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redesign-summer_poster-03Another project we did recently for the Museum of Emigration in Gdynia is a program of cultural events taking place in August. Again, there were some specific requirements we needed to follow: as the Museum wanted to emphasize their brand identity, the image needed to include the building and the characteristic orange color. The program culminates in a swing dance party, which we also needed to reflect in the design.

We considered illustration but because of time limits we went with a photographic solution. For the main image we used modified photos of the museum and of a retro swinging couple and had some fun with coloring them. In fact, we’re quite happy with the colors of this design as there was more chance than usually to play with them.

Museum poster by re:design

Poster was the main part of the project and later elements were based on it. The folder – with many more, similarly treated photos – folds into a neat near-square which resembles the poster and unfolds into the full program with information about particular attractions.

redesign-summer_poster-01redesign-summer_poster-04 redesign-summer_poster-05 redesign-summer_poster-06 redesign-summer_poster-02And additionally we also created quite a few web banners and screens, like these two.

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redesign-zapytaj-06The Museum of Emigration in Gdynia asked us to prepare materials for their Ask about Poland workshops and meetings. The action invites people who emigrated and then returned to Poland to talk about their experiences and the reasons for their decisions. The museum wanted to emphasize both emigration and the fact of discussion, of various points of view coming together in the project, which inspired our idea.

The first element of the design was a poster to inform about the action taking place. We jumped at the opportunity to create another paper composition, this time based on speech bubbles that would symbolize the conversation and make good canvas for the extensive amount of typography that we needed to include. We added paper boats and planes converging on a point to suggest the return.

This is a fragment of the actual composition as arranged on our floor.

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And this is the result.

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Once the poster was ready we started working on the leaflet. We had the opportunity to use die cut and so we decided to create a real version of the effect that we created on the poster with two different background colors. For the leaflet we decided upon an irregular cover shape so that darker blue comes from underneath the cover.

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We often regret that we don’t get more chances to use such fun printing techniques and so we really enjoyed working on this leaflet and really like the result, especially with the lovely paper – thick and not too white – that was chosen.

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And here is the whole poster, plus one of many web banners that we also created.

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redesign-goldberg-06Experyment Science Center asked us to design a poster for their winter break program for kids. The theme was ecology and it included such activities as various games, recycling workshop and building an eco Goldberg machine. we mostly remember these kinds of machines from childhood cartoons and I think there was a game once which I found quite difficult (and fairly tedious after a while; I’ve got the name on the tip of my tongue but can’t quite remember it). But this is actually a great subject matter for an illustration, more challenging than usually because you have to come up with a series of events that would at least look like a working machine. We also wanted the machine’s effect to seem ecological and that’s how we finally arrived at the diagram for the poster.

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Now, we’re (clearly) no engineers but we hope the sequence of events is clear and so is the welcome outcome.

Speaking of welcome developments, this is another week of free shipping on Society6 if you click this link so if you’re in a mood for our Friends  or Iconic Painters stuff, this is a good chance to get it and save some money.

redesign-feminine_mystique-01The next book in Words Matter series is a feminist classic, a sociological study by Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique from 1963. The book describes a situation of housewives trapped in their role, with their opportunities limited by what Friedan famously described as “feminine mystique”.

We like working with feminist texts because there is so much iconography to use. Here, we decided to play with what one might imagine as symbols of femininity, particularly of those women constrained to their kitchen and living room. We chose a slightly more complicated but most traditionally feminine technique of embroidery, with the book’s title embroidered on a simple kitchen cloth. This was particularly appropriate in Polish where the equivalent of “cloth” can serve as a disrespectful name for a woman (not a swear word exactly, but definitely offensive). But we feel even without this additional linguistic sense, the very object of a kitchen cloth is sufficiently disregarded to put our point across.

an-il-07As embroidery is not one of our strong suits (or something we would even know how to start) we asked for the help of my mom, who’s been developing her own embroidery technique all her life and agreed to help with the project, transporting our design to an actual cloth. The pink gingham pattern we chose for the background makes the design both casual and girlish. We chose script typography, which can be associated with womanly writing but also with various kitchen- or restaurant-related designs. Finally, we added a simple ornament, which we intended to be between a typical plant ornament and something more, well, anatomical.

Once the embroidery was ready, it turned out it took many attempts to arrange the cloth properly. We wanted the impression of a cloth casually dropped somewhere, without any second thought, so that is looks like the valueless object that it is. Here are three of many more attempts we rejected (on our all-purpose Ikea table):

redesign-feminine_mystique-04Whether we actually dropped the cloth, hoping for a random natural arrangement or tried to arrange the folds ourselves, we weren’t happy with the result because the top part took too much attention. These arrangements were not terrible but still not what we had in mind, so eventually we settled on something much simpler.

redesign-feminine_mystique-03What we like about this cover is that we think we managed to reflect the subversive nature of Friedan’s title, its irony. It is also always exciting to employ a traditional technique in a meaningful way, which was actually one of a few points that we tried to make in Words Matter project.

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redesign-fairy_game-02Once upon a time we showed you a sneak peek of an illustration we were working on and promised to show you the rest soon. Soon is clearly today because having received the print version we’re sharing with you a small board game for children that we designed. Our friend designs for a local children’s theater and for Children’s Day celebrations (that’s June, 1st here) they publish a small magazine for kids with activities prepared by designers.

Due to budgetary constraints, this was a pro bono job and these are always tricky in that everyone needs to come up with their own reasons to do or not do stuff for free. We actually have a whole set of conditions that we use to decide. In case you’re interested, here they go. 1) We need to have time to do the project, obviously. This is a basic condition. 2) The project needs to be interesting in graphic terms so we see it as a fun challenge or a chance to try out new ideas. 3) We need creative freedom (if you want to influence the design, that’s great but not free). 4) It can’t be a commercial project that someone is making money off of. 5) We need author’s copies. You’d be surprised how often people ask you to do stuff for free but refuse to give you even one copy of the finished work. (Of course, it helps if a friend asks but that’s not really a condition.)

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This time we decided to use the opportunity to play a bit with a certain illustrative style we’d wanted to try out for a while but never had a good project for that. We also decided to treat this as a tribute to one of our favorite pastimes ever and make a very simple board game.

redesign-fairy_game-04The rules are as simple as they come. You go along the way through the woods to get to granny’s hut and every now and then you meet a fairy tale character who makes you go forward, backward or stop for a turn. We came up with a whole host of those characters. They’re all drawn by hand and colored digitally, with a new method we came up with for the project. It turned out quite time-consuming but now we know we would probably return to it some time.

redesign-fairy_game-08Then we assembled all the illustrations into one board, added the rules and the game was ready to play.

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And here are some other activities.

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Jane Jacobs by re:designAs you may have noticed, we love working with Lego whenever we get a chance and so we gleefully worked them into the Words Matter series. Jane Jacobs’s book The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a classic work on urban planning, including the criticism of modernist urban thought for its lack of focus on human needs. We found Lego blocks to be a great material for this one because of their modular, grid-based character, which illustrates well modernist ideas but adds a playful element to the composition.

Obviously, building letters of Lego was fun but it didn’t go as easy as you might think. In fact, the final construction is our the second attempt. The first one looked like this:

First attemptIf you compare it to the final version, you will see that the letters were broader and lower and we didn’t feel they reflected the height of the cities well enough. While the erosion of some of the letters was visually interesting, we thought they started to resemble ruins, which was too strong an association. Finally, the round bits were too dominant, making the material too obvious. And so we disassembled the whole construction and started again to finally reach this:

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by re:designWe covered most of the letters with flat white blocks (and we did have to raid all the sets for these) so that they looked more abstract and added some extra pieces for the greater sprawl of the composition. In fact, there was one more aspect to the design, as this image will clearly show you:

redesign-cities-03We thought grayness was a very important part of the design but our Lego collection is not nearly extensive enough to include that many blocks in one color. And so it took some post-processing to reach the result we wanted. However, we did want to share the colorful version because we feel it looks fun (and gives you some idea about our process).

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by re:design

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The Golden Bough by sir James George Frazer is a classic of anthropological and mythographic writing: a book in which Frazer examines early religious beliefs and how they influenced contemporary customs still to be found in folk culture (well, contemporary to him anyway). Also, unlike many such works, it has a very pretty, evocative title, which partly influenced its inclusion into the Words Matter series and resulted in one of our favorite of all these covers.

In fact, we approached the design twice: at first we wanted to use mistletoe as appearing on one of the classic editions of the book but not only is mistletoe hard to get by outside of the Christmas season but also the one we did find didn’t look all that impressive in the end. So instead we settled on oak branches with their extremely characteristic (and pretty) leaves. We picked a lot of them and then we spent some time spraying them golden.

We were quite happy with the decision to go with oak because not only is it way more striking visually (sorry, mistletoe) but its symbolic meaning is also very powerful.

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We did a die-cut lettering in a piece of golden paper, in art deco-like typography whose simplicity doesn’t distract from the whole idea and which is very elegant.

redesign-goldenbough-05And then we arranged the leaves and the letters in such a way that the leaves come out from under the writing, illustrating the staying power of myths and how they permeate our culture. It looks fairly simple, but arranging the composition took quite some time and required quite a few decisions.

As happened so often with this series we turned out very happy with the result exactly because of its simplicity.

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