Ask people to name some of the most iconic symbols of Paris and they are likely to say the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, among other landmarks. What they are unlikely to mention are the merchant boats that once plied the Seine. So important were these vessels to the survival, wealth and influence of Paris in the Middle Ages, a high-sided boat with a billowing sail was adopted as the heraldic coat of arms for Paris in 1358. It remained the city’s official emblem for more than a thousand years. The seal is typically displayed on public facilities along with the city motto “Fluctuat nec Mergitur” – Latin for “tossed upon the waves, but doesn’t sink.”
Over the centuries, the boat displayed on the coat of arms had been redesigned a dozen or so times, with artists striving for a more majestic look, sometimes by drawing tall-clipper-type ships with multiple masts. But in 1942, when Paris again modified its logo, it aimed for more historical accuracy and showed a high-sided, bowed gondola-like boat with a single mast. That version remained the authorized logo for Paris, until the city opted to modernize it to complement the graphic style of today.
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Until recently forecasting the weather involved showing a lot of bar charts, graphs, and satellite shots of hurricanes and storm fronts moving across a map. That was so 2017.
Now The Weather Channel meteorologists have integrated augmented reality (AR) into their forecasts to give greater graphic context to their warnings. Probably by the standards of what will be possible a year or two from now, it is pretty crude, but compelling nonetheless.
Up until now, AR and VR were mostly clever “parlor tricks” demonstrated by Gen Z geeks. They were awesome, but other than using it in Pokemon GO and some fantasy films, AR and VR did not have everyday practical applications. That is on the verge of changing. If we pay attention to what Apple CEO Tim Cook says, “AR is the next big realm of development for design and technology.”
Inc. Magazine predicts that the AR market is expected to reach $100 billion by next year — 2020. Industries ranging from medicine, retail, repairs and maintenance, to tourism and education are devising ways that AR will transform their business and change our lives. Those in the design profession need to pay close attention and consider the skills they will need and the people they will have to collaborate with to succeed in design.
Love is in the air, and no one is more enthralled with Valentine’s Day than florists, chocolatiers, and greeting card vendors. Consider these Valentine’s Day statistics for the U.S. alone: 110 million roses are sold February 14, 58 billion pounds of chocolates, and 145 million Valentine’s Day cards. Named for St. Valentine who died on February 14 after being tortured and beheaded by a Roman Emperor, Valentine’s Day, in the romantic sense that as we think of it today, did not catch on until the Victorian era and owes much of its popular success to rapid advances in printing, paper and mass production technologies. Over the ages, Valentine’s Day evolved its own romantic ideographs – the color red, stylized heart shape, Cupid shooting arrows dipped in desire and erotic love, birds chirping to attract a mate, and typographic flourishes bursting with rapture. The Victorian card, on the left, is overlaid with a delicate doily that reveals embossed, die-cut printed images on the paper beneath. The contemporary card, on the right, designed by lettering artist Jessica Hische, expresses the exuberant complexity of love by the way the letterforms are drawn.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Gung hay fat choy! February 5 kicks off the Year of the Pig, but you probably already know that. Even nations that don’t celebrate the Asian Lunar New Year pay homage to its significance by issuing their own commemorative Pig postage stamps. The Pig is the 12th and last animal symbol on the Chinese Zodiac calendar, which runs in 12-year cycles in approximation to the 11.85 year orbital period of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.
According to Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor organized a race and invited the animals in his kingdom to participate. Twelve showed up. The emperor told the contestants that he would name a year of the zodiac after each one, according to who came in first. The cunning Rat saw it didn’t have the stamina to swim across a rapid stream and convinced the kindly Ox to let him ride on his back. Once across, the Rat leapt off the Ox without even saying thanks, and scurried over the finish line. The easily distracted Pig got bored and stopped to eat and nap, coming in dead last. That’s why the Zodiac calendar begins with the Year of the Rat and ends with the Year of the Pig. The Pig is a symbol of wealth and good fortune as well as jovialness and honesty, but it is also known for being a bit of a slob. The Pig symbol applies to those born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, and 2019.
Gung hay fat choy! Especially if you are a Pig, this is your year.
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Why try to describe the product with images and words, when you can die-cut the package and give shoppers a peek inside? Especially when it comes to pasta noodles, it is helpful to see what the actual noodles look like instead of trying to recall the difference between fettuccine, rigatoni, vermicelli, macaroni, etc. This concept packaging by Moscow-based designer Nikita Konkin used the different shapes and textures of pasta noodles to create silhouettes of fanciful hairstyles in the die-cut windows. The noodle hairstyles framed a simple one-color line drawing of a woman’s face in a memorable and playful way.
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