Brain Pickings

Author Archive

05 AUGUST, 2011

Move, Learn, Eat: Around the World in 3 Timelapse Short Films

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What an exploding volcano has to do with incredible edibles and a terabyte of globe-trotting footage.

From Rick Mereki, Tim White and Andrew Lees come three poetic and ambitious short films shot over the course of 44 days in 11 countries across 38,000 miles by way of 18 flights, exploring movement, learning and food — no better way to enter the weekend.

It’s also noteworthy that Rick doesn’t appear to have a personal site or Twitter account or any centralized online presence, and even sports a Hotmail email, yet he was able to produce some of the most creatively compelling footage I’ve come across in a long time — a lesson in not judging a proverbial book by its (digital) cover.

(That, or the whole thing is a viral hoax that will eventually turn out to be high-budget production promoting the recently rolled out Vimeo PRO. But let’s stay with the earnest, non-cynical take for now.)

via Gizmodo

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05 AUGUST, 2011

Typography in 7 Minutes: A PBS Micro-Documentary

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Visibility, invisibility, and what the spirit of letters has to do with the meaning of text.

On Monday, we featured 10 essential books on typography. Today, we turn to this fantastic short documentary on, you guessed it, typography from the excellent Off Book series by PBS Arts. In just 7 minutes, the film explores type — ubiquitous yet often unnoticed and misunderstood — through the work of some of today’s most iconic type designers and freshest voices, from Brain Pickings favorite Paula Scher to our friends at Hyperakt, masters of the infographic form, as well as legendary duo Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, and Pentagram prodigy Eddie Opara.

Words have meaning and type has spirit, and the combination is spectacular.” ~ Paula Scher

From the selection and sometimes bespoke creation of fitting typefaces for every print publication, website, movie, ad and public message, to how computers have liberated and democratized typography, to the design decisions behind creating compelling infographics, the microdocumentary offers a succinct case for the power of typography as a communication medium and a storytelling device.

The most challenging part of working on an infographic is taking all the available data and deciding what is the most important bit of information that we need to communicate. Infographics are about typography getting out of the way of the message.” ~ Deroy Peraza

I determine how I design something based on the audience and what the audience would bear. Evoke the response you want while pushing the audience to see something perhaps in a new way.” ~ Paula Scher

For more, feast your type-loving heart on these 10 timeless books about typography.

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04 AUGUST, 2011

Seasons: A Meditation on Change by French Illustrator Blexbolex

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What spring fever has to do with stillness, surprise and the charisma of a passion project.

French artist Blexbolex has charmed the world with his playful cartoons and illustrations, to which he brings his wonderfully eclectic creative background — classically trained as a screen-printer in 1980s France, inspired by the whodunits of the 1950s and 60s, and having directed a German art studio in the 1990s, he blends elements of cartoons, graphic novels and soft watercolor painting into simple yet endlessly whimsical artwork.

In Seasons, he contemplates the fluctuations of seasonality with his signature retro-inspired minimalism. Four spreads depict the same landscape during each season, with a single word or phrase in bold block-letters on each page. But don’t breeze by the seeming simplicity of the concept — many of the thoughtful pairings on the beautiful double-page spreads give you pause and make you wonder why and how the two words go together, gently nudging you towards a philosophical meditation on the seasons, change and impermanence.

From the rich, textured colors to the creamy matte paper to the tactile fabric on the book’s spine, Seasons is a trifecta treat for the eyes, fingers and soul.

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Books

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Books

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Books

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Press

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Press

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Books

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Books

Image courtesy of Enchanted Lion Books

Seasons comes from Enchanted Lion Books — an utterly charming, as-indie-as-they-come, family-owned independent publisher of (mostly) children’s books, located right up the street from my studio in Brooklyn. It’s such heart-warming joy to see good people doing wonderful work, driven by nothing more than genuine passion for what they do — if every neighborhood could have more of that, the world would be a better place.

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