Archives for category: Design

We feel one of our fundamental responsibilities as designers is to employ our creative resources to help communicate and disseminate messages for public good, when possible. The right visuals can be powerful and in this instance, also quite beautiful. Commissioned by German environmental advocacy group Robin Wood, ad agency Grabarz & Partner collaborated with some clearly talented folks from Berlin to Bangkok to create this compelling series of advertisements illustrating the destruction of nature and wildlife around the world. Anchored by a clever concept, the execution here is spot-on. With the use of double exposure (other examples here and here), these compelling ads feature an animal and its natural habitat threatened by destruction. We love the composition and endless details of each piece. Just excellent all around.

Via Behance

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Denver-based artist Jaime Molina has a very specific aesthetic. Clearly influenced by folk art, Molina’s work seems to be part of a larger narrative, complete with characters and such. We love it all, but are really taken with his 3D sculpture work, which has a whimsical, yet rustic feel. We particularly love how Molina uses nails to form the hair of his bearded characters. Though the nails are of varying sizes and seem to be placed almost haphazardly, there’s also a uniformity that’s really intriguing. Some of these intricate pieces even open to reveal a sort of center “skull”. Awesome work, so imaginative.

Via cuttyup.com and Instagram

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With the latest Apple releases, so too will come the flood of YouTube videos of folks “testing” the new devices in all sorts of precarious scenarios (submerging your new iPhone in a vat of soda, then freezing it for 12 hours, anyone?). New Zealand-born, Brooklyn-based photographer/artist Henry Hargreaves (whose stellar work we’ve discussed here and here) takes a more cerebral approach to a practice that is no less cringe-inducing to us gadget geeks. Hargreaves, along with his stylist partner Caitlin Levin, whose incredible collaborations almost always employ food as the medium, juxtaposes said electronic devices with fast food in their series Deep Fried Gadgets. While we do shudder slightly at the sight of intentionally defacing these gizmos that we hold in such high regard, we certainly appreciate the concept and commentary, not to mention the fascinatingly engaging visuals. In Hargreaves’s own words, “I like to play with food and the juxtaposition of different worlds. I found a video of some Japanese kids trying to deep fry a PSP and eat it, it didn’t work and they made a mess of it, but I loved the idea and thought it could be expanded and photographed in a beautiful way. Electronics have become almost a holy device, the way a new apple device sends people out of their minds. But as soon as the next model comes out the last is immediately forgotten. This is a commentary about the similarities between tech culture and fast food. Quickly devoured and then discarded because of our appetite for the newest product.”

Via hargreavesandlevin.com

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It’s no secret that we’re fascinated by “365 projects” and the dedication they reveal (previous posts here and here and here). Done well, these daily doses of artistry not only help develop a robust portfolio, but also serve as an exercise in on-demand creativity… a must in the field of graphic design, as we know all too well. And Nebraska-based designer/illustrator Ian Simmons tackled his serial project expertly. We are in awe of not only the diversity of his work, but the sheer quality of his typography. Clearly a movie buff at heart, Simmons masterfully depicted a wide variety of film quotes through illustration and typography, for 365 days straight (actually, 366)! Yes, an entire year. Just incredible. This is just a sampling of a few of our favorites, but be sure to check out his Instagram for the complete collection. He even sells select prints (here).

Via Instagram

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Pointillism, a painting technique in which distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image, dates back some 130 years, though the technique is actually analogous to four-color CMYK printing process and RGB displays we designers are all too familiar with. Some of the most notable artists who have employed this technique are van Gogh and Seurat, but the art movement was relatively brief. But contemporary South African artist Gavin Rain makes a great case for bringing it back. Rain seems to have mastered the complex technique, as exhibited in his stellar body of work. In his own words, Rain explains that he developed his style “from the need to tell a story – to present a perspective. I usually dislike art that doesn’t communicate anything. I also hate it when I’m viewing art and I don’t know the message. I wanted to avoid that – everyone has to get my message – which is to step back.” We imagine Rain’s layering process takes quite some time, but the result is absolutely breathtaking. His unique perspective, and ability for visual conveyance, is just incredible.

Via gavinrain.com

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We have a certain fondness for Scandinavian design; what’s not to love when functionality and simplicity converge? These characteristics extend through many facets of design, including architecture, furniture, household objects, and, of course, photography and graphic design. So it’s no wonder we’re so taken with this series of photographs by Danish photographer Mikkel Jul Hvilshøj. Commissioned by iconic, high-end Danish housewares brand Eva Solo, Hvilshøj captured these fantastic “visual recipes” in such a way that they could honestly stand on their own based on artistic merit. Hvilshøj’s work elevates marketing photography to another level. We not only love the concept, but it’s executed brilliantly.

Via hvilshoj.com

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In case you’re not aware, there’s a new niche of photography on the rise, “smartphone photography”. With Apple’s recent announcement of yet more improvements to the already outstanding iPhone camera, this new brand of photography should come as no surprise. Though smartphone cameras don’t (yet) rival the quality of digital SLRs, they have come a long way, and there’s something to be said for their accessibility and convenience. So, it’s no wonder visual artists are compelled to simply reach in their pocket when it’s time to capture some creative brilliance. New Jersey-based visual artist/photographer/college student Adam Hillman is a perfect example. While the quality of his conceptual thinking and execution are rooted in traditional visual art as we know it, part of what defines Hillman’s work is his use of his smartphone. For one, his photos are unedited… what you see is what you get. And with a broadcast vehicle (the great big internet) basically integrated into his tool of choice (smartphone), the accessibility of his work is a key part of its appeal. Hillman’s appreciation for modern art is clear, and his use of color and order are a real draw for us (see previous posts here and here and here). We will be interested to see how Hillman’s work evolves over time. From the look of it, he will be making a name for himself well beyond these early works.

Via Instagram

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Transforming everyday objects into art holds a special place for us. It harkens back to childhood thoughts, when our minds wandered while staring out the car window at cloud formations that looked like other things. Or when we’d doodle with no purpose other than to document our own whimsical musings. These days, artists apply conceptual thinking to this cherished pastime, and the results are often special and surprising (here and here and here). Included among those artists is German-born, Australian-based Domenic Bahmann (aka Domfriday). What started as a personal exercise in creative thinking has since populated his Instagram page, which piques the interest of almost 60K followers. And, in turn, has even led to retail opportunities due to popular demand (here and here). In his own words, Bahmann explains: “In 2013 I started my own creative challenge called ‘Stop, Think, Make’. I had to come up with a new image or illustration at least once a week. Since then I try to see the world in the way I used to when I was a child. Staying playful and curious isn’t always easy in our busy modern world.”

Via Instagram

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Sure, we’ve seen paper cut art before (here and here and here), and we’re very fond of it, by the way. But we’ve never seen anything quite like this. London-based artist/photographer Rich McCor (otherwise known as @paperboyo) brilliantly pairs his paper cut skills with his keen eye for photography. And the results are clever, playful and unexpected. McCor’s carefully crafted silhouettes are brought to life against sometimes familiar and iconic backdrops. While his work may seem simple in concept, there’s no doubt in our minds that these smart compositions require much more skill than one may think. Needless to say, we are thoroughly impressed and inspired. And his growing base of 175,000 Instagram followers would surely agree.

Via Instagram

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No matter what you think of CNN’s new corporate font, aptly named CNN Sans, CNN’s investment in not only the font itself, but this humorous, highly-produced video touting its attributes seems like a win for those of us who hold the value of typography in the highest regard. As far as we’re concerned, increased awareness of the importance of typography can only be a good thing. Albeit, there are some haters who consider CNN Sans to be a blatant ripoff of Helvetica (CNN even acknowledges the, um, resemblance between the two). In case you’re wondering about possible copyright infringement, no worries… CNN Sans was developed by type foundry powerhouse Monotype Imaging, who has brought us ubiquitous typefaces such as Times New Roman, Gill Sans and Arial. Oh, and they own the rights to Helvetica.

Via cnncommentary.com

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