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Supermundane (aka Rob Lowe)

Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays

Design’s many, many layers, and the power of music, at Nicer Tuesdays July

Behind most notable creative work is a never-ending reel of ideas and influences. July’s Nicer Tuesdays speakers showed that it’s the collision and careful refinement of these that makes a design more than the sum of its parts.

Hayley Louisa Brown, founder of hip hop magazine Brick, explained how a multitude of factors — from her time as a fashion photographer to her stint as hip hop editor at Clash magazine —brought her to where she is now. “Punk was my first love. My uncle was a punk, and when I was younger I had him feeding me that while my dad was feeding me Mariah Carey and my mum was feeding me Donna Summer.

“I was obsessed with watching Tupac’s California Love video on MTV Base, and I always loved The Source and Vibe. I love that The Source’s tagline is “The magazine of hip hop music, culture and politics” because hip hop is about so much more than just music. So with Brick I wanted to push that intelligence and academic side, and make it an object you want to keep.”

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Hayley Louisa Brown, Brick magazine

Music and sound design studio Zelig Sound showed some of its hypnotic works for companies like Nike, HBO and MTV, and the intricate process hidden behind their slick finish. One in particular for Nike Flyknit was broken down to show the many, many layers coming together, using 346 different sounds and 9 instruments.

Founders Matthew Wilcock and Aleah Morrison-Basu described their disparate approaches, though both appear to have a natural affinity for music. “When I first see the animatics, I usually hear the perfect version in my head, then I spend the next few weeks trying to get this out of my head into the computer.” Aleah is from a more classical background, but also says she “walks around with music in my head, which makes me sound a bit insane!”

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Zelig Sound’s Matthew Wilcock and Aleah Morrison-Basu

Malou Verlomme, senior designer at Monotype, talked us through the fascinatingly laborious process behind reviving TfL’s Johnston typeface. “The changes are subtle,” he said, showing the intricate alterations made to the original letters to modernise them. “It’s more of a revival, a recreation.

“In early sketches you can see where Johnston was trying to find the right tone and voice for the typeface, where the letters are trying to find their shapes. In 1916, three years after the original commission, the final type was created.” A century later, after years of slight changes, Malou says his team’s recent work has returned the typeface to the geometrical design Johnston originally intended, but it’s certainly not finished. “This is not the final thing. It’s more of an evolving archetype.”

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Malou Verlomme, senior designer at Monotype

Supermundane (aka Rob Lowe) finished off the evening showing work from his recent solo show Everything Connects, in particular his Empty Slogans project. “I finally finished this typeface, called Protest, which ridiculously I started 15 years ago.” Rob makes use of the typeface across a series of posters which brandish slogans that offer glimpse into Rob’s mind — a mixture of politically provocative and hilariously silly. Particular crowd favourites were Stop Talking During Gigs, Bad People Need Branding Too, and Logos Logos Logos Logos Logos Logos.

He also ended the night by singing one of his famous songs a cappella, The Kerning Song (Close But Never Touching)… “It’s a shame, but it’s beautiful they say.” It’s safe to say he brought the house down.

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Supermundane (aka Rob Lowe)

Event partner: Revue

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Supported by Park Communications

Nicer Tuesdays is also supported by Park Communications one of London’s eminent, most friendly and approachable printers.

Nicer Tuesdays is a monthly event curated by It’s Nice That held at Protein Studios in London. Tickets for the event sell out quickly, to buy tickets ahead of general sale please sign up to our newsletter.