The Pitchfork Redesign: 3 Things I’d Change

The Pitchfork Redesign: 5 Things I'd Change (Before)

The Pitchfork Redesign: 5 Things I'd Change (After)

Yesterday morning, Kyle informed me that Pitchfork, the music site that everyone has an opinion on, had launched a brand new redesign and that I should check it out. As a lot fo you know I’m a sucker for a well executed redesign, so I was curious to see how it turned out. Overall I’d say that the site seems to have some good ideas, but it feels like a step backwards. The one thing they’ve improved is their global navigation, which was old, crowded and in need of a spring cleaning. Other then that the design seems claustrophobic and monochromatic, lacking any style or vibrancy of the past design. Here are three things I’d do to put some life back in the site.

Open Things Up
The new design features not only a grey background behind the content, but a super dark grey background behind all of the content. It really makes the content look squished, rather than large and beautiful. You end up with a bunch of boxes that look too compact and your eyes don’t have a natural place to land. I’d suggest doing two things: Increasing the size of the page width to 980px to allow for more room in the gutters, and getting rid of all that grey. As you can see in my tweaked version, the results are instantly noticeable, the page looks like a breath of fresh air.

Bring Back Color
The other big thing I noticed in their new redesign is the glaring absence of red, Pitchfork’s trademark color. Like Target, Pitchfork is known for it’s punches of red all across the site, which never bothered me, personally. Now the red has been relegated to hover states only and random section titles. I’d suggest bringing the red back and using it in the logo, as well as headlines and other key points of interest.

Fonts Give Style
When I look at Pitchfork now, all I see is a Helvetica wasteland, and that’s not a dig at Helvetica. Pre-redesign the site was all in Lucida Grand, which maybe isn’t my first choice, but it certainly gave it some character. Helvetica is fine for stuff like body copy but there needs to be some sort of hierarchy between sections, and substituting a font for the titles and navigation gives it a little spark. I subbed in some Franklin Gothic, a clean and timeless font that looks good in upper and lowercase.

I also made some other changes as well that weren’t as evident but still make an impact. I adjusted the navigation to make room for the search bar. By doing that I was able to move the sharing tools to the other side of the page, giving much more balance to the header. I also increased the size of the header fonts a bit too make them more legible, and I made the body text a dark grey rather than black to improve legibility there as well.

The one last thing that needs some love is their new logo. In a general sense I really like the new logo. I’m not sure what font it is, but it’s unique and has an interesting character to it. I hate the way they’ve mutilated it though, with awkward cuts in the P and F, and the way they’ve attempted to force the points pitchfork into the K. It looks cheesy at best and really adds no value to the logo. In my version I cleaned it up and I think it looks much nicer.

As you can see, I didn’t do a whole lot, but the small details of stuff like this is extremely important, and I think they may have been overlooked. The only good way to end this post is: The devil is in the details.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

August 30, 2011 / By

‘The Murderer of Your Heritage’, An Immense Concrete Installation by Adrián Villar Rojas

'The Murderer of Your Heritage', An Immense Concrete Installation by Adrián Villar Rojas

'The Murderer of Your Heritage', An Immense Concrete Installation by Adrián Villar Rojas

'The Murderer of Your Heritage', An Immense Concrete Installation by Adrián Villar Rojas

Created for this years 54th Venice Biennale, Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas has created a monolithic exhibit in the Artigliere in the Arsenale. Adrián, along with a team of builders, created the installation on site using clay over a framework of cement, burlap and wood. The effect created is stunning, like you’re walking amongst ancient ruins of some long lost civilization… that perhaps also had some anime. The sheer scale of the work is also amazing, the ceilings have to be at least 25 feet, it’s no wonder that it took two months to complete everything.

Thankfully, the amazing folks over at Vernissage TV have done a video tour of the space so you can see for yourself what you’re missing. To see some more information and photos about the exhibit, visit Yatzer.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

August 29, 2011 / By

Diego Guevara Architecture Photography

Diego Guevara Architectural Photography

Diego Guevara Architectural Photography

Diego Guevara Architectural Photography

While wandering around Behance this weekend, I came across these symmetrical photos from Diego Guevara. The photo series is a personal project of Diego’s that combines his love of photography, architecture and design. I don’t think we can really call them abstract (because they’re literally concrete) but they aren’t entirely real, either. Cut, copied, corrected and cropped into pristine and light mirror images, the reality of concrete and brick becomes obscured. Most of the photos (if not all) in the series originated with buildings in Miami, although I don’t recognize any specific building.

Do you have any idea what these buildings are from?

Alex

Alex Dent

August 29, 2011 / By

Chris Labrooy Turns Architecture Into Typography

Chris Labrooy Turns Architecture Into Typography

Chris Labrooy Turns Architecture Into Typography

Chris Labrooy Turns Architecture Into Typography

Chris Labrooy Turns Architecture Into Typography

Inspiration comes in many forms, and for UK designer/illustrator Chris Labrooy his came quite literally. Drawing from the works of some of the most famous architects out there, Chris has created these beautiful, 3D typefaces which spell out the architects name using some of their most famous creations as the foundations. What you see above are Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer and Toyo Ito, all of which I thought were quite impressive. Some pieces, like the Zaha Hadid one, were based more on her formal language, rather than a particular building, whereas the Tadao Ando one is very much created from the visual language of his structures.

If you dig these imagers I’d suggest visiting each of the projects on his site where you can see a bunch of behind-the-scenes pre vis stuff as well as some sketches that helped him figure out these pieces. He has also a bunch of other great work in his portfolio, I’d highly suggest taking some time to check it out.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

August 29, 2011 / By

James Blake & Bon Iver Collaborate On A New Track Called ‘Fall Creek Boys Choir’

James Blake & Bon Iver Collaborate On A New Track Called 'Fall Creek Boys Choir'

Last week, pretty much out of nowhere, James Blake dropped a brand new track called Fall Creek Boys Choir, which is a collaboration between himself and Bon Iver. The song is beautiful blend of their unique styles, the vocals handled by Justin Vernon and I’m guessing James Blake handled the production side of things. It definitely has some of that cheesy 80’s vibe that Justin Vernon is all about, but then there’s the spooky electronic side which is mostly James Blake, though Justin did dabble in that stuff with Volcano Choir.

It’s also interesting to note that at the bottom of the video info on YouTube (where the track was posted to) it says “Enough Thunder – Oct 2011″, which could potentially mean there’s a new EP or album coming out. Looking forward to hearing more from Blake or more collaborations between the two of them.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

August 29, 2011 / By

‘Indian Summer (Des Moines)’ by Canon Blue

Photo of Canon Blue by Thomas Husmer

Rumspringa by Canon Blue

Last March I wrote a post about the musician Daniel James and his musical project Canon Blue. A few years ago I had stumbled upon his debut album Colonies and it has slowly became one of my favorite albums of the last few years. Since its release nearly four years ago James has been keeping busy by spending much of his time playing with bands such as Efterklang and Foster The People and it was during his off-hour times on tour with Efterklang that he wrote his follow-up album Rumspringa.

Released today through Efterklang’s own label Rumraket, this will regrettably be the labels final release but as swan songs go Rumspringa has all the makings of being a tremendous curtain call for the small Danish label. Above you can listen to the album’s first single Indian Summer which is a truly infectious track full of fun and playfulness. The label describes the album as a “tour de force” and pitches it as something that fans of Sufjan Stevens, Efterklang, Jeff Buckley & Steve Reich will enjoy. I know for sure that I’ll be buying my copy today and I’ll be making the extra effort to get a hardcopy solely for the beautiful artwork created by the Danish-duo Hvass & Hannibal that adorns the cover. You probably should too – if it’s even slightly as good as Colonies is then I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

Philip

Philip Kennedy

August 29, 2011 / By

Space Oddity, The Book by Andrew Kolb

Space Oddity, The Book by Andrew Kolb

Space Oddity, The Book by Andrew Kolb

Space Oddity, The Book by Andrew Kolb

Space Oddity, The Book by Andrew Kolb

Funny enough, Alex has started moving away from the Spacesuit of the Week a bit and then I run into a funny little spacesuit related gem. It’s a book from Andrew Kolb, which is basically a children’s books adaptation of David Bowie’s song, Space Oddity. It’s a great song filled with wild imagery, and Andrew’s interpretation is spot on. The story has sort of a 2001 kind of vibe, but mixed with something you may have seen a in a Golden Book story from long ago. I think it’s a real crime that this isn’t published yet, what parent wouldn’t buy this for their kid?

P.S. You may have seen Andrew’s work on the site before, he did this beautiful poster inspired by The Walking Dead television show.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

August 26, 2011 / By

Branding 10,000 Lakes by Nicole Meyer

Branding 10,000 Lakes by Nicole Meyer

Branding 10,000 Lakes by Nicole Meyer

Branding 10,000 Lakes by Nicole Meyer

Branding 10,000 Lakes by Nicole Meyer

Click images to enlarge

Lake logos have a tendency to be, well, fairly ugly. This project was created to rethink what they could be.

One Minnesota Lake. One Logo. Everyday.

That’s the straightforward description of Branding 10,000 Lakes, an ongoing project from Nicole Meyer. It’s an ambitious project, it would take about 27 years to complete all of them, but that’s the fun of it. I love that there’s a pretty wide range of styles happening, but they also feel pretty cohesive because they’re all done by Nicole’s able hands. It’s not only a fun experiment to watch, but I feel like this is a great way to keep your creative muscle flexed, kind of like Make Something Cool Everyday.

Click here to check out the rest of the Lakes.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

August 26, 2011 / By

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