Wednesday, April 7, 2010

facsimiles of the internet age

I once worked an awful freelance editing job that happened, almost entirely, via fax. No, this was not in 1985 (because I was born in 1985). In fact, this was in 2008! Twice a week, I would wait by appointment beside a decrepit old machine given to me on loan, and manually feed it pages of white printer paper--one at a time. Yes, it was horrible, and enough for me to wish complete and immediate obsolescence of the fax machine. But then, I spotted these playful takes on the facsimile cover sheet over at Hi+Low the other day, and thought, oh, how nice, someone is trying to make this horribly mundane and outdated form of communication a little more pleasant.
Designed last summer for an exhibit at the Drawing Center in SoHo, the fax sheets appropriate cover images of other well-known objects--a "HELLO" nametag, a marbelized composition notebook, a postcard, and so forth--to add a visual element of pop to the standard bland office memo and letterhead.

I know there's not much to say about this other than "cuuuute," but, c'mon, they are. Sending correspondence these days is so convenient and nearly instantaneous that's its hard not to dismiss anything that brings pause to an already outdated as anything but twee affectation. But design is not just about efficiency--it's about creating a pleasant experience, too. And I think if I had been greeted with my reams of poorly scanned manuscripts with a note like this, I may have grumbled a little less.

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