Founded in 2012 by a group of Art Directors and close friends, Wedge & Lever is an independent design studio based in San Diego, California. They have some excellent work to their name – some great editorial & art-direction – not least the brilliant redesign of Transworld Surf magazine that is worth taking a closer look at.
Posts by Luke Tonge:
You might have seen, like I did, the sound bites publicising Unit Editions recent tome FHK Henrion: The Complete Designer and wondered if they’d got the right chap –
“The designer FHK Henrion has no equal in British graphic design history. No UK designer – then or now – can match his sheer depth of accomplishments and range of abilities.”
– Quite a claim, but one you learn is totally justified as you slowly soak in the wealth of information provided by Adrian Shaughnessy in the substantial front section of this monograph. Henrion surely is the most underrated graphic designer of the latter part of the 20th century! If you don’t believe me, read the book – it is only through reading it I realise just how little I knew about FHK and his incredible life. Not only are Unit Editions putting out some incredible books, they’re offering an education few other publishers or even educational courses can match. Thanks to titles such as this, unsung masters like Henrion and Schrofer might now rightly feature in ‘all-time-greats’ roll-calls alongside the more familiar names of Rand, Bass, Vignelli, Aicher, Olins, Lubalin, Dorfsman, Crouwel, Brownjohn, Fletcher etc..
Steven Heller describes the book as “a tour de force of design, writing and editing, representing the designer as entrepreneur principle at its best” and in the same interview on Printmag.com Shaughnessy explains that it took about 14 months of solid work to complete – and it shows (Check out that interview). The effort that goes into researching and cataloguing a body of work such as Henrion’s is huge, but it makes for a book you will want to return to again and again. Much of the content feels very contemporary / modern, a reflection of the quality and timelessness of FHK’s output. Just as the UE Herb Lubalin title of last summer was my pick of the year (previewed here) this edges it for me in 2013. The production values are of course predictably extravagant – the 544 page hardback housed in a foiled slipcase, complete with protected corners – feels as good in your hands as it looks on the shelf.
If the FHK title is beyond your budget however there’s still more good news from Unit Editions… The huge Lubalin monograph proved so popular it totally sold out in a matter of months, but it has just been reissued in a new compact format, at less than half the price of the original! If there is a designer in your life who wasn’t fortunate enough to get the oversized version (or a space on your bookshelf), this is not a book to miss out on. All book orders made on the Unit Editions website before Friday 20 December will include a Christmas gift: a free copy of Projekt: The Polish journal for art and design. With at least 6 new titles on the cards for 2014, including one I know you’re all going to go crazy for, it looks like things (thankfully) show no signs of slowing down at UE.
What a year its been for Matt Willey – producing some of the finest editorial design to come out of the UK – including possibly my favourite project of the year. More recently, his redesign of the Independent Newspaper was met with universal acclaim from readers and fellow designers alike – see a more in-depth look at that project over on Creative Review.
Alexander Andreyev and Artyom Kulik are the Kiev pair behind Reynolds and Reyner, and the duo are making a name for themselves in the packaging and branding world.
In 2011 they produced one of my favourite packaging projects for a small Finnish company (Waldo Trommler) which was planning to enter the U.S. market. Most surprisingly perhaps though are ‘Coffee House London‘ and ‘Liverpool English Pub’ – both of which can actually be found in Ukraine!
It’s 3 years since we last featured TwoPoints from Barcelona, and since then they’ve continued to produce great visual identity & editorial projects.
Animals A-Z is a charming new series of prints designed by Build, comprised of – you guessed it – an A to Z of animal illustrations! Featuring mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and even a giant lobster in the studios signature style this print on demand series is now available to purchase over on the [by]Build Shop.
Each design is available in a total of seven different sizes (including standard A sizes) and a range of widely available frame sizes. Digitally printed on high quality digital print on Hahnemuhle Matt Bright White 310gsm stock, these are sure to brighten up any wall. You can view them all here.
To top it all off, they’ve just revealed the complete Animal Alphabet Print, available in Mint, Yellow and Pink. You can get 10% off any print from the Animal A-Z collection until the end of November, just by entering the discount code FFF10 – nice!
‘The Modern Magazine’ is the name of both the recent book by magCulture’s Jeremy Leslie, and the one-day conference that took place at Central Saint Martin’s Platform Theatre, London. There’s a great comprehensive overview of the event here on the magCulture blog. I had the pleasure of attending, and found it absolutely lived up to its aspirations to be “a celebration of the best of current editorial creativity”.
As Leslie puts it: “The magazine industry has continually been written off in recent years, yet magazines continue to be published and read. Despite fewer big launches and smaller budgets, magazine makers have risen to the challenging times and we are witnessing one of the most exciting creative eras in editorial thinking and innovation. A golden age of creativity.”
The line up of contemporary magazine makers was indeed impressive, such as Bloomberg Businessweek’s Richard Turley and Monocle’s Tyler Brule, who are redefining magazines for our age (not to mention; Omar Sosa, (Apartamento), Rosa Park, (Cereal), Simon Esterson, (Eye), Justine Picardie, (Harper’s Bazaar), Liz Ann Bennett (Oh Comely), Debbi Evans (Libertine), Penny Martin (The Gentlewoman), Davey Spens, (Boat), Patrick Waterhouse, (Colors), Cathy Olmedillas, (Anorak), Paul Barnes, (Commercial Type), David Jacobs, (29th Street), Scott King, (Sink Vogue). There was also a series of panel discussions, one about independent publishing and one about ‘women’s magazines’. The indie-publishing panel was chaired by all round good-guy Steve Watson from the brilliant STACK, his comprehensive write-up of the day can be found here.
The book is also a huge success. It carries a byline ‘Visual Journalism in the Digital Era’ and across its 240 pages it presents an overview of current editorial design trends, drawing on publications from the past ten years (since the first MagCulture book was released) to show how printed magazines have responded to the new digital channels.
Leslie explains the structure of the book: The book works on three levels. First, it’s a visual record of the graphic trends and visual quirks that have marked the past ten years. Most of its 750 images were photographed as real objects and have been carefully juxtaposed to provide a page-by-page guide to design trends and themes (handwritten text, illustration, lists, infographics etc). A four-chapter structure sits over this, each opening with an essay (Rethinking the Magazine, Reinventing Genres, Design x Content and Print x Digital). And each of these chapters have case studies based on interviews with key creative figures chosen to emphasise the need for a shared vision between content and design in contemporary magazines.
With enthusiastic folk like Jeremy championing the medium of magazines, communities and events springing up (not to mention other great online resources such as Magpile) it does indeed feel like we’re experiencing a new golden age of magazines. A great addition to the conference-calendar, let’s hope it becomes an annual event…
Treat yourself to a copy for the discounted price of £25. 750 illustrations | 240 pages | 280 x 216 mm
It’s been over 3 years since we last featured friendly design duo Crispin Finn, famous for producing quality design and goods released in limited quantity at affordable prices all in Red, White and Blue. In that time they’ve continued to produce tricolor illustration, design, screen prints, stationery and homewares – they also release a great series of themed playlists. Check out their shop, tumblr, and this recent interview with Coolhunting.
I admit to feeling a little unsure about this book when Adrian mentioned it to me earlier in the year – I was getting used to the stunning ‘deep dives’ into individual designers body of work (Garland, Schrofer, Lubalin) Unit Editions had been producing of late and didn’t see how a ‘style overview’ book would fit into their line-up. Through the work of around 100 graphic designers from around the world, Type Only explores the communicative and emotive power of type when used in isolation. Having been pouring over it for the past few days I’m pleased to have been unnecessarily worried.. the book is much more than just a trend analysis or compilation of trendy-anti-design-glitch-work. Its an education!
The book identifies the use of type ‘in isolation’ as a growing and influential contemporary trend, but it also looks at the historical antecedents of this sort of work. In the introductory essay, Mark Sinclair, deputy editor of Creative Review, provides an overview of how typography has evolved from the early ‘type only’ experiments of the Dadaists and Futurists, to Modernism and Post-Modernism, to today’s radical typographic trends, digitally made and shared instantly on the internet. Further extending the life of the book a tumblr ’online archive’ was set up to display content submitted by the design community, acknowledging that many more examples of this ‘type only’ approach exist than could fit in the printed book.
As great as Sinclair’s essay is, it was the title of the foreword to the book by Spin’s Tony Brook that has really stuck with me: COMMUNICATION IS NOT THE SAME AS LEGIBILITY. Something we all know, but need to be reminded of from time to time. The thing that surprised me most with this book was how little of the work inside I recognised – in our internet age we can sometimes assume we’ve seen it all, or at least have access to it all – but the value of books such as this is bringing to light otherwise unknown details and unseen work with intelligent commentary and curation. As with all Unit Editions this book is a celebration of the printed object (large size, lovely to handle and flick through) and of the beauty and impact of type – both legible and illegible.
Paperback. 216x310mm. 320 pages.
You’re probably all aware of the sites run by Armin Vit & his wife Bryony Gomez-Palacio who have been working together as UnderConsideration for the past 12 years. One of their many divisions is Brand New – an excellent community dedicated to sharing & discussing corporate and brand identity designs / re-designs.
BN spin-offs include the annual Brand New Conference and Brand New Awards. This years conference was held in NYC and Armin has provided a rare insight into the whole production process of branding the event. Featuring 600 hand sewn covers, individually paint-dipped bags and even printed m&m’s, its an example of an event well considered and brilliantly executed.
Men in Chairs – WORDS. is the first of 3 new short films from Percival Menswear to run alongside their new AW13 collection, based on a series of simple word games. Quite a departure from their previous teasers, this has a stronger concept and a more understated execution – nice work.
We’ve been featuring the output of Rick Banks aka Face37 for over 6 years, charting his rise from promising student to award-winning and talented designer. His latest project, almost 2 years in the making, is a beautiful non-profit book concerned with the typography of the beautiful game cleverly titled: Football Type.
The book is a limited edition of 1000 with each bespoke cover hand numbered using official FAPL lettering. 100% of the profits are going to the Football Foundation. Following on from the excellent recent GloryGlory exhibition there’s never been a better time for such a book.
Perfect for the football obsessed designer, order one now while there’s still some left!
Matt Chase is a designer & illustrator (recently turned freelance) living and working in Washington, DC (the way he tells it is much more exciting) but I’ll let his work speak for itself. Keep up to date with him on twitter & tumblr.
It’s over 3 years (!) since we last featured Canadian photographer Andrew B. Myers – his work remains grand, illustrative and amusing. You can see more of his commercial work on his tumblr, for the likes of Time Magazine.
Teagan White is a freelance designer & illustrator originally from Chicago, now living in the woods by the Mississippi river in Minnesota. Her work encompasses intricate drawings of flora and fauna, playful watercolors of anthropomorphic critters, illustrated typography, and everything in between… and feels perfect for this time of year. Check out her portfolio site, then follow her on tumblr and twitter.