No. 159: A Huge New Christoph Niemann Retrospective, Grid-based Poetry Designs, A Dissociated Songbook + More

Hello, and welcome to our new look Design Diary, a collection of five fab 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.

Point in Passing, Grid Poems Vol. I

Hope, loss, and expectation

Art and design collective Point in Passing has created this stark and intriguing poetry book Grid Poems Vol. I. Written by “neuroscientist-poet” Brian Isett, the book is a collection of 45 illustrated poems on “hope, loss, and expectation,” says Point in Passing creative director John Soat. Billed as “part haiku, part sudoku,” each grid poem is a 3 x 3 arrangement of lines written to read both left to right and top to bottom.

Soat used a volumetric grid form for the design, which bleeds through the cover to structure each subsequent page. Narrative glyphs are used to illustrate each chapter and poem, created through isolating and deconstructing the negative visual space of the grid to its constituent line widths and square particles. “This negative space then takes on a life of its own, providing a third, purely visual narrative to the book,” says Soat.

“This structure allows subtly and drastically different perspectives to emerge from the same text. Thus, the full poem only emerges after re-reading and exploration.”

Pocket Guides, by Marçal Prats

Keeping it on the grid

Washington, DC-based designer Marçal Prats recently got in touch with an impressive piece of design work for a project that could have been… how do we put this… rather dry. Prats created the editorial design for GovLoop’s Pocket Guides, a public-sector resource presenting “trending IT topics that are important to the U.S. Government,” he explains. “The clean, grid system-based design is inspired by the everyday places in the public service workforce such as buildings and Metro signage, designed in the mid-1970s by Massimo Vignelli.” As such, Prats chose the typeface along with bright colors that bring a little life to the world of information technology.

Tracks of Undo, by David Voss

A dissociated songbook

Leipzig-based designer David Voss has created this gorgeous “dissociated songbook,” Tracks of Undo, from the work of participants in his workshop at the CAPTCHA Design Festival in Mannheim, Germany, last month. The publication features typographic fragments of song lyrics, written down on the first day of the workshop. New verses are composed through a cut-up technique like what was famously used by William S. Burroughs (and later, David Bowie.) “Each participant introduced a self-chosen text, which were then dissected and reassembled,” says Voss. “The new designs were based on the idea of camouflage,” he adds, with the overall aim of the design to achieve “maximum connection between the words and their environment.”

The Master Series: Christoph Niemann

Celebrating the Sunday Sketcher

Calling all Niemann nuts! This month sees the opening of everyone’s favorite Sunday Sketcher’s retrospective, The Master Series: Christoph Niemann at SVA Chelsea Gallery. Running from September 30 until November 4, the show will present never-before-seen work from his illustrations, magazine covers, animations, and digital works. The show marks Niemann’s receipt of the 29th annual Masters Series Award, “SVA’s highest award that honors the greatest visual communicators of our time,” according to the organization.

It’s a total joy to see Niemann’s student work, in the shape of these brilliant FaceArtBook digital portraits, which look as fresh now as when he created them way back in 1995.


More songs about buildings...

They say that writing about music is like dancing to architecture. Now, you really can dance to architecture, thanks to the brilliant Musicity project. Having travelled to Singapore, Tokyo, Tallinn, and Oslo, this autumn the project returns to its London birthplace to illuminate a series of buildings around the borough of Southwark through art and sound. Musicity commissioned tracks from a diverse selection of local artists, each of which created a song for locations including Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, Borough Market, Canada Water bus station, and The Shard. The musicians—a superb lineup including Throwing Shade, William Doyle (ex-East India Youth), Moses Boyd, and patten, worked with sound artist and architect Paul Bavister on the project, which aims to (and succeeds in, trust me) transforming the experience of listening to music in relation to place.

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