The first Tuesday in November is election day in America, and tomorrow citizens are supposed to go to the polls to exercise their Constitutional right to vote. If turnout in past midterm elections is a guide, less than 40% of the voting age population will claim that privilege. Shame!
For the past few Presidential elections, the AIGA has hosted a Get Out The Vote poster campaign as a public call to action. Since the AIGA doesn’t create posters for midterm elections, we thought we’d revive some posters designed for the 2012 election. (The one above was done by Kit.)
Corona Canada is going all out to celebrate the Day of the Dead (Dias de los Muertos), an annual Mexican holiday (November 1 and 2) commemorating the lives of loved ones who have passed away. It has just issued special limited edition designs for its tall-boy cans, further extending its “Live Mas Fina” (Live the good life) campaign launched in March. Toronto-based design agency, Zulu Alpha Kilo, created the concept and design for the marketing promotion, which features artwork inspired by Day of the Dead sugar skull candy treats. Illustrated by Jenny Luong, the decorative skull artwork integrates a line of text that urges people to live life to the fullest.
The Canadian Day of the Dead campaign encompasses more than special packaging. Zulu is promoting the Day of the Dead design in out-of-home and print ads, magazine inserts and on social media. In addition to giving out tear-away posters at select locations across Canada, Corona is staging a social media contest that offers fans the chance to win a numbered, limited edition silkscreened print of the sugar skull posters. The Day of the Dead Corona cans are available in stores across Canada for one month only.
The visual identity system for Southern California-based Dripp Coffee Shop is intriguing for what is fixed and what is flexible. Designed by Turner Duckworth San Francisco and London, the Dripp branding system centers around a hand-drawn script logotype which angles upward. The rest of the visual content is structured within a grid of color blocks with minimal flat-graphic images. The flourished style of the letters sets the logo apart from the rest of the visual content and, by contrast, draws attention to itself. The silhouetted objects themselves can be changed to suit the product, season or event, as long as they retain the stylized look and simplified color palette of the brand – as shown in the set of posters below created by Turner Duckworth. This graphic system also accommodates changing needs and uses, including this sleeveless hot paper cup design by Istanbul-based designer Salih Kucukaga.
What happens when two branding experts join forces to start a sushi restaurant? Maki-san, that’s what. This one-location, create-your-own sushi place in Singapore looked too well conceived to be a humble local startup. A little online snooping unearthed the fact that Maki-san was started by art director Joseph Koh and copywriter Omar Marks, whose roots trace back to McCann Erickson Singapore. That explained why the brand concept seemed to cover all the essentials — graphic tone of voice, color palette, market positioning, typography, logo, target audience, etc. — indicating that professionals were involved.
Imagine that you are a regular Italian commuter on Line 2 of the Milan Metro subway. The train pulls up to Moscova station and you get off as usual. But wait! This isn’t right! You must have dozed off. This doesn’t look like Moscova station; it doesn’t even look like Italy. Like Captain Kirk in “Star Trek,” you’ve leaped time and space and have been beamed to Shibuya station in Tokyo.
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.”
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.
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.”
City-dwellers know that we are constantly bombarded with graphic messages. It’s the “white noise” of urban living. Most of us tune it out like the omnipresent sound of traffic and pedestrian chatter.
This 2006 award-winning film, made by Netherlands-based Studio Smack for Museum de Beyerd in Breda, has become a classic. Like an x-ray, the film “Kapitaal” zeroes in only on the graphic stimuli encountered by an “unseen commuter” waiting on a platform for the train, riding the subway and walking through the city. Everything but the graphic information is reduced to black silhouettes. Signage, logos, ads, train timetables, graffiti, posters and packaging labels stand out in stark white contrast. There is no voiceover commentary, just the claustrophobic visual assault pressing in from every direction. It begs the question: How much do people really notice in a world of information overload? How can designers and advertisers avoid adding to the visual clutter and give the public something they really want to see?
The fact that the Museum of Communism in Prague is next to a casino and above a McDonald’s burger restaurant is an ironic “thumbing one’s nose” at the oppressors who kept the Czech Republic under nearly a half century of totalitarian rule. The museum, which has as its slogan “Communism: The Dream, the Reality, the Nightmare,” is dedicated to relating what daily life was like living behind the Iron Curtain, right up to the Velvet Revolution that led to the overthrow of the Communist government in 1989. It includes everything from video clips, Soviet memorabilia, and a replica of a Soviet interrogation room.
Our musical notation system follows a convention that dates back centuries. By reading it, musicians can get an aural sense of melody, tempo and all the other instructions on how the score should be played. But what if the notations were shown in graphically different colors and dot sizes? This is a study done by graphic designer Laia Clos of Mot Studio in Barcelona. Clos explains that the self-initiated project started with a woman in her studio who has a knowledge of music. From there, they created a new graphic musical notation system called “SisTeMu,” which translates a musical score into simple geometric forms and basic printing colors, exploring the rhythmic and melodic harmonies found in the musical composition. The system somewhat simplifies the complexity and mathematical structure, making it accessible to the viewer through a visual narrative. For their first translation, they used the musical data for the lead violin part of Antonio Vivaldi’s baroque concerto, “The Four Seasons” (or “Lesquartrestacions”). In addition to producing a booklet documenting how to read the SisTeMu system, Mot Studio created limited edition posters of each concerto (or season) and a set of postage stamps, which you can order from Mot’s website http://tomedicions.bigcartel.com/.
Clos presented graphic extracts of her musical notation system on postage stamps, part of a limited print run of 300. The postage value is equivalent to Spain’s regular national charter.
Today design trends ricochet around the globe instantaneously, thanks to the Internet. But a look at these posters, advertisements and magazine covers produced in Japan in the 1920s and 1930s show the integration of art movements from European cultures, including Constructivism, Surrealism and Cubism. The graphic works — which appeared in “Modernism on Paper: Japanese Graphic Design of the 1920s-30s” by Naomichi Kawabata – represent a period when communication design was emerging in Japan. The posters and ads from this period are sometimes referred to as “city art,” because merchants wanted to appeal to urban consumers by departing from traditional pictorial naturalism and embracing message-driven avant-garde visuals that implied that they were keeping pace with styles from the West. The aesthetics and composition communicated this awareness of the larger world and established many of the principles of early graphic design in Japan.
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 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.
This year’s theme art for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships (USTA), which starts August 31 in New York, was designed by Pasadena-based illustrator Paul Rogers. Invited to submit theme art concepts to the USTA for use on posters, banners, tickets, programs, etc., Rogers pencil-sketched more than a half-dozen ideas, and then developed six into fully rendered color images. Rogers admits that “On a project like this I tend to over-produce concept sketches because I don’t want to lose the project due to a half-hearted execution of an idea.”
In its creative brief to the select artists who were paid to submit theme concepts, the USTA cited three requirements. First, if the illustration depicted a player, the figure had to be generic and not recognizable as either a male or female. Second, New York City had to be a key element since the games are played in the renowned Flushing Meadows, located in the borough of Queens. Third, the US Open’s flaming ball logo had to appear in the art. The key impressions to evoke were entertainment spectacle, toughest tennis and high energy.