The Ministry of Type

March 17, 2009

There are several design blogs that I try to keep up with to keep inspirational juices flowing, and keep up with the latest design trends. One of my favorites is The Ministry of Type, by English designer Aegir Hallmundur. Not only because the site itself gorgeously designed, he has this compulsion with tracing everything, which I love. It’s the design/illustration equivalent of taking something apart to see how it works, and it’s something I feel like I should do more of every once in a while. You can look at all the inspirational images in the world, but in taking them apart you’re going figure them out so much better.

Some of his retracing inspiration (but visit the site, they look better in context):

the fox

abhijan

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upside down landscapes

It’s getting to that point in the winter when all you want is spring. The hint of a sunny day sends everyone outside, though there’s not all that much to look at yet. I headed out the other day with my camera, and ended up with this series, which I’m looking forward to exploring further. More on my flickr.

upside down landscapes

upside down landscapes

Tropicana UnReBrand

March 12, 2009

Tropicana Packaging

I know, I’m late to this discussion. The rollback of the Tropicana re-branding sent minor design shock-waves last month, with Pentagram’s Paula Scher even calling it “..the worst thing that happened to graphic design since focus testing.” [via]

Now this just might be naivete, as I’ve never worked on a major corporate re-branding project, but I have to respectfully disagree. I’m absolutely sure that it must be a pain to try and get these big corporate companies to do something new, and a little bit daring. And pulling things back when the initial reaction might be just reactionary does set a bad precedent. I agree.

However, in this case, the quality of the design absolutely is part of the discussion. The rebrand just rather missed the mark. I think the old packaging could use an upgrade, but the redesign missed all emotional connection to the brand. Several people in the Brand New comment thread recounted memories of trying to stick a straw in an orange as a child, just like on their Tropicana carton. That’s a powerful image, and I wonder what the rationale was to scrap it.

The re-brand just seems like a case of designers designing for designers, rather than their audience. It’s an easy out to disparage the audience as the ignorant masses. Including your audience in the design process doesn’t mean you have to dumb down your designs. It means you have to make them smarter.

[photo via design:related]