Day 45 : 28 August 2002 (10 entrires)

Joe Pemberton's picture











o__n's picture

Naah. Wes Wilson, poster for The Association.

The book cover is a relatively crappy attempt to combine this poster with Milton Glaser's Dylan poster (with psychedelic hair). The tee is a much better homage (although it loses out on what Wilson, Moscoso, and Albers knew so well about color vibrations).

And it IS homage: I don't think that this design is trying to fool us into thinking this is something altogether new, but referencing a strong work of design history.

hrant's picture

More Art than Design, actually. But it looks nice.


brainiac's picture

Wes Wilson DID the cover of that book, crappy or not. (1987) Hrant, I think it looks nice too, however unoriginal.

hrant's picture

Joe, I'm not sure - it's mostly a feeling, I guess.
Stunning, it is.


cchs's picture

Homage. Parody. Inspriration. Influence. Plagiarism.

These are a tricky terms to assign. Work that is influenced by or inspired by previous work by others often creeps into the realm of plagiarism

hrant's picture

> it misses the point of the original pun

I think it rises to a new level.


cchs's picture

>I think it rises to a new level.

I disagree entirely. "design is a good idea" is a pun. The double meanings are: 1) that it is a good idea to design things and that, 2) the term design can be defined as the execution of "a good idea."

Whereas: "kerning is a good idea" simply means that it is a good idea to kern. The pun is lost. Worse, the idea and the design for the shirt is ripped-off making the attempted parody an awkward and embarassing imitation of a superior original. It lacks any sensitivity or understanding of the original concept.

tsprowl's picture

homage to me relates to something someone did as a gift or show of respect in your own way not imitation.

Charles Demuth's painting "I saw the figure five in gold" payed homage to his friend William Carlos Williams's the poet who had a poem by the same name.

Albers and his 'homage to the square' series showed his respect in his way (to make visual) geometry, color, and mathematical representation before concept.

homage does not mean copy

hrant's picture

> "kerning is a good idea" simply means that it is a good idea to kern.

No, the whole point is the context of the "original" version! Maybe you just don't enjoy parody?


cchs's picture

I remember the first time I saw the Demuth that Tanya is referring to. I was in the Met and I was literally frozen in my tracks. A Williams fan, I recognized the reference even before reading the title. It's such a masterful and tasteful visual interpretation of verse. A true homage.

I don't think the "kerning is a good idea" submission even begins to approach that same level of sophistication. And I disagree that the whole point is the context of the original. It's just another example of designers failing to really appreciate the power of the written word. Unlike "I Saw the Figure Five in Gold" which sensitively captures the color and rhythm of Williams' verse, the "kerning" example merely parrots the look of its predecessor.

Literacy is the first skill of a good designer. Without it we're merely aimless decorators.

hrant's picture

> the "kerning" example merely parrots the look of its predecessor.

Dude, have a sense of humor - that's not a parrot, that *is* in fact a sophisticated "inside joke": the font at hand is Base Nine (Bold) - do you forget that a big deal was made about it not having any kerning? They even made a poster saying "blah blah blah NOWHERE NEAR KERNING". Get it?

Or are you perhaps overly sensitive to anything that parodizes Emigre, or maybe parodizes the value of Design (expressed in the original)? Do you like The Onion, or do you think it's unpatriotic or something?


tsprowl's picture

yay. another Demuth fan. I payed homage to Demuth focusing on his visual, altering the fonts, simplying the painting and inking it black on my shoulder. only 1 lady, about 60yrs old at a folk cafe has ever recognized it, walked by said, 'I love Demuth too' and left.

again homage means you can appreciate and do not, absolutely would not, even think of, imitating it. to borrow someones concept for any other purpose (advertising typophile in this case) is almost an insult not a parody.

it smells of those Microdot (for microsoft) and other knock-off t-shirts in the head shops.

hrant's picture

> only 1 lady, about 60yrs old at a folk cafe has ever recognized it,

No, she's just the only one who told you.
Point: there is no "conversation" - the shirt has to do the work silently.

> almost an insult not a parody.

Even if they got permission (which I hear they did)?


johnbutler's picture

The Onion rocks.

I didn't get the exact origins of that flamin' design, but yesiree bob it shore is purdy. I did recognize it as referencing 60's rock posters. I think it will go on my top 5 list. I'd like to see the versions in the cooler colors, though.

cchs's picture

The "kerning" shirt is humorus, but it's a rip-off of something funnier. That's all I'm saying. The whole issue of base 9's lack of kerning is so esoteric and self-referrential it really ceases to be relevant.

I have no particular affinity for Emigre (though they distribute some great stuff), and I do love the Onion. But if I did

cchs's picture

Should have been sleeping and not typing...

So much depends upon
a red wheel barrow
glazed with rainwater
beside the white chickens

hrant's picture

> it's a rip-off of something funnier.

Then I'm the one with no sense of humor. (I always suspected it...)

> I don't think it should disqualify my opinion.

No - but it should *qualify* it.

> Let's not make this personal.

But we're people!
Let's not make it mean, agreed. I hope I wasn't.


Miss Tiffany's picture

002 -- super cool -- but that yellow, ack my eyes. how about pink on red? or orange on red. this is the kind of t that would be great on tye-dye (obviously.)

cchs's picture

Well put Hrant. I hope I didn't come across as mean either.

Joe Pemberton's picture

"More art than design..."? What exactly does that
mean? And why make a distinction in this case? Do
you make a distinction because it's illustrative?
Because it's custom drawn and not a font? Why would
this make it art and not design? And is that bad? Is it
bad English to run this many questions in a paragraph?

Re: color vibrations. The designer submitted alternate
colors (a middle blue and bright red), which I'll post
shortly, as it seems relevant.

Joe Pemberton's picture

By the way, does 01.001 /Kerning is a good idea/ qualify as homage? Hah. Parody is probably a better word, but I believe both are appropriate for different reasons.

45.002 is stunning (whether it's art or design, whatever that

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