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No. 186: Walt Disney’s Mental Breakdown, Herb Lubalin Turns 100, Gender Equity in Design Leadership + More

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Design Diary, a collection of five projects from across the world that have impressed us this week. 

For more creative gems along these lines (and so many others) follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

The Refugee Orchestra Project by Fernando Marar and Marcelo Almeida

São Paulo-based designers Fernando Marar and Marcelo Almeida recently released a sweet identity for The Refugee Orchestra Project, a non-profit that attempts, through music, to demonstrate the vitally important role that refugees from across the globe have played in the American culture and society.  To create the identity, Marar and Almeida made an algorithm that would generate the final graphic elements of the project: entitled NoBorders, the tool they made cataloged the flags of all the countries around the world according to their geometric forms. It found that the flags had 16 different patterns in common, and the designers took those patterns and applied them to posters, programs, folders, and other projects. 

Refugee Orchestra Project logo, which simulates the image of a flag.



We’ve just learned about Punanimation—a directory of women, trans, and non-binary people working with animation and motion graphics—and haven’t been able to stop looking through it since. What started as a Facebook group that aimed to bring together those who’ve historically not been well represented in the animation industry has now grown into a lively online platform for showcasing work and finding employees and collaborators. As the co-founders of Women Who Draw, an illustrators’ directory in the same vein, have stated here before, putting together such a directory not only makes it easy for anyone to find talent, it also makes it harder to make excuses for not considering diversity in hiring. What’s so nice about Punanimation, too, is that while the idea was conceived of by three friends—Bee GrandinettiHedvig Ahlberg, and Linn Fritz—the site was built and designed with help from the community they built through the Facebook group.

Double or Nothing, an AIGA Women’s Lead initiative

Some news from here at AIGA: Double or Nothing, “a movement to create continuous and much-needed progress in achieving gender equity in design leadership” has just launched with a striking microsite. According to the site, “women only hold 11% of leadership positions in the [design] field, and earn less than $0.80 on the dollar, compared with their male counterparts.” Double or Nothing is an initiative to change that—spearheaded by AIGA’s Women Lead Committee and a coalition of the best and brightest from Blue State Digital, Decker Design, IBM, Lippincott, Pentagram, and Quartz. The site will continue to expand and evolve with new resources—career advice and insights, practical toolkits, inspiring stories, and a corporate pledge—but for now it only contains a very short quiz and a prompt to sign up for updates on the movement.


Von Spatz by Anna Haifisch

Our interest in exploring and discussing the ties between creativity and anxiety and depression (and the often unhelpful ways we talk about it) has been well-documented on the site. Which is perhaps why it should come as no surprise that we were intrigued and delighted with a new release from German comic Anna Haifisch, an “absurdist and experimental” story of Walt Disney’s breakdown and subsequent rehabilitation (Barnes & Noble Review). Von Spatz follows Disney to the Von Spatz Rehabilitation Center, where he meets Tomi Ungerer and Saul Steinberg and recovers amongst studio buildings, a gallery, an art supply store, a hot dog booth, and a penguin pool. “Part study of isolation, part tale of a begrudging camaraderie, daily life at the center mixes with reminiscences from the world outside,” says publisher Drawn & Quarterly. “Wryly written, precisely composed, and glowingly colored, Von Spatz is a hilarious, heartwarming… tale.”

Lubalin 100

Lastly, do yourself a massive favor and head over to Lubalin100.com, where our friends at the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at Cooper Union are celebrating the legendary designer’s 100th anniversary. The site launched on Saturday, March 17, officially Lubalin’s birthday, but will run for a total of 100 days, with a new work or piece of writing that pays homage to his accomplishments. You’ll find, for example, a calendar Lubalin cheekily designed for U&lc, the magazine he ran with the International Typeface Corporation, marking Day 1. There’s also an ode to the lush letterforms of designer Tony Di Spigna, who worked under Lubalin in his studio as well as under Tom Carnase. Rumor has it there will be some gems from the counterculture, controversial, Lubalin-designed Eros, Fact, and Avant-Garde magazines. The evolving website, designed with Readymag in the same vein as the Lubalin Center’s excellent Flat File publication, is definitely one you’re going to want to watch unfold. 

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