• Ngdhero

    Acconci Studio: City of Words (2010) Courtesy Maharam Digital Projects (detail)

Graphic Design

Major graphic design show set to open in New York featuring the best work of the millennium

Posted by Rob Alderson,

If you wanted to find out about the state of the pig farming industry you could feasibly get a load of pig farmers together, interview them and write an article about their porcine concerns and aspirations. But in a visual media like graphic design, state-of-the-industry hand-wringing seems oddly out of kilter in print – don’t tell me, show me.

Graphic Design – Now in Production aims to do just that, looking at how things have changed since the turn of the millennium, as widely-available creative software democratises the methods if not the skills, and user generated content blurs traditional boundaries. Meanwhile the rise of the polygot who works across several disciplines has challenged the way designers are seen, and see themselves.

First shown at the Walker Art Center late last year, this week it opens in New York at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum designed by heavyweight studio Project Projects.

According the organisers, the show, “explores the worlds of design-driven magazines, newspapers, books and posters; the expansion of branding programs for corporations, institutions and subcultures; the entrepreneurial spirit of designer-produced goods; the renaissance in digital typeface design; the storytelling potential of film and television titling sequences; and the transformation of raw data into compelling information narratives.”

The curatorial team sees leading museum experts joined by Jeremy Leslie of MagCulture and Ian Albison of Art of the Title bringing an eclectic mix of voices to the selection and organisation of the exhibits. Bill Moggrdidge, director of the museum said: "This ambitious exhibition looks at cutting edge ideas and breaking cultural revolutions in the world of graphic design. Focusing on design in the 21st century, this exhibition provides insight into the phenomena shaping culture today and transforming traditional conceptions of graphic design practice.”

The show runs May 26 until September 3.

  • Mellier_poster

    Fanette Mellier: Specimen (2008)

  • 01_oil_water

    Anthony Burrill: Oil & Water Do Not Mix (2010)

  • Antoine_et_manuel_poster

    Antoine et Manuel: Comedie de Clermont Saison 2011-2012

  • Apeloig_poster

    Phillippe Apeloig: Crossing teh Line FIAF Fall Festival 2010 (Courtesy Studio Apeloig)

  • Clark_cluster_typography

    Christopher Clark: Web Typography for the Lonely: Cluster (2011)

  • Experimental_jetset_poster

    Experimental Jetset: Statement and Counter-Statement (2011)

  • Fozouni_poster

    Farhad Fozouni,: 7 Commandments for Becoming Contemporary (2008)

  • Schuurman_poster

    Michiel Schuurman: BROKEN GLASS EVERYWHERE (2010)

  • Bennewith_book

    David Bennewith: Churchward International Typefaces (2009) Photo by Franz Vos

  • Fnc_blank_b_sm_c

    Aaron Draplin and Coudal Partners: Field Notes (dry transfer letter version) (2011)

  • Maharam_cyan_wallcovering

    cyan: Flieger (2010( (Courtesy Maharam Digital Products)

  • Forsman_ikea_book_1

    Forsman and Bodenfors, Evelina Bratell and Carl Kleiner: Homemade is Best (2010)

  • Forsman_ikea_book_2

    Forsman and Bodenfors, Evelina Bratell and Carl Kleiner: Homemade is Best (2010)

  • Future_1_hi_res

    Sean Freeman and Craig Ward: The Future (2008)

  • Maharam_acconci_wallcovering

    Acconci Studio: City of Words (2010) Courtesy Maharam Digital Projects

  • Akkurat_typography

    Laurenz Brunner: Akkurat 2005 Courtesy Lineto

  • Buchanan_smith_badges

    Peter Buchanan-Smith: C.C.G.F. Badge Set Best Made Products, 2009

  • Sosolimited_info

    Justin Manor, John Rothenberg and Eric Gunther: Set Top Box (2010) (Courtesy Sosolimited)

  • Des2011gd_cat_0729_020

    Richard Spencer-Powell: Monocle, vol. 5, no. 45, July/August 2011

  • Des2011gd_cat_0801_068

    Jop van Bennekom: The Gentlewoman, issue 3, Spring/Summer 2011

  • Karen_magazine

    Karen: Karen issue 3, 2007

  • Pin_up_magazine

    Felix Burrichter and Dylan Fracareta: Pin-Up issue 10, Spring/Summer 2011

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List

    It’s the overriding rule of all things trend-driven that as soon as we take a big leap forward in technology we start to look back nostalgically, triggering all manner of retro imagery, touches and techniques. At least it seems that way, and I’m sure I’m not alone in how often I’m drawn to graphic design which places hand-drawn type and recycled imagery alongside high-tech touches.

  2. List

    At its core, dance is about innovation, beauty and movement – ideas executed brilliantly in this identity for a European contemporary dance festival by Verena Hennig and Ludwig Janoff. The clever designs take a very hand-crafted, even scrawled look, aiming to play on the idea that “the classic ballet thrives on the idea of perfection,” according to Verena.

  3. List

    Parisian studio Playground’s website really does reflect its name – a joyful metaphorical ball-pond of colour and fun. The studio works on graphic design, illustration, branding and motion graphics projects; uniting all their work through a fantastic eye for colour and line to retina-grabbing effect. As something of a huge Of Montreal fan, I was particularly drawn in by their work for the band’s 2012 release Daughter of Cloud, which offers a lush, psychedelic alternative to their usual illustration-led artwork.

  4. List

    Wilfred van der Weide was once part of Dutch design duo wilfredtimo, whose work we’ve been admirers of since we came across these superheroic graphics in 2012. After several years in each other’s pockets they’ve gone their separate ways, but unlike most break-ups, some of the results have been beautiful.

  5. List

    Dutch designer Roosje Klap recently set up an international initiative known as The Design Displacement Group with the intention of approaching modern design in new and unusual ways. Their intention is to “form a group together which creates work as seen from the future. Yes! We time-travel 20 years and look back on today, to understand the discourse of graphic design as it is happening today – with different eyes and speculative future categories.

  6. List

    Belgian designer Corbin Mahieu learned his craft at the prestigious Sint Lucas School of Arts in Ghent, following in the footsteps of a legion of other respected Belgian designers and illustrators. His work is academic in style; specifically focussed on arts projects for the local creative community in Ghent. Although he’s recently completed an internship in London at Zak Group, presumably developing into further spheres of design in the process. Pictured is a beautifully realised catalogue for his alma mater, exploring the facilities and faculty in detail.We’d say he’s definitely one to watch, and hopefully he’s sticking around in London a little longer.

  7. Furnlist

    Berlin-based consultancy D describes itself as a “two-headed quadruped that focuses on graphic design and illustration” that “was born, speaks, thinks, and of course eats Italian.” It’s this heritage and appetite that explains the beautiful identity work the studio has created for Italian furniture design factory Edizione Limitata. We don’t often get excited about catalogues, but this one really is lovely, showing well-shot images of the furniture alongside more playful, painterly illustrations with brushstrokes and doodle-like patterns acting as a lovely contract to the slick imagery of the pieces on sale. It’s great to see the usually rather serious world of furniture given a less stony-faced identity, though the careful use of colour and typography as shown on business cards, stationery and technical sheets still shows Edizione Limitata as very much the high-end Italian operation.

  8. List

    There’s nothing heavy-handed about Seoul-based design studio fnt’s work. It’s like the graphic design equivalent of that little dish of mint-flavoured ice cream you get handed between courses at fancy restaurants to refresh your palette; something about their refined use of thin lines in muted colours on a white background feels newly delicate, when you’ve spent several hours being accosted by great slabs of colour and text that feel like a knock to the head. Maybe it has something to do with the Korean script, introducing a whole new realm of possibilities to the ways they treat typography, or the studio’s willingness to dabble in patterns and geometric shapes in a simple and understated way to jazz up otherwise clean layouts.

  9. List

    Furniture, typefaces, identities and posters, websites, limited edition fashion lines, music packaging and abstract works all exist within the broad practice of Berlin-based designer Till Wiedeck. Under the moniker of HelloMe, he’s been a constant creative force on the contemporary graphic design scene for the past six years, accumulating big-name clients like The New York Times, COS and Warp Records among others. This recent work for German/French art fund Perspektive, is characteristic of Till’s holistic approach to his process, with print collateral, web and all other elements of the identity created by the studio, all united by a bespoke typeface.

  10. List

    It’s all well and good writing about slick, big-client, big-agency graphic design. But once in a while it’s bloody lovely to cast our eyes over a graphic design project that takes itself not-so-seriously. One photographed using Polaroid, and sent to us as if broadcast directly from amidst a 90s Kevin Smith film. The projection questions is the visual identity for Baohaus – a restaurant that takes its name as a smart little play on, er, bauhaus and Bao – the form of Taiwanese food the restaurant specialises in.

  11. List

    Some people may be already winding down for Christmas but not so Rob Gonzalez and Jonathan Quainton, aka Sawdust. They’ve just updated their site with so much new work that we were genuinely spoiled for choice when it came to selecting what to focus on. Great typographic illustrations for_Men’s Health_,_ Wired and The New Republic didn’t make the cut on this occasion; instead we decided to showcase two very different, but equally excellent, print projects.

  12. Listhkagw-1

    It can’t be easy working on a brief set by a client that’s both an art event organised by a non-profit and a big banking firm. How best to balance a slick, serious look with one that shows creative awareness? For The Partners’ branding for the new Bank of China-sponsored Hong Kong Art Gallery Week event, the consultancy cleverly chose to look to a sense of place to inspire its look, which is informed by the area’s hilly topography. The event bring together more than 50 local galleries and museums, who spend ten days opening their spaces up for all, aiming to promote the work of local artists and contemporary Chinese Hong Kong art to the world.

  13. List

    There’s something deliciously tactile about Anne Jordan’s book cover designs. Much of her work unites a very materials-driven approach with clever typography, resulting in work that makes a two-dimensional image feel extraordinarily physical. The designer is based in Rochester, New York, and is also one-half of the duo behind the Walking blog, a rather sweet project in which she and her husband take half an hour a day to make something creative and post it online. However, we wanted to focus on her designs for books; and especially hone in on the way she takes an often oblique title and creates a design that plays off it, frequenly in smart, unexcited ways. Her look for The Woman Who Read Too Much, for instance, plays with cliched images of femininity like hair and curves to render the title less legible; and the look for Kevin McLauhlin’s Poetic Force uses feint lettering and thin-to-breaking-point paper as a backdrop. The choices seem obvious as we write them down but her work is anything but, creating covers that delight and make you think in equal measure.