Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The island of Sans Seriffe

This was found in the Guardian website, its absolutely brilliant well worth a read.

Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell makes interesting dioramas out of books. Her work has a fairytale quality, which is relevant due her choice of medium. 
Wild Flowers

The Old House

Pandora's Open Box

Chatsworth Derbyshire, A Guide to

I think he may have hated women

As I mentioned earlier I visited Les Musee des Beaux Arts in Nice and was introduced to the work of Gustav-Adolf Mossa for the first time. His work is hung in a small room and immediately on walking I loved it. The drawings are morbid and fascinating, accompanied by french text you don't need to be fluent to know that there is something very PG18 going on. Most drawings feature cat-like women, blood covered male orgies and heart ripped from still warm chests. It's Emo but 1950's and far more attractive to look at than a My Chemical Romance album cover. On getting on to the internet and doing further research I was able to find out that Mossa was a key member of the Symbolist movement, into decadentism, orientalism, spiritism and satanism, love of masques and masquerades, androgynity or hermaphradotism, to name but a few themes evident in his work. In short he likes theatrical weird stuff, which is great, I love the drama but his drawing are more than disturbing.
This one is called Lui a portrait of Elegabalus, preparing for a dance performance, in the background, the audience, men decked out in evening dress, are waiting to see his performance. Inscribed with the words "Et alors, il contrefaisait la voix et les cris des jeunes filles auxquelles l’on fait violence,” ‘And then, he imitated the voice and the cries of the girls that he had raped.’ Weird but I like it. 

When designers get bored

Apparently this is what graphic designers do when they get bored. Personally I eat but producing work like this would be a much better use of my time. Highlight is clip 1.58 where pandas are made to look like the band Kiss. This is a great exercise in seeing the potential in objects beyond their initial use.

My first day at school

This is an animation by a graphic student. I've seen many animated type videos but this is one of the most successful. The poem is My first day at school by Roger McGough, a poet I remember reading and listening to as a child in primary school. The style of the animation being chalk on a blackboard is obvious, but saved by the way in which he treats the lettering using them to represents children in playground by the way they move move and swarm across blackboard is so representative of children racing round a playground.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Rodin Museum

Auguste Rodin has always been my favorite sculptor. The way in which he captures the tension and life of the human body in such a passionate and unrestrained way has always appealed to me, and a few years ago I went to the Rodin Museum in Paris and it was one of the most enjoyable afternoon. I took a friend with not much interest in art and even less in Rodin but by the end she was a convert. The Museum is both indoors and out, and features many well known works such as The Kiss, The Gates of Hell and The Thinker. The mythical stories behind the work add to the energy and beauty of the pieces, and the sense of fantasy captured in a moment.

Les Musee des Beaux Arts

On a recent trip to Nice, France I visited Les Musee des Beaux Arts a museum established in 1928 in a beautiful house orginally built for a Ukrainian Princess. The collections of the museum are extremely varied and included the work of Jules Cheret, Raoul Dufy, Auguste Rodin and Gustav-Adolf Mossa. I love French museums because I feel they do more to incorporate art outside the museum building as well as in. Whilst sat in the wonderful gardens facing an amazing fountain/sculpture which frames the palm trees and foliage of the brilliant South of France, I contemplate the grandeur of the building, the sweeping staircase designed to accommodate a small orchestra, the large vaulted ceilings and marbled flooring seem almost more impressive than some of the artwork that adorn their walls. But this may be due to the fact that this grand home was designed to hold such things. I cant help but feel that this sculpture nestled within the foliage seems more at home than the other works of art within that indifferent, perfect building.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is a dystopian film, set in near-future United Kingdom. It follows a young woman, named Evey who is rescued one night by the vigilante V, a masked, sword welding, smooth talking freedom fighter, who wants to save England from the fascist totalitarian government, who keep order by inducing a high state of fear amongst the population. From that night her life changes and she joins V in his fight to effect change and pursue his own personal vendetta. The story of Guy Fawkes and the bon-fire plot is a strong theme in the film and is used to great effect to create that unnerving this-could=happen feeling that is a integral to achieving a dystopian feel. Hugo Weaving plays the part of V and it is a testament to his acting abilities that he is able to achieve such nuance is his performance as he spends the entire film in a mask. The Guy Fawkes mask with its stretched grin would stifle lesser actors performances but Weaving is able to project his emotions past the masks expession, with his voice and his body language (also difficult as his is wearing a body-swamping cape). This is my faorite scene, the alliteration is very impressive and the delivery is faultless, and I have to admit to having needed a dictionary a few times.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful is one of the most heartwarming films I have ever watched. Written, directed and staring Roberto Benigni as Guido a Jew living in Italy in the 1930's. The first half of the film sees Guido, meet, court and marry a local woman and start a family. I found this half of the film slow moving and boring, full of slap stick comedy and completely at odds with the rest of the film. The real joy of the film is in the second half which sees Guido and family moved to a concentration camp. Him and his wife are separated but he is kept with his young son, who he lies to and convinces him that it is all a game and that they are competing to win a tank. It is strange to have a comedy set in the holocaust but in a way the sweetness of the comedy makes the true horrors of the war more poignant. Guido must be creative and quick-thinking to protect his son from the truth as well as from the germans who will kill him as he is too weak to work. Many criticise the absurdity and implausibility of the premise but I find that if u suspend disbelief you can really get into it, and begin to feel for the characters. My favoriite scene is when Guido is hard at work moving rocks, and his son runs in saying the other kids are having a shower but he doesn't want one, tryiing to hide his son from the Germans Guido tries to persuade his son to go and have a shower, little realising his son has just escaped the gas chamber by refusing to go.

Do your thing

Another absolutely brilliant music video. This time incorporating t-shirt design and typography. Again it shows the expressiveness of type, which so many designers ignore in place of image. The guy with the trumpet t-shirt is an absolute dude though.

Good Life

This video may be responsible for all the homemade typography music videos, but they say imitation is the highest form of flattery. I really like his music video and think it is one of the bet simplest ideas, and a good example of how typography can be used expressively to add nuance and paint an accurate picture of a mood or scene. It's good to see really great entrepreneurial use of typography, especially in a hip hop video that could so easily have just been full of cars and hoes. 

Animator Vs Animation 2

I'm sure you've seen these before but I love these animations so much, I think the way the play with the well known PC interface is absolutely brilliant. It's something to aspire to. 

Photocopier Art

During my year abroad in North Carolina State University I was introduced to different ways of creating images and type. One of the most exciting and fun was Photocopy art. The application of a colour photocopier is far more advanced than just reproducing duplicates of an image. You can play around with colour, transparency, negatives etc. It can allow you to experiment and create varied and intriguing images and when you know what effects you want, you can create some amazing effects and illusions. One of the best features about using the photocopier is the physical quality of the finished image, particularly when you've layered image on top of image, you can see the images below coming through and it give it a certain quality that whilst you can produce the same image on a computer, you don't get the same effect of seeing the process that went into making it evident in the image. In the same way that Warhol's screen prints are unique, the way the ink sits on the page and the individual marks and scratches of the machine create unique indentations on the image, that to produce the same image again and again results in slight variations individual to each print. The colour quality is also impressive, you can get a wide variety of tone from grainy, faded to strong colour blocks, and as you run the page through the copier again and again the image quality can degrade in a way that a computer can't reproduce. As students we are always being told to step away from the computer. It can be used to fake a lot of different media, but there is something unmistakable about the authentic thing and being so used to the computer, when you produce an entire image without it the final result is so unlike anything else you've every produced, from the colour, style and print quality there is an overwhelming sense of the designers hand in it that is exciting and instantly notice able.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

It's Business time

These are excellent examples of the importance of having a well designed memorable business card, and how imaginative you can get with them. The hairpin business card is my favorite as it is clever, useful and fun, a stroke of absolute genius.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Shock Horror

This is the trailer for Colin The £45 that has apparently taken Cannes film festival by storm. Filmed on a 10 year old standard camcorder, and edited on a home PC it was written, filmed, edited and produced by one man, Marc Price and took 18 months to complete. Whilst most of the hype stems from its ridiculously low budget of £45, which was spent on a crowbar, ketchup and some tape. Price was able to keep his cost low by advertising for extras and volunteers on facebook, and getting them to bring their own lighting equipment, make-up etc. This film also breaks new ground, in that it is the first zombie film told from the zombies prospective and focuses on the relationship between Colin (who changes within the first few minutes) and his sister, and what he witnesses whilst out on a carnivorous rampage. Critics have called this one of the best indie films this year and some viewers at the Cannes film festival reportedly cried (tears of emotion, not pain). 

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Oh no they didn't

This may be the most unfortunate, ill-conceived logo design ever. Designed for a non profit organisation, this is an excellent example of how there is such a thing as a wrong solution.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Tying the knot

I remember reading an article a couple of years ago about a couple so fanatic about knitting that they had an entire knitted ceremony where everything from the cake to the flowers where knitted and guest even knitted throughout the entire ceremony. I have found some pictures from the wedding, and whilst its not the way I would do it I applaud them for incorporating their passion into their special day.


I've been knitting for the last two years, nothing adventurous, just scarves and beanie hats. I'm trying out mittens at the moment, and hopefully, one day maybe a cardigan, who knows. Here are some more professional knitters work, who show the medium isn't as fuddy- duddy as you might think.

Bright Idea

What do you do when inspiration strikes, but you're on the loo? 
Designed for the School of Arts "Think" campaign, to encourage people to think and write down their ideas, no matter where they are. It think its a good simple idea, and the strongest object is the loo roll as the toilet is a place where you have time to stop and think.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

On the Shelf

Here are two alternatives to boring flat pack shelving. Both turn functional storage solutions into interesting wall art. My favorite is the seemingly suspended books and towels which I'm sure will confuse visitors, though the geometric characters are a playful, grown up design alternative. 

Sinking feeling

The clever drainage system of this interior designed sink made me smile. 

British Summer

Says it all really.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Design for Life

BBC 2 new apprentice style design program failed to impress critics. The problem of fitting the rigid apprentice reality formula to Philippe Starks no-nonsense, necessary design only philosophy is jarring. The pairing of this larger than life French designer with 12 young British designers also sits uncomfortably but then that may have been the idea, watching the contestants endure endless cheek kissing is quite funny. The real savor is Stark himself, his passion and exuberance for design coupled with his French accent and ridiculous metaphors and explanations of his ethos are charming and really engage the audience.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


This is another stop motion animation. This time by Italian Street graffiti artist Blu. This animation called Muto, shows his weird, grotesque dismembered figures, mutating across a very urban wall. His drawings and the thought of the time and effort that went into the animation are impressive, but what I really find interesting is the idea of what graffiti is. To create the illusion of movement, Blu must paint over what he has done and the result is a white emulsion snail trail, wiping out the previous drawings. The background Blu uses has already been tagged by graffiti, and Blu's drawings seem to bulldoze over them with their violent energy. It shows the temporal nature of graffiti and makes you wonder how long it was before someone else made their mark on his work.

Type conference

You know you're a Graphic designer when you get drunk at parties and sit around having conversations about how badly misunderstood Cooper Black is and how you know a guy who knows a guy who got dared to use Comic Sans in his final project and somehow managed to get a first. Well this video is absolutely brilliant, correctly depicting te characteristics of different fonts based on their name and physical characteristics. A good game to play is to try and guess their identities before they are given.