For the workshop next week that’s going to be spent in the darkroom, I have been looking into photograms and what you can do with that technique. Man Ray is very much a favourite, his images are so varied too ranging from very abstract to very concrete with the images being very low contrast which makes them very poetic. My favourite one is definitely the hand because it looks so alien and nice!
Ben Branagan, Inca Starzinsky and Sophie Smallhorn- 3 practitioners I discovered today and not being able to decide who to write about I decided to do all three.
Ben Branagan is a south London based artist and designer making really interesting collages using found photography or pictures he’s taken himself, cutting out and overlapping images to create a sort of surreal vibe where you are looking into several dimensions at once.
As a part of my collection brief where I am making a book containing some of the projects I have been working on since October, I have been researching layout. One interesting character in this field is Alan Fletcher. His approach to layout is that it can be much the same to making a storyboard for a movie; some parts are busier than others but the most important thing is the pace.
I think much the same way actually, pace is the most important thing and how (if you’re making a book) thinking about the flow and how one spread reads after the next is the most important thing. When I work with layout I draw inspiration from different sources I’ve recently or not so recently come across but still have fresh in my memory and try to mix that with my own personal style. But in the end what does it for me is how it feels. If I can’t get the feeling I’m after when looking at my layout design, it’s not the right design. I tend to move things around and experiment until my gut tells me where the text and image fits.
Watching a clip with Fletcher where he talks about his approach in making the book The Art of Looking Sideways he says that even though the book is so long (about 1000 pages) each page has a different layout, which I find quite interesting as the approach I feel I have been taught is to stick to a defined number of different grids so as to keep it cohesive. In a way it still makes sense though because it all comes back to the feeling. As long as the eye doesn’t get confused looking at it, why not have 1000 different layouts in one book?
Work by Alan Fletcher
As a student at Central Saint Martins, Kath Tudball found a book so inspiring that it continued to shape her future career. “A Smile in the Mind” written by Beryl McAlhone and published by Phaidon Press in 1996 is about witty thinking in Graphic Design and featured a piece by Michael Johnson she found particularly interesting. Influenced so much by this she managed to get an internship at Johnson Banks where she stayed for over a decade working with branding and visual identities.
Now working at The Partners, Kath has an impressive portfolio of clients, projects and awards and always comes back to the idea of wittiness in design and letting her passion for ideas that deliver social impact influence the way she works. Some of her projects include TUSK, Cystic Fibrosis awareness and the new identity for the Science Museum, each one having that extra layer of playfulness that I think makes them so successful. Ah the power of a good book.
Images taken from johnstonbanks.co.uk and the-partners.com
Alexander Calder, originator of the mobile, was an American sculptor that managed the art of combining elegant with quirky. His mobiles are both adult and childish at the same time, every one of them having a personality of their own – making them easy to love for a wide range of people.
In my pastiche of him I will aim to capture his playfulness and simply the way in which he had fun when making his mobiles and his art, enjoying his work. The technique I will be using is either stop motion or purely digital. Or maybe filming his mobiles and how it moves, maybe placing it in different environments to see how it changes. Pretty undecided basically! I will have to see where this project takes me.
The one think I do know though is that my colours for this will be blue, red, black and white. Think lots of circles and plenty of black lines moving about. Up and away!
Before venturing in to the world of Graphic Design I had no idea you could do so much with type and love type so much that you can make a living designing it or designing with it. I never thought I would be one to get excited when seeing a piece of graphic design work featuring only type but I’ve come to realise that I do. There are so many designers dealing with type in the world in so many different and interesting ways: printed, painted, sculpted etc. Below are some examples of designers and studios that has made type and letters their living and it’s really inspiring.
Finding funny and interesting things in our everyday life and in our surroundings is what Russell Weekes do best. With a degree in illustration, Weekes wouldn’t call himself an illustrator but rather someone who works with observations. His work is very inspiring and evidence of that you actually can do a lot by simply working with what you have around you and finding connections between things.
Work by Russell Weekes, images from his website
Singing sneakers, a goat in a ravine and imagining oneself as bread; the Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams’s exhibition “The Gulch” at The Barbican is a walk through strange. Led from one room to the next, the artist takes us on a journey from beaches, restaurants and board rooms- trough built scenes set in dim lighting with no explanation as to what we’re looking at. It’s magically bizarre and I wish the experience went on for longer.
With a Kubrick vibe but maybe less dark, The Gulch is an exhibition I recommend. Go and listen to a man telling you to imagine yourself as a piece of dough. A dough man with different types of breads as your limbs, rising with the hot flames of the oven. Growing crisp and toasty. I for one couldn’t stop laughing.
Kurt Schwitters was a German artist probably most famous for his collages although he did lots of other work as well such as graphic design, sculpture, installation art, paintings and poetry. Most linked with dadaism, Schwitters made collages in the most collage(y) sense possible and his style is quite easily recognized.
Collages by Kurt Schwitters
Two Points is a studio specializing in flexible systems for visual identity, making stunning layout design and playful yet controlled identities. Based in Hamburg, Berlin and Barcelona they have worked with clients all across the world, big and small alike.
What I specifically like about their work is how, through out their portfolio, you recognize their style even though their clients vary so much. The projects have an airy feel about them and often the similar color palette but still manages to be diverse.
A previous post I made about their identity for The Big Draw