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No. 181: A Cute Little Animation for a Big Tech Giant, a Door-Stopper Guide to Contemporary Drawing, Getting Back Into Beer Branding + 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.

Vitamin D2, by the Phaidon editors

Vitamin D2 is a rather gorgeous new book published by Phaidon offering “new perspectives in drawing,” as per its title. “Drawing has recently experienced a renewal of importance in the art world,” says the publisher. “In fact, it has rarely been as widely represented in the biennials, art fairs, and exhibitions as it is now.”

Publishing in March, Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing is the sequel to 2005’s Vitamin D, and like its older sibling is an impressively comprehensive collection of contemporary drawing selected by art-world professionals such as Lynne Cooke, Thelma Golden, Christine Macel, Jessica Morgan, Bob Nickas, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Scott Rothkopf, Beatrix Ruf, Barry Schwabsky, and Nancy Spector, with a focus on the relevance of drawing as an artistic medium in the 21st century.

Alongside the book’s beautiful and wide-ranging collection of imagery, it also features texts by international critics, art historians, and creative writers. The book showcases more than 500 works by Charles Avery, Pablo Bronstein, Paul Chan, Ewan Gibbs, Cameron Jamie, Aleksandra Mir, Amalia Pica, Imran Qureshi, and Adrián Villar Rojas, amongst others.

Cisco animation, by Trunk

Who said multinational technology conglomerates had to be boring? Not animation agency Trunk, that’s for sure. It recently unveiled this rather cute short for Cisco:


Directed by Layla Atkinson, who animated the piece with John Harmer, the video will be used by Cisco on their small business homepage, showcasing their solutions and promotions dedicated to small business customers. Making big tech seem, well, a little friendlier, the piece was created using good old fashioned scalpels, scissors, crazy glue, building blocks, and straws. The narrative’s action visually centers on an office desk, which evolves over the decades as new technology comes and goes. We see a typewriter replaced with a series of computers, then phones and fax machines flick through different models, and even the staff in the company photos grow over time.

According to Trunk, nearly 100 props were created in total by 3D model makers Jock Mooney, Layla Atkinson, John Harmer and Adrian Leak (as well as intern Stephanie Martin). It explains, “Layla designed the whole set to spin as each period of time changed, so as the business grows, we get a fleeting glimpse of the buildings outside, before re-entering in a new decade, driving the story on.”


Dumb Fun, by Tim Moore

If this edition of Design Diary inspires you to do nothing else, let it be to download Dumb Fun, a weird, wild new app by artist Tim Moore that makes your whole, boring life into a crazy collage of an interactive art experience. It works with your smartphone camera to change your environs through 16 different “scenes” that transform the everyday into strange, and rather beautiful collages. The app currently has  four chapters that explore themes of Beauty, Power, Fun, and Fear. More chapters will be added regularly. 

Design Matters is back!

Design Matters, Debbie Millman’s podcast over at Design Observer, is returning for a new season this Monday, February 12, with new episodes every Monday on the DO site. Headphones at the ready!

Cast Iron Design, shiny new website and Finkel & Garf brewery identity

The good people over at “sustainable graphic design studio” Cast Iron Design (not to be confused with feline-focused graphic design studio Cats Iron Design) have just unveiled a lovely new site showing off a whole raft of great recent work. The project that most piqued our interest was one that had us taking a little trip down memory lane, when we used to run Happy Hour, a weekly roundup of delicious booze branding.

We took a shine to the agency’s work for father and son brewing duo Finkel & Garf, for which Cast Iron created a custom coat of arms and a series of package designs. The coat of arms features “toys in a traditionally serious and regal context [that] reflect their desire to subtly subvert the wine-ification of craft beer and introduce a more approachable product to the market,” as Cast Iron Design explains. “The various toys represented in the coat of arms were selected to inspire people from all generations to reconnect with their childlike sense of wonder and excitement.”

For the vibrant packaging designs, the agency “utilized limited colors with type-heavy layouts (using the modern but still slightly wonky Walsheim) to strike a unique balance of modern and nostalgic. These large and repeated names, along with quick three-word descriptions, make choosing a beer a simple and straightforward experience,” it explains. “An additional benefit of this visual treatment, and an important part of our packaging strategy, is that it causes the cans to stand out on shelves typically packed with cluttered and overly decorative labels.”

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