Music Montage from Coney Island to Istanbul


This poster has a history that spans decades and continents. It started in 1952 when American photographer Harold Feinstein created a photomontage of Brooklyn’s Coney Island Boardwalk that looked like a music score. Sixty years later on the other side of the planet, someone at Havas Worldwide Turkey in Istanbul flashed on Feinstein’s photomontage while brainstorming ideas for a print ad for Acik Radyo, the only non-state-owned radio station in Turkey. Acik Radyo covers global social and cultural issues and airs all types of music from around the world. Its motto is “Open to all sounds of the universe.” Feinstein’s artistic photomontage perfectly expressed the theme “Music of the People.” The poster was a big hit and went on to win multiple prestigious international honors, including the Cannes Gold Lion and Epica Grand Prix award.

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Brazilian Ad Man Turns Photo Portraitist

One of the most inventive and experimental minds in the arts, Vik Muniz has made portraits out of sugar, dirt, dust and chocolate sauce, and now he has made portraits out of photos. Based in Brooklyn, Muniz started out in advertising in his native Brazil, redesigning billboards for greater readability. After picking up his first advertising award at a black-tie gala, Muniz attempted to break up a fight between two gala attendees, and was accidentally shot in the leg by one of the brawlers. The shooter paid Muniz not to press charges and that gave Muniz enough money to move to New York where he took an interest in sculpture and photography. Muniz, who says he has an interest in making pictures that “reveal their process and material structure,” made this series of portraits out of old photographs and then photographed the portraits.

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El Paso Chile’s Border Town Packaging

When El Paso Chile Co. commissioned Charles S. Anderson Design in Minneapolis to create a new packaging system for its retail salsa and marinade lines, it wanted to make sure that consumers grasped the fact that its products were authentic Tex-Mex, not wannabe imitations made in places like Cincinnati or Brooklyn. A border town in far west Texas, El Paso is so close to Juarez in Mexico that the two cities are sometimes considered one metro area. El Paso Chile Co. knows its salsas and wanted the packaging to capture that in look and feel.

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Chalk Type by Dana Tanamachi

In an age when so much design is digitally generated and has the look of being manufactured, it is refreshing to see beautiful display type letters drawn freehand with chalk. Not the kind of hastily written “daily special” menus seen on chalkboards in neighborhood cafes, the chalk lettering of Brooklyn-based designer Dana Tanamachi recalls the lost art of early 20th century storefront sign painters with their mix of outline and script letters, decorative flourishes, and subtle shading.

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Jell-O Has Its Day

Designers are pretentious snobs when it comes to Jell-O, and I’ve never understood why. Jell-O comes in lively primary colors, and can be molded, melted, layered, mixed with fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts or dairy, made clear or opaque. You would think it would be a designer’s dream food. It’s better than Legos and Play-doh because you can eat it if you tire of toying with it. But as food, Jell-O has been deemed a second-class citizen, lumped with stuff dished out in cafeterias and spooned to toddlers lacking teeth, sick people too weak to chew, and people scheduled for a colonoscopy. So, it is refreshing to see that Gowanus Studio Space in Brooklyn is hosting a Jell-O Mold Design Competition next week with the support of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Museum of Design, Smart Design, Core 77 and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, among other aesthetically savvy entities.

The competition rules are rigorous. Entrants are required to make their own molds, either a new one or a recontextualized pre-existing form. A panel of distinguished (we assume) judges will grade their Jell-0 on creativity, aesthetics, structural/sculptural ingenuity, edibility/culinary appeal, and best use and showcase of Jell-O. The grand prize is $400 in cash. You have to hurry if you want to participate. The deadline to register for the 2011 competition is tomorrow (June 15) and costs $15 for adults, $10 for students. Check out this video for inspiration.

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