Visual Language/ City Logo

For my Logo assignment I picked Newark, New Jersey.  I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, right next door, and being from eastern/ central NJ, Newark is a landmark of a city.  First and foremost, it is the first major city out of NYC, and this has been somewhat of a blessing and a curse for Newark.  Newark definitely holds up as a city of its own, with an identity of its own, and a destiny of its own.. of course, it has been perceived as somewhat of a shadow city (to NYC) and although it is true in many cases, it has proven itself autonomous over and over again.  Let’s also remember that EWR (nwk airport)  is the first major airport in the USA, and part of a trifecta between JFK and La Guardia, serving the busiest metropolitan area in the whole country as well. Newark also serves as a hub for train service via Penn Station (nwk), which also connects to the NJ Path and metro area train lines that run to NYC. Even though it has been experiencing an artistic resurgence, for many years NJ PAC has been functioning as one of the most important venues for classical music in the area as well as home to a Rutgers University and Seton Hall campus locations. The Prudential Center, another venue that was built in the last couple of years, along with a growing night life and hotel accomodations, is definitely proving that Newark is on the rise and not thought of as a cracked out, bombed out town anymore.

In the past couple of years, however, there is an articulate air of gentrification in Newark (how else would all this happen), with a Whole Foods being built as we speak, along with a Commercial Hub that connects to Penn Station that is independent of any sidewalk traffic, which means you can basically go to work without even stepping on the sidewalk.  In that sense, it feels like Newark has the potential of becoming a sixth borough although it’s still not cool enough or close enough.  If train service to NYC was better perhaps that change will come sooner.

I made a few pieces attempting to sum up the spirit of Newark. First off, Newark has a rich history in the Industrialization of the US. With that said, it has one of the biggest ports in the country, with an infrastructure that would put Brooklyn’s warehouse game to shame. So naturally… there are still plenty of warehouses around, some abandoned, some refurbished and reutilized.

At first, I started with the words “Brick City,” Newark’s simultaneously cold and endearing nick name (because of all its warehouses.) NJ natives refer to Brick City lovingly, like an alcoholic older brother that is kind of a loser, but still has street cred. I thought it would clever to feel like you are standing in a dilapidated warehouse on the outskirts of the airport and that is exactly this. This, however, doesn’t work as a logo, but perhaps a cool t-shirt. I used photoshop to modify the bricks from a picture of a wall, and placed a picture of a view close by to NWK Airport.

 

brick

shirt

BUT… This does not fulfill the feeling that Newark would perhaps like to sell in order to bring new people in. It would definitely be a hit with natives, though.

 

I then decided to play with Newark’s initials, NWK.  I noticed all the edges in the letters and was brainstorming clever ways to manipulate them…

20161023_213848

And came up with two designs:

The first one reflects Newark’s sharp edges, despite the energy to change it for the better. The small E is put there as a “normal”element to it’s sharp edges, as an indicator of how small that “new” change is, as an indicator that in attempting to change its character, it also changes the vibe. Not necessarily a bad thing if all people can take advantage of it, but we know how that works.

I thought it too edgy for anything commercial anyway.nwk-letters But I still wanted to use the Newark initials. As you can see, I’m in love with creating outlines on illustrator and much more comfortable with illustrator as a program in general.

So I picked a cleaner typeface, Saxmono Type.  I think this is actually a really good and usable logo.

I looked for images in the letters and initially saw a wing under the N but decided to take advantage of the K for obvious reasons. The hook coming off the K symbolizes the port cranes and the bottom line is a subtle arrow pointing forward. I think it reflects NWK’s productive nature and ability to move beyond their own stigmas of perception.

I also thought it would work well in any size and it could be used in various contexts, especially for city work uniforms, but still cool enough to use imdependently

real-thing

 

 

Visual Language /Logo

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-11-25-31-am

I have been working on the branding of my fantasy record label for a number of years now. I have been doodling dogs since I was a child, (yes, they are my favorite mammal.) I also consider punk rock as a platform (less in musical aesthetic) to be the singular force in all my work. It goes hand in hand with my politics, and of course, art and politics is impossible to separate.

The logo itself is inspired by the Trojan Records logo, an English label from the 80s that put out an extensive collection of Jamaican and English Reggae. It is the profile of a Roman Helmet, in sillouette form.  The classy aggressiveness of the Trojan logo exudes a kind of timeless classic vibe. It also has ties to punk rock culture, and I thought it would be a nice homage to reference the label itself.

 

trojan-logo Trojan Records Logo

The fonts in the business card are completely custom. Something I noticed about my taste in typography is that I am never really quite satisfied with any particular font. I also have a tendency to customize everything. Even my musical instruments. There is something sort of gratifying in making an instrument YOURS, in a world where our instruments are usually assembly line capitalist agita. So I took the same approach to this business card, to reiterate the “walk to your own beat” attitude. My name is also intentionally a bit illegible, and my contacts are a bit standoffish as well.  There is a way to contact me though, through Instagram PM!

The colors I picked, red and black, are the most impressionable colors I could think of for this. I did experiment quite a bit, with blacks, pinks, and yellows, namely. I stuck to red and black though, as I do think it fits that classic punk vibe.

Color Theory Assignment

music-collage-2marco-collage-color

I decided to take pictures of my most prized possessions, the instruments I use to make music. Included is an array of guitar pedals, a Microkorg keyboard, an Ampeg amplifier, a Tascam 4 track recorder, Maxell tapes, and various connecting wires.  On initial view it felt like the predominant colors are black but I was surprised to noticed that there are actually more mellow/neutral colors that work their way closer to the brown side of the spectrum. I also noticed more reds than I thought, from the fonts on the pedals, the display on the keyboard, and especially the cassette tapes, although red is probably the anomaly in this case. There were also many shades of blue, including a greyish navy on the amp and a periwinkle on the 4 track, as well as a teal on the knobs of the delay pedal.

It was interesting to see a correlation between the colors in my music equipment and the colors I tend to wear..usually blacks, blues, and olives/taupes. These colors make me feel calm, subdued, and clear headed. Emotionally speaking, I’m much more in tune with the “bluer” side of life. It is almost a requirement for me to be a bit sad in the process of writing and recording music. I think it makes for much more interesting work. Besides, I don’t really have the habit of creating while I’m happy and having fun. This might indicate just how much design and color influences the instruments I buy, even more so than i thought. These colors all have an earthy feel to them, which I suppose juxtaposes the fact that they are pieces of intricate technology, relatively speaking. It makes the instruments feel a bit warmer, although the metallic/chrome details add an industrial vibe to some of the pieces, which adds a bit of crazy science laboratory vibe.

I decided to make a collage piece with all of the instruments, with a red thread going through them, like a wire. I picked red since it is the anomaly and thought it would bring out the red details in the instruments themselves.

visual language lesson 2

typeface-marco05

 

typeface-marco01

This font references late 70s/ early 80s Punk typography used especially in English and American Punk Band record covers and paraphernalia. It simulates a scratched out effect, which eludes to modifying or vandalizing various objects of different sorts, from guitars to cars to skin, or any medium that is scratch-able. What I like about this type is its geometry, relying on mostly concave and right angles inside the letters, with no room for an ellipse anywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

typeface-marco06

In Punk and Hip Hop circles in the 80s and 90s this font was always popular. From 2Pac’s U.S Thugs tattoo to Tim Armstrong’s U.S Thugs tattoo, it represents one of the many bridges between Punk and Hip Hop and demonstrates how seemingly different genres of music (or anything) have connections beyond their own medium. In this case, two subcultures identified with a stylistic aesthetic that brings the two worlds together sociologically, even though their only separation is majorly a racial one.

typeface-marco03

This is a military inspired stencil type. I love the utilitarian and simplistic aspect of both military paraphernalia and stencils. It’s strong, to the point, and stoic, with none of the bells and whistles of serifs and geometrically clean. Less is more with stencils.

typeface-marco04

My favorite letters in my name with this type are the M and the r. I really love the weight of the M and how it pushes everything forward (to the right.) I also like how it leverages itself with the double loop against the weight of the seriffed r and c. The kerning is a good distance, giving just enough distance to not feel cluttered. Although my name has none, the lower case S is pretty neat, giving way for suggestion rather than fact.

typeface-marc07

I really like the readability of this font. I also like the straight angle serifs, it gives it a geometric feel. The only thing I would change is the kerning between the letters. I would put the letters a little closer together.

typeface-marco02

If “Free Monospaced” emphasized straight angles, CODE LIGHT emphasizes the circles and open spaces in each letter. Also, the kerning in CODELIGHT is a little closer together, which successfully turns the words into their own entity. The juxtaposition between the circular and open space and the rectangular statements the words become make for powerful and well understood statements

 

Visual Language Lesson 1.

gitanes

” The first art-deco packet design was produced by Maurice Giot in 1927. An image of a Gypsy dancer, designed by Molusson, first appeared on the cigarette packets in 1943. In 1947, Max Ponty refined the figure to a silhouette to create an image that is still in use today on the Gitanes

————————————————————————————–

 

First I want to comment on the color palette. They really are great and classic shades of blue, nothing too bright or dull. I love how the almost turqouise/grey blue interacts with the black shadow in GITANES.  The blue hues together with the silouette of the woman in black suggests a mysterious, almost seductive vibe. It draws you in through the movement of the grayish smoke. Also, blue as a color is soothing and calming, a perfect color to represent the feeling you will get when you light one up.

The grid is I created broke down the canvas in small, equal squares, save for the top and bottom rows. The woman in the smack in the middle on the x axis, her body curving towards the right top, usually where the eye is initially drawn. The concept is super smart in the way that you will  subconsciously start at the right top, but consciously start at the bottom text. What this means is that the canvas has a wholeness about it, making it hard to really focus on only one thing, simultaneously maneuvering your eyes through the swirls of smoke.

In this sense, the image has a great balance between foundation and movement.  The words lock the image down, but the italic lean to the right brings you into the smoke and the woman dancing. Everything on the canvas is also spread out, simple and elegant, and it doesn’t quite feel dated to me. Just a very classic feel.

 

gitanes-marco-guarino

Physical Computing Lesson 1

What is Interaction?

Until very VERY recently, I was always turned off by “technology.” My argument would revolve around a sort of nostalgia for previous technological advances that seemed so commonplace, for two reasons.#1. I really enjoy simple, intuitive interfaces. I dont enjoy spending more time learning how to use something than actually using it. Plus, I always feared that after learning how to use something, two things would happen. Either it wasnt really what I was looking for or it would soon become outdated. So I gravitated to things that stood the test of time. Which brings me to my second reason. If something can withstand the test of time, this means that there is a certain amount of quality involved.
As a musician especially, I also really held onto the idea that we (in the community of musicians) fell into two distinct categories. ANALOG vs DIGITAL.
I certainly fell into the analog side of life. Besides the rhetoric of music sounding better recorded on tape vs wav files, there was a then intangible argument that I couldn’t quite articulate about my preference.
And even though I most definitely enjoyed and respected digitality in the process of making music, ( especially drum machines and synths) I still felt like there was something missing.
I realized what it was!
I spent a lot of time in my years as an amateur producer recording on my 4 track tape machine. I also daisy chained my various guitar pedals ( delay, phaser, etc) and ran them through my drum machine. I would create a pattern on my drum machine, but the real fun for me was moving all the knobs around on the pedals. My instrument would essentially be the knobs on my guitar pedals. I felt like a mad scientist, making my frankenstein beats, twisting and turning to my hearts content. It felt good to touch and move the knobs around. it was an intuitive action. i move the knob a little to the left, it makes this sound, more to the left, more that sound.
When I got protools a few years later I was very excited to finally have a seemingly more powerful instrument to record on. Little by little, however, I was turned off by many things. First, I hated staring at a screen for hours on end. Secondly, no knobs to twist around. And most importantly, NO TAPE HISS! Plus, I just love watching the tape roll while it’s recording…. In the end the recordings seemed cold. No personality, no life.
I ultimately treated my protools setup like my 4 track. I didnt use any edit functions. The only real use I found for it was the endless amount of tracks I could use to build my songs. I couldnt spend time learning how to use it bc the interface just turned me off so much. To me, the 4 track was sufficient enough, and subsequently became my go to, after ditching protools almost completely.
Although in “the art of interactive design” crawford explicitly points out that interaction requires 2 actors, and within that parameter a conversation takes place, (the 4 track is hardly an actor) … It happens to be much more of an active actor than a protools setup. And even still, I think the 4 track has a mind of its own, especially when the signal starts to clip. you can feel the saturation, the overload it is trying to process. The experience of recording in analog is much more interactive in general. Real instruments are being played (i.e guitar, which is made of organic wood that is indeed “alive.” In this case, the guitar is being affected in the exchange just as much as me, playing it. It wears and tears, and the cyclic process of an interaction starts to take shape: listen, think, speak.

Similarly, on “a brief rant” by bret victor, one of the strongest points for me in his essay is his definition of a tool. “address needs to amplify human capabilities.” Although he made a strong point of the importance of the hand, its nerve endings, in short, it is our window to the world.. and there is hardly a difference between typing, swiping, and turning knobs in theory, … in practice it is actually quite different. when turning knobs we are also touching different equipment, plucking strings, banging on things, using “real” instruments to produce sound. The experiences are worlds apart.
The analog way addresses human needs without making our nerve endings on our fingers go numb from lack of use. Sometimes, the most simple instruments are what keeps us from losing our human-ness, by being closer to the process, by being active WITHIN the process, and not just fullfilling some sort of binary questionaire in a homogenous “pictures behind glass” paradigm.