Where do Subcultures go to Die?

Wikipedia’s definition of subculture-

In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong, for example, if a particular subculture is characterized by a systematic opposition to the dominant culture, it may be described as a counterculture.

Commercial sub-cultures are put to pasture in the place where they’ve spent their whole existence trying to avoid — the mainstream. It’s simple inevitability. The mainstream devalues subcultures for it’s own gain by using their appeal to certain markets as a tool to further their own agendas. This is particularly apparent within the advertising and entertainment fields.

The “Going Green” Fad

A great way to sell something is to get people to believe they are doing their part or making a difference by using your product or service. Guilt tactics and peoples gullibility have been in the propagandists arsenal for some time. Whether it’s starving children or drowning polar bears, we fill the coffers of these companies feeling that our contribution is making a change. It seems that with the onset of “climate change,” large companies are milking the Going Green fad for all it’s worth.

Applying Philosophy to Art: Friedrich Nietzsche

Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology.

I love this quote by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (who also sports the meanest moustache) from his book BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL. I agree with the idea that questioning everything, mistrusting authority, and delight in mockery are healthy. Without people with these attributes, who will remind the rest of society about the abuses being placed on them by others? In my opinion, this idea should be applied to art and design as well.

Humans need a reality check every once in a while and art is the best way to convey it to the masses. If you feel a message needs to be heard don’t be afraid to express it through your creations. The prize doesn’t need to be profits or website hits, it could be the betterment of society through the passing of truly meaningful knowledge.

How I Learned the Power of Communication Design and Art

My first encounter with communication design was when I was in grade five. I regularily wrote, illustrated and published my own comic book and circulated it throughout my friends. The comic contained short — yet very funny — stories about two fools who always died at the end of each strip. I also enjoyed creating advertisements to space out the stories.

One day my teacher discovered this little rag in the hands of a careless friend. Mrs B was particularily concerned with one advertisement showcasing the “Do-Everthing” robot. This robot would do anything — including perform sanitation duties on humans in public bathrooms — which my drawing and typography clearly illustrated. Ultimately my folks were brought in and I was scolded for the propaganda.

All lack of professionalism and potty humor aside, it was this moment in my life when I discovered the power of communication design and information. I honestly believe If we change our ways and start using this power with the right ideas — we can change things for the better.

Free Font #1

I’m giving away the scorn of my existence to all who will relieve me of my burden. The whole font creation and development of this display face basically taught me how to design, space (metrics and kerning) and program fonts (OpentType). What a process!

Anyways here it is.

Free Poster #1

I’ve created this poster for graphic designers. It’s about the grid system, which is a tool that graphic designers use to help with proportions and placement. It shows some quotes from “grid masters” but the crazy thing is the background image which is an anti-grid. My anti-grid represents a kind of chaos or disorder. It’s shattering under stress and it’s unnecessary “loudness” takes away and disrupts the most important part of the document – it’s content.

The poster is high quality four-colour process with bleeds and such. Size is 11″x17″ (not the greatest proportioned size I know) and is a whopping 81mb. Take it to your printer and get it printed! I can’t pay for that too.

Start Learning from the Masters #1: Massimo Vignelli

I thought I’d share this great free e-book by master-designer Massimo Vignelli. The Vignelli Canon is full of Massimo’s design ideals and theory. It shows how he structures his documents using grids and the process behind some of his creations. He also discusses the unnecessary use of different fonts and a lot about trying to create timelessness, something we should all strive for when designing.

The book is a must read for artists and designers. It’s full of great tips and hopefully will set you on the right path to becoming a better graphic designer. Only we can stop bad design.

You can download the pdf here –The Vignelli Canon

Cheers,