PEOPLEText: Satoru Tanno

This month’s cover graphic was designed by Jimmy Chen from Typographic in Los Angels. Using the structural layers and simple typefaces, he created the sophisticated flash-driven cover design.

“I would like to create an environment in which you forget what medium you are using… where the medium ceases to become as important as the level of exploration and entertainment”…. Recently he completed the remedi project

Could you introduce yourself?

I’m Jimmy Chen. The guy who designs Typographic. I started Typographic back in late 1996 as an experimental section, part of eLogic Communications (Venice Beach, California) where I was Creative Director. It began as a “Text Powered” creation, but it somehow just evolved into a more typographic thing. After eLogic, I designed at Studio Archetype in San Francisco. I graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona as a graphic design major…although I initially started out as an architecture.
I mainly design for the web. A lot of my designs start out as a creative experiment and then get incorporated into what I’m whatever I’m working on.

You have designed a number of web sites for your clients. What do you care about most when you create a web site? What’s your motto when designing one?

Of course I care about the client’s needs, but it’s not enough if I can’t design something graphically interesting. It can mutually inspire the client and designer. Motto: Damn… why aren’t there more hours in the day?

You contributed the cover to SHIFT this month with the exquisite layers, simple typefaces, beautiful design. Could you tell us what you tried to express with it?

A lot of the designs that I’ve done primarily revolve around layers. I always try to explore dimensionalities in 2-d graphic. To accomplish these effects, I use shadows, perspectives, and layers. In the cover I designed for SHIFT, I tried to express the fact that the ever present “screen” has so much influence on us. The energy that it sends out… it provides constant information and entertainment, although the two are now indistinguishable.

Whether it is a computer screen, television screen, or movie screen, it vibrates, it influences, it can be whatever we want it to be. And with this screen, we can express ourselves to the world. It’s like a double-sided mirror. The message is simple, the imagery is complex.

Animated graphics and animated type just make the “screen” a more seemeless and fluid extension of everyday motion and activity. Information and art, for that matter, are no longer static.

How is your web activity going now?

I recently completed the remedi project, an experimental web site that was created by Josh Ulm. That was definitely a very fun project to do. I had a limited amount of time to design something new and experimental that I had never done before. My final piece was comprised of 12 director movies.

They really had no “purpose.” It was just to explore what I can do. It was a first attempt, so the files were incredibly huge. But that’s when I defined what I eventually want to do in the web, animations. I am really proud to be part of that project. And from the remedi project, I met a lot of great designers and exchanged information and ideas.

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