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Gdynia Design Days is a local design festival happening in our city and this year it includes two small exhibitions of illustrated books for children, which, as you know, is totally our thing. We took our son and went to see the works by some of the most popular Polish illustrators of today. Even though we already knew most of the presented works, we still enjoyed seeing them together and the way the exhibitions were arranged and J had a real blast, making a mess: moving stuff around and ruining the careful arrangements. Luckily, nobody minded because, well, that’s what you expect from children in a gallery. If they don’t touch anything, they’re probably not having fun. (Sidenote: we wouldn’t let him touch stuff in the Louvre, don’t worry.)

A series of books illustrated by Joanna Bartosik.

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A nice exhibition idea.

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What Do We Travel by? (from a selection of one-off books)

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Hedgehog.

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Map-inspired lists of attractions for various Polish cities by Ładne Halo.

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The Palace of Culture in 3D from Architekturki by Robert Czajka.

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J just couldn’t get enough of this fox cutout, carrying it around the whole exhibition.

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A selection of books to read and enjoy.

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Paper animals, also by Robert Czajka.

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Wolves.

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Children enjoying an animation based on Iwona Chmielewska’s illustrations.

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An illustrated labyrinth.

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As we hoped, the ongoing cleaning of our basement has turned out more illustrated classics. Today we continue with our adoration of Jerzy Flisak. This book we found is titled, more or less, To Be Someone and with Someone and seems to be a guide for 13-year-olds or so on how to be better people and how to work better in a social group. While the book is not necessarily the most exciting read for us, the illustrations certainly make us smile.

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Chapter title page.

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Sorry for the short hiatus, guys, but not only did Carrie wipe us out a little – we’re also working on our new studio website and it’s a huge enterprise. We’ll share the progress as we go on, especially the new project photos.

In the meantime we wanted to show you a resurrection of sorts of one of our minimalist Disney posters: the cover for a Belgian lifestyle magazine Knack Weekend. We were asked for the Pinocchio design for the cover because it fit the theme of the issue, about the lies people tell, and we were happy to cooperate. Pinocchio gained a new background and some international exposure.

The original Pinocchio poster.

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The whole series (buyable here)

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180702-redesign-randomness_thesis And a little different find: we discovered that our Freud cover from the Words Matter series made it to the academia: it is carefully analyzed in a thesis on randomness in typography by Anders Larsson, which you can find here (we’re on pages 28-31 but read the whole thesis).

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This week marks the 20th anniversary of Sex and the City, one of the cult TV shows of the late 90s / early 2000s, which changed the way people talked about sex and female friendship on TV. As you might have noticed, we like celebrating shows that were important to us with posters and so we have designed a poster for the occasion. Since one of the more characteristic things about the show (and one which has aged a little better than others) was always fashion, particularly Carrie Bradshaw’s crazy outfits, we have focused the poster on Carrie’s classic (and less classic) looks, 69 of them.

We did a whole lot of research (both re-watching the show and looking at many, many lists of “best outfits on SATC”) and sketched more than 90 looks that seemed important, then trimming the list down a little (it was still a lot of dresses to draw). We generally focused on those clothes which were somehow connected with the storylines and so, to my chagrin, did not include almost any of my personal favorites: the lunch outfits, but instead recreated various combinations she wore when breaking up and reconnecting with her significant boyfriends and experiencing .

If you like the poster, you may buy it from Society6 or bza.co.

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And if you like the behind-the-scenes images, here’s what the research notes look like (we’re not those designers who make beautiful, print-ready sketches).

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And now for something a little different. While we usually show you modern books for their beautiful illustrations and design, sometimes we want to spend time on gorgeous classics (the more so now that we’ve embarked on the humongous job of cleaning up the basement with all the books stored there).

We’re starting with a book not from our collection but borrowed from our friends, Z&A, specifically so that we can document the illustrations. The book is called Everyday Politeness and is a 1970s collection of advice on good manners and polite behavior. Each chapter is illustrated by Jerzy Flisak, a master of Polish design and illustration. While history of Polish design abounds in great talent, Flisak has always held a special place in our heart. He is the one illustrator we remember by name from beloved childhood books and, in a way, he’s one of the people who made us more interested in drawing.

Flisak used clear, light line in his mostly black and white illustrations and his works prove a great sense of humor.

Title page (messy typography is typical for the period).

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Chapter on dancing.

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The beginning of the chapter “On Holidays.”

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Chapter on smoking (the sentiment here is close to our hearts).

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Chapter on romance.

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“In the Theater”

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“Celebrations”

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That basement we mentioned is full of other Flisak-illustrated books so if you like what you see, be sure to stay tuned for other old-school gems.

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This year Experyment Science Center celebrates Children’s Day with sports activities – but as explained by physicists. It invites entire families to play sports and learn how they work from a scientific point of view, but also to meet sports players and compete in various activities.

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We were asked to include the physics element in a fairly straightforward families-playing-sports illustration, which is exactly what we did. We added vectors to the sporty family and, a little point for the observant, their letters form the word “experyment.”

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Leaflet.

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Today we would like to share one of our favorite design books, a monograph on Marian Bantjes: one of our absolute design idols. The Canadian designer specializes in typography, ornamentation and has a recognizable-but-not-repetitive style that really speaks to our sensitivities. This large-scale books showcases her work and is just such a beauty to look at, a true sensual pleasure. As if that wasn’t enough, the works are annotated with witty, honest stories about how they came – or didn’t come – to be.

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Bantjes has a wonderful sensitivity for non-traditionally understood calligraphy which she combines with more geometric letterforms.

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She has also a true talent (and patience) for filigree ornaments, partly Arabic, partly historic but overall modernized.

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And, of course, her work on tangible typography is one of the most impressive out there and inspired our own search many times. Here, for instance, sugar lettering.

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We’re not sure if this book is still in stock (probably?) but if you like to look at gorgeously designed letters, this is definitely the coffee table book for you.