Author Archives: svaref

Paula Scher Makes a New Window

Paula Scher on designing the Windows 8 logo:

Meeting with Microsoft early in the development process, Scher asked: “Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”

The answer is the brand started as a window, but over the years, as computing systems grew more powerful and graphics more complex, evolved into a flag. Scher made the assumption that the waving flag was probably a result of typical industry comments that a plain window looked too static, and that straight lines were too severe.

“I think the waving flag was meant to be a flag in perspective,” says Scher. “All of the clichés of technology design are based on the idea that icons should look dimensional like product design that tech designers call ‘chrome’––look at the iPhone interface where everything has gradation and drop shadows.”

The new identity returns the logo to its roots. The name Windows was originally introduced as a metaphor for seeing into screens and systems and a new view on technology. The new identity reintroduces this idea with the actual visual principles of perspective. It also reflects the Metro design language developed by Microsoft for its products, graphics and user interfaces.

Check Scher out:

Make it bigger / Paula Scher – NC998.5.A1 S34 2002

Graphic design portfolio : how to make a good one / Paula Scher. – NC1001.S34 1992

Left, right, up, down : new directions in signage and wayfinding / ed. by TwoPoints.Net ; interview with Paula Scher by Martin Lorenz – NC1002.S54 L44 2010

Paula Scher : maps : paintings, installations, drawings and prints / Paula Scher – ND237.S4216 A4 2011

Studio Visits

This post of photos of illlustrators in their studios starts off with illustration super-star and SVA alum/faculty Yuko Shimizu. There are several books in the library that peek into the studios of artists, giving the rest of us a peek into their respective spaces and creative processes. Below are some links and titles to explore, in case you share this voyeuristic urge to learn from and explore the worlds of fellow makers. Studios: British artists, Famous artists, Pinterest, Drawing tables, Comic artists

In that stacks:

Artists at work : inside the studios of today’s most celebrated artists / David Seidner – N6536 .S45 1999

Artists’ studios / M.J. Long. – NA997.L66 A4 2009

Studio reader : on the space of artists / edited by Mary Jane Jacob and Michelle Grabner. – N8520 .S78 2010

Inside the painter’s studio / Joe Fig. – ND212.7 .F54 2009

Living and sustaining a creative life : essays by 40 working artists / edited by Sharon Louden – N40 .L58 2013

“The victory of the weightlessness of dreams over the heaviness of reality.”

Master film maker and hardcore human being, Werner Herzog interviewed:

I’m trying to find these rare moments where you feel completely illuminated. Facts never illuminate you. The phone directory of Manhattan doesn’t illuminate you, although it has factually correct entries, millions of them. But these rare moments of illumination that you find when you read a great poem, you instantly know. You instantly feel this spark of illumination. You are almost stepping outside of yourself and you see something sublime. And it can be something very average, some small thing that everybody overlooks. For example, in Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell filmed himself. He’s in the Starsky and Hutch mode and reenacts them and does something and he jumps and runs away and the camera is rolling. Twenty seconds later he returns as Starsky and Hutch and switches the camera off. And in these 20 seconds there is only reed grass wafting in the wind. And all of a sudden I notice something very big out there. An image that wanted its own existence. That’s so powerful and so strange and so illuminating that I had to show it in the film. And everybody overlooked it and I have to point it out. It’s something very, very strange and it can be the most insignificant, which all of a sudden acquires something deep and almost illuminating of your existence. You’re deep inside into the nature of things, into the abysses of the human soul.

Herzog made a film, Fitzcarraldo, about a man man who has a steamship hauled over a mountain in the Andes. And to dramatize this crazy story, he filmed a steamship over 30 tons being hauled over a mountain. People died.


Herzog on Herzog / edited by Paul Cronin – PN1998.3.H477 A3 2002

Cobra Verde / written and directed by Werner Herzog – V-F H476 cob DVD

Aguirre, the Wrath of God / a film by Werner Herzog – V-F H476 Agu DVD

Fitzcarraldo / directed by Werner Herzog – V-F H476 Fit DVD

My best fiend / directed and narrated by Werner Herzog – V-F H476 My DVD

Even dwarfs started small / written and directed by Werner Herzog – V-F H476 Nos DVD

Nosferatu the Vampyre & Phantom der Nacht / written, produced and directed by Werner Herzog

Encounters at the end of the world / directed, written and narrated by Werner Herzog

Stroszek / ein Film von Werner Herzog – V-F H476 Str DVD

Grizzly Man / directed and narrated by Werner Herzog – V-D H476 Gri DVD

Illustrating the World by Computer

Most of the students at SVA were born after 1987, meaning they never lived in a world without the vector graphics made possible by Adobe Illustrator. For designers who trained in the pre-digital world of graphic design, the difference is vast. This short film, The Adobe Illustrator Story, talks to some of the creators, testers, and early proponents of Adobe’s groundbreaking program. It’s hard to imagine so much of the style of design of the past three decades without the relative ease and speed of creation afforded by programs like Illustrator.

More on the vector graphics and the history of graphic design:

Vectorism : vector graphics today / edited and produced by Viction:workshop. – NC997 .V437 2011

Vector basic training : a systematic creative process for building precision vector artwork / developed & written by Von Glitschka. – T385 .G5856 2011

Graphic design history : a critical guide / Johanna Drucker, Emily McVarish. – NC998 .D78 2013

Meggs’ history of graphic design / Philip B. Meggs, Alston W. Purvis – Z246 .M43 2012

It’s Not Warming – It’s Dying.

This week we have had a box of buttons (see above) at the entrance to the library – help yourself next time you visit. Designer Milton Glaser has collaborated with SVA and Busy Beaver Buttons on a campaign to raise awareness about the real world consequences of climate change: It’s Not Warming. It’s Dying. – and on Twitter.

“I have started a campaign that we hope becomes global called ‘It’s Not Warming It’s Dying’. The idea is to have everybody wear this button all over the world as acknowledgement of what’s going on.” He embraces Buddhist philosophy which suggests “acknowledging” a problem is better than attempting action and exacerbating it.
But he declines to describe the badge in his own words (his studio hasn’t yet released the image, either). “If it’s not obvious, it doesn’t work.” And when asked to expand on his motives for launching a campaign that will include a website where the badges can be ordered, he responds dryly: “The fact that the world is coming to an end… and that the most important event in human history is not acknowledged.”

The Design of Dissent / by Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic – NX650.P6 G53 2005

The Human face of climate change / Mathias Braschler, Monika Fischer ; with texts by Jonathan Watts. – QC903 .B743 2011

Global weirdness : severe storms, deadly heat waves, relentless drought, rising seas, and the weather of the future / Climate Central – QC981.8.C5 .G58 2012

Climate change : picturing the science / Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe – QC981.8.C5 S3556 2009

The Global warming reader : a century of writing about climate change / edited with an introduction by Bill McKibben – QC981.8.G56 G58199 2012

Do good : how designers can change the world / David B. Berman – HF5413 .B47 2009

Future Fonts Today!

Is Google designing the ‘font of the future‘ for the Android? At this stage in the type game, it’s hard to imagine any one typeface dominating the future, but in terms of adapting to new mediums (like smart phones), it makes sense that Google and Apple would be pushing the boundaries of type development.

To explore further:

Reading letters : designing for legibility / Sofie Beier – Z250.A4 B44 2012

Designing for small screens : mobile phones, smart phones, PDAs, pocket PCs, navigation systems, MP3 players, game consoles / design by Studio 7.5 – TK7882.I6 D47 2005

Simple and usable : web, mobile, and interaction design / Giles Colborne. – QA76.9.U83 C65 2011

Using type / Michael Harkins- Z246 .H368 2010

Lettering & type : creating letters and designing typefaces / Bruce Willen, Nolen Strals – Z250 .W598 2009

Designing Multi-Device Experiences An Ecosystem Approach to User Experiences Across Devices / Michal Levin – QA76.9.U83 2014

Happy 29,771 days! – Good bye, On Kawara


Conceptual artist On Kawara, whose most well known work was a series of date paintings that began in 1966, has stopped marking the passage of days.
Roberta Smith on On Kawara in the NY Times: >>The “Today” series, part of the Duchampian tradition of making art directly from dumb reality, treated each date as a ready-made. The works seemed straightforward — even obvious — and maddeningly repetitive, suggesting the Zen passivity of John Cage’s acceptance of noise as music. But they were also diaristic and meditative and could resonate with existential, psychological and scientific implications about the time-space continuum.<<

To explore Kawara's work and Conceptual Art:

On Kawara : date painting(s) in New York and 136 other cities / edited by Tommy Simoens, Angela Choon – N7359.K38 A4 2012

On Kawara : ‘tribute’ / Jonathan Watkins, René Denizot. -N7359.K38 W36 2002

Tokyo, 1955-1970 : a new avant-garde / Doryun Chong – N7355.4 C46 2012

Conceptual art / Tony Godfrey. – N6494.C63 G63 1998

Six years : the dematerialization of the art object from 1966 to 1972 …/ edited and annotated by Lucy R. Lippard. – N6494.C63 L56 1997