29: On the road again

29: On the road again

Hey! Invigorated by a new ally, Sleep, I am recanting yesterday’s withdrawal, and pushing through, gosh willing, to tomorrow’s triumphant achievement: the completion of the 30 shirt ideas project.

This idea is Henry Moore meets Picasso meets Hugh Hefner. I can visualize the lines painted with a brush, and the shape colored in with Pepto-Bismol pink. I can also visualize this as a cartoon in the New Yorker, which I do not like. I will try not to think of this. It’s not meant to be pithy.


I went to a typography lecture today, with a panel of 5 different Kiwi speakers. It was at a local university. I feel that I should say something about the lecture. A design blog needs critical review of design happenings. How else am I going to use this as a tool to shoehorn myself into grad school, eh. But… I hate posting about real people, cause they can read it and potentially feel bad, or hate you.
Double but. I really need to try to put on my design theorist’s hat, if I’m going to keep my slender Design Muscles alive after graduation. So here goes.



A summary of the panel: Each speaker showed some of their typographic work, talked about it a bit, and then all the speakers discussed a few questions such as “Are you inspired to create personal work outside of the corporate work you do for clients?”


My overall take: I really enjoyed it and I’m quite glad I went.


However: Some bits did disappoint me. Ed Ruscha (Roo-SHAY) was referred to several times as Ed Ru-SHAH. I don’t know why that bugged me so much, other than it seemed amateurish.

Also: Few panelists were able to give an articulate answer to the “Are you inspired to create personal work outside of the corporate work you do for clients?” question. Kris Sowersby said, “No”, bravely, but defensively. A panelist named Duncan Forbes said, essentially, that his personal work was his corporate work. That’s a FANTASTICALLY interesting viewpoint, and something I haven’t really heard before. It seems that it’s something no graphic designer is bold enough to posit.



But. When Forbes made this interesting statement… he didn’t really sell it. Something about the way he said it made him come off as… just having a lack of creativity. It didn’t help that the work he showed was all Helvetica-based… very Swiss modernist. And, for my two cents–while clean, simple, and appropriate–not that original.

I quite liked the work of hand-letterer Sarah Maxey. She showed some beautiful type illustrations. Then she showed a few book covers she’d done. I felt that in some cases her lovely illustrations were overpowered by dominant type.


I was really grooving on her work, thinking, “Yeah! Like, that’s kind of what I’m trying to do! I completely want to turn letters into beautiful things as well!” Then she was asked how her letterforms related to the subject in her jug piece. Her answer, about having a general interest in textile design, was not that enlightening. Probably the real answer was, “I made it because it looks good!”, which I totally understand. And I think the piece is gorgeous. But the heat in the typographic kitchen is all about relevance.

Kris Sowersby gave the exact same lecture I saw a month ago at Pecha Kutcha. Boo. I think he recognized a few of our faces, cause he seemed sheepish.




Warren Olds
showed an exciting, eclectic book he designed on LA artist Meg Cranston. He actually used the Poo Smooth font. He also showed inspirations. Huge, huge ups for Warren Olds. His website has some great work on it, but a lot that I’d cull as well. Frankly, though, a graphic designer that aims too high, and fails often… is my kind of designer, no matter what. Warren Olds is kind of the antithesis of Duncan Forbes.

Last but not least, Kelvin Soh from The Wilderness spoke and showed some nice work. Eh, I know how hard it is to have a good portfolio website, having had a 0.00% success rate in my 25 years… but this one just frustrates me.


Things aren’t as cutthroat in New Zealand as they are in San Francisco. That’s a large part of why I’m here. Sometimes I appreciate the contrast, and sometimes I don’t like it. I am probably not learning as fast as I would be if I were still in the Bay Area. But I may be happier.

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