Fig, campaign for Spotify Canvas, poster designs

Also in this week’s Design Diary, our roundup of projects, events, and general design-world-news, we bring you a campaign for Spotify involving eight-second looping visuals, some superb designs for a queer rave in Tel Aviv, and a guide to making comics from bastion of democratizing art-making, Lynda Barry. For more along these lines (and so many others) you can follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

Fig, Your Art Has The Power To Move campaign for Spotify Canvas

New York-based agency Fig recently created a campaign for the new Spotify Canvas format, which allows artists to upload eight-second looping visuals that play with every track. According to Fig and its client, “the role of visual art in music has always been a critical part of the relationship fans form with songs,” and the agency’s work aimed to “not only explain the new offering to artists and labels, but to also get them to understand its capacity to touch listeners in new and creative ways.” 

The campaign centered on a launch at Canvas Records in Austin, “the world’s first audio visual listening bar,” according to the agency, which was created with production partner The Mill. The bar displayed hundreds of “the best Canvases created to date” (by the likes of Billie Eilish, Bon Iver, Lil Wayne, John Mayer, and others) in custom-built frames designed to look like classic vinyl record sleeves. The event, which took place during the second weekend of Austin City Limits, invited musicians and industry professionals to browse the Canvases first hand, with each “record” back bearing a Spotify Code which guests could scan using their Spotify app to listen to the song. After finding a Canvas they liked, guests were invited to take the record up to a “one-of-a-kind listening bar,” as Fig puts it, where bartenders created a custom cocktail inspired by the chosen song.

Online Dating, by Emma Ehrling and Animade

London-based animator and director Emma Ehrling is currently working as a junior animator at Animade, a studio that focuses on making character-led work across TV ads, social media campaigns, “weird web-toys,” illustration, and self-initiated projects. Ehrling is behind a cute, rather surreal new short that imagines what life might be like if Tinder swipes were “IRL”—as in, if with each motion left or right, we “swept” people into (or out of) our lives in a very physical way. Simply titled Online Dating, the short uses bold colors and simple line-work alongside jaunty sound by Ana Roman to create a piece that merges slapstick comedy and a certain world-weariness with the digitized, dehumanized nature of romance in the modern world.

Charlie Rout, American Psycho book cover concept

Charlie Rout, American Psycho, a book cover concept

Outside of his day job working as a creative lead for partnerships at Warner Music, Charlie Rout decided to embark on creating an homage to one of his favorite books, Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. He designed a new cover concept that attempts to “channel everything I loved about it,” he says, “a bloody portrayal of 80s yuppie culture, frozen in time.” The image draws on central character Patrick Bateman’s alibi, “I need to return some videotapes.” Rout used real frozen pig blood and molding techniques found traditionally in the catering industry to create what he terms “the ‘never-seen overdue videotape’ as a prop from the story that fans could hold in their hands, extending the story into touch and feel.”

He adds, “The video store labelling on the front references the original 1980s blockbuster rental tapes from the same time period as the book. The intersection of this controversial story in culture—an equally successful book and film—creates a duality that I wanted the cover to acknowledge in its design. The final reference is a flip on the idea of a VHS tape pretending to be a book—instead you have a book disguised as, and failing to be, a VHS tape.”

Liel Bomberg, PAG TLV queer rave designs

Freelance creative director and graphic designer Liel Bomberg has created a gorgeous series of designs for Tel Aviv queer rave PAG TLV, with 3D motion design created with Karin Kimel. According to Bomberg, PAG TLV combines music, different forms of art, and people to sustain a community that stands at the forefront of TLV nightlife.” Bomberg is also the co-owner and creative director of PAG TLV, and says he’s “constantly looking forsynergy between two fields that one might find unrelated: the obscure, messy, colorful, sexual nightlife and the fine, sterile, detailed world of art.” 

The designer says he sees the club space as an antithesis of the “white cube” gallery, and instead terms it a “black cube,” which allows the freedom to “experiment and take risks, constantly interacting with our guests”—something he says is fundamental to his practice. 

“By spending most of my time discovering the representational capacity of untouched textures, marks, materials, and shapes—which often do not have a representational status—I create images that challenge the viewers’ eye,” Bomberg adds. “My work process is led by different elements and typographic richness, hoping to create visuals that unnecessarily read as anything familiar.” 

We can’t get enough of this unusual typeface, rendered in stark black and white; occasionally across gorgeous abstract 3D illustrations. The letterforms manage to feel both retro and futuristic, leaning forward when italicized as though showcasing the dynamism of the night itself, or sitting confidently in all caps for applications like tickets and flyers for the club. Bomberg’s work at his studio 50x70cm spans commissions across the cultural and commercial fields, with a focus on social media, brand identity, and art direction. The designer graduated from the Design & Visual Communication course at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, and has so far clocked up clients including the European Union, Tel Aviv municipality, Converse, the Eurovision Song Contest, and Mindspace.

Making Comics, by Lynda Barry

Published by Drawn & Quarterly, Making Comics by cartoonist, writer, and educator Lynda Barry expands on what the publisher describes as Barry’s fervent belief that everyone can write and everyone can draw.” It also draws from the workshops Barry has been teaching for the past decade in venues such as church basements, prisons, community centers, universities, and her annual summer workshop at the Omega Institute. Since 2007, Drawn & Quarterly has been publishing Barry’s “creative how-to books” that her workshops are based on, and which form the basis of her teaching the practice of art to non-art students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Making Comics is the latest of the batch.

Barry is one of the most important cartoonists working today, influencing pretty much everyone in comics and beyond,” says Drawn & Quarterly, adding that those who cite her influence include Chris Ware and Raina Telgemeier. “It’s rare for the inspirational common denominator in any medium to cross genres, and it’s rare for that inspirational common denominator to also happily sing from the rooftops about the joy and power of not just art, but the act of drawing,” the publisher adds.