Article Archive

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    This week we chat Rebecca Wright’s fantastic article about the drop-off rate of female design students, Graphic Design Festival Scotland and Darren Cullen’s controversial Pocket Money Loans pop up shop. You can listen using the SoundCloud embed below or you can subscribe via iTunes here. See you next week!

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    Back in March, Professor Phil Cleaver released a small but weighty new book entitled What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School. The book sought to fill people in on the finer points of design education often skimmed over by busy tutors, and the result is a funny, nitty-gritty-hitting publication that is genuinely useful! For our Back to School feature we asked Phil to share a few of his favourite, most memorable excerpts from the book. Enjoy!

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    Johnny Dufort is a photographer from Cornwall who is currently living and working in London. That’s about all we know of him thus far, but we’re dead certain it won’t be the case for long; the young’un was picked up by i-D earlier this summer as one of the new generation of photographers, and as they so aptly phrased it, “learn their names, because you’re going to need them!”

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    No magazine gets snapped up and devoured like Apartamento when it arrives into the It’s Nice That studio – there’s something about its size, understated beauty and incomparable wit that makes it irresistable. It states that it’s an “everyday life interiors magazine,” but it’s so much more than that, providing in-depth interviews with some of the coolest people who walk on this earth, with snooping photographs of their dwellings to boot. Now on its 14th edition, I wanted to ask Omar Sosa, the magazine’s much-loved founder, a little about this issue, those in the past, and where Apartamento is headed.

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    French design duo My Name is Wendy caught our eye earlier this year with the innovative D/I/M/E/N/S/I/O/N typographic poster series. The studio recently launched a new site showcasing some great new projects that suggest the pair’s Bauhaus-esque graphic approach is going from strength to strength. Two projects particularly intrigued us – the first being a poster series which acts as a part of a wider project in which the studio creates the fictional land of Meteor.

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    The internet is a weird and fantastical thing when you really think about it – fuelling so much more than our social lives and procrastination, it’s a constantly growing, unpredictable entity. Celebrating the wonders of the world wide web are animation studio Buck, based in Los Angeles and New York.

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    Embarrassingly, I only recently realised the magic and majesty of The Paris Review. I came across it when a recent issue was illustrated by one of my favourite artists, Chris Ware. Eager to see who was responsible for this decision, I tracked down their art editor and came across Charlotte Strick. Charlotte is a fantastic, intelligent book jacket designer who is utterly seeped in the work that she makes, so much so that she writes about design almost as much as she practices it. I was keen to speak to Charlotte about what she did and what got her there, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of detail she was to go in. – she gives a truly spectacular interview. Here she is…

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    Taiwan-born graphic designer Wang Zhi-Hong claims the place that most stimulates his imagination most is one with “no one but me”. In a somewhat reluctant-sounding chat with French magazine Post IM, he paints a careful picture of himself as a man of solitude and precision. Whether or not this makes for a happy life, it certainly makes for some superb graphic design work. From his impressive portfolio we were most drawn to his book design, which takes this idea of a simple, uncluttered existence and turns it into beautiful pared back, precise creations. We were particularly seduced by the monochrome Yohji Yamamoto book designs, with the glorious curved forms of Japanese kanji characters given space to breathe against this restrained aesthetic.

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    Over the course of our Back to School month we’ve been speaking to friends of ours about what they wish they’d known when they started art school. It seems fitting as we wind up this month of features we return to this practical advice, with insights from three more top creatives – Alma Haser, Cait Oppermann and Swiss Miss, aka Tina Roth Eisenberg. And again we’ve opened up the comment thread at the bottom for you to add your thoughts, of things you wish you had known when you embarked on your creative education…

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    Kate Moross is a one of a kind in the creative industry – there’s not a programme, a technique or a medium that she’s not willing to teach herself, and this readiness to experiment, to try, to fail and to try again has landed her in fairly a unique position. Now aged 28 she has her own studio, a portfolio full of artwork, visuals and music videos, a book and an exhibition to her name. If that’s anything to go by, it seems her DIY attitude pays off.

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    Tim Laing’s work is quintessentially English; moody and faintly depressing, created with shades of grey that aptly summarise the perpetual state of our weather, food and temperaments. Which is why he’s the perfect choice to illustrate John Le Carré’s back catalogue for the prestigious Folio Society. The images he’s created to accompany classic works of spy fiction like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Honourable Schoolboy are beautifully atmospheric, imbued with the tension of Cold War espionage and an imminent sense of danger. He’s also careful never to show any faces, meaning you’re still allowed to let your imagination run riot, inventing your own terrifying visage for the double agent waiting to put a bullet in you. Thrilling stuff!

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    If you’re slightly unhappy in your day-to-day job and secretly feel that perhaps you should be doing something a tad more creative, look away now. This film leads you up whitewashed stairs to a gargantuan, high-ceilinged New York studio, inhabited by two well-known artists, Ana Kras and Devendra Banhart. We’ve featured Ana’s work a few times on the site for her beautiful, simplistic, friendly furniture design and works on paper.

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    Ester Grass Vergara has been on the site before with her wonderful monochrome plants but her portraits of beautiful human beings are just as enticing. Her style is all about the crisp lines and fresh faces with wonderful tones and shadows glancing off sculpted cheekbones and glistening hair.

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    A few weeks ago we told you about Timberland’s interesting Life Swaps campaign which sees creatives swap cities, homes and even friendship groups to explore how adaptable and versatile their way of looking at the world is. The latest instalment sees Barcelona-based furniture designer Marc Morro coming here to London, swapping lives with writer Sam Smith.

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    Last night’s Nicer Tuesdays was themed around art and we welcomed four speakers who looked at the topic from the perspectives of education, research, curation and publication.

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    It was hard to think of creatives that didn’t actually go to art school; we asked around but surprisingly few came forward to say they were never formally trained in their profession. We were surprised when Carl Kleiner told us he hadn’t completed a degree at an arts university, so we asked him to tell us why that was, and how, if at all, it has affected the way he works now. Accompanying this article is a new series by Carl entitled There Will Be Blood – further proof that a three-year stint art school wasn’t necessary for this talented man. Here he is…

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    Haven’t you always wished you were a flippy-flappy ol’ slice of bread, flopping all over a perilous kitchen and collecting grime whilst simultaneously completing complicated missions? I have, which is why this new game I Am Bread is so exciting. It was developed in London by Bossa Studios who create Bafta-winning games such as Monstermind, Surgeon Simulator 2013, and Deep Dungeons of Doom.

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    Pitching for a design museum identity that will act as the platform for some of the most celebrated designers the world over can’t be an easy task. How to merge tradition and modernity? To create something beautiful, that doesn’t detract from the work itself? So when Mallorcan agency Atlas put forward their proposals for the new Barcelona Design Museum’s identity, it’s perhaps little surprise they worried their ideas were “too modern and risky.”

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    If you’re yet to be acquainted with the weird and wonderful world of Toiletpaper then allow us to introduce you. Artist Maurizio Cattelan, photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari and art director Micol Talso got together some years back to create images which distilled their passion for the bizarre, the grotesque, the darkly humorous and the sensual. From this came Toiletpaper Magazine, and before long their work had spread across the fashion and art industries like wildfire, picking up the attention of a number of big-time brands along the way. No surprises there.

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    Ambition is an often underrated component of creative undertakings, but that’s not a charge that can be levelled at Robert Bösch’s genuinely astonishing shoot for Mammut’s 2015 campaign. Working with hundreds of specialist climbers, Robert took this extraordinary series of images to mark the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn ridge by Edward Whymper. These pictures have been doing the rounds for a few weeks now but if you haven’t come across them yet then let yourself be dazzled by their brilliance and the organisational feats that brought them into being.

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    There’s a very simple kind of pleasure to be had from illustrator Liam Stevens’ work. The image-maker and designer occupies himself predominantly with line-work and geometric shapes, creating vast landscapes and atmospheric compositions from very little. Collage elements enter into his practice from time to time, but on the whole his sketches function using a simple cross-hatch which gestures vaguely towards a form, or a series of wiggly lines used to demarcate a sprawling horizon. Finding Liam’s work online allows it to function in much the same way a breath of fresh air does in a loud, smoggy city. Breathe deep and enjoy the view.

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    You’ll probably gather form the title that Printing Friends magazine is all about litho fanatics hanging out and inspiring creative work, but for its seventh issue it’s widened its remit to tackle more universal and accessible themes like illustration, photography, typography and personal stories. It’s also travel-themed, meaning they’ve sent gangs of creatively-minded people off around the world to visit lands as far-flung as Austin, Texas, Johannesburg in South Africa and even Kyrgyzstan. Annoyingly Printing Friends is in Swedish so we don’t have a god-damned clue what happened on these trips, so instead we’d like to focus on Snask, whose design expertise has shaped the look and feel of this new edition.

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    We often find ourselves discussing the role, and lack of women in the world of graphic design. Rather than try and cackhandedly work it out for ourselves we decided to ask someone at the frontline of the issue to help explain it. Rebecca Wright is programme director of graphic communication design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. With Lucienne Roberts, she is also co-founder of GraphicDesign&, a pioneering publishing house exploring the relationship between graphic design and the wider world, and the value that it brings. GraphicDesign& will be launching a survey for graphic designers in early 2015 as part of a new project which uses social science to look at who graphic designers are and how they work.

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    Moving pictures and music are a simple, universal pleasure, which is probably why I’m so drawn to Drew Tyndall’s series of animations, Loops.

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    Where some printed publications shy away from British culture as it exists beyond Union Jack flags and Yorkshire tea in floral china, LAW Magazine, which stands for Lives and Works is already knee-deep in the grit and the grime. Now in its fifth issue, the staple-bound bi-annual describes itself as a platform for “the beautiful everyday… A window into the world of the current undercurrent that nobody is catching and which is therefore of greater importance to document.” It’s a kind of Britishness so ubiquitous that you’d have to be wandering the streets with your head in a bag to miss it – one defined by full-suspension mountain bikes, Sunday League referees, Hackney estate maps and Vauxhall Novas.

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    Cycling magazine Rouleur has always been about much more than spokes and lycra. The publication – which in 2012 released previously unseen photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson – boasts a considered design aesthetic and stunning imagery, and is now celebrating the launch of its 50th issue with a cover designed by Sir Paul Smith. To mark this milestone, Rouleur’s assistant editor Andy McGrath talks us through some of his favourite cover images and the stories behind them.

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    Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and designer Aron Fay have designed a new identity for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, creating this striking, labyrinth-like look that brilliantly communicates the faculty’s “anti-disciplinary” approach.

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    I’m happy to admit that after watching all three minutes and 47 seconds of Stevie Gee’s new music video for Archie Bronson Outfit, my computer desktop is littered with so many screenshots of boobs, beers and motorbikes in psychedelic hues that I can scarcely find anything else. And the thing is I don’t even mind.

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    Head down to Southwark Street just south of the River Thames, and you’ll find Alex Chinneck’s large-scale project, A pound of flesh for 50p. Starting as a life-size two-storey house made out of 8,000 wax bricks, the sculpture will eventually be a mess of rooftop and melted wax come mid-November.

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    This is nuts. When you thought OK GO couldn’t do any better in one take than their last, famed effort then think again. The foursome are back with one of the most staggering efforts in the history of music videos, this time set in some sort of airport where the gang ride around on electronic unicycles popping umbrellas with about 1000 extras to form kaleidoscopic patterns when shot from above. The jaw dropping first few minutes is totally trumped in the last minute where the whole formation quadruples in size leaving you with your jaw resting on the desk in front of you. Unreal.

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    Berlin-based design studio Edenspiekermann has just completed work on an impressive new digital publishing platform called Blloon that offers a subscription service for eBooks in a similar format to Spotify’s music service. The studio was given complete creative freedom to produce the UX and UI of the product as well as the branding itself, giving a beautifully coherent feel to the final result.

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    Although I read the comic before I saw the movie, Terry Zwigoff’s adaptation of Art School Confidential came out the year I was heading off on my own art school journey and so acted as a kind of preliminary guide to what I should expect from the experience. Although I didn’t burn down the houses of any murderous artists, fall desperately in love with the life drawing model (he was a chain-smoking guitarist who wore a too-short silk dressing gown) or have a string of one-night stands with emotionally unstable classmates, there were certainly some lessons learned from Jerome, Audrey and co that proved invaluable in the months preceding my enrolment, even if some of them turned out not to be true. Here they are in no particular order.