Seeing Good Design

In-between projects, we students had to scope out five examples of good design, and do PowerPoint presentations on them.

Here is the link to the PowerPoint itself, but here are my choices, and why I picked them:

LOGO – Paramount Pictures

Paramount Classic

I’ve always loved logos, especially ones for production companies, and I went through all of them and more. To me, out of all the film companies and studios, I felt the iconic logo for Paramount Pictures was a great example:

This logo, a 1968 re-imagining of the pre-60s logo (which was designed by William Wadsworth Hodkinson, there is no information on who created this), I think gets a lot accomplished. It uses just a few shapes to get the point across. The recreation of the mountain drawing is clean, never inconsistent, and fits well within the circle of stars. This logo can be used anywhere, in almost any size, without losing any of the information. The font choice is timeless, and suggests excellence. I feel that the mountain itself doubles as a pun, for a studio that’s at the forefront. It translates well in non-simple form, too.

SINGLE PAGE – Treasure Island Music Festival, 2008 – Poster, 2008

For most of the other choices, I wanted to go beyond what I usually look to. Since Mondo posters, some of my favorite designs out there, were already taken by a student who had presented before me, I ended up going with the other candidate that I felt was worthy. This poster was designed (no info on who, unfortunately) for the 2008 Treasure Island Music Festival, which always takes place in San Francisco.


I love the use of shapes, from the upside pirate ship to the repeated arches used to make the water. Text-wise, the designer combined a sort-of pirate feel and a classic music feel, the use of the RPM adapter, the “Music Festival” banner resembling the 50s/60s Columbia Records “Stereo” banner, and the “45 RPM” add to that greatly. There’s a lot of information here, yet it’s so simple and free of clutter. Color-wise, it’s very dynamic and good on the eyes.

MULTI-PAGE LAYOUT – 71702 / Adaptive Audio, Anthony Benedetto, 2014

This was a bit of tricky one, for so many magazine spreads and brochures are out there. Many of them were runner-ups for this slot, but this piece – student work by a then-graduated Anthony Benedetto – was the one.


For student work, I can see this being in an actual sci-fi magazine. The theme is nailed, the illustration fits, the color choice is appeaking, and the way the text aligns with the shapes is great. It’s overall very eye-popping and easy to read, even if the article body is “Lorem ipsum.”

WEBSITE – Plan B Burger Bar

Plan B Logo

I’ve been to this place a couple of times, as there are some restaurants in my home state. The website home page is seamlessly split into different sections, it’s uncomplicated and fun to navigate through. The aesthetic and the font choice, I think, capture the feel of the restaurant itself. It’s a very laid back place as opposed to a loud and raucous one, certainly a country mile from a TGIF Fridays or Ruby Tuesday’s-type place. Some of the photography aligns with the quieter party experience, makes me think of some resort where you’re on the beach and enjoying a drink or two. Lastly, it presents its product as homegrown, in a way that hits that sweet spot between formal and informal.


When searching through various firms, I was really taken by Spin. They’re a London-based company that has done a variety of projects: Logos, print, motion graphics, websites… They reach out to a number of clients. What struck me was their creative work within a minimalist structure, showing that less can indeed be more.


MY CHOICE – Warrior on the Edge of Time, Comte Pierre D’Auvergne – Album Cover for Hawkwind’s album of the same name, 1975

Admittedly, this was the trickiest of the bunch for me. Everything I’ve seen throughout my life, and I had to narrow it all down to one choice.

Being a junkie of music from the 1960s and 1970s, I have seen a plethora of great album covers. A lot of them, I feel, were made for albums in the progressive rock genre. High-profile artists designed covers for bands like King Crimson, The Moody Blues, Yes, Rush, and several others.

My album comes from a British “space rock” group called Hawkwind, who are still going today. Warrior on the Edge of Time is their fifth studio album, with a cover and songs based on the written works of fantasy author Michael Moorcock. The painting combines a medieval fantasy feel with a sci-fi edge, mixing it with some of the psychedelia of the 1960s, for they were a band that were keeping that style alive well after it had waned. The text for the band’s logo is a variation of the one they used for their previous album, Hall of the Mountain Grill. I feel it meshes well with the illustration here, more so than the more technological-looking subject on the preceding album’s cover.


But the great thing about this album cover is that there’s more to it. When you open it up, it becomes a shield!


The “CHAOS” is integrated well into the shield, and they find a good spot to put things like the United Artists logo and various other text you see on LP sleeves. I feel it’s one of the best album covers of the 1970s, and that was a time when we saw interactive album covers: The Rolling Stones had many (Sticky Fingers, Some Girls, 1983’s Undercover), Led Zeppelin had Physical Graffiti, Alice Cooper’s School’s Out opened like an old classroom desk, and the Carpenters’ self-titled album was an envelope.


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