Q West Coast had an educational and fun visit with SIGGRAPH friend Tony Apodaca at Pixar Studios, located in Emeryville, CA.
Now in his 25th year at Pixar (he started back when Pixar was a high-end computer hardware company), Tony told us how the studio was once a Dole factory that produced cans of fruit cocktail, and the building has exposed steel frames that were bolted, rather than welded, as an homage to the original, industrial architecture. Apparently none of the steel workers in the Bay Area knew how to do this, so they had retired workers from Pittsburgh come out to the West Coast to train the builders.
The main lobby is very open, complete with cafeteria and “breakfast room” with 25 different kinds of cereal, all free to employees. Bathrooms are centrally located ONLY in the main lobby area; an idea Pixar owner Steve Jobs had to encourage employee interaction. (Not sure if I would want to talk to everyone in the building that way!)
I went to the Vintage Paper Show in San Francisco this past weekend. Talk about indexing by hand! There were many booths selling old postcards starting at 25 cents each, and some vendors specialized in certain topics, such as “death related” and “dozens of babies” (only postcards with a bunch of babies on them).
Going to the Renegade Craft Fair reminded me that graphic design can be a very hands on activity. There were many booths selling tea towels and stationery made by letterpress and silk screen, each by hand, with an overwhelming percentage of birds, trees, and flower motifs.
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There were also several booths selling silk screened posters, but one booth was a head above the rest and I recognized his work right away: Jason Munn, a graphic designer whose work on album posters like Death Cab for Cutie and Sonic Youth remind me of the work of one of my favorite designers, Saul Bass.
Here at Q, we discussed the concept of Collaborative Consumption, and how consumers are using network technologies to share and exchange goods and services like car sharing (Zipcar) and social lending (Zopa).
Then you have the good old outdoor antiques fair, where wares are not searchable or categorized, just THERE. And you have to spend hours finding the good stuff.
If you called the Q office this week and talked to one of the crew, you may have heard a tired voice on the other end. Even more than normal. This is because we took our mantra "too much fun" to the extreme last week. We had our annual Q retreat, which is always a fun and exhausting day, but this year we were lucky enough to have our friends Thilo and Laurenz from Q in Wiesbaden, Germany join us. This marked the first time either of them has been to Ann Arbor and we did our best to show them many of our favorite places and things in just 4 days.
Stories and (lots) more photos after the jump.
Are designers control freaks? We want to control the typography as much as IE will allow, and grimace at a single misplaced pixel on our website, because those small things are what make things "work" in our eyes.
But an exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco called TechnoCRAFT reminded me that we can all throw that notion out the window in the age of DIY and the vast availability of tools out there that sometimes make design an open platform for something that’s anything but nice and pretty.
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