Commentary by Heather Armstrong
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Week Six Match Preview

Split Paths

I once tried to design a flier for a car wash in Adobe Illustrator, it was going to be fancy and say “CAR WASH” but I got all confused when I opened up the application and it wasnt’t Photoshop. That’s exactly why I gave up graphic design, because it required so much much thinking, and instead became a blogger.

That one encounter with Illustrator, however, has given me enough perspective on life, on love, on overcoming insurmountable adversity, like when I figured out how to save my Illustrator file and open it in Photoshop, that I am able to sit here today and comment on this next match in Illustrator between two veteran designers, people whose talent is so enormous that it routinely topples brick walls and bends steel. Looking at their combined design pedigree is like charting out Drew Barrymore's family tree. Did you know she's related to Abraham Lincoln? That's totally true, and makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

Over on this corner of the continent we have Armin Vit, co-founder of UnderConsideration, currently a resident of Brooklyn, but we can learn to forgive him for that. Maybe. And then over there on the opposite corner of the continent is Marian Bantjes in Vancouver, an artist whose work with vectors is unparalleled. Marian doesn't leave the house much, at least that's what I gathered when, during a pre-game arm wrestle, Armin set down his crack pipe and shouted, "You better be scared because your integrity and credibility will be zero after I'm done whooping your hermit ass!" Funny how he's still so articulate when he's high.

And then here, right smack dab in the middle of America -- except over to the left a little bit, a little more, up, up, that's it -- it is I, Heather Armstrong in Salt Lake City, an area of the country devoted to innovative design, like The World's Largest Open Pit. It really is pretty up close. Especially if you're closing your eyes.

Since Marian won the coin flip she'll be making the first move, and I've got a feeling that it will be something that knocks us out of our seats, although she assures us that "it won't be anything a few dozen baby wipes shouldn't be able to clean up." (I use those to clean up the mess after my brain spills out of my ear, so I think that was aimed directly at me). But Armin has a secret weapon: six months of experience as a parent. And those of us who have survived tripping through that minefield know there isn't a richer expanse of inspiration.

Marian Bantjes

Marian Bantjes is a Graphic Artist originally from Saskatchewan who now lives on an island near Vancouver. She has years of experience in typesetting and design with an impressive client list that includes Saks Fifth Avenue, WIRED, Wallpaper*, The Guardian, and Print Magazine, and does a lot of passionate writing on the subject of design for Speak Up. Her vector and illustration work is at times brightly psychedelic, often romantic, always intricate, and will make your jaw drop open. Her first font, Restraint, is now for sale.

Armin Vit

Armin Vit is a graphic designer and writer who was born in Mexico City and has since called Atlanta, Chicago, and now Brooklyn home. Before co-founding UnderConsideration (and everything under that umbrella, including Brand New, Speak Up, Quipsologies and The Design Encyclopedia) with his wife, he worked at marchFirst (previously USWeb/CKS) and Pentagram, and also taught typeface design at Portfolio center in Atlanta and currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts. Vit has written for several design publications, including Emigre, Creative Review, and AIGA's Voice and also routinely submits his voice to Speak Up. Earlier this year he published The Word It Book, a volume of interpreted words and welcomed daughter Maya into his family.

Heather Armstrong

Heather Armstrong is the founder of dooce.com where she writes candidly about motherhood, marriage, and depression. She was once a fledgling graphic designer, years ago when it was still cool to code HTML in tables, but when she wrote about her boss on her website she got fired for it, and if you bring it up one more time she might have to strangle you with a chain.

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