Manuel Birnbacher’s practice is a curious amalgam of smart, contemporary graphic design and strangely compulsive art-like-work (see the throbbing rock on his homepage). A portfolio like this is an open and well-spoken answer to some nasally voiced questions about the parameters of applied design and when it turns into “art” or Art or art.
What Manuel has – no doubt honed during his simultaneous education at the Pratt Institute New York and at the Bauhaus University Weimar – is an ability to apply fundamental/classic graphic design with deft communicability and then in the same breath use them, for example, to manipulate unfortunate deformities into the faces of America’s Civil War heroes.
It is one of the most commendable features to his work that even this strangeness is of a high quality, it makes his body of work so much more memorable and, as a parting gift, the designer will never again let us see a picture of Abraham Lincoln without us conjuring a mental image of the old president’s face falling off. A thank you to Manuel.
- Give thanks, and join us in the weekly feast that is the Best of the Web
- Unusual nudes and strange, glittering fashion photography from Arnaud Lajeunie
- Seoul-based studio Chung Choon applies an elegance and simplicity to its posters
- Designer Chloe Pannatier looks at fakes and risk in art and money
- Michael Wolf captures abstract, accidental sculptures in Hong Kong alleyways
- Discos and design explored in gorgeous new Bedford Press book Nightswimming
- Jonathan Barnbrook talks us through designing David Bowie's new album artwork
- Should illustrators be treated like designers?
- Anthony Burrill tells us about his numerous Etsy WORK HARD rip-offs
- Colourful masses with a Memphis aesthetic in Mariano Pascual’s illustrated alphabet
- Japanese illustrator Nimura Daisuke is back with his charmingly naughty gifs
- Grey London's thoughtful, powerful and innovative new campaign for Tate Britain