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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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Every now and then, not too often, we share with you a boardgame from our probably-too-large collection. We pick them entirely for designery reasons, not for how much fun the game brings us (for instance our all time favorite game, Mousquetaires du Roy, has typography that burns your eyes out). This time it’s a game Skull that R got for his birthday last week from our friends.

It’s seemingly a simple bidding game whose only components are six sets of token (no board, so I guess it’s more of a token-game?), each set including three flower tokens and one skull token. The illustrations are quite lovely, unified but different across the sets so that each skull relates (vaguely or not) to a different culture. There is a lot of careful ornamentation, detail and a tasteful use of color.

The box.

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Contents the box.

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Viking (?) set, immediately picked by a Vikings fan in our group (hi, Z).

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A Mexican set, possibly the prettiest in the game.

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The backs with their ornaments. See what I mean about the color?

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All the flowers in the game, as behooves the springtime that’s arrived.

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I’m still not sure we played the game right the one time we managed to try it so far but it sure is one of the better designed among the ones we own.

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Last week we showed you a lovely Animalium book and promised that there are two. As you might already know or at least expect, the other one deals with the exciting world of plants and is called Botanicum. Having already enjoyed the one about animals, we were delighted to get the second part for last Christmas.

Just like the one about animals, Botanicum presents various families and groups of plants with gorgeous illustrations reminiscent of old encyclopedias. It’s both decorative and inspiring scientific interest.

Introduction.

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Elaeis guineensis (says Google Translate).

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Palms and cycads. (We love the little ideas, e.g. how one-color illustrations begin to form an ornamental pattern while in full color they are informative.)

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Rain forests.

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Trees. The pattern again and also this typeface works really well in this design.

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Fruit trees.

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Today we want to share with you the first one of two lovely books from our bookshelf. We got it a little bit by accident and really loved it. It’s illustrated by Katie Scott and called Animalium because, you know, it’s about animals. (Also, we got it in Polish so look at the margins for the translation of the spreads’ titles but you can easily get in it English.)

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The book recreates a natural history museum and present all sorts of animals in an educational (and lovely) way. On the cover you can even see a golden hotstamped ticket (in the top right-hand corner), which says “Animal Museum Ticket” (it says “Welcome to the Museum / Admit All” in the original version but I like the Polish version better, I think? by a narrow margin) and this little detail sets the tone for the whole book.

Welcome to Animalium. Introduction

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Inside you will find illustrations and descriptions of all kinds of creatures from across the whole animal kingdom, arranged according to clear criteria. There are so many things to love about the book:

  • Illustrations. They are obviously inspired by old scientific encyclopedic etchings, only more colorful and partly modernized
  • Title typeface, a pretty one by Hipopotam Studio
  • Lushness. The book is just full of gorgeous details and, as the ticket on the cover suggests, has a certain luxurious quality to it (also because it’s really big, format-wise)
  • No age limit. It can be exciting both for kids and adults. Our son loved Animalium even if he was technically too little for books
  • Educational value, no duh

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Cnidaria (admittedly, not a word I knew before)

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Amphibians

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Natural environment: woods

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Penguins

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Bats

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Rodents

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Library

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As a gift for friends we created two illustrations, presenting their patron saints. Saint Catherine of Siena was a 14th century nun and philosopher, a visionary, proclaimed a Doctor of the Church and a patron of Italy. Her attributes include a lily, a book, stigmata and a crown of thorns. Saint Gregory the Great was a pope of the Roman Church, also a Doctor of the Church, reformer and philosopher. He’s traditionally presented with a book and a papal crown, sometimes with a dove.

We drew inspiration from the classic representations of these saints, especially those rather austere ones approaching icons, but we modernized them with monoline drawings and a more decorative color palette.

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