Graphic Design Archive

  1. List-retor

    Without wishing to sound like a pretentious little shit, when a book arrived entitled Greetings from Retro Design, I have to say I did a pretentious little internal sigh. Perhaps rather unfairly, “retro” has become something of a dirty word, connoting brands or enterprises desperately clawing at a carefully identified young “target market” that appears to have a penchant for buying overpriced second hand clothes in Brick Lane and fetishising ephemera from a youth they probably never lived through.

  2. Corinne_gisel3

    Corinne Gisel is a graphic designer and writer with a self-appointed “special knack for editorial design.” Deserving of this accolade, Corinne is a graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and describes her working process as: “always aim[ing] for flawless typesetting,” with a balanced focus on “content and language… sender and receiver.”

  3. List

    As one of the biggest independent magazines in the world, Kinfolk, has become a strange publishing phenomenon – a print-only title published in multiple languages that’s managed to find huge captive audiences in nations as diverse as Japan, Russia and the USA. It tips itself as “a slow lifestyle magazine… that explores ways for readers to simplify their lives, cultivate community and spend more time with their friends and family.”

  4. Vincent

    From the dainty digits that show off wedding rings to the Marigold-clad hands that demonstrate the power of toilet cleaners to the precious paws that poke at futuristic gadgets, it’s easy to forget that the hands that advertise are attached to bodies and heads we seldom see.

  5. List

    Presenting Matt Chase, the editorial illustrator living and working in Washington DC, who can transform a wishy-washy concept into a solid hunk of imagery with a snap of the fingers. You’ve likely seen his work already without knowing it – maybe in the New York Times, on the cover of one of Douglas Coupland’s novels, or perhaps in the Wall Street Journal if you’re that way inclined.

  6. List

    Hanneke Minten and Saskia Pouwels are Hats & Tales, a design duo from Rotterdam adept in strategy and branding work. They “focus on all the visible translations of the complete design concepts we create. From an event style to motion, from signage to posters, from visual identities to silkscreening and from strategy to impossible collaborations.” Last week they sent us a friendly little video re-introducing themselves and their work, so we felt obliged to take another proper look at their portfolio – it’s been almost three years since we last checked in.

  7. List

    With trends and zeitgeists evolving faster than us mere mortals can keep track of, sometimes a helping hand in watching over what’s going on in the creative world can be necessary. Fortunately branding and communications agency 3 Deep have taken it upon themselves to help us out by creating a broadsheet which redefines “our engagement with luxury while celebrating those at the nexus of creativity, art and commerce.”

  8. List

    “Breath of fresh air” might be an expression used mainly by teachers when describing particularly astute pupils, but it’s so applicable to Dutch designer Bram Kinet’s lo-fi posters that I can’t help but bandy it about. The type is large and retro, the colour combinations are unexpected and there’s a collage-influenced, freeform element to his style that’s reminiscent of the posters junior school kids use to advertise their school discos, in the absolute best way. A man with an owl head and a red felt-tip penis surfing on a large flat fish, for example? How could we resist?

  9. Jurgen_maelfeyt_home

    Jurgen Maelfeyt is a designer and co-founder of Gent publishing platform Art Paper Editions. His design work achieves an uncommonly effective balance of concept and function; making work that is playful, with an incredibly broad frame of reference that is still readable.
    Jurgen’s visual references span the latter half of the 20th Century, chopping between psychedelic hippy crystals, Technicolour landscape photography, acid house and New Wave cinema. These considerations run through to the production values of every project, working with processes and materials that reflect the idea and the purpose.

  10. 2

    There are cool designers, and then there are those of Leslie David’s calibre, who gaze nonchalantly down upon their pretenders with a talented eye and a practice so diverse that it firmly establishes their spot among the higher echelons of creative standards. Paris-based Leslie has a been around for some time now, and her client list is an incredible testament to the quality of her work, featuring some of the greatest players across fashion, music, media and retail. Specialising in brand image for fashion and culture brands, her aesthetic blends illustration, design and typography in an always unexpected and never less-than-excellent blend.

  11. List-2

    January is a time for new beginnings, and our inaugural post about Bureau Sandra Doeller proves that to be very much true. Sandra, who was previously one half of Doeller-Satter, has broken out alone, anointing her new studio with a remarkably striking project for Frankfurt’s Museum Angewandte Kunst. Overlaying bold but simple text-driven posters with playful hand-drawn type, a grinning smiley face and huge drippy lettering, Sandra breaks out of the traps of rigid uniformity with both the exhibition newspaper and the posters which accompany it.

  12. List

    Of all the subcultures that have shaken Britain to its stuffy, reserved core, skinhead culture is perhaps both the most influential and the most misunderstood. Marked by an instantly recognisable aesthetic comprising fashion, music and print media, it has seen so many markedly different variants, from rudeboy culture to neo-Nazism, that it’s little surprise it’s so often misinterpreted.

  13. Main9

    You don’t get as much editorial illustration and art direction like this as you used to. Back in the day, this sort of visual pun-based work was used to illustrate pretty much every article under the sun in order to quickly get a hard-hitting point across and lure readers in to the actual story. Nowadays people like The New York Times Magazine are some of the only guys who still use this method – and when they do they call on Javier Jaén. The Barcelona-born designer spends the majority of his time collaborating with art directors, photographers and illustrators to concoct clever, pleasing visual cues that sit comfortably among the pages of big-dog publications such as The New Yorker and The Washington Post. You don’t get many more “simple idea, well executed” examples than in Javier’s portfolio, not to mention the rather beautiful last line on his online bio – “He has still not written a child, planted a book, or given birth to a tree. Everything is waiting to be done.”

  14. List

    Horror and sci-fi are genres that often conjure up a certain visual aesthetic: one that’s typically dark and complex. Their winding and strange narratives tend not to lend themselves to graphic, Swiss-style simplicity – or at least so we thought, until we saw the work designer Daniel Reed has created, inspired by Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series. Taking cues from mid-century Swiss graphic design and the Bauhaus school, the posters take the numbers from within Stephen’s texts as their starting point.

  15. List-1

    Just before Christmas an excitable Jane Stockdale came bounding into the studio with even more energy than usual to tell us about a graphic designer she’d just met in Barcelona. We hastened to check out his website, flicked through a bunch of projects and quickly realised that Jane’s enthusiasm was totally justified – Arnau is indeed a man of many talents.

  16. List-leif

    We’re huge adherents of Leif Podhajsky and in particular his design and art direction for the music industry. His work on the Kelis album Food was one of the stand-out album artwork projects of 2014 and so it’s great to see him picking up where he left off as we head into the new year.

  17. Newlist

    We featured Johann’s work a couple of years ago when he had just graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie’s graphic design programme. Described by his then screen printing master as working “ghetto style,” with hand-drawn layers, energetic line work and confident colour-ways, Johann seems to have come a long way without losing any of that skilled spontaneity.

  18. List

    In his terrific biography of London, Peter Ackroyd talks about the futility of trying to capture the essence of a complex, chaotic city in a map, however painstakingly-detailed its composition. Cities are more than a collection of streets and stations, and once we accept this then map-making becomes something much more interesting, as we are freed from traditional conventions of how and why maps are put together.

  19. List

    PrillVieceliCremers is made up of Tania Prill, Alberto Vieceli and Sebastian Cremers. Tania and Alberto met in 2001, setting up with a mutual interest in collaborative work and each other’s practice. Sebastian joined in 2010, solidifying one of design’s most impossible spelling challenges and innovative studios.

  20. List

    Brazilian designer Fernando Chaves recently got in touch to show off his rather impressive graphic design portfolio – which is even more impressive seeing as the plucky young Rio-based creative only graduated last year. One of our favourite projects on his well-designed little site is his poster series for the Journalism and the Public Square lectures.

  21. List

    We last featured Ritator’s work back in 2012, and since then the studio’s been busy making some impressive, diverse graphic design. There’s a considered, polished feel to Ritator’s work, and one project that exemplifies that perfectly is the redesign of Paletten Art Journal. According to the agency, the redesign was about “reflecting the new [editorial] team’s desire for more written content, without marginalising the images.”

  22. Main9

    One half of Berlin-based print studio Palefroi, Damien Tran spends his days creating lo-fi gig posters for the various trendy happenings in his hometown. Using the ancient art of wielding shedloads of skill to make something look really easy (see ice skating, playing drums and football), Damien’s posters are a lot more intricate than they seem, and pleasingly stray away from the classic gig poster aesthetic we so often see. His style is so recognisable that I don’t doubt there are a few people in Berlin collecting the posters by him that they see fluttering on billboards in the cold wind, I know I’d nick that Micachu one if I could.

  23. List

    New year, new projects from the irrepressible Pentagram, this time in the form of some striking 3D work for the recently renovated and reopened Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. Pentagram’s Michael Gericke and Eddie Opara have announced their graphic identity for the newly-expanded space, developing a physical word mark that works hard with the limitations of the listed building that houses the collection.

  24. List

    Photographer’s agents Horton-Stephens are in the habit of producing an annual publication to celebrate and promote the work of their fine stable of talent. Last year they interspersed the work of their photographers with interviews with some of the biggest names in advertising, adding insight to the relationship between image-makers and the ad world.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. List-vince-frost-design-your-life-21

    Many a trite fridge magnet, when not busy reminding us how a minute on the lips is a lifetime on the hips, has extolled some wisdom about failure being a good thing, or a reason to try again, or a learning curve or some-such. But that might just be because it’s true. Failure is, indeed, a precursor to learning – something designers are perhaps even more aware of than most. Vince Frost, the former Pentagram designer who founded Frost*Collective, where he holds the post of executive creative director and CEO, is well aware of this, devoting a chapter to failure in the book he launched a few months back, Design Your Life.

  39. List

    When graphic designers discuss working for arts clients, more often than not they tell us about how important it is that an identity or series of exhibition graphics can sit back, being confident enough to let the artwork speak for itself. The real skill lies in doing this while also managing to devise a look that’s instantly recognisable. It’s even better if said look is, in its own way, as beautiful as the artworks it’ll be used to help promote.

  40. Unnamed

    Lyon-based studio Catalogue make the sort of no-nonsense, pared back graphic design that shows that being experimental and forward-thinking needn’t be at the cost of being super slick. Working across projects including identity design, web design and signage, they frequently take on commissions for equally experimental clients – one of which caught our eye in the form of this identity for Saint-Étienne-based musique concrète Festival des Musiques Innovatrices.