In Loving Memory Of Work by Craig Oldham presents a visual record of Britain’s longest ever industrial dispute: the 1984-85 UK miners’ strike. The book, published by Oldham’s own imprint (Unified Theory of Everything) marks the 30th anniversary of the miners’ return to work. Bringing together political graphics and cultural ephemera alongside first-hand testimonies, it’s a celebration of the creativity of the working class, as well as a re-appraisal of the collective aesthetic of one of most important social & political events in recent history. Moving, witty and at times shocking, In Loving Memory of Work explores the immediate effects of the strike, while vividly demonstrating its continuing cultural (and political) relevance.
Earlier in the week we took a close look at some of the arresting images featured in the book. For this second post we had a proper chat with mastermind Craig Oldham, to get answers to some of our questions…
FFF: Looking back on any historical work can feel a bit removed or diluted, like sifting through collections of punk flyers from the comfort of your sofa in 2015. You talk about the book as a reappraisal, and even a celebration, of the ’84-’85 For UK miners’ strike work thats been wilfully ignored since – how do you think the work in the book has been received this time around by new audiences in a context so removed to that of the mid 80’s when it was produced?
CO: It’s difficult to say, as the book itself is still new. Books need time to settle and find their place; their success isn’t that it gets picked-up off the shelf and bought, it’s that it continues to be picked up by the person who owns it, passed around, shared and such, sometimes years afterwards. But the immediate feedback I’ve had about the book has been overwhelming, and to an extent this definition of success has been happening (I’ve had emails from people all over the country who’ve been bought a copy, or have been passed one, and felt compelled to get in touch). In that respect it’s been a success, and for me personally, I’m proud to have made it—which for me is a success.
Those living in France or the UK will instantly recognise this gorgeous “Chromatic porn food web series” by Michael Roulier and Philippe Lhomme. The duo, also know as Foodfilm, filmed these experiments with food for Carte Noire and I’d bet good money that they we’re a reference for the M&S ‘Adventures in Food’ ads that they have been directing ever since.
Politics and design have sometimes been uncomfortable bedfellows, but there are exceptions – and few more successful than protest graphics borne of political struggle. With all that is currently happening in the UK (where many of the FFF team are based) we decided it was high-time we take a proper look at ‘In Loving Memory Of Work‘, a book lovingly designed and published by Craig Oldham, Creative Director (and Founder, obviously) of ‘Office of Craig‘.
‘In Loving Memory Of Work’ focuses on the visual output from the minors strike of 1984-1985, a subject Craig is hugely passionate about. Today we bring you his unique insight into some of the most arresting and powerful images contained within the book. Later this week we’ll share Pt2, a comprehensive interview about the book and its design.
Due to my strong personal convictions I wish to state that although we have hereafter singled-out a selection of images from this particular struggle for the purposes of examination from a design perspective, these images are ultimately born of their struggle and are an inseparable part of it.
It would be wrong to treat them as commodities; yet another addition to the graphic sweetie shop from bygone days. This struggle, from not only my personal point of view but also the opinion of many more, still continues, and the purpose of this article, and indeed the book, is to induce new levels of interest and action, culturally, socially, and politically.
The aim is to communicate however much as possible of the miners’ struggle in the hope that the power of their work will introduce the topic to those who may not be familiar, or refresh the minds those who are aware but have maybe relapsed, in order to continue the fight and to continue to raise awareness.
Next up on the FFF jukebox are Eight Inc, who are the third in our Studio Playlist series to gift us with a 55-track insight into the sounds of their studio.
You can listen to it via Spotify here! Thanks Jessica!
Fieldwork Facility an independent & multi-disciplinary design studio led by Robin Howie, have just launched their new website showcasing their beautiful and intelligent work. The studio works across designing both communications and experiences, with a particular interest in how emerging technologies can create new relationships between the two fields.
Deaks, aka, Nick Deakin is an independent designer, illustrator & lecturer from ‘the north’ who we last featured four years ago. He has recently produced some brilliant installations for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, so I caught up with him and Cat Powell, manager at Artfelt, The Children’s Hospital Charity (responsible for commissioning the work) to find out more…
Nick, since we last featured you way back in 2011 you’ve been a very busy chap! (accumulating Instagram followers at an alarming rate, working in different cities, taking up teaching, and broadening your work into more design & typography) Update us..?
ND: I’ve been working hard – head down!
Through various projects I’ve been able to broaden my output, working a lot more with type and simple graphics, rather than analogue illustration, something which I’ve really enjoyed. Exploring new language is always fun and I will always be somebody who will try new things.
I have recently started lecturing in Graphic Design at Huddersfield University, this has been great for me, and the contact with students has really engaged and re-energised me with my practice as well as informing theirs.
As for instagram I love it. When I began using it I think it only had 500,000 users world wide, and all I’d do was take close up shots of corners of the train I was commuting on. Now it’s become so huge, and for me this passive document of my life, as well as being able to keep tabs on other folk’s business.
Cat, for those of our readers who don’t know about you or what you do, or what Artfelt is, fill us in…
CP: Artfelt is the arts programme at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, entirely funded by The Children’s Hospital Charity. We transform the hospital’s walls and spaces with bright art, helping children recover in an environment tailored to them. The programme also runs creative workshops for youngsters to provide distraction during anxious moments – such as before an operation, and to break up long stays on the wards.
Artfelt is such a brilliant idea, are there any plans to franchise or expand the model? Does it happen in other hospitals? How can our community get involved or support?
CP: We’d love to expand and offer our expertise to other hospitals, however we’re pretty busy with the one we’ve got at the moment! The hospital is undergoing a major expansion, which means Artfelt is undertaking some pretty large commissions, this is great as it means art has been considered right from the beginning and allows us the opportunity to make a big impact. Read more
FFF: If your kickstarter was in fact ‘a bit like an election’, then you won it by a landslide, smashing your target within 9 hours of launch! Cheers! Yeah I was pretty blown away by how quickly it reached funding to be honest. I’ve never done a kick-starter before so I was a lot more cautious with my prediction and crossed my fingers that it would make it’s funding by the end of the 28 day campaign period. When it did it in 9 hours I was like “what the fuck?”.
FFF: Any words of encouragement to anybody on the verge of backing? Yes, back the fucking thing. Only backers will have their name printed in the book. After the funding period, the book will be made and will be available to buy, but you don’t get your name printed in it!
Also, as the funding continues I’ll be adding ‘stretch goals’ which is another kickstartery (not a word) thing I learnt about. I’m yet to announce any but the idea is that if we reach certain targets, all the backers will receive an extra gift! Plus some maybe slightly more ambitious ones and possibly a charity donation. News to come soon!
There’s also going to be new rewards added every monday so they should look out for those. Plus the great thing about Kickstarter is that you can change your pledge (up AND down) at any time so if you see a new reward popping up that you really like, you can potentially ‘swap’ over to it.
FFF: Why did you choose the medium of rap for your kickstarter video? How did it come about? I love rap and I’ve always wanted to do one so this was the perfect excuse to do a dream project (the rap video) but with a reason behind it, rather than just putting it out there and people going “Oh Bingo thinks he’s a fucking rapper now”.
So it’s just something that had to happen sooner or later. I’ve been rapping in the shower, rapping in the car, in lifts, whenever I’m alone, for too long. I needed to get it out there. Haha!
FFF: ‘If publishing was cars then this book’s a fucking Rolls Royce’, sounds tasty! Can you tell us any more about the book? Yeah, the lyrics say it all really. I’m lucky to be working with Darren Wall who’s a super duper art director and publisher. Darren’s already got a reputation for his own books which he self publishes through his company Read Only Memory. He really knows what the fuck he’s doing and he likes making beautiful printed things so it’s gonna be great. From the very beginning we decided that we wanted to make a high production book with expensive materials and using the best printers, sparing no expense to make a lovely product. That’s why the initial fundraising target was quite high for a publishing project, it’s all going into the production.
FFF: Humour is a constant in much of your work, have you ever considered a career in comedy outside of illustration? (the ‘rewards’ is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time) Not really. What I’m doing already is a kind of comedy I s’pose, but it’s just in a written or drawn way. The idea of doing traditional comedy like ‘stand up’ or filming something and then expecting people to watch it and find it funny is quite daunting. Making funny art seems a lot easier. Maybe one day though, I’m open minded. I like to do funny ‘talks’ actually, which again is a safer way of doing stand up, because people are expecting a talk about your work so if you can make it funny, it s a nice surprise rather than the frightening ‘Go on then, make us laugh you fucking comedian’ mentality that comes from a stand up crowd in a comedy club.
FFF: What’s your favourite cuss? (Or what’s your most favourite cuss delivered to you?) There are too many to chose from dude. I think one of my favourite ones from this book is “YOU ARE SHIT WITH BOATS”.
I get a lot of shit from people in Twitter, some of it’s great. My parents diss me quite a lot as well, they think I’m a right prick. I don’t know why? (To be fair I am sipping a pineapple cocktail as I type this).
FFF: Do you ever run out of hateful things to say? No not really. There’s a lot of stuff to hate. Sit on any tube carriage, look around the pub, look on any street, there are so many cunts among us and they’re all beautiful inspiration making work.
FFF: What’s next on your ‘fuck it list’? I sometimes tell people off for dropping litter in the street. Telling someone off and then them turning round and stabbing me would be next on my ‘fuck it list’.
FFF: Anything you’d like to add? Can I give a shout out to everyone involved in the film! Rex & Luke (Oldie) for making the thing, Jowey Rowden for all his help, Darren Wall for being my partner in crime on this, India, Craig, Claudia & Ernest for helping with the film, Eli Sostre for the beats and Greedy, OUST and DC Scribbla for doing their thing too.
— Photography courtesy of Claudia Rocha
The words ‘Company Manifesto’ will send most of you to sleep, but this animated version by We are Royale should wake you up on a Monday morning.
As described on their website: “[It’s] our mantra for who we are, what we’re doing here, and how we do what we do. It’s a mixture of our company philosphy, our culture, and our irreverent sense of humor. Mix some 80’s pop culture references in there, and a nod towards our guiding figure in life, Mr. Tom Selleck, and you have a rock steady foundation to built a company on.”
Rafael Kfouri is a graphic designer based in Brazil. There’s great variety in his beautifully presented portfolio and he’s clearly enjoyed working with some brilliant clients.
Ben from London-based branding agency MultiAdaptor has been in touch about their latest project rebranding NCVO (formerly the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) – the umbrella body for the UK’s voluntary sector.
“Our research surfaced a key insight, which highlighted that NCVO tended to be perceived as passive rather than active within the sector. Our idea was to transform them into a proactive voice within both the voluntary industry and the public eye.
We activated the ‘V’ to become an ‘amplifier’, creating a more dynamic strapline treatment in the process. An overarching visual style using the the angle of the V helped to then tie communications together with a distinct look, while still being flexible.”
View the full case study here. Sterling work.
A year ago Rik Lomas left Steer as co-founder to start SuperHi, an online coding platform that teaches beginners how to easily create professional websites.
But before this platform launches SuperHi is running a series of six free (yes, free!) coding lessons in central London. To tell us a little bit more about the SuperHi School we had a chat with Rik himself.
FFF: Tell us a bit about SuperHi
Rik Lomas: SuperHi is an online coding platform that teaches how to create websites. We’re not launched yet but we’re still working hard on the underlying code, making sure that everything is ready for when we go live. A lot of thought has gone into how to make it incredibly simple to learn to code and to create beautiful sites.
Why are you giving away free coding lessons?
I’d love to say it was because I’m a really generous guy but the real reason is that I want to test out SuperHi itself plus the material that we’ve made for SuperHi. We were going to beta test with our friends but we thought why not open it up to people who really want to learn instead.
What will people learn to do on the course?
We’ll be teaching HTML and CSS, the building blocks of design on the web. The material is looking great, we’ve got the amazing designers at Koto and Socket Studios working with us so we’ll be teaching how to build really beautiful websites. You don’t need any experience of coding, total beginners welcome!
There’s an on-going conversation in the design industry about the importance of coding. How do you convince the non-believers?
Coding has a bad reputation, especially in the design industry. Too many designers have worked with awful coders who don’t build things as designed. It’s important to remember that HTML and CSS are really design tools and that they’re easier to pick up than most people think. Understanding the medium you’re designing for is essential and the more you know about it, the more control you have.
SuperHi itself is an online code course but you’ve previously said on FFF that there’s inherent problems with learning online. How will SuperHi solve those problems?
Yes I still agree that there’s problems in how most online courses teach. Most tackle it from the wrong direction and come across like an academic textbook.
We’re not just making lessons to learn from but we’re also making incredibly powerful tools to make it easier to create websites. Personally, I can’t wait to show it off!
SuperHi School will start Wednesday evenings, 7–9pm, from the 12th of August to the 16th of September. Spaces will be very limited so make sure you sign up ASAP. Big thanks to Rik Lomas for chatting to us and we can’t wait to try out SuperHi!
Our pals at Counterprint have done it again. Their latest book Alphabet Logo is a compendium of logos designed, you guessed it, from letters of the alphabet. Containing over 500 logos from some of the world, this latest release showcases the work of leading design companies like; Bond Creative, Bruce Mau Design, Hype Type Studio, Pentagram, Stockholm Design Lab, Wolff Olins and even a couple of FFF contributors!
Make sure you add a copy to your bookshelf.
Going ‘in-house’ is sometimes seen as heading to the dark side. No more pitching, no more ‘new clients’, no more ‘exciting, one off briefs’ – just one product, one brand and one style.
Is that actually the case?
After spending a year escaping the agency band myself, it’s something I now regard as an incredibly valuable move. As a designer it can teach you to execute with a different thinking cap on whilst gaining more in depth experience into how business and design must co-operate and work together.
In this new series of interviews I wanted to get away from talking to designers within ad agencies and graphic design studios and focus on designers within technology focused comapanies. People making real things, better. From how they got there, to their companies process, to how they value their work whilst constantly innovating.
Oh, and their favourite coffee.
Sabbath is a Multi-Disciplinary Brand Consultancy based in Monterrey, Mexico. Formed by a partnership between Daniela Guerrero, Jorge Zamonsett and Daniel Martínez, they specialise in clean and functional identity systems.