Archive | October, 2010

Erik Spiekermann Purposefully Answers Six Questions

20 Oct

Erik Spiekermann’s contributions to design are utilized everyday by designers, studios and the viewing public. As founding partner Spiekermann helped drive MetaDesign’s reputation for clean information design and bringing structure to identity systems that turned chaos into orchestrated results for clients like Audi, Volkswagen, Düsseldorf Airport and Berlin Transit.

Based on his experience in MetaDesign, Spiekermann has also written extensively about the importance of interaction in design and how it can be planned into the studio layout. He developed the concentric circles approach to drive a human interchange forcing people to connect with each other.

In 1989 along with his wife Joan, Spiekermann co-founded FontShop the first type-house to sell digital fonts via mail order. In 1990 he, Neville Brody, and Joan Spiekermann started FontFont to develop a unique and wide variety of typefaces. The work of over 130 designers worldwide are showcased in a collection of 3,900 contemporary fonts in the FontFont Library. FontShop continues to be the premier distributor of typefaces world-wide including the FontFont library.

In 2001 Spiekermann, left MetaDesign to start United Designer Network, now known as Edenspiekemann.

Spiekermann was awarded a Honorary Doctorship for his contribution to design by the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. In 2006, Spiekermann along with typographer designer Christian Schwartz, received a Gold Medal at the German Federal Design Prize for their family of typefaces for Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) the highest such award in Germany.

Erik Spiekermann’s passion for type design has changed the way readers interact with words. You cannot pick up a newspaper, magazine or even and electronic device without benefiting from typographer and designer Erik Spiekermann’s contribution to design.

Some of Erik Spiekermann’s most recognized typefaces include ITC Officina Sans and Serif, FF Meta and FF Unit.

The Purposeful Six

Q1. What trends have you seen in typeface design over the past few years, and what styles do you anticipate being most significant over the next decade?

ES: We’ve seen the mega-family, and it keeps growing. Now we not only have to have Cyrillic and Greek, but also Devanagari or Arabic. Soon they’ll expect us to design a complete set of Kanji with 8000 characters. (I have a Meta Hebrew coming out.)

Other than that, we’ll have more OpenType features to make handwriting look more real than the real thing, to make fonts that look more spontaneous than handlettering and to have as many alternate characters as ordinary ones.

Q2. You have said that Helvetica is perfect. Are their any other typefaces you consider perfect?

ES: Perfect is not necessary a compliment. It depends on the purpose, and I do not mean that in a technical way. Technically, everything Lucas de Groot makes is perfect, he even does his own hinting.

For what it set out to be, Courier was perfect, so were Univers and Frutiger. Yet they constantly get revised and updated. They were perfect in their intent but new technologies may require them to be revisited from time to time. A lot of my favorite hot metal faces like Block were perfect for the purpose they were designed an produced for.

Q3. Today are you more influenced by typefaces and historical periods of the past or what you see happening in culture now?

ES: Every cultural movement, trend and fashion has always seen its equivalent in type design, even when it took 2 years from idea to release. Today, type design often anticipates major visual trends, so you can read those by looking at the typographic scene. Every designer is also a type designer now.

Q4. What affect or influence do electronic readers and other electronic text devices have typeface design?

ES: We can be very specific as far as the environment is concerned that certain fonts have to live in. Thus make them perfect for that purpose. Just like a hot metal typeface was made for one size only. But we still want to emulate what we’ve been reading for 500 years. Nobody wants bitmaps, everybody want Garamond for books.

Q5: You have talked about the importance of interaction in studio design and interaction as a result of studio location as well. You prefer to hire people who interact with the world through reading, cooking and doing things. Does this mean you feel the key to good design is interaction?

ES: The key to good design is an awareness of culture, not just visual culture. Most of the things we read, use, touch have been designed by somebody and we should always ask ourselves why it looks the way it does, who did it and if it could have been done differently. Why and how are important questions that should always be on a designer’s mind.

Q6: You have said that the small “a” is your favorite letter in part because it is the most challenging. You have also commented that you are a problem solver… Do challenges and difficult assignments interest you more?

ES: Yes. That’s why I am a designer and not an artist.


WSU AIGA students in New York

16 Oct

We brought a group of AIGA design students to New York for a couple of days of studio tours. It has been a load of fun. The students have walked and walked and walked! Here are a few of the highlights.

We arrived on Wednesday and oriented ourselves to the city and the subway system. We made a brief visit to the World Trade Center site.

Tours started on Thursday morning with FirstBorn Multimedia.


FirstBorn Multimedia


It was interesting to see and hear how they create their incredible work.

After lunch we went to see Louise Fili.


Louise Fili


She walked us through a number of her restaurant and packaging projects.

Next we visited Mucca Design.


Matteo Bologna of Mucca Design


Matteo Bologna walked us through their process and some of their work. He also hammed it up for my camera. As we were leaving, we ran into Pum and Jake Lefebure of Design Army (coming to Wichita in April!).

Last on our tours for Thursday was a visit to Arkadia & Co.


Alberta Jarane of Arkadia & Co


Alberta Jarane gave the students the lo-down on working in New York City and Brooklyn as well as some good advice on achieving their desires.

Thursday evening we visited the Museum of Arts and Design.

Friday started early at Martha Stewart Living.


The view from the offices of Martha Stewart Living


It was an incredible space with everything you could want to have available to you as a designer.

Next on the list was Pentagram.


Pentagram offices


Michael Bierut talked with us about the structure of the company and the work that they create.


Michael Bierut


We got a quick tour of the building and then it was off to Doyle Partners, right across the street.


Tom Kluepfel


Tom Kluepfel gave us a tour and walked us through some of their work.


Steven Doyle


Then we got to talk with Steven Doyle, winner of the 2010 National Design Award for Communication.

After a brief break for lunch, we headed to Brooklyn once again to see Michael Braley.


Michael Braley


Michael freelances out of a shared studio and discussed the joys and frustrations of going it alone.

Finally, to wrap up the day we visited Jessica Hische in her Brooklyn studio.


Jessica Hische


She showed us lots of examples of her work and process in lettering and illustration.

All in all, it has been a great couple of days of studio tours and inspiration.

Saturday we are taking a type walk with Paul Shaw through Harlem and the South Bronx. Then a trip to the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. It should be fantastic!

Justin McClure tickets available online

7 Oct

Event: Justin McClure from, Wichita, Kansas.






Lunch presentation – 11:45 am – 1:00 pm
At  Naked City Gallery, 121 N. Mead, Ste. 104

$10 Student AIGA Members
$15 Student Non-Members
$15 AIGA Members
$20 Non-Members


Ticket price includes lunch. Pizza and drinks will be provided


Joseph Duffy to Speak November 10

7 Oct

November 10th: Designer, Joseph Duffy (Joe’s son) will be conducting a lecture highlighting Duffy & Partners’ unique approach to design, through case studies of real world projects. The lecture shares insights regarding the power of collaboration in the design process, how creating a visual brief to visualize brand essence, culture and personality is essential.

Joe Duffy founded Duffy & Partners in Minneapolis in 1984, with a simple and focused vision: to demonstrate how design can enrich everyday life.

Times have changed. Markets have evolved. But the vision remains the same as Duffy’s talented group seeks to partner with likeminded, mission driven clients, employing creative thinking and design to drive business success. Over the course of the last quarter century Duffy designs have been welcomed into the homes of millions of people across the globe and seen in stores, on the road, in the media and museums, on the web and in many award-winning environments. Their portfolio includes work across dozens of categories and for a long list of clients, like American Eagle Outfitters, Aveda, Brown-Forman, The Coca Cola Company, The Hershey Company, The Islands of the Bahamas, Jack in the Box, Sony, Susan G Komen for the Cure, Tommy Bahama, Toyota and Wolfgang Puck.

The Duffy & Partners’ name is meant to be an open invitation for truly collaborative partnerships with clients and the most talented creative thinkers across disciplines. They hold strong to the belief that great people working in a great environment can do great things. They employ a business approach that is transparent and simple: look and listen with curiosity, be honest, work smart. With every project, they strive to do the right things the right way. And they believe the process of design should be fun and inspiring for everyone involved.

Joseph Duffy graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, MN in 1999. There he gained invaluable experience from several professionals that were currently working at various design shops in the twin cities, including Duffy.

After graduation, Joseph spent 4+ years working at Fallon Advertising in their art production and interactive design departments. Joseph worked on a variety of accounts; BMW USA, Timex, EDS, The Islands of The Bahamas, and Purina. At this time he was also fortunate to contribute on projects when Duffy needed additional design help.

When Duffy decided to split from Fallon in 2004, Joseph was the lone “non-Duffy” employee to jump ship and follow the family name. The opportunity to help start a “20 year old start up” was one he felt he couldn’t pass up .

Mark your calendar for the evening of November 10 to come hear all things Duffy. Ticket information and location to be announced.

We’re working to build a creative community.

6 Oct



The first AIGA Wichita hammer was signed by Christian Helms of The Decoder Ring Design Concern after his entertaining presentation September 30, 2010.


As part of our new era, AIGA WIchita is starting a new tradition and having speakers sign hammer for us. The hammer represents their contribution in helping us rebuild AIGA Wichita into a powerhouse creative community with great presentations, educational information, and opportunities to connect. We have a great foundation to build on, and fantastic line up for the year. So what are you waiting for? Come join us, and together we can build something great.

Justin McClure sets six questions into motion

5 Oct

Justin McClure

Justin McClure

Justin McClure is a motion and graphic designer with over a decade of experience in the fields of advertising, motion graphics and broadcast television. He has worked for Leo Burnett (Chicago), Barkley, and CMT/MTV Networks. He is now the owner and executive creative director at JUSTINMCCLURE.TV, a motion graphics and design studio located in Wichita, Kansas. More than a traditional production studio, they work side-by-side with their clients during every step of the creative process, from conception to execution.

Justin has been recognized by the Addy Awards, the Graphex Competition, BDA/Promax, Omni Awards, and the online publication His work with national level clients, as well as being the creator of, has led him to become one of the most recognized motion design artists in the industry. Justin’s experiences have allowed him to work with major television networks such as ABC, CMT, Syfy, Discovery Channel, Disney, and the Science Channel. He has also worked for national consumer brands such as Dell, Payless, Sonic, Coca Cola, Sprint, Cingular, Major League Baseball, Red Lobster and EA Hasbro.

Come see Justin’s full presentation noon, October 26, at the new Naked City Gallery.

Q1:  Two plus years in the Wichita scene with your own studio – how has the location worked for you in attracting clients, finding talent, and establishing a studio?

JM: Two years ago my wife and I had to make a decision between furthering my career by moving to Cupertino, California or moving back home to Wichita, Kansas to start my own business. I know we made the right decision. Family played an important part of our decision. I grew up in El Dorado and my wife is from Derby and after moving 6 times in 10 years we decided to make Wichita our home. So now that you know that Wichita was not a strategic business move… I believe that technology erases the need to be in a certain location to do business. Most of my clients are out of state and in some cases even over seas. I quickly learned that as long as you are kicking ass, doing great work and hitting deadlines that you can work with anyone from anywhere. I have an in-house staff of designers (who are awesome) but I’m not afraid to seek out other freelancers to find the right fit for a certain situation or project. Occasionally those freelancers are local, but most of the time they are not. Distance is not a hindrance when we are approaching a project, large or small. But don’t get me wrong, Wichita has been great. I love the vibe of Old Town and the Delano District, there are a lot of wonderful things happening here and I am glad to be a part of it.

Q2:    How does having your own studio differ from working for a larger agency?

JM: It’s night and day, but that also depends on your job description. Being the Motion Graphics Director at Barkley was certainly different than being a Designer/Animator at CMT. I think the biggest difference in owning a studio versus working for an agency, is that I am responsible for all of the other business aspects and nuances on top of trying to kick out great creative. The thing I loved best about CMT (besides the people I worked with) was the fact that I could just put on my headphones and start cranking out work with little, or no, interruptions at all. Try running your own business with your head down and the music up; I’m afraid you won’t get very far. Now the headphones come on around 10 PM, after the rest of my day settles down. In a nutshell, I gave over 110% at every agency that I have ever worked at and it doesn’t even hold a candle to a normal day at the studio now.

Q3:    With people able to access video and information in so many different formats, how has the business changed for you in the last 10 years and how do you  evolve your business and processes to meet ever emerging technologies?

JM: You are right, the internet is definitely here to stay. I think the biggest difference is how fast we can transfer data now. Back in the day you couldn’t just view a quicktime or other multimedia (at least nothing high-quality) on the web. You had to use programs like Macromedia Director to make an interactive cd to get even a moderate amount of quality. I can remember the first time I compressed a rendered video file and had my first working hacked DVD.  That was a big moment. We are miles beyond that now, and it has only been a few years. There are certainly more avenues for digital media to be seen these days, but it is interesting that no matter what the final format is, the creative process remains the same. More often we work directly with web developers and a new breed of professionals called web directors. We are certainly learning how to cross-pollinate the motion graphics/television world with the wild wild web.

Q4:  Are 3D movies a fad or the future in motion graphics and why do you believe that?

JM: 3D Film? You mean that new Polaroid technology from the 1930’s?  I think 3D will always have it’s place in the movie industry and it will continue to get better and better as new technologies emerge. However, I would have to say it is a fad as well as the future. I know it was big in the 1950’s and there will always be certain situations that make sense to be in 3D (mostly cheap horror films). But there are also a great many movies that shouldn’t be made in 3D. I have always been a big believer in concept or story and I believe for every great movie you see in 3D there has to be over a dozen that were done badly or simply didn’t need to be in 3D. If the idea or story is great, then you can animate still frames of stick figures and keep people captivated. If you’re not convinced, just check out the animation work of Don Hertzfeldt and tell me you’re not amused (

Q5:  Have you always been interested in storytelling and what led you into motion graphics?

JM: When I was 12 years old my brother and I would borrow my parents (then state-of-the-art) VHS camcorder and create short films, which were entirely edited in-camera WITH music being pumped through a walk-man tape player that was duct-taped to the microphone. That is where it all started. My true passion developed later in college with my first After Effects 4.0 course. I was a Design major, but at Fort Hays State University you were required to have a final portfolio on an interactive CD. In order to fulfill the criteria for an interactive CD we had to learn programs like Director and InfiniD, as well as After Effects for the animation and interactive components. One After Effects project and I was hooked. I mean, come on… Photoshop in motion? I was in love.

Q6: What advice do you have for someone wanting to get started in motion graphics?

JM: My advice to them is to come out to the AIGA luncheon on October 26th. I will be handing out tons of first-hand advice and survival tips for becoming a motion graphics designer. I will share one quick little insight though. Learn design first, I can’t stress that enough. The other tools will come as you grow and mature as an animator, but the fundamentals of design can make or break your career.

Upcoming AIGA Wichita Events In October and November

4 Oct

Mark your calendars for October 26, Justin McClure  or Justin McClure TV (lunchtime presentation) and November 10, Joseph Duffy of Duffy & Partners, Minneapolis, MN.