Also in this week’s Design Diary, our roundup of projects, events, and general design world news, we bring you one creative director’s unusual take on a sculpture exhibition, record sleeve designs inspired by a descent into darkness, and the good people at MagCulture’s Crimbo collabs. For more along these lines (and so many others) you can follow along all day, every day on Instagram @AIGAeyeondesign, Facebook, and Twitter @AIGAeyeondesign.
MagCulture, Christmas Cards
Our lovely pals over at MagCulture have revealed a gorgeous set of Christmas cards, with five unique designs being sold to raise funds for Shelter from the Storm, a free emergency night shelter providing bed, dinner, and breakfast for homeless people in London. Each card was designed by a different designer or designer pair close to, or frequently championed by MagCulture at its shop, events, and blog; and these include Richard Turley & Sophie Hur (Civilization); Veronica Ditting (The Gentlewoman); Tony Brook & Jonathan Nielsen
(Unit Editions); Nina Carter (It’s Freezing in LA!); and Leslie himself, who worked with illustrator Alice Bowsher. Everyone concerned donated their time and resources to the project, meaning the full £12 (around $16) cost per set, printed by Park on beautiful Fedrigoni paper, goes directly to the charity.
Tom Sharp, Twenty-five Sculptures in Five Dimensions
Tom Sharp, founder and former creative director of design studio The Beautiful Meme-turned freelance branding writer and poet has now added another couple of strings to his bow as both a sculptor and a curator of sorts of a rather unusual exhibition. Twenty-five Sculptures in Five Dimensions was a one-night only installation that presented 25 sculptures that “exist between the four dimensions of thirty syllables and the fifth dimension of your mind,” as Sharp puts it.
What this means is that the installation looked to explore the idea of writing as sculpture: on 25 plinths of varying heights, small pieces of text, each made up of 30 syllables, aimed to communicate an original sculptural object to the viewer. The tops of each plinth were printed and people were invited to tear off five sculptures and exhibit them in their own home. “Every element of the installation was based on the number five. Five type sizes, five different sized plinths of dimensions divisible by five… Five syllables per line of text,” says Sharp. “‘Whether it’s advertising or poetry, I explore what writing can do. The text became sculptures through a reader’s consciousness, and the texts were about consciousness. How language shapes it. Whether it is a fundamental of the universe or a materialistic phenomenon destined one day to be recreated by IBM. What art’s role in exploring consciousness is. How we create an unnatural division between our minds and the many minds of nature.”
Even the cocktails served on the evening of the show—which naturally started at 5 p.m.—were five-based, with five ingredients. The exhibition was designed by Studio Sutherl&, whose founder Jim Sutherland says there was a “beautiful constraint working with such magical words without over designing. We wanted to keep emphasizing the five dimensions by using 500 mm square plinths in five heights, in a 5×5 grid, 5″ catalogue.” The installation was set in Helvetica Neue 55 in five sizes as a nod to the Swiss Church venue in London’s Covent Garden. Composer Alex Baranowski created a constantly evolving original soundscape for the installation, using five sections of music of found sounds and instruments inspired by the sculptures, each lasting five minutes and based on notes made up of fifths.
We’re longtime fans of illustrator, artist, graphic novelist, musician, and all-round superdude Sarah Lippett here at Eye on Design (the last time we spoke to her was about her gorgeous documentation of time spent in Ukraine); so we were naturally thrilled to learn that her latest book, A Puff of Smoke, was named one of the Guardian’s Graphic Novels of the Year. The book, published by Jonathan Cape, deals with Lippett’s very personal story of living with rare diseases, which have plagued her since childhood but were never properly diagnosed until she was about 18. As a child, she suffered terrible headaches and strange numbness and began dragging one of her legs, leaving her feeling isolated, and leaving numerous doctors utterly bewildered as to what was causing her symptoms.
The Guardian described the book as grueling yet joyful: “…she understands the way that illness and disability stir up fear in other people, a terror that can manifest itself as cruelty…the heart of her narrative has to do with stoicism: an expression of strength and, sometimes, of love that can be unfashionable in these emotionally incontinent times.” Lippett also speaks beautifully about her life and the book on BBC Woman’s Hour, which is well worth a listen.
Davy Evans, The Undivided Five designs for A Winged Victory for The Sullen
UK record label Ninja Tune has a pretty great rep when it comes to making ace artwork, and this new release, the album The Undivided Five by A Winged Victory For The Sullen, is no exception. Created by Davy Evans, who has also worked with the likes of The xx and Karen O, designed the record sleeve concept and moving image pieces based on the idea of “building an unfamiliar world based solely on light, showing the descent into darkness with various photographic techniques,” he says. These included using various explorations with digital photo manipulation and sculptures. The record itself is said to take inspiration “from abstract artist Hilma af Klint and the recurring nature of the perfect fifth chord.”
Irish-born, London-based designer Oscar Torrans recently worked on designs for the collective Pussys, which puts on parties, talks, and exhibitions, as well as publishing a magazine focused on Irish youth/club culture, gender, sexuality and LGBTQI issues. “Pussys emerged out of a changing Ireland, from a country where being gay was illegal until 1993 to the first country to pass same sex marriage by popular vote in 2016,” Torrans explains. The branding uses a logo set in the typeface Klute, designed by Gareth Hague in 1997. “Klute references stylized forms of writing; historic Germanic, blackletter letterforms and graffiti and tagging,” says Torrans. “Its references are based on a personal idea of lettering—the action of writing is more personal and human than the craft of calligraphy or the mechanics of typing. These references suggest the idea of saying something particular and personal.”
The concept behind the logo design was to subvert the idea of “pussy” as a slur denoting weakness, “and making it aggressive and proud like it’s saying, ‘Yeah I’m a pussy so what I’ll still kick the shit out of you’,” says Torrans. “The direction throughout was subverting symbols of machismo and presenting previously repressed lifestyles with the same bravado as lads’ mags.” People were so into the logo that at least five got actual, permanent tattoos of it.