Wednesday, November 25, 2015

45 Degrees

What Does it Mean to Adjust an Angle or Fall in Between?

I spent the better part of a day last month driving through a tunnel of trees, turning all red and gold and trying to retain their outward green composure even though the truth is this: it's getting cold in the Midwest. People walk by in sweatshirts and down jackets with their hats pulled squarely over their ears. It smells like wood smoke in Wisconsin. And why not? My friend Laurie writes "I can smell November all buttered and bare" but I think she's likely talking about trees somehow, too.

So degrees are falling and for the past five generations the weather has been the central point of all small talk yet, as I sit here tonight, I can't tell you the fastest and most effective way to type the degree symbol – as in "hey, it's only 45 degrees outside, you better grab a coat" – on my computer, let alone on my Samsung Note smartphone. This is sad because, like a percent symbol, the degree symbol is both (a) better at visually conveying the impact and idea of temperature and (b) allowing quick access to express the relative. There's too little of that. When we're all wrapped up in black and white, we miss out on the halves and portions.

To wit: The leaves don't simply wither and fall in a single day, we get a whole season for that. Indeed, we get a full season of incremental change capable of disputing the dialectical opposition that the up/down, for/against crowd would have you buy into, the gradual drop in degrees giving us a smaller percentage of leaves hanging on until they end up on your lawn. Minus a simple degree symbol, I'm think I'm supposed to tell someone by text message: "It's unbearably cold" or "It's incredibly hot," but today, it's neither, it's just mild. That's how Fall goes, marching step-by-step into a big pile of dry, raked leaves.

A few years ago, speaking of degrees, we had the privilege to work on the legendary Litespeed bicycle brand; they were hoping to develop a new symbol for the front headtube badge and had a variation of an intersecting "L" and "S" from their logo. We helped to iron out the concept, a fine designer at 3VERB working to bring both elements together so it felt more like a coherent symbol rather than an collision. Then we simply turned the whole thing on its side by 45 degrees and found that it gained an upward momentum and recalled the switchbacks of the infamous Alp de Huez climb at the Tour de France. I nicknamed the cocked symbol "The Ascent" given its resemblance to that race route, but today I recognize that 45 degree angle for what it really is: somewhere between heatstroke and frostbite, the perfect temperature for a brisk, principled ride up the next hill.

– Jon Roketenetz

Jon is the CEO of GimmeAnother and founder of 3VERB.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Right Image: Your Biggest Fan

Push a Bicycle Up Into the Jetstream with Any Old Household Fan

It always helps to admire the engineering and ingenuity of products you work on, for sure. In 2012 and 2013, Quintana Roo was keen to market the SHIFT technology of their triathlon bikes, a clever offset of the downtube to move air from the drive side to cleaner side of the bike. For me, the most important parts about this shot were (a) capturing motion in the ribbon and (b) making sure to include the 1940s stainless-steel, Chicago-built Fresh'nd Aire 'bullet' fan as a reference to a streamlined design era and counterpoint to the black carbon.
The idea of using the ribbon to illustrate the SHIFT feature was developed by the crew at QR and we made sure to incorporate it not only in the photography and marketing but also in our design work at 3VERB for the actual frame graphics – a simple red band making its way from headtube to seattube to chainstay – as shown above.

– Jon Roketenetz

Jon is the CEO of GimmeAnother and founder of 3VERB.