Posts Tagged ‘1969’

Nur Arbeit

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Hans Hillman, poster, Le Gai Savoir, 1969

Hans Hillman, poster, Le Gai Savoir, 1969

Hans Hillman

Hans Hillman

Designers are disturbed. We are entirely obsessive compulsive over a ligature or perfect shade of warm red. We take chaos and order it into digestible portions. But we also like the big, big picture. We tell our clients that we are following a clear set of steps and phases on a project to provide a sense of clarity and comfort. But, creativity is messy. They don’t want to hear, “Well, I’ll do the research, formulate a strategy, and then maybe I’ll think of a good idea in the shower. Or maybe not. Maybe it won’t happen for two weeks. I might change my mind, or have no logical rational reason for it.”

Hans Hillman liked surprise. He was more interested in the process of working, because that is where everything is undecided and you have the chance to surprise yourself. He was simple in his philosophy: nur Arbeit. Just work. Get to work and surprise yourself. Let amazing things happen. His film posters are testament to this. They are unpredictable and startling.

Hillman also had a rare sense of modesty. He admitted to working alone most of the time, hiring someone to help if needed. He made clear that his film posters were intended for a small audience interested in that film, not major movies. His studio was “One big room, and one small room.” It sounds perfect.

Maltese Hausmeister Hochschuledelalcruz2 WeekendPotemkin samurai
Godard
EinFrau delacruz cardillac

The 59th Street Bridge Song

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Hills Bros. Coffee Menu

Hills Bros. Coffee Menu

 

Last week, the crew in the studio allowed me to link to the stereo system and play music from my library. After a few hours of easy listening after the Longines Symphonette played Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, it was disconnected. Now there is a ban on my hip tunes. In the same vein, I can prove I’m super groovy by sharing these out of this world pieces from Disneyland in the late 60s and early 70s. You might think, “Oh, Disneyland. How square.” But check it out dude, this stuff is rocking. Who knew wacky duo-tones and overprinting could be so swell?

Now if we deconstruct the genesis of this style we land in a place about counter-culture mind-altering drug use. I’m sure some guests insisted on taking psychotropic substances and riding Alice in Wonderland. I remember smelling pot in Adventure Thru Inner Space when I was a teenager. I once had a friend suggest we all go to Disneyland and get high. I said no of course. That just sounds un-American. But, I have collected the cool and happening graphics. I’m groovy.

 

Hills Bros. Coffee Menu

Hills Bros. Coffee Menu

Show logo

Show logo

Grad Nite  1971

Grad Nite 1971

Grad Nite 1971

Grad Nite 1971

Disneyland Cookbook, late 1960s

Disneyland Cookbook, late 1960s

Disneyland Bag

Disneyland Bag

Vacationland, 1981

Vacationland, 1981

Grad Nite 1970

Grad Nite 1970

Grad Nite 1975

Grad Nite 1975

Grad Nite 1971

Grad Nite 1971

Grad Nite 1971

Grad Nite 1971

Grad Nite 1968

Grad Nite 1968

69 68b 68

Un Año De Amor

Monday, July 29th, 2013
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Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Signage is serious. People may not find a restroom in time. They may get lost and miss the Gap. If you are a signage designer you must be serious. You must make big, black, monolithic directories that include serious information. There is no room for fun. None. Don’t even think about color. Helvetica, red and black dammit!

Urban signage is hard. There are multiple committees made up of government officials who previously worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The signs need to be clear in a complex and changing environment. They need to withstand weather, vandalism, climbing children, and birds. These are the factors that lead to the 2001: A Space Odyssey black monolith directories.

Lance Wyman’s system for the 1968 Mexico City Olympics are what every Olympics tries to outdo, and nobody has come close (sorry to my friends who have designed some of these. they’re swell, but not 1968 Mexico City). But, today I want to talk about Wyman’s program for the Mexico City Metro from 1969. This solution achieves all the difficult  goals, but maintains a sense of exuberance and joy. The program reflects a Mexican color palette and sensibility. And it looks like it was fun to design. How can a subway system with orange, pink, teal, and avocado green not be magnificent? I would ride the Los Angeles Metro all the time if it had icons of grasshoppers, sailing ships, and a duck for a station.

Wyman’s work is a beacon of optimism in a dull, drab, and serious world.

 

 

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Stamp, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Stamp, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Tipo font, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Tipo font, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Station icons, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Station icons, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

Lance Wyman, Mexico City Metro, 1969

 

The Joyous Ecstasy of Wrongness

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Where It's At, poster, 1969

At times I feel like a traitor. I hate design. I drive to work and see a cool and hip poster and think, “Oh, yeah, seen that a thousand times.” I’ll work on an identity and create an incredibly clever solution such as when a “P” is also cat, or a comma, or a flying nun. I want to throw up.

This is when I realize its time to forget logic, clever solutions, puns, and the “correct” approach. And I do something really wrong. Now, what is wrong? Of course, hurting others emotionally is wrong (or so I’ve been told). In design, it seems that the wrong thing to do is to forget the rules and do something wonderful that makes no sense. Some of you are already getting angry and thinking, “Damn, damn, damn, well that’s just art.” See, it’s wrong.

One of my favorite examples is the campaign for the movie Where It’s At from 1969. I haven’t seen this movie and I have no desire to see it. But the posters are really, really, really bizarre. The designer took the psychedelic approach and teamed it with PushPin, children’s board game graphics, and European “Art” film (code for topless) imagery. These posters have everything one could want in a poster. Forget the poster solution of a clever one color solid shape of a comb that is also a crucifix; this is the joyous ecstasy of wrong.

Where It's At poster, 1969

Where It's At one sheets, 1969

Walking in Space

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Hitchhiking sign, Berkeley Barb, San Francisco, May 1975

I’m pretty sure people are who they are when they are born. My parents were firmly entrenched in the counter-culture movement. I refused to wear jeans when I was 4 because they were what those “dirty people” wore. It sounds kind of prissy to me now. I liked grey flannel trousers like my grandfather’s. When I was 8, my mother started giving rides to hitchhiking hippies. “Mom,” I would plead, “This is illegal. They might be ax murderers.”

In particular, there was a hippie lesbian couple with three kids who were always hitchhiking on their way to Lake Tahoe or Truckee. Once a week, we’d see them standing near the entrance ramp and pick them up. I was sure they had kidnapped the kids, had dope in their bags, and probably committed countless other crimes. My mother insisted they weren’t ax murderers and I should be polite to everyone.

So I sat in the back of the station wagon with a peace sticker on the window, wearing my trousers and button down shirt, shocked by the free spirit of the hitchhiking family. I’m sure they thought my parents must have kidnapped me from an uptight square family.

East Village Other, New York, January 1971

Other Scenes, New York, September 1969

The East Village Other, February 1971

The East Village Other, July 1969

me and my sister Heather, 1971