In the Desert

My furniture at home hasn't changed in 25 years. Some items have been repaired and others replaced with the exact same thing. When we started to buy furniture for the Palm Springs house, I realized I hadn't bought anything new since 1991. WTF? Furniture is expensive today. I feel like that old person who says, "When I was a kid the movies were a nickel." But it's slowly coming together.

There is another house that has been on the market in PS that has been covered by everyone on earth already. But it's worth another look if anyone is facing the same issues and asking, "Hmm, what sofa should I buy?" It's truly remarkable. I can see why it's hard to sell. Whoever buys it couldn't touch a thing. It would need to be preserved as is. Changing anything would be like redecorating Monticello at Sears. Think of the super groovy parties you could have making Harvey Wallbangers and playing backgammon. Or making soft core porn?

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Chair of the undergraduate and graduate Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.

Gnarly Dude

Last week I visited the Herman Miller showroom to look at the new furniture systems for the ArtCenter Grad program. There's some pretty snappy stuff and I may need to get a stand up desk for myself. In the George Nelson room there was print of John Neuhart's poster for Alexander Girard's Textiles and Objects shop. 

Designed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Matter employed organic forms and paired them with hard geometry. The organic forms, boomerangs, kidney shapes, and liquid shapes were a reaction to the hard and cold machine aesthetic of World War II. After years of tragedy, it isn't surprising that designers and the public would move toward life affirming forms. Even Matter's layouts for an article on the Ray and Charles Eames dances the line between grid and freeform.

It was reassuring to see the spread with the gnarly wood (as in tangled not rad). I have many pieces of gnarly wood and frequently find more on my hikes. It looks odd when I come down the trail with a pile of wood held in my shirt, but tough.

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Chair of the undergraduate and graduate Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.

Two, Two Symbols in One!

AdamsMorioka (hey it's my blog), UCLA Extension Summer

I’m sitting at Bob Hope Airport (Burbank), waiting for a flight. My post today is subsequently limited to what I have on my computer. Fortunately, I have a lecture that I give to my students about idea making. OK, yes, it could be dull. However, you can’t complain there was no educational value in the Burning Settlers Cabin.

Here is the problem: we experience the world in scenes. We watch scenes on television, we see them in life from eye level, and we see them in our mind when we listen to the radio or read a book. I realized this when I noticed a trend with my students. All of their solutions tended to be a depiction of a scene. If the assignment were a poster for “spring in Paris”, they would return with solutions of people sitting at tables with the Eiffel Tower behind them. But this is boring. This is what most movie posters are.

Lou Danziger taught me about the “fused metaphor”. This formula can be used when designing that combines symbol A with symbol B to produce a new result. This is my process: I make a list of every symbol, for example, Summer in Los Angeles: summer; sun, beach, beach umbrella, swimming pool; Los Angeles; freeway, oranges,  palm tree, etc. and then combine the symbols. What happens if you combine a freeway with the sun, or an orange and the beach? The solution is a combination of symbols that have more resonance than a scene of people sitting on Venice Beach.

Louis Danziger, American Paintings
Louis Danziger, American Paintings
Louis Danziger, The New York School
Louis Danziger, The New York School
Ivan Chermeyeff, War and Peace
Ivan Chermeyeff, War and Peace

Ivan Chermeyeff, Pepsi-Cola World
Ivan Chermeyeff, Pepsi-Cola World
Ivan Chermeyeff, Pepsi-Cola World
Ivan Chermeyeff, Pepsi-Cola World
George Nelson, The Misfits
George Nelson, The Misfits

George Lois, AIGA Paperbacks
George Lois, AIGA Paperbacks
Lou Dorfsman, CBS The Morning Show
Lou Dorfsman, CBS The Morning Show

Paul Rand, Origins of Modern Sculpture

Paul Rand, UCLA Extension Winter

Paul Rand, Modern Art in Your Life

The Award Awards

AIGA 1962

Terry Lee Stone and I were talking about the good old days of competitions.  We both agreed that we loved all of the printed ephemera that was produced each year for either AIGA 365, or the New York Art Director’s Club Show, or Western Art Director’s Club. I know this is really, really bad. It’s not a sustainable practice, and the world is a more caring place now that we do these communications digitally. But, to be asked to design everything from the poster to the award certificate for one of these competitions was a choice project. When Lou Danziger was moving out of his studio, one of Frank Gehry’s first buildings, he called Noreen and me and asked if we wanted anything. We managed to walk away with a George Nelson H leg table, Lou’s custom wood flat files, a copy stand, and Lou’s box of awards. For 15 years, the awards been carefully archived away.

Now, they have been released and some are displayed here. I especially love the 1962 AIGA award, presumably designed by George Tscherny. The “XIX” award can be seen on the walls of Sterling Cooper on Mad Men. The green and pink NYADC club award from 1963 has the most incredible swirls. And, finally, the AIGA mailing label on the tube, I know Paul Rand designed the AIGA logo, and the multi-talented Bart Crosby refined it, but this is tempting.

ADLA as seen on Mad Men

NYADC 1963

AIGA mailing label

ADLA

AIGA 1963

AIGA 1956

AIGA 1964

CA 1963

ADLA