30 November 2010

Random Photo #53 Sequoia National Park

Even the tall trees of Sequoia National Park fall after hundreds of years of growth.

Flying High - History of Airships

(My image of the Tustin Airbase Blimp Hanger, CA)

The vision of flight has been with mankind since the earliest of times. The development of flight was first achieved in balloons and airships prior to winged airplanes. Floating and moving so slowly above the ground, airships where a principle means to transport people and a military use early in the 1900s. I found this excellent website and blog, Airships: The Hindenburg and Other Zeppelins that gives a history of these vehicles. The site also has collected wonderful images from the period of airships and crews. This site is well worth a visit from an educational perspective, the design of airships and the rich photographs. Airships: will inspire and enrich.

In modern times, most of our experiences are with the Goodyear blimp flying high above a sporting event giving us an unique view of the game. Today, airships are also making a slow comeback for tourist use so all can experience the form of flight from groups such as Airship Ventures. Plan your adventure and if you take a flight, I would love to see photos. Someday I hope to myself take a scenic tour on a blimp, it has long been a desire to float above and view the world at a pace you can enjoy.

23 November 2010

Random Photo #52 Showing Off

I spotted this yacht in Newport Beach, CA. If you put a helicopter on your yacht are showing off? I am leaning towards a big YES in this case.

19 November 2010

Seeing The World Through Maps

I wanted to pass along this great online resource for historical maps from around the world. The University of Texas at Austin has digitized a vast collection of maps to form the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection. This map collection covers the world from the Polar caps to Countries to Cities. All of the collection is presented in an easy to use format for locating just what you want. The site also includes a series of links to additional map sites for reference.

These maps are wonderful ways to not only explore the world and the history behind it but to examine type and graphic elements from the past. An added bonus is that most of the maps scanned by the University of Texas Libraries are in the public domain. Take some time and see the world, you will be informed and educated by the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection.

18 November 2010


Somedays all the SPAM emails seem to never end and it only seems to be getting worse.

Dear SPAM senders,

I don't need a hip replacement at this time, my college degrees are up to date, and thanks but no thanks for the various gift cards. You see, last week I inherited several million dollars from some guy I have never heard of in Africa. The check should be in the mail so I will be able to buy what I need with that million dollar inheritance.

Sincerely yours,

Mr. Money Bags

17 November 2010

Seattle's Best, I Mean Generic.

Branding design is by definition to help communicate a company's values, history, services, expectations, etc to it's consumer audience. I believe if you have a brand that is strong and have loyal customers, well, when you develop brand changes you do so as to not confuse your consumers.

The good folks at Seattle's Best Coffee, which is owned by Starbucks, I believe took a "new" look too far. Seattle's Best Coffee had a friendly feel with its past logo (bottom), the new (top), goes to the world of "generic design" that no longer communicates a vision of good coffee. Looking at the new logo the other day, I was not sure what it was for, was that a blood drop, a water drop, a toilet? Don't get me wrong, I love clean design, heck my logo is very simple, but I am not selling coffee and my logo is not known like this Seattle's Best Coffee. The new mark becomes one of the hundreds now, not one of a few that it was prior. If the goal was to differentiate Seattle's Best Coffee from Starbucks and allow it to be sold in Burger King and compete with McDonalds, well that was successful. It was successful at becoming more of the same in the world of quick coffee. The logo works if I am looking forward to a kid pushing a button on a fancy machine to make me a mocha. I believe the logo does not work for the price point of "designer" coffee but the next time I am seeking out a generic cup of coffee, Seattle's Best will come to the top of my mind.

11 November 2010

Happy 104th Birthday Eva Zeisel!

“Design is pleasure for me”, states Eva Zeisel. This statement perchance is the secret to becoming an icon of design but it may also be the blueprint to living a long life. Eva Zeisel who turns 104 on Saturday, November 13th was born in Hungry and found that her passion was to be a “maker of useful things”. Eva has designed thousands of products over her long and productive career mostly to beautify the surroundings in our homes. Eva’s work graces both the permanent collections of the world’s finest museum and the tables of every day life.

One of the keys to Zeisel’s success has been her consistent maxim of “the playful search for beauty”. Eva’s designs arouse the senses with their sensual curves and delightful lines that standout from the commonplace. Making designs that are fresh, intelligent, and discerning would be hard work for most but Eva has been doing it for the last 80 plus years.

Eva learned design and the craft of pottery in Hungry as a young woman. She completed her internship and used her experiences and designs to allow her to see the world. Seeking out opportunities, she selected the job that took her the farthest from her home in Budapest to Germany.

Eva was one of the first to design dinnerware for mass production in 1928 for Schramberger Majolikafabrik in Germany. She moved to Russia in 1932 to design dinnerware, bath fixtures and numerous household products. Zeisel was named the artistic director of the Soviet ceramics industry. In 1936 while working in Moscow, she was arrested by the Stalin regime and placed in a prison camp for 15 months. She was charged with “plotting against the life of Stalin”. Just as suddenly as she was taken prisoner, she was released with only the cloths on her back due to the influences of important European intellectuals that contacted Stalin. Upon Eva’s release in 1937, she traveled to Vienna. She married Hans Zeisel at this time and they both moved the USA as the Nazi movement grew in Austria and Germany.

In late 1938, Eva and Hans move to New York. Eva raised two children with Hans, their son John Zeisel and daughter Jean Richards. She started working on numerous designs and began teaching at the Pratt Institute in 1939, founding the industrial ceramics curriculum. Eva’s designs have been sought after over these many years. She has designed dinnerware and products for all the major china companies the world over in her career.

In 1946, Eva Zeisel had the first one women show at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). Her work can be found in every major museum collection around the world from MoMA and the Metropolitan in NYC to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert in London. In 2005, Zeisel was awarded the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Eva has continued to design over the years never letting her passion for design to dwindle. “I design better than before, I have so much experience” said Eva. At the young age of 101, she designed the One-O-One collection of tableware for Royal Stafford.

Eva’s work is available today at Eva Zeisel Originals run by her grandson, Adam Zeisel. Adam wrote earlier this week, “EvaZeiselOriginals.com is having a successful year. We have already added the Eva Zeisel Lounge Chair and Bird Shakers to the collection. My relationship with Eva continues to be strong and joyous.” Her designs are also available at such major outlets like Design within Reach and Crate and Barrel along with many art museum stores and galleries. Eva is still actively designing today. She works with a Design Assistant, Olivia Barry, who helps translate her ideas and concepts into reality. Eva personally reviews the progress and designs during development. (See Video Below) Eva has also authored a book, Eva Zeisel on Design in 2004.

We all can learn a great deal for the wonderful career of Eva Zeisel. Design with passion, love your family and friends, laugh, and always look forward. Seeing, using and touching one of Eva’s exquisite and graceful designs might just be our way to drink from the fountain of youth that Eva Zeisel has discovered. May design continue to flow from your heart and mind, Happy Birthday Mrs. Zeisel!!!

Eva Zeisel: Distinguished By Design from Jeremy Bales on Vimeo.

(A film from Eva Zeisel's 102nd Birthday party and her working with her Design Assistant, Olivia Barry)

10 November 2010

Paula Scher Speaking Via Skype

Tomorrow as part of the Design Link series, Paula Scher from Pentagram will be giving a special lecture via Skype from her office in NYC. The event will start at 11:45 at the Art Institute of California - Orange County. Paula's work is world known from her logo for Citi bank to her years of design for the Public Theatre in NYC. It should be a wonderful opportunity to hear from one of our greatest graphic designers working today. To RSVP for the event, go to this link on Facebook for the student chapter of AIGA.

08 November 2010

Small Art, Really Small

How small is too small when it comes to a work of art? Dalton Ghetti creates miniature masterpieces on the tips of pencils. Yes that is right, the tips of pencils. Dalton, who works as a carpenter, has been making his tiny graphite works for about 25 years and recently shown them at several shows. The detail and patience to create such miniature works is amazing. To read more about this craftman / artist, visit this link at OddStuffMagazine.com.