changes.

Graphic design developed in Australia is a rarely understood or appreciated profession and work practice. Typical of any major brand change is a raft of negative flack from the media and general public. Australians seem to have little time for the thinking and skill that goes into making a quality piece of communication work.

Following are some reactions to the vicroads brand change over. It doesn’t take long for any designer to become a little disheartened with feedback like this.

VicRoads just did an organisation-wide logo change. According to them, the old logo hadn’t changed in twenty years and they needed something to demonstrate that the way they do business with the public has changed.

What???

As far as I can see, the old VicRoads logo was FINE. It’s not like VicRoads have to compete with other road authorities for our business, we’re stuck with these retards, so why do they have to appear fresh and modern? Basically they’ve just wasted my rego fee on a graphic design company, change management consultants, signwriters and printing like $50,000 worth of stationery. I’d love to see the budget for the logo change but VicRoads is staying tight lipped about it. What a complete effing waste of my effing money! It’s a government department, they will never, ever, ever be fresh and modern in any sense of the word.

How about they reduce the stupid amount they charge for getting a new heavy vehicle endorsement licence printed, or reduce the rego fee by $2 per person, instead of making us sponsor this waste of time, money and paper?

The new logo is shit anyway.

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Haha seems to be the done thing in this state, it’s just like the ridiculous amount of money they spent on that Melb city logo. Not only did that logo look crappy to begin with but print it in a black and white paper and it looses it’s depth and angles.

I’d just love for them to ask me to design such things, I might come up with anything better but geez for the price they pay I’m happy to design crap.

The bread company I used to work for paid $5 mill to change the logo on the bread packaging back in 2004 because they reckoned the customers couldn’t distinguish it well enough from the rivals bread. Less than 3 years down the track they redesigned it again to make it look similar to the rival in the hope the customers would pick it up by mistake.

Now we know why Vic Roads are changing all those road rules next week, it’s not for road safety or to bring us in line with other states it’s to confuse people so they can book them and use the money to pay for their new logo. It’s probably too much to ask them to put some of their money into training their staff in customer service too.

It is amazing to witness how many unqualified people are prepared to make an assessment of design work, and are prepared to employ their knowledge and insight to cast any amount of scathing criticism – It is no wonder that many designers are paranoid when their work is released. This style of feedback is typical of the media and public commentary and it seems that Australian design has little support in the community, and often the time, skills and fees used in a project attracts close and brutal scrutiny.

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The last comment we leave with the Roads and Traffic Authority brand in New South Wales. The brand pictured was designed by Lunn Dyer (Tony Lunn and Ron Dyer) over twenty years ago too. For what it is worth, we think that the brand has at least another twenty years in it at least.

Thanks again to Mimmo and Brian for your imput.

Visit Brian Sadgrove Design here, and Oxygène here

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Speaking in China

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Communicating in most instances is something quite unremarkable, yet when a saucer is passed your way, in sobriety, with “U SUX” delicately cast in the middle of a saucer, one can either become highly offended, or amazed at the lengths people will go to make a lasting or meaningful impression.

Sarah in local café takes it upon her self to move beyond conventional talk to get to the core of how she feels about a moment or person in a day.

Is this a case of speaking in china, or a waitress’s idea of having the last word.

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