Under Consideration book

Plus, a new poetry collaboration between two agency creatives exploring memory and sibling relationships and a belter of a graphic novel from iconic cartoonist Seth. For more along these lines (and so many others) you can follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesignFacebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.

Under Consideration book
  1. Under Consideration

Experimental publishing project Under Consideration started with a website that showcases an exchange of ideas between graphic designer Nazli Ercan and designer and software developer Eric Li. It’s now become an infinite conversation. The text on the busy, brutalist-leaning website links to the various articles, videos, or images that are referenced.

“Under Consideration is also a collection of our own thoughts and references,” say the founders. “The site becomes an online, ongoing, and constantly evolving library that is shaped by and serves our own thoughts. In regards to the design of the site, we decided to set the text added by each participant in narrow columns, referring to the tightness of old newspaper layouts… there is only one possible way of reading the text. Trying to read it horizontally across the screen results in gibberish. All of these design decisions make Under Consideration heavily guided by and dependent on text, meaning, and thoughts.”

The logo, too, is subject to cantle updates and revisions. “The two curved lines signify each participant,” say Li and Ercan. “One is solid, which corresponds to the person who last responded, while the other is dotted, waiting for the other to respond. Once a response is added, the lines flip and the solid becomes dotted while the dotted becomes solid.”

The team has recently launched the Under Consideration book, which is unbound to encourage readers to visit the website to print out the new responses. The duo has also made scrolls with the texts of Under Consideration and pasted them across New York City. 

2. Astrid Seme, Baroness Elsa’s em dashes

We last spoke with Astrid Seme to discuss her merging of graphic design and music-making. Now, the designer has just announced the launch of a book covering something very specific: the em dash. The little punctuation mark serves a number of purposes: it creates a short silence, an interruption, and an occupying space. Seme’s book explores the use of em dashes in the poems of Dadaist artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (18741927).
“Her poems, performances, costumes, and lifestyle all made a point of challenging bourgeois artistic and moral conventions with an unapologetically feminist, proto-punk aesthetic,” says publisher Mark Pezinger books. Von Freytag-Loringhoven’s works are presented “in conversation with the likes of well-known dashers such as Gertrude Stein, Lawrence Sterne, Heinrich von Kleist or the queen of dashing herself Emily Dickinson,” the publisher adds.
Seth, Cyde Fans, interior
3. Seth, Clyde Fans

Cartoonist Seth has just published his graphic novel Clyde Fans through Drawn & Quarterly, a tome described by the one and only Chris Ware as “one of the greatest graphic novels ever written.” High praise indeed. The book tells the story of the titular fan company, and its decline—referencing, according to Drawn & Quarterly, “the mid-century capitalist dream.”

We see our protagonists battling through failed loves, loneliness, and resentment. “Eventually, all they have left is the dusty headquarters of the Clyde Fans company where they live, stewing on the experiences and opportunities they missed along the way… Clyde Fans’ message is universal: if we aren’t careful, life can pass us by.” Seth’s work has been seen on the covers of the New Yorker, and he’s also worked as a cartoonist for the New York Times and The Walrus, as well as projects as a book designer and a collaborator on a Lemony Snicket series. His importance to the world of visual communication was recently underscored by his being the subject of a recent National Film Board documentary.

Tom Sharp, Naomi’s poem

4. Tom Sharp and Katherina Tudball, Naomi’s Poem

Writer and creative director Tom Sharp, founder of the agency The Beautiful Meme and recently of The Poetry of It All, has collaborated with Superunion creative director Katherina Tudball on a new book of poetry that “explores mortality and memory,” according to Sharp. This is the pair’s second collaboration, and the 200 copy limited-edition book explores Sharp’s relationship with his sister on hearing of her “cliff-edge health news,” he says.

Naomi’s Poem takes the form of a single epistolary “creative conversation” between the siblings, divided into 12 sections. Each of these sections is bound within a french fold on 60gsm Offenbach bible paper stock, requiring the reader to tear the paper in order to read on. The typography is set in Doves Type, the metal typeface that was lost in London’s river Thames for more than 100 years before being rescued and recreated by Robert Green in 2014.

“I navigate the world through writing, so I had no choice but to use poetry as a way for my sister and I to confront what was happening,” says Sharp. “Katherina’s physical concepts and subtle detailing add an intense layer of emotional experience to the whole work.” Tudball adds, “The slow unfolding over time of the poem between Tom and his sister was something I wanted to replicate in the reader’s experience through the french fold. I’m fascinated by how each person treats the opening in a different way, some tear roughly, some slit precisely. Each leaves a unique visual marker of the moment.”


D&AD, 2019 Insight Report
5. D&AD, 2019 Insight Report

UK creative industries organization D&AD has just published its 2019 Insights Report, which sets out the trends that define design work. These trends were identified through work submitted to the organization’s annual awards, and D&AD concluded that the designers making the most effective work are those using humor while also engaging with tricky social and political issues; those who prioritize mental health both in terms of how they run agencies and how they design products; and those using new technologies such as AI and VR as a tool rather than an idea. The 2019 report was designed by Adam Morton-Delaney and illustrated with render images by Charlie Jeffries, and is divided into three sections to highlight the main themes: What is Human?, Fractured Society, and Access All Areas.

The report also noted that AI is seeing the rapid development of new tools for designers, such as Adobe’s announcement earlier this year that it’s incorporating Sensei deep learning algorithms into its Creative Suite products, which will help with tasks such as removing backgrounds in Photoshop and removing objects from video. “In this way, AI is becoming a creative assistant that will help us be more productive,” says D&AD. “While these initiatives show the power of AI, it can’t do the conceptual thinking for us and it doesn’t understand how to craft an idea. Instead this is about working with technology to help do it better… while technology opens up new opportunities to create personal, tailored content and reach people, it requires creativity to really cut through the noise.”

The organization adds: “Stop relying on technology to teach us the rules and start viewing tech as a platform or tool to create ideas, rather than the idea itself.”