Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Typecon Week So Far... Part 1

I have been busy attending Typecon events this week so I am a bit behind on blog posts. Cousin Toby and I were out until well after four a.m. (finishing at the Old Pink, for those who know B-lo.) trying to show the visiting typographers and graphic designers a good time, as a result we are skipping the conference talks for the morning.

We went to see Stefan Sagmeister on Wednesday Night at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. He showed a few of his client projects and then moved into the work he began several years ago when he closed his studio for a year to work on personal projects. The acoustics of the huge hall made it hard work to hear what he was saying but overall he is an engaging speaker. I think Sagmeister is a great graphic designer, but I am not a huge fan of his big personal project,
Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far. He made a list of maxims that sum up things that he has learned in his life so far, he then elaborately constructs or somehow builds each word of the phrase and photographs them (see below). I like a lot of the project visually, and I admire his use of materials, but I really don't like the Jenny Holzer truism approach (apparently they collaborated at some point). All of these lines read like dull platitudes, and often the treatment he gives each individual word doesn't seem to relate in a convincing conceptual way to the maxim. That is my impression anyway, I should probably go through the whole book.

  • Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
  • Thinking life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
  • Being not truthful works against me.
  • Helping other people helps me.
  • Organizing a charity group is surprisingly easy.
  • Everything I do always comes back to me.
  • Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
  • Over time I get used to everything and start taking it for granted.
  • Money does not make me happy.
  • Traveling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life.
  • Assuming is stifling.
  • Keeping a diary supports my personal development.
  • Trying to look good limits my life.
  • Worrying solves nothing.
  • Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
  • Having guts always works out for me.

On Thursday night we went out to UB to see NLXL, a fantastic dutch graphic design group they showed a lot of their work and talked about their process in a loose friendly kind of way. One of their weirdest projects involved using live flies to be film actors by gluing little poles to their backs. They made a tiny knit sweater for the fly and a bicycle, if that sounds crazy it is and it was, I'm still not sure exactly what it was all about. The three guys from NLXL had seen my Pecha Kucha presentation and seemed enthusiastic about the Shopping Carts and Spiders, we are going to do a poster exchange, very cool. Check out their site here.

Last night we went to a great talk by Erik Spiekermann, a famously passionate type designer. I will have to go into that in a later post, but in the meantime watch this:

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