Posts by Max Swenson

You say "tomato", I say "why is that tomato attacking that lady?"

Max Swenson on Dec 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM

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I was driving to work one morning and, while stopped at a traffic light, I glanced at a white van in the next lane and read the business name and other information stuck there using the now ubiquitous vinyl signs. Though it was easy enough to read, I wondered if the business owner knew what his signage was saying. It was apparent that someone involved in the design of this logo had a penchant for heavy metal music and the fonts associated with bands that ilk. I wondered if a long–haired, flannel-clad “rocker” would show up at my door asking, “dude, where are the locks that need changing?”

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Is Grunge Design Dead?

Max Swenson on May 7, 2013 1:50:00 PM

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Fads come and go, trends wax and wane.  No ideas ever really die, they simply leave our collective favor for a period of time that is determined by how tiresome they became when in vogue. Design wonks, like me, are asking the same question more and more often. Is Grunge (or Grunge Design) dead? Business owners or those who are responsible for procuring design work for their employer, may well be asking “what the heck is Grunge?” and “why should I care if it’s dead?”.

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Helvetica Sucks!

Max Swenson on Apr 12, 2013 2:11:00 PM

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Yeah, I said it! Right now, a fair percentage of readers are shrugging their shoulders in utter apathy. A small percentage are irked by my grand statement and the remaining, very small percentage of readers, are considering the extent to which they agree. The root of this post is that all fonts have, in designer parlance, voices. What we mean by voice is visual character. While this may seem trivial, I can assure you it’s not. The wrong font choice can destroy an ad’s credibility and reflect very poorly on the company or organization connected to that choice. I’m getting ahead of myself here; first, let me explain the origins of Helvetica briefly, then I will move on to describe and illustrate how font voice is a topic worthy of your attention.

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The Best Color For Your Marketing Material

Max Swenson on Feb 28, 2013 8:00:00 AM

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Some years ago, when I was a student, there was a time when all of my design work incorporated, in full measure, the color pink. That color just worked for the project at hand. Some five projects in a row prominently featured a pink hue. Personally, I don’t like the color pink. Pink, salmon, melon, rouge, call it what you want, I don’t like it. I won’t say I hate pink. Pink is just a color, there’s no need to go all the way to hate. I just had to set my personal bias aside and accept that pink was the right color for the job.

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The Fear Motivator, Recognizing Fear in the Workplace

Max Swenson on Jan 24, 2013 8:00:00 AM

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Some years ago I was living in a city with a population of around 3.5 million. Like all cities, this city had a neighborhood that one could characterize as dangerous. On an average day in an average week, I found myself putting gas in my van at a station on the outskirts of this neighborhood. Transaction complete, I got into my vehicle and was suddenly joined by a twenty-something male with a handgun. 

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