The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Design as Performance

Oh, this is good. There’s something in this. Chip Kidd on Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man:

When, in the film, Stark/Downey is creating his Iron Man suit in his lab and figuring things out, it doesn’t seem like he’s acting. The impression is that in another life this is what Downey the real person would have actually wanted to be and do. It’s design as performance.

This from Kidd, the designer who composed his terrific novel, The Cheese Monkeys, in QuarkXPress instead of Word, designing as he wrote. How do the words fall on the page? Where should the typeface change?

Design as performance. That is a chewy nugget of an idea.

February 7, 2009 / Uncategorized


I really think that Iron Man’s best special effects were bound up in these subtle design sequence. This was my comment on the film at the time:

A lot of people ragged on Iron Man’s special effects as being unspectacular relative to other superhero movies, but I was really wowed by the 3-D computer interfaces, which seemed both cool and useful. Tony Stark generates a 3-D model of Iron Man’s arm, then puts his arm inside of it to manipulate the model physically from the inside out. Brilliant!

I thought some of the best character-development came from Stark’s relationship with his robots. It wasn’t as hammy as the rug in Aladdin nor as tangential as 3CPO and R2D2. “If you put me out I will donate you to a Community College!” was a wonderfully realistic threat. It took the usual “working hard” montage and brought out his interior monologue without relying on cheesy music.

Design as performance is what I do.

In a manner of speaking.

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