Sorry for the short hiatus but we’ve had a few deadlines and we took a super short vacation: we spent a weekend in Warsaw. While there, we visited the Type Directors Club exhibition in the Polish-Japanese Academy. The show was really small (it’s held in a lecture room) but we found a few interesting typographic designs that we wanted to share.
Below: Menil Collection Identity by Kristen Chon.
Complexity and Simplicity by HDU23 from Mainland China. This was lavishly printed with silver on black, which the photo doesn’t show but which really made the poster (this and the strong, clear composition).
Pango by Osborne Shiwan. We always like the combination of type and stylish sports photography.
Julliard School identity (fictional) by Karlo Fuertes Francisco. Type that (almost) sounds.
This poster by Srishti Jain from Savannah College of Art and Design immediately drew attention.
And finally some strong-as-always type posters by Paula Scher for Shakespeare in the Park. This only seems to get better with time.
If you in the area, drop by the exhibition and see for yourselves; it’s a short but interesting stop.
Yesterday we visited our local design festival, Gdynia Design Days, on our way home, and we saw a couple of small exhibitions. We felt it lacked something as engaging for us personally as last year’s exhibitions of illustration for children (here) but several things drew our attention.
This year’s identity of the festival is again by Patryk Hardziej. Here are a few elements of the signage.
This student diploma project by Paulina Kozicka attracted our attention because, first of all, illustrated animals, but also it looks like an interesting educational tool. It’s meant to teach children to read and while we didn’t exactly understand how (we wish there were some instructions exhibited), our son, who loves letters, got immediately drawn to playing with the elements. Also, bonus points for the lion’s mouth as one of the game spaces.
The elements of the game are made of wood, increasing the tactile value of the diploma.
This is a small exhibition which we found the most interesting, eco-freaks that we are. It shows various ways in which trash can be recycled into everyday products. Some of them we found decidedly not aesthetically pleasing (but an interesting trend nonetheless) but others seemed very promising. Paradoxically the best part was the obvious one, showing results of the well-known recycling of glass and paper (below glass made from glass, which is nothing strange but still right).
And this exhibition focused on climate changes and products you can buy that are a bit more eco-friendly. We liked that the products were buyable on the market but if an exhibition wants to talk about countering climate change maybe it should show more ways to act than just buying stuff. Like composting, composting is awesome.
An exhibition about cross-over between space exploration and design. It felt almost mystical (also because we weren’t sure what some of the presented things did).
In this mostly-gray-sometimes-white winter it’s nice to think back on a summery project we did last year: an exhibition for the Museum of Gdańsk, entitled “The Gardens of Gdańsk.” The exhibition was held in the Uphagen House, a museum of historical interiors, taking up one floor of it, and it illustrated the history of public and private gardens in Gdańsk, as well as the very philosophy of gardening in the – mostly – 18th century. The exhibition was curated by Ms. Zofia Maciakowska and Ms. Katarzyna Rozmarynowska and all the (often problematic) organizational problems were expertly managed by Mr. Wojciech Szymański of the Museum.
We designed the entire exhibition: the spacial arrangement, colors, typography and all the prints displayed. The materials were fun to work with because they consisted of old maps, prints and illustrations.
The map of the Oliwa Park at the entrance to the exhibition.
While we really wanted to use real plants, the rooms didn’t have enough light and so we used artificial ivy and other plants, arranged on wooden garden constructions painted according to historical conventions (this lovely green-gray color is actually historically accurate, as we learned).
The walls were decorated with illustrative etchings and large quotes about gardening.
A close-up of the quote with the author.
The boards have different depths, with the thicker sides painted the color contrasting with the wall (pink in the green room, green in the pink room).
The typeface not only fits the conventions of the 18th century serif typefaces with their large contrast and geometrical shapes but also have decorative variants that match the etchings.
Next week we’ll show you more photos.
One of the coolest jobs we have done this year so far was the design of an exhibition and catalog “The Gardens of Gdańsk” for the Museum of Gdańsk. We have tons of photos but they’re unedited so they have to wait a while longer but today we wanted to share a sneak peek at the catalog. The cover has green hotstamping and a half-dust cover. Inside you can find a ton of garden-related images. More to come soon(ish).
This week we went on a somewhat eventful trip to Kraków, where we visited a large exhibition of works by Stanisław Wyspiański.
Wyspiański (1869–1907) is one of the most brilliant Polish writers who also created wonderful art in different genres, particularly pastels. But the exhibition in Kraków focuses more on his ventures into applied arts, which makes it particularly interesting as he dabbled in pretty much everything. He designed theater costumes, furniture and particularly elements of large-scale interior decoration (including stained glass windows) for churches.
A kids lesson about designing and creating stained glass windows.
Wyspiański was impressively good at drawings resembling Gothic paintings on stained glass.
The exhibition is discreetly but adeptly designed. Here a little ornamental decoration presumably drawn from Wyspiański’s work.
The exhibition shows not only the finished products of his work but also preliminary stages – sketched, designs – which we found fascinating. It might have been too specialized for some visitors but we drank it up.
One room shows better-known works: paintings and pastels,
including this lovely drawing of a boy.
Supposedly this furniture was meant to be uncomfortable so that the city council would not spend too long sitting in it.
Fragment of staircase that we would totally have in our place. It wouldn’t match anything but who cares.
We fully recommend seeing this extensive collection, should you happen to be in Kraków one of these months.
Last week heat waves defeated us but this week we finally managed to see the exhibition held in the Museum of Gdynia, showing the work of one of the greatest Polish designers, Karol Śliwka.
Śliwka worked for decades in the period of communist regime in Poland when the conditions for graphic design were completely different than they are now (long story). He almost single-handedly introduced logo modernism here and dominated the visual landscape. He created posters, packaging and, most of all, logos, following strict, intellectual rules according to which a mark needs to be the synthesis of ideas that represent a company or an institution in a beautifully geometricized form. What is more, unlike some other modernists’ of the period, Śliwka’s logos are rarely pure geometric experiments: they retain human heart, a sense of humor and joy, despite their minimalist form.
The exhibition shows him as a versatile designer, good with illustration, classically trained but particularly focused on his biggest love, logos (which he actually learned to design by himself, as he studied different disciplines). We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and encourage you to visit the exhibition, should you be in Gdynia soon(ish).
Below you can see the logo for Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Warszawy (The Society of Friends of Warsaw), which is probably our favorite of all Śliwka’s logos, simply because it had no right to work – and it does so well. The letters form the shape of a mermaid with a sword and a shield, the symbol of Warsaw.
A neon made from Śliwka’s signature.
On the wall you can see some of Śliwka’s posters, which he usually designed in a similar way to the logos.
Book and brochure covers.
Peace building and in the background a brilliant logo for the Institute of Mother and Child (a medical institution). It’s Lubalin-level brilliance, and we don’t say that lightly.
Packaging for sweets.
These are quite brilliant in the simple decisions made here.
A screen from a short, interesting movie about Śliwka in which, our friend Patryk Hardziej shows to him pages devoted to his work in Taschen’s Logo Modernism. Patryk is one of the creators of the exhibition and a great champion of Śliwka’s work, and he’s been working on popularizing it for a couple of years now.