Ireland’s creative community came up with an interesting way to let off steam and help a local charity at the same time. They invited their colleagues to design posters featuring some of the crazy comments and requests their clients have made over the years. Organized by Dublin-based agency, Mark & Paddy, the Sharp Suits project drew the enthusiastic participation of art directors, designers, illustrators and other ad agency types. The “Creative Catharsis” posters were exhibited at The Little Green Café, Bar and Gallery in Dublin and sold for 10 euros a piece, with proceeds benefitting the Temple Street Children’s Hospital of Dublin. We suspect that the project equally benefitted the artists who alleviated their stress by gleefully quoting their clients, and an appreciative audience that identified and empathized with the subject matter, taking heart in the fact that they weren’t the only ones who had to endure such “helpful” critiques of their creative effort.
Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach, has founded another company – Public Bikes. To introduce consumers to his new venture, Forbes recruited 27 world-renowned designers and illustrators to create art posters around the concept of “public.” All of these posters are being gathered into a book called “Public Works,” sold as individual posters, and shown in exhibitions slated for San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.
Forbes, an avid biker, urban dweller and environmentalist, explains the impetus for his Public Works project was to bring greater attention to the critical issues of public space, access and livability of cities. “In recent decades, our cities have been evolving from manufacturing and industrial centers into cultural hubs,” Forbes says. “The 20th century movement that encouraged people to leave cities for the suburbs has now been reversed. For the first time in our history the majority of the world’s population lives in cities, and this trend appears irreversible….People choose cities for what they offer: connections with people, ideas, stimulation, opportunity, creativity, and diversity. Our public spaces should facilitate these connections, not stifle them.… We believe that more of our urban streets and sidewalks should be reclaimed for walking and bicycling, and that our public spaces should be developed for better human interaction and conversation.”
In the UK, CBS Outdoor has been trying to convince advertisers to think outdoors in the city by running an in-house branding campaign on buses, trains and the London Underground. Called “Outdoor by Name, Urban by Nature,” the strategic ad series features animals and birds made up of silhouettes of familiar regional landmarks in the UK. The ad running in London, for example, depicts Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, Wembley Stadium and other urban icons. Citing data from ONS and TGI surveys, CBS Outdoor says that “87% of urban respondents have seen Outdoor advertising in the last week.” This is nearly double the number of city dwellers who are exposed to ads via newspapers and radio.
The Tate Britain in London is now showing the official posters of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which kick off their opening ceremony tomorrow evening. As the host city, London commissioned 12 leading contemporary artists to impart their own unique visual perspective to the Summer Olympics – interesting, but in some cases, quite obtuse.
Speaking of up-close-and-personal and really getting into the music, here’s a print ad campaign for the Berliner Philharmoniker. Designed by Scholz & Friends Berlin, with photography by Mierswa Kluska and art direction by Bjorn Ewers, these images were shot from inside the musical instrument using a macro lens. The wind pipes of the pipe organ gleam with wondrous complexity. The violin’s sound holes filtering in exterior light make the space look vast and architectural, like a medieval theater. The flute is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s a whole new way of appreciating music.
With London-based Israeli illustrator Noma Bar, viewers have to look at his work at least twice — once to see the image in the positive space and again to see how the shape of the negative space creates a whole other picture. That’s the way Bar likes it. “Most of my images are not immediately obvious to readers. Most of them require a second reading or take a minute to interpret.” Irresistibly drawn to making viewers do double-takes, Bar extended this approach in another direction on the cover of Wallpaper* magazine, painting in 3-D and incorporating real objects.
Bar was commissioned by Wallpaper* , an international authority on cutting-edge design and style, to create eight newsstand covers for its Global Design issue, one for each of the world’s top design territories –Germany, the U.S., France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Belgium and Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark). Tony Chambers, Wallpaper* editor-in-chief, says, “Bar entered a new dimension just for us. His cover designs are, in fact, room sets, painted in a three-dimensional studio space and integrating actual products from each of the territories.”
Canal+, the French television network and film production company, promoted its familiarity with every aspect of the filmmaking business, in every genre including porn, by creating a detailed flow chart of the process. Developed by Euro RSCG, the Canal+ infographic/advertisement is fun, fascinating, a great primer for novice filmmakers, and a convincing argument for why filmmakers would benefit from Canal +’s knowledge and support.
A UNESCO resolution called for 2011 to be observed as the International Year of Chemistry, with conferences, symposia, lectures, expositions, fairs and art exhibitions that focused on “the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind.” UK-based graphic designer/illustrator Simon C. Page (who created the incredible prints for the International Year of Astronomy 2009) was brought in to develop a poster campaign.
To advertise the fact that Amtrak, America’s nationally owned railway, now offers free wi-fi services on 12 of its East Coast routes, Arnold DC agency in Arlington, Virginia, combined an iconic symbol of each regional route and the wi-fi signal. With creative direction by Mick Sutter and illustrations by Andrew Bannecker, the AmtrakConnect ad campaign kept text to a minimum and let the images speak for themselves.
For its first-ever International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei this October, the organization put out a worldwide call for a poster design. The response was particularly nice. Here are four by Helmut Langer, James Chen, Katsunori Watanabe and Kazumasa Nagai.
What’s intriguing about the IDA Congress, themed “Design at the Edges,” is its cross-disciplinary approach, encompassing industrial design, communication design and interior architecture/design, and its big global-issue program, covering economic development, the Internet, biotechnology, urbanism and international migration. Nothing lightweight about the topics. Not what you expect from a design conference. If the speakers stay true to these subject categories, it may be the first design conference that truly focuses on the role that design can play in addressing the major problems confronting the world today.
These posters won both the Grand Prix for Design in Cannes and the A&AD design awards in 2009. Asked by Nike to create a call-for-entry poster for the Nike Basketball League Competition, Hong Kong’s most prestigious basketball league, McCann Worldgroup turned the poster itself into a spirited competition. McCann selected images of the top 10 players in action to create printing templates and then invited the players to a silkscreen shop in Hong Kong to print their own image randomly on top of one another. The process of overprinting became a battlefield in itself, and the 350 posters made by the team players became one of the hottest Nike collectibles around.
The World Wildlife Fund, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011, has produced some terrific ads over the years. This is a series that we hadn’t seen, although it was produced by BBH Shanghai in 2008. The ads address the misconception in China that the World Wildlife Fund only protects Giant Pandas that are native to the mountain forests of central China. To raise awareness of WWF’s other conservation activities in the country, this black-and-white print and outdoor ad campaign integrated WWF’s panda logo (and China’s national symbol) into images of antelopes, forests and water.
A project by Happiness Brussels designed by Anthony Burrill in London, this limited edition poster was made to benefit the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. The poster’s message is simple and direct, but it takes on an emotional resonance when viewers learn that it was silk-screened using oil collected off of Louisiana beaches after the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years some artists and artisans have let the choice of material imbue their creation with symbolic significance – e.g., guns melted down to make a peace sculpture; pottery made from the volcanic ash of the Mount St. Helens eruption; objects that incorporate pieces of the Berlin Wall, etc. It adds another dimension of meaning to the object and makes you think.
The remote reaches of the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest are rumored to be Bigfoot country — the place where a gigantic creature, called Sasquatch, has been photographed by people with vivid imaginations and blurred-focus cameras. Every Memorial Day weekend since 2002, music lovers have descended on Bigfoot’s stomping grounds, setting up tents and RV’s near the lake to enjoy the three-day music festival. The closest town is George, Washington (yes, you read right) — population 528, give or take one or two people, about a three hours drive from Seattle and five hours from Portland, Oregon. The music is lively and eclectic, the scenery sublime, and the posters made for each performing act are the next best thing to a Bigfoot sighting. Here are just a few.
ESPN took a different approach to promoting its coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be played in South Africa from June 11 to July 11. Through its ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, New York, it commissioned a Capetown artists group, called Am I Collective, to paint 32 murals that spoofed each of the countries participating in this year’s soccer tournament. The paintings integrated cultural themes, caricatures of real players, and visual commentary on each team’s World Cup standing. Soccer fanatics may understand the symbolic meaning of some of the depictions; the rest of us take pleasure in viewing the images.
This take-off on the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware during the Revolution against Britain alludes to the fact that Team USA will face a formidable challenge in the opening group stage matches against England. The team USA boat bears the nation’s motto “E Pluribus Unum,” Latin for “Out of Many, One.”
The heist film “Ocean’s Eleven” inspired this poster showing coach Martin Olsen and the team from Denmark ready to steal the trophy.
The start of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this week seems like a good time to look at some of the posters produced on the subject. These are from Good 50×70 (aka Good Amsterdam), a nonprofit initiative aimed at promoting the value of social communication in the creative community, inspiring the public via graphic design, and giving select charities a database of communication tools they can use in their campaigns. Good 50×70 hosts an annual online contest inviting designers to create posters on seven critical global issues, as described in briefs by seven charities. The best 30 responses in each category as chosen by a distinguished jury are cataloged and exhibited worldwide. Here is a sampling of Climate Change posters produced from the brief provided by the World Wildlife Fund.