Fast Company's United States of Design Cover Challenge
The theme for this year's annual "Masters of Design" issue was to focus on American Design, and one of the ideas was to commission select graphic designers to execute a Fast Company cover, with the subject and coverline being "The United States of Design". The only criteria for selecting the designers was that they weren't currently working at a magazine. You don't often get a chance to reach out to people like Paula Scher, Gail Anderson, and Carin Goldberg, but this seemed like a perfect project for three Hall of Fame designers. But we then also wanted at least one more of an alternative selection, someone who was not a designer. I've always been a huge fan of the commix work of Jayr Pulga. He's one of the original RAW Commix contributors, and wildly under-appreciated in my humble opinion. Jayr's beautiful drawing was a perfect compliment to the wonderful (and very different) designs that Carin, Gail and Paula did, and I hope people enjoy all four of them.See all four covers after the jump...
ABOVE: illustration and design by Gail Anderson and Jeff RogersFast Company's Rachel Arndt gives some of the making-of story for the covers on the FC website:
FASTCO: The idea struck designers Gail Anderson and Jeff Rogers as they passed digital files back and forth to their intern. Even design, they realized, is "a beautiful assembly line," says Anderson.
ABOVE: illustration and design by Carin Goldberg
FASTCO: [Carin] offers a typewritten list that looks like an artifact from the Ellis Island museum. It was while thinking of "the cliche notion of the melting pot" that Goldberg and her husband began thinking up the names of foreign-born designers who moved to the U.S. "I wanted the list to look authentic, like it'd been found," Goldberg says. She used a Lettera 22 typewriter (made in Italy), and the design of the machine itself is present in the final text. "Mistakes matter too," she says. "We love the mistakes."
ABOVE: illustration and design by Jayr Pulga
FASTCO: Manual labor is present in underground commix artist Jayr Pulga's cover drawing. The heavily cross-hatched drawing shows the intersection of past and present: Cowboy and horse alike are saddled with today's ever-connected technology. "That speaks to the impact technology has on a person," Pulga says, "regardless of where he lives."
ABOVE: illustration and design by Paula Scher
FASTCO: Geography is the foundation of Paula Scher's minimalist cover, where the words "The United States of Design" fall into the shape of the U.S. map against a red background. Scher, a partner at Pentagram, was inspired by the treatment she gave to the outlines of Philip Johnson's Glass House and Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth house in her limited edition print "Modernism USA." Her cartographic obsession comes from both her family--her father was head of the USGS map-making division--and her experiences as a graphic designer. "My father told me that all maps lie, that there's always distortion," Scher says. "People put information in and take out information. And that's what graphic designers do, essentially: Graphic designers control and manipulate information in the way they make their choices."
Fast Company's UNITED STATES OF DESIGN is also available as an app at the iTunes store here.