Lovely little lies from graphic designer, Lauren Hom.
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My life. Constantly. :(
The bigger tragedy in this redesign is the typography that accompanies the icon. It looks like an Adobe InDesign document that couldn’t load the fonts. At best it looks like a default system font and at worst like a pedestrian attempt at corporate typography. —
Armin Vit, on the new American Airlines logo.
Well at least someone with clout is saying this. Too bad several respected brand-centric designers are swooning. I don’t mind the icon—it’s the typography and livery that burn my eyes.
For the first year, I’ve been keeping up with the musical Joneses and have come up with one of these lists of the best albums released in 2012. I’m also including a good jumpin-in point if any of these interest you. Rock on…
Electric Guest: “Mondo”
By far my most-listened to album this year, and the one artist I recommend to anyone I talk to. The debut album from Electric Guest, “Mondo” doesn’t have a bad song. It’s funk-electro-pop that will dare you to dance. Fitting from producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley) and the brother of one of the Lonely Island guys (main singer Asa Taccone).
Sample: This Head I Hold
Of Monsters and Men: “My Head Is An Animal”
Sure, you may have heard “Little Talks” on the radio and in indie circles, but have you heard the rest of the songs from this Icelandic band? A menagerie of instruments score the folksy, fun ballads of the male and female lead singers with a blast of energy that will melt the ice around your heart.
Sample: Mountain Sound
The Lumineers: “The Lumineers”
Another indie band that exploded this year—”Ho Hey” is #3 on iTunes, and they’ve graced Billboard and were featured in an ad for Dick’s Sporting Goods, of all places—the rest of their songs are just as good. If you thought Mumford and Sons needed to chillax and be more personal, The Lumineers are for you. Acoustic, folksy, with a little bit country and a little bit talk’n’roll.
Sample: Stubborn Love
Alt-J: “An Awesome Wave”
This one snuck in late. These British rockers take “alternative” seriously and serve up a mesmerizing, experimental rock album complete with ethereal vocals, instrumental interludes, and dubstep. Worth a listen for the crazy and catchy nature that slowly grabs onto your brain.
K’naan “Country, God, Or The Girl”
Me? Rap? K’naan has never been that simple. Originally from Somalia, this now-Western rapper doesn’t really play by the rules. He can spit verses like the best of them, but also infuses more pop sensibilities, guitar riffs, choirs, and, yes, fun that puts the “hope” in hip-hop.
Sample: Waiting is a Drug
fun. “Some Nights”
First Aid Kit “The Lion’s Roar”
The Mynabirds: “Generals”
Lord Huron “Lonesome Dreams”
The following is my personal list of the top five movies of 2012. (Officially, this list has no order. Unofficially? Sorted a bit by enthusiasm.)
I didn’t really like Ben Affleck’s other directorial debuts. Sure, they were well-made, but maybe because I’m a long way from Boston, the didn’t knock me over. Argo, on the other hand, is more my wheelhouse. A geopolitical thriller with a coating of sci-fi and the entertainment industry? Yes please! From the visual style that matches the times and even certain famous footage to the absurdity of the whole plot to extract U.S. hostages from Revolutionary Iran reflecting in equal parts harrowing and humorous, Argo nails it. (The credit scenes have some added bonuses, including interviews with famous figures of the time, so stick around even after the diplomats are safe and sound.)
Bruce Wayne can brood once more, and Spider-Man can only stutter, because the best superhero movie this year was the one no one thought would work. After a slow setup, once the film kicks into gear any Joss Whedon doubters (anyone? Bueller?) were silenced for good. Like his other film this year, Cabin in the Woods, Whedon injects his style and humor into a movie that would be campy as hell. But between the hilarious, jam-packed script and great actor rapport—can Whedon direct the next five Iron Man’s?—with these souped-up misfits, I had the most fun of 2012 with the Avengers, all three times I saw it. And that’s the sign of a superpower.
Silver Linings Playbook
Is it a portrait of insanity or a beacon of hope? A drama? Romantic comedy? Nothing is ever straightforward in Silver Linings. Pat has just been released from a mental institution following a tragedy involving his wife and has trouble adjusting back in the real world. Living with his gambling father and dawdling mother while jobless and trying to reacquaint with friends isn’t enough: he’s trying to stay positive and get his wife back when a neighbor (an ace Jennifer Lawrence) enters the picture with a mission and problems of her own. While the ending is a little too neat, this is still a compelling, surprisingly funny, and hopeful movie about material that’s rarely any of those things.
Wreck It Ralph
The student has become the teacher. With Pixar in a bit of a slump since Toy Story 3, it’s up to their parent/sister/crazy-uncle company Disney to pick up the slack. Now that John Lasseter is overseeing Disney’s animated films, is it any surprise he’s slipped some of the old Pixar magic into this film about a reformed video game bad guy? Aside from the nostalgia factor, Wreck It Ralph is a fully-realized world with incredibly clever (and true to the story) animation and a surprisingly well-done, punny script. Need more evidence of Pixar seepage? The credits take part of a page from Wall-E. Yeah, it’s Disney, so you’ll get some licensed music and the warm and fuzzies in the end, but this is still a fully 3D film in a world of pixelated shlock.
While not as…dense as Inception, Rian Johnson’s Looper is the most impressive sci-fi film in a while. It’s a movie about time travel where the main characters stay where they are; it’s futuristic but takes place in alleyways and farms; it’s got a ton of killing but is about the virtues of life. One more contradiction? Joseph-Gordon Levitt is supposed to look like Bruce Willis in his earlier days. Sure. Questionable prosthetics aside, Looper gets on this list for its sheer creativity and excitement, as well as the fact that Johnson creates a fleshed out world and brings everything full circle, true to concept. Looper deserves repeat viewings, at the very least to close the loop and make sense of it all.
[This was a tough fight, but the only reason any of these just missed it was largely due to their endings. All three of these are top-notch movies, though.]
Moonrise Kingdom, Safety Not Guaranteed, Beasts of the Southern Wild
This is a fascinating read on the distribution of the world's religions. -
Some of the data may surprise you.