Reviewed August 2015
Ryan McNally, Cataloging and Electronic Services Librarian
Philadelphia Museum of Art
rmcnally@philamuseum.org

UnderConsideration is a “graphic design enterprise” founded in 2002 by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit that offers graphic design and branding services, publishes books and journals, hosts conferences and competitions, and maintains the extensive UnderConsideration.com website.

Beside commissioned design work offered through their Department of Design branch, the substance of UnderConsideration.com is mostly split among four blogs: Brand New, Art of the Menu, FPO: For Print Only, and Quipsologies. The “About” page also lists Speak Up, which is inactive but includes archived posts and discussions from 2002-2009 regarding design culture, Word It, a series of visual interpretations based around a monthly random word, also archived, and the Design Encyclopedia (which was inaccessible at the time this review was written.)

UnderConsideration’s flagship blog is Brand New, a collection of commentaries, opinion pieces, and discussions related to corporate design and branding. underconsideration 02The site is quite active with several articles posted each week, some with in-depth analysis and others with only minor comments or links to other sites. While the articles are nearly all written by Vit, the blog has a healthy and active readership; for example, a July 1, 2015 post on Facebook’s minor logo change had more than 120 comments in less than twelve hours. Meanwhile, Art of the Menu is focused specifically on the design, typography, and layout of excellent restaurant menus. Most posts on Art of the Menu have little commentary from the writer or readers but feature excellent detailed images of the featured menus. Similarly, FPO: For Print Only is dedicated to printed projects from books to posters and greeting cards. Unlike the other blogs, FPO is comprised of submissions by readers rather than UnderConsideration writers. underconsideration 03Like Art of the Menu, it includes impressive images of the materials as well as a short description and technical information. Posts generally have a few congratulatory comments attached. Finally, Quipsologies is a loose running list of notes and links to a wide variety of products, advertisements, books, images and just about anything design-related—without analysis or commentary.

The individual blogs function well as separate entities, with attractive photography and design as well as lively discussion from an informed readership. This reviewer learned quite a bit about uniforms and branding from a careful undressing of the Los Angeles Clippers new logo. As a whole, however, UnderConsideration suffers from a confusing, incoherent structure that seems to point the reader in all directions at once. It is unclear at first glance that UnderConsideration works more as a sort of personal or resume web site with news about the authors and links to smaller projects that function more independently. From the main page, certain features seem hidden. For example, Brand New includes a design industry job board but it is easily missed and there is no search or signposting on the UnderConsideration home page to lead you there.

Access to the site is free and unrestricted though some links point to paid content such as the UC Journal or various books available for purchase or PDF download. Comments on individual posts can be made through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts.

If the site wanted to cater to researchers or simply make their information more accessible, it would do well to consolidate the information from the various blogs under one banner with a search engine and tagging system. Until then, scholars will have to use targeted Google searches or root through each blog separately. Even so, there is much here that could be of use to students of graphic design if only to glean inspiration from all of the wonderful featured work.