• Andy Cruz: The Modern-Day Type Master

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    By James Pelz, President of the Art Directors Club of Denver.

    Andy Cruz of House Industries is the modern-day type master. You would expect that. What you don’t expect is just how forward thinking he and his company really are.

    His presentation to ADCD on Thursday started as a quick tour into what House Industries is into and has been doing lately, but then he began his real presentation, his real passions, his heroes, his influences. Big Daddy Roth, Coop, Alexander Girard, he keeps going. He talks about his entry into fashion, design, architecture, furniture, shoes, he keeps going. He talks about all the research they put into any effort they put out, and he shows a real understanding of what they do.

    It’s not the general type-nut stuff, it’s an understanding of hand-drawn fonts, dancing baselines and how different letters can begin to interact with each other. How the inspiration he pulls from influences not just letter forms, but words. How hand-drawn fonts should work, how the computer takes away all the playfulness. Ok, maybe it is a bit type-nut stuff, but then he really begins to show House’s visionary side.

    He pulls out the big guns. House may just change the way you work with fonts, type, applications. If you thought that open type is changing how we work, what he showed us makes that look under- developed. He has been talking about interactions between letters and how the skill has been lost because nobody hand-draws the type anymore.

    House is working on a separate program, that you will need to export from. A program that actively looks at what letters are sitting next to what letters and adjust them so that they become friendlier, warmer, richer. It adjusts the baselines so they dance (his words), it also adjusts the ligatures so they overlap (and underlap). If you are not excited yet, let’s just say that it will be the best way to get that custom look, the only better way would be to hire House directly.

    If that wasn’t the coolest thing, the next bit of type candy was. He then unveiled a program that lets you move a slider on a graph and watch the font “slide” from light to heavy, thin to thick. All of the benefits of “stretching” the font, none of the guilt. The really cool thing was the thing looked great no matter the width or weight.

    All of this is coming soon.

    That’s the essence of House. It’s a small shop, filled with the right people. Always digging looking, inspiring. Not too interested in being too big, or too much. Just looking for the next thing they can become obsessed with. The next thing we can all be obsessed with.

    Keep an eye on the small shop out of Delaware. They have a few more cool things up their sleeves. A few more things they are passionate about that they would like to share. If there were only more shops just like them.

  • February 21

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    ADCD – Keynote Speaker Andy Cruz of House Industries

    House Industries came on the scene in the mid 90s, and their first efforts barely foreshadowed what was to come. Type foundries were sprouting like mushrooms. Nearly every day an email would contain a poster, postcard, or brochure announcing the release of a yet another set of fonts by yet another new foundry/person. Many have since disappeared, probably realizing that making and selling fonts is not nearly as easy as first imagined. But the flyers, booklets, and catalogs from House Industries never stopped coming. And with each offering their work showed more maturity and an increasingly distinct approach to type design and particularly type marketing.

    To be young offers an opportunity to create your own reality, to make new work, to ignore the past and invent the future. House Industries doesn’t seem to be very interested in that. The only future they’re interested in is the future as imagined in sci-fi movies of the 50s and 60s. Curiously, however, they don’t like their work to be labeled “Retro.”

    When House Industries mines the past it usually involves putting a spotlight on the very people whose work they resurrect. The fonts of Big Daddy Roth are a good example. Not only did House Industries revive and preserve Big Daddy’s vernacular lettering, they made sure he benefited from the venture as much as they did. Appropriate royalties were paid, and a friendship was solidified. A similar project has just been finished regarding the well-known New York type designer Ed Benguiat. A 70s icon of American type design, Benguiat echoes the blue collar, roll up your sleeves, craft oriented, design approach of House Industries. They are a perfect match.

    When: Thursday, February 21, Networking: 6pm; Presentation: 7pm
    Where: Denver Newspaper Agency Auditorium, 101 West Colfax Avenue (Parking is at the Adams Mark)
    Info: ADCD ; RSVP

    NDAC – Media Interest Happy Hour sponsored by United Advertising

    Join Denver’s Media sellers, buyers and planners in celebrating this challenging media environment. Your first drink is on United Advertising but feel free to toast any one of the following: TV writer’s strike, biggest political advertising season ever, slow Q1 media sales, Olympics eating up all kinds of inventory, reduction of many ad budgets, many Denver advertising lay-offs!

    When: Thursday, February 21, 5pm – 8pm
    Where: Purple Martini, Tabor Center
    Info: NDAC

  • What Would You Ask Sagmeister?

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    By now, you’ve got to know one of the most influential designers alive today, Stefan Sagmeister, is coming to Denver to speak on March 7th. (The event is sold-out for all you slow pokes.) However, there are two very cool things you can still take part in if you missed the boat.

    1 – Anyone who’s a member of AIGA Colorado (or becomes a member) will have one of the exclusive posters featured below, and designed by Sagmeister, Inc., sent to them automatically. To qualify you need to ensure your address is up-to-date with AIGA or join the club as a new member. Do that here by noon on Thursday. It’s the ONLY way to get a poster.

    2 – Andy Bosselman and AIGA Colorado have set us up to interview Sagmeister a few days before the big show. If you’ve followed Stefan’s career over the years, you know he’s been interviewed hundreds of times by hundreds of people. There simply are no questions left that he hasn’t heard before. So we want to craft an interview that surprises and entertains him – ensuring we get answers that no one has heard before.

    We want your help coming up with ideas for the form the interview could take and some questions that it might contain. An IQ test? A design test? We’re looking for big ideas to impress someone who’s been coming up with them his entire life. What you got for us, Denver? Tuesday, February 26th is the deadline for thinking.

  • Agency Poll: Pros + Cons

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    Everybody knows who’s doing the best work in town. But where’s the best place to work? Depends on who you’re asking and how you’re judging, right? Well, what makes your shop a great place to be? And what makes it drive you to consider a career in janitorial engineering?

    We want to hear from everybody in town. Feel free to comment on places you’ve been, places you are and places you wish you could be. Freelancers and full-timers welcome. Little perks, big bennies, demotions, raises – what’s the skinny? Let’s air some laundry, both clean and dirty.

    At the end of it all, we’ll tally the responses and report back on things you didn’t know about the agencies that surround you.

  • Love In The Air, Blood Red Cocktails In The Belly

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    If you and your lover spent Valentine’s Day at that quiet table for two in section six of the neighborhood Olive Garden, that’s cool. We’re not here to judge. But you missed a fine time at the Museum of Contemporary Art last night.

    The Bloody Heart Party mixed art, beats, cocktails and heart-shaped sugar cookies. What do you know, those things go together quite well. Just after 7 PM (we pride ourselves on punctuality) the museum was already popping. And judging by the volume of champagne flowing, more than a few folks were going home for some V-Day loving.

    Here’s what we learned:

    • The massive, automatic steel door that slides open upon your arrival at the MCA is freaking cool.

    • The uniform of arty types is still black, but on Valentine’s Day accents of red are permissible.

    • “Will honey flavoured milk soften that pig fed rage?” – the title of Wangechi Mutu’s installation on the second floor – is a question that bears repeating to your date at various times throughout the evening.

    • Montreal artist David Altmejd’s monstrous mirrored sculptures, like the automatic door, are freaking cool.

    • The MCA Café, the museum’s rooftop café and patio, is a place you must go.

    We’re slightly ashamed to say this was our first visit to the MCA’s new digs on 15th and Delgany, which opened at the end of October. But better late than never. We’re impressed. It’s not a large museum, but thanks to architect David Adjaye’s design it feels big. Do yourself a favor and grab the notebook, sneak out of the shop and get over there to do some thinking. New exhibits are opening in the coming weeks. Get the details here.

  • February 7

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    AIGA’s 14th Annual Heart Art Auction – An Elegant Evening of Art, Music and Love

    This is Colorado’s most anticipated event of the season. A chance for local area artists to contribute their talents towards two great causes; two non-profits that have positively impacted our community for decades. By generous donations of original paintings, sculpture, jewelry, furniture and other forms of creative artistry, these talented artists show their support for both AIGA Colorado and Project Angel Heart.

    Submitting Artwork: AIGA Colorado and Project Angel Heart invite you to capture your compassion for others into a heartfelt piece of art. Your piece, along with those of other premier artists, will be auctioned at our 14th Annual AIGA Colorado Heart Art charity event. All proceeds from the evening will benefit AIGA Colorado and Project Angel Heart, delivering more than 1,000 meals every week to homebound individuals living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life threatening illnesses. Deadline for art submission is February 1, 2008.

    When: Thursday, February 7, 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM
    Where: Mile High Station Map, 2027 West Lower Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80204
    Info: AIGA

  • The New Denver Egotist Essays – Parts & Pieces

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    Let us begin by saying we’re flattered, humbled and giddy that people would take the time to craft essays to get in on what we’ve got going here. Especially, considering everyone who wrote knew they wouldn’t be able to take credit for being a part of The Egotist.

    We’ll never silence the naysayers, but the whole ordeal further reinforces the allure and importance of our continued anonymity – we are the voice of creativity in Denver, not the voice of any one individual. Without additional puffery, we present some sound bytes from the pieces we received. Needless to say, the decision of who to bring on was difficult, time consuming and entertaining. Enjoy.

    Much of the work coming out of Denver often reminds me of my days in London… it’s as lukewarm as the beer I used to drink. Denver’s advertising can, and should, be better.

    As for The Denver Egotist itself, I read it daily and would love the chance to kiss the ass of the creators. Failing that, by writing for TDE I will have the opportunity to give a little back to this captivating read that is part of my morning ritual.

    Am I looking to be the next Bob Garfield? Nope. Am I the next David Abbott? Only in my dreams, which also have me looking like James Bond rather than the Gollum I actually resemble.

    I was born in Philadelphia in the 70s, which means that I love hip-hop AND hair metal bands, and I occasionally go into withdrawals from the total lack of anything resembling a proper cheese steak.

    Being unsure of precisely what it is you are looking for, I offer myself up on the golden alter of Denver Awesomeness. In the end, what I have to offer you is my heart on a big brown, oxygen-deprived cloud. I would rock your world in the ‘Cool Stuff’ department of Denver.

    I’d be a kickass Denver Egotist because I’m from Canada. Not just Canada, but Toronto. That’s right… that city in the far north that you might have heard of. As with most things, sometimes it’s hard for our work to get noticed next door to the behemoth campaigns below the 49th parallel. Everyone needs a little extra worldview now and then.

    As I proofread what I have written so far, just to make sure I don’t get axed from the running for some silly spelling or grammatical error, I get the feeling that even without a single mention of my name, a large percentage of people who read this will know exactly who I am. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

    In closing, you might also consider my brevity a positive qualification for the duties in question, given the fact that my current word count is well under the 750 word limit. As an active member of the community, I know there is little time in the day to embrace the overly verbose.

    So with that said, would I make a great Egotist? You tell me.

    I’m scrappy. And I dare you to find out just how much so. I want to prove myself, and I’m proud of what I’ve done and what I’m capable of doing. A wise man once said, “If you can dodge wrenches, you can dodge balls.” I get that I need to get hit a couple of times to really get into the flow. I’m willing to take those hits. Throw me the hard stuff, and I’ll do my best to take it on.

    Why would I make a good egotist? Fuck that, I AM an egotist. I’m THE egotist. The popularity of this site is built on a foundation consisting of three things. My desire to be informed, my compulsion to critique work / voice opinions, and an insatiable lust for justice. I am Anonymous Commenter. I am ego in action!

    In conclusion, some say I ruin this board, usually after they are outed as being shit. But good creative and sound management should stand up in an environment of harsh opinions, criticism and scathing rumors. Feedback fuels progress. And brevity is the soul of wit – so I’m out.

    So why me?

    As I see it, The Egotist is not a democracy.
    The Egotist is NOT under mob rule.
    It is not a place for personal attacks.
    It is not a pissing match.

    The Egotist is a conversation.
    One centered on raising the caliber of even the great work coming out of Colorado.
    One where a solitary opinion can shape the thinking of everyone else.
    I will proudly be a willing catalyst for these conversations.
    I will not, however, be silent.

    Please understand though,
    Me taking issue with some part of an ad is not me hating you.
    Me taking issue with some part of an ad in not me hating your agency.
    Me taking issue with some part of an ad is simply me not liking some part of an ad.
    And if I take issue with some part of an ad, I will say why.

    We can all benefit from hearing the opinions of our peers, but only if it goes beyond glad-handing and atta-boys. Let’s share our thoughts and help one another be smarter.

    The Denver Egotist: So, _____, what makes you such a worthy candidate for this position?

    _____: In the simplest terms, I’m smart as hell, well-versed in design, a Denver native, and pretty fucking cool as well.

    TDE: Can you elaborate on the meaning of being “smart as hell”?

    _____: Yes. To me, being smart means being interested in everything. It’s great to be interested in advertising or design innovations, but it’s more fun and infinitely more intriguing to look at the inspiration that feeds those innovations. For example, have you ever spent much time thinking about deep-sea creatures? They’re ridiculously bizarre in both behavior and form, and they occupy the largest and most uncharted habitat on our planet. What is the point of trying to find life on other planets when there are living things like the Dumbo Octopus and the naked sea butterfly swimming around on Earth? Designers everywhere should be jealous of Nature or God or whomever created these oddly perfect beings.

    “Smart” in this case also means I did well in school and have a pretty good grasp on the English language. I believe strongly in correctness and wit in writing. I have a decent vocabulary and a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, but those ought to be a given for anyone who writes for an audience. My professional credentials are limited to some copywriting I’ve done for my employer (I’m employed as a designer) and a few housing developers. Oh, and there was that killer piece on the Senior Prom I did for my high school newspaper. Even further back, and as a testament to being secretive, I won the D.A.R.E. essay contest in fifth grade and declined to read it in front of the school; instead, I made the principal read it..

    TDE: Thank you for your time, _____.

    _____: Thank you as well. It was a pleasure meeting you. I hope to hear from you soon.

    I’m the split personality that The Denver Egotist needs. Half writer, half designer. Half producer, half consumer. I’m a journalist, so I know what it means to message. But I’m also a skeptic. I live to peel away the surface layers—to find out what is at the heart of creative work in the Denver area. This is what The Denver Egotist does and does well. And I want in.

    The Denver Egotist is a place for Denver’s best writers and designers to come together, to decide what works, to debate what doesn’t. But it should also be a place where Denver’s creative class comes up against a little push once in a while. Do more. Do it better.

    I know Denver has more to offer than the mountains. Hell, I’ve been roaming inside city limits since I moved here. So let The Denver Egotist be a clearing house for the rest—for the glorious mess of the city’s creative work. Come here and think and vent and rethink. And then go do. The Denver Egotist will write about that, too.

    I’m from the South. A place with tall Pecan trees, moss covered just about everything, great food, better drinks, opinionated folks, and an ever-present slowness that forces thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness: care, attention, contemplation and consideration. Beyond being thoughtful, Southerners simply have things to say. Often polite discourse, but they talk, share, push, and ask questions.

    When we put words on paper or online, we change lives, opinions, and provoke thoughts among people not normally engaged in real thinking. We can influence, which is powerful. Why does this matter? It matters because what we sprinkle among the masses is what begins to take hold, collects momentum and provokes thoughtfulness. I’d like to be part of the Egotist sprinkle.

    Ya’ll keep on sprinkling.

  • February 1

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    ADCD 2008 PAPER FASHION Design Teams Call for Entries Deadline

    If you’d like to be involved in a high-fashion runway show that’s creative, fun, and benefits the creative community, now is your chance. ADCD is now signing up teams to design paper fashion creations to be modeled in our runway show on March 20th, 2008.

    What is the ADCD Paper Fashion Show? Teams sign up to design fashions created from paper that’s donated by our sponsors (who happen to produce the best & widest variety of papers available today). These fashions are then showcased at our grand runway show, and voted on by our panel of judges. The fashions are then put up for auction to raise money for the charitable recipient benefiting from the event.

    Event specifics: Designs may be for men or women. Your designs will be showcased by runway models—you may provide your own model, or we can provide talent for you. We will also provide hair and make-up services for models if needed. The event will feature a social where attendees can mix & mingle; the highlight of the event being the runway show featuring local entertainment and your paper fashions being modeled and voted on by our panel of judges.

    You may have as many people on your team as you wish – and there is no cost for participating. However, a maximum of 4 people per team will receive free admission, any additional team members receive the discounted ticket price of $10 (standard tickets are $25).

    Final teams will be assigned the first week in February, so if you are interested in participating and creating a paper fashion, please email us at the address below ASAP, and we’ll get in touch with you to follow up and provide more details and direction.

    Info: Email ADCD at paperfashion[at]adcd.com

  • January 31

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    ADCD One Show Winners Preview – Presented by One Club Director Mary Warlick of New York.

    The One Show is a tradition of recognizing true creative concepts across all media – print, TV, design and interactive advertising. An outstanding group of judges from all parts of the world spent hours and hours, long days into night, giving careful consideration to almost 17,000 individual entries. The Gold, Silver and Bronze Pencils awarded went to some of the top national and international brands, proving once again that good creative is good for business. Mary Warlick (New York, New York) will be presenting the nation’s top award-winning print and video work from this past year to the Denver community. Mary is presently the Executive Director of The One Club for Art and Copy in New York, which sponsors the annual event. Join ADCD upon arrival and attend for free.

    When: Thursday, January 31, 6:00 PM
    Where: Denver Newspaper Agency Auditorium, 101 West Colfax Avenue
    Info: ADCD

  • Creative Crackdown, D.R. Horton

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    We’re going back to the days of ol’ with our Creative Crackdown and inviting some outsiders to chime in on the work – a team from Tequila, LA, TBWA\Chiat\Day’s in-house interactive department, and a team from McCann Erickson, NY. Here’s the set-up for the first piece we’ve ever seen produced from HIM Creative.

    D.R. Horton (the largest homebuilder in the country) came to HIM Creative in hopes of taking their online advertising to the next level, after seeing an interactive email Jeremy Irwin (part of our team) had concepted and directed for Chipotle. As the housing market is getting more and more competitive for homebuilders, the industry is looking for new and innovative ways to elevate themselves and get their message out in more cost effective ways.

    This email, aimed directly at Colorado real estate agents and wrapped around a strong incentive, is designed to show the audience something they’ve never seen before, keep their attention in front of the brand for as long as possible and incite them to click through to the list of homes that qualify for the promotion.

    Given only the 5% promotion details to start from, we went to work: Concept, script, casting, directing, animation, code, game development, audio and design.

    (Click the images below to link to the email.)

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