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.
West Village-based agency Sub Rosa likes to indulge itself regularly in the creation of moments of magic and passion—sometimes for clients, sometimes just for fun. To ensure that magic continues to flow unfettered it has created a receptacle that takes the form of an occasional journal of personal work, La Petite Mort. The title and its title evoke orgasmic creativity and hint at the liberation from client constraints of the projects within. Like this poster series included with the latest edition that lambasts the current climate of clickbait and fake news; would a client pay for it? Perhaps not. Does it deserve to exist purely for the pleasure of its creator? Mais oui!
Speaking of which, check out this lovely new zine from Lyonnaise illustrator Antoine Eckart published by Swiss zine connoisseurs Nieves. Ladies comes in an edition of just 100 copies and features no fewer than 20 original illustrations of—wait for it—various ladies that occupy the mind of their creator. Some are clearly individuals with a recognisable humanoid form, others are so abstract that their sex is wholly ambiguous, all of them are charming, witty, and rendered in Eckart’s signature scribble, making this a must for collectors of illustrated print ephemera.
OH. MY. GOD. My trip to this show cannot come quick enough, and are you surprised given its title is Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan. Alright, okay, the name doesn’t exactly captivate the imagination, but the work currently on display at London’s House of Illustration is some of the most seminal in its genre and changed the face of modern animated cinema for good.
“This is the UK’s first ever exhibition of architectural backdrops from classic anime films. It features over 100 exquisite technical drawings and watercolour illustrations from some of the most influential productions in the genre’s 1990s heyday.” We’re talking Ghost in the Shell here guys.
“The show includes Hiromasa Ogura’s watercolour paintings for Ghost in the Shell, an anime epic that informed pioneering sci-fi works such as The Matrix and Avatar. Inspired by Asia’s emerging megacities and based on photographs of Hong Kong, Ogura’s work depicts the striking contrast between a derelict Chinese town and looming, faceless skyscrapers.” I’ve got my tickets. Get yours.
Now watch me segue smoothly from the architecture of the future to the design of the future with the help of this recent article on designing voice interfaces from Creative Review. “Voice interfaces,” it argues, “are becoming more commonplace, but our expectations of them still outpace what’s available.” Could this be because of sci-fi masterworks like the one mentioned above? Probably, but it’s also because they’ve failed to persuade users to see them as more than just novelty, so Michael Levy, an interaction designer at Fjord, offers six tips to help designers get to grips with these new verbal interfaces. Hot tip: the trick is to combine empathy “with a solid understanding of how systems work.”
Back to a medium we can all get to grips with from the team at AIGA’s INitiative, and their interview with Cedrick Funches, executive director of design at the mighty Vox Media. “We’re more of a collective than anything, scaling design across so many responsibilities for the company,” says Funches. “We service not only the entire Vox Media brand, but also the brands underneath our brands.” Find out how over here.
When I went to design school we learned a whole lot about design and art history, and the vast majority of that history was European and white. So imagine the good fortune of the students at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, whose faculty have set them up with a project to make design history inclusive.
“When graphic design students study design history, 99% of what they learn is about the ‘famous old white men,’” says course leader Natalia Ilyin. “Very, very rarely do they ever find out what went on in Africa, Asia, India or South America at the same time. Rarely do they hear about more than one or two designers of color or more than three or four women designers.”
To address this issue Ilyin set her students a challenge to gather the stories missing from design history, and produce them with a bibliography of 80-100 citations. They’ve since started crowdfunding to support the publication of a book of all their work and to help generate further investment for the continuation of the project. Help them out!
Which brings us ironically to our next project; In Presence of the Moon Nobody Sees Stars, a 160-page book about the Apollo Space Program, by Parisian art director Martin Joubert. It features a plethora of images taken by various members of the Apollo team and serves as an homage to the impression they left on Joubert.
“In recent years I have really become passionate about astronomy,” he says, “the role of man in space and all the possibilities opened by this wonderful field to explore…The Apollo mission astronauts are real heroes and have made millions of people dream, hope, all around the globe, I owe them a lot.”
And while I agree with Martin that the moon does indeed have a tendency to eclipse stars, given this new brand identity designed by George Adams, I have to wonder whether this still holds true for the star that is Elton John. In all honesty I feel he eclipses the moon.