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No. 225: A Holiday Special!

Including a terrifying animated subversion of tradition, Monotype’s festive font roundup, some very pretty design-led gift ideas + much, much more

Ho ho ho, seasons greetings one and all. In a break from our usual programming, this week’s Design Diary is a festive old thing, rounding up just a few of the nice, design-led projects that have come our way in the run up to the holiday festivities.

As ever, you can follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

AUFI, Wrapping Up

What’s better than great design that also helps eradicate homelessness? “Creative matchmaker” agency Ask Us For Ideas (AUFI) commissioned 12 creative agencies to design wrapping paper to sell this Christmas, with the proceeds going to Wrap Up London, a campaign that helps keep vulnerable people in London clothed and warm during winter.

Each wrapping paper is sold in a run of just 200, and the full set is available to buy for £42 ($53 USD). Designs range from hip-hop icons to streaky bacon, “contemporary spins on classic parcel paper, abstract weather patterns, and twisted typography.” So something for everyone, really.

Hato Press, Christmas store

If you’re STILL on the hunt for the perfect present for the discerning creative type in your life (heck, you should have paid more attention to our all-singing-all-dancing Eye on Design Gift Guide) then the good people over at Hato Press will definitely have something for you in their Christmas store online. We’re totally in love with the work of Japanese artist Masanao Hirayama. Hato Press and Himaa collaborated to produce a special-edition artist zine: Spot 10 Differences, and an accompanying curated collection of products. That little face!

Here Design, Advent Calendar shop

London studio Here Design launched its Advent Calendar shop on December 1 (duh), which to reveals a new product designed by the studio each day leading up to the 25th. It’s all available for purchase from the agency’s store.

As part of the festive calendar, Here Design has also been crafting a number of bespoke pieces for Here-created brands, including this charming little poster for An Anarchy of Chillies. Among the products in the calendar are hand-poured, interlocking Hackney Wick (as in the place in east London) candles, tote bags designed by Here for the Tate, and notebooks from the Nigella cookbook collection. You can follow the calendar right up to Crimbo on the Here Instagram.

Ace Hotel, Bonsai/Christmas Everywhere by Green’s Green

It wouldn’t be the festive season without an unusual take on its spiky green signifier, the Christmas tree. Ace Hotel London Shoreditch’s Christmas Tree installation Bonsai/Christmas Everywhere takes the form of a handmade Japanese moss-covered cabinet created by furniture designers Anyhow LDT, Japanese horticultural experts Green’s Green, and lighting specialists Beams & Co.

According to the hotel, the idea is to “offer a global viewpoint and Eastern take on a Western tradition.” The installation features “strategically placed peepholes so that visitors can take a look inside and view the internal diorama of festive bonsai trees, miniature families, and animals depicting Christmas scenes in both the northern and southern hemispheres.” 

Monotype, festive font roundup

The type design team at font foundry Monotype has rounded up their favorite festive fonts. The list covers the best fonts for holiday greeting cards, fonts inspired by iconic holiday movies, and “the best font for Santa to make his Christmas list (and check it twice).” See below for a round-up and a sampling of font images. A selection of their picks is below.

Best Font for Christmas List (Yours or Santa’s!)


Best Fonts for Holiday Greeting Cards


Fonts Inspired by Iconic Holiday Movies  

A Christmas Story


Home Alone


Vintage Christmas fonts




Fedrigoni 365, by TM Studio

Not strictly a festive number here, but very much an end of year one: studio TM is behind the beautiful, minimal designs for Fedrigoni 365, a book commemorating the year by asking 365 UK-based creatives to contribute a piece of work. The sales of the book, which is limited to 500 copies, will be sold with profits donated to homelessness charity Shelter.  Contributors include Accept and Proceed, MuirMcNeil, Pentagram, Pearlfisher, and Wolff Olins, among a whole bunch more.

O Human Being, Anomaly London and Unreasonable Studios

For those more into the terrifying, Cronenberg-leaning body horror, surreal side of Christmas (hey, who isn’t!), ad agency Anomaly London has just the (anti)festive animation for you. Narrated by Richard E. Grant, no less, O Human Being was written, directed, animated and produced by Anomaly and Unreasonable Studios. Subverting what once seemed such an innocent Christmas tradition—buying, decorating, and singing around a tree—the roles of people and fir are reversed, with terrifying consequences. It’s honestly heartbreaking (do not watch on an egg nog hangover), but very funny too, with superbly witty dialogue and a fittingly creepy animation and illustration style. Here’s the blurb, whether or not you show it to your well-meaning, turkey-stuffing family is up to you: “When a family of Christmas trees chop Peter’s feet off, stand him in the corner of their living room, and decorate him in tinsel and lights, Peter has to devise a fantastic plan of escape in order to make it home to his beloved wife.”

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