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There might be people who shrug at graphic freebies. We neither know them nor count ourselves among their number and that’s how we got this map we’re showing you today. To celebrate 25 years of freedom the Prime Minister’s office has ordered an illustrated map of Poland with information about the history of democratic transformation. Then everyone could order a copy for free: I suppose they expected this to be mostly aimed at parents of children but we refused to be stopped by that and our map came a few days ago, close enough to Independence Day.

The map is a work of Hipopotam studio from Warsaw, who proved they can do maps by publishing one of the biggest illustrated books in our collection, with quirky maps of the world. It’s quite an impressive feat and probably gave someone the idea for this little gadget we’re presenting. (Also, if maps of the world sound like your thing, this book is quite widely exported: we saw it in London and in Paris so you can probably grab one somewhere near you.)

The map of Poland is pretty much the same style-wise, only it’s of, you know, Poland. You can find illustrations of historical figures, important buildings, food and, our favorite, animals.

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Here’s Gdynia, where we live.

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The other side presents some crucial moments in Poland’s recent history, titled What We Did Right: 25 Years of Freedom.

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I don’t exactly know how appealing this is for children but we found the whole project a lot of fun.

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Today’s poster marks the beginning of our cooperation with Experyment: the science center of Gdynia, which aims to show children – and sometimes adults, too – that science can be both relevant and fun. While on regular days the center offers children a lot of entertaining activities in its interactive exhibition, on Halloween it offered a program for adults entitled “The Laboratory of Fear”, which included such things as molecular cuisine, lectures, the presentation of the Oculus Rift technology and some others.

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We decided upon an illustrated poster that would be in tune with other materials for the center but somewhat darker than those aimed at children. We played with the classic horror monsters but gave them a scientific (and cartoonish) twist. For colors we chose sombre purples mixed with pumpkin oranges and acid greens.

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As you may have observed we are big fans of a Warsaw illustrator Marianna Oklejak. During a trip to Warsaw two years ago we found her wonderful illustrated history of the city of Warsaw that we determined to buy but before we got to it (long story, doesn’t matter) it turned out to be sold out. We discovered they were considering a reprint but not really actually doing it. So imagine our delight when looking half-heartedly for a gift for a niece in a small, chain bookstore we found a forgotten copy of the book. Maybe it got overlooked because it was somewhat warped or maybe because the cover doesn’t entirely do justice to the great contents but the more lucky us. We bought it and we can share it with you today.

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It’s a large-format, cardboard book and each spread presents a dense illustration of the map of Warsaw in a particular historical moment. Detail-heavy drawings provide a wealth of details that you can look at for quite a long time, admiring subtle sense of humor. We particularly like that some characters, for instance the siren of Warsaw (the symbol of the city) or a pair of bears, resurface in every spread in various roles.

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The oldest history of Warsaw, full of pagans and missionaries and wild animals.

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The time when quarrelsome nobles ruled the country.

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The charming 20s.

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Rebuilding of the city after the war (a personal favorite spread).

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The gray early 1980s.

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Modern Warsaw, full of traffic jams and billboards (but also cultural events).

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Guys, we have so many ideas for fun, time-consuming posts and for some of them we even have all the illustrations (sort-of) ready. But today is not the day we will share one of those. Instead here’s a sneak peek of two illustrations from our current project, a very exciting one for us, a book for children about local architecture. It’s keeping us occupied now, together with an extensive house repairs project (ugh, aren’t those the worst?), and so the big posts have to wait a little longer.

Of course, we’ll share more of the book once it’s ready.

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janeczko_0005A while ago we designed a CD packaging for a CD with five talks by a professor of mathematics from Warsaw. He talks about social and psychological phenomena, presenting them through mathematical formulas. Obviously, this was an instant and thrilling challenge to find motifs which are both mathematical and can illustrate the specific themes of the talks. We finally chose to base the illustrations on vectors (not as in vector graphics but as in mathematical vectors that look like arrows).

janeczko_0001janeczko_0006The project is called Faces of Science. To See the Invisible and the five talks are titled: 1. Life 2. Man 3. Ambitions 4. Relationships 5. Science. We came up with an icon/illustration including two arrows for each of them. The client also wanted us to draw the portrait of the professor, which we’re always happy to do, and as far as we know the professor enjoyed it. We chose lively, strongly contrasted colors, a circular composition and a dot grid for a scientific yet energetic effect.

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janeczko_0007The project was created for Podpunkt studio.

re-walk-01While we’re still swamped with a ton of work, we took a (very short) break to share with you one more book we bought after our trip to London and it might be actually our favorite. It is called Walk This World by Lotta Nieminen and it shows a walk through various cities of the world in one day. Each spread is given to one city that the children should guess, using such clues as clothing, bits of language, famous monuments and even colors. Some are harder, some easier but all very pretty.

But that’s not even the best part, cool as it is! The best part is that it has those flaps of paper you can open to peek underneath and see what’s inside the buildings. I’m sure we’re well past the target age but we thoroughly enjoyed opening those windows and doors and chuckled at the humorous illustrations. Combined with nice illustrations, an exquisite sense of color and good production values, this is another book on our long list that we recommend to all you book aficionados out there, whether you have children or not.

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The whole journey starts in New York. (Sorry for the gif-y graininess but we wanted to show you the hidden illustrations.)

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This is Sydney spread with its lovely color palette and whatever’s hiding in a kangaroo:

re-walk-03re-walk-05Of course we couldn’t overlook Paris, with Mona Lisa hidden in the Louvre:

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And here’s Italy and the insides of a volcano:

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(Italy actually looks like a mix of several cities, which is a bit surprising at least to our European sensitivities but whatever, it’s still gorgeous.)

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