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No. 211: Our Picks for London Design Festival 2018

Check out our tips for the graphic design, typography + digital things to look out for at this year’s LDF


Hello, and welcome to Design Diary. This week’s edition is a special little number, in which we’ve chosen a selection of the best exhibitions, talks, workshops, and more to look out for at this year’s London Design Festival. These picks focus on the graphic design, typography, and digital side of things, though of course there’s a ton more to check out throughout the event, which runs from September 15-23 at venues across the whole city.

For more from us here at Eye on Design, follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesign, Facebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

Sarah Hyndman’s boozy type tasting events

Friend of EoD Sarah Hyndman is taking her regular Type Tasting events to a new level this year, with a delightfully boozy twist. Wine, Type & Culture is “the story of a hacked wine press, the original disruptors, entrepreneurial perseverance, explorers, inventors, revolutions, nostalgia, authenticity, and our vision for the future of type and wine based on trend predictions,” she says. Attendees will take part in a series of games and activities based around sound, taste, and smell with five “delicious wines,” she assures us. “Type history is brought to life as you find out how typefaces not only changed the world but that their power still resonates. For example, parallels can be seen in the social change and revolutions triggered when print first proliferated, and in the debate about the influence of social media today.”

For those more into gin that vino, there’s Gin & Type Tasting: The story of fonts, civilization & gin. Here’s the blurb: “Find out how the stories of gin and type are inextricably entwined across trade routes, the history of printing, and cultural tastes. From the early days of imported Dutch Jenever and the Dutch typefaces (these influenced William Caslon and were used for the Declaration of Independence), later when tea became the drinking obsession of the English, to the minimal and refined 1950s styles of Mad Men dry martinis, Modernism, and Helvetica.”

Alexandra Lunn Studio, typography workshops

Alexandra Lunn Studio is hosting a series of typography workshops, including opportunities for people to “make their own typeface out of paper and walk away with a fully functioning font that they can use again and again.” Here’s a link to the events, which are very reasonably priced, so we reckon.

Roberto’s Rio, from Place Press

Independent publisher Place Press is presenting Roberto’s Rio, a new book and exhibition on the legacy of the designs of landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx in Rio de Janeiro. Rarely seen prints of the plans that informed the construction of Copacabana will be on show, with a selection of photographs from the book, by Brazilian photographer Layla Motta.

“This book is one of the first to publish the architectural drawings that went into constructing Copacabana,” Joy Nazzari, publishing director of Place Press, says. “Seeing the original drawings of such a monumental piece of modernist urban design history was a powerful personal experience, and we’re pleased to bring that to this book.”

The exhibition opens to the public on Friday September, 14th.

Pentagram X 14-18 NOW: Dazzle

The Creative Studio at the Victoria & Albert museum, the official London Design Festival “hub,” is playing host to a nine-day project from Pentagram inspired by the “dazzle ship” patterning used as camouflage during World War I. The dazzle patterning was pioneered by British artist Norman Wilkinson, drawing on avant garde movements such as Cubism and Vorticism, as well as animal camouflage. The idea was that the bewildering shapes and angles on the ships would confuse the enemy as they struggled to make out the dazzle ships against shifting waves and clouds.

Pentagram has reinterpreted the construction of Dazzle camouflage “from a purely graphic origin into a typographic exploration,” says LDF. Using the Wilfrid Wilson Gibson poem “Suspense” as its source, Pentagram’s design abstracts the letterforms and words into an immersive experience by placing the visitor inside the Dazzle room.

The project is the culmination of the Dazzle Ship series co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts program for the First World War centenary, and Liverpool Biennial.

Image from Dazzle, Pentagram project

Jon Daniel retrospective

Jon Daniel was, as LDF puts it, “one of the most prominent black creatives of his generation—creative director, designer, social activist, collector, curator and artist.” He was also an all round very lovely bloke, who advocated for creativity as a vital tool for empowerment. Among the projects he worked on were branding for Black History Month and Operation Black Vote; campaigns for the British Film Institute, and collaborations with Ms Dynamite, Soul II Soul, and the Black Cultural Archives. He also wrote a regular column for Design Week, “4 Corners,” in which he championed lesser-know creatives from around the world.

Sadly, Daniel died last year, and to celebrate his work and activism a retrospective will be on show as part of the Brixton Design Trail. The event is curated by Lorayne Crawford and will include a talk by Kunle Olulode, a panel discussion exploring Daniel’s legacy mentoring young creatives into creative and cultural industries, a photography workshop by Alexis Chabala, and a drawing and design workshop for Lambeth school children.

Love & Hate Poster Workshop

Over in the Shoreditch Triangle Design District, Studio Blackburn is hosting a live poster design event featuring 24 of the capitals graphic design big guns, including Here Design, Daniel Eatock, Human After All, Pentagram, Sea Design, and loads more. The designers will all be given a brief to create a poster that reflects the theme of Love or Hate, and visitors will be able to interact with and comment on the work during the process, allowing them to influence the final designs.

Taking place over September 17-20, the workshop will feature four designers per half day. The completed posters will be on sale at a private view on the evening of September 20th with proceeds donated to the charity Love Music Hate Racism. Find more information on it all here.

Better Letters signwriting workshops and screenings

Our chums over at Better Letters are once again championing all things sign writing, and for this year’s LDF this means a combination of film screenings–When Better Letters Met Cliff Headford (2017) and When Better Letters Met Stan Wilkinson (2018)—as well as an introductory workshop in sign design.

The workshop will be led by Better Letters’ Mike Meyer in London’s bustling Borough Market. Participants can book one or two days, and will be given a crash course in a selection of alphabets. All details for the courses and screenings can be found here.

Colourful Crossings by Better Bankside and Morag Myerscough

Morag Myerscough is livening up pedestrian crossings on Borough High Street with her trademark bold, geometric patterns. These designs were created using details from the surrounding architecture and are the latest in Better Bankside’s Colourful Crossings series. Myerscough’s work will be on show along Borough High Street throughout the duration of the festival, and she will be running an LDF-exclusive workshop on September 15th (the details can be found here).

Anni Albers x Christoper Farr

Contemporary rug design brand Christopher Farr is launching new rug and fabric designs by Anni Albers at Chelsea Showroom, developed in association with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. The designs are a nice nod to the Bauhaus centennial in 2019, and the showroom will be displaying many existing Albers designs developed into handmade rugs, screen printed fabrics, and even wallcoverings.

Beatie Wolfe: The Art of Music in the Digital Age

Back at the V&A, musician and technology innovator Beatie Wolfe will be exploring “what design for music can mean in the digital age” by presenting a series of album innovations. Among the pieces on show will be the rather Cage-esque “world’s first anti-stream from the quietest room on earth,” in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs and Design I/O; as well as a “3D vinyl for the phone” (huh?); an “intelligent album deck of cards;” and a musical jacket designed by Mr. Fish, the tailor who dressed Bowie, made from BeatWoven fabric woven with Wolfe’s music.

Visitors will also be able to experience Wolfe’s Raw Space Chamber, an anechoic chamber providing a “ceremonial listening experience” alongside live AR animations that bring the album’s artwork and lyrics to life in real-time. All details here.

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