Category Archives: Culture

Finding Light in Haiti

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Citadel of Henri Christophe, Cap-Haïtien, Haiti

Beyond the mountains, more mountains” Our guide, Eddie, gestures broadly to the horizon. “That’s a Haitian proverb. It reminds you not to think you are that important; there is always someone greater than you.” Looking out at the mountainous landscape surrounding the ruins of the Citadel of Henri Christophe, I find myself wondering about other interpretations. The land here is beautiful, lush and tropical. The mountains jagged in every direction until the land hits the sea, the Northern Coast of Haiti. Eddie points to where Columbus’s Santa María ran aground, the point of colonization.

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How to Sell Yourself as a Designer in Portland

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portland_graphicCongratulations! You moved to Portland to start your career as a graphic designer. You’ve just joined the ranks of the young, gifted and under-employed. Before you thrown in your organic cotton towel and head to the barista stand, try these foolproof tips to achieving creative success in the weirdest city in America.

Forget all the portfolio rules and marketing guidelines you learned at that Midwestern state school. In Portland, we do things differently. We value the obscure, the weird, the artisan, and the independent. So ditch that insurance brochure from your portfolio and re-vamp your image Portland-style.

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Portland Design in the 1960s: Tom Lincoln

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“I had a crush on the Jantzen smile girl, Dolores Hawkins,” relates Tom Lincoln with a grin.

“One of my first assignments was for Pendleton, to help direct the photography for an ad in front of Robinson’s Department Store in Los Angeles,” Tom recalled. “In the ad, we were using a lamb as a part of the wool story. The photographer brought models from New York City. One of the models was Cheryl Tiegs, who went on to become the most photographed in the world.”

Tom Lincoln, now 76, is a man with kind eyes, a quick smile, and big ideas. I met Tom over breakfast (and multiple cups of coffee) in Eugene this summer to discuss his Portland beginnings, his influences, and his varied career successes.

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Portland Design in the 1960s: Byron Ferris

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If a council were formed to determine a list of the “Founding Fathers” of the Portland design community, Byron Ferris’s name would have to be near the top of that list. Sure, there were others who grew to be big-wigs in advertising, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone as talented, influential and well-loved as Byron.

2014-10-04-15.50.44Born in Portland in 1921, Byron’s creativity and organizational skills developed early; he drew his first cartoons for his classmates and for money at age nine. While attending Jefferson High School, class of 1939, he formed the Korny Kartoon Klub with fellow schoolmates which kicked off a lifetime of writing, entertaining, drawing and telling “korny” jokes. In the second entry in our series, Portland Design in the 1960s, we honor Byron Ferris, Portland’s “Dean of Design.”

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Artifact of Left-wing Parisian Bohemia

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Browsing a tiny vintage shop in the 7th arrondissement  in Paris, France I found this magazine dated December 17, 1904, and titled, L’Assiette au beurre. It was bursting with loose, expressive, caricatures that are clearly politically-minded. Some quick research provides an interesting back-story. The following is the ROUGH Google translation of the Wikipedia article about L’Assiette au beurre.


“L’Assiette au beurre is a French satirical illustrated weekly newspaper open to designers and sensitive to the socialist and anarchist ideas. The first series ran from April 4, 1901 to October 15, 1912 and the title was taken, on a monthly basis between 1921 and 1925. L’ Assiette au beurre differs from most other humorous magazine in its composition. Each issue includes mainly cartoons and caricatures in two or three color and full (or double) page spreads with a minimum of 16 illustrated pages. Sometimes an artist is entrusted with the implementation of a number on a specific topic, making each delivery a real album.”

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Suits. Cocktails. Talent.

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The 1960s design scene in Portland had some things that may seem familiar to designers today: passionate creatives, a small community, and a collaborative work ethic. Out of this creative pool emerged Byron Ferris, Bennet Norrbo, and Charles Politz, three men whose careers overlapped, who influenced each other and yet left their mark in distinctly different ways. They worked to develop some of Portland’s biggest brands like Jantzen and Pendleton  defining the city’s stake in outdoor and athletic wear.

Charles Politz (standing left) planning the Oregon Centennial exhibition

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Portland Designers in the Mad Men Era

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

7:00 PM
Pacific Northwest College of Art
1241 NW Johnson St

Buy Tickets

Before the swoosh there was the Jantzen Diving Girl.

Against the backdrop of political unrest, women’s liberation, and the sexual revolution, a new creative industry began to rise in post-war era Portland. Advertising agencies and commercial artists worked with local brands such as Jantzen, Reed College and Pendleton to lay the groundwork of the design profession for generations of creatives to come.

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The Slogan & NYC

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The Slogan

On this May trip, we took shelter from a spring rain in the New York Historical Society. A fantastic collection of items large and small from New York’s history. A history rich with war, high society, ethnic diversity, food, and political strife. Some of the more tame political relics are from a time of more civilized democratic discourse, or so we may believe. Campaign buttons, pins and ribbons showcase these political defining points. At the intersection of design and politics we are reminded of the era of the slogan. The word slogan deriving from the Scottish Gaelic word meaning “battle cry”.

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