Design Drama

documenting the delicate dance of design

“Objectified” + my theory of how the PT Cruiser design was born January 10, 2009

Filed under: artists,fonts,HA!,I'm jazzed,time waster — Beth D @ 7:50 pm
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There’s a new movie coming out by Gary Hustwit – he’s the guy that did “Helvetica” – the new film is titled “Objectified” and the trailer was sent to me this week. Looks great, can’t wait to see it. Click here for the trailer.

I was en route somewhere the other day, with my friend the Film Producer* in the car, and we found ourselves beside a PT Cruiser in traffic. The Producer started this complete diatribe about what a piece of crap car the thing is. I’ve never driven one – never even been in one for that matter – but a few months back, The Producer & her significant other, The Austrian*, had car issues – days dragged on and they found themselves in the possession of a rental PT Cruiser. But not just any PT Cruiser – this was a turquoise blue PT Cruiser. And not only was the outside turquoise blue, the interior was as well. It burned my eyes. I was ashamed to have it parked in my driveway. The color is not found in nature, UNLESS there is some undiscovered bird somewhere in the Amazon that has this particular shade of metallic speckled clear-coat somewhere on it’s body.

At that moment, sitting in traffic, en route to I forget where, the theory of the design of the PT Cruiser was born:

Whoever designed the thing is a ZZ Top fan — Like the #1 fan of ZZ Top – the President of the Fan Club. I imagine “Legs” was blaring as the sketches and clay forms were made, his crazy ZZ Top-esque beard flying in all directions.

Remember the ZZ Top videos from the ’80s? They all involve what I dubbed the “ZZ Top Mobile” – some lady in a miniskirt (leopard print was involved as well as pleather) was in distress at her job selling shoes and viola! The men of ZZ Top appeared in their ZZ Top Mobile – it rolls up, cue the close ups of the side, front and rims of the thing – the details of the car were always highlighted in the videos. Then, they tossed some schmo the keys as they got out, and the keychain – in the shape of the “ZZ” blinged in another close up. And by the end of the video, all was right in the world. They were like rock n’ roll Texas superheros – perhaps their beards and keyring were their superpowers? And, of course, they got the girl, a blonde in the leopard print and miniskirt in the end – after a makeover, of course.

Long story short, the PT Cruiser is the poor man’s ZZ Top mobile.

That is precisely what the guy that designed the PT Cruiser was going for. Except, he didn’t realize two things:

1) men won’t drive it – too girly (even gay men won’t even drive it!)
2) women would drive it – and what this designer failed to realize is this: the women of the ’80s had grown up and they were now middle aged moms driving his version of the ZZ Top Mobile – taking their kids to soccer practice. Not very rock n’ roll at all.

Since MTV won’t let you truly imbed a video, I’m not linking to their website. Seek out their videos on other sites if you haven’t seen them and need a refresher course.

* the neighbors


The Rather Difficult Font Game May 4, 2008

Filed under: fonts,HA!,time waster — Beth D @ 5:49 pm
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Ok, Font Fanatics, time to test your skills.

I Love Typography
presents “The Rather Difficult Font Game


Is that a banana in your logo, or are you just glad to see me? April 29, 2008

Filed under: fonts,HA!,logo design,Uncategorized,what the ??? — Beth D @ 6:00 am
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I read a lot of blogs on typography and logos and all sorts of graphic design stuff that would make the average human sleep longer than Rip Van Winkle.

So, I’m shuffling around the blogs recently and came across this gem:

The British Government Agency called “Office of Government Commerce” apparently had a designer that didn’t rotate the logo to see what things looked like from all sides.

I love the internet.

HT: I Love Typography via The Ministry of Type


Jim Parkinson April 23, 2008

I am a font fanatic. I haven’t counted recently, but I’d venture to guess that I have over 7,000 fonts sitting here on the hard drive. They seriously need to be organized, but that can take weeks. I find myself lost in organization of fonts – and then they’re organized and I think of a better way that I could place them in folders to find them quickly.

I spend a lot of time playing “identify the font” on the rare occasion I watch television. I do it when I drive down the road, look at magazines and the ads within — I guess I’m obsessed.

So this email just landed in my inbox. An interview with Jim Parkinson – you might not know the name, but you know his work – the logo for Rolling Stone magazine, Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus being two of the most famous.

Article & interview with JP here