As an editorial resident here at AIGA, I have been spending my time nosing about for interesting design-related goings on each week so you don’t have to. Follow along all day every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesign and Twitter @AIGAdesign.
This week I….
…spend a probably unwise amount of time putting together an imagined list of the best designed record sleeves ever, thanks to a feature on the Guardian that asked sleeve designers including Peter Saville, Vaughan Oliver, Jonathan Barnbrook, and Roger Dean to select the best designed album covers ever. While there are some no-brainers, like the iconic blue and white cover for Kraftwerk’s 1974 record Autobahn, there are some choices that felt a little bland for us. Where was Durutti Column’s label-bankrupting sandpaper packaging? Or an obvious choice, but for a reason, Warhol’s “peel slowly and see” banana for the Velvet Underground? It really is a conversation that could roll on forever, or at least until last orders.
…delve further into the cheery world of design and illustration podcasts with the lovely Ben Tallon’s Arrest All Mimics. He’s a charming host with an eye for a good interviewee, and this week he was chatting to ace graphic designer and all round top bloke Gordon Reid (Middle Boop) about creative specialisms and the importance of versatility in your work.
…wonder at the possibilities of the most ephemeral of missives, the gif, in a gallery show. If you’re in New York next month you need wonder no more, as the gif search engine king Giphy is putting on a show called Loop Dreams of 25 “gif artists.” It’ll be interesting to see this ultimately postmodern elevation of procrastination graduating into the “art world,” but for some reason we have the words “brand activation” playing in our minds on a three second loop. It’s sure to be a fun and potentially cat-packed little exhibition.
…get very overexcited about this year’s Turner Prize, because the work’s so joyful, and strange, and brilliant. After a few disappointing and fairly exasperating years, 2016 is a total belter. There’s Anthea Hamilton’s massive arse; Michael Dean’s at once bleak and hilarious forms, piles of pennies, and drug baggies; Josephine Pryde’s little choo choo train, and my personal favourite—and massive girl crush—Helen Marten’s surreal and intriguing sculptural collages that combine dead fish, rag doll legs, heavy industry, screen printing, and a hugely witty approach to image-making.
…find myself lost in the strange painterly abstractions of photographer Edward Burtynsky in his show at east London’s Flowers Gallery. All Ben Nicholson colours, textured tones, and batik-like white lines, the images are breathtaking in their mastery of photography as a medium, and also in what they reveal about the damage that’s been done to the planet.
…learned a lot about how product designers get their pieces into stores, thanks to a talk at 100% Design, one of LDF’s trade show behemoths. According to designers including Laura Slater and Kirsty Whyte, it’s all about being a nice person, being sociable (sounds better than “networking”) and ensuring your emails are directed to a real, named person, rather than Sir/Madam. It’s also about persistence: Samuel Wilkinson’s project designing the Plumen bulb which won Designs of the Year in 2011, “nearly died about 20 times.”