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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You can also see an animated version by the talented Esy-Floresy studio.

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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.

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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.

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A pasta ad poster which looks better than a whole lot of fine art we’ve seen.

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A poster for the School of Visual Arts, with such a smart use of the very matter of poster.

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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.

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An identity for Minneapolis Institute of Arts that recalls the architecture of the school.redesign-glaser-mia_logo

Glaser created a bunch of fun typefaces that played with the modernist letter. This is his famous Glaser Stencil:

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And Baby Teeth, the more experimental one, was used for instance on the Dylan poster.

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Finally, Glaser was one of several (but not many) designers who created the full set of Shakespeare covers. His illustrations have a poetic quality.

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(And a little tribute to the Dylan poster. Here‘s our original Dylan artwork to make the context clear.)

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Happy summer, everyone! To celebrate the turning of the seasons today we’re sharing the book that deals exactly with that: seasons, how they change and what natural and cultural phenomena go with each one of them.

The book is another masterwork by Blexbolex, a French illustrator whose splendid Romance we already shared with you. His work betrays fine arts origins as almost every page would make a wonderful print. The author captures the poetry and magic of changing seasons, not so much with a plot, as in Romance, as with smart, often funny juxtapositions (and masterful drawing). On top of all this goodness there are also impressive printing solutions, using spot colors and great awareness of the possibilities of print which helps achive the richness of the illustrations. Highly recommended!

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The Poor, the Sick, the Orphaned. Hospitals of Gdańsk from the Middle Ages till Modern Times is a book we designed for the Museum of Gdańsk. It describes the phenomenon of Gdańsk’s early hospitals, which date back to the Middle Ages and which started as religious charity ventures for people that had nowhere else to go. In fact, the first hospitals had surprisingly little to do with what we think of as hospitals today. The book accompanied an exhibition that we also designed and that was prepared by the historians of medicine.

The title of the book is printed on the cover with red shiny foil and throughout the book we used the original etchings and paintings that illustrated the history of Gdańsk’s hospitals in the exhibition so that it’s part collection of historical essays and part catalogue.

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In an exciting first, this month we want to recommend a book. You might have heard of it already because it’s definitely not a new book, but we’d still like to add our personal praise to whatever you already know.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

What is it? A 1992 Pulitzer winner, it retells the story of King Lear, placing his quarreling family in rural Iowa. Basically, it’s Shakespeare among Iowan farmers, with all the passions, feuds and dark psychological insights. It also has a powerful ecological undertone, which is hard to ignore.

Why we love it? Smiley takes the spotlight away from the traditional protagonists of King Lear and instead focuses on the original villains who lose their villainy in the process (there is a villain, just not who Shakespeare envisioned). The narrator is the oldest daughter and her relationship with her younger sister (they’re named appropriately Ginny and Rose) creates the core of the story. The characters are drawn with insight and compassion and the reinterpretation of the classic feels very timely. A great read for any fan of a retelling (which we certainly are).