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Charley Harper Illustrations

I was in Barnes & Noble recently when I came across this darling little book of illustrations by Charley Harper. ABC's has the cutest collection of animals and I think I'm going to have to get it! I love Harper's geometric style and the simplicity of his work. They feel whimsical, fun and lighthearted. Harper passed away last year but through his beautiful prints and books his legacy will live on. For more, I suggest the books An Illustrated Life and Birds and Words. This site by the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati also has a great summary and some high-resolution photos to share (I have some pictured below, click to enlarge) along with Wikipedia, that information catch-all. There is a really neat Flickr group here and if you'd like to buy something (I would!) check out this site for prints.

Frank Furness: Train Station Architect

I was taking the train from NYC last month (so relaxing) and reading Amtrak's magazine when a short little blurb on architect Frank Furness grabbed my attention. With the article was a picture of this pretty station in Wilmington, Delaware:
The station was completed in 1908 and was part of a major upgrade by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. This year the Friends of Furness are celebrating the station's 100th anniversary. The original 1908 renovation included raised tracks to eliminate dangerous foot and pedestrian crossings (good idea). The design had to support the weight of the tracks and trains above the concourse level and to do this Furness built a grid of steel columns and truss work that was left exposed. I wish I could find pictures of the interior, guess I'll just have to pass through someday. I love train stations, the hustle and bustle and romantic idea of travel that doesn't include a pat down or security check.

I tried to find out more about Furness and his work on different train stations but have come up a little empty handed. Via that A1 source of information
Wikipedia, I found the following: "During his career, Furness designed over four hundred buildings including banks, churches, synagogues, railway stations for the Pennsylvania and Baltimore & Ohio railroads, and numerous stone mansions in Philadelphia and along Philadelphia's Main Line, as well as a handful of commissioned houses at the New Jersey seashore, Washington, D.C., New York state, and Chicago, Illinois." I did also find out that there is a biography about Furness and a collection of his works that I'll have to add to my reading list. Until then, happy and relaxing travels to you.

Logan Airport Terminal C

I'm on an airline kick this week. In Terminal C of Logan Airport in Boston there is a wall of mirrors that is very fun to watch people walk by. It's on the top floor, departures, by the Legal Seafood. If you're passing through, walk by to check it out.

American Airlines Logo: Heart It!

I really have a new appreciation for American Airlines' identity with all the flying I've been doing. It started back in February at Logan Airport with the photo above. And continued at LAX when I saw a hangar for AA with this eagle:
Vignelli Associates designed the AA eagle logo in 1967 and according to Wikipedia:

"American's early liveries varied widely, but a common livery was adopted in the 1930s, featuring an eagle painted on the fuselage. The eagle became a symbol of the company and inspired the name of American Eagle Airlines. Propeller aircraft featured an international orange lightning bolt running down the length of the fuselage, which was replaced by a simpler orange stripe with the introduction of jets.
In the late 1960s, American commissioned an industrial designer to develop a new livery. The original design called for a red, white, and blue stripe on the fuselage, and a simple "AA" logo, without an eagle, on the tail. However, American's employees revolted when the livery was made public, and launched a "Save the Eagle" campaign similar to the "Save the Flying Red Horse" campaign at Mobil. Eventually, the designer caved in and created a highly stylized eagle, which remains the company's logo to this day. In 1999, American painted a new Boeing 757 in its 1959 international orange livery. There is a Boeing 737-800 painted in the retro AstroJet livery.American is the only major U.S. airline that leaves the majority of its aircraft surfaces unpainted. This was because C. R. Smith hated painted aircraft, and refused to use any liveries that involved painting the entire plane. Robert "Bob" Crandall later justified the distinctive natural metal finish by noting that less paint reduced the aircraft's weight, thus saving on fuel costs. Eastern Air Lines and US Airways have also maintained unpainted airplanes in the past."I'm a fan of the silver jets (Hi, have we met? I love silver, sparkly things). If you're a fan of AA check out this site for apparel!

International Poster Gallery

Herbert Leupin, Bata - Rock And Roll, 1961

If you’re in Boston this weekend, or anytime for that matter, I encourage you to check out the
International Poster Gallery located at 205 Newbury Street.

Donald Brun, Zwicky Naaizjde (sidewalk), 1950

The gallery has an amazing array of posters from around the globe. The extensive collection, over 10,000 pieces at the gallery, covers areas from film, travel, food and beverage, war and propoganda, vintage sports, auto and cycle posters and music, to name a few.

Adolfo Hohenstein, Monte Carlo (from Ricordi portfolio), 1914 ca.

The posters here are just a tiny fraction of the fun things you may find when you visit. If they don’t have a poster you’d like to own, owner Jim Lapides will find it for you. What’s great is that their pieces are priced from $100 all the way on up. I’ve always loved poster art and to see some of the work at the gallery is just break taking. I’m like a kid in a candy store, don’t let me go in with any money or credit cards!

Plinio Nomellini, Oli Sasso (from Ricordi portfolio), 1914 ca.

Ralph Schraivogel, International Jazz Festival, 1989

P Mormerat, Cinzano Vermouth, 1961

David Klein, Washington - TWA jets, 1958 ca

Green Line Tiles

The other day I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the Kenmore Square MBTA Station. The station has been under construction for what seems like forever to make it ADA accessible. I believe that work was supposed to be completed in November 2007...but it's still going on. I hadn't been through the station in awhile and things are, finally, really coming along. I was most surprised and happy about the new green tile along the walls:

The colors are so vibrant and fun. I love the face lift the station is getting and look forward to when it's finally done. I even made my own little color montage:

The redesign is being done by urban designer
DiMella Shaffer (check out their website if you have a chance, it's pretty flashy):

From their site: "DiMella Shaffer's soaring steel and glass canopy of the new Kenmore Station bus terminal creates a beautiful juxtaposition to the ornate, more traditional facades along Commonwealth Avenue and allows a view across the square for the first time since the 1970s."

I love all of the beautification projects that have been going on in various T stations and along Commonwealth Avenue. Before, the greenery sort of stopped around the Massachusetts Avenue area, now it's extending all the way down past the BU Bridge. It makes my walks to work much, much more enjoyable and scenic. Kudos to the city, the MBTA, BU and all the other organizations that are making these improvements possible. Finally people are seeing the err of their big roads and concrete ways.

Michael Schwab

"The basic premise of my work is this: The message must be succinct, immediate, and legible from 'way across the room'." -
Michael Schwab

As promised in my
National Train Day Post, I have more on a favorite artist of mine: Michael Schwab. As with the work of Paul Rogers, I learned about Schwab while researching travel posters. His work for Amtrak instantly drew me in with his use of silhouette, bold color and illustration.

Merrill C. Berman, in
an article posted on Schwab's website, says "His work is dramatic in its simplicity." I couldn't agree more. Schwab's work is the kind that truly speaks for itself.

His list of clients is a designer's wish-list (well, mine anyway), and includes such clients as: Pebble Beach (more on Pebble Beach in an upcoming In Focus post), Nike, The North Face, UC Berkeley, the Muhammad Ali Center, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, Amtrak and many, many more.

There is a great little interview with Schwab on Green Museum's
website. There is also an interview in Sunset Magazine that discusses Schwab's design of the book California Wine Country: A Sunset Field Guide. After reading that post it's making me itchy to get back out to California ASAP. At least I'll be doing some wine tasting out in Healdsburg in a month (look for future posts on that). This link has a slide show of illustrations from the book.

Some of Schwab's work is also
for sale (hint, hint). I'd love to hang a piece out in Boulder, maybe this one (extra big hint, hint):

For even more on Schwab you can read an excerpt from the book, Inside the Business of Graphic Design: 60 Leaders Share Their Secrets of Success, here or you can buy the book here.

I'll end the post with this quote from Schwab which does a great job of summarizing the design field: "To do what we do, there has to be a healthy blend of creativity, integrity, bravery, and just a pinch of salesmanship." True, true.