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No. 197: An Indie Record Label Ode to Print, Exploring the Vernacular of Instagram Images, The Alphabet Museum + 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 along these lines (and so many others) follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

Hassan Rahim and Matthew Heywood for Inchindown

We’re longtime lovers of Blank Editions, a record label based in Hackney, east London, that has historically had a superb ear for brilliant, adventurous music made by mostly local bands. The label is a deliciously DIY affair in many ways—its founder, David S Blanco, often hand-stencils and packages releases from his kitchen table.

That’s not to say each release—whether part of the Blank Tapes cassette series or vinyl editions—doesn’t look rather beautiful. For the label’s release of the debut LP by Inchindown (a collaboration between Tim Garratt of Moon Zero and Matthew Heywood of Bruised Skies), it’s worked with friend of EoD and all-round design superdude Hassan Rahim on the cover art; a typically abstracted, dark affair. The record comes with an A3 risograph print and a 12 page booklet designed by Heywood, together forming a cohesive and beautiful ode to the power of print and analog. Get yer mitts on it all here.

Alphabet Museum, from The Lettering Arts Trust

A new exhibition from the Lettering Arts Trust in Suffolk, UK, explores “humankind’s greatest invention” (the alphabet, if you were wondering), spanning 5,000 years since it was born. The show, entitled The Alphabet Museum, presents a collection of work—much of it newly commissioned—that “reaches back to the ancient beginnings of the alphabet and illustrates the connections between symbols and sounds, the roundabout routes from hieroglyphs to the letters we use today and the myriad ways in which skilled lettering artists work with and manipulate the ‘other’ tools of their trade—the letters of the alphabet.” The exhibition includes carvings, drawings, glass and wood work, systems of codes, Greek, Roman, Hebrew and Runic alphabets, and axe work.

The exhibition runs from June 29 – September 9, 2018.

Adam Griffiths, Portraits from Inframince

Designer, art director and graphic design lecturer Adam Griffiths has recently unveiled a new publication entitled Portraits From Inframince, showcasing a series of generative portraits. “The publication explores the vernacular photographic language of the preloaded Instagram image—a hybrid state that documents the anthropologic through the semi-abstracted eye of the web,” he explains.

“The project is part of a large, ongoing body of research work that seeks to explore the space between the physical and digital worlds, with a specific focus on experimental publishing and curation through the use of web to print.”

According to Griffiths, the book aims to “extend the discourse around a number of ideas surrounding the generating, copying, and dissemination of the image through our digital networks and acts as a form of immediate, digital ‘snapshot’ photography.”

The project is published through Relik Press.

La Colmada identity by Ultra

Some really smashing identity and branding work here from Ultra, a studio based in Madrid over in sunny Spain. It recently completed a design project for “half shop half bar” La Colmada, and boy do we dig the wild approach to typography and elegance of the whole thing. The graphics are inspired by patterns found in the local area, while the identity was created to be as flexible as possible across numerous touch points, from packaging to labels, storefronts, menu designs, stationary, and more. The entrance uses a vibrant blue as a reference to the sea nearby, while splashes of green in the interiors hint at the countryside where many of the store’s products are produced.

Pseudonym Publishing, Pseudo

Oslo-based Pseudonym Publishing has just released its debut title, Pseudo, a collection of interviews with contemporary Scandinavian design agencies about their “rhetoric and concepts.” Some real greats make an appearance: Wrong Studio, Kurppa Hosk, and Bedow sit alongside newer faces such as Sara Risvaag and Birk Marcus Hansen. 

“The book tries to shine a light on the discourse in today’s industry, where it seems more important to sell ideas and enhance profit, rather than producing value in the communication and executing craft,” says Pseudonym Publishing’s William Stormdal.

As you’d expect, the book itself is beautifully designed, with all photographic imagery shot on a disposable camera by the interviewers. Some real nice hoover shots.

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