On art, ego, and appropriation

(I commented on a post by a friend on Facebook and felt a need to share – and expand upon – it here):

Art isn’t about the artist.

It is about how the piece affects the people who view it. If an artist doesn’t like another artist that is irrelevant to the work – and they’re missing the point of the exercise. Any artist who claims ownership of the meaning of a piece of art once it is out in the world is just an egotist – and any person who judges art because of the artist is an idiot. The power of art is completely judged by the viewer. It makes no difference if the artist meant something if the viewer is affected by it in a different way. That doesn’t make it a failure, it makes it personal – which is as it should be. It might not have been what the artist intended, but it enriched the emotional experience of the viewer’s life.

As far as appropriation is concerned, viewing art is inherently appropriation on a very personal level – you are taking a personal statement from the artist and making it your own. Subject matter that affects the artist, or that an artist wants to bring into the spotlight isn’t appropriation – it is a signal boost – and, once again, has nothing to do with the artist.

Go (math) team, go!

Every week, the president of the National Museum of Mathematics creates two puzzles that appear in both The Wall Street Journal and the website varsity.momath.org. The task here was to create a logo for these puzzles for their title: Varsity Math. The number to the bottom right of the logo indicates which week the puzzles are related to – a later addition to the design that I’m quite pleased with. It reflects the theme and is easily changed from week-to-week.


Why I like the new Google logo


I’m kind of glad that the New Yorker published this article lambasting the new Google logo as it helped to solidify my opinion on it.

I happen to like the new logo. It does what it needs to do from a design perspective. I don’t mean aesthetic, I mean design. It needed to be clean and easy to read on mobile, which is where most people consume these days; it reflects the new Alphabet corporate feel, which the former Google corporation needs to promote; and it is less unwieldy from a rendering point-of-view, which is important as bandwidth and processing power is precious. I’m sure a lot of people find it jarring, since the Goog didn’t prepare us, but I admire that they released it this way – they got the logo onto the site, several of their apps (although it would have been great if it were in all of them), and onto their headquarters building in Mountain View. Honestly, I think more people should be discussing the upcoming Verizon change (ugh) than this. I like that they are completely embracing the idea of design – this goes so much better with the new Material Design aesthetic than the old Google “Anti-Logo” did. It bodes well for design as a whole that the company that didn’t care one whit about what a thing looks like has realized that design can make everything more useable – both engineering-wise, and pleasure-wise.

As a side note: I just want to say: using the hipster Comic Sans hatred in design commentary is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It is overused and needs to go away.

It’s getting real (estate) in here.

Eventually I’m going to run out of real estate puns… or whatever you’d call these truly awful headlines. I was contracted to create a new brand (logo and business card) for a pre-existing client who was considering branching out into the real estate market. We were looking to create a look that said “high-end” condos and co-ops for the up and coming sections of Western Brooklyn & Queens. The venture is still being developed, but the logo and card have been solidified. And here they are:

VVT Realty logo|business card B