Our friends Boat Studio (the brains behind Boat Mag) describe themselves as an optimistic creative studio, turning simple, human ideas into brands, print, packaging and digital. They recently quietly launched a lovely new site showcasing their latest work (by She Was Only).
Pick me up is back at Somerset House next week, for an 11-day feast of graphic art, design and illustration. The festival of contemporary graphic arts features loads of great artists, illustrators and designers, across a broad range of styles, processes and materials. As well as the chance to peruse and purchase original and limited edition prints, there’s a schedule bursting with cool ways to get involved too, such as live printing, talks and workshops.
Studio Aardman will be hosting a Shaun the Sheep model-making workshop, Alan Kitching a letterpress workshop, and Print Club London will be taking up residency in the studio, inviting a jaw dropping list of collaborators to create original pieces and co-create on a handmade wallpaper design. Bob Gill, Genevieve Gauckler, Pure Evil, James Joyce, Margot Bowman, Serge Seidlitz, Fred Butler, Rose Stallard, Maggie Li & Hattie Stewart will be joining them, so keep you eyes peeled to see them live at work or even better, get stuck in.
Pick Me Up runs at Somerset House from 18 – 28 April 2013. It’s Open daily 10.00-18.00 with late nights on Thursdays and entry is £8 (concessions £6) or a festival pass sets you back £15, if you’re planning on seeing lots of talks. For full info see here or for the event listings click here or list of contributors here
I came across Alec’s work in the alcohol aisle last night — his artwork for London’s Partizan Brewing really stood out among all the other wired and wonderful bottles on display. Luckily his name was proudly printed on the label, so it didn’t take me long to track down his work. I’m a huge fan of his colour choices and fun quirky style.
Here’s hoping the beers are as tasty as the branding. Cheers!
Could you sum up in a few words what you do?
We are a graphic design agency that makes beautifully simple work.
Can you tell us a little about the team behind StudioMakgill?
We are currently four permanent staff with a rolling roster of freelancers and interns to help with the workload.
What spurred you on to start your own studio, and how did you make the leap?
This is actually the second agency I have run. I founded Red Design with a friend back in 1996. So the process of setting up StudioMakgill wasn’t scary to me. In between Red Design and StudioMakgill I spent four years working with some great agencies in London and this had really helped shape the kind of agency I wanted to run.
You’re based in Brighton, what influence do you think location has on a studio’s output?
The decision to be in Brighton is because I live down here and I want to have a decent quality of life with my family. StudioMakgill was very nearly based in London, but the thought of being a lifelong commuter was too depressing.
It presents some challenges, but I feel that you really don’t need to be London based to be recognised as a serious agency. I hope that we are proving that to be true.
How do you approach creating ‘beautifully simple work’?
I think firstly it isn’t a completely conscious process. It comes from a desire for and appreciation of simplicity. But there is a process which in itself is actually quite simple. We constantly ask ourselves what is important in a design. What can we get rid of before we compromise the meaning or integrity of that piece.
Do clients ever come to you with something specific in mind?
We don’t take on every project that comes to us. But a client with something in mind can either be a great thing or it can be potentially toxic.
It really depends on so many factors. It requires learning a lot about people and becoming a good judge of character. Experience has really helped here, though taking on the wrong client is a mistake that can still happen. Read more
Ever so often they host a night called 25 for 25. We had a chance to ask James at Two Times Elliott a few questions about the event…
Hi James, can you could tell us a little more about 25 for 25?
It’s a night where people come down with their designs and get to print 25 copies of their artwork for £25, so basically a pound a print. Its about raising awareness of the technique, aswell as being a platform to market our service as a risograph printer.
Its a great social evening too, where people exchange their prints as well as making some valuable new contacts. A fun evening all round.
Gentleman Scholar’s work was brought to our attention recently because of their intense neon typography for Spring Breakers movie. And the rest of their folio, predominately in motion graphics and live action, is equally captivating and pleasing to the eye. Highly detailed, stylised and super slick we were very impressed with just how good this LA based collective are.
LongLunch has teamed up once again with The Design Museum in London to host a talk with the brilliant StudioMakgill. Taking place on Tuesday 16 April 2013 the talk will presented by founder and creative director Hamish Makgill talking about his work.
Like always LongLunch have worked with their speaker to produce a limited run of screenprinted posters (hand screened by long-term collaborator and talented designer Dan Mather and paper provided by GF Smith) which are then given away on the night, first come first serve. So remember to get there early and bring a poster tube. There’ll also be a Q&A at the end of the talk with prizes up for grabs for questions so get thinking now.
Tickets are on sale via The Design Museum website £17 adults / £12 NUS / £8.50 Museum Members. Doors open at 7.30pm / 8.00pm start.
It’s also a great opportunity to announce and congratulate FormFiftyFive’s Emma Laura Jones and Sean Rees who have taken on the reigns of LongLunch and have help made this talk possible. In addition FFF’s Ryan R Thompson is helping to host LongLunch’s programme of Scottish talks with the next one scheduled for April 25 2013 at The Lighthouse, Glasgow with Ken Garland which should be amazing! Unfortunately the Ken Garland talk has now completely sold out.
We wish them all the best of luck and keep your eyes peeled for other talks coming in the coming months.
Drawnimal is a great new app that brings together e-learning on the iPhone or iPad and having fun with pen & paper. By motivating children to draw around the device and encouraging them to think outside of the box, the app helps them leave the digital screen with a simple physical interaction. It shows the children how to draw the main features of animals and the fun animations motivate them to learn the alphabet.
The idea was born while my daughter and I played with an alphabet book. This book showed us how to build an origami-animal out of a paper letter. I wanted to bring a similar analog and funny learning experience to our daily digital devices.
Tidy portfolio update by Notting Hill based boutique agency Two Times Elliot, producing a diverse range of work across multiple disciplines including print design, identity & web.
Gomez by Savvy Studio is a friendly neighborhood bar in San Pedro Garza García, Mexico. It’s concept is a mix of the common pub scene with graphic elements and contemporary art that blends the traditional and the innovative.
The use of different types of wood as well as warm and indirect lighting provides a welcoming atmosphere. The area behind the bar exhibits a grid that makes every article clearly visible. It also has two crystal carafes which, held by a simple mechanism, pours mezcal very easily.
An iconography was developed to communicate the bar’s identity and reinforce a modern and friendly feeling. A wallpaper that covers most of the interior grants the space with a classic sense of a pub but with a slight psychedelic twist. These details can also be found in applications such as the menu, advertising and signage.
The exterior can be set up or taken down in a flash. It consists of a wooden fence with a basic assembly system which evokes a typical American suburb backyard. This way, when it is time to close, it only takes a small staff to—literally—make the place disappear.
Update from Amsterdam based Another Something & Company.
Strong art direction and typography.
Vignelli Transit Maps by Peter B. Lloyd & Mark Ovenden is the first in-depth study of Vignelli’s contribution to transit maps, which examines in detail both the creation of the original 1972 map, and its re-creation in 2008 and 2011. The book also covers Vignelli’s designs for the maps of the Metro in Washington, DC, and the RER in Paris. It includes previously unpublished materials from the Vignelli Archives including a first glimpse at original, early development sketches of the famed map and of its recent successors.
“For a long time New York communication culture has been afflicted by a fragmentation disease, where verbal rather than visual information has had the priority. When I had the assignment of designing the New York subway map, that was the situation: fragmentation. In any case the map was done and it turned out to be beautiful but nevertheless short-lived. In 1979 it was replaced, and this book investigates its history, revealing interesting details about its demise. This book is also an opportunity to celebrate the work done a long time ago by my collaborators at Unimark and that done by my associates more recently.” – Massimo Vignelli, Vignelli Associates
This book is the first instalment of a multi-volume history of the New York City subway map – one of a planned seven! If you’re a Vignelli fan or interested in cartography I recommend you pick up a copy. Peter kindly shared with me the history of the project, how the process of producing the book worked (above is one of Massimo’s scamps for proposed layouts) and the answer to the question many of us would have – what is Massimo really like.
On what he learnt about Vignelli & Unimark –
One thing I learnt was Massimo’s extraordinary humility. He has somehow acquired a reputation of having a great ego, but in fact my observations point in the opposite direction. The transition – if one may put it that way – of the map stewardship from Massimo to Yoshiki and Beatriz (within Vignelli Associates) is being made possible by Massimo’s willingness to let go of a design that he regards as one of his best creations. Of course, he is still involved in the new map, but he has allowed the young blood a serious degree of freedom in re-imagining the Vignelli map. I know that, in private, he is still attached to certain aspects of the formal beauty of his 1972 map, but in public he always acclaims the new map as the best New York City subway map ever.
Massimo does have an enormous passion for good design, and he regards bad design as contemptible. Possibly people have misinterpreted this as ego. Not so. For example, when he failed to win the contract for the Washington Metro map, he effusively praised the map that Wyman and Cannan designed. What matters primarily is that the public should have well-designed artefacts. There is an idealism that Massimo has sustained throughout his half-century of work: he genuinely believes that good design makes the world a better place, and – although he does not use such elevated language – this seems to be like a spiritual aspiration for him. Design is not just a job for Massimo Vignelli. It is a calling.
Vignelli: Transit Maps by Peter B. Lloyd, in collaboration with Mark Ovenden Published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press 128 pp, 9″x12″, richly illustrated in colour
Target asked Animade to design, direct and produce a 40 second animation on the theme of ‘surprise and delight in red and white’. Their character’s jolly jaunt through a red and white wonderland will be shown on a gigantic screen at LA Live.
Photographer Victoria Ling specialise in producing beautifully stylish still life composition bursting with colour and geometric shapes. Collaborating with set builders like Kyle Bean and brilliant prop makers such as Anna Lomax to produce captivating and witty images.