AKU is a young design agency put together by Alari Orav, Kaarel Kala and Uku-Kristjan Küttis, cranking out quality graphic design from Tallinn in Estonia since 2012.
“There’s something about a beer label: a simple canvas attached to a uniquely appealing product.”
With that thought in mind SB Studio have brought together 100 high-profile designers and illustrators (such as Build, Pentagram, Spin, Manual, Hyperkit, StudioThomson, Jean Jullien, Paul Davis, Hey & Lance Wyman) to decorate the humble beverage, starting with a name for each beginning with SB.
As Nick Asbury explains: “…the game starts: on one level, a purely playful exercise in creative expression; on another level, a distillation of the purpose of design and branding — to give life and personality to the products around us.”
The project in aid of a great cause – the ArtFund, supporting museums and galleries by helping them to buy and display great works of work for everyone to enjoy.
Design studio Six are letting us have a look at some of their recent work, to mark the end of the year and the launch of their new website in 2015.
In this second of our year end reviews we’re looking again at publishing, this time focussing on books. Who better to speak to on the subject than the duo responsible for FFF-favourite Unit Editions – Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook. With Manuals 2 [Unit 18] still flying off the virtual shelves we hear their individual reflections, highlights & predictions…
Tell us what it is you do, and why you do it..
AS/ I’m a graphic designer, writer and senior tutor in Visual Communication at RCA, and as one of the co-founders of Unit Editions, I’m also a publisher –but even after five years of Unit, it still sounds odd to write that. Me a publisher? Well, yes, actually. As for why I do what I do? Paranoia, fear and self-doubt.
TB/ I’m a designer at Spin and a (relatively recent) publisher with Unit Editions, I also collect graphic design and have curated a couple of exhibitions. I didn’t have any real choice about the design aspect, it is a vocation; I’m lucky enough to love what I do. The other three facets have happily fallen out of the first.
Can you both give us a couple of personal highlights from the year?
AS/ I’m not very good at looking back. I can barely remember what I did last week, far less think about what was happening in January. In my view, you only look back when you don’t have much to look forward to. There’s never been a time in my life when I haven’t had an immediate future stacked with deadlines, objectives and targets. When I’m in the old folks home with my hearing aid and pacemaker, I might start to look back. Having said that, I’d say that the success of our two Manuals books has been a highlight. Two weeks in Japan was also pretty good. Curating a show of 50 years of graphic design at the RCA was fun. But other than that it has been relentless work, work, and more work.
TB/ It’s been quite a year. I got to visit New Zealand through an invitation to talk at Semi-Permanent. It was a fabulous experience: I got to hang out with the legend that is Dean Poole from Alt group. Work-wise, seeing Manuals 2 in print has been incredibly satisfying, and launching the Spin website was a real highlight. Meeting up with Lance Wyman and Paula Scher was the cherry on top.
You collaborate on Unit Editions, how did that all come about?
AS/ I’d reached a point where I was fed up working with mainstream publishers and was beginning to think about starting my own imprint. I went to the pub with Tony and he said he was also contemplating starting a publishing venture. He had already done some self-publishing so he was ahead of me. But it made lots of sense that we combine our skills and use the knowledge and experience we’d both accumulated as studio owners over many years to start Unit.
TB/ As Adrian mentioned we had a fortuitous meeting where, after the shortest time, we realised that our ambitions were very similar and that our mutual interest and skill sets meant that we could make something work. There was a giant Unit Editions-shaped whole for books that balanced out (hopefully) beautiful design with rich visual and written content.
If you have time this week make sure you watch ‘Welcome to Union Glacier’. A documentary film about a small team of people who live and work on the glacier during the Antarctic summer.
If only every documentary was filmed by Studio Canoe in a Wes Anderson inspired style.
Just in time to mark the relaunch of the new Brosmind Website, the Mingarro brother sent us a copy of their new book Why How What. The 304 page monograph showcases the brothers work from their younger years all the way through to their latest projects for big brands. The ‘How’ section was the most interesting to me, as it exaiplns in great detail how the brothers work together from idea to artwork.
The A4 book is written and designed with as much fun as is characteristic of the duo. Within the double-sided slipcase you will also find a comic, some stickers and page markers that you can add to your favourite sections.
You can buy a copy direct from the Brosmind Website.
It’s been another bumper year for editorial design and independent publishing – plenty of new titles hit the shelves (and blogs) in 2014 – and many events and initiatives launched or returned – all pointing towards an industry in rude health. We caught up with Steve Watson and Jeremy Leslie, two of the industry figures most passionate about print, to get their reflections, highlights & predictions…
Tell us what it is you do, and why you do it..
SW/ I send out a different independent magazine every month to a couple of thousand subscribers around the world. And I do it because I’m in love with the ideas and energy in the best independent magazines, and I know that there are a lot more people out there who would love these magazines if they could only discover them.
JL/ I design, write and publish. Most of my time is spent designing, working with clients on their magazines, apps and websites at the magCulture studio. Alongside this I promote creative editorial design via the magCulture website, conferences and other events. And we publish a few things – we just launched our first magazine Fiera in collaboration with Katie Tregidden. I do it because I find editorial design fascinating. Design in an editorial context is not surface, it is content.
Can you each give us a couple of personal highlights from the year?
SW/ Jeremy’s Modern Magazine Conference was really great – it’s fantastic that he’s able to bring magazine makers from all over the world to London for one big get together. And at the opposite end of the conference spectrum, I also had a fantastic time at Indiecon in Hamburg. It was the first time they’d held the event and it was a genuinely indie production – a group of young friends doing something because they really care about it.
JL/ Things to remember include working with Douglas Coupland on Kitten Clone; taking Printout to Bristol; eating at Noma; putting together a radio show for Pick Me Up radio; discovering Limewood with Lesley; collaborating with Vitsoe on the 620 Reading Room; helping design a live stage show to mark Maison Moderne’s 20th anniversary. And moving from home into the new studio space.
You guys collaborate on Printout – how did that come about?
SW/ Way back when I first started working for The Church of London I went from having one day a week for Stack, to having two days a week. I was really keen to experiment with magazine events, and I remember speaking to Jeremy at The Church of London offices and realising that we’d both been having similar ideas. We realised that this wasn’t going to be either a Stack or a magCulture thing, so we knocked some ideas for names back and forth and a few weeks later we were running our first ever Printout.
Pica Editions is a superb new project from illustrator Clare Findon and Designer Jack Shaw. They’ve been collaborating together for three years now and decided the time was right to begin publishing our work under a collective name. They produce screen prints and hand bound books that centre around general interests and life experience.
They’ve also published a series of three prints based around sustainable domestic food production/consumption (Seasonal Veg., Growing Chart and Basic Crop Rotation) which display relevant information in a stripped back, aesthetically minimal way. Each print is produced in an edition of 100, in two colours on 100% recycled stock.
The beautiful images are thanks to a collaboration with Manchester based still life photographer Laura Hutchinson and were shot in the highly organic surroundings of the Biospheric Foundation urban farming project.
All around a top-notch project. Perhaps just in the nick of time for Christmas for your green-fingered-foodie-designer friends, but definitely also one to watch for the future.
Counter-Print books have released their latest book ‘Human Logo‘. Making the series a trilogy of logo showcase books alongside ‘Monogram Logo’ and ‘Animal Logo’
The latest volume contains over 300 logos in sections such as bodies, hands, hearts, eyes and faces. As usual some of the world’s leading design companies such as; Wolff Olins, Pushpin Group, Hey, Chermayeff & Geismar, Berger & Föhr and many more have contributed their work.
Just in time for Christmas Counter-Print are offering the opportunity to buy all three of our logo books for a special price of £21 (including delivery to the UK).
Get them bought!
Handsome Frank’s latest little film is about designer, illustrator and art director, Thomas Henry Burden. Few handle 3D illustration and Typography as well as Thomas and manage to make “60’s and 70’s National geographic meets 80’s and 90’s Argos catalogue toy section” look this good.
With winter around the corner and hedgehog numbers in rapid decline in the UK, animator Kris Hoffman has created a stunning, mixed-media film for Wildlife Aid to help support the species. Rather than confronting viewers with disturbing imagery, the charming short showcases the plight of Harry, an impossibly cute urban hedgehog.
Prop designer Joe James crafted the paper hedgehog puppet, while illustrator Sandra Dieckmann drew Harry’s world, injecting magic through intricate detail and beautiful texture. Hoffman’s job was to map Dieckmann’s drawings onto the card-based environments, marrying the flat, 2D designs with James’ 3D puppet to create a cohesive visual language.
“The aim was simply to make it as pretty and charming as we possibly could to get people’s attention,” Hoffman explains. “How could you not want to look at Harry, when he is so dashing?”
“I care about the message of the film and Wildife Aid’s work very much,” she adds. “It’s great to see that the animation has the potential to get others to care too and help the charity.”
The rest of Hoffman’s work is equally impressive – head over to her portfolio site to see more stunning animation and print projects.
1. Watch Signalnoise (James White) opening the Main Titles for the first time in his career for OFFF Barcelona 2015.
2. Get your hands on the OFFF 15th Anniversary limited edition book by Vasava.
3. Take a walk around Barcelona’s gothic quarter.
5. Experience Joshua Davis exclusive chillout project and float in The Deepest of Space.
6. Help Michael Cina rebrand OFFF.
7. Watch the sunset from Guell Park.
8. Make Your Own Robot with Jan De Coster.
9. Discover with Renascent the Evolution of Copying in an awesome workshop.
10. Enjoy a drink and one hell of a view from the Silken Diagonal Hotel rooftop.
11. Create circles out of abstract shapes with Rik Oostenbroek.
12. Eat some tapas in Barcelona. We can recommend L’Ostia.
13. Watch featured artist SNASK “special performance that will blow everyone’s mind OFFF”.
14. Explore the OFFF Market Street where loads of great designers and makers sell their wares.
15. Hire a bike and ride off your OFFF closing-party hangover.
There you go. If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will! Get your tickets now.
A diverse range of work and disciplines from designer and illustrator Tim Smith. All those years of as a child spent drawing comic strip, starring his dog called Oscar paid off. We’re particularly fond of his contributions to the lovely project, Poop Deck and very cute EyePet press kit. Bravo!
Screenprinter and poster designer Dan Mather has opened a shop full of perfect gifts and wrapping papers to fill those designer stockings and socks this Christmas!
FontFont teamed up with award-winning Berlin based film production company Stark Films to launch their new and improved Web FontFonts — now including OpenType layout features that have been stuck in desktop publishing software for years.
1,600+ of their fonts are now supported by all browsers (apart from Safari), setting free the magic of ligatures, stylistic alternates, figure sets, fractions, small caps swashes.
Focusing the film around the renowned typographic phrase ‘The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog’ the Stark Film team created a series of scenes using different FontFont typefaces to recreate the attributes of OpenType. From magnets, ants, a mice maze, to laser cut letters, the film takes you on a typographic journey through the aspects of next-level web typography.
“Putting across the features of OpenType to those outside of the industry, and many within it, can often be complicated and confusing, so we wanted to work with a team who were not connected to the world of typography and who could bring these features to life in an imaginative and ingenious manner.” Head of the FontFont Marketing Team, Ivo Gabrowitsch
Check their swish microsite to see the features in action. Don’t forget, no Safari…