corporate who?

Book. Last winter, when I was bored, I made a book. It took a while to get it printed and I gave away all the copies as soon as they were bound. I did a second run of the book, but by the time that was done, I had gotten lazy and didn’t bother to update my website. But finally, it’s been done. So here it is.

This is a beautiful hardbound volume (buy! buy! buy!) of 42 of my photographs. The book is called Sunsets because there are no sunsets anywhere in it. Actually, I have my back turned to the sunset in nearly every photo — in other words, you see the long shadows and orangeness of the setting sun throughout the book. The book isn’t directly related to Everydot, but it does contain photos from a few little towns that I visited to take pictures for Everydot. The design of the book is based on The English Sunrise. That book is all of photos of the sunset motif everywhere in England, and it consists solely of photos and an index in the back — its design was also what Walker Evans wanted to base a Polaroid book of the alphabet on.

So, if you’d like a copy (buy!) I have plenty to sell. If you want one, you can email me. And yes, I can take credit cards (buy! buy!) via PayPal.

Booklet. Additionally, in my dead-end bureaucratic job at the Municipal Water Board I’ve produced a small handbook called the Municipal Water Board’s Infrastructure Handbook #1: Township Road Signs. (Note to those not familiar: the Muncipal Water Board is only as real as the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, Symbionia, or Plain Layne.) I expect the Municipal Water Board will be producing a number of books in the Infrastructure Handbook series. Each book contains snippets of some obscure and incredibly dull thing — this one is all about township road signs. Township road signs, while dull, are still far more exciting and varied than regular county road signs. Expect future topics to be one or more of the following: telephone pedestals, telephone booths, burglar alarms, typefaces, or manhole covers. Manhole covers, while an especially MuniWaBo-worthy subject, have already been done quite well in the book Manhole Covers by Mimi and Robert Melnick.

Physics. University science labs tend to collect ancient relics. That’s as true for the people as it is for the equipment. I went through Hagen Hall at Minnesota State University Moorhead looking for some non-human relics. A lot of the old equipment has typefaces that haven’t been popular in decades. Some of the equipment and boxes of stuff have a very dull, sterile, dated look, while other stuff, such as the building itself, have a very bright and colorful look. The result is an odd confluence of styles, mostly this very bright 1950s/1960s look combined with the dull grey industrial look which could in some cases be the 1930s as much as it could be the 1970s. Take a look.

Dots. I’ve posted 33 new Minnesota towns and 12 new North Dakota towns to Everydot. That brings the total to 183 for Minnesota, 73 for North Dakota, plus 16 in Manitoba, and 8 in Ontario. Check out the North Dakota ones (see the links to the right) for photos shot in the late orange evening, my favorite time of day.

Bacon. Finally, I’ve also begun to accumulate photos of modern household products with particularly interesting examples of particularly outdated graphic design in a section called Extant Design. You might ask why I’m doing this (of course, if you’re still asking questions like that, you probably haven’t looked at most of my other stuff). On a simplistic level, it’s just because these products are little time capsules, showing earlier (and usually simpler) graphic design. I also like to examine trends in design, just as the Ball and Swoosh design was popular during the dot-com days. That design wasn’t particularly graphically complex, and it was easily copied — that meant that you didn’t have to be a particularly good graphic designer to have a design that looked modern. I think the same is true for some of these products; their designers weren’t particularly avant-garde or really even unique. But because of this, they’re easily identified as dated. I think that good design can never really look dated. Real “classic” package design can be seen at the online American Package Museum and cheap, trendy, and/or sloppy package design still available can be seen here at Extant Design.

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