Category Archives: Design

Cincy Streetcar… A Design Qualm

I feel bad writing a post about this, I do. But Cincy Streetcar Team, you really have made your first misstep. Everything up until now has been basically perfect. You’ve kept your cool amidst attacks by COAST and NAACP. You’ve maintained your composure amidst a city-wide backlash. Your blog informative, entertaining and effective. Hell, the virtual tour you put up just a day or two ago was even effective on me and I’ve never wavered in my support of the plan! As I said though, you made your first oops yesterday: The new website is pretty blah. Cheap looking, even. The previous site was wonderfully minimalist and modern looking. It said “here is a modern idea, proposed by modern people for what could be a modern city.” Now it looks so decidedly Web 1.0 that I wonder if you really are trying to pander to older people who just discovered the internet. I was so disappointed when I clicked the link on twitter yesterday. It was a brick wall of drab.  To paraphrase former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, I don’t how to define what bad design is, but I know it when I see it.

The addition of a lot of information is a bonus and it is encouraging that it looks like the Streetcar plan is slowly moving out of the “Hey! We should do this!” phase, but the site design itself is not encouraging. It does not encourage people to click around because it sort of looks like a Cincinnati Streetcar fan-page, not the real deal. Keep the information, overhaul that design! Please! If this is to be the official home of the Streetcar/anti-issue 9 movement, than give it some flash. Make it look official. This kind of looks like I put it together, and I have trouble embedding youtube videos sometimes. If you could just merge the boost of info of this page with the lovely design of the previous, I think we’d be getting somewhere.

The New Cincinnati Streetcar Website

Love,

John

Gift Giving…

otrfootprint-all

I know we are all broke. Until this past weekend I hadn’t really left my neighborhood in about three weeks. I get it. For the most part, I would say that Christmas is taking a year off. Kids should get presents due to their being children, but adults should take it easy. HOWEVER, you should still buy presents for a select few. Since I’ve been poor-ish for a while my family already know who the lucky few are and have come to grips with it… or  have never noticed I don’t buy them anything. If you are going to buy presents this year, I urge you to go local. Now, I don’t really have a vehement hate for most big-box stores. In fact, the idea of buying bananas, a PS3, a digital tire pressure gauge and a Beta fish all in the same space has always seemed vaguely pleasurable to me. But this year I ask you to stay away from the malls, the Targets and any other space that takes 10 minutes to walk across. 

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Cool Stuff! Visualingual’s Cincinnati design…

Whenever I’ve got a commenter, I like to click around and see whats up with them. I like know who is checking out what I do and seeing what it is they are up to. When I clicked on recent commenter Visualingual’s link I found out that it’s a blog run in conjunction with a Cincinnati design studio who have some great looking items to offer. I’m a sucker for items that are esoteric but have the ability to be loved purely for their design alone. Take a look at the great, mostly-local, design and architecture blog run by co-founder Maya Drozdz, as well as their online store. The blog does a wonderful job of picking up on those little design and architecture minutiae that make Cincinnati an awesome place to be fully, both mentally and physically, present in. Anywho, as soon as I’ve got a little more moneys in my pocket I plan on protecting my coffee table from evil condensation with their Vine Street Coaster set!

Perhaps you prefer the mighty Ohio to keeps your tables safe….

And did I hear rumblings of an OTR themed tea towel set? Yes! If you prefer buying things in person you can also buy their wares at the CAC’s shop, both MiCA locations (O’Bryonville and Downtown), and NVISION in Northside.

Visualingual blog

Visualingual store

Love,

John

Oh neat! The proposed CAM expansion….

I found this over at Visualingual today, and I have to say I’m rather excited about this proposed new structure. While Visualingual and their commenters make some valid points, I’d thought I’d put my two cents in. The expansion is designed by Neutlings Riedijk Architects, a Dutch firm. I’m kind of a sucker for Dutch design. The Seattle Central Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas, was easily one of the highlights of my time spent there. Every time a visitor came to town we would take people there and it really never got boring. If you ever have a chance to go there and check it out, it’s totally worth it. I mean they have and entirely red floor! Look after the jump… Continue reading

Let’s look inside…The Emery Theater!

I was so disappointed that I wasn’t able to join in on the “Save the Emery” project that happened in late July. Run by Give Back Cincinnati, the project aims to gussy up the somewhat rundown and forgotten Emery Theater contained within the Emery building located at the corner of Central Pkwy. and Walnut. Many people aren’t even aware that when they are going to get coffee from the Emporium there is a beautiful old 1300+ seat theater right in the same building.

There were really two reasons I wanted to get in on this. First of all, I would love to see this theater return to operation. It’s place like these that give a city its character. Older buildings and classic structures like this become a rarity as you move further across the country. In Seattle, for example, buildings were rarely rehabbed due to compliance with earthquake codes. Rather, because I assume it was cheaper, old buildings were torn down to make way for less attractive, hastily built newer structures. Cincinnati has a surplus of these type of old theaters, warehouses, row-houses, store-fronts, etc. Volunteer projects like this, held on a regular basis, are exactly what the city needs. Give Back Cincinnati says they had at least 100 people there lending a hand, proving that many people are as interested in lending a hand in this type of thing.

My second reason for wanting to help was a bit more selfish. I just wanted to get into the place. For years I’ve walked by the entrance, wondering what was beyond those ticket windows. Unfortunately I had something to do that day and couldn’t make it down there. Thankfully, one industrious volunteer spent a portion of his time taking beautiful pictures of the inside. Here’s a hand-full of them, with more at his website Urban Up, after the jump… Continue reading

Monthly Comic Book Round-up…pt.2 – The Comics!

I know, I know, I promised this yesterday. Sorry, I got side-tracked. First I started reading comics and then my house-mate Kevin and I took a field-trip to Anchor Grill for pie and ice cream. Shut-up, it was awesome. But I’m here now, so let’s talk about those comics you should be reading. I think I’ve got a good little selection here for you. In terms of an introduction Id just like to say that I don’t really read “alternative” comics. Nope, I like my comics full of superheroes, villains, monsters and spaceships. You know…cool stuff.  If I can’t have fun reading them I don’t see the point in spending money on them. So let’s at some books about kids, french space-wars and characters you know and love… Continue reading

My bad, Journal of Popular Noise!

You deserve your own post too. Yesterday I posted a bit about Truckasauras and linked them primarily to Fourthcity. This is not a false connection, it’s very true in fact. My oversight lies in the fact that I talked a lot about the totally wonderful packaging that came in my giant manila envelope but did not once mention The Journal of Popular Noise. Kind of a dick move considering I paraphrased the guy’s really nice essay in it and have been pouring over its glossy pages for a couple days now.

Now, when it comes to music, I’m very much a packaging and design guy. A record is all by itself a step-up in the packaging game from a CD of the very same material. If the record, be it 7, 10, or 12 inches, can then do something interesting with the packaging my enjoyment increases ten-fold. I could go on and on and on about my favorite record packaging, but that’s not really what I’m here to talk about. Suffice it to say, I love music, I love design and yes, I am a person who will put on a record and then sit in my rocking chair fondling the package it was presented to me in. Continue reading