We are not often as engrossed in a movie as we were in

The Trial of the Chicago 7

What is it? An Aaron Sorkin movie about the aftermath of the Chicago riot of 1968.

Why we love it? This is a court drama, a period piece and also a political story with current overtones. It’s brilliantly written and impressively acted, particularly by Sacha Baron Cohen. It keeps you involved in the story, makes you angry, moves you and occasionally even makes you laugh.

Visually speaking, the period piece is done right, including the costumes, the interiors and, notably, the group scenes, which have both a personal feel and almost a sense of a documentary.

Last year the Museum of Gdańsk was celebrating its 50th anniversary. We had the honor and pleasure of being graphically involved in these celebrations. We designed the logo of the anniversary and a book on the history of the institution. Covid restrictions meant that the celebrations were humbler than originally planned but the book makes it possible to prolong them with some solid history reading.

The logo of the anniversary uses the cross pattern from the regular logo, but interwoven with diamonds.

The book is titled “From the City Hall to the Museum”, which references the fact that one of the buildings belonging to the Museum is an old city hall of Gdańsk. Through five essays the book tells the story of the then-young Museum of Gdańsk: how it was established among the political upheaval of the 1950s Poland, how the buildings were slowly reconstructed after the war’s destruction and how the young institution was involved with the life of the city’s inhabitants. It’s quite fascinating for any history lover.

The logo for the Museum’s anniversary inspired the design. We used the diamond pattern and gold paint throughout the book. We drew another inspiration from old newspapers which constituted an important source material for the book’s authors. We used a golden diamond raster on some of the photographs to recall the raster of old newspapers and chose typographic solutions that also bring them to mind. Red color and thick frames also appear in the design for that reason.

In addition to the golden color of the frame, the cover has embossed diamond pattern. The cool photo shows workers installing a reconstructed sculpture of the king.
A title page of the first article, about the life in Gdańsk in 1960s.

Additionally, some of the pages fold out to highlight the most interesting photos, with a detail of the same photo printed in the golden raster on the cover of the folded page.

We again congratulate the Museum on the occasion and wish it 500 years more!

We are late to the party: you’ve all probably already seen the spectacular miniseries, but we only watched it, delightedly, last month, and so we want to share our impressions and maybe convince a few other latecomers. So, do watch

A Queen’s Gambit

What is it? A period miniseries telling the story of Beth, an orphaned girl who develops a masterful skill at chess. From a Christian orphanage, through Kentucky suburbs, she rises to compete in the grandest international tournaments.

Why we love it? This is a beautifully done show, with a lot of attention to detail and a thrilling psychological portrait of an exceptional person. Some people claimed that it is interesting despite all the chess and thanks to the motifs of addiction and dysfunction, but we actually liked the chess (even though we’re very much not players or fans of the game).

Visually speaking, everything looks wonderful. The recreation of 1950s and 1960s is fantastic, with gorgeous outfits and interiors. Additionally, every new locale has its distinct visual character reflecting the changes in Beth’s life and commenting on them.

Continuing our post-Christmas nostalgia, this week we want to share a lovely picture book that our son got from Santa, Lots by Marc Martin (it’s translated as “A Million Things” into Polish so the cover looks rather different).

Each spread shows an interesting place on Earth: some are about cities, some about natural territories, picking out curios, fascinating animals and memorable constructions for an idiosyncratic, personal catalog of the wonders of the world. The illustrations are painted with a mix of lightness and precision, with distinct color palettes that don’t shy away from gray (as watercolor painters sometimes do). The author’s enthusiasm (if not uncritical) for the variety and richness of the things that make up our world is contagious.

Antarctic, water paints work great to show ice and water.
I have a feeling that in the original book everything was written by hand but the typeface chosen for translation actually works surprisingly well.
The wonders of Asia.
Paris, how we miss you!

As Santa was generous with our book gifts this year, we are happy to share the first one: a monograph on Stockholm Design Lab, a studio from, you guessed it, Stockholm, who we’ve been admiring for a while. Their truly impressive portfolio of work includes nothing less than the identity for the Nobel Prize.

The book is also impressive in its own right: solid, hefty, generous with white space, leaving you a lot of air to admire the designs. It is not afraid to spend an entire spread on a single blown-out image and it even uses hotstamping inside the book. Yes, inside. SDL’s designs are characterized by a certain austerity, minimalism and focus on ideas that is sometimes hard to pull off in client work and that makes it all the more impressive that these designs came into existence.

A case of the beautiful golden hotstamping inside. There are more.

A slightly late recommendation, but we spent literally the last days of December delighting in this show.

Bridgerton (season 1)

What is it? A Shondaland foray into (alternative) Regency England, of all places, the show tells a story of a London season and the debutantes’ hunt for husbands.

Why we love it? Once you give up the expectations for historical accuracy, this show is pure delight. Its rompy, sudsy drama kept us glued to the screen. The show refuses to apologize for everything it is not and embraces its chosen convention – which is basically sexy costume melodrama – with aplomb. Most of its vast array of characters are likeable and fairy well-cast, with some choices nearing perfection (particularly Polly Walker as Lady Portia).

Visually speaking, the show is as lovely as anything, with vivid bright colors and lovingly created super clean London streets. Is it realistic? We bet not. But it looks charming as hell.