Robert L. Peters

30 April 2008

Indigo design network launched…




Melbourne, Australia

Indigo, an international programme that provides a platform for Indigenous design was launched last night (today) in Melbourne by Icograda, the world body for professional communication design, in partnership with Australia’s National Design Centre. Indigo offers opportunities for local and Indigenous designers across the globe—as designers work within a global context seemingly without borders, Indigo provides a platform for evolving creative expressions that shape the formation of national cultural identities.

Indigo is a project that asks: What is Indigenous design? To address this, it has set up a network of designers and a series of projects that explore its meaning and interpretation throughout the world. The notion of local design is frequently contested, hard won and often indeterminate. It includes themes of colonisation, migration, politics, language, history, identity and conditions such as the economy and natural resources.

Indigo seeks to understand what makes design distinctive to its home, the connections to the place where it is made and for whom it is made,” said Kathy Demos, Director of the National Design Centre. “Indigo is a demonstration of the IDA’s (International Design Alliance) commitment to fostering and promoting cultural diversity in today’s globalised society,” said Don Ryun Chang, President of Icograda and IDA Lead Chair.

I was delighted to see that background imagery for the Indigo website incorporates works from ‘Mix06 AUSA: Migrant Indigenous eXchange’ created by my students at the University of Hartford, USA and Monash University in Melbourne, AUS (Russell Kennedy and I introduced this pilot project in 2006 as an exploration of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous culture within the context of national identity). ‘Mix08: Sustainability is old news’ (the latest poster project announced by Indigo) invites design students around the world to create discourse and foster collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants.

29 April 2008

Akiyoshi’s illusions… an eyeful worth seeing.



Kyoto, Japan

If you’re into visual illusion and optical phenomena, you’ll want to see the work of Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. But be warned… his site “contains some works of ‘anomalous motion illusion,’ which might make sensitive observers dizzy or sick (e.g. epileptic seizures, which can happen if the brain can’t handle conflicting information from your two eyes). Should you feel dizzy, you had better leave immediately….” A wealth of useful information appears on or is linked to his site (granted, website design is not his strength)— here.

No, these are not moving images… your mind creates the illusion of motion.

Climbing Guidebook Standards…


Bern, Switzerland

The Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme (UIAA) has developed proposed international standards for “guidebooks which are easy to use even for someone with little knowledge of the local language.” You can access examples of icons for use in your topos here, and a table showing the relationship between the UIAA scale of difficulty for climbs and local scales (which vary around the world), here.

A useful Climbing Dictionary is offered by here.

Climb on…

Flip-Style Clock Screensaver


Right this minute…

For the past week or so, I’ve been using this old-school “Flip-Style ‘Pata Pata’ Clock Screensaver” on my MacBook Pro… nostalgic, and takes me back to those long insomniac nights with omnipresent sans numerals flipping away softly on the headboard clock alarm. Fliqlo, available as a free download for Windows and Mac OS X here.

28 April 2008

It’s a month today…


Boston, Massachusetts

This came in from friend Chaz Maviyane-Davies today…

“It’s a month since the Zimbabwe elections were held on March 29th 2008, and we are still waiting for the Presidential results. Meanwhile, Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has embarked on a violent campaign of terror and intimidation in the rural areas against opposition supporters. There have been at least ten murders so far with hundreds injured and displaced. The madness continues as the world watches a tyrannical regime that has declared war with the people, whose only ‘crime’ is voting for change, and change they can trust.”

Disturbing and frustrating… we live in a world and era (allegedly) so seamless and connected, yet what can we do? At times I feel so helpless…


Somewhere in Africa…

More to the point… (image source unknown).

My favorite mountain…



Bow Valley, Alberta

I’ve had the profound pleasure of climbing many mountains, but I’d have to say that my favorite (OK, one of my favorites to be sure) has to be Castle Mountain, a craggy massif of 540-million-year-old Middle-Cambrian limestone located half-way between Banff and Lake Louise at the eponymous Castle Junction. It’s the mountain that is most often in my thoughts as I drift into sleep late at night…

So, when I chanced across this 75-year-old photo today… I felt the urge to annotate: 1) The location of the “weakness” in the lower rockwall that leads to the ascent gully (low 5.?, but can be freed); 2) The climber’s bivouac hut (3 meters square in size, sleeps 6 in a pinch, cabled to a ledge on the Goat Plateau—set about 3 meters back from a 1000′ drop-off to the scree below); 3) The classic line of the 13-pitch Brewer Buttress leading to the mountain’s true summit (5.6—I first climbed it with Raphael Muñoz and [the late] Clive Ramage about 10 years ago); 4) The descent gully (multiple double-rope rappels down a water-course—look for fixed stations) leading back down to the plateau; 5) The Eisenhower Tower (I’ve been weathered off it three times over the past decade, with my high-point being the intersection of the Dragon’s Back and the headwall)—could this be the summer I finally make it to the top?

Lower photo: Yours truly short-roping German friend Silvie Engel in 2006, descending the top of the access gully (at #2).

27 April 2008

El Lissitzky… and World Graphics Day



Winnipeg, Canada

For over 20 years, I’ve had this dramatic A0-sized poster by El Lissitzky (for the Russian Exhibition in Zürich in 1929, notable at the time for its egalitarian depiction of men and women as equals), hanging in my home—imagine my surprise when I serendipitously stumbled across the original photo-montage prep work this evening, via ffffound! The poster is one of several dozen fine pieces given to me by the curator of the magnificent Poster Collection at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Zürich when I visited there in 1986.

Lazar Markovich Lissitzky (1890–1941), better known as El Lissitzky, was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, teacher, typographer, and architect. His avant garde work greatly influenced the Bauhaus, Constructivist, and De Stijl movements and experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would go on to dominate 20th century graphic design. More about El Lissitzky here.

Oh, and happy World Graphics Day!

24 April 2008

Saluting São Paulo… blue skies above.



São Paulo, Brazil

Well, it’s been just over a year now since city officials in Brazil’s teeming metropolis (of officially 11 million, though the last time I was there local designer friends estimated the city’s population at 22 million, including the ever-expanding favelas), took daring and unprecedented action to ban all billboards, neon signs, and outdoor electronic advertising panels. As Rob Maguire of Art Threat puts it: “Billboards have been stripped of their commercial clothing, the stark nakedness of the abandoned frames reminding passers by of the once stolen public space now reclaimed.” Indeed, a beautiful reclaiming of the commons…

Congratulations, and kudos, to the visionary civic leaders of São Paulo… would that other jurisdictions around the world might find the heart and courage to free more of our planet’s over-targeted publics in the same way, and to help reduce the visual pollution that has become such a ubiquitous scourge in our modern age!

Images: cover of Creative Review, and one of the many inspiring photos by Tony DeMarco here.

23 April 2008

50 PLUS… GDC’s Annual Report



Ottawa, Canada

The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada’s (GDC) 2006-2007 Annual Report arrived in the mail this week. The handsome and informative document (designed by Catharine Bradbury in Regina) celebrates 51 years since the organization’s formation and uses quotations and the posterized likeness of numerous GDC members across the country (yours truly included), to underline the value our national professional association offers to its constituents. I felt honoured to be asked to contribute my viewpoint…

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