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No. 187: Bold and Brilliant Designs for São Carlos National Theatre, a Playful New Portfolio Site, the Publication Embracing Imperfections + More

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Design Diary, a collection of five 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.

1
A new website from Max Kaplun

NYC-born, Montréal-based designer Max Kaplun has recently unveiled a brand new website with a fun, typographically unhinged homepage, a fuzzy dot cursor, and a raft of new projects to show off. When not busying himself as a senior digital product designer at Glossier or in his role as co-founder/orchestrator of two design-based events series, Dynamic/MTL and One&All Festival, he works on projects like this rather lovely art direction and packing design for Home Video. Have a little play on his site—there’s worse ways to pass the time for sure.

Max Kaplun, art direction and packaging design for Home Video.

2
Non-Verbal Club, São Carlos National Theatre designs

Some brave, bold, and rather brilliant new work here from Portuguese studio Non-Verbal Club, in the shape of the branding for Lisbon’s theatre, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos. The design work forms part of the theater’s broader new communications strategy, initially used across the campaigns for the 2017–18 season. The aims were to define a visual language that was unique and identifiable, creating a design framework that acted as a “simple canvas from where we could further develop throughout time,” says Non-Verbal Club.

“We’ve started by defining a raw and strong visual language based on simple principles—the use of contrast through two typefaces and two colors—which allowed us to code the Lyrical season (Operas) in a grotesque font over a white background, and the Symphonic season (Orchestra and chamber music concerts) on a contrasted serif over a black background. Those graphic rules were combined with a new content strategy, in which the focus of the communication should assume a highlight of the season’s most relevant composers.”

3
qu’est-ce que c’est, être magazine

Based in Singapore, qu’est-ce que c’est is an agency with a name that’s something of a mouthful, but with work that’s beautifully designed and comparatively easily digestible. Today we’re highlighting its work for être, a publication “created with the intention to provide a sacred headspace for its readers—to cut out all distractions from the daily bustle and simply focus on being in the moment.” Hence the name, which translates from the French as “to be.”

The magazine uses risograph printing to embrace the inherent imperfections the medium generates. “This reflected our collective understanding of life—that though never perfect and never going according to plan, it is still something beautiful and worth appreciating to the fullest,” says the studio.

4
Coffee Lids: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture, over on Design Observer

Our chums/siblings over at Design Observer are proving that there really are design stories to be found everywhere—even in the humble coffee cup lid. DO has published an excerpt from a new book Coffee Lids: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture, which features the collection of Louise Harpman and Scott Specht, the owners of the world’s largest collection of “unique, patented, drink-through, disposable hot-beverage lids.”

Strangely fascinating stuff: “Confronted with numerous spills that caused third-degree burns, McDonald’s is reported to have lowered the serving temperature of its coffee and added a visible warning on all its cup lids. It is the coffee-drinking community that brought awareness to this serious health problem, along with a myriad of pet peeves, which designers set out to remedy and which this collection lovingly, even obsessively, documents.”

5
Mother Tongue: The Art of Printed Language

Mother Tongue is a new show exploring the intersection of language and aesthetic through showcasing the intricacies of printed word as art. Taking place at Sante Fe’s East of West gallery, featured artists include Meshal al-Obaidallah, Younes Zemmouri, Evar Hussayni, Nasreen Shaikh Jamal al Lail, Ibi Ibrahim, and more. At the heart of the show is the practice of zine creation, with pages of booklets by the aforementioned artists to be printed as large-scale limited editions exhibited alongside original works. Zine authors include members of Variant Space, a UK artist collaborative focusing on the art of Muslim Women. The show runs from April 13 – April 29, 2018.

Shimagh Ajyal
Meshal al-Obaidallah, Shimagh Ajyal

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