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No. 231: Designing Janelle Monàe Merch, Branding Audio Erotica, Masterfully Minimal Book Design + More

TGIF, and TG the long, sober, skint, cold, frankly depressing month of January is out the door to make way for the shorter, yet still pretty freezing February. What better way to celebrate than with six rad design projects? Yes, we popped in a bonus one this week, just for you, dear readers. For more along these lines (and so many others) follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

Tabula Rasa, Volume IV, Performance

The fourth issue of Tabula Rasa, a gorgeous non-profit print magazine about art and photography, has just launched, taking Performance as its theme. “The design of the publication always thoughtfully acts as a blank slate,” says Tabula Rasa co-founder Sabrina Banta. “Every issue has a new look and feel, theme, cover material, set of contributors, and a diverse set of work that speaks to the singular vision of our contributors.”

The new issue took the “traditional” sense of performance as its starting point, and led to examining how “everyone performs now that social media has become the unifying stage that anyone can participate in,” according to the Tabula Rasa team. “We have become both the performers and the audience.” Contributors include Yael Malka, Put Put, Lillie Eiger, and Bea De Giacomo.

Efil Türk, Eloquence book cover design

Designer Efil Türk, founder of Finemade Studio in Turkey, recently got in touch with a lovely project that exemplifies minimalism well done. Türk created the cover for a book called Eloquence, which uses a stark white backdrop and purely typographic standpoint to create something that’s striking yet understated. “Eloquence is the magnificent, elegant and fluent use of language,” says Türk. “It is primarily the power of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language, thereby producing conviction or persuasion. The cover is designed with strong typography that reflects the meaning of the word ‘eloquence’; powerful, persuasive and elegant.”


Chris Burnett at Ceremony of Roses, Janelle Monáe merch designs

Chris Burnett is a very cool designer and generally very lovely guy, who’s previously worked with some very cool clients indeed, not least Tyler, the Creator of Odd Future. His latest hip commission was to create the branding and merch for Janelle Monáe’s album and tour, Dirty Computer, while working at the L.A.-based agency Ceremony of Roses. Monáe’s creative team, Wondaland Arts Society, showed Burnett a film they’d created with a “narrative that spoke to the fight for equality amongst those who feel marginalized by society,” Burnett explains. “From that point on we were hooked.” The designer used some of the assets from the album cover and some behind-the-scenes photography from that film to create the new product range, which is “based on recurring themes in the music and film–censorship vs freedom, expression vs oppression etc.,” says Burnett.

Elena Miska and Victoria Herrera, Dipsea branding

Elena Miska and Victoria Herrera have created the brand identity and web design for Dipsea, an app that offers “short audio stories designed to turn women on,” as Miska puts it. The designs use a mixture of some beautiful serif and sans serif fonts against a Matisse-like patterning in various hues of orange. “Inspired by the transportive quality of Dipseas immersive audio stories, our brand identity and digital design work plays off of the layered sound design that allows listeners to enter into different worlds,” says Miska. “The dynamic system is bold, provocative, and is able to house a wide range of audio story artwork while still being visually cohesive.”

Graham Hanson, 20/20 Twenty Projects Twenty Years

New York-based graphic design agency GHD Partners, founded by former AIGA/NY Chapter Board member J. Graham Hanson, has just released a monograph of its work. Entitled 20/20 Twenty Projects Twenty Years, as you might expect, it showcases 20 projects spanning two decades, including work from Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, Google, and The Smithsonian Institution, with images and insights into the design process as well as texts from design writer Roger Yee and educator Jeff Bellantoni. 

Beatriz Pinta Gama, Color Is

Based in Lisbon, Portugal, designer Beatriz Pinta Gama has created some brilliant work ranging from a book on rave culture to thoughtful branding for an organic food takeaway business. One recent projects that caught our eye was a self-initiated one, a poster series entitled Color Is. “The project was created as a conceptual and playful three-part experiment,” she explains. “It addresses how the graphic designer employs color as an instrument to convey its message. “Many creatives from the areas of architecture, furniture design, cinema, and art have crafted their iconic and recognizable color schemes, which plays a great role in asserting their own language… By contrast, the graphic designer does not restrain itself to a single palette—color is only one of the designer’s many tools at hand in the process of creation.”

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