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No. 169: Postcards from Post-EU Britain, Pentagram’s Mangasia Graphics, What Saul Bass Made Taylor Swift Do + More

Hello, and welcome to this week’s 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.

Common Practices, ME & EU: Postcards from Post-EU Britain

Craig Oldham is known as a man who’s very good at swearing, and equally as skilled in uniting excellent design and political messages. The latest example of this is ME & EU: Postcards from Post-EU Britain, a book from by Oldham’s Common Practices publisher that draws together 116 postcards about Brexit that were sent across Europe to the 27 remaining EU countries when Article 50 was triggered back in March, and initiated by designers Nathan Smith and Sam T Smith in 2016 as a creative response to the outcome of the “Brexit” referendum. The book has been shortlisted for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year accolade, and in Oldham’s words, it’s “not simply a book to document the project but to democratize it and extend it a bit further by letting people use the postcards to carry on the debate.” He adds: “We’re also hoping to produce the European alternative when those cards come back, probably called EU & ME and carry on again!”

“There were big-name design studios involved alongside individual designers, but also unsolicited responses from the creative community and even students and graduates which, for us, was the perfect mix,” says Nathan Smith.

Among those designers and studios who submitted postcards are APFEL, Gordon Reid (Middle Boop), Malcolm Garrett, NB Studio, Sarah Bethan Jones, and Post—.

Wende Museum, Cold War Spaces

Earlier this year we featured the Wende Museum’s archive of Cold War artifacts and graphic ephemera produced behind the Iron Curtain. The collection, which houses over 100,000 artifacts, had remained largely in storage due to limited space at their original facility. Now, the museum has reopened at their expansive new location, the 1949 National Guard Armory in Culver City, CA, and it has an exciting year of programming ahead.

Currently on view is Cold War Spaces, the first in a series of experimental exhibitions that will illuminate the contemporary relevance of the Cold War past, merging historical items with new works by contemporary artists. “Our aim is to creatively connect past and present,” says chief curator Joes Segal.

Margaret Andersen, our California-based writer 

Pentagram, Mangasia graphics

When in Rome….why not explore Manga! While it’s not exactly what the Romans do, we’d say it’s worth doing anyway, thanks to The Barbican. Mangasia: Wonderlands of Asian Comics is the largest ever exhibition of original artworks from Asian comics—and the first to present an overview of Asian comic history. The exhibition design and digital installations were created by Pentagram London, with Marina Willer devising a graphics system for the exhibition “inspired by the dynamic storytelling devices associated with Manga comics: the iconic storyboards, composed of panels that vary radically in angle, size, and scale; and cinematic framing, achieved through a rapid alternation between long shots and close-ups, montages and scene changes,” says the agency.

Pentagram partners Jody Hudson-Powell and Luke Powell created a motion-controlled digital installation in collaboration with Mecha designer Kawamori Shoji for the show, which imagines a “not-so-distant future in which supersized robots are used for the construction of cities, the team created a building-sized robot named ‘Mechasobi’, Japanese for robot play.” Wild stuff!

FFunction, (Un)trafficked

Earlier this week (November 20th) marked UN event Universal Children’s Day, which aims to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improvements to children’s welfare. To tie in with the occasion, data visualization agency FFunction created an interactive digital story tool that highlights issues around children’s rights in India.

(Un)Trafficked is a sort of online choose-your-own-adventure game following a 13-year-old girl over one week, where you’re led through a series of scenarios that are unfortunately all too real for too many children in India.

According to FFunction, in 2015, there were 3,490 child trafficking cases reported in India. Of these, 90% were girls. The agency explains: “We were invited by two nonprofit partners, the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, to make a digital centerpiece of a large-scale campaign to end child exploitation in India.”

The interactive is available in both English and Hindi, and on desktop and mobile.

What Saul Bass Made Taylor Swift Do

Big ups to AIGA DC board member Claire Blaustein, who’s managed to combine two titans of culture, Saul Bass and Taylor Swift, in this rollicking post over on Medium. She raises another very interesting thesis, too: “It’s even possible that lyric music videos only exist because of Bass, who pioneered the kind of dynamic use of type that propels you through the story.” We’ll be looking out for your next missive on that Claire!

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