New Frontiers in Online Content

My guess is that this website by the Minnesota Zoo is a big hit with 10-year-old boys for about 15 minutes. As a life-long wildlife biology enthusiast, I applaud the willingness to broach a topic that most people consider too gross to discuss in polite company. However, the treatment here is so shallow and frankly juvenile that I can only conclude that the major purpose for this mini-site is to drive viewers to the main Minnesota Zoo website.


The Disappearance of a City Before Our Very Eyes

Photo by Kevin BaumanAnybody who's grown up in the Detroit metro area is well aware of the precipitous decline and fall of what was once a vibrant and powerful city. Back in 1950, Detroit was the fifth largest city in the country in population, home to a dominant auto industry that was the envy of the entire world. It would have been literally inconceivable to Detroit residents back then that their city would eventually become so depopulated that abandoned homes would far outnumber occupied structures in many sections of the city, with wild pheasants and feral dog packs a common sight.

To those who appreciate domestic architecture, one of the most distressing aspects of the physical decline has been the abandonment and resulting destruction of many hundreds of formerly fine brick homes in Detroit, as well as many thousands of smaller wood-frame residences. There have been a number of web-based chronicles of the ongoing process of dissolution, and my good friend and fellow designer Michael McGowan—a former Detroiter himself—let me know about a particularly poignant site, The simple, direct color photographs were taken by Kevin Bauman, and the experience of viewing them is both mesmerizing and depressing.


Environmental Graphics for the NY Mets

The New York Mets opened Citi Field, their brand-new stadium, in 2009, and the New York-based design firm Two Twelve development a comprehensive program of environmental graphics including wayfinding, signage, and interpretive graphics for the complex. Communication Arts has a few more details.

The fabricator of the tile murals at Citi Field is Winsor Fireform, located in Washington state. Winsor also fabricated the porcelain enamel panels in one of my projects, the Downtown Ann Arbor Historic Exhibit Program which you can see in the Exhibits/Signage section of the design portfolio.

Interestingly, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is one of the primary parts of the complex, but Robinson played only for the Brooklyn Dodgers, retiring after the 1956 season. The Mets franchise wasn't even created until the early '60s.


How to make a news spot

It's really a simple formula, as explained by BBC satirist and media reviewer Charlie Brooker.


Las Vegas on Every Corner

Richard Hartog/LA TimesMany years before I was even aware that there was such a thing as graphic design, I loved signs. That has continued to this day, although the signs that I love most are signs from my childhood. I have a small but precious collection of old metal advertising signs that I would love to have on display throughout our house, but my wife is not similarly enamored with the idea of rusty, sharp-edged entreaties to buy Chesterfield cigarettes and Dad's Old-Fashioned Root Beer in our living room.

Out on the streets of cities around the world, a new form of sign—the electronic screen—has emerged that threatens to engulf and submerge another love I have, architecture.

My friend and architect Lincoln Poley emailed me this article in the L.A. Times by architectural critic Christopher Hawthorne, who examines some of the issues that this new technology creates.,0,3068829.story