Graphic Design Archive

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    Marcello Velho is one of a school of graphic artists subverting the forms of internet art that we’re becoming used to seeing, and doing something completely unanticipated with them. His abstract compositions are experimental and ambiguous, but that’s exactly what makes them exciting. He’s a pretty dab hand at design too, working on magazine covers, art directing features and just generally applying his magic touch wherever it’s needed. It’s only a matter of time until a global fashion brand with a wildly cool following happens upon his work and immediately has him applying his learned eye to look books, textile design and event invitations. Just for the record though, we got here first, yeah?

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    Behold! Dutch illustrator and designer Julian Sirre has a portfolio packed to the gunnels with beautiful futuristic design. His posters and prints take inspiration from 1980s sci-fi, Japanese printmaking and superhero comics, all amalgamated into a wholly unique visual language. He’s worked for Dutch science fiction magazines, London venues and a variety of extraordinary exhibitions including a group show with Jordy Van Den Niewendijk, Viktor Hachmang and Robin van Wijk – all exceptionally cool dudes.

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    Battersea Power Station is one of my favourite buildings in London (you can add that to the list of things-you-don’t-care-about-which-I-tell-you-anyway-in-these-posts if you like). Anyway this summer it’s hosting the Everyman Cinema and east London’s Bread Collective was brought in to create the branding and hand-paint all the on-site signage. Bread has previous experience when it comes to large scale design work that packs a personality-filled punch and it’s great to see them unleash their talents on such a famous landmark. The bright and lively visuals juxtapose neatly with their industrial surroundings and there’s a consistency that ties the site together without feeling sterile.

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    My favourite thing about Paris-based design studio Twice is that they continually combine texture and colour in such a way that I’m practically banging my hands into my computer screen with wanting to hold their publications in my hands. That’s the trouble with tactility – it’s not practical – but that shouldn’t mean designers abandon it altogether in favour of a wipe-clean, stark, sterile aesthetic that makes us lose all hope in print.

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    I was lucky enough to visit Istanbul for its inaugural design biennale back in 2012 and although I was blown away by its creative scene, I didn’t come across too much graphic design. Rummaging through Studio Sarp Sozdinler’s website this week, I had the nagging feeling that I might have missed out.

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    Belgian graphic designer Broos Stoffels has it all; great poster designs, great typefaces, great Dance Organ-powered drawing machine for the creation of custom vinyl sleeves – no really! The young designer is a former student of Sint Lucas in Ghent, a institution with proven design pedigree, and has spent the last few years honing his practical and conceptual skills into a fantastically coherent body of work.

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    If you aren’t familiar with The Casual Optimist blog about publishing and book culture then it’s well worth checking out (I’ll wait). Anyway last week its author shared these amazing posters created by the leading German graphic designer Gunter Rambow for the S. Fischer Verlag publishing house back in the 1970s. What’s interesting is that some of them tiptoe right up to the edge of being gimmicky, but always stay the right side of the line thanks to Gunter’s unerring image-making brilliance. I really can’t get enough of these.

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    When a studio does everything it can to get to the very root of a client’s working philosophy, it often leads to the most interesting and effective identity design. This is definitely true of Toronto-based studio Blok Design’s work for Dallas film production company Lucky 21. Created to mark the company’s new venture – “taking on the highly competitive LA market” – the identity takes into account the brand’s character, which the studio describes as “full of humour and fiercely passionate” to create a set of visuals that fall close to home.

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    Illustrator and longtime mate of ours Michael Willis is straying away from illustration and into something altogether more design-focussed. The elements at the heart of his images are the same; placing retro and contemporary influences side-by-side to create something so contemporary that it feels ahead of its time. He’s been working recently with Mood NYC, providing photographic manipulation and graphic treatment for their look book as well as helping create an overarching aesthetic for the brand, one which evades the recurring trends and repetitive styles that seem to permeate many designers’ portfolios.

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    Three years ago Milan studio Leftloft were commissioned to help iconic Italian football club Inter Milan with a ticket sales push, but the relationship developed into something much more comprehensive. Here art director Francesco Cavalli tells us how they came to lead an extensive rebranding of the whole club, from a new crest and a bespoke serif typeface to an exhaustive style guide for use across print and digital.

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    As of 6.30pm last night Airbnb looks a little classier. Having spent the past seven years growing a vast community of country-hopping collaborators, the world’s largest online accommodation marketplace has decided it’s time for a change. Gone is the awkward, dated logo that still reminds me of a bad ice cream parlour, likewise the cold, clinical blue that serves as the accent colour for all San Franciscan startups; and in its place is something entirely more exciting.

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    Massimo Vignelli was one of the most important graphic designers of his generation and his death in May affected the creative community very strongly and very immediately. The tributes poured in (some of which we included in our piece here) but for some the response to his passing would take a little longer to formulate. So it was with Colorado-based studio Berger & Föhr, who began this set of tribute posters when they first learned of his illness.

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    In our first feature on Shillington College we looked at why its founder was compelled to create a new kind of graphic design education to better prepare graduates for the working world. But how does the college pursue this aim in practical everyday terms, achieving what can take several years into other institutions in a matter of mere months? To find out we asked the people who make it happen– the teachers themselves. So we quizzed US director Holly Karlsson, Melbourne lecturer Carlos Chavez, Manchester lecturer Jeffrey Bowman and senior London lecturer Corrie Anderson. Here’s what they had to say…

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    Dutch illustrator and designer Eline Van Dam (Zeloot to her clients) belongs to the same circle of pals as Viktor Hachmang and Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, which goes some way to explaining why her work is so god damn beautiful. Although she’s about as versatile as image-makers come – her portfolio covers a variety of styles ranging from the niche to the commercial – it’s her posters that really stand out for their 1970s-inspired phychedelic iconography and bold, experimental use of colour; any colour she can get her hands on! Now we just need to work out what we can commission her for.

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    There are a couple of key points that underpin all really solid identities which, if one is removed, causes all the others to come tumbling down like marbles in a disastrous game of Kerplunk! It needs to be thorough, clear and communicative, it needs to be just as effective when pasted onto a giant billboard as it does on a tiny flyer, and it needs to contain elements which are applicable across the board including stationery, signage and printed collateral. I can just imagine Post Projects happily ticking all three of these golden rules off on a billboard upon finishing this identity for the 13th annual New Forms Festival, a festival celebrating arts, science and grassroots organisations across Canada and the rest of the world which took place last year.

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    Furniture company Fioroni had the wise idea to turn to Swiss design consultancy CCRZ when it came to designing their logo, catalogue and website, and they must be mighty glad they did. Their products channel a “contemporary reinterpretation of the Alpine constructional tradition, combined with carefully crafted details and a clever use of solid wood and industrial plywood.”

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    Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Nick Hornby, T.S Elliot, Richard Dawkins, Ian Banks and Martin Amis – what ties them all together (aside from their stratospheric levels of success in the literary world)? Well for one thing they’ve all had the good fortune to have the mighty Jamie Keenan, London-based designer and book fetishist, lend his skills to their covers. Jamie’s designed more beautiful covers for works of fiction and non-fiction than I’m capable of wrapping my head around, including my absolute favourite cover for Lolita – a novel that has sent numerous designers into panic spirals when tasked with its reinvention.

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    Having just won magazine of the year at the SPD awards it’s probably of little surprise that New York is a magazine with serious design pedigree. They turn out bi-weekly editions of fantastic journalism all packaged in a manner that makes the content leap from the page, practically forcing you to engage with it. Karishma Sheth is responsible for a large part of that leaping, working full-time on feature and supplement design to create layouts that remain illuminating and exciting week on week. Prior to New York Karishma worked for Doyle Partners and Pentagram, so she’s already racked up some pretty solid design credits. For our money though, it’s her editorial work that really stands out, particularly this witty digest of the Big Apple’s must-see artworks. Very nice indeed!

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    Deceptive though it might sound, I think the task of taking something boring sounding and making it engaging is one of the most fascinating elements of design – the craftsmanship involved in showing something to its full potential through a limited set of visuals is not to be sniffed at. Interface design is a prime example of where this skill comes to light, and designer and art director Roger Dario does it brilliantly.

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    Thank God that in the barren scrap heap of graphic design littered with apps, bogus coffee shop logos and poorly thought-out iPad swipe features there is someone making work infused with joy, love and humour. Tadashi Ueda’s designs have such a child-like innocence and excitable fascination with exploration – he utilises colours and shapes laid out in unpredictable grids to take the viewer’s hand and lead them on a journey into his eyeballs to witness the way in which he sees the world.

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    Frustration can be a powerful creative force. So it was for Australian graphic designer Andrew Shillington who increasingly struggled to find designers with the rights skills for his Sydney-based studio Shillington Graphics.

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    I sometimes struggle when writing about graphic design as sometimes bad graphic design is masked by fluoro colours and wiggly lines, and it’s difficult for me to differentiate from design with skill and design that just looks like it may be skilful. In the case of Beglu Karahan I have been reassured by the rest of the team that this is candy-coloured design with substance! Hoorah! What I love about Beglu is how he has created fun, cheerful designs for Berlin’s Downtown Festival and other music events – his summery style just seems to be perfect for the job. That work he did for a studio called Sundaze is literally the graphic design equivalent of a Solero, and it’s totally lush.

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    Football is all about moments; a coming-together of time and space and talent and luck which is almost impossible to replicate or convey away from the drama of the stadium. Designer Rick Hincks has taken this challenge and run with it to its logical conclusion, creating these super minimalist posters celebrating the best goals of the current World Cup in Brazil. Abstracted to this degree they become almost absurd; dry diagrams onto which we the viewers project our own experiences of the goals on which they’re based. A glance through Rick’s online shop proves he has pedigree when it comes to working with the beautiful game in this way, and with just a week of the World Cup left we hope the tournament provides a few more poster-worthy moments.

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    Graphic design agencies have different specialities, and Finnish agency Werklig is no different. The Helsinki-based studio are the absolute masters when it comes to taking briefs that appear to leave little room for manoeuvre and creating something eye-catching and engaging. Put another way, they make boring stuff look brilliant. Take this work for the 2014 European Registrars Conference. You know the European Registrars Conference! It’s pretty much the continent’s most “important forum for information, discussion and networking among museum professionals.”

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    Paul Smith has just designed these three bright posters in order to celebrate the arrival of the Tour de France in the UK. We love the mustard yellow colour of the print, and the way that the shape of the outlined cycling route bleeds into the bold, striking lettering.

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    Surely the most nerve-wracking job a designer can undertake is a wholesale brand redesign. The public-facing nature of the work combined with the threat of vitriol from the brand’s loyal fans must be enough to keep you up for nights on end. So imagine the pressure if you’re tasked with creating a new set of brand guidelines for two of publishing’s biggest names and their 250 individual imprints. It hardly bears thinking about.

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    We’re used to seeing publications about food and publications that play with the book/magazine format, but Cookbook combines these two forms into something very special. The second issue of the annual Madrid-based title reached us recently, resplendent in its smart blue cover which Albert Folch – designer, surfer and subject of numero #2 – describes as “a colour that has accompanied me since I was a kid.”

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    Hands up who’s never seen graphic design in Hebrew before? Me! I am amazed at this collection of typographic posters created by third year students on the Visual Communication course at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. Not just because it’s all in Hebrew, which of course makes it look even cooler because I have no idea what it means, but just the diversity in the work that’s been produced.

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    We don’t know all that much about Martin Groch, save that he’s a Slovakian graphic designer living in Prague and has a natural talent for combining type, image and abstract forms. His portfolio is vast, and showcases a whole heap of beautifully-crafted posters, exhibition identities and some slick experiments with deconstructed drawings. There’s also a whole heap of vintage-looking cartoon characters thrown into some of his projects for good measure, adding a sense of youthful excitement to projects that could otherwise feel less than exciting. All in all an impressive portfolio of work. Now we’re just going to have to find out a little more about this talented chap…

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    Swiss Graphic designer Simone Koller is all about experimentation – with typography, layout and concepts – investing heavily in the visual language of each new project she takes on so that no two pieces ever feel similar. Her work encompasses branding and identities, artist books, theoretical publications, posters, packaging and zines, all with a focus on contemporary cultural discourse and sociological theory – plus the occasional poster for a show. But her radical approach to design ensures that even the most heavyweight of subjects feel visually engaging, urging you to pick them up and interact with their content. No small feat when one publication deals with how people move around public space.

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    Since 2001 Sebastian Cremers, Tania Prill and Alberto Vieceli have been working together in Zurich under the name Prill Vieceli Cremers, producing work for reputable cultural institutions, a selection of fine artists and working on personal projects ranging from the cute to the bizarre. With an approach to design that could easily be branded experimental they attack each project with an impressive vigour, tailoring their methodology to the project at hand – meaning their portfolio is loaded with fantastically diverse work.

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    It’s a popular misconception that graphic design is practiced solely by tight-lipped Europeans in freshly-starched shirts who sit around planning white space on fresh pages – it’s an industry renowned for its neatness. But Hong Kong’s finest documenters of design trends Viction:ary have just released a new volume that proves quite the opposite; that there’s room in design for fast, loose, expressive graphics that speak of an energy no Swiss Modernist could possibly convey. Making A Splash brings together over 150 of these projects that utilise tactile media and fluid forms to create striking visuals that express a wilder side to design that we often fail to acknowledge.

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    Ah Paris. Romantic, good-looking, delicious (just the food mind) and stylish. These sentiments are what we think of when dreaming about the City of Love and why not if the glove fits? Perpetuating this ideal is Paris-based Acmé Studio whose body of work is a cool collection of well-designed, well-considered and well, beautiful projects.

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    Getting any form of post is exciting but when it contains the invites for this summer’s student shows we can’t help but feel giddy and weirdly proud. So it’s time for The List to give a run down of some of this year’s most playful and inspiring invites and identities for this year’s graduates. The colours blue, red and orange are big this year, but the overall theme to these identities seems to be about creating something new and fresh, which can only be commended and celebrated.

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    We’ve discussed Peckham Print Studio’s work on the site before. The south London-based screen printing studio keep popping up at events and exhibitions all over the Capital, showing anyone who’ll watch how to pull a super-tight screen print and use the process to make the best of their artwork. As well as workshops and events, they also print commercially for the likes of Kemistry Gallery, Ozwald Boateng, Sunspel and Urban Outfitters. But what makes these guys really interesting (aside from the quality of their work) is their approach to their online presence. Having just re-launched a website that’s leaps ahead of their competitors we caught up with Mike Guppy, the man who built it all, to find out about how and why it was done.

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    Here’s a few facts I read about Montreal today: it’s the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, it’s on the same latitude as Venice, Italy and it’s also a UNESCO City of Design. This last little nugget of information makes perfect sense to me now after perusing the work of Pointbarre, a design collective based in the Candadian city.

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    They say that two’s company but three’s a crowd; not so apparently when launching a much-anticipated album and the creative collateral around it. The Glass Animals album Zaba was released last week, with the visuals overseen by our pals over at Boat Studio (the same gang who do the city-hopping magazine of the same name).

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    As the novelist Tom McCarthy points out in his introduction to this engrossing and beautiful new book, in some ways smartphones have fundamentally changed our relationship with maps. But the outcry over inaccuracies, glitches and inventions in certain map programmes proves one of the longstanding fundamental truths about that relationship; “that maps don’t work, and never have.”

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    It’s been about two years since we featured Swiss design collective Atlas Studio. Back then they’d recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and were setting up shop producing stunning book and poster design for some pretty auspicious cultural organisations. Since then not much has changed, although they’ve had a whole host of new clients and have just been nominated for a Swiss design award (told you they were good!). What remains is their commitment to challenging themselves from the outset of each new project, setting strict limitations on the parameters within which they create their work – whether through time, process or materials. Pictured are a series of posters for a Swiss club night, all created in a single day. They’ve still got it!

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    Given the respective creative credentials of its founders Marie Dessuant and Philip Bone, it’s no great surprise that the studio they jointly run over in Paris produces such top-quality work. Specialising in art direction, design, products and interiors, there’s a quiet yet muscular self-confidence about the duo’s work no matter what they turn their talents to. This work for Fabrica’s Objet Préféré exhibition is a case in point; a sumptuous high-end book with its clean, crisp layouts presented alongside a newspaper given out at the show which is noisier but no less carefully thought through.