Category Archives: Graphic Design

  1. Logo Disaster Movie: A fabulous short animation that wrecks Hollywood

    I was impressed with narrative, sound design and the mise en scene that sets this movie apart. And I am a graphic designer who likes logos.

    From the vimeo description posted by Human: This is a short film that was directed by the French animation collective H5, François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy + Ludovic Houplain. It was presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2009. It opened the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won a 2010 academy award under the category of animated short.

    Logorama from Marc Altshuler – Human Music on Vimeo.

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  2. Paula Scher for Behance: Irreverent and respectable doyen of graphic design

    She has always been an inspiration and I was lucky to meet her a few years back at Kyoorius Designyatra. Paula presents a set of stellar brand work that have been done by Pentagram and her.

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  3. Let the Games Begin! The glare and the clash of Olympic impressions

    The Olympics are supposed be a carnival, I know – ‘Triumph of Human Spirit’ and what have you. And truly, the spirit and the excitement have been high and contagious this time round. The carnival carousel has been turning smooth and well-oiled thus far.

    So I make a side trip to their official website – www.london2012.com. First off, you have that London 2012 logo, which reminds you of a falling rocks warning (and mildly reminiscent of Thing, the stone-clad superhero from the Fantastic Four). The web design tries to carry this visual metaphor of the angular forms into it. Visually, It’s colorful and carnival-ish, bright and gay (gay as in celebratory) but the forms look so sharp you could cut your eye-fingers just looking at them. So you wonder about this overt celebration of masculinity – what happened to grace, rhythm and elegance, those reportedly feminine qualities!? The whole experience seems driven by testosterone without any estrogen to bring about a balance.

    The carnival

    Anyway, the carnival goes on – and it’s more akin to a village Markt – the page literally Teeming with stuff. If there is a sense of organization, it seems to lose out in the breathless cacophony of a hundred things screaming for attention. For a bit of respite, scroll down the page – where things get a bit calmer and white space finds a hesitant voice.

    The site, by its own admission, tries to cater to all – the ‘normal’, the visually impaired, the dyslexics and the non-English speakers. ‘For all Humanity’, cries out the Olympic spirit. But you can’t escape the feeling that these noble and worthwhile sentiments have found only a partial translation in terms of sites structure, page organization and elemental focus.

    Style sheet for dyslexics

    Right at the top, an icon call’s itself the ‘dyslexic style sheet’ and when you switch to it, all those loud-mouthed colors quieten down into a muted beige palette. This brings the text and links into sharper contrast – fair enough – but dyslexic friendly? I am not so sure. I get the feeling that dyslexics are perhaps better served by increasing the font size, increasing the character tracking and making everything else more subdued. But that too would be a compromise – they would probability find a less crowded, more organized page with higher figure-ground contrast more fit to their needs.

    The tool

    And lastly, those much celebrated international sports symbols come to the rescue of non-English speaking audiences – like the way finders they are supposed to be. Although, what exactly these non-English speakers lose out in experience by not knowing the language, only they can tell in their native tongues. Not to crib too much, but here too the colors are high-strung. I am sure those who designed the site carefully chose to place bright pinks and active blues next to each other and gleefully watched their cockfight. They are obviously intended to jar and clash in their high chromatic screams. May be the designers thought it’s an apt metaphor for the competitive spirit of the Olympics. But I don’t have to like it, and I don’t.

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  4. Twitter is bird, bird is twitter: The new improved version of Twitter’s identity

    Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles—similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. -Doug Bowman, Creative Director, Twitter

    I personally love these simple clean up jobs in graphic design that demands rigor and simplistic construction. The perceived change may be minimal. Yet the rationale and impact is immense. Read more about this brand refresh here.

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  5. Firm footprints in the new media space: A brief portfolio of our new work

    Our portfolio contains a number of design solutions specially developed for new media. Given how ubiquitous these media have become, it’s probably time to drop the New from New Media! Here you go.

    [issuu viewMode=singlePage width=300 height=225 shareMenuEnabled=false printButtonEnabled=false backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=120507084453-7d47e9a302e443f49c5bb6aed3fdd88b name=apparatus_new_media_portfolio username=mallikonduri tag=portfolio unit=px v=2]

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  6. The latest disaster to hit our planet: Invasion of pixels from 70s

    This well scripted and produced short by Patrick Jean uses all nostalgic pixel elements from seventies and eighties. Commodore tennis game to Mario’s Donkey Kong, all of them turn into nasty elements of disaster that invade earth. Impressive effects and I loved the end titles after the earth is reduced to a pixel cube.


    PIXELS by PATRICK JEAN. by onemoreprod

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  7. Discovery lost: What ails (most) Indian ecommerce startups?

    Apparatus team have been working on a few online store projects. Most of these are at a prelaunch stage and that makes it easy for user experience design teams to partake in product definition and extend further into product design.

    However there are a few who have been in business and need a substantial design overhaul. These ecommerce properties ail from a few maladies that needs attention.

    Discovery that matches user intent leads to conversion
    Users who approach online stores come with a definite intent to find a suitable product. The user experience should be designed for users with specific needs and users who want to explore and discover. The design should set a strong context for them to arrive at a product or move about and find.

    Fixes versus refurbishment
    These stores are ongoing businesses backed by investor firms. They cannot suspend operations for an overhaul. We understand this. But the management typically sees the solution as a series of small fixes that will lead to betterment. It will not. The synthesis of web analytics and user research should lead to larger incremental phases of change that can better the brand experience in a short period of time. Bite the bullet!

    Knowing the domain does not make you a UX expert
    It is a great additive that can be learned. Good design is about creating cohesive, compelling and usable experiences through framework, structure and content. It involves information design, graphic design and meticulous production. You need help. Hire us!

    Curated content emotes and converts
    Do the thing that offline stores do as ‘we suggest’. Do collections that are thematic and write about them. Do collections that go well together and publish them as trends or what people like. Help users choose if they are exploring through supportive house-styled images of products and well written textual content. Add on contextual user generated content and create digestible nuggets of content to consume. And lead all these to appropriate stock keep units.

    To know more about these write to me. If you want to get this done call Apparatus. Have a good day!

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  8. Safe houses or user traps: Social networks and security

    I love visual.ly and the below infographic on security issues on Google versus Facebook is as informative as well-designed. Visit the site – a treasure trove of infographic gems.

    by NowSourcing via

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  9. Apple and I: A long love affair

    In early eighties small town India, like my hometown, had not seen computers. The closest that you came to one was when you booked a railway ticket and it was across the glass in the booth. It was most often operated by bored mid-size government workers in synthetic bush shirts, buttoned down till the vest and a handkerchief dipped in talc around their neck. Or by women nibbling fried snacks from their cold press molded stainless steel ‘eversilver’ tiffin boxes next to perennially plastic covered keyboards.

     

     

    I have to describe these machines to you. They were behemoth grey boxes with a pixel screen, slightly larger than a Tamil pocket crime novel encased in an oversized dull monitor. The CPU looked like a part of a menacing Russian tank and the monitor was made of discarded plastic buckets. The keyboard had their tab keys jammed often and the lady operator was screaming for help in a fit, kicking her snacks of her table while the cursor did a wild tra-la-la jig across form fields on that minuscule window. And I was waiting with my filled form. Always.

    I never understood how they can make us more productive.

    A little later when my father bought an AppleIIc for a publisher friend of his from Singapore (the farthest idea of a foreign land for a Tamil boy) I was amazed that computers can look good. My dad had meticulously unpacked and assembled it with great care. The machine, if I can call it, looked like million suns of gypsies’ ice a la Marquez.

    Call it love at first sight. Apple it was – hook, line and sinker. I was a convert, a self-confessed fanboy and hopelessly smitten for life.

    At college they taught me BASIC on an Apple. I met a Macintosh at a design school. Not that we were allowed to use it freely. We used to set type in Aldus Pagemaker, take prints and paste it on our artworks with rubber cement. That was quite a promotion from hot metal where we have to set type laterally inverted or phototypesetting where we pretended to solve a thermodynamics problem on a blue screen and got a small piece of photo paper with type exposed on it. We loved and grew on Macs.

    Then came the candy colored eMac at home, a Powerbook G4, an early iPod, more Macbooks, an iPhone and a strong affinity for a brand that thought of people who used their product more than the machine itself. An affinity to the creator of this brand – Steve Jobs.

    More on Mac and me soon.

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  10. Designing a symbol: An internal critique

    There’s a beautiful poem by the great spiritualist Kabir that goes by the opening ‘Jheeni re Jheeni’. Kabir was a weaver by profession and spiritualist by nature. In this poem, he literally weaves the elements of his vocation with the high philosophy of life and living.

    Using this as a simile, he connects life (and body) to a beautiful tapestry. The poem talks about how life’s impulses form the warp and the five elements the weft – creating the tapestry that we call life… and so on. He interprets these connections and constructs the form of his poem. The poem itself is like a weave.

    So what? What’s that got to do with design? Leave aside the high philosophy of the poem (the content), and you see the pure craftsmanship of it.

    Design of a symbol, or any other design act for that matter, must be a deliberated act of connecting, interpreting and then constructing. Conceptually, the design approach must first distill and arrive at strong narratives – what story must the design tell? What aspects must it emphasize? What mood must it create? What balance must it strike? That’s the conceptual connection. We must then interpret this connection visually, formally, and graphically so that we have a ‘complete construct’ that is resolved and cohesive. Even if we present only drafts (as we normally do as a part of the design process), the drafts themselves must be complete and cohesive, even if they are not refined in presentation.

    At times, we are missing out on this collective deliberation as well as individual critique that is a part of good design approach. We must adopt more effective ways of deliberating, coming up with conceptual connections and have internal critiques that will help us pick, debate, choose or discard things that work and things that don’t work.

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