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The Experyment Science Centre celebrated its big 10th anniversary at the beginning of this month. The Centre is a place where children – and, frankly, adults – can empirically learn about science: about physics, biology, human body etc. For the celebrations of the anniversary we designed a logo of sorts for the event and various promotional materials, including banners, flyers and others.

The key visual or the whole idea for the promotional materials was based on the number 10 whose “0” digit becomes a part of illustrations connected with both science projects and party celebrations. The main symbol is simply the “10” with the “X” from Experyment’s logo in the middle.

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“10 Years” on badges.

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Flyers for the events.

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One of the many ads.

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A banner on the Experyment building.

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We were also invited for a gala in the Centre where we were delighted to see that the work we did was used in a few surprising way, as you will see below. The gala was a lot of fun because not only did it include improv stand-up comedy but also all the machines in the Centre were working and the guests were roaming around them trying to create electricity or jump like a frog.

The scene with Gdynia’s president and the director of the Centre (photo by T. Kamiński).

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The guests who were leaving got chocolates with the logo on them: another use for it that we did not expect and were happy to find.

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Improv comedians on the scene (photo by T. Kamiński).

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This is the logo on the birthday cake (photo by T. Kamiński). It’s not very clear in the photo, but trust us, it was there in all its yellow-on-pink glory.

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Yes, we’re back. We came back in the middle of the mess our renovations are still causing and it was also the end of the semester, which meant grading, so yep, in short we missed an update – sorry! However, it’s time for the traditional round of “The Books We Bought While Away.” This time, though, it’s going to be a short round, guys.

Truth of the matter is, we bought exactly two books. (We saw a few other interesting things but we ended up ordering them on Amazon afterwards. We’ll share when they arrive.) The first one was the kind we always buy instead of postcards and other souvenirs: a pop-up illustrated panorama. You saw them before on our blog and here’s the Berlin edition:

Illustrations by Sarah McMenemy.

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One of the few attractions we actually managed to see (but not the most exciting one).

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We only saw Alexanderplatz through the train’s window.

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But we did get to walk through a huge part of the Tiergarten.

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And another book we bought was actually a gift for our son and it quite enchanted us. It’s a small picture book about a mouse and a hedgehog who live in a garden and grown different plants. It’s printed with water paints on eco-carton, which we condone wholeheartedly, and it’s a lot of fun.

The toys come from our home collection. J has a lot of hedgehogs because of his name and he really loves rodents so the characters in the book were already a good match.

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Our school German is virtually non-existent but it suffices to read this book.

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The paper is naturally gray so that white elements have to be printed onto it and it gives the book a pleasant, natural, a little old-fashioned feeling.

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And that’s it, not the most fruitful trip in this respect but we were spending a lot of time at the conference and the only exciting bookstore we found in the city was closed for a national holiday.

We wrote more about Typo Berlin here, should you be interested for some reason.

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This year for the long weekend we have at the beginning of May Experyment Science Center offers attractions that explain the work of oceanographers who study the Baltic Sea. We had the pleasure of designing a poster for the event.

The poster was directed at both children and adults and so we had to find a style that would appeal to both. Since most of the events deal with the study of the underwater life forms, we chose to illustrate various Baltic Sea inhabitants as being lighted by the light of a scientific submarine (obviously yellow, because references). It was quite fun to choose from various fish and other organisms and to illustrate them in a unified, geometric style.

A horizontal version of the poster for use online.

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Turbot.

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Porpoise (like wolves, it’s also in need of protection, by the way) and a flounder.

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Good old cod.

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Eel and brittle star.

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Hope this makes you want to visit a seaside for the beginning-of-May weekend (if you celebrate it, of course).

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Coming back from a meeting a few weeks ago we stopped by a nice bookshop full of artsy treasures and, of course, we impulse-bought a children’s book we want to share with you today. It’s by William Grill and it’s called The Wolves of Currumpaw. Fair warning: it’s not exactly a happy book, more of a cautionary tale, as it tells the story of a wolf hunter and how his biggest catch made him turn into a preservation activist (I guess this is the happy part in the end; but first there’s wolf-killing and we honestly found it hard to read).

The loveliest part of the book is the illustration style: how it cites Native American art but also makes it very approachable and child-friendly. The use of crayons for the drawings makes them softer, almost like a blanket, and we feel this softening is quite welcome, considering the subject matter.

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(The wolf starring in the photos is our son’s, from a series of plush toys that help support  WWF.)

An example of the lovely sense of space the book creates.

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The illustrator creates masterful variations between spreads. Some are panoramic views of the landscape, some resemble infographics while others are dynamic action scenes. The color palette is lively and hushed at the same time.

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And this one is somewhere in between an infographic and an action scene.

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(The wolf is called “Oww.”)

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The two wolves eternally happy in the wolf heaven.

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We were quite touched by the book because, well, we love wolves. The issue of  preservation of our local ones is very dear to us and we try to support it as much as we can. (And if you feel similarly, you may always consider donating to WWF or another similar organization. Just saying.)

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Last year the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk held a large exhibition entitled Fête funèbre. The participating artists presented their reflections on the subject of death. We were invited to design the catalog for the exhibition, which we were very happy to do. Gloomy subject notwithstanding, as we might have mentioned already, catalogs are the best things to design, barring none.

The catalog includes profiles of all the artists with the presentation of their work and also two academic articles on the representations of death in the history of art, all of the texts both in Polish and in English. So the layout needed to be flexible enough to include all these elements. As it was also the first stage of our work on the guidelines for future publications, it needed to be quite orderly and consequent.

We wanted to reflect the somber tone of the exhibition but without making the whole thing depressing, so we chose to use a lot of black offset by a (quite lovely, really) warm-silver metallic color and red accents. This limited color palette created a good background for the presentation of the varied works. We used the symbol of the dagger, traditionally used in biographic notes to mark the time of death, and thick frames that are also sometimes used to mark the names of the deceased. We also chose somewhat decorative serif typography for the titles.

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The dust cover turned out quite lovely, thanks to printing techniques that the photo does not do justice. What looks here like dull beige is actually the same metallic color, combined with matte silver hot-stamping on the texts and the frame.

Silver hot-stamping, but not the shiny kind.

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The cover under the dust jacket uses reversed colors and no text. The flowers have also lost their heads.

Title page, with the dagger ornament on the left.

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Close-up of the ornament, in red and silver – probably the most lively bit of the design (the pun was truly not intended but, oh well).

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Close-up of the names of the participating artists (the frame used in its traditional function).

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The exhibition was held in the unusual architecture of the Academy’s exhibition space and most photos that were used were taken on the spot, which gives the whole catalog a unique feeling.

Most photographs by Bartosz Żukowski.

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Paintings by Beata Ewa Białecka.

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More sculptures by Mariusz Białecki.

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How could we resist the use of red thread? We never do.

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The two languages are set side by side in two columns, Polish in black and English in silver.

A spread from one of the scientific articles.

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Despite the inherent melancholy of the subject matter, the catalog was true joy to work on (and to see the final result when we got our copies).