Thanks for the Memories, 2009
Now that 2009 has drawn to a close, here are the things that we’ll remember:
The Tropicana redesign backlash
Who knew orange juice packaging was the source of such passionate opinion? Peter Arnell’s redesign of Tropicana was an abject failure by any standard, and in the two months that the design was on the shelves, Tropicana sales dropped nearly 20 percent and cost the company more than $30 million. Tropicana’s parent company Pepsi scrapped the design less than two months after it debuted. Even worse, a ridiculous 27-page memo [pdf] Arnell wrote was leaked. By the time summer rolled around, Newsweek, Portfolio, and I.D. had all weighed in. The logo for Pepsi has survived. Arnell’s rep, not so much.
Fonts finally, maybe, make it to the Internet
Several reasons for celebration: The beginning of Typekit, which is the closest thing to a web-based font rental that we’ve got, the launch of hypefortype, a new typefoundry with exclusive faces by designers such as Non Format and Alex Trochut, and the social-networking project known as Typedia a potentially revolutionary resource that aims to classify, categorize, and connect typefaces. [Read our articles on Typekit here and here; see our interview with Jeffrey Zeldman here.]
Design documentaries multiply
Once Helvetica (2007) proved that a documentary about a typeface could interest someone other than Massimo Vignelli, and Beautiful Losers (2008) proved that design could be cool, the floodgates opened. This year alone featured a raft of documentaries with visual culture at their heart: Handmade Nation, Art & Copy, The September Issue, Proceed and Be Bold!, Become a Microscope, and Helvetica director Gary Hustwit’s second entry in the genre, Objectified.
The shine sort of comes off for Shepard Fairey
The world’s most famous graffiti artist didn’t top his 2008—who could?—but he stayed in the news with his public feud with the Associated Press, engaging in a he-said, she-said war for the rights of appropriators everywhere. In March, the AP sued Fairey claiming that he deliberately misappropriated the image. In October, Fairey admitted that he lied and submitted false images in an attempt to prove that the photo in question, taken by AP photographer Mannie Garcia, was not the true source of his now-famous “Hope” poster. As Fairey admits, the new development detracted from what should have been the real focus, that is, the right of fair use.
Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are hits the big screen, and we sort of like it.
Shigeo Fukuda, RIP
Two words: Google Wave
The timely and necessary design for the United Nations Climate Change Conference
And one of our favorite blogs, It’s Nice That, released its second publication.