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It’s my birthday and so we refuse to do a regular post. Instead please enjoy these random 35 awesome things.

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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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Do you know it’s been over five years since we first published our series Iconic TV Shows? Our style has changed somewhat since then and lots of those shows are no longer remembered or they also changed completely. Time flies.

Still, it’s one of our favorite – and definitely longest running – projects and we like adding new posters to the series. This year one of our biggest TV discoveries (well, “discovery” is a big word for a show everybody and their aunt saw before us) was the series pictured below and so we proudly add it to the collection.

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And if you’re in love with Hawkins and want a bit of it on your wall, you can buy our poster here (also available as various other products) and here.

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(And here for your convenience links to all the rest of them on bza – and they’re also on Society6.)

 

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For our son’s second birthday this year we have again made him a custom picture book. This time we illustrated a story that we’ve been telling him for a while now before sleep. He usually gets bored quickly of those stories and demands that we come up with new ones but the story of a fox that tries to copy the behavior of other animals held his interest longer so we chose this one as a birthday gift.

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The fox meets a pig.

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The bear and bees.

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Stuff like this is always a welcome break from whatever else we’re working on and we only hope J will enjoy the book as much as we enjoyed making it.

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Every now and then our son goes through book phases when he gets very excited about looking through picture books. We’ve got a ton of those books but not all of them are great to look at. And so to celebrate J’s birthday we filled one of the not-so-pretty books with custom illustrations showing J and some of his toys.

It was a fairly quick side project but it was a lot of fun and it got a semi-appreciative audience because J was quite excited to recognize the toys he’s playing with in the pictures.

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From sketch to page. (A form of J’s name is a homophone with the Polish word for a hedgehog and so we have all sorts of toy hedgehogs at home.)

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An underwater page with various bath toys.

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Nothing is more fun than IKEA rats.

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Fun in the playground.

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Our project Iconic TV Posters happened a while ago (here and then here) and since then we’ve been watching some new shows so it’s only right to broaden the list every now and then. Today we add a show for your guessing pleasure (assuming you even heard of it). It’s just finished its second season and it remains a weird and charming (if sometimes darkish) delight that so far we’ve had no success in recommending to our friends. So, do you know the show as encapsulated in these three icons?

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We’ll put the answer in the comments and if, like us, you appreciate an original thought in the creation of a show, give it a try.

And if you like the poster, as usual we added it to our stores on Society6 and bza.

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23rd April marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Two years ago, for the 450th anniversary of his baptism, we have started what has become our Shakespeare Project, whose results we are sharing with you today.

The logo of the project with symbols for genres of Shakespeare’s work

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We were looking into published series of Shakespeare’s plays and how they were designed because we were wondering about buying a nice collection for our library but we didn’t find anything we’d particularly covet. There are a few collections but not exactly what we had in mind. So instead we decided to design a series ourselves.

At first, however, we (re)read all the plays (and sonnets), looking for symbols or motifs that could stand for the entire play. With some of them it was very simple: it’s quite easy to match a skull to Hamlet or a donkey’s head to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With others, though, we had to dig deeper and rely on less obvious associations. In the end we compiled a list of possible symbols for each play (many for some, fewer for others).

A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse! and some other symbols used on the covers

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redesign-shakespeare_project-04The idea was to pick one symbol for each play and use it in a sort of ornament but when we started working, we realized that we wanted to broaden this concept a little: not only did we add additional, smaller icons which are also inspired by the stories, but also for each cover one big icon is changed, illustrating in an almost gif-animation-like style the plot of the play. For instance, the ship on Pericles sinks and the crown of weeds on King Lear falls apart.

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We kept the covers fairly simple and used bright, pure colors to make them more striking – a different combination of three colors for each cover.

We also designed the interior of the books, using one special color in addition to black to mark characters, footnotes and such.

Cover and interior for The Merchant of Venice
Othello: interior and a fragment of cover
The beginning of Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Comedies

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Tragedies and poetry

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Tetralogies of history dramas

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In addition to 38 books we also used the icon designs in a poster which summarizes the project. It presents all the plays divided into genres, together with their dates of composition (after Encyclopaedia Britannica). There are two color versions of the poster, light and dark, depending on how you imagine your Shakespeare because we liked both versions and didn’t want to choose.

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If you are a huge Shakespeare fan or would just like to remember what plays he wrote, you might buy the poster on bza (light/dark) or society6 (light/dark). Additionally, this time we are also selling wall tapestries and throw blankets with this design because it’s just such a cool option.

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This was a challenging but satisfying project. Not only did we refresh (and complete) our knowledge of Shakespeare’s work (and it’s always great when you learn something while working) but also we had to work with a deadline and we managed and so can celebrate the Shakespeare holiday. And obviously, it’s always fun to complete a large project on something you like.