Not Robert Cumberford

viacelli design Logo

A failed car designer tries to make sense of a flat design world.

Jumping out of my ‘skine

Ok, so all the cool kids are posting their sketchbook pages these days, so I thought I would too. I’ve been trying to sketch more regularly to get out of my keyboard and mouse mentality, and although the results have been mixed, I thought I’d start to post them when they go well. Here’s the first of several I’ve done recently and that are awaiting posting.

Done in Moleskine 5 x 8.5 inch sketchbook with Pilot Precise Rollerball.

the mantle in our living room.

Things get ugly at Car magazine

Car magazine has long been one of my most cherished and revered sources of car news, photographic inspiration and cutting-edge design. Published in the UK, I have been spending my hard-earned cash on the import-priced glossy loveliness for almost 20 years now. Not anymore. Car has gone and done the unthinkable—they’ve dumbed down the design to blend in, rather than stand out, from the crowd.

Just a few years removed from one of the most stunning and gorgeous magazine redesigns I’ve ever seen, they’ve basically reverted to clichéd tacky Euro auto-weekly style. Busy covers, red box around the logo, smaller size, cheaper paper and nasty typography have replaced the lusciously high-end look of the past two years, bringing a tear to my eye. They’ve even gone and done the same thing to their website, one of the most intricately laid out sites around.
Is it the new depression’s fault? Maybe. But the price hasn’t gone down with the quality, so I somehow think that if this is a cost-cutting measure it’s well on the road to massively backfiring. Will readers forgive and forget? Maybe, but longtime lovers and subscribers like me probably won’t, and the last thing a high-end monthly publication needs now is losing subscribers. When you start stating that you the “World’s best car magazine” right in the header, it’s a sure sign that you’re not anymore.

Tim Pollard, the editor of the magazine, has been campaigning hard for the new look, saying that it’s simply “in response to reader feedback.” Judging by the hundreds of negative comments on the website I’d say they may have asked the wrong readers, and it seems they’ll be losing some lifers with the change. Maybe he’s ok with that, or maybe it was forced on him by the mag’s new owners, but either way, it’s a sad day when a design beacon sells its soul for sales. A sign of the times I suppose, but I won’t be renewing my subscription.

Bring back the design edge Mr. Pollard, and I’ll gladly drop the £65 to re-up my subscription and put Car back on my coffee table where it belongs.

Gorgeous previous redesign of Car

Gorgeous previous redesign of Car

Newly redesigned Car magazine

Newly redesigned Car magazine

I’m not bitter. Really.

Just jealous.

One of my former classmates at Art Center, Karim Habib, just jumped ship from BMW to Mercedes to “oversee” their Advanced Studio in Stuttgart. Karim’s a great guy (or was anyway, might be a d-bag after years with Chris Bangle), but it hurts me every time I see someone I was in class with (and better than?) have such success in the car design world. I screwed up bigga time and this punctuates it.

Link to the story on Autoblog

Oh well.

Karim Habib is headed to Mercedes

The Truth About Logos

A commendable car blog called The Truth About Cars has asked its readership to submit logo designs for the site. Typically, I would consider this an affront to designers (and maybe it is), but I have a lot of respect for them and what they stand for (completely unbiased and brutally honest auto reviews and news), so, despite my better judgment, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring and design a little something for them as well. I can use all the publicity I can get for my designs.

Maybe if I win their contest they’ll buy my Christmas Cards next year to send out.

The Truth About Cars logo proposal

The Truth About Cars logo proposal

And I have trouble convincing clients to spend $500.

It seems that the new and not-quite-mediocre pepsi redesign cost almost as much as the stimulus package. This is exactly the kind of crap that gives designers a bad name.

Click here to read the article.

You can go blogging again.

I’m going to start this blog up again and see if anyone notices. Doubt it, but then again, yelling into the void helps you release stress just as well as yelling at your wife, without the consequences.

I’ll be adding current projects, twits, insights and anything else that comes to mind in shorter, more concise posts.

Sketchbook Pro 2010 announced

©2009 Andrew Meehan

©2009 Andrew Meehan

I’ve been a beta-testing Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro for years now (since version 2), so I’m really excited to see the new version (2010) is getting released soon. Sketchbook is a lightweight, fast, digital sketching software that I use every day in my workflow. If you’ve never tried it, you owe it to yourself to download the free trial here.

There’s also a great article outlining some of the new features coming out in the 2010 release on Autodesk’s AREA. The ellipse and rulers have changed my life.

This is really a great product that not a lot of artists and designers know about, and that’s a shame. So check it out. It’s cheap, it’s great, and you’ll never go back to sketching in Photoshop.

Porsche 356 illustration

©2009 Andrew Meehan

©2009 Andrew Meehan

I recently created this vector illustration of a Porsche 356 split-windscreen “pre-A” for Klasse 356, a parts supplier for owners of these lovely cars.

New wordpress dashboard.

Thank God WordPress has finally brought their dashboard into the 21st century. Using the old one was one of the main reasons I wasn’t blogging.

Does anyone know if Adobe fixe…

Does anyone know if Adobe fixed the “outline stroke” tool in Ai CS4? That alone woul dbe worth the upgrade. Grrr.