a to idea

Data & Creativity

Modern business is obsessed with data. Our connected world and connected commerce allow for an overflow of information about consumers. Their preferences. Their route to decision-making. The results of advertising or marketing strategies and implementation.
The ability to track, quantify, and report information has upended business and how business products are marketed and sold. But the narrow focus on data and metrics is – at least partially – blind to the ingredients whose existence allow information to be recorded. Measurement is being prized over innovation and creativity.

24 Apr 2015

Happy Life Day, Chewie!

The Force is strong in this video.

21 Apr 2015

The Comics Comic & the Comics of Comedy

Last month Sean McCarthy of The Comic’s Comic interviewed me about my illustration series Comics of Comedy. Sean had seen the celebrity retweets of some of my drawings. Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, and Kathy Griffin all retweeted the drawings I had shared on Twitter and Instagram.
Sean sent me a couple questions, and then a couple more. It turned into this interview that was posted on March 18.

SM: A quick look around XK9 reveals your bread-and-butter is logos and brand design enhancements —
BD: …and motion graphic design. Check out the XK9 work on Vimeo.

19 Apr 2015

See Ex Machina

I have a new favorite film. Ex Machina.
I have a new favorite writer/director. Alex Garland.
Garland has crafted on of the best stories in cinema. Ex Machina really is that good. It explores our fascination and fears of technology. It illustrates the modern ability to have a relationship with devices. Man creates these thinking machines, but he may be incapable of understanding them. And that concept, sincerely considered, makes for suspenseful terror.

19 Apr 2015

Finn’s Inner Dialog

Here’s hoping JJ gets it right!

18 Apr 2015

Rand Paul’s logo is very good.

Yes, pundits and proles, Rand Paul has a very good campaign logo.
There is a lot to praise in this logo. It’s simple. It’s bold. It’s strong. It bucks the red, white, and blue for black, white, and red. It avoids the trite stars and stripes. It uses the space created by the A and N for a clever figure-ground reveal of the torch handle. As for it’s message, is clearly an iconic proclamation and promise to carry the torch for Paul’s cause and his constituency.
In his interview shared the AIGA blog, Milton Glaser criticized Rand Paul’s logo. He claims the mark isn’t clear whether it’s for a candidate or corporation. I would ask, in this era of corporate control of politics, what’s the difference?

17 Apr 2015

Fairly Frequent Finn Fan

The pixels in the orange circle are me. The big heads belong to Neil and Liam.
April 12, Danielle and I made another trip to Largo. Largo at the Coronet is a magical place. It’s a smallish theater on La Cienega Boulevard in Hollywood that plays host to some of the planet’s most talented people. That night the two headliners were the father and son duo – Neil and Liam Finn.

17 Apr 2015

URX AppViews Debuts

XK9 worked with the good people at URX to help them debut AppViews. This new tech takes advantage of deep links, allowing mobile browsers and apps to access contextual links based on their content. To understand what that means, watch this video XK9 made with URX.

16 Apr 2015

A Tale of Eighteen HH’s

18-HHLate last year I worked with the Beverly Hills real estate firm Hilton & Hyland. I wrote about the logotype and the final symbol previously.
In light of that other H logo in the news, I decided to share 18 of the many Double H symbols I developed for Hilton & Hyland. These were the ones I shared with my client. You may click on the image to see a larger version.

15 Apr 2015

New Facts Have Come to My Attention

When I ruffled the feathers of one of the nicest people in design, it was clear I needed to do a little self-examination and admit my mistakes and misrepresentations. I am guilty of a bit of junk food journalism, where I let my desire to tear something down run over any sense of fairness.
First off, Rick Wolff is the designer of the Hillary Bold font, also known as Hillvetica. It was created as a joke, as I originally suspected. Mr Wolff was poking fun at the design of the H-arrow logo of the Hillary campaign. I think any humor in his joke was lost when Hillary Bold was adopted by the Hillary campaign. It seemed to me, and I’m sure many others, that this was a real component of the Hillary 2016 graphic design. I was mistaken.
I was stunned to find out that Michael Bierut, partner in the New York office of Pentagram is responsible for the design of the H-arrow. It leads me to believe that this mark is part of an expansive system that has yet to be revealed. But if that is the case, revealing it without context was a whopper of a misstep. The credit was revealed on Brand New, one of my favorite blogs.
I stand by my criticism of the mark. But I am scratching my head that this could come from one of the foremost brand identity specialists working today. I almost wonder if it is the cornerstone of some brilliant plot to win Mrs Clinton a deluge of free press, only to pull a switcheroo and replace it with a much better solution.
Not everything that comes out of Pentagram is gold. Of course, the same is true of any designer or design office, including my own. I have lauded Mr Bierut and his team for their peerless work on the beautiful Penguin Random House identity. And I’ve shot a few arrows at his lesser work for Grand Central Terminal’s centennial.
I am actually glad to have not known the creators of this logo prior to weighing in on it. Perhaps I might have been better informed. Maybe I might have been able to uncover some of the thinking behind this mark and the campaign for the campaign. Or, perhaps I might have softened my tone given that the creator was such a respected expert in the field. Still, I believe my critique remains valid. On its own merits, this is an inferior piece of brand identity for a massively public campaign.
I will await the next bits. I will be more diligent in my research.

14 Apr 2015
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