As an editorial resident here at AIGA, I spend heaps of time on the internet scouring social media and websites for the choicest design news. You’re too busy with your life to do this each week, so I’ve brought all my findings here—consider it my weekly gift to you (you’re welcome). Follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesign, Facebook and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.
I’m starting this week’s Design Diary with a fresh set of eyes on a very old subject; why nobody ever wants to pay designers. Last month we featured an article that explored Paula Scher’s take on the subject, but this week Design Observer’s Jessica Helfand is weighing in on the debate, so incensed was she by Doubleday’s recent competition for up-and-coming designers to lend their skills to Dan Brown’s latest magnum opus for… wait for it… it’s coming… NO MONEY.
You can surmise from my tone what I think of this kind of spec work, but don’t let my bias sway your appreciation of Helfand’s erudite analysis. “Forbes estimates Dan Brown’s net worth to hover somewhere around the $140 million mark, but the ‘prizes’ for the chosen winner appear to offer no compensation—unless you read, as I do, that the halo effect of this achievement is to be found in the presumed parasitic attachment to Brown’s epic social media following, which is also in the millions, but includes no dollar amount.”
“Designers may not be scholars in existentialism or evolutionary biology,” she concludes,“but we’re not stupid.”
Surf-cum-art-cum-music and fashion magazine WAX has been on hiatus for a little while, and I’ve missed its heady blend of cutting edge graphics, superlative interviews and of course people horsing about on big waves. To my relief it’s just returned with issue eight, themed around fear, which features contributions from photographer David Brandon Geeting, graphic designer Raf Rennie, and artist Brea Souders, all of whose work I adore, and perhaps you will too. If you’re sat there thinking, “Hey I don’t know, I’m not all that interested in surfing,” let me stop you right there. It’s not that kind of surf mag. Trust.
You may think you know all you need to know about L.A. creative duo and power couple Sing Sing after Margaret Andersen’s recent visit to their Chinatown studio, but I’d wager there’s still plenty more for you to discover about them in this episode of the Workmode podcast, particularly if you’re looking for sound advice on how to put down your phone every once in a while and do something productive with your time.
It is customary to discover a world-class illustrator through their work, and not a strange promotional mockumentary that explores the complex relationship between that illustrator and his stalker. But Tim McDonagh is no ordinary illustrator, and nor is Handsome Frank, his agent, an ordinary agent. Together they’ve produced a hilarious few minutes of comedy drama that somehow manage to showcase McDonagh’s extraordinary way with brush and ink at the same time as it overwhelms you with nervous laughter.
Funny article interlude. This is a couple months old, but just solid comedy gold from McSweeney’s.
Illustrated A to Zs are in abundance among the global creative community, and yet, done well, they still manage to demonstrate some superlative visual flair. Take A to Zakka by London-based illustrator Charlotte Trounce, for instance. This tasty little number introduces various household objects to young children, presumably to educate them in the merits of cleaning up their own mess and bringing their parents breakfast in bed. Or at least that’s how I expect my peers will be putting it to use. Fun fact: Zakka is a Japanese term relating to any object or accessory that improves your home, life, and appearance.
Hannah Waldron’s Instagram is a humbling place to hang out on the best of days. As one of my favourite illustrators, and all-time favourite textile designer, I’m always in awe of the meticulous detail she imparts into each woven piece. Right now she’s upping her hero status even further, auctioning off this stunning piece of fabric all in the name of domestic abuse charity Refuge.
I can’t help but feel that we’ve reached a point at which critical analysis of Bloomberg Businessweek is impossible, so refined is its aesthetic sensibility and slick storytelling. Personally I can’t remember a time when they produced an issue that was anything less than excellent. So apologies for lumping more praise upon them for their latest issue cover story that details the revival and rise of the Domino’s pizza empire. Not only is David Brandon Geeting’s cover photo an absolute belter, but the online version of the article is about as interactive and engaging as online publishing gets. Nice one guys!
And how about this week’s New Yorker cover? Tomer Hanuka everybody. 👏