Archive for August, 2009

your online persona is showing

Ah, the internet is a minefield of distractions, all masquerading as information you must have now. The latest is a project from MIT Media Lab, called Personas. It’s an interactive tool that searches your online data to create a timeline/portrait/colorbar of your online identity. Watching it happen is like watching mini story arcs of your online life.

Of course, I had to do myself, the studio, my family, friends, President Obama,  Lance Armstrong, Dalai Lama and Wonder Woman. I did concepts like world peace and graphic design, and my hometown, Davis, CA. I did my friend Leslye’s documentary film, Sweet Crude. I even tried my dog, but alas, Toby Barbaria has no online persona.

Plug in your name and it takes off, giving you a wayback/slot machine experience, and finally landing at your persona color bar.


Picture 5

Lance (in progress):

Picture 1

President Obama (in progress and final):

Picture 4

Picture 7

Graphic Design:

Picture 6

Besides being fun and distracting, I believe this is also meant to be a critique of data mining, and shows how what appears may not be true. I saw one friend’s salary, and was also a little confused to see “military” show up for my name. I have two blogs, a website, am active on Facebook and Twitter, and none of that showed up. Go figure.

This is how the smart MIT folks explain it: Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person – to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile. (Italics mine)

Seemingly authoritative or not, it’s just one more (very cool) tool for us to use to focus our work, and connect the dots.


What to do with those extra Pantone chips? Build a humongous rainbow, of course.

Five thousand Pantone Color chips. One hecka big rainbow. Now, that’s a cool idea.


The giant rainbow spans 8 meters (26.2 feet) and was created by  Bates 141 Jakarta for Basheer Graphic Books to promote the Pantone Color Guides to college students in Jakarta. Check out the Bates 141 website for a quick hit of inspiration.  So smart!

The rainbow was designed and built by Bates 141 creative director Hendra Lesmono and art directors Andreas Junus and Irawandhani Kamarga.

Les Paul |The Original Guitar Hero

Les Paul, the prolific guitar innovator and designer, died today. I’m not a guitar expert, but I know enough to appreciate his contribution to most of the music I enjoy.

Several years ago, Steve was commissioned to paint 30 murals of musicians for a Sprint building in Nashville. One of my favorite pieces is this painting of Eric Clapton at the 1973 Rainbow Concert. His guitar–a  Les Paul, of course, believed to be George Harrison’s “Lucy”.


The story of the guitar is a little confusing, but the part that is clear is that Les Paul was the hero behind the guitar.

Thank you Mr. Paul.

Illustration copyright Steve Barbaria.

making lemonade

Advertising creatives may be the best folks for turning  ordinary fact-of-life features (especially the unsexy ones, see fiber as an example) into compelling benefits. And for about 70,000 creatives, one of the most prevalent features of 2008/09 have been their own layoffs. Hmmmm, unemployment….how to turn that one around….tricky.

Erik Proulx gets the prize for lemonade making. After he was laid off  in 2008, he started a blog called  Please Feed the Animals as a place for unemployed creatives to vent. And eventually that venting turned into inspiration and that inspiration turned into Lemonade-The Movie.

Erik and his cohorts made a 30 minute movie featuring ad creatives who were laid off, and then found a better life on the other side.  It will be distributed for free, online in September.

Fast Company did a nice piece on the project, and especially the social media component. Thanks to Visual Culture for the link.

Got the blues, typographically-speaking

My blog friend, Bridget Gast, did a cool post on color inspired typography.  I’m in need for a little inspiration, and thought I’d poke around the We Love Typography site myself, to see what I could conjure up in my post-vacation obsession with the color blue (Maui will do that to you). More than 5000 typographic images, organized by color, and delivered to you in groups of six. Not that I am encouraging web playing vs. working….just providing the info so you can make your own wise choices.

My favorite blues.


waffle house. orlando, fl. 2008. by eyetwist.




1939 BMT Route Map (Cover)








view install5 by mamzellenix

summer vocation| printing

Continuing with the, “It’s summer and we keep confusing vacation with vocation,” series…1947 vocational video on Printing, Your Life Work.

Vintage is romantic. Progress is good. Printing will always be cool. I’m in Maui, this is the most I can muster.