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As Santa was generous with our book gifts this year, we are happy to share the first one: a monograph on Stockholm Design Lab, a studio from, you guessed it, Stockholm, who we’ve been admiring for a while. Their truly impressive portfolio of work includes nothing less than the identity for the Nobel Prize.

The book is also impressive in its own right: solid, hefty, generous with white space, leaving you a lot of air to admire the designs. It is not afraid to spend an entire spread on a single blown-out image and it even uses hotstamping inside the book. Yes, inside. SDL’s designs are characterized by a certain austerity, minimalism and focus on ideas that is sometimes hard to pull off in client work and that makes it all the more impressive that these designs came into existence.

A case of the beautiful golden hotstamping inside. There are more.

It’s the most magical time of the year and it’s also our 10th anniversary (not specifically on Christmas, but why not combine two good things?).

On this occasion we want to wish you the merriest, calmest time this Christmas, may it renew your spirit and make you hopeful and cheerful.

As for the anniversary, we had so many plans to celebrate it graphically but, of course, life got in the way, as it does, and we poured it all into the ten Christmas trees. But those projects are brewing and will show up eventually! Peace!

As promised last week, we are sharing the proper photos of the temporary monument built in front of the city hall in Gdynia to commemorate the shipyard workers killed in December 1970 by the communist governement.

The display combined architectural design, animation and graphic design to share information about the events that happened 50 years ago in the city streets. We were touched to see positive, interested reactions of people who happened to come by to see the display as we were taking photos of it.

This was a difficult, also emotionally difficult, topic to work on (it also included time restraints and lots of spray painting) but seeing the raised construction at night was quite powerful.

Credits: concept and architectural design by Anna Grabowska with the technical help of Tomek Sokolski, script by Maugo Domańska, animations by Esy-floresy Studio, management by Hilta/Paulina Neugebauer.

Section titles are taken from a famous, vernacular song about the events, “Janek Wiśniewski Fell.” The wall below shows the entire song. Many of the archival photos from that day, including the one used below, show a crowd of people carrying the body of the killed boy on a door. This became a powerful symbol.

This is the wall with the animation panel – it’s hard to tell in some of the photos because the animations fit so well with the rest of the design, thanks to the great work of Esy-floresy.
Above the title wall (with the Year 1970 Gdynia) there’s another, smaller animation panel (with the eye).

In addition to the construction, another commemorative design consisted of a series of black flags/banners spread over the main street of Gdynia. Some of them were entirely black while others carried first names and ages of the people killed in those events.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic events that took place in some cities in Poland, including Gdynia, where we live, in December 1970. Poland was then under a communist regime and at this time people went on strikes caused by the rise of prices of basic articles. The situation escalated to shootouts in the streets, which resulted in deaths and injuries. In Gdynia most of the victims were young men going to their work in the shipyard. Here’s a Wikipedia link for a small article on the subject.

We had the priviledge of working on an installation commissioned by the city of Gdynia to commemorate the events. The installation was conceived and designed by Anna Grabowska with the technical help of Tomek Sokolski, the texts were written by Maugo Domańska, and animations done by Esy-floresy Studio with the whole thing managed by Hilta/Paulina Neugebauer (and this was really a dream team to work with).

The design we created was meant to be a little dirty, so that it doesn’t look like a typical street exhibition about historical events but that it brings to mind a street object that got written over. We used archival materials: articles and photographs. Some of them, showing crowds, are placed in such a way as to make the passerby feel a part of the demonstrations.

Today we are sharing some making-of photos (building-of, to be precise) taken last Monday, with the installation still being raised. It’s up now in front of the city hall – if you happen by Gdynia, be sure to swing by. We’ll show you the end result once we take the photos of the finished structure.

Since the beginning of December, and particularly since yesterday, St. Nicholas’ Day, we’re in a Christmas preparations mode. Well, as much as deadlines permit. It’s mostly a lot of cleaning but we also try to make handmade decorations with our kids and, to make it at least a little bit design-oriented, we have set a little challenge for ourselves. (This is the first challenge of this kind we’ve ever tried.) Since December 1st we’ve been posting one small Christmas image in our Instagram stories and we’re planning to keep it up till Christmas Eve. (Above: a scrap paper Santa for St. Nicholas’ Day; this was really a spontaneous collage that gave us the idea.)

“Day 2” image.
Yes, we baked ginger cookies yesterday and they are delicious, thanks to our friend Z’s recipe. We struggled a lot before with inferior recipes.
This is a rare case of unretouched photo of paper craft that we post so yeah, the edges are rarely sharp at this stage.

Come take a look (and say hi) if you’re interested, all images past and future to be seen here.

One more slightly political post (we consider it more socially-oriented, I guess) and then we’re back to usual.

We created this image as a comment on Polish women’s protests against the tightening of anti-abortion laws. The red lightning bolt quickly became the symbol of the movement. While it can easily bring to mind the obvious gesture, we wanted to make it a little less literal, hence the hand is spread.

If you feel you might need it for something, it’s downloadable for free from here.

Women’s rights are human rights, duh.

We spent a large part of the last week following the slowly developing but very intense presidential race in the US and when it was finally called on Saturday, we spontaneously created this illustration to celebrate its result. May Joe Biden’s presidency be good for the planet and bring back sweet boredom to political news!

In case you missed it, the number of smiley stars equals the number of states that voted blue (as of today, anyway).

This year the Museum of Gdańsk is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To emphasize this important occasion this year’s calendar that we designed presents a selection of archival photos of Gdańsk from the Museum’s collection, taken by a great photographer, Marian Murman.

The design was to be simple, with large, clear calendar and the photos in their original black-and-white colors. We used a metallic spot color for elements of the design and for the entire cover. Sometimes when you work with good photographic material it’s a pleasure to take a step back and let it speak for itself.