19 15 November
- Started off the week going to see Invisible Men, the first exhibition from the Westminster Menswear Archive.
- Was fine. OK. Nice to see the dialogue expanded out a bit from the pretty-things-for-pretty-ladies scene, but the curation was underwhelming. Couldn’t figure out why they’d chosen the pieces they had, or chosen to arrange them the way the did, or anything like that. Maybe it would have been interesting to see the pieces chronologically so you can see the evolution of a style over time? Or by cost so you could see how trends get interpreted through different manufacturing techniques? Or like, something.
- Anyway here’s a photo1 of like 10 almost indistinguishable black stone island jackets, released in consecutive years but not displayed in that order 🤷🏻♂️
- Found the (new?) AS Colour store on Rivington Street.
- Despite the name I don’t think they’re related to Amnesia Scanner.
- Similar vibe to how American Apparel was in the early days but without the porny ads. You know, ethically-made blanks in nice cuts in tasteful colours. Picked up a sweatshirt for £8 in the sale. Pretty good, fits nice.
- Been carrying my copy of David Reinfurt’s A New Program for Graphic Design2 everywhere with me since it arrived, but only got to reading it this week.
- Conor put me onto his teaching work last year, and the book is basically a transcription of his graphic design introduction course for art students at Princeton University. He groups contemporary graphic design into three areas; 1. typography (eg, displaying information legibly), 2. gestalt (structuring and prioritising information, then progressively disclosing it at appropriate times), and 3. interface (summarising complex evolving information so that users are empowered to use it). He frames each of these areas by explaining the history of the idea, and talking about the designers who pioneered them. The book is cheap, charismatic and pretty funny too. Pick up a copy.
- When I was starting out in tech stuff the idea of graphic design and graphic designers used to be poison! Especially at UX events graphic designers were the root cause of all problems, and only User Experience could fix it.
- Except the graphic designer straw men they all used to joke about in the conference talks never really resembled graphic design as I understood it. Sure, the high speed, low consequence image-making of the advertising industry doesn’t translate to good technology products, but that’s not exactly graphic design. In that environment ten, fifteen years ago a few design bloggers were the point that graphic design history had a lot of useful ideas for tech – I’m thinking of Khoi, Mark and Oliver particularly (and I’d like to think some of the things I’ve worked on that time have contributed too). Anyway, today those ideas are everywhere. In 2019 the tech industry is a graphic design medium.
- So it’s nice to read an established, expert designer like David run a thread through it all and tie it together.
- I finished that book on a bit of a high, and immediately bumped back down by reading How to Secure a Country. Beautiful looking book3, not much to it. Mostly photographs of the hard, pointy, violent side of government with infographics showing that it’s all decentralised and that no politicians are actually in control (let alone even understanding how it works).
- Maybe I’m being unfair and a bit jealous because I feel like literally any designer who ever worked at GDS could have made a book like that in their first three months. Before, you know, you start learning the system and figuring out how to make it a bit better.
- You can probably tell I don’t have much patience for so-called adults panicking when they realise no-one is in control and the world is too complicated to be fixed with a single grand gesture.
- Yeah I’m late with the new Top Boy but I binged the whole season this week. Watching it is like slipping back into a warm duvet. Seeing what that big netflix budget in can do too 😗 Those drone shots in Jamaica look incredible, and clearly it pays for a lot more East London locations too.
- There used to be a great turkish greasy spoon at the bottom of broadway where I went for breakfast every sunday. A few years ago I went on holiday for a couple weeks and when I came back it had been converted into an expensive coffee shop and bar, filled with australians pouring slow flat whites. Watching Dushane arriving back from five years hiding out in Jamaica, heading straight to the same cafe for breakfast, and then laughing at the coffee options with a “this place has changed”
- Becoming a running theme in these weeknotes, but it is really nice when technology works in your favour. Nothing can persuade me a Drake-produced tv show where our greatest living englishman ends up beating a small-town racist to death with a pole isn’t the result of an expensive algorithm trained on the tastes and desires of british millenials.
- This must be what it’s like being a white supremacist watching Youtube.
- There’s a Sterling Ruby show at Gagosian rn. It made me think of some ambitious Memphis furniture reimagined by the Samsung marketing department4. Beautiful, super hi-res and glossy and totally vacuous.
- These AA posters5 are lovely though.
- I’ve turned down a couple of work opportunities this week that probably would have been sensible to accept. The first time I’ve been in a position to do it and it feels wonderful. After walking away from the second one earlier, I went out and had a workout on one of the free outdoor gyms, came back and had a bath with a packet of crisps, a big glass of (I think) Ouzo that I brought back from a holiday early this century that really needs drinking, and read my Asa Larsson thriller. Maybe this is how it feels being rich.
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