Category Archives: Products

Flick Quarterback?

I’m going to make this post short and sweet. Today is a fairly big day for football. Not for me…I suppose I’m just weird. But for most Americans, it’s a big deal today.

A good friend sent this to me a few months ago via Twitter. I thought this would be a good day to share.

“I found a design mistake. Something you shouldn’t do. Tell me if you spot it.”

NFL

I assume professional football players wear a cup but there still has to be some kind of penalty for flicking in that region.

Ouch.

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Parody: the cop out of creativity

I can enjoy a good parody—I love Mel Brooks. A parody can be great for comedy. In design, however, it’s usually an unsuccessful substitute for a concept.

Concept is crucial in design, it can not be substituted. Without a concept, the design is worthless.

Really, food network?? An Indiana Jones parody. Wow, very timely, guys. Whenever looking for a good cookbook, I think to myself, “Hmm. What parody of a 1980’s icon would entice me to cook?”

Below is what I call a good parody:

This is poor/pixelated quality but if you know anything about hipsters…it’s kind of appropriate. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go off on an anti-hipster rant. I think hipster HATERS are much more annoying than hipsters. If young adults with affluent parents want to gentrify low income areas of Brooklyn, who am I to judge?

I don’t understand all of the hate. They’re a people who love bicycles and irony. Just let them be.

Back to terrible parody, the commercial below makes me wish Virgin Mobile would go bankrupt. I’m not being dramatic. I seriously wish that upon them.

Gosh, that video vexes me. Let’s see what Indy thinks.

Well said, Professor. Well said.

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Please stop screaming at me.

This book was a gift from my mom. I received it in the mail about a week ago. Growing up, I was always a bit of a momma’s boy so I want to clarify that I am not about to ridicule her gift. I’m pretty sure she’s one of my most loyal blog followers…making fun of it could get a bit awkward.

I also want to add that I am not disrespecting this book in any way. It is actually a fantastic read. However, I first thought it was going to be some kind of Joel Osteen-esque book for business. You know…combining a Life is good! You should never ever have a bad day in your entire life. God wants you to get that parking space by the front door of your favorite restaurant during their peak hours. If you don’t get that parking spot, you don’t have enough faith mentality with some kind of business ethics.

But seriously, it’s a fantastic read that’s filled with business, entrepreneurship, theology, philosophy, health, epistemology, finances, and self esteem.

How many of you would have guessed this hideously designed book contains such valuable subjects? Which brings me to my main point: despite what your 3rd grade teacher told you when you were a child—it is most definitely okay to judge a book by its cover. What did your teacher know anyway? She also said that it was important to learn how to write in cursive…

A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend came to visit me in NYC. When that sad day came in which I had to drop her off at the LaGuardia Airport for her departure, I took the bus back home. As soon as the bus pulled up, the crazy driver opened the door and started screaming at me. I was so confused. All she had to do was calmly explain that a physically handicapped person needed to get off the bus before I could get on. I signaled with my hands to calm the @#$% down and took a couple of steps back. Geez Louis. Let’s try to have some professionalism, lady.

That’s kind of what this book is doing—it’s screaming at me. Okay book…calm the @#$% down. If you want to speak to me, just do so in an orderly fashion. “GOALS!” in a giant font size is no way to capture my attention. I will just signal with my hands in a sarcastic fashion and walk away.

According to the back cover, this guy has written 50 books. 50! Because he is such a prolific author, his name should be the biggest thing on the cover. When a famous person writes a book, nobody cares about the title. The title is secondary. People don’t say, “Bossypants? What’s this about? It sounds hilarious.” They say, “Hey! Tina Fey has a book? I want to read it.”

These are not examples of good graphic design but they prove my point on typography. If a successful author has written 50 books, his name should be in big, big, big type. (Not too big though).

There are many more things that are wrong with this book. The color palette is repugnant. The photo of the author looks like an afterthought. The typography actually has drop shadows. Yuk! A drop shadow is exactly what it sounds like, it’s the illusion of a shadow behind an object in order to create depth. In regards to print, drop shadows are a thing of the 90’s. They went out with padded shoulders and hi top haircuts.

It’s important to note, however, that drop shadows are a bit different in web. I’m currently doing ad banners and HTML emails here in the city and  we use drop shadows quite regularly. If drop shadows are okay for web in NYC, they’re okay for web anywhere.

In case you’re wondering…no…this book is not from the 90’s. That means they have no excuse for such hideous design. There is never an excuse for bad design (I might be saying this from a slightly biased perspective) but there is never, ever, ever, ever an excuse.

This has been another fun design talk by your delightful blogging host, Nik Parks. I hope you’ve learned a lot and I hope you’ve gained a new disdain for the 90’s (shutters in fear). So maybe the economy was better in the 90’s…maybe Washington didn’t nearly drive our national debt into default with unrealistic political ideals in the 90’s…maybe college graduates could start a career without having to hide in graduate schools in the 90’s…let’s not be so disillusioned that we believe the world was a better place back then. Everyone and Everything  looked ugly. Remember that.

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Quite inappropriate

Special thanks to my roommate for providing me with this delightfully disturbing photo.

Hmm…where to begin? Why does this seemingly underage girl look so sexual? There’s no way this should be legal. She has shoes, why doesn’t the boy? The boy seems overdressed in comparison to the girl. What is going on here?!

Besides, an air mattress is used when the host needs room for their guests – not promiscuity. I don’t equate sexual lingerie and inappropriately young cleavage with an air mattress. When I think of an air mattress, I picture a scenario in which one pal says to the other, “Of course you can crash at my place, but you’ll have to sleep on an air mattress, dude. The city is really expensive and my apartment is tiny.”

Is anyone else as disturbed as I am with this?

Another thing…are they in a giant’s house or something? Look at the enormous rug underneath the air mattress. Is this Jack, the beanstalk, and his underage friend with benefits? Do you see the flower pot in the background? That thing is the same size as Jack’s torso.

I’ll be honest, the typographical hierarchy isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. The kerning could be better, but it’s not terrible.

The logo definitely needs some work. The house in the background makes it cluttered and confusing. I can’t tell if that’s a bad driveway or if a creek coming out of the house. If it’s a driveway – that’s bad news for resale value. If it’s a creek…why is there a creek coming out of the house? Either way, it’s bad design.

Overall, I’m just going to have to scratch my head in confusion and move on. There’s no rescuing this design. It’s bad, bad, bad.

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