Je Suis Charlie

Je_Suis_Charlie_1

First hearing that masked terrorists gunned down four French cartoonists in Paris yesterday seemed like a bad Monty Python joke. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The brutal terrorist attack on the offices of the French satirical weekly “Charlie Hebdo” left the world shaken. The immediate reaction from editorial cartoonists and illustrators around the world was to express their grief, anger and insights with the most powerful weapon they had– their pen.
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Irma Boom Captures the Essence of Chanel No.5

Celebrated Dutch book designer Irma Boom continues to push the boundaries of book design by defying the conventional use of publishing materials and printing. Boom’s special edition for Chanel No. 5 is loaded with images and text and uses absolutely no ink. The sheets are completely white and blind embossed throughout. The result is sensual, intriguing, ethereal and haunting, like the best fragrances. Boom’s approach to book design is that of a fine artist. In fact, of the more than 250 books she has designed, more than 50 are in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Boom created this limited edition book for the No. 5 Culture Chanel exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

Iconic Styles of Renowned Architects From A to Z

Argentine architect Andrea Stinga and Colombian graphic designer Federico Gonzalez put together this animated video of globally renowned architects and their most notable work. The minute-and-a-half long video manages to squeeze in a lot of information, including architects and landmarks from around the world. Still, art director Gonzalez apologizes that some legends had to be left out because they only needed one architect per letter of the alphabet. Stinga is a principal in Ombu Architecture, based in Barcelona, Spain. The music soundtrack is “The Butterfly” by Eugene C. Rose and George Ruble.

Striptease Powered by Water

Drink plenty of water and get lots of exercise is the message behind this video by Contrex, a metabolism-boosting French mineral water owned by Nestle. Made by Paris-based agency Marcel, the Contrex ad posted on YouTube and Facebook features a row of hot pink stationary bikes connected to power a 3D projection map. A number of attractive young women step out of the crowd and hop on the bikes. Their peddling is what sets the neon-lit male stripper in motion. Finally, he takes it all off, except for a sign reading “Congratulations! You’ve just burned 2,000 calories.” The tagline says “Slimming down shouldn’t have to be boring.”

Jonah Lehrer’s Five Tips for
Reaching Your Creative Potential


From the bestselling author Jonah Lehrer comes “Imagine: How Creativity Works” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Lehrer explains that his latest book “is about our most important mental talent: the ability to imagine what has never existed. We take this talent for granted, but our lives are defined by it. There is the pop song on the radio and the gadget in your pocket, the art on the wall and the air conditioner in the window. There is the medicine in the bathroom and the chair you are sitting in…” He gives real world examples from Pixar and Second City to Bob Dylan and Yo-Yo Ma. He goes on to say that “creativity is not a gift possessed by a lucky few; it’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.” Here he offers five tips from his book on how to increase your creative potential.

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CCTV Ad Makes Ink Painting in Liquid Animation

For a Central China Television (CCTV) promotional commercial, Chinese ad agency, MMIA, undertook to retrace the history of China in an animated version of a traditional Chinese ink-and-wash landscape painting. Ink-and-wash is an art style that developed thousands of years ago and is noted for brush strokes that range from bold forms to faint ink washes that render scenes in a dreamlike mist. To simulate this liquid effect, MMIA turned to Troublemakers.tv, a production company based in Paris, and German director Niko Tziopanos of weareflink. The result is mesmerizing, a merging of design, computer graphics, visual effects and live action blending seamlessly together to appear that an ancient ink painting has come to life.

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Making the Plunge

San Francisco-based photographer Ryan Heffernan took these dramatic shots for a Japan Rags ad campaign. What looks like a freeze-frame photograph captured with split-second timing is actually a composite of three different stills.

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Nokia N8 Mobile Phone Film Winner

Here’s a novel way to get consumers to test out your product. In March, Nokia announced a competition to shoot a short film entirely with a Nokia N8 mobile phone. It invited entrants to send in a story pitch and offered a $5,000 filming budget and two Nokia N8s to eight finalists.

“Splitscreen: A Love Story,” directed by UK-based JW Griffiths, won the first place award of $10,000.

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Citroën’s C3 Bip Bip Fantasy

Created by Agence H in Paris, the new Citroën commercial for the C3 is funny, effective and amazing for what it doesn’t say and doesn’t show. For one, it doesn’t show the new C3 until the very end. It doesn’t have a voiceover explaining each of the car’s fancy standard features. It just shows a man driving an old car and pretending that it comes “loaded with specs” by imitating the sounds that each feature would make. You don’t have to speak English or French to get the point.

Education First’s Live the Language

EF International Language Centers, a Swedish-based company that offers study abroad programs and language courses in some 50 countries, has just launched a new series of short video ads that have no voiceover sales pitch, no mention of what the school does or how to enroll, and no mention of Education First at all except for flashing EF briefly on the screen with a website address at the end. Elegant typography displays choice words in the language of the featured country with the phonetic pronunciation spelled out underneath, but there is no translation of what the words mean nor what they sound like when spoken aloud. And yet, it all works. The commercials aren’t about the process of learning a language, but the life-enhancing benefits of studying abroad. The message conveys the atmosphere of the culture, the experience of being there, the promise of friendships, and the carefree joy of discovery. Directed by Gustav Johansson and produced by Camp David Film, the EF “Live the Language” videos say a lot without uttering a word.

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Art History Homage…or Revenge
by Hold Your Horses

Having trouble relating Western art history to contemporary culture? Watch this video that the French-American band Hold Your Horses made for its track “70 Million,” produced by L’Ogre. Apparently, the entire video was filmed over two weekends in a parking garage in Paris. See if you can name the painting and the artist.

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Coke Appeals to Fashion

Of course, every brand wants to suggest that its product is the rage among trend-setting consumers. But Coca-Cola is doing more than just suggesting that it is fashionable to drink its product; it is linking its brand to the world’s top fashion designers and putting its name on beauty products too.

Last fall Coca-Cola Light and eight renowned Italian fashion designers — Donatella Versace, Alberta Ferretti, Anna Molinari for Blumarine, Veronic Etro, Silvia Venturini for Fendi, Consuelo Castiglioni for Marni, Angela Missoni and Rossella Jardini for Moschino — teamed up to present specially decorated contoured bottles for the opening of Milan Fashion Week. Showcased at a Coca-Cola Light “Tribute to Fashion” runway event, the original bottles were later auctioned by Sotheby’s with proceeds going to aid the victims of the devastating 2009 earthquake in Abruzzo, Italy. Collectible bottles were also produced in limited edition and sold in Europe. Some are even finding their way onto eBay.

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Writing with Water

Sometimes the medium is very much a part of the message. This public service display to warn people about the dangers of unsafe drinking water was created for Worldwide Day of Water by BDDP Unlimited in partnership with NGO Solidarities International. Essentially, BDDP constructed a “liquid poster” in the heart of Paris, using AquaScript technology. Developed by German artist Julius Popp in 2008, AquaScript’s proprietary computer and software system can be programmed to synchronize hundreds of magnetic valves to expel drops of water on command, forming any number of words and images out of pure liquid. Words literally rain down from spouts. Lately AquaScript displays have been appearing all over the world at trade shows, new product unveilings, casinos and nightclubs, and even as the centerpiece of posh parties in Abu Dhabi. It is still a novelty that causes people to pause in wonder, but when the technology is used strategically, as in this clean water campaign, it can add strength to the message and be more than the latest fascinating gimmick.