October 2011: The Goods

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By: Print staff | October 3, 2011

This issue features a new album from Girls, a personal project by Chip Kidd, Sagmeister’s Portuguese identity, and a place for social media to gather.

1Q84  book cover



Design by Chip Kidd, Knopf

Review by Claire Lui

Haruki Murakami’s newest book, 1Q84, will be published on October 25, which is also Chip Kidd’s 25th anniversary at Random House, where he has designed all of the hardback covers of Murakami’s books since 1993’s The Elephant Vanishes. “The design is a celebration of the printed paper book,” Kidd says. That makes it a particularly personal project for Kidd, who tried to capture Murakami’s hypnotic and slightly off-center fictional worlds in book form.

With its semi-translucent vellum cover, the jacket alludes to the alternate dimension where the novel takes place. A cut-out view of a woman’s face is printed on the vellum, and the inverse image is printed directly onto the cover. The rest of the book is meant to play on the plot, with the folios doubling as a flip-book as the numbers transform through each flick. As Kidd says, “The page numbers are going in and out of alternate realities.” He also promises that as you read the book, you’ll realize why the endpapers have two moons, one shining brightly and one clouded, changing positions in a cloudy nighttime sky. “Not a spoiler,” he assures us.

 Girls Album

AlbumGirls / Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Design by Christopher Owens, True Panther

Review by Douglas Wolk

The covers of the first few releases by the San Francisco band Girls had the confessional look of contemporary art photography, often even featuring the people the songs were about. But for its new album, the band’s singer and guitarist, Christopher Owens, went in a completely different direction. The cover abandons photography altogether, keeping from the earlier releases only the bottom-center placement (and sans-serif type) of the band name and record title. In place of a photo are the album’s lyrics—all of them—as a gigantic block of text, with occasional phrases capitalized or set in eccentric typefaces. It’s a look prefigured by XTC’s 1978 album Go 2 and Chumbawamba’s The Boy Bands Have Won (2008), although neither of those were quite as stark.

“Now that people have gotten to know us a little bit,” Owens says, “I felt a little freer to do something more playful. At the same time, the lyrics hold such weight for these songs that it felt perfect and right to put them up front. I think this may be the first album cover which can be held and read as the record plays. Album art is meant to be a companion to that album’s music, and with this cover the two are practically holding hands.”

Product EDP identity

ProductEDP identity

Design by Sagmeister Inc.

Review by Debbie Millman

Energias De Portugal, or EDP, is one of the largest producers of wind energy in the world. It’s also recognized as a leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which measures companies’ transparency, environmental stewardship, economic management, and work climate. But how to get the word out about its progressive policies? The company turned to Stefan Sagmeister—one of the world’s most inventive graphic designers—to redesign its global identity. The goal was to create a mark that would position the brand as an integrated energy company determined to make a difference.

Through an ingenious use of shape and iconography, EDP’s new logo is more than just a logo; it is simultaneously seven different logos at once. “The new identity is built using four fundamental shapes: a circle, a half circle, a square, and a triangle,” Sagmeister says. “These four shapes were combined and layered to build dozens of unique EDP marks, and the graphic system was used to build hundreds of illustrations with the same visual language.” Sagmeister also created a custom type family to support the new look. Appropriately enough, the face is called EDP Preon—a cheeky appropriation of the scientific term for individual particles coming together to form a whole.

>Extra: web-only interview with Stefan Sagmeister by Debbie Millman


SoftwareSocialbaseDesign by OnefortyReview by SUEngaging the audience through social media has long been a necessity for most businesses. But as the number of channels increases, it becomes more and more difficult to keep up with what needs to be done.

SocialBase aims to provide a central hub for teams to collaborate on their social-media efforts—like a project-management system tailored for Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t try to be a client application that you would use to post to sites; instead, it serves as a launchpad. Each task you create can be associated with one of your configured tools, and the site then provides a link directly to it. A wide selection of social-media services can be set up, as well as several analytics tools to see how you’re doing.

Tasks are arranged by due date—this week, this month, or today—and can be set as recurring. Oddly, SocialBase doesn’t allow you to schedule tasks on a specific date. You can get around this for short-term items by just adding the date to the task name, but that essentially precludes doing any future planning in the application, which I hope will be addressed in some way.

SocialBase offers three plans, which cost $20, $80, or $150 per month after a 30-day trial. The lowest-level plan is for a single person, while the others allow additional team members and add task assignments; all allow unlimited projects.

Resources Recommended by Print

  1. Get Inspired: Color Inspirations

  2. Improve Your Design Skills: Creative Workshop

  3. Get an inside look at logo design from Chermayeff & Geismar

  4. Design TV: Find secrets and tips on identity design and branding strategies.