Posts in Review
Clovis Supply Tabletop Tripod (CS-50)

I looked at a lot of little tripods and settled on this one because of three things.

It folds up slimmer than all of the others letting it stand upright next to my sunglasses and 11 oz. Tiger travel thermos in a single section of my little Think Tank Urban Approach 5. It occupies about the same amount of space as a candy bar and the top sits nearly flush with the top of my bag when fully-closed and standing straight-up.

The universal ball head allows for any angle you could possibly need, as opposed to some of the others that have narrower range of movement. This is one of the reasons I couldn’t use the Manfrotto PIXI. It lacks the ability to point the camera straight up into the air.

Last, the aesthetics of the object itself are more in line with what I was looking for. The legs are so slim they draw virtually no attention to themselves, which is helpful when shooting in public.

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Product photos from Amazon

ReviewKevin Woodland
The William and Mary Palmer House

Most Ann Arbor residents have a vague notion that a Frank Lloyd Write house exists somewhere in town but none seem to know of its exact location. When Kate's uncle was in town a couple weeks ago we decided to figure it out once and for all.

It's called the William and Mary Palmer House, and we found it waiting patiently, nestled under mature pines, at the end of Orchard Hills Drive, a long residential dirt road off Geddes Ave (just East of the Arb). It's a classic Usonian example, with a long cantilver roof, unusually shallow carport, and a quirky triangular layout. During our research we found that it's available for rent.

Familiar People in Catalogs and Films in Unexpected Places
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This experimental paper was edited and designed by Benjamin Critton and has been floating around for a while now. It was first released in 2010 and reprinted a second time in 2013 (QTY 1000) by Draw Down Books. Apparently, it has great distribution and is incredibly well-liked because it shows up regularly in my RSS and Tumblr feeds. My copy is from the second run (I’m often late to parties like this).

It profiles (as its name points out) a handful of “Evil People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films.” Among the written contributions is a piece by Joseph Rosa, the Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), where I’m currently employed as graphic designer. Joe and I work together on a day-to-day basis.

This isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled across his writings out in the world. In 2010 I visited an exhibition called Hyperlinks at the Art Institute of Chicago. The catalog included a written piece by Joe, which is actually when I realized he co-curated the show. Later, he popped-up on the screen with a few sound bites in a Netflix documentary about architectural photographer Julius Shulman. So, today when I saw his name in this paper I wasn’t totally surprised. He’s a brilliant guy so it’s good to see his work out and about.

ReviewKevin WoodlandUMMA
Ed Fella: History, Commercial Art, Art and the American Vernacular

This past Thursday a group of WCC students joined me in visiting a retrospective of Ed Fella’s work at CCS in Detroit. It was the first event in an optional day-long field trip I created to replace the typical last-day-of-the-semester activities for both of my current classes: History of Graphic Design (GDT-101) and InDesign Graphics (GDT-107). Ed’s retrospective dovetailed perfectly with our Postmodern lecture in the history class.

Despite arriving later than planned, the trip went smoothly and included a nice long DIA visit, a quick MoCAD walk-through, a Utrecht supply run, and finally, a ridiculous dinner at Fatburger. The day in Detroit was time well-spent for everyone. Leaving the classroom is important for a number of reasons.

First, it gives students a wider sense of the industry they’re pursuing. Graphic design instructors have a responsibility to expose students to the field as quickly as possible: the more they see, the better. This is particularly important at the Associates Degree level where field prep-time is condensed to 2-years. Second, the perspective shift helps to reenergize interest in the subject matter. It helps punctuate and galvanize classroom topics. Physical objects always reveal more about themselves than their on-screen counter-parts.

It's easy to get a sense of Ed’s eclectic style by Googling some of his classic work, like the black-and-white posters he did for the Detroit Focus Gallery in the early 1980’s, but his camera-ready mechanicals tell a more complex story. Clearly, he found as much enjoyment in his working process as he did the end results, which must explain the endless hours of cutting, pasting, and assembling. The layers of paper highlight his organizational priorities, the mistakes he made (and maybe corrected), and also his deep familiarity with the reproduction process. Despite the random look of the final products, there’s not a single ill-considered pen stroke or paper scrap—even if it’s an accidental bit of random chance that Ed simply allowed to exist.

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