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No. 204: A New Exhibition on Magazines, The Wing’s First Merch Drop, a Text-Based Dating App + 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.

The Ibero-Americano Theater Festival branding, by Siegenthaler & Co

The Ibero-American Theater Festival (FITB) started in 1988 in Bogotá, Colombia, and it has since become one of the largest performing arts festivals in the world. In recent years, the festival has had difficulty attracting as strong an audience as in years past, so it turned to Colombian agency Siegenthaler & Co. to redesign the identity for a newer, younger crowd. The studio’s branding revolves around the theme of ¡VUELVE! (or, returns), which is meant to be interpreted at once as “call to action, an invitation, and a declaration of intent.”

As S & Co. puts it, “We chose a bold and unexpected typography that could inject energy into the graphic language, and also let us easily create a scalable visual system. The movement generated by its two different weights gave every piece we designed a feeling of unpredictability and uniqueness, reflecting directly on the festival’s content and artistic nature.” Even the still images seem to imply a sense of forward propulsion, but we’re partial to the animated type, sashaying into place across our screens.

The Wing’s terrazzo collection

Since its founding in 2015, the women-only community space The Wing has been identifiable by its singular aesthetic, thanks in large part by Emily Oberman’s millennial pink branding for the space. Once a designer on Oberman’s team and now The Wing’s creative director, Deva Pardue has been carrying on the mantle in-house, and has just shared with us The Wing’s first collection of merchandise designed by their own creative team. The terrazzo collection plays off of the terrazzo tiles featured in all of the co-working spaces (The Wing has recently expanded beyond NYC to DC and San Francisco) and includes a water bottle, candle, and phone case. Female-owned business Otherland created the custom candle scent and Katie Merchant styled the lovely photos seen below, photographed by Aileen Son.

Personals: A queer-focused text-based dating + community app

In 2016, about two years after starting the queer imagery Instagram account  @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y, Kelly Rakowski came across a digital collection of the lesbian erotica magazine On Our Backs, founded in 1984. Struck by the directness of the vintage personal ads in the magazine, she put out a call for her followers to write their own, in the process launching the account @herstorypersonals, which has garnered 40k followers to date. Now Rakowski has launched a Kickstarter to fund the building of an app version of the personals, which would streamline the already-robust matchmaking capacities of the Instagram account into the first dating app of its kind. Personals is entirely text-based, with a design inspired by old school newspaper ads, and the worthy goal of creating a space for community and making deeper connections with people near and far. Support the project here.

Personals, created by Kelly Rakowski

Volume exhibition, designed by Civilization

Seattle-based studio Civilization is a fascinating cross-bread between design practice and community space, with its own design lecture series, interview series (Beyond This Point) and exhibition gallery. The latter, called the Non–Breaking Space, has a new show up that’s caught our attention: Volume, A Survey of Magazines looks at magazines from the past few decades that “amplify a message, frame a conversation, and create awareness.” These include many of our favorites, such as Avant Garde, Colors, FILE, Riposte, and The Smudge. “Some choose not to be beholden to advertisers, allowing their pages to remain radical,” the exhibition material reads. “Many showcase unlikely contributors and turn their focus to subversive topics.”

Nice exhibition, by Lucienne Roberts

The starting point for Nice, a new installation designed by Lucienne Roberts, was the poster in the Design Museum’s Hope to Nope exhibition reading “Slogans in nice typefaces won’t save the human races.” The poster first appeared on UK city streets in late 2017 via flyingleaps, an artists’ street project founded by Adrian Burnham, as a provocation imploring designers to assess how design can be used outside of designers’ own circles and the industry. “With the intentions of teasing out its meaning, and arguing for an alternative position, Nice presents multiple re-workings of the poster’s message,” according to the exhibition press release. “Alongside displays exploring the power of the slogan through time, the definition of ‘nice’ is used to describe different typefaces, and the democratizing effect of print and typography in sharing human knowledge and experience.” One section displays emails between Roberts and designers Erik Spiekermann, Paula Scher, and Hamish Muir, in which she asks them to cite five “nice” typefaces. The installation is up now until September 23 at The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) in Pasadena, CA.

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