The Long, Long, Long Directory

This is a combo type nerd/sign nerd post; so if you hate type or signs, go no further. One of the challenges of working within ADA signage codes is the size. When code requires 1-inch tall letters, you tend to find condensed typefaces. Otherwise you can end up with a “Stairwell” sign that is several feet long. I was enormously jealous when I stumbled upon the Chermayeff & Geismar signage system for Chase Manhattan in 1961. The ability to use beautiful extended letterforms on signs is a luxury we no longer share. The forms are so incredibly sleek and sophisticated. The signs take advantage and exaggerate the horizontality. The incredibly long Directory is perfect in a world of black suits, white shirts, and thin ties. My favorite item, however, is the round Directory. It is like a satellite that has landed in an office lobby.

The period between 1960 and 1980, the sexual revolution, was a brief moment in the history of man when having sex did not lead to life threatening issues. So free love reigned. Do Tom and Ivan know how lucky they were to live in a time when “free-type” was the norm. This was a short period when it was safe to use light extended type when you felt the urge. I can imagine the horror on a client’s face if I presented a 15-foot directory with sleek long type. They would run screaming from the room, yelling, “Why? Why? Why so long?”

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