Dieline’s Friday Wrap-Up: Denim Sofas, 80s Book Covers, and The Worst of Packaging
by Bill McCool on 01/20/2023 | 5 Minute Read
Inevitably, no matter how close you are to your friends, conversation lags, and it almost always turns to what TV you’re watching. After all, this is another golden age. Or it’s ending. Whatever.
Not that I’m out of introductory juice—I’m not. But kicking things off with these columns always presents a challenge. How much of the state of things do we need to discuss? In these unprecedented times, you often feel compelled to write about these unprecedented times when the last thing you want to do is actually talk about these unprecedented times.
That said, go seek out Paul T. Goldman. As of this writing, I’m at the halfway mark, but the Peacock show is part documentary, part dramatic reenactment, with a smidge of backstage drama and hijinx. It is likely a cruel show because it concerns a man telling the story behind the wild circumstances of his divorce while also being the star. Of course, it is this particular man’s retelling of those events—a lot of which is fictionalized ("it's 97% true!"). It’s wild, it’s unhinged, and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I love it.
Anywho, here’s some linkage.
You’re Bacon Me Crazy
Have you or a loved one ever stabbed yourself with a knife while opening bacon?
I reckon bacon packaging is a thousand times more dangerous than any avocado. Also, read Chloe’s piece on some of the most absolutely annoying packaging designs that have ever been forced upon consumers.
White Circus Peanuts
Parents, don’t let your babies grow up to eat packing peanuts, even if they’re compostable and biodegrade in water.
Compost, Take Me Away
Countertop compost bins are cool if you like fruit flies and the faint, lingering whiff of trash. Just set it up in your backyard and be done with it.
However, if you’d like to pay for a very pricey compost bin that turns your food scraps into chicken feed (and doesn’t smell), I have just the thing for you. Developed by Nest’s co-founder Matt Rogers, the bin acts as a subscription service that offers users the luxury of paying $33 a month for a second trash can that—once full—you’ll empty and mail off so it can get turned into said chicken feed.
I tried wielding the power of my Twitter account (bless you, my 293 followers) to direct some questions at the Mill founder to see if this thing can handle compostable packaging, as they didn't mention that in the company’s FAQ. I doubt it does, and I’m not holding my breath. Pretty sweet invention, though!
(UPDATE: Clearly, my Twitter clout demanded a response. They recommend NOT putting compostable packaging in the Mill.)
I swear, I could have made this an AI-themed weekly wrap-up, but I decided against it. That said, check out Rudy’s piece on some of the lawsuits IRL artists are filing against some of the big AI art-generating powerhouses.
Personally, you will never convince me that programs like Midjourney are solely tools and not job killers. I’ve read all the pieces about CNET having an AI write a few of their articles, and I am thoroughly non-plussed. But I’m also not naive enough to believe that it isn’t the future.
With all that said, watch the site in the coming weeks as we will have interviews and pieces about incorporating these tools into your workflow and what you really need to know to use them to their full potential. We'll call it a side-eyed mea culpa.
Central Perk, But Make It Gen Z
Last week, The New York Times detailed some of the sober, non-alcoholic bars popping up across the five boroughs. Not to yuk anyone’s booze-free yum, but reading it felt vaguely reminiscent of living through 90s coffee shop culture and its various eccentric personalities.
For what it’s worth, I do hope they stick around. But the endpoint is always Starbucks or poetry slams.
I Like Guys That Build Castles Like Abercrombie & Fitch
Speaking of the 90s (and I suppose the early 00s), we thankfully never have to go back to the halcyon days of peak Abercrombie & Fitch. However, I did learn that co-founder David Abercrombie built himself a castle and writer Jason Diamond went on an adventure to explore the abandoned ruins. It’s a nice piece that explores the forgotten parts of “This Land is Your Land” and the importance of trespassing.
IKEA x Levis
Kudos to Kevin Batory of the Front & Center podcast for introducing me to the concept of “J-ing” everything, i.e., putting denim on whatever our heart desires. Anywho, Vice thinks the denim sofa—that’s Jofa to you, kids—has arrived.
I can’t begin to tell you how important (and ubiquitous) the Vintage Contemporaries book covers were, but finding one at a used book store always felt like unearthing some secretly wonderful piece of literature. And I specifically remember stealing my father’s Raymond Carver books solely based on those covers designed by Lorraine Louie.
So it was a genuine thrill reading this piece in The New Yorker about the creation of those oddball absurdist illustrations and wacky type—with animals:
“They are bonkers!” the author and longtime book designer Peter Mendelsund told me, laughing. “This collage of the ornamental and the pop and the serious and the pastiche. The indiscriminate use of drop shadows. And that logo, that colophon, that 3-D orb?” He hooted. “Holy fucking shit!” He compared the books to furniture in the Memphis style popularized by a group of Italian designers in the eighties: “all these orbs sitting on plinths.”
Packaging & Dielines 2: A Free Resource