Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

02 SEPTEMBER, 2009

Symbol Signs: Helvetica Man and Beyond

By:

A man and a woman walk into a sign, or what Helvetica has to do with slipping on ice.

In 1974, the U.S. Department of Transportation commissioned AIGA to produce Symbol Signs — a standardized set of 34 symbols for the Interstate Highway System. Five years later, 16 more symbols were added to complete what’s become known as “the Helvetica of pictograms” — a 50-piece symbol set so iconic and universally pervasive it has become an integral part of our visual language.

But beyond their practical application, Symbol Signs have amassed a cultish following in the design community, generating derivative work ranging from the quirky to the wildly creative.

Artist Iain Anderson’s symbol-based short film, Airport, was a finalist in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival. And Norwegian designer Timo Arnall created The Adventures of Helvetica Man — a Flickr set paying tribute to the main hero of the Symbol Signs.

A few weeks ago, we tweet-raved about Symbolic Gestures — a wonderful exposé on all the creative ways in which the National Park Service has adapted the iconic symbols to convey a wide and incredibly rich range of contexts.

And non-traditional eco getup Green Thing used Symbol Signs as a storytelling device in a brilliant short film for one of their seven green actions, Walk The Walk.

Download the 50 original Symbol Signs from the AIGA website — they’ve been released into the public domain, free and available with no copyright in EPS and GIF formats — and see what story you can weave.

Whether you get stuck or inspired, it’s worth checking out 1,000 Icons, Symbols, and Pictograms: Visual Communications for Every Language — a fantastic book on, well, exactly what the title promises.

via the wonderful idsgn blog

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

01 SEPTEMBER, 2009

Kidrobot QR Scavenger Hunt

By:

Why vinyl is at the cutting edge of technology, or how to scan your way around Manhattan.

Since 2002, designer Paul Budnitz has been pushing the boundaries of what art toys can be in his iconic brand of super-premium vinyl toys, Kidrobot. Now, he is pushing the boundaries of what technology can do. As Android and other mobile platforms make QR codes an increasingly prevalent data tag format, why not have some fun with it? That’s exactly what Kidrobot is doing in Dunny Hunt 09 — a QR-based scavenger hunt around Manhattan, promoting Kidrobot’s Dunny Series 2009, from strategic creative studio WeArePlus.

The five-day hunt kicked off yesterday, offering Kidrobot fans daily clues leading to a promotional displays — posters, stickers, postcards, t-shirts — hidden all around the city. Kidrobot also provides links to free smartphone apps which, once installed, can be used to scan the QR codes embedded in the promotional displays. (Although their choice of iPhone app is BeeTagg Reader, we’d recommend UpCode instead.)

Victorious hunters can collect the day’s Virtual Dunny Collection image, with a chance to win various prizes, including limited-edition Dunny toys. The first person to scan the QR Code from the day’s hidden item wins a special reward. The grand prize is no less than a full set of the Dunny Series 2009 designer toys.

Dunny Series 2009 drops on September 10. Artists behind the collection include Amanda Visell, Mori Chack, Brandt Peters, Gary Taxali, Amy Ruppel, Travis Cain, Thomas Han, and more.

28 AUGUST, 2009

Fun For Good: The Indie Rock Coloring Book

By:

Staying outside the lines, or what Rilo Kiley’s latest haircuts have to do with charity.

Indie music defines itself through the colorful quirk of its artists and evangelists. Without that, it would blend in with the grey mediocrity of the mainstream. For the past two years, obscenely talented UK illustrator Andy J. Miller has been working on a project that celebrates this whimsy. Today, he finally releases the Indie Rock Coloring Book — a wonderful collection of hand-illustrated activity pages, mazes, connect-the-dots, and coloring pages for indie icons like Bloc Party, The Shins, Iron & Wine, Broken Social Scene, Devendra Banhart, MGMT, The New Pornographers, The National, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Published by Montreal-based creative nonprofit Yellow Bird Project, the book is brimming with delightful indie rock inside jokes and comes with a cherry-on-top foreword by YBP band Rilo Kiley.

All proceeds go to Yellow Bird’s charitable mission, so pony up those measly $10, buy yourself some fun, and show your favorite artists some indie camaraderie.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.