MIDDLESEX – Cover design by Henry Sene Yee, Cover illustration by Olga Grlic, published by PicadorI haven’t read this book yet, but I look at it every time I end up perusing Barnes and Noble. The black and white/matte finish is classy.Hell, even the gold-embossed Pulitzer badge – something usually slapped on long after the cover has been completed – looks great. The mix of photographic smoke-as-water combined with flat silhouette figures is awesome. The implication of cool naked chicks hanging around being naked while smoking cigarettes doesn’t hurt anything, either. And now that I’ve read the credits and know the illustrator is named “Olga Grlic”, well, I’m in love. This is a really nice looking book cover. C’mon! Continue reading →
THE TOYOTA YARIS LIFTBACK (2007-2008)– Of all the great car designs in the world I could talk about, I choose this little fella. Because every time I see one on the street,I am struck by just how dang NICE they are. The proportions, the styling, the hefty stance. They are like fat little shiny burritos. I want a black one, no rear spoiler thing, no plastic wheel covers-just black steel rims. As a side note, let me say that this car was introduced with one of the worst ad campaigns I’d ever seen.The computer-generated bullshit that filled my TV screen the first couple years these were out made me so angry I literally was unable to see the car.
SHURON RONSIR ZYL EYEGLASS FRAMES -These classic-ass frames have been around for a long long time(according to the manufacturer’s site, they sold their 16 millionth pair in 1971). They are apparently pronounced “zill”. I searched for quite awhile before finally finding these babies, and now they are mine. Buy some; Look like me.
MUSE – KNIGHTS OF CYDONIA (2006) – Directed by Joseph Kahn – Cowboys, kung-fu, sci-fi, 60s/70s execution. Superimposed hawks. A chrome-bikini-clad woman on a unicorn with a magical CD. Dirtbikes. Droids. Band-as-hologram. This thing is amazing. It’s not too often I see a music video and actually get jealous that I didn’t make it. There is an uncensored version on the director’s website, but honestly his site has to much Flash-wankery for me to bother with.
PETER, BJORN & JOHN – YOUNG FOLKS (2006) – Directed by Ted Malmros – This video successfully compliments the song. Which, you know, should be the goal of all video makers, but most sorta miss the mark. But this works. It’s cute and eye-catching and plain ol’ apt. It fits, damn it. I think the limited animation approach mostly succeeds, though there a few times I feel like they’re rehashing the same clips a few too many times. The art style itself is great. Simple, clean, good color palette.
GORILLAZ – CLINT EASTWOOD (2001) – Art by JC Hewlett – Christ, I think I could put the Gorillaz in like, every category I’ve made here. They’re just awesome. Most everything they release is just so goddamned quality. But it all started with this video (maybe. I think. Right? I’m no goddamned Gorillaz historian.) and I think it still stands as one of the best animated videos I’ve ever seen. I mean, I’m still in love with the song, too. So that sure don’t hurt.
SIX FEET UNDER (2001-2005) – Digital Kitchen, music by Whatsisname Newman – I love this sequence. I think it should so obviously be on this list of Really Nice Things, it almost seems like I should exclude itdue to its obviousity, know what I mean? Great music, great editingcuts to the music, great imagery, great execution. Some of it could have come out corny (time lapse of flowers dying? Come ON!) but they pulled it off. It’s pretty great. Watch the sequence & stuff from the DVD.
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (2006) – Shadowplay Studios– Awesome. I assume it was done in After Effects, and it’s top-notch.No bullshit preset animation crap, no dumb effects, just good graphicdesign and typography, sliced up and animated in a classy way. Therecreation of some of the packaging must have been a ball-buster, andit completely paid off. It rocks. Watch the sequence.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002) – Nexus Productions, I think. – I liked this but didn’t love it.The animation technique was nice, the colors were nice, the overallgraphic treatment was nice. The extended lines off of the type(Helvetica or Coolvetica or whatever the hell it is) really didn’t doit for me at all, which is tough nuts for me because the whole sequenceis built around the gimmick. It all plays very well with the JohnWilliams score. It’s totally like, tons better than most crap movietitles, don’t get me wrong. I mean, it’s on this extremely importantwebpage, right? I mean, I made the effort.Watch it on the YouTube.
BEASTIE BOYS VIDEO ANTHOLOGY (2000) – Menu and package design: Bill McMullen/The Orange Network, DVD production: Sean Wright-Anderson – The packaging has some above average illustration work on it and anice lil’ booklet, but my main target of praise are the DVD menus.They’re all just really slick and spot-on. The Beastie Boys have a longhistory of having a really strong graphic presence. Sometimes thepackaging outclasses the product itself (Intergalactic!). Anyhoo, this DVD collection is the shit and the menus are solid.
ROBERT JOHNSON – KING OF THE DELTA BLUES (1961) – painting by Burt Goldblatt– Easily one of my favorite paintings for an album cover, ever. I’ve seen so many variations on the ONE photo of Robert Johnson, it just makes this unique angle all the more original. I just dig the shit out of it. Continue reading →
KNOB CREEK– I don’t like whiskey. But I like this bottle, goddamnit. Nice type,nice color palette. One of the sharper looking labels at the liquor store.
SIMPLY ORANGE JUICE– I don’t claim this is the flashiest package design in the world, but it’s certainly the nicest orange juice container when compared to all the other orange juice containers. There’s some nice solid typography going on on this little juicy bastard. IT CAUGHT MY EYE, OKAY???
DORITOS X-13D CHIPS– Putting aside the whole hamburger-flavored chip conversation for a sec, I’d just like to say that I like this bag. It makes me laugh. If Iwas about to board an extremely top-secret military aircraft while wearing an experimental spacesuit, then I would expect a seriously lab-coated woman holding a clipboard to hand me this as an in-flight snack.
THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD (2006) – Mike Mignola – Okay. Um, this is one of the best things ever. It makes me really like David Hyde Pierce, so it’s gotta be pretty amazing, right? I mean, they put the word ‘amazing’ in the title. So it’s probably pretty amazing. Let me tell you right now to your ugly little face: This is amazing. Putting aside the fact that it is brilliantly written and extremely well-performed vocally, this is just such an awesome translation of Mignola’s style to animation. So much black! I originally saw this on the Sci Fi Network website last year, and it came out on DVD. I own a copy. You should, too.
THANK YOU MASK MAN (1971) – John Magnuson Associates / Lenny Bruce – I saw this a long long time ago on a TV show called Night Flight. The animation is not great, but it’s so damned weird it becomes attractive to me. The use of the odd textured backgrounds is an interesting approach. The audio is so garbled, to this day there are still bits I don’t understand. Lenny’s voicework is super. It is a hoot and a holler and still considered pretty rude.
WHAT BARRY SAYS (2004) – Barry McNamara and Knife Party – I saw this a couple of years ago on the gigposters.com forums, and I just fell in love with it. Maybe if I paid more attention to what my contemporaries were doing I’d find more great stuff like this, but alas, I usually keep my head up my ass so it doesn’t roll away. ANYWAY, the animation in this is great. The typography is great. The color palette is also great. The voiceover and the message the voiceover delivers and the mood and the execution are all… uh, great. Everything about this is just pretty great. You get the idea. I think I can say without reservation that this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on the internet.
THE FAT LIL ZOLOFT BLOBBY DUDE – I laugh at him because he looks squishy.