We are super happy to share that Sapientia aedificavit… book that we designed for the Castle Museum of Malbork got awarded in the Communication Arts competition and our award arrived last week (just in time for my birthday, too). We are awed to see the book among so many incredible winners. Here‘s the CA site for 2020 with winners in the Books category (but check the other categories as well, great stuff there).
This is an Eating a Humble Pie kind of recommendation because when we first watched Shame in a theater, we really failed to connect to it. And then for the longest time we quoted this movie as a prime example of something boring and empty. However, on a whim, we rewatched it recently and wow, did our perception change. We’re properly shamed (sorrynotsorry).
What is it? A 2011 movie directed by Steve McQueen, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, tells the story of Brandon, an outwardly successful man fighing his inner demons that manifest in sex addictions. When his sister arrives for a stay the facade of Brandon’s world begins to crumble. But it isn’t really about the plot so much.
Why we love it? Not so much for story reasons as for the artistic choices and, especially, the two stars’ performances. Fassbender, especially, is breathtaking in his humanizing and honest portrayal of Brandon. Alien as his life seems to us, his suffering appears universal.
Visually speaking, this movie uses light, camera angles and interior design in a smart way. The New York of Shame both looks good and repels the viewer with its coldness and emptiness, reflecting Brandon’s inner world (or one layer of it). And (we have to add it), Fassbender is quite uncommonly attractive, too.
Dobry Wzór is a Polish design competition interesting in that designers cannot submit their work. Rather, the jurors look for interesting designs among products available commercially on the Polish market and choose nominations from among them, focusing on those producs which provide the customers with good design value. So it was a big deal to us when the book was noticed and nominated for the competition and we are overjoyed now that it’s among the finalists. The book will also be seen shown in a post-competition exhibition later in Autumn.
Recently we showed you the family of urban explorers designed to promote the city of Gdynia as a tourist destination. The family has now gained new incarnations and visited new sites of the city in the additional illustrations we created. They are lazing on the beach and staying active by the seaside.
And in the animations created by Esy-Floresy Studio, who invited as to this collaboration, the family explores much more! They see the modernist architecture, train and finally relax. You can see the animations on Esy-Floresy’s YT channel here (this is the first one).
Hope everyone is having a good, relaxing summer!
This is the family on the beach by the center of the city. The fish monument is one of the characteristic sites of the city. In the background you can see the yacht harbor and one of the modernist buildings that create the landscape of Gdynia.
Here the family relaxes in Orłowo, a pretty district by the sea, with two well-known attractions in the background: the cliff and the wooden pier.
This month’s re:commendation comes illustrated as we are sharing a beautiful picture book by Coralie Bickford-Smith, The Song of the Tree. Ms. Bickford-Smith is the incredibly talented designer behind our beloved Penguin Clothbound Classics, many of which decorate our bookshelves (still not as many as we would like). She uses her skill with ornaments here as well to tell a poetic story of a bird, a tree and the tree’s other inhabitants.
This is a lovely story about growing up and opening up to one’s surroundings. And we are especially awed by the design and illustrative skill exhibited here as well as by the careful attention paid to the print production. The book is printed with three spot colors creating a vivid, yet minimalist color palette. (It is also clothbound.) Each spread is a carefully planned composition, wowing with the level of detail and reminiscent of the work of a printmaking artist. Finally, something both we and our older son enjoyed immensely, the spreads reward the reader for paying close attention: various characters of the story – the different animals inhabiting the tree – appear and reappear throughout the pages. Sometimes you need to look for them more closely, which recreates the excitement of the explorer in a wilderness (or how we imagine it, anyway). This is one of the prettiest books we’ve acquired for a long time.
Again we had the pleasure of designing an identity for the outdoor film festival Filmowa Stolica Lata (Summer Film Capital), taking place in Warsaw for the 15th time. During the festival people gather in various parts of the city (observing all the anti-Covid regulations this year) to watch classic, cult and some newer movies in nice company and festive atmosphere. This year we chose a chameleon to be the symbol of the event.
You can also see an animated version by the talented Esy-Floresy studio.
The amazing Esy-Floresy Animation Studio has invited us to participate in their newest project: a series of promo materials for the city of Gdynia, inviting tourists to come to the city and explore its sights and nature sites. We have designed a family of urban explorers, with further characters (and animations!) to come so stay tuned. Also, we hope everyone is having a great summer so far with many exciting adventures still planned.
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Milton Glaser, one of the icons of the twentieth and twenty first century design. He’s been one of our idols and we’ve been admiring some of his work at least since design school. Milton Glaser was an accomplished teacher and spoke wisely about design and other issues. We were particularly impressed with his adherence to the philosophy of abundance (honestly, something we could all use more of). Even though we understand why some people call for a new approach to the history of design, less focused on individual creators and more on movements and communities, giants like Milton Glaser prove that it will always be necessary to celebrate the genius of individual people. We hope Milton’s heaven is beautifully designed!
And here are some of the most iconic (or most fun) Glaser designs.
Our favorite bar none, the celebrated Dylan poster for Columbia Records. Not only is it a wonderfully memorable image, it’s about Dylan.
A pasta ad poster which looks better than a whole lot of fine art we’ve seen.
A poster for the School of Visual Arts, with such a smart use of the very matter of poster.
Of course Glaser’s probably most famous design is his I ♥ NY logo that he used for this 2001 poster calling for solidarity in New York.
An identity for Minneapolis Institute of Arts that recalls the architecture of the school.
Glaser created a bunch of fun typefaces that played with the modernist letter. This is his famous Glaser Stencil:
And Baby Teeth, the more experimental one, was used for instance on the Dylan poster.
Finally, Glaser was one of several (but not many) designers who created the full set of Shakespeare covers. His illustrations have a poetic quality.
(And a little tribute to the Dylan poster. Here‘s our original Dylan artwork to make the context clear.)