The Brilliance!

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#INTERNET Ah, we're back! Like we said, we were just "chilling out" for like 3 years. Feels good to have the team back writing. Still us three: Chuck, Benjamin, and Virgil. Got new interviews coming up, and hopefully we'll be posting on a regular basis, who knows. We also interviewed each other, check: CHUCK, BENJAMIN, VIRGIL...

MMVIII.

First off, happy late new year…2009 feels a bit mysterious. I have no idea what’s going to happen this year considering 2008 was a great year, an awful year, a fun year, a fast year, a slow year, a miserable year, a joyful year, and a weird year. It was all of those things probably no matter who you are in some capacity, and might be one of those things more than the others depending on what line of work your in, who you voted for, who you invest your money with, and whether or not you like autotune. Here are a few brief thoughts…

•Obama. 2008 will be remembered as the year of the ‘O’ logo, Shepard Fairey’s now iconic poster, 24 hour news, and of course just simply Obama winning. There’s nothing more to really say, you know the whole story… Ben and I have talked a lot about how positive yet bizarre this whole thing is. Am I glad he won? Sure, I voted for him. Is there a bit of a creepy ‘overlord’ feeling to the whole thing? Yeah, kinda…and I don’t blame the man himself, more just the whole phenomenon in and of itself. But I think that will pass and in a matter of days we’ll get down to business and see what this guy and his ideas can really do.

•Music…let’s just have a little less (maybe a lot less) autotune in 2009. Kind of a ‘fun while it lasted’ sort of thing, at least for me. TV On The Radio really impressed me and T.I. offered up the coolest hip-hop album cover I’ve seen in a while. Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, and Harvey Milk put out a few of my favorites this year too. As for 808’s & Heartbreak, I wasn’t a huge fan at first, I’ll admit. But I’ve come to appreciate, quite a lot, how unapologetic Kanye was about this album considering everyone had such strong opinions about it, myself included. Not to mention utilizing KAWS on some of the album’s artwork and having it end up in Time Square...funny how things work out sometimes...

•Movies. 2008 was a really, really fantastic year for movies. ‘Doubt’, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, ‘Burn After Reading’, ‘Pineapple Express’, ‘Tropic Thunder’, ‘Milk’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Iron Man’, and a movie that has set new standards for good movies for me, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. All that and I have yet to see ‘Wall-E’, ‘The Wrestler’, ‘Man On Wire’, ‘Gran Torino’, or ‘Frost/Nixon’...and I know there are still a bunch I haven’t even thought of. I mean, I really, really loved all these movies. Even ‘Valkyrie’ wasn’t all that bad!

•Branding. Brand New wraps this up best with their brand/logo redesign Best & Worst of 2008, so I’ll just say check that link out…but I need to mention specifically that this was particularly awesome and on the flipside, well…let’s just say Pepsi really, really confused me.

•The internets. The internets had a lot of new webpages launched in 2008, lots of web 2.0’s, lots of new Twitters and Facebooks, lots of good Flash homepages and lots of really great socialized network webpage design homepages. My favorite www of 2008 was probably the homesite URL of Ffffound and also The Google made a lot of great things as well.

•Art/design/streetwear stuff. I wrote an article for FormatMag.com called The Most Intriguing Artists of 2008 you can check out, and their entire 2008 wrap-up is right here. Some good, bad, and funny stuff…

•Me, personally. It was a good year and I have a lot to be thankful for. My wife and I moved to Grand Rapids, bought a great condo, and have made some amazing friends here. I put a new NoPattern book out…spent a lot of time with family I usually don’t get to see much, read too much news during the election and got a cool but occasionally obnoxious new cat named Fredo.

•What else? I don’t want to dominate the front of the site too much even though I probably already am…but send us your favorite things from 2008. Links, songs, artists, things, etc. to Hello@Thebrilliance.com and I’ll put a little ‘mailbag’ post together in a week or so.

Here’s to Ben, Virgil, The Brilliance, and 2009…and another thanks to Jason Fried of 37Signals for doing a great interview with us.

We’ve got a new interview! Jason Fried of 37signals!

I’m not sure how many times we’ve said it…but we really love being able to do interviews. In fact, I’d say its one of major reasons we even started this site…to connect with people we find brilliant, fascinating, interesting, etc. Our process of picking who we want to interview is pretty ‘organic’ as well… I noticed the other day that both Chuck and myself had mentioned 37signals in a post 1 or 2 times in the recent past and thought “hmm, why don’t we just reach out for an interview?” That’s pretty much that. Jason was nice enough to give us some time and more importantly, a really insightful/fun-to-read interview. I think this will stand as one of our classics. And you really have to love our juxtaposition/contrast with who we interview… Just before Jason was Verbal, the fashion/influence icon of Japan and after him comes Jason, who’s pretty much THE guy in web applications via 37signals. I dig that. So yeah, a big thank you to Jason and all the people who’ve done interviews with us. We really appreciate it!

Building a brand: T-Pain!

“OMG, the vocoder guy?! Ugh…he sux!!!11” Not really. He wears a top hat, Oakleys, circus-flavored tuxedos and makes it look super fresh. True story. I’m not a huge, huge fan of T-Pain’s music - but I am of his brand. Specifically the visual brand he’s creating for himself with his image and his amazing videos as of late. I made a post a while back about my new love for *good* pop music and how I wish there was more of it…and I honestly I think T-Pain is one of those artists thats making it happen. It’s just super fun music. But yeah, the videos…have you seen the, lately??! So good. I think it started with the ‘Chopped & Screwed’ video and is continuing forward with his latest, ‘Freeze’. The super fun, and sometimes pretty amazing, visual effects, the lack of super cliche girls-dancing scenes, no slow-mo pan shots of a Phantom, the colors, the tempo of the visual effects, etc, etc, etc…I’m just really enjoying them. What a breath of fresh air. In the ‘Freeze’ video, where they make his name out of a continuous motion of him dancing and play it backwards?! So, so good. Feel like the first time I saw the ‘3D Pipes’ screen saver on Windows, ha. So yeah - I’m a fan of T-Pain’s brand and I think a ton of artists could (should) take a couple notes from him…or least the brand that is T-Pain.

Le Blog from the Coolest Cats!!!

My french homie Busy P a.k.a. The Rainbow Man Diaries just shot me a link to his new blog network. You got So-Me on the blog tip and graphics, you got superstar DJ Medhi, artist-extraordinaire Fafi, and Michael from LAMJC means this is an instant bookmark. So fitting…New Year, New blogs are needed. So Perfect…in 5 hours I am going to be ringing in the New Year at this Jus†ice show staring at the glowing cross, popping champagne (eh!!) and pumping my fist wildly. How could this not be the next best year of our lives?!! It’s definitely gonna be a strong year for Ed Banger, continued sucess my french breathern! Catch you on the other side of this year…

Epuron’s commercial for wind energy!

This is like super old I guess. Chuck even said he sent it to me a while back…I guess I never checked it, ha. Either way, I needed a good laugh today - maybe you do too - and this commercial just absolutely kills me. When he throws sand in the kids eyes??! Or knocking all the bottles out the cart??! The whole demeanor of this guy. Ha…even funnier on the second watch. Super brilliant commercial. That’s it. That’s all I have for this post…a super old commercial that makes me laugh. Welcome to THE BRILLIANCE! if this is your first time here - we’ll be here all week, ha.

Right-now-randomzz!!1

Sup’ internet? I haven’t done one of these in a while… And I can’t find anything I want to post about really, so I’ll just talk about the random stuff I’m into right now. Sustainable energy is super interesting to me right now. I’m actually spending a decent amount of my free time researching wind warms, hydro-electric stuff, and solar stuff. I want to own a bunch of mini MagLev vertical turbines and put them on a wind farm. How cool would that be!? I’m redoing my condo I think…but I’m seriously the most indecisive person ever with certain stuff, amazingly so. I commissioned another Dennis Nagelkirk painting - I get it in like a few weeks. It’s 8ft x 4ft! I’m really into Adidas Superstar track jackets - so functional, cheap, warm, and they fit perfect. I just can’t wear hoodies anymore for some reason. I’ve been listening to Rancid, Operation Ivy, Rick Ross, Bun B, Beach Boys and Diplo’s Balie Funk stuff lately…and GLC! Some dub and reggae as its gets chilly too. I bought some coconut milk/water yesterday. Tastes good, but right when you got to drink it you smell like a topsoil aroma, eh. I got the new in-ear Apple headphones…they’re pretty good, but I have to wear a small in my left ear and a medium in my right ear, weird. I’d really like to get out and ride my bike…but it’s freezing. Smartwool socks…best socks ever. I really enjoy living in Grand Rapids - gets better every month - we’re even having a ball drop thing downtown for NYE. We have a really cool interview coming up soon - a really good addition to our selection. You remember those paper ninja throwing stars you made in jr. high?? I made some for my little nephew last week, true story. What if Lego made super big pieces and you could build pre-fab houses with them…just like, by hand. Would that work? My friend Kevin went to Denver and toured to Coors Light brewery - I wish I could have joined hi,. I want a pair of black ‘Skerry Boots’ from Tretorn but I can never find a size 10.5. I wonder if I’d have a different personality if I lived in a warm environment? System D128, the video DJ guy who works with Mad Decent is pretty awesome - check the Christmas mix he did at the link below, so good. And…I think that’ll do. Have a good tuezday! ***Actually, I need some help if anyone can…the image for this post is how my iCal icon shows, with the font all moved up and weird. Anyone seen this/experienced this!? Drives me nuts.

JJJJound has been found!!!

So ya’ll know we are all fans of ffffound, the super cool image bookmarking site I am still trying to get an invite too. In my book this image blog JJJJound is even more pertinnent to stuff I am into. It’s crazy…with the absense of words how your mind makes the link between several random images. I swear Iike every third image I am dragging onto my desktop which already has (not kidding…) 400 files on it. I spend this morning organizing..sheesh. But yeah JJJJound is the exact type of blog we would have off to the side as a “blogs we like”. He has an uncanny eye for all things refined and stylish with a nod to all the best hip-hop, architecture, and female references. Just bookmark it right off bat.

Dude did this Logo!!!

What a crazy story. Did you know the original designer of the Major League Baseball logo is pretty much been a mystery? So iconic and everywhere. It started the whole red, white, blue silhouette sports logo trend and can be seen a ton of times during just one baseball game. Well it’s Jerry Dior. It’s a great story and cool to hear about how nonchalant his process was creating it. Furthermore backing up philosophy of designing selfishly with your gut. What’s crazy is how the MLB won’t really acknowledge that he actually did it. It kinda standard in graphic design but when a logo reaches that iconic stature the world needs to know where it came from. Crazy.

Book I’m half finished reading: Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster!

I’m too impatient to wait until I’m completely finished with a book to write a review here…sorry. My friend Rick gave me this book last Christmas, and I just got around to starting it like a month ago. Basic gist: a full, very thorough, report on the inner-workings of the luxury goods market and the brands that comprise it. All the history of them up until about 2006 I think…so pretty current stuff. It’s all the heavy hitters: LV, Gucci, Hermes, Prada, Dior, Lanvin, Chanel, etc, etc. Since I’m not finished with the book I can’t give a complete review - but I can say its been amazingly eye-opening. And more than anything else - I’ve learned to watch Bernard Arnault like you watch Steve Jobs…if not far more so. Man, he makes Gordon Gecko look like a Boy Scout troop leader…no joke. He’s an incredibly shrewd man who has shaped almost everyone’s view and conception of ‘luxury’ in the past 20+ years…either directly or indirectly. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of him, or knew about him before - but this book really gives you a blow-by-blow of his rise to power - and more importantly his influence over literally what the market would define luxury as…super crazy. Anyway, the book. It’s really just amazing to see the often, if not always, humble beginnings of the now massive luxury fashion houses. And as you can imagine - its never as pretty as you’d think under the hood. From my reading so far, only LV and to a much greater extent Hermes are the ‘real’ luxury brands per the original definition of luxury which had a lot less to do with expense and more to do with purpose and the artisans behind the products. Again, to disclaim, I’m a huge fan of LV - but I’m not ignorant to the fact that there is a lot of marketing at work attempting to influence my opinion on a brand…but with that being said, its even still eye-opening to look behind the scenes of these brands, what makes them tick, their margins (!!!!) and how they seem to break traditional business rules. Really interesting stuff. This post was longer than I was shooting for…my bad.

Wandering Off Into Space! A book by Chuck/NoPattern!

Chuck’s new book! I think Chuck filled me in about, hmm, maybe like 2 months ago? No? ...That he was working on a new book, and that it was going to be pretty intense, quite a follow-up from his last book release. And that it is. First of all, I love the name: Wandering Off Into Space. I haven’t actually asked Chuck where he got the name for that…even though he lives like not even two blocks from me now, ha. I should probably go over and ask. We still email each other a zillion times a day. Anyway…I love the name of the book - for me, its the perfect way to describe the creative process - just let your mind wander off into space. And Chuck’s made an art (pun intended) of wandering off into space well - constant creativity…this book is the documentation of that. Quite a bit of his work is represented. Some of my favorites. For a lot of people, its the first chance to see his stuff in (high quality) print - which I can tell you is quite a bit different than just checking it on the web. I’ve been around Chuck and his work for quite a while, since he started pretty much - but it’s always super fun to look at his stuff printed - the posters/pages almost look backlit sometimes. So yeah, it’s certainly worth grabbing a copy - perfect coffee table book to have out. Also, if you’re in the West Michigan area - you should swing thru to the launch party this Friday. Check it out here. Chuck and I will be there…in person drinking Coors Light…well, Chuck will probably be drinking Evian or a Capri Sun or something. But whatever, it’ll be awesome. Congrats Chuck…the book is great man.