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Logobook: Inspiration in Black and White

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 28, 2017

A new compendium of logos has been published online: Logobook. The site features a directory of logos categorized by type: letters and numbers, animals, shapes, objects, business, nature, and heraldy, shields, and flags. In a field of robust logo resources, what makes Logobook stand out is its simplicity. Each logo is presented only in solid black and white, permitting viewers to focus on the design and to easily compare logos.

In an article on Creative Review, the directory’s editor Seymour Auf Der Bauer stated that the site’s goal is to create a resources for logo designers by showcasing collections of logos from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, scanning and photographing from out-of-print sources when necessary. The site’s creators sought logos that, at the time of their execution, either broke new ground or started trends.

Logos have also been contributed by contemporary designers, although submissions have since been suspended due to a large backlog. The site’s goal is to eventually become a thriving community, with designers contributing work to a growing database of original designs. Svizra, the international collective of Swiss brand designers that created and curates the website, has set a lofty goal for Logobook: “Our ambition is to improve global design standards in logo and identity design, and encourage businesses and designers to create original logo designs.

Below: Logobook’s elegantly simple interface facilitates logo searches.

Logobook screenshot

Copyrightlaws.com Sheds Light on Moral Rights in the United States

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 16, 2017

Copyrightlaws.com logoIn light of the Copyright Office’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on Moral Rights, Copyrightlaws.com has done us all a favor in posting their article, “Moral Rights in US Copyright Law.” The NOI is revisiting creators’ rights, which, in the United States, are little understood. In this context, “moral rights” has little to do with religion, but refers to non-economic rights that are personal to an author. The Copyrightlaws.com article provides an easy-to-understand explanation and background information on the topic.

The article describes moral rights as those that protect the reputation of the author (not the owner) of a copyrighted work. As set out in the Berne convention, those rights include the right of paternity (the right of the author to put their name on a work, or to remain anonymous – generally when the author has economic rights in the work) and the right of integrity (the right of the author to object to any changes to their work that may damage his or her reputation).  

When the United States joined the Berne Convention, it interpreted moral rights more narrowly and concluded that between federal and state laws, moral rights are explicitly protected in the US. Additionally, the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) of 1990 amended US Copyright Law to conferr additional rights (the right of attribution and the right of integrity) to the authors of certain visual works. However, those works can only exist as single copies or in limited editions of 200 or less.

The Copyright Office’s NOI asks for comments on concerns raised “with the patchwork of protection” provided by federal and state law. The questions in the NOI are extensive, and cover everything from the effectiveness of VARA, whether copyright law provisions on content management information are sufficient, and how stronger moral rights provisions could affect First Amendment rights, to how technology could address the problems authors face in protecting their rights of attribution and integrity. Comments to the Copyright Office are due March 30th.

Copyrightlaws.com publishes articles and resources on US and Canadian copyright law, and conducts etutorials on intellectual property rights. It was founded by IP attorney Lesley Ellen Harris, who has written several books on Canadian copyright law and digital property. Harris also frequently blogs on current copyright concerns.

Elevating “Real” News Through Web Typography

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 06, 2017

Zeldman's web typography style guide screenshotDuring the Poynter Digital Design Challenge, five designers addressed the leading challenge facing news organizations and their consumers: the prevalence and seeming authority of fake news. Each design brought a unique perspective and solution, from a reader-controlled interface, to an app with customizable news and ad streams, to integrated video and virtual reality experiences. Jeffrey Zeldman, however, went after what he described as low-hanging fruit: the website typography.

In his article on TrackChanges, “Authoritative, Readable, Branded: Report from the Poynter Design Challenge, Part 2,” Zeldman advocates for a “clean, uncluttered, authoritative branded page” driven by typography. He points out that any news publication, no matter how cash-strapped, can invest in better typography. To that end, Zeldman has posted a sample reader layout and style guide.

The Challenge brought together Mike Swarz (Upstatement), Lucia Locava (Locava Design Inc.), Jared Cocken (STYLISH.co), Kat Downs Mulder (The Washington Post), and Jeffrey Zeldman (A List Apart) last October to discuss the issues with online news media during a two-day conference at Columbia. The designers reconvened in January for part two of the Challenge, at which they presented their proposals. In intervening months, the role played by fake news in influencing voters had become a hot topic. It’s a problem Zeldman thinks can in part be addressed through clean, authoritative, branded design: “Authoritative because this isn’t fake news. Branded because the source matters.”

You can read Zeldman’s article on TrackChanges, as well as an earlier article summarizing his co-presenters’ work. The entire Poynter Design Challenge discussions from October and January can be viewed online on fora.tv.

Right: Zeldman's Style Guide from the Poynter Digital Design Challenge, based on a Typecast template from John Martins.

Eliminating the NEA: FastCompany Outlines What a Bad Idea This Is

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 03, 2017

National Endowment for the Arts logoIn late January, Donald Trump’s transition team informed White House staff that the President’s budget included steep cuts for a number of federal agencies. Among the cuts reported by The Hill, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated. The news set off alarms for arts advocates. In its article, “Defunding the NEA Would Be Incredibly Stupid: Here’s Why,” FastCompany pulls no punches in contesting the wisdom of that move.

Author Diana Budds points out that while the NEA takes up a paltry amount of the federal budget – the NEA and NEH combined consume only 0.02% of the budget (or an average annual cost of 46¢ to each taxpayer) – the programs they support bring immeasurable value to urban and rural communities across America. The article also cites NEA statistics that estimate each 1$ of NEA funding yields an additional $9 of additional grants from public and private sources, generated from the legitimacy NEA funding gives to a project.

The article outlines a number of projects the NEA supports, which provide real, economic value in, for example, supporting entrepreneurship, reclaiming unusable spaces, or promoting education. Among the programs supported by the NEA and mentioned in the FastCompany article are:

• The design of a warming bassinet for premature infants, under development in Rhode Island;
• The transformation of a brownfield in Carlisle, PA (part of a larger urban renewal project);
• The development of urban spaces under elevated rails and freeways through the Under the Elevated project in New York City, organized by the Design Trust for Public Space;
• A program to educate and support entrepreneurship in the Navaho Nation, led by Denver, CO design firm Catapult;
• Building Hero Initiative, conducted by a Philadelphia non-profit Tiny WPA, which brings children and adults from diverse backgrounds to collaborate on design projects.

Budds encourages readers to contact the their Congressional members to request that funding isn’t pulled from the NEA and NEH. Both programs are operating under short-term budgeting that lasts only through April.

You can read the entire article here.

Response Submitted to Copyright Office Reform Policy Proposal

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on January 31, 2017

House Judiciary Committee logo

The Guild joined the Coalition of Visual Artists in submitting a response to the policy proposal for reform of the Copyright Office, drafted by House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R – VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D – MI). The proposal, released in early December, called for greater autonomy for the Copyright Office, the creation of an advisory committee, IT modernization, and the creation of a copyright small claims tribunal. The Guild welcomed the attention the policy proposal brought to reform of the Copyright Office.

In our response, the Coalition solidly supports the Judiciary Committee’s call for greater autonomy of the Copyright Office, providing that the Office’s statutory duties, such as providing counsel to Congress, are preserved. The Coalition also urges that modernization of the Office’s IT structure begin as quickly as possible, with technology solutions such as APIs built into a database structure so as to facilitate registration and copyright searches. In regard to the creation of a copyright small claims tribunal, the Coalition letter extended an in-depth discussion of the purpose and components of such legislation, drawing from a white paper the Coalition published last year.

Coalition signees to the letter include American Photographic Artists, American Society of Media Photographers, Digital Media Licensing Association, Graphic Artists Guild, National Press Photographers Association, North American Nature Photography Association, and Professional Photographers of America.

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