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Category Archives: Art

2018 Creative Trends

Shutterstock is out with their creative trends for 2018. These design ideas to watch are based on search and download data to find the biggest year-over-year changes. The top three trends are Fantasy (“from mythical beasts to magical landscapes, symbols and styles”), New Minimalism (“beyond crisp, clean lines to feature bold, vibrant colors and fluid styles”) and Space (“awe-inspiring galactic beauty and a darker, more dystopian feel”). Their “One to Watch” is Holographic Foil — searches for that glitzy ’80s aesthetic have jumped 435% at Shutterstock. Other trends include Natural Luxury, Punchy Pastels, A Global March, Cactus, Digital Crafts, Ancient Geometrics and Cryptocurrency.

An AI Invented a Bunch of New Paint Colors That Are Hilariously Wrong

Annalee Newitz writing for Ars Technica

The longer it processed the dataset, the closer the algorithm got to making legit color names, though they were still mostly surreal: “Soreer Gray” is a kind of greenish color, and “Sane Green” is a purplish blue. When Shane cranked up “creativity” on the algorithm’s output, it gave her a violet color called “Dondarf” and a Kelly green called “Bylfgoam Glosd.” After churning through several more iterations of this process, Shane was able to get the algorithm to recognize some basic colors like red and gray, “though not reliably,” because she also gets a sky blue called “Gray Pubic” and a dark green called “Stoomy Brown.”

In the end, she concludes: “1. The neural network really likes brown, beige, and grey; 2. The neural network has really, really bad ideas for paint names.” Possibly the neural network needed better parameters, but really, who can argue with results like these?

There’s still room for human creativity in this computerized world.

Technology and the Art of Maps

Technology and the Art of Maps

Technology has changed publishing. And I’m not just talking about digital magazines or layout software or printing equipment. I’m talking about the what and why of its content. When I created a map for a magazine 15 years ago, for instance, it was extremely detailed. Every road was named, cross streets were included (at a minimum) and a detailed key was a necessity. This was the “style” because publishers expected readers to actually use the maps for navigation.

BMWMM32-mapsI remember discussing the elements of one map with a motorcycle magazine editor. Since some riders would tear out the page (or even photocopy it) to place into the clear pocket atop their tank bags for navigation, the map’s overall dimensions had to match the tank bag while the markers and text had to be easy comprehend at a glance.

Technology has changed that style, however. Today, editors expect a reader looking to follow a route will enter waypoints into their GPS. Maps have therefore become illustrations to accompany the story. They are simplified since readers are just using them for additional context as they read through article.

Which brings me to a couple of maps I created for the Fall 2016 BMW Motorcycle Magazine. You can see on the Oregon map just how simplified maps have become. The route is shown intersecting various cities and places but there are no other labels or crossing highways. Even the key is distilled down to a basic state polygon with a box to show scale.

The second map takes up most of a page and shows the terrific journey along the entire length of Africa. It’s an epic odyssey and I wanted the size of the map to reflect that. Of course, the African continent is pretty large and the route from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa is mostly on it’s eastern edge so much of the map would be blank. Rather than waste this space, the unvisited countries were filled with images from the trip to create an interesting visual.

How Cool Is the Art Direction on These Ads from Mercedes-Benz?

mercedes-benz-lightingFrom Digital Synopsis:

Mercedes-Benz in Mexico has come up with two brilliant print ads to promote their Intelligent Light System that provides 60% more visibility on the road. The ads feature silhouettes of a cow and a deer standing in the middle of the road at night. The headlights of the Mercedes behind them are so bright that they create an “X-ray vision” of the insides of the animals.

Beautiful, funny and memorable ads that get their point across with a minimum of art. Excellent.

It’s a fine line though, which other companies need to keep in mind. These types of ads can be taken too seriously and then you run the risk of not delivering on your “promise.”

Blade Runner

Dave Addey at Typset in the Future:

After studying Alien in intimate detail, it’s time to look at the typography and design of Ridley Scott’s other classic sci-fi movie, Blade Runner.

Another great film and another great examination of typography — the why, where and how it was used is great for helping us as designers self examine how we’re using type today. There’s also a lot of discussion of the movie itself for film buffs.

The Iconfactory Turns 20!

20 Years!

This page marks a milestone in the life of our hobby turned business. We’ve been pushing pixels professionally for twenty years!

To celebrate, we’ve pulled together new products, special offers, and unearthed a slew of historical artifacts. We hope you have fun exploring our last twenty years as we look forward to what’s next!

Those tiniest pieces of computer art have changed so much in the past 20 years! There’s also an archive of their site redesigns which does a good job showing how the web in general has changed.

BMW Motorcycle Magazine, Summer 2016

BMW Motorcycle Magazine, Summer 2016

BMWMM31-IllustrationIf you’re a subscriber, you should be receiving the Summer 2016 BMW Motorcycle Magazine in the mail shortly. Otherwise, you should head out to your local newsstand and pick up a copy in order to see a true rolling work of art. Revival Cycles based their custom Landspeeder “sculpture” (see pages layouts above) on Ernst Henne’s supercharged 1928 BMW R37. Using that motorcycles and others, Henne set 76 land speed records though the 1930s — his last speed record stood for 14 years.

Beyond the usual design and layout, I also enjoyed using my art and cartoon talents to illustrate Fred Rau’s “Riding Sickness?” editorial (see right). It’s great to spend some time away from the keyboard to sketch and add a little humor to an otherwise “gray” page.


Our Favorite Typefaces of 2015

Stephen Coles, Editor at Typographica:

Who decides what meets that standard? No single writer. No editorial board. No consensus by committee. No superstar-studded jury (though there are some luminaries in this bunch). Those formats all have value. But what makes this list different — and maybe a little weird but, to me, always insightful — is that each contributor makes their own pick.

What’s nice about a list like this is the variety (and the unusual picks) that wouldn’t be selected through consensus. It’s not just a top ten of the latest trends.

Scrabble Typography 3rd Edition

Scrabble Typography 3rd Edition

Winning Solutions website:

This deluxe SCRABBLE game set combines the beauty of typography with America’s favorite word game to create a truly special gaming experience. Andrew Capener has selected 12 exquisite new fonts for the letters to be featured on the solid wood Scrabble tiles. Andrew has also designed a completely new gameboard for this fabulous new third edition of Scrabble Typography.

The new fonts don’t change the gameplay, but for typography nerds who also enjoy SCRABBLE, this is the set for you.

Hardcover book featuring 40 years of iconic Atari video game packaging design

ArtofAtariCover“The Art of Atari” is the first official collection of such artwork. Sourced from private collections worldwide, this book spans over 40 years of the company’s unique illustrations used in packaging, advertisements, catalogs, and more.

Includes a comprehensive retrospective collecting game production and concept artwork, photos, marketing art, with insight from key people involved in Atari’s rich history, and behind-the-scenes details on how dozens of games featured within were conceived, illustrated, approved (or rejected), and brought to life!

Looking at the artwork as an adult I’m fascinated by the detail and time spent on something that I, as child, barely noticed. / 855-MORR ART / 303-432-2922