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On Design

Beauty of Mathematics

Alex Osorio

"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music." —Bertrand Russell By Yann Pineill & Nicolas Lefaucheux (more from Parachutes on Vimeo)

Like Knows Like

Alex Osorio

Like Knows Like has been putting out some really inspirational videos profiling artist, designers, photographers and other creative people. My favorite so far has been this one profiling artist & illustrator Lisa Congdon. In this short film she says, "When you're a creative person and you're not actively creating there's this hole inside of you but then when I started painting and drawing and when I became a prolifically creative person that hole went away and that's when i realized that was why it was there to begin with." Whenver I need a little creative boost I come back to this video. I'm not ashamed to say I've watched it six or seven times now. Hope it also inspires you.

Type In The Wild Challenge!

Alex Osorio

Identifying a typeface you see IRL (in real life, for our less internet-y friends) can be pretty tricky. It takes an eye for details to accomplish such a feat. Above, I've provided four images of typefaces I've seen while walking around Manhattan & Brooklyn. The first person to identify all four typefaces and post the names in  the comments below will win this Type Nerd Tattly designed by the legendary Jessica Hische from me! You must be logged in to comment. If you log in as a guest please be sure to include your email address in the form or your twitter handle in the comments so I can reach out to you if you won. The contest will end in one week on Wednesday, March 26th at which point I will post the winner and the answers. Good luck!

Akademia Zubrowka—The Grand Budapest Hotel's Best Kept Secret

Alex Osorio

If you visit the website for The Grand Budapest Hotel it would be very easy to overlook a small invitation in the top right corner for Akademia Zubrowka. However, skipping over to your Facebook tab would be a grave mistake as you would be missing out on some incredibly beautiful content. The site purports to educate you on the history of Zubrowka but I would argue it's education is more in the realm of exquisite design. Do yourself a favor and head over there now.

Hoefler v. Frere-Jones: The Webfont Problem

Alex Osorio

Any good designer knows that some of the most brilliant typefaces come from the foundry known as Hoefler & Frere-Jones, or H&FJ. Wax poetic about the slabs in Archer? Swoon over the hunky Gotham? Admire the strong sensibility of Whitney? Yes, Yes and Yes. I will go to there. So, as a web designer, I was thrilled when H&FJ announced their Cloud Typography service.

After beginning a couple new side projects, I found myself exploring the idea of signing up for a yearly membership with Cloud Typography. Then the news broke that the infamous type duo was splitting and that Jonathan Hoefler had apparently done wrong by Tobias Frere-Jones. Horrified,
I immediately thought of how awful they must feel I immediately thought of my own selfish type needs. I want to use these amazing typefaces in my web design projects but I feel a sense of guilt not knowing how things will pan out legally for Tobias Frere-Jones. What kind of compensation will he recieve if designers everywhere sign up for the Cloud Typography service? Is he being treated fairly?

How do other designers feel about this? Is anyone aware of any factual information that can assuage my guilt? I (and I'm sure other designers) would love to have all the facts on this.

Do you solve your problems with design?

Alex Osorio

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 11.16.01 AM.png

After teaching Interactive Media Production at the Miami Ad School for a couple of months, I realized that the best possible way to ensure you're working on something meaningful— something that matters to you and others—is to ask yourself whether you're solving a problem through your design. This is also the best way to find new things to work on. Keep a small journal and everytime you're annoyed or angered by something write it down.

I was at Whole Foods on 3rd and Third the other day and (sidenote: you must go to there) I was thinking, 'I wish there was an easy way to know what fruits and veggies are in season right now so that I'm able to eat fresh and local as much as possible.' So, I made, a responisve site that quickly tells you just that: what's in season, in New York, right now. (More locations coming soon!)

Chances are great that if you're experiencing a problem, so are several other people. As a designer it's your duty to use your talents to solve these problems in the world. As the legendary Stefan Sagmeister says, "Complaining is silly, either act or forget."

Do you design with light or paint?

Alex Osorio

After watching the above video on Steve Mould's nerdy blog and reading Ian Storm Taylor's post "Design Tip: Never Use Black" a fellow designer, Jamie K Leach and I were discussing what makes white and what makes black. She argued that black was the presence of all colors and I argued that white was the presence of all colors. That's when we realized, she thought of her colors in Photoshop as paint and I thought of my colors in Photoshop as light. Which made me wonder how other designers think of their colors in Photoshop? When you design in Photoshop or Illustrator do you imagine you're designing with light or with paint? And more importantly, how do you feel that affects your designs? If at all?

Also, here's an awesome Radio Lab episode on Colors!