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No. 228: The Predictable Companies Creatives Want to Work For, Design Isn’t Neutral, New Stefanie Leinhos Illustrations + More

New year, same Design Diary—our weekly feature bringing you the most interesting projects we came across this week.

For more along these lines (and so many others) follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

1
Working Not Working, Top 50 Companies List

Creative talent network Working Not Working has released the results of its annual survey of the most coveted jobs in the creative industry. And guess what? Everyone still wants to work at Nike. The top 50 list includes all of your regular faves, to a bit of a disappointing degree—Nike, Wieden + Kennedy, Google, Apple, and Droga5 fill the top five, with Google Creative Lab, Pentagram, and Netflix following close behind. According to WNW, 19 companies have been included in the list all five years they’ve been making it, and all of the top 10 this year are among those old reliables. We find ourselves wishing, once again, that these companies weren’t so completely predictable. Last year there were at least some curveballs—Adult Swim was number four, and ad agency Anomaly was number eight. This year’s list has us wondering, are the top companies that creatives want to work for always going to be the biggest, the most monied, and the ones you most expect?

To be sure, WNW’s sample size is impressive: it surveyed 50,000 people from the network, over 130 companies. It also makes sense that WNW’s network skews advertising—many of the companies WNW boasts helping to staff are on the list. But it is surprising that designers are clamoring to work for Facebook, for example (especially in this political climate, and after the headlines of 2018) and that all of the companies creatives find most prestigious are so huge. On the other hand, some more interesting companies did make runner-up—with film distribution and production company A24, design agencies frog and Mother, and Marvel Studios among them. And while Nike at number one isn’t exactly news, it is nice to know that some social awareness factored in. Of those polled, 74% responded that Nike’s recent Colin Kaepernick ad makes them more likely to take a job at the sports behemoth. Maybe it’s not all about name recognition and six figure salaries, after all.

2
A Word, A Week, Animography

You’ve heard of a project a day, perhaps even done one yourself—self-enforcing discipline, practicing skills, and racking up those Instagram likes with your daily design or illustration. Taking things in a new direction is Animography, with a project called A Word, A Week. It asked a new artist or studio each week to take one of their animated typefaces, pick a word of their choice, and make an animated loop throughout a whole year. And now it’s ready to share all 52 weeks at once.

A trip to Animography’s Behance page brings up the lot, with participants that include Yukai Du, Illo, From Form, and Chris Lloyd. The words range from “insane” to “equality” to “Lisztomania” to “yang” and show off a slew of Animography’s animated typefaces. It’s worth checking out the full thing.

3
Design is not Neutral, Colleen Tighe

“In the 21st century we celebrate ‘creativity’ as a neutral, wholesome value, separate from any contingent context or actions that determine its shape,” writes Colleen Tighe in the current issue of The Baffler. Tighe’s piece is an illustrated manifesto of sorts (and also a partial deck of tarot cards) that rebukes the notion of creativity as an individual, neutral, and privileged condition. Creativity shouldn’t be packaged and sold, she continues, and shouldn’t be reserved for those privileged enough to be educated and recognize. Rather, it should “be used for the collective good” by supporting mass, organized movements. She then goes on to support her argument with a set of cards titled “The Client,” “The Mask,” “The Organizer,” and so forth. Read the full thing here.

4
Colophon Foundry catalog, illustrated by Stefanie Leinhos

We receive type foundry catalogs all the time at Eye on Design, and while it’s always pretty exciting in the nerdiest way, there is one in particular we’re especially excited about. It’s the 40-page catalog from Colophon Foundry presenting six bespoke typefaces, and it’s illustrated by Stephanie Leinhos, who is best known for making really fantastic abstract comics. Each typeface is paired with an illustration, making for a two-toned, very attractive, very serene catalog indeed.

 

5
How to Make a Millennial Feel Cozy, a New York Times piece

Over at the New York Times this week, Kate Caraway has provided us with a very on-point guide to millennial branding, with the drink Recess as its subject. We briefly profiled the new line of CBD-infused sparkling water in our Happy Hour column, where we pointed out its sunset-colored packaging and simple script wordmark. All branding elements that you could call—and we have—extremely millennial. Caraway takes it even further by drawing out other ways this brand in particular really seems to nail down everything “members of the high-anxiety ‘Doom Generation,’ really want.” That’s including, but not limited to, breathy copy, allusions to LaCroix, the promise of less anxiety, and an Instagram account that evokes “the combined look of ‘Endless Summer’ with ‘Floridian retiree.’” Don’t get us wrong, we’re here for it; Caraway just has a particular knack for describing the millennial minimalism we can’t help but crave. 

Recess, a CBD-infused sparkling water

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