Monday, December 31, 2007

Tilting logo

One's tilted on purpose, one's tilted due to hardware failure.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rounder mint M&M's

I'm a big fan of M&M's Brand mint chocolate limited edition candies. They used to be called Holidays, but I guess the branding got too complicated, so now all the holiday-themed M&M's are limited edition this and limited edition that.

Anyway, the mint M's are my favorite. They are only sold at Christmastime and I eagerly await them each year.

This year they are different. The mint M's used to be exactly like "plain" M's -- that certain shape. But now, they are a little larger, a little rounder. Bigger.

Wonder if there was some demand for bigger M's. I know the company marketed Mega M&M's last year with the "Shrek 3" movie. And they continue to sell them. And Peanut Butter M&M's are rounder than the regular M.

Anyway, I don't particularly like the new shape. But I'll keep buying the things. M-m-minty!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

That's a lot of plastic forks

There was a going away party at work -- and what do you need for an office full of people to eat going-away cake? Plates and napkins, yes, but also forks. Lots and lots of forks. The label on this box says there are five hundred forks in this box. Biggest box of plastic forks I've ever seen.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Street billboards

1. You can read the backwards ad in the mirror of the bus shelter window. Sorta cool.

2. The ad copy makes a big point of mentioning "Minneapolis." The poster is on display in St. Paul. They are (slightly, but proudly) different cities.

1. and 2. The text is way too small.

St. Pauli Girl beer truck

Nice, er . . . taillights.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Spoiler alert

I'm going to spoil at least four movies in this post. So if you don't want to read about crucial plot points of these movies, do not read further.

What movies am I going to spoil and why?

"No Country For Old Men," "Fantastic Four," "Constantine" and "Erin Brockovich." (And "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry." But nobody cares if I spoil that 1974 movie.) (Oh, and I spoil a second-season episode of "Lost.") All these have something in common.

Okay, really, you should stop reading now if you don't want to be spoiled.

We saw "No Country For Old Men" last night.

(Nitpick on a good movie: The movie never quite gets around to saying its title out loud -- but it says everything but. "Yeah, it's a tough place. But for people of a certain age, it's even tougher." Like that. If you're not going to say the title, don't paraphrase it. Just a suggestion.)

There's a plot point that seems to pop up unexpectedly (that's a big part of its popularity) and it's been in a number of recent movies.

In a scene very near the end . . .


I'm not kidding, this is a total spoiler.


Okay. In a scene near the very end of "No Country," the character, "Sugar" has fulfilled all his promises and he's driving away. The camera lingers on an approaching stoplight. It's green. Sugar looks in the rear view mirror at some possibly-threatening kids riding bikes. Is he going to have to kill those kids? He drives through the intersection and -- wham -- his car is hit by another car running the red light! Surprise! And when I see this I think, I have seen this before. Maybe too many times.

Didn't see 'em coming car accidents as plot points occur in "Erin Brockovich," "Constantine," "Fantastic Four," and way back to "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry," (Larry says, "There ain't nothing stopping us now!" and -- wham -- they drive right into the side of a train.)

In "No Country" and "Erin Brockovich" the crashes are between cars. In "Constantine" and "Fantastic Four" the crashes are car-human. Semi-human anyway.

Reminds me of an article in the 1970s National Lampoon magazine on writing a twist ending (though in fairness, only "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" used it as the final scene). The article said the perfect twist ending is: "Suddenly, the main character is run over by a bus!"

(In the TV show, "Lost," a character is actually run over by a bus!)

What I really wanted to write about is, movies get spoiled for me when I read even spoiler free reviews. Reviewers want to tell me about the movie and not ruin it, but they've already seen it and can't help telling me -- in code -- major spoilers.

For example, in reviews of "No Country," Josh Brolin's character, Llewellen, is described as "ill-fated" and "not as smart as he thinks he is." The character played by Woody Harrelson is described as "cocky" and "over-confident." Even though the reviewers didn't spell it out, it's clear to me that Llewellen and Harrelson will not survive until the credit roll.

It bugs me to know I'm being spoiled, but if I read reviews I will be spoiled. There's really no way around it. I remember I used to try to see movies before reading any reviews, but it's really hard. And, I realise, I like to know what's going to happen before it happens. So I kinda want to be spoiled too.

Oh, hey -- here comes my bus. I gotta get going.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Two bikes, three wheels

One very tall bike and one one-wheeled-no-seat bike, one lock, one pole.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ripping through print

Those automobiles are just ripping it up in publications across the country.

Buick went to the trouble of matching the publication's typefaces. Buick also made the individual pieces of type fling themselves up into the third dimension. Cool.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Wild, Wild West" titles

I was always a little confused about one part of the opening credits to "The Wild, Wild West."

When the big hand is pointing a gun at West and West does something to disarm the big hand, I thought West hit the gun with a karate chop.

Not so.

He pulls out a small derringer and shoots the big hand.

I didn't know that until I saw the opening credits recently on the new season 2 DVD set. The credits look great.

One other thing I didn't notice. The background of the titles is a version of the American flag. Nice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Replacing the UPC bars? Or what?

What is this little grid? I've only seen it on one product -- a can of tomatoes.

Is it a replacement for the Universal Product Code, only smaller? Does it have some additional information in it?

Is is an inbetween step on the journey from universal UPC use to universal RIFD chip use?

I've seen symbols like this on postage-machine postage, but larger.

What is this thing?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Anti-theft device

This little thingy was hidden inside a CD case -- you wouldn't know it was there unless you pried open the case and looked for it.

But it's a product too, so it has to have a logo. And the logo is a registered trademark, so there's the little "R" in a circle. Nice logo. Targeted grabbing hand. Yes, Mr. Shopkeeper, this product will protect your stock!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

In style

TOP: Cool type treatment from a recent event. Stylish looking.

BOTTOM: A sign in Rochester, Minn., with pretty much the same kind of type treatment. Less stylish, but still appealing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Counting bikes

Noticed someone is counting bike traffic on "my" bike lane -- the route I take into work. The sensors do not reach into the cars's lane. Wonder what that's all about. Should I loop back and ride over the thing a couple extra times each trip? Hmm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Attention, Britney

Attention, Britney: This advertisement shows you how to get out of a car.

1) Get out of a really tall car.

2) Pay attention to where the lighting is coming from.

3) Edit your pictures!

You're welcome.

Monday, October 08, 2007

School board candidate in favor of leaf blowers

When I rode by this sign the first couple of times, I thought it featured a drawing of a leaf blower. I thought that was odd. There is some controversy about leaf blowers -- they are noisy and annoying -- but I couldn't imagine how leaf blowers fit into school board politics. I eventually stopped to take a picture of the thing. I was disappointed to see that it was not a leaf blower at all, but a rolled up piece of paper (diploma, I'm guessing) and an apple. Much more appropriate symbols for a person running for school board. So what that the apple is blue -- it's no leaf blower.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kafka Mustang

Kafka. Mustang. Kafka Mustang. It's funny, isn't it? I have no idea why, but I think it's funny. Maybe this photo should be a Zippy cartoon -- where it wouldn't have to have a punchline.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

St. Paul Classic Bike Tour signs

"Original" and "Newer" versions have an overall sameness. When looking at them I wanted something to stand out and be the star of the show. Cooper Black italic. Looks kinda 1970s-ish doesn't it? Cooper Black'll do that for your design. (As always, click on the image for a slightly larger version of the picture.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Big lenticular lens picture

Looks like a big bottle of beer, only blurry. Now it looks like a bunch of squares. Hey, it is a big bottle of beer!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Is it a donut without a hole?

In an ad for the "Limited Edition" "Simpsons" movie soundtrack on the left, the photo suggests the CD case is a donut with a hole in the middle, doesn't it? I bought one. I was disappointed the designer did not come up with a way to make a hole in the donut.

A hole would have made this CD case 100 percent better.

And to make matters worse, the CD just a bunch of standard movie music by Hans Zimmer. Hans has never struck me as a guy with a sense of humor or a sense of playfulness. Some of his perfectly serviceable scores include: "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Batman Begins," "Da Vinci Code," "The Last Samurai," and "Madagascar."

Yes, I know comedy music doesn't have to be funny music.

I guess Danny Elfman (composer of the "Simpsons" theme) and Alf Clausen ("Simpsons" TV show music) were busy. Our loss.

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Rush Hour 3" review

Hey, Jackie, let Chris have top billing for "Rush Hour 3." Really -- be generous. Let Chris take all the credit for this one.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bike lane narrowed -- again

Time for gnashing of teeth. The bike lane I take home has been narrowed again.

The original stripe (highlighted in green) was rather close to the curb, but I realise that the street is too narrow to support a real bike lane plus two lanes for cars.

Then, last year or maybe it was two years ago, the stripe was repainted (shown in blue) and it moved in maybe a sixth of the way to the curb. Quite a squeeze.

And now this year (the fresh white paint) it has nibbled away a little more. Not as outrageous as the last striping, but working its way to zeroing out the bike lane at this is one intersection.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Grandson and grandpa?

Is the "Cow and Boy" kid related to Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame?

Dots for eyes? Check. Hard to tell where the hair starts and ends? Check. High contrast? Check.

But the drawing styles are completely different.

The jury is out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Now! Daily blog entries!

Hey, I'm now doing daily blog entries.

Er, about seed art.

Yes, You can keep track of my progress while I work on one of this year's entries in the Minnesota State Fair's Crop Art competition. Go to this link.

I'm doing a picture of The Prince from the video game We Love Katamari. In seeds!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Share the road

Here's the logo for Good luck with that concept.

Have you ever been out riding your bike, stopped at a light right next to a car or truck (as shown in this logo)? Just idling, those vehicles generate serious heat! It's like standing next to a bonfire.

I know they burn gasoline and everything, but standing next to them is just uncomfortable.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I think that, in the original, the letters D-A-W-N are poorly spaced. So I fixed them. Moved the A and W one pixel to the left and the right. I think it makes the lettering look better.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My last Transformers post

"Transformers" bases its look on the least-successful part of the worst "Matrix" movie. The human-controlled robots that shoot -- and shoot and shoot -- into squirming clouds of computer animation.

Pixel hash.

"Transformers" has lots of movement and noise during the action scenes, but this viewer can't tell what's going on.

And don't get me started on Shia LaBeouf's motormouth, improv-fest, say-the-same-thing-20- different-ways monologues.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Transform Your Ride Sale

"Pauley" the polar bear and "Bumble" the, uh, Camaro is it?, together to promote auto sales. Transformers movie fever at Polar Chevrolet in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cathedral of St. Paul lit May 2007

Some guy paid to have the Cathedral of St. Paul lit on the occasion of the building's 100th anniversary.

Nice sentiment, but all they did was park a big truck with one bank of white football-stadium lights on a pole and aim 'em directly at the front door of the building.

Point and shoot.

The result was rather harsh.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Transformers movie characters

I'm having a hard time matching up the cars with the Transformers robots. The car design is completely fragmented in the making of the robot. I can't easily tell which robot came from which car.

I've circled the cues I've found, but there aren't a lot of them.

And is it noteworthy that all the cars are General Motors products? Hmm. Wonder why the movie makers decided to do that?

(Pictures are from the Yahoo movie site.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Super-strong thumb

What's with the bottle cap being popped off using the thumb?

Are you supposed to be able to do that? Something you can do if you drink Miller Lite?


Monday, May 28, 2007

Nice sign painting

This was a sports-equipment store for as long as I can remember. But that store is now gone and in preparation for the next business, look at what was revealed.

Speed lines on "Race Place." And check out the painted stop light next to the real stop light.

Now that's graphic design.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Best parts of "Grindhouse"

The best parts of the movie "Grindhouse," you ask?

1. The first "Reel Missing" moment in "Planet Terror." Starts out there's a lull in the action. Most of the cast is hiding out in a barbeque restaruant. The two main characters bicker for a while then start of a tender love scene. Quiet music. Artsy photography. The film breaks before anything good happens. The "Reel Missing" card goes up. And first thing after the title card is a gigantic musical flourish and an exterior shot of the entire barbeque restaurant on fire. Huge flames.

I laughed!

2. Credit sequence of "Death Proof" starts with some actresses walking around and then goes to a car speeding down a backwoods road. Starring. Music by. Produced by. Then there's the title. An animated, fairly elaborate logo with the words "Thunder Bolt" -- but then before you even have time to read that, we are shown some very drab, white on black lettering, "Death Proof." Like they changed the name for some reason, but didn't go to the expense of redoing the title.

I laughed!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Coke can

The pre-New-Coke can was just red and white. Incidentally, I think it was the first can to use the "Dynamic Ribbon Device."

New Coke added a silver stripe to the ribbon and put silver around the logo. Coke cans have been getting more and more complicated since.

The current can has sliver around the logo script plus a drop shadow, fake sweat beads, a halftone pattern and the ribbon has multiplied and thickened.

Now a new design has surfaced. And it looks very much like the pre-'85 can. Red and white. No printing tricks. Looks great!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The problem with Comic Sans MS

Talk about typefaces for a while and eventually someone will say they hate Comic Sans MS.
I think the biggest problem with Comic Sans MS is the name. I'm a cartoonist and even I think it's a dumb name.
More people would like Comic Sans MS if it was named something cooler. Like, maybe, "Darabont" or "Worthy" or perhaps, "Lake."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Typo in newspaper!

This ad is obviously wrong. Chris Tucker getting top billing over Jackie Chan in "Rush Hour 3"?

Hopefully, the poster will be fixed before the movie comes out.

I bet New Line is really embarrassed about this!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Better than the Blue Screen of Death

Put a CD with documents on it into my work computer (a Dell running Windows XP) and got a spectacular lock up.

What is it? How do I fix it?

It's the company's computer, so the long-suffering IT guy has to deal with it. A restart fixed it temporarily. Or fixed it for good.

In the short run, I went to another Dell box and got my work done.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Louis Jourdan, Louis Jordan

I knew about Louis Jourdan the actor (pronounced "Loo-EE Jor-DAN") but I didn't know about Louis Jordan the musician ("LOO-ee JOR-dun") until I started listening to podcasts of WFMU's Old Codger. Boy, what I was missing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Love and hate

Robert Indiana painted the original "Love," of course. Fantastic design. Pop Art at its best.

I did the "Hate," in the Indiana style, more or less. I don't know if someone else has done it that way, I just saw a "Hate" done the wrong way and I had to fix it.

The blog post that spurred me on to making these drawings is about stealing other people's artwork. (I'm going to take a stand here and say I'm against stealing, too.) One of the examples of stealing was a design like the one with the tilted "A." The blogger says it's stealing from Robert Indiana to do "Hate" in the "Love" style. I'm not so sure I agree. I think it's more of a tribute, or a visual nod.

But in any case, I don't think the tribute featured is tributing correctly! The "A" shouldn't be tilted, the "T" should be. The "A" has a diagonal in it and doesn't need the tilt. The "T" -- like the "O" in the original doesn't have a diagonal, and should be tilted to get the diagonal reverberating across the design.

Learned that in art class in high school.

If you're going to be inspired by someone's work, think it through.

Peeling billboard

There was a long, soaking rain and then the temperature went below freezing.

Result: Lots of billboards peeled. I like it!