We just jumped across to the rather wonderful custom-lettering blog Lettercult from ffffound, and heck, it's hugely delicious, with a well curated mix of found lettering, logos, titles, and other random typography related stuff.
Grafik (the UK based graphic design magazine) has just launched its website, beautifully and elegantly designed by our studio-mates Fitzroy and Finn. The site is divided up into a blog, a talent section, a profile section, and an archive of all the old issues.
Illustrator Johanna Basford has been in touch to let us know about an interesting little project she's running over the next couple of days (Wednesday 14 & Thursday 15 October), called Twitter Picture.
She's going to create one of her rather beautiful hand-drawn illustrations, inspired entirely by suggestions from Twitter users (check out @johannabasford), and then do a limited edition of 100 silk-screened prints from the drawing.
Sounds like a smart way to get lots of people to check out her work, and could be an interesting snap-shot of what's going on in the collective consciousness right now...
Regular readers of this blog will know that we've been mixed up in a fantastically engaging online campaign by a group called 7thSyndikate.
We were initially sent an email from them at the beginning of September:
"Don't turn away from your screen; they may already be watching. We like your type. You came to our attention while demonstrating your observational skills in finding what you need inside zone six, as well as having contacts further a field. In the next couple of days someone from our organisation will be in contact. If you don't hear from us by then, destroy all evidence of our correspondence. For now, it doesn't matter who we are, suffice to say we're a state-funded organisation interested in your skills."
The page had a hidden link on the word 'bright', which opened up a new window:
And so, the game was afoot.
A series of cryptic emails arrived in the following days, including one which said:
"Place the following message in a public communication to your comrades – dim3 ak7ion – this communication is sensitive, but shouldn't place you in direct danger."
This led us to make this post which then led to another email saying that we'd been activated as an agent, with the code-name TrouinVI-302. There were a few more online hoops to jump through, and one offline one, where a classified ad was placed in the London Lite newspaper:
The phone number led to a strange voicemail with heavy breathing and a protracted scream, but that was a bit of a red herring, as the text 'B1-Lancer' was a password to the next area of the website. You were then asked to find images tagged with your agent name on a selection of photo sharing websites, and these images were tagged with URLs of Google maps, indicating a secret rendezvous for all the agents, in the vicinity of the Albert Memorial.
Agents were asked to turn up in shades and a hat, carrying a newspaper under their arm; and to wait for a man in a bowler hat, a tan mac and dark shoes. They were then to follow his every move.
So at this point, we were thinking, well, it's been fun, but what's going to happen now that we're switching to the real world? There was a lot of online chatter about who was behind the campaign, and after a little careful digging we worked out who was behind it all.
So we turned up, along with a gang* of 30 or so other bloggers, all looking a tad perplexed in shades and hats. After a brief while, the mysterious man showed up.
He led the group (at a brisk pace) on a brief walkabout through the streets of Kensington, eventually arriving at an imposing front door:
And so, the masterminds behind the game were revealed - the V&A.
The whole thing was a rather brilliant word-of-mouth campaign, or alternate reality game, from the folks at 1000 Heads, who'd been working for the V&A to drum up a bit of noise about their new Cold War Modern show (we'll be adding to that noise ourselves very shortly).
It's the first time the V&A has done something like this, so we expect they were feeling more than a tad nervous about how it might turn out. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, which pulled in bloggers and got them playing on a dedicated site, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google maps, on Flickr, and a host of other places; and it felt like it fitted in perfectly with the style of the exhibition.
They've led us a merry modern dance, which even took us via the classified ads of a London newspaper. Sometimes it felt like we were getting warm, but more often it felt like we were getting cold. But they made us smile in the process, so we're not gonna get too grumpy.
We could tell you who they are and what it's all about, but if you're still caught up in the game, it would rather spoil things.
And we're looking forward to seeing what happens next - we've fallen under their sphere of influence, and heck, we like it.
We hate to smug off, but our good friend Charlie over at the distinctly wonderful Tantramar has just posted an interview with Alistair as part of his series of interviews with artists, designers and illustrators, which currently also features Seripop and Miles Donovan.
Charlie's a groovy guy, and he wears his facial hair better than anyone we know.
Our friend Andy over at Now in Colour has set up an interesting project that kicks off today.
He's been asking the great and the good of the creative industry to post up their old college work, as part of what he calls a ‘raindrop idea’, where the individual contribution is small, but where it collectively has a noticeable effect. (A good example of this being done really well is the Blog Action Day that we took part in back in October.)
Alistair’s picked a couple of projects from his time at Central Saint Martins, where he studied on the BA Graphic Design course:
First up is Bob Book, a story about “the brief life and untimely death of an elastic band”. I put this together in my first year at St Martins, and it’s still one of my favourite projects. The typography is rubbish (14pt Arial? I didn't have a clue...), and the mix of photography and hand drawn images is peculiar, but it’s got real heart to it, and that just about carries it through. And I’m still quite proud of the binding, which is just a series of elastic bands stretched across two corrugated plastic boards. You can see the full book on this Flickr slideshow.
Next up is a series of pictures I took of Simon Pegg and Jessica Stephenson when they were writing the second series of the TV show Spaced. It was just a great way to spend a day. As a project it reminded me that there’s a real freedom you have at college to get in touch with people, and it’s hugely important to make the most of that.
Like just about every other designer in town, we've been loving the image bookmarking site Ffffound! which started up this year. We're not heavy users (you can see our meagre selection here), and there's a fair amount of crossover with our blog; but we do love the way it seems to represent the visual zeitgeist.
Our favourite image so far is the shot above, taken by Flickr user Dubstyle (also known as the illustrator and designer Luke Worley) as part of his Whiskerino set.
Whiskerino is an annual beard growing competition, curated by web designer Michael Eades. The rules are that you start cleanly shaven on November 1 2007, and then grow your beard, agreeing not to shave in any way for the duration of the competition, which runs until at least February 29 2008. Contestants then post an image of their growth to the site at least once a week, with various themed image days to spice things up. It's mainly happening stateside, with only six beards going on in the UK so far.
It might be a bit late for Blighty to catch up now, but how about next year gentlemen?