Pinch. A design office., along with our friends at Substance and the Flash PDX User Group, invite you to an evening of show and tell. We asked (just about anyone who would listen) to show us what they'd been working on and we're pleased to announce that the finalists for our first event have been determined. Join us all on Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:00 pm, at Substance (1551 SE Poplar Ave, Portland). We'll get started at around 6:00 p.m., with drinks and music and begin the program by 7:00 p.m. We’re looking forward to you joining us for an informative, enlightening, and — with a little luck — entertaining evening of sharing. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP at the Upcoming listing or Facebook page. Find out about what these guys are up to. Next, it'll be your turn.
Jason Sherwood: Choffy for everyone
Shaun Tinney (of Substance): Adobe AIR Image creator
Scott Benish: State of the Salmon
Gene Ehrbar (of Anomaly Incorporated): An Introduction to SnappyCards
Vince LaVecchia (of Instrument): Building Flash sites that don’t suck
Anselm Hook: Spinny Globe
Cinco Design: UI/UX (TBD)
Noel Franus of Sonic ID: Picasso meets the flow chart
Jason Glaspey: Mmmm. Bac’n
Rael Dornfest: Thinking about Twitter
Hot beverages provided by Choffy.
Cold beverages provided by Substance and Pinch. A design office.
Spinning vinyl by Brian Emery.
When Mike Dempsey waxed his admiration of Jean Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 ‘À bout de soufflé (Breathless), there was little for which to take issue. She was a singular beauty. And so seemingly French (a born Iowan, actually) with that cropped cut, cigarette and wooly cabled fisherman's sweater. I recall thinking—as McIsaac and I discussed again earlier this very evening—that Paris in the early 60's would have been an inimitable time (and place) to roam. Of course, part of that is most certainly imagined nostalgia, but the other part I must believe, exemplified glamour in its purest form. Like Seberg; equal parts gorgeous and intrigue, even if merely an illusory construct. Smack dab in the middle of all of that were the men and the women who worked and lived, devoured and documented the café scene at a time "when content, space and scale coalesced". Tom Palumbo, a fashion photographer for Harper's Bazaar (with Alexey Brodovitch), Vogue, and other publications was but one of those able chroniclers. As Palumbo explains in his profile, this collection marks the beginning of an extensive archiving project with New York's Wonderbread. We can only hope there is much, much more in which to await. In the meantime, there are decades of Palumbo's work yet to sip in.
Another daily serving of six tweets on issues related to brand, design, and sustainability. We were again taken aback by the outside interest in our little project, with mentions from some of our favorite sources; Ben Pieratt's The Book Cover Archive, i love typography, Dropular and others. We found Studio On Fire's fine new(er) blog, plus a couple of intriguing books and some sound insight from Johnson Banks' Michael Johnson and IDEO's Tim Brown. We announced an upcoming event with our friends at Substance and we reveled in surpassing the 1k mark in followers of the Twitter feed (watch out, Stephen Fry!). As always, we extend a special thanks to you for the opportunity to deliver a little chest-beating about the goings-on at Pinch. A Design Office. We're so very pleased you're listening.
This is the eleventh essay in a collection of twelve written by Byron Ferris for the "Design Sense" feature of the Sunday Northwest Magazine insert of The Oregonian during 1984 and 1985. The Editors.
Grand Ronde, a small town on the way to the Oregon coast, has a feeling of being quite remote. The "Grand Ronde Shopping Center," a general store, apparently has to stock a bit of everything for those who can't get to the bigger centers in Willamina and Sheridan.
Browsing around the store is a pleasure; I find myself drawn to the tool bin, a lush jumble of shining wrenches, drill attachments, electric cords, screwdriver sets "Anything on This Table for $2.99." On my last visit I suddenly realized I needed a hammer, a brilliant chromed-head hammer with an inviting matte-black hand grip. When it practically leaped into my hand I knew I'd found a friend, a user-friendly tool that would help me to attack with unerring balance the most dull-pointed 10 penny nail. The hammerhead was sleek and beautifully sculptured with a claw end that flowed gracefully down in a luscious curve. The connection to the handle was continuous and streamlined, and I knew I was in the presence of true art.
I thought back to the year I served on the Art Selection Committee of the Portland Art Museum and the time that an ancient, red-lacquered Japanese stirrup was presented as an objet d'art to be purchased for the museum collections. The stirrup, designed for use, was no more beautiful than My Friend Hammer. Because the Japanese stirrup was from the historic Edo Period and was presented in a richly brocaded box, it commanded a high price. My hammer was new, a product of current industrial art - and only $2.99.
Most people think of "Art" as paintings and sculpture on display in art museums, separated out, in a way, from daily living. Another kind of art expression, however, is called "crafts." Beautiful pieces of sculptured furniture, fabrics, individually designed jewelry, ceramic ware and porcelains are on selected display at Oregon's nationally noted Contemporary Crafts Gallery as well as at other galleries and shops around the state. These objects are useful and necessary in daily life, but, using the language of art, extremely well-made.
A question: "OK, art - so what's the use?" Answer: Viewing visual art can elevate one's aesthetic sense in ways that can be refreshing, useful and in tune with moments of human excellence. That's the "use" of Art.
The same principle works at home when we select objects that include the simple language of art. The kitchen shears, simple and sculptured, give us great joy in their use. The Alvar Alto glass bowl that holds our spring flowers is a pleasure in the early morning light. Even my typewriter, sculptured by the Italian designer, Etore Sotsass, is a delight for the eye as I write. And I have my hammer, a nice statement of American design art.
It seems to me that a good deal of the usefulness of museum art is the preservation of the moments, styles and attitudes of our ancestors and of past cultures. The grace and beauty of the people illustrated on Greek urns, for instance, are captured in a way that we still can see, and the color and mysticism of early Northwest Coast Indian cultures are preserved in museum collections in artifacts that are disappearing from the real world.
The function of recording a past moment is part of the art of a Japanese print in my family's collection, a print by Hiroshige made about 1836, well before Adm. Matthew Calbraith Perry prevailed on Japan's Tokugawa shogunate to open the feudal island to trade with America in 1854. Hiroshige's picture records a windy day on the lakefront marshes of Yokkaichi station in sensitive line drawing and subtly colored woodblock printing. Though the drawing is assured, alive with wind and wetness, the picture is just a country scene, an occurrence of gentle amusement in which a man chases his hat as it rolls off in the breeze. It is really what we would think of today as a cartoon.
The Portland Art Museum has had feature exhibitions of the prints of Hiroshige and other Japanese block-print masters, and the museum's Asian collection includes many similar prints. The "block-print" method of multiple reproduction allowed many people 150 years ago to have copies of these pictures, often the onlY pictures many Japanese citizens of that time had seen.
Come to think of it, the print method used by Hiroshige, a black drawing with added color tints, is similar to the technique The Oregonian uses for the Sunday comic pages.
I wonder whether this comic art will be housed in future museums as an artistic record of our culture? At the very least, it is available to all of us now home-delivered.
As a design firm, we've been interested in the debate surrounding crowdSPRING, the "crowd-sourcing" site focused on providing cut-rate graphic design for low-budget projects. The idea has been around for quite some time and as crowdSPRING co-founder Ross Kimbarovsky is quick to point out, his company is not the only concern offering these services. The topic bubbled up again last week when Forbes magazine published an article calling out a "snooty" design community and leveraging the fears of old (and the hope of new) in a thinly veiled advertorial for Kimbarovsky's company. The "conversation" swept the design blogs and diverse positions were posted from all angles. We jumped in and somehow wound up smack dab in the middle of David Airey's little mosh pit. We admit to liking it a bit.
Yesterday, Fast Company threw their hats into the ring. Well, maybe not the publication itself, but Aaron Perry-Zucker, a regular Fast Company contributor, RISD student and the lead behind Design For Obama, a project for which we hold great respect. Perry-Zucker is a smart young man and we respect him, but we had little respect for his lethargic position on this post, titled "Democratizing Design?"
We found Ilya Ruderman on a random Web search for Pinch. It seems that there's a Flickr community of the same name that collects and connects photographers from the world over. They do a little interview series called Five Questions, in which the current subject determines the next interview. It's good. To date, there has been twelve or so of these sessions and early in the series, (the photographer) Ilya Ruderman was one of those subjects. His photos are one thing; quite a beautiful study of people, places, and objects. His Project | Double Shots with Yury Ostromentsky and Panorama sets suggest a colorized time and place long removed. But his typographic work—with Russian type designers for Daily Type and Typoholic—is quite another, and both properties are wholly impressive. We suggest you look around. Follow their leads, no matter where they take you. Like the projects themselves, it's a satisfying exploration.
Ettubrute is an American architect and photographer living in the Netherlands. According to his profile, the bloke's name is James Leng and much like his European travels, his work has been finding its way around the world (wide webs).
The entire photostream is worth a look, but Leng's architectural documentation is most alluring. Foreign Office Architects' stark and superb Social Housing Project, Richard Rogers' Barahas Terminal 4 project in Madrid, and the Villa VPro offices from Dutch firm MVRDV are at once contemplative and spirited. One might argue that subject matter this good is easy to capture. And they'd be wrong. Leng sees space from an architect's perspective and in doing so, understands the environmental relationship between the built and the natural. There exists a sense of human activity in every shot, and yet rarely is a figure present for scale, further underlying the premise that the subject is the subject and nothing more.
Leng's Timelapse series has received more-than-solid response from visual designers in the Twitterverse, as well. Rotterdam Snow in January and Turkish Dinner Get-Together are just two of his animated assemblies that seem ready made for advertising. If advertising, for its better part, was only that good.
Douglas Lynch is 95 years old. That alone is worth reporting. If his name doesn't immediately ring a bell, it should. Lynch is one of our region's most treasured design resources; a book designer (of thirty plus titles), teacher, mentor, critic and communicator of considerable skill. And one of the last remaining artists of FDR's Works Progress Administration.
This past Sunday, Lynch was honored by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission along with friends and collaborators of the Portland designer; an opportunity to look back on Lynch's early works for the WPA at Mt. Hood's Timerberline Lodge and to provide further insights on his long and storied career in design. Sadly, health issues prohibited Lynch himself from attending Sunday's event and yet, his considerable spirit was certainly present. The gathering roused about 250 people, including our friend (and Lynch contemporary) Byron Ferris, Lynch's grandson (and Pinch client) Ben Walsh, and an entourage of regional arts and culture luminaries. Designer Mel Ulvin, Oregon Historical Society curator and editor Lois Mack, and writer Spencer Hill (Lynch's partner at Artwork Associates) were among those who took the podium.
Ms. Mack provided a retrospective of Lynch's design and illustration work for The Bosn's Whistle, the newsletter of the Oregon, Swan Island, and Vancouver shipyards that churned out "Baby Flat Tops" during the second world war. Henry F. Kaiser, the industrialist shipbuilder (and founder of Kaiser-Permanente) was the driving force and profiteer behind that effort and he clearly understood the value of visual communications in maintaining worker morale, and in reminding them about the grave importance of efficiency and safety in "waging the war on the home front."
Most entertaining were Lynch's own submitted notes, which expressed his gratitude for being noticed during this time as he believed his relevance "was of another time." Of particular interest were Lynch's written recollections of his working and personal relationships during the golden era of Cole & Weber, with Ira Keller (who pursued Lynch while at Container Corporation of America prior to relocating to Portland), with Lillian Hellman, Charles Haney, Lloyd Reynolds and C.S. Price, among many, many others.
In the weeks ahead—if his health allows—we will aim to sit down with Mr. Lynch for our upcoming interview series, The Straight Six. In addition to Lynch, we'll be also be interviewing sustainability and design consultant Marc Alt, ideasonideas' Eric Karjaluoto, Type Desk's Theodore Rosendorf and Celery's Brian Dougherty.
By now you know how Pinch_Bespoke works; six tweets a day on issues related to brand, design, and sustainability. Last week Alltop found us and we found sources Illo and Motionographer, and Carsten Nicolai's upcoming Grid Index, due out soon. We reminded you about designer Hans Gugelot, who lived a way-too-brief forty five years. No big surprises in seeing quotes from Tschichold and Updike. And like we like to do, we felt compelled to post a few samples of our work and reflect on the constant mumble bubbling up from the studio floor.
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