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.)
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).
Recently we’ve designed a logo for the upcoming publishing series by Jewish Historical Institute. The series, called Jidyszland (ייִדישלאַנד / Yiddishland), will be popularizing the literary heritage of the Yiddish language. The mark combines the first letters of the name in Latin and Hebrew alphabets.
This was an exciting logo to work on because it gave us the opportunity to get familiar with a non-Latin alphabet – always a fun challenge – and to work with a purely letter-based sign.
We participated in the social media action raising money for charity that supports Polish health service during the pandemic. This is originally a rap challenge but trust me, you wouldn’t like to hear us rapping. Luckily, it also has a design version whose only requirements are to create artwork with “help” and “16” in it. Here’s the link for the charity if you want to support it.
Also, if we’re on the topic, we forgot to mention that we have an Instagram account so make sure to come by and say hi (if social media is your thing, anyway). We put some unique stuff there every now and then, together with occasional pictures of what’s going on with us. Here’s the link.
Stay healthy, stay generous, see you next week!