The Ballad of the Big Hat

I know someone who owns one of those ubiquitous “Signs by Tomorrow” shops. I imagine the signs are affordable, and strip mall small business owners probably spend as much time there as they do their local Kinko’s or Staples. The signs are pretty utilitarian, of course: plain, plastic signs with plain, plastic typefaces, and—for a few extra bucks—some clip art with a steaming cup of coffee or shamrocks or something. They get the job done, but if I were building a legit business, I’d work as hard as possible to upgrade to some real signage before too long. Real, handmade, handcrafted, handpainted–whatever. Just so I can feel the hand of the artist in there somehow. Great sign design is virtually a lost art. Read More

New Work: University of Dayton Commercial

The University of Dayton is a Catholic Marianist institution.

Raise your hand if you know what “Marianst” means.

The rest of you can watch our new spot, which attempts—with the help of Martin Sheen—to illustrate one of the qualities of a Marianist education. Specifically, the willingness to ask questions and help your fellow man. First in a series. Read More

Greetings from 160over90: We Made This

Hello to all the new readers and subscribers who’ve come by over the past few days. For those of you visiting from one of our friends’ sites, we are 160over90, a branding agency in Philadelphia, and this is our Boomerang Table, where we store all of our heirloom ephemera. This blog isn’t all we do. In fact, most of us make a living creating other interesting things for clients. Read More

The 50 Dollar Logo Experiment


A couple of weeks back, Forbes ran a little article deeming graphic design “a snooty business,” before profiling a site called CrowdSpring where clients go to throw spec logo projects to a pool of 13,000 Photoshop jockeys. The winning design gets about $200 or so, the rest go back to their day jobs. For some, apparently, the day job unfortunately involves designing more free logos for other contest sites—a career that likely ranks second in salary behind “Hopelessly Addicted Scratch-Off Lottery Ticket Entuhsiast.”

Of course, the design community went apoplectic in response to the article. “Ethics!” some lamented in the comments. I’m sure a few of them even dashed off another design manifesto or two or fifty.

Here’s the truth, though, and why all the good designers need to relax: Read More

The Cost of New

“If a major project is truly innovative, you cannot possibly know its exact cost and its exact schedule at the beginning. And if in fact you do know the exact cost and the exact schedule, chances are that the technology is obsolete.”

Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., former Grumman president, discussing the design of the Grumman lunar module that landed NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon on July 20, 1969.

“Fly Me to the Moon: An Interview with Joseph G. Gavin, Jr.”
Technology Review, 97:5, July, 1994, Page 62.