Fun Friday Fare

I warned you I’m in a mood, right? Today, I wanna take in stuff that’s irreverent, absurd and smart – in a hipster millennial kinda way. You know; have a giggle and allow myself the freedom – and luxury – to be silly. Very silly. This series of videos (the original and the retorts) hit the spot. Enjoy & have a GREAT weekend, everyone!

Digital Distractions

Oh, goodness. When I watched this video, it not-so-gently raised a mirror to my face. Yes, I’m that person who has my smart phone glued to my hip; checking Twitter, email, Flipbook and, yes, frittering hours away, lost in the world of Pinterest. As a matter of fact, the other night I was totally stressed and sleepy and instead of going to bed or folding my laundry, I found myself watching a video of a Japanese cat who likes boxes. (which you can find here. Fair warning: there are literally 258 videos of this silly cat, including one that has been viewed by over 15 million people. Not that I watched all of them…) Makes me realize that the act of just “being” – which I used to be a pro at – has become a wee bit too foreign, and I could use a lot more time in the present, undistracted. Let me know if you see yourself here too so I don’t feel like I’m the only one!

Paris vs New York – the sequel

Paris vs. NYC Logo

 is a French graphic designer with high-profile clients like Prada and Hermès, who still somehow finds time to indulge his creative energy through personal projects. Paris vs. New York is one of those labors of love. He describes the work as “A friendly visual match between two cities told by a lover of Paris wandering through NewYork. Details, clichés, contradictions.” I shared a few of these clever juxtapositions a couple of years ago, and couldn’t resist sharing some of his newer pieces – along with a great little video. Hope you enjoy!

Paris vs NYC_allure Paris vs NYC_bandeoriginale Paris vs NYC_bobohipster Paris vs NYC_Fashion superheros Paris vs NYC_ingenieur Paris vs NYC_matin Paris vs NYC_Nails Paris vs NYC_pechemignon Paris vs NYC_reinvention

Best of the Brits – part 1

Fridays are for fun, right? So I thought I’d feature a few of the European commercials that were honored by the 2012 British Arrow Awards. I saw these last month at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where they make it an annual holiday tradition to showcase the brilliant bits of advertising fodder for a month-long run in their cinema. Hope they provide a fun little pre-weekend diversion!

A Feline version of the Sharks? Amusing, yet somehow the possibility is haunting, no? (“Cats with Thumbs” for Cravendale by Wieden + Kennedy London; Smith and Jones Films, directed by Ulf Johansson)

A cautionary tale in which classy beats trashy once again – and still gets to have all the fun. (“Walk of Shame” for Harvey Nichols Womenswear by DDB UK; the Love Commercial Production Company; directed by James Rouse)

Okay, while not funny or anything; I adore this spot. First of all, it makes me want to get to know all my neighbors better. But also, I think it’s amazing how un-idealized – how very genuinely authentic – this is presented in terms of material possessions. That creates a space for a viewer to focus only on how much they’d like to join in the experience; to connect with friends and family in a real way. Brilliant. (“Emergency Chairs” for KFC by BBH; Blink; directed by Benito Montorio.)

Marvelous Marcel

Yes, I know that almost 19 million people have viewed these videos already – far more popular than the usual fare that I publish here. But lately I’ve come to realize that many folks I know are still unfamiliar with this brilliant little creature named Marcel. Created by the husband/wife team of writer/director Dean Fleischer-Camp and writer/actress Jenny Slate (a SNL alum, who’s tenure was cut short due to an “F-word” utterance on live TV), this charming video series introduces us to the charming world of a shell named Marcel… Enjoy – and happy Friday!

Finding Some Direction

I’m totally in the mood for some comic relief today. Something light, silly and deliciously cheesy – yet smart… with a tad bit of naughty. So I’ve turned to the masters of that genre: British commercials. Today’s theme? Directing. 

Creative Credits
The Light is your Friend / Young Director Award: BETC Paris & Pop-Up Films, London
David Shane on how to make a commercial / Doritos: AMV BBDO London

Best of Show: Rosemary Rae Design Shop

Last week marked my 17th year of attending the National Stationery Show in New York. (I am overcome with the urge to insert lame cliché about the impossibility of that much time passing, but I am far too baffled by the statistic to produce a witticism.) I remember my first year – I was an exhibitor back then – vividly. New to my company, I found myself sitting alone at midnight in the darkness of the Javits’ main foyer watching a drill charge. Clearly, the most critical tasks were reserved for newbies like myself. Anyway, once the show opened, I was completely transported into an ocean of inspiration, thus sealing my life-long love affair with stationery products. I still get a buzz walking the show, but it’s different now. I’d estimate the general scale of the convention is about a third the size it was all those years ago, so there’s simply less merchandise to be bedazzled by. And I suppose I’m a bit tainted – having seen so much gorgeous paper product over the years – so it takes something really original to surprise me. This year, I found that special “wow” factor in a company called Rosemary Rae Design Shop. To me, this line stood out from the oodles of lovely indie letterpress offerings. It may be niche and singular in style; yet it is refreshingly bold and unexpected; thoughtfully designed by a talented typographer. Unfortunately, you can’t buy it on-line yet (website is coming though – click on any image to bookmark the site). Until then, I encourage you to relentlessly pressure your local specialty retailer into carrying the brand!

Decidedly Designer T’s

I was first introduced to The Social Department last winter at Minneapolis’ “No Coast Craft-O-Rama”, where I was wholeheartedly enticed into purchasing a certain T that spoke to me deeply (reluctantly modeled at the end of this post). This Ohio-based T-Shirt company creates silkscreened wares with a designer’s voice and a brilliant typographic touch. They specialize in celebrating city and state pride (yes, ALL states are available), but also have unique options for design nerds, foodies, and sports fans. Most designs are available in both men’s and women’s sizes. (As always, click to shop!)

Clarendon T-Shirt, $25
Letters and Numbers T-Shirt, $25
Californian T-Shirt, $25
Arkansawyer T-Shirt, $25
Tennessean T-Shirt, $25
Craft Beer T-Shirt, $25
Landlocked T-Shirt, $25
Tater Tot Infant T-Shirt, $22
Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner Infant T-Shirt, $22
Quark Legend T-Shirt, $25 (I just couldn't resist!)

Mad for Mags

It’s become a ubiquitous experience: you’re seated in the lobby, waiting for your bi-annual teeth cleaning (or root canal, as the case may be), surrounded by out-of-date issues of Newsweek and well-worn copies of People magazine. Maybe there’s a Better Homes & Garden thrown in for good measure. While I understand the concept of trying to please the masses, I see a lost opportunity there. What if, instead, folks had a chance to explore something outside their daily milieu? Something fresh, with an unexpected voice that provides the chance to broaden one’s world? Here are my votes for magazines I’d really like to see in the Dentist’s office:

Wallpaper*: architecture, design, fashion, art and lifestyle magazine.
Uppercase Magazine: for the creative and curious
It's Nice That: championing creativity
Rubbish Magazine: a look at the fun side of fashion, focusing on the silly and the satirical.
Little White Lies: an independent publication about truth and movies.
Monocle: a mix of smart journalism, international awareness and sharp design.
Sublime: a bi-monthly international lifestyle magazine for creative thinkers and inquiring minds.

Television Icons

I was totally amused by this series of posters on exhibit at the Walker Art Center last month. Created by Austrian designer Albert Exergian, each print boils the essence of a popular American TV series down to a simple graphic element. (It’s worth noting I had no idea US popular culture played big in Vienna…) Modernist. Minimalist. And most certainly cheeky. Prices range between £30-£120, depending on size desired.

Reimagining your ABCs

I am completely charmed by this piece of motion graphics, created by n9ve, a multidisciplinary design studio based in Turin, Italy. “The Alphabet 2” – starring Helvetica –  is a visual typographic feast, with each letter playfully represented as the word it begins.

  • Direction / Postproduction / Sound Design: Alessandro Novelli
  • Design / Animation / Set Design: Andrea Gendusa & Alessandro Novelli
  • Additional Animation and Set Design: Mario Arcadu
  • Music track: Fréhel “Tel qu’il est” 1936

To Each, Their Own: Mac vs. PC

Designed by the talented folks at Column Five Media, this somewhat controversial infographic is based on the findings of researchers over at Hunch. They looked at data from roughly 700,000 of their website visitors to compile seemingly random (Mac users eat hummus!) generalizations about users of Macs & PCs. Thoroughly entertaining, though. (Click image to enlarge)

Welcome Back, Sunshine.

I’m determined to greet the new year with a positive attitude and optimistic outlook. Those that know me may be like “what else is new?” (admittedly, I have an annoying habit of keeping it sunny an inordinate amount of the time already). Still, I choose to be additionally deliberate in cultivating a genuinely happy and hopeful disposition. The video I’m sharing today does just that. This flash mob at Heathrow airport was selected as the British Arrow Awards winner for “Best Television Commercial of the Year”. Some may say it borders on cheeky and teeters at the edge of sap, but I can’t get enough. Created by Saatchi & Saatchi London and director Henry-Alex Rubin for T-Mobile UK. (Full screen, please, with the sound up.)

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