Articles written by
Ken Hammond
May 24, 2013

The Arrogance & Influence of Alexey Brodovitch

Photographer Irving Penn had heard that his friend, mentor and father figure, Alexey Brodovitch, was on his deathbed. Years of drinking and chain smoking had caught up with the Russian aristocrat, and everyone believed he was down to his last days. However, when Penn arrived at the hospital for one last visit, he was met with another surprise.

“Thanks for sending me a copy of your book, but, frankly, I must tell you its terrible,” said Brodovitch from his hospital bed. Penn was startled. Would these really be the last words he would ever hear from Brodovitch? Would this be how he would remember the man who influenced and transformed his work, who made him the photographer he is today? Then it hit him. If the man was still filled with this much acid, he was surely going to be ok.

You see, Alexey Brodovitch, one of the greatest and most influential art directors of the 20th century, wasn’t known for his tenderness. He wasn’t known for being supportive. He wasn’t known for being a happy man.

Brodovitch was known for introducing America to European modernism and revolutionizing magazine design. He was known for exposing us to new talents such as Salvadore Dali and Herbert Bayer, and teaching great photographers such as Frank Roberts and Richard Avedon. He was known as the father of modern art direction, using unconventional and experimental designs that are common practice today. He was known for a lack of sympathy, decisive action, chain-smoking, and for being a drunk and a bit of a hard ass.

And the worlds of design, illustration, photography and art direction are better for it.

May 14, 2013

Facebook Graph Search Deconstructed

1 billion people. 240 billion photos. 1 trillion connections.

Facebook helps us stay connected to the people, places and things we love. However, the social network is pushing us to open up our world and do more. It wants us to not only connect to our friends, but to use our personal stories and experiences to help us answer life’s most pressing questions, like:

Where can I find a vegan restaurant in Mobile, Alabama?

Facebook’s new Graph Search will help us do just that by using our friends’ likes and interests to personalize search results. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Graph Search but, unless you’re one of the lucky few who made it into the product’s beta testing, you probably haven’t used it.

We’ve created a breakdown to outline how Graph Search works based on information we received from Facebook Project Manager, Loren Cheng, along with some recent developments we’ve learned about since the product launched early this year.

March 6, 2013

Misconceptions of Responsive Design

We are no longer anticipating a post desktop world. We're living in it. Day by day, the number of devices, platforms and browsers we have to design for is growing and changing. We now have to think about how our sites will look on a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, Google Glass, iWatch and whatever comes next.

Now many companies are scrambling to find solutions for their five, ten or even three-year-old sites to quickly adapt their web presence to meet the “in the moment” needs and expectations of mobile users.

Here comes responsive design with its unrestricted screen size approach as the savior to our mobile ills. Easily found, easily shared, easier to maintain and build and cheaper in the long run, it offers the best of both desktop and mobile experiences with greater consistency of brand experience across all devices.

However, does responsive design truly live up to the legend that has been built up about it in the industry?

February 27, 2013

Why Socks Matter

In the ancient city of Rome, behind the Pantheon, sits a tiny tailor shop that has crafted the Pope’s garments since 1798. Six generations of the Gammarelli family have been charged with fabricating his hats, robes and even his socks—socks made from the finest wool or cotton lisle, hand-linked and reinforced in the heels and toes, worn only once before being discarded.

Why such a laborious task for such an insignificant article of clothing? Why so much effort for a pair of hosiery that can barely be seen? Why not just get a pair of Gold Toes or any other generic sock and be done with the whole arduous ordeal?

Because socks matter, damn it.

Socks, like any fine detail, possibly reveal more about someone than anything else. Though the more popular idiom is that the, “Devil is in the Details,” the phrase, “God is in the Details,” is just as true. If you’re willing to embrace the small things, you will be better prepared to achieve the bigger and greater ones. Here are a few reasons why we should take it easy on the Birkenstocks and flip-flops and embrace socks as a secret weapon in our march toward victory.

February 22, 2013

Even Superman Needs a Hug

They can be seen in every office. Early in the morning. Late at night. Sending emails at 3:30 a.m. when the rest of us are sleeping peacefully in our beds. They are the office super people, taking on tremendous challenges and working harder, longer and smarter than anyone else to ensure the greatness of all, often without thanks.

We think it's time to change this.