Friday, October 31, 2008

Philately Fridays: Austria, 1983

I wish I had some OSPAAL-related postage to share today to close out this week, but this gorgeous gem from Vienna will have to do. It's from 1983, the year which the United Nations proclaimed as World Communications Year, or... Weltkommunikationsjahr. I really love the incredible color scheme and linework. Too good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

OSPAAAL Week: Day 3

Here are a few posters from a great book released by OSPAAAL a few years ago. 200 pages with tons of images and info.

Olivio Martinez, 1974.

Alfredo Rostgaard, 1970

Alfredo Rostgaard, 1972

Faustino Pérez, 1968.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OSPAAAL Week: Day 2

Of all the artists to design posters for OSPAAAL, my favorite my a wide margin is Alfredo Rostgaard (1943-2007). His illustration style and bold use of color show his strong pop art and psychedelic influences which, when combined with the social and political messages in his posters, made for some incredibly striking images.





1972, unfolds into:

Please check out Cuban Posters for more images and information!

Monday, October 27, 2008

OSPAAAL Week: Day 1

It's been hard to avoid Shepard Fairey's iconic HOPE poster featuring Barack Obama drawn up in red and blues. To many, the striking image has become synonymous with Obama's presidential campaign. Right now in our art gallery, we're featuring a collection of experimental Obama posters we've been printing for the better part of 2008 in our studio. We were fortunate enough to have a visit from Minneapolis' Mayor R.T. Rybak, who dropped by to see the exhibit and was blown away by all of the creative energy being focused on Obama. I mentioned to him that I had never seen anything like this for any politician in my lifetime. Mayor Rybak then made a reference to the solidarity posters from the 1960s and '70s. The Vietnam era was the last time politics and art had clashed in such an explosive and noteable way. During this time, dozens, if not hundreds, of posters were being designed and printed by a Cuban political group dedicated to defending human rights and fighting globalization. The group, known as OSPAAAL (Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa, and Latin America) produced some of the most striking and well-designed political posters, and I'll be sharing them with you over the course of this week. Please enjoy!

designed by Helena Seranno, 1982

Day of Solidarity with the People of Japan
designed by Guillermo Menéndez, 1969

Day of Solidarity with the People of Laos
Jesus Forjans, 196?

Many more to come! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Philately Fridays: United States, 1971

Boom. Killer color scheme, bold design, well-placed Helvetica, a message I can get down with, aaaaaand that's pretty much a wrap for me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nesbitt's Orange Soda

Groovy packaging design for Nesbitt's Orange Soda from 1979.

Also found this cool animated Nesbitt's TV spot. Very R Crumb inspired...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Charley Harper for the National Park Service

Charley Harper was one of the most uniquely talented illustrators of the 20th century. From the 1950s up until his death in 2007, Harper created a seemingly endless amount of gorgeous posters and other illustrations depicting animals, plantlife, and other natural forms. Whereas many artists would put microscopic detail into their renderings of leaf veins and housefly eyeballs, Harper was more interested in the general geometric shapes of animals and plants, breaking them down to their most simple forms. He said he didn't count feathers, he counted wings.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Charley Harper completed ten posters for the US National Park Service, each focusing in on a specific ecosystem and its inhabitants. Prints of some of these are available online. Ask your buddy Google for help.

If you're serious about wanting to see more of Harper's beautiful artwork, Todd Oldham compiled a fantastic and gigantic book (over 400 pages!!!) which was released last year. It is available through YouWorkForThem

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Philately Fridays: Tunisia, 1983

Psychedelic mayhem designed for the Tunisian Red Crescent in 1983. Wow.

Yellow Submarine music videos

"Yellow Submarine" is one of those movies I revisit about once every five years and always have a new level of appreciation for the artwork every single time I watch it. There is something so groundbreaking about the creative direction and animation styles and techniques that is also incredibly timeless to the point that it still feels new and fresh even today. "Eleanor Rigby" is still miles ahead of 95% of music videos out today.

And contrary to popular belief, Peter Max did NOT do any of the artwork for this movie.

OH and if anyone knows which video this screenshot is from, please let me know. I can't for the life of me remember and don't have the patience to sit and watch the whole movie right now...

And now on with the videos!

When I'm 64:

Nowhere Man

All You Need is Love

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chemical brother

This can of toxic sludge has been sitting around our studio for as long as I can remember.

I've never bothered to find out what's inside - the logo design is enough for me. It could be empty for all I care.

Related: Brochure filled with household chemical safety tips, all with really fresh "generic" designs. I'm really into the PAINT and COUGH SYRUP logos. Thanks Shell!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Music logos

Here are three fantastic music-related logos.

From top to bottom:

1. Guitar Institute (1978)

2. Music Man speakers and amplifiers (1974). They have since merged with Ernie Ball, makers of fine guitar strings. Here's a Music Man speaker in action:

3. Illammend Corporation (1970), makers of electric organs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Philately Fridays: USA, 1982

This week's stamps are from the 1982 World's Fair, held in Knoxville, TN. The theme of 1982's expo was "Energy Turns the World," as evidenced by illustrations in the stamps.

Click for larger view.

I grew up in Nashville, and while we didn't end up making it over to the fair, I have very clear memories of the TV ads, especially the YOU'VE GOT TO BE THERE! at the end.

I'm also a big fan of the Sunsphere, built for the fair and still standing in Knoxville:

Feature Interview: Richard Stanley

In a recent post, I showed the logo for the St. Paul Humane Society:

The logo was created by a designer named Richard Stanley. Very drawn to the logo and its Minnesota connection, I tracked him down and found that he was keeping himself quite busy during the 1970s, doing some top-notch graphic design work. Richard was kind enough to answer a few questions and share some photos of his old sketchbooks! I now present to you So Much Pileup's very first feature interview.

How did you become interested in graphic design and when did you begin working in the field?

I was a “draw on the walls” kid in my Richfield (Minnesota) home with a commercial artist uncle to mentor me. When he moved to Spokane WA I spent summers in high school working in his art department learning paper plate printing, hand lettering, and watercolor painting. He said it was his job to “knock the stars out of my eyes” about commercial art. While I was attending the Minneapolis School of Art (later MCAD), I had summer jobs in industrial motion pictures, still photography, and film animation. My primary interest was in photography and film.

What were some of your favorite projects to work on?

Over the years, I’ve had the most satisfaction working on corporate identity and museum exhibition graphics. Trademarks have always been like solving a visual puzzle with their potential interplay of word and image leading to a single statement. Museum graphics add a three dimensional as well as movement through time component to design that is both persuasive and informational. Both have required more organizational responsibility and an engaged consultative attitude. Outside of design, I’m very involved in photography and drawing.

Click drawings for larger view

As many contemporary graphic designers, myself included, don't know what it was like to have been a designer in the pre-computer era, could you talk a bit about the process of taking a job such as a logo design project from start to finish without the aid of Adobe Illustrator?

I don’t think there’s much difference in the “head work” of designing an identity even if the “hand work” has changed. I still need to do research about the client, immerse myself in understanding the nature of their business, and work cooperatively to create an effective solution. The hand work is somewhat different, but not as much as one might think. I have always spent a lot of time sketching and drawing a wide variety of approaches to a mark; often employing a semiotic analysis to find the best approach: word, image, or combination. Only after I’ve got a fairly good idea of what it will look like do I go to the Mac. Before the computer, everything would be drawn out in black and white paint Now I trace my sketches and refine in Illustrator.

Richard Stanley's developmental sketches and final logo for G&K Services

Click for larger view

How has the computer changed the way you think about design and approach different design jobs?

Very little. I don’t think of the computer as anything other than a capable tool. I can produce more, do more of the work myself (a mixed blessing) and complete jobs faster using the computer. It will never replace working in a consultative way with the client or hand drawing. I have always liked doing my own illustration and photography, so Photoshop is as much a necessity now as a digital camera.

Click for larger view

Click for larger view

What was some of your greatest inspiration back then and now?

While at the Minneapolis School of Art, my first inspiration then and until his passing was Rob Roy Kelly. He taught all of us to “save the world for design” and, for us, it was a real cause. Later, I went to Switzerland for grad studies with Armin Hofmann, Wolfgang Weingart, and Kurt Hauert, all of whom made a profound difference in the way I looked at design. They taught that design is a logical process, that creative analysis combined with careful attention to detail would produce the optimal solution. Finally, my continuing friendship with Dale Johnston, which started at Design Center in Minneapolis always put a human and compassionate face on design. Together, they have made continuing education a pleasurable necessity.

Thanks for taking the time to share your design work and insight Richard! Readers, please visit Mr. Stanley online at