The Politics of Logo Design

25. June 2015 10:26 by Steve Leigh in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments

There’s an old saying from the world of advertising: “You’re selling the sizzle, not the steak.” It holds that the quality of the item sold is secondary to the methods used to sell it. Indeed, many of us could probably exhaust ourselves very quickly just thinking of all the mediocre products we’ve purchased because they had great catchphrases.

In a world increasingly defined by an overabundance of advertising, the importance of a single recognizable brand cannot be overstated. It all comes down to timing, demographic, and most importantly, design. Whether running for public office, or simply trying to promote a new film, the right logo at the right time can make or break your entire campaign.

Political Print

On June 24, Louisiana governor “Bobby” Jindal became the latest candidate to throw his hat into the already-crowded field of nominees for the 2016 presidential election. As pundits and analysts mulled over his positions on hot-button topics, there was also a small collection of analysts who paid close attention to the logo he’d chosen for the campaign. As we’ve mentioned before, the logos for the current candidates have been subject to scrutiny from the moment they were each revealed. Jindal’s logo was no exception, with analysts noting how it follows the current trend of contemporary presidential: a single letter using the primary colors of the American flag.

2016-campaign-logos.jpg
(via Washington Post)

With so many logos boasting such similar designs, it remains to be seen just how effective any of them will be in the greater scheme of things. In fact, one could almost argue that the candidates will have to define themselves less by their logos and more by the politics they represent.

Celestial Font

In the mid-1970s, George Lucas was having a devil of a time selling studios on the idea for his next film. Having already experienced one sci-fi flop with his debut film THX-1138, studio execs weren’t too keen on the idea of him revisiting the genre with an Errol Flynn twist. Fortunately for Lucas, he quickly learned that where his words failed him, images more than made up for it. As such, he began pitching what-would-be-known-as Star Wars with a collection of eye-catching concept art and mock-ups.

Star-Wars-original-logo.jpg
(via Gizmodo)

What isn’t often touched upon is the inspiration for the series iconic title logo. Created by designer Suzy Rice, the logo was meant to evoke the fascist lettering used by the Third Reich. But by a stroke of fate, the design used was actually a modified font based on a pre-fascist German typography. For the sake of all involved, that’s probably a good thing – it would be hard to imagine one of the most beloved family franchises drawing undo comparisons to one of the worst regimes the world has ever known.

No matter who you vote for, you have to admit, a logo goes a long way. What logo do you like the most? The least? Let us know in the comments!

A Bridge to the Future

18. June 2015 10:26 by Steve Leigh in Technology News  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments

Nature and technology are often seen as two contradicting forces whose collision is a sure sign of a changing world. This can be for better (technology discovers new medicines to fight natural illnesses and diseases) or for worse (deforestation displaces wildlife and destroys the ecosystem), but once it’s done, there’s often no going back. What symbol better represents both progression and the combination of two disparate entities more than a bridge?

Build Your Own Bridge

Dutch designer Jorish Laarman has big plans for Amsterdam. His research and development company, MX3D, has spent the last few years thinking up some of the most outlandish-yet-realistic uses for 3-D printing. And their latest plan is their most ambitious yet. They want to construct a 3-D printed bridge over an Amsterdam canal.

But this isn’t the usual case of people assembling a bunch of 3-D printed parts. No, Laarman and his team intend to leave all the work to a few robots. These robots will both create and construct the entire bridge mid-air, starting at one end of the canal and moving to the other.

Although the project still needs approval and the selection of a specific canal, Laarman expects to begin around September of this year. He says “This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form. The symbolism of the bridge is a beautiful metaphor to connect the technology of the future with the old city, in a way that brings out the best of both worlds.”

MX3D-3-D-printed-bridge.jpg
(via Gizmodo)

What 3D-printed construction projects would you like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments.

Piece by Piece: 3D Printing Implants

11. June 2015 10:26 by Steve Leigh in Technology News  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments

We’ve mentioned before how the applications of 3D printing in the field of medical science have changed the way both doctors and patients think of surgery. Whether it’s creating missing limbs or growing new tissue from scratch, the technology continues to move closer and closer to levels of sophistication once only thought of as science fiction.

But even as strides are made with visibly noticeable attachments, such as limbs, it’s the parts that aren’t always obvious which can go unattended. Fortunately, there are pioneers in the field who are devoting their attention to those specific “overlooked” areas.

The Titanium Skull

Jessica Cussioli was fortunate. She was able to survive an automobile accident in her native Brazil, but needed extensive reconstructive surgery to rebuild her face. Even after that was completed, there was still a 12-centimeter piece of her skull that was missing, leaving her head disfigured. What’s worse, the type of prosthesis that would assist with her condition proved far too expensive.

Fortunately for Jessica, her parents were resourceful. After contacting doctors at UNICAMP, the doctors agreed that Jessica would be a perfect candidate for a custom-molded titanium implant, created using 3D printing.

Jessica-Cassioli-post-surgery.jpg
(via IFLScience)

After an eight-hour procedure, Jessica’s implant was declared a success. The material is light weight, yet durable. Jessica is expected to make a full recovery, at which point she plans to return to her studies.

Robo-Claw

Until recently, a common complaint about prostheses was that they were both physically cumbersome and cosmetically unattractive. What’s more, they were often only effective for the most rudimentary functions of the missing limb. For instance, a prosthetic arm and hand could hold simple items, but the simple act of turning a key would prove difficult.

Then came the HACKberry.

HACKberry.jpg
(via Gizmodo)

Created by the Japanese company exii, the 3D printed HACKberry is major step forward in prosthetic functionality. In addition to its sleek design, the prosthetic boasts enough articulation in the wrist and digits to grab small items, flip through book pages, and even tie shoes. In addition to that, the hardware is able to be updated and added upon as the technology improves.

Both of the above innovations serve as reminders that while nearly all prosthetics serve a necessary purpose – substituting that which was lost – there’s also a sense of familiarity to be considered. It isn’t simply a case of finding a missing piece, it’s also trying to get it to work as well its predecessor. It might not be the original, but engineers doing their best to make the next best thing.

A Home of Our Own

4. June 2015 12:21 by Steve Leigh in Technology News  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments

It’s said that when one ignores the past, they’re doomed to repeat it. Others learn of history and push ahead with their plans all the same. It’s hard to say which of these scenarios is more likely to be responsible for the current US housing crisis, but it definitely smacks of a repeating pattern. Maybe it’s a residual effect of the market crash of 2008, maybe it’s an inevitable effect of young people suddenly finding themselves flush with income, or maybe it’s a combination both and more. The only thing known for sure is that people need affordable homes.

Fortunately, modern technology is offering a few solutions to the problem.

Man-Made Material

When one is in need of a home, two pressing concerns will be time and money. Unfortunately, a lack of the two isn’t likely to get you very far, especially if you’re trying to build your home from the ground-up. That’s what was on the mind of USC professor Behrokh Khoshnevis when he put his industrial and engineering skills to work. Khoshnevis designed an automated construction system that uses 3-D printer technology to create an entire 2,500-sq. ft. home in roughly 20 hours.

With 3-D computer models and concrete-based materials, Khoshnevis’ system maintains the human element in terms of its design, but drops it at the construction stage.

Contour-Crafting.jpg
(via IndustryTap)

Fixed Pieces

And that design process is crucial in the creation of a domicile for human inhabitants. It isn’t simply a concern of location and materials used, but also layout and design. With that in mind, architect Damien Murtagh decided to turn the 3-D designs he built on his PC into physical models he could assemble by hand. He created the Arckit modeling kit for structural designers to create practical designs they could put their hands on. The project has proven so popular that Murtagh has begun considering selling Arckits in children’s toy stores.

Arckit.png
(via mental_floss)

No matter where you lay your head, these new 3D printing technologies could help you get there faster in the future.

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