The “official” Parlor mascot has changed designs, getting streamlined for that Hello Kitty look that I was obsessively after. For the most part, I’m starting to think the site redesign is over now.
The mascot. I received so much email about my then updated header graphic ; I would have never thought it was that big a deal. The main idea I was trying to depict was that if the Parlor was my place away from it all, I was usually dead when I got there at the end of the day (and since you were dead, you could pump yourself full of poisons like scotch and cigars).
Well, as I was sitting down to redesign my entire site and to incorporate Parlor into the rest of the site more, I was on a big Japanese kick. Japan values design (and comics, for that matter, but that is another story completely). Most everything that comes out of Japan and makes its way here is of high quality, aesthetically and functionally. For the last year, I’ve been noticing this when I sit down to play Mario Kart Double Dash on my Gamecube, or when I tool around town with my friend in his new Toyota Camry. I became more interested in the fusion of Japanese/American culture when I started to notice Hello Kitty party supplies. Hello Kitty was obviously designed and created in Japan, but the party supplies were more than likely designed here in America. They may have been designed with American children in mind, but they fit well together. Even looking at Nintendo’s Mario, how does that work at all? An American stereotype wrapped into a Japanese aesthetic and sold back to us. It wasn’t a hard sell at all; we ate it up. Or Apple computers and iPods being very popular with Japanese teens, no matter how old the technology is. This cross pollination of culture and design was fascinating to me.
The ultimate kicker for me, which became the soundtrack to the redesign, was Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips (Amazon). People had been after me for awhile to finally break down and purchase this album, and listening to its synth pop beats and Japanese inspired influences cum indie rock, well, it blew me away.
So, there you have it, a Nintendo/Apple/Flaming Lips/Hello Kitty -inspired website, taking the best parts and mashing them all up together into my vision. Simple, clean, lots of white space, lots of color, this is everything that I wanted to come through. Thankfully it did. If I was a younger designer, I don’t think I could have done this; I just don’t believe I would have had the maturity or the focus to extract something like this out of my head so cleanly.
The “mascot” was the last major piece (scores of you emailed me about how the new one didn’t fit – I knew it too, just hadn’t had the time yet to get this final one out). There are just little details here and there to sort out for the redesign now. I’m happy with the cute little guy greeting me in the Parlor, even if he is technically dead. But c’mon, I gotta have a little subversive darkness in there somewhere! It’s my trademark!
You can also browse through the Parlor archives.
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