Ah, lovely - our customised issue of Wallpaper* hit our doormat this morning, and damn fine it looks too. Big congratulations to Meirion and the design team there for pulling off an immense technical challenge with such finesse.
It's being held over at the spacious Nicholls & Clarke Building on Shoreditch High Street, and has been tightly curated so that you have a real sense of what you're looking at - which is a huge help when you're faced with such a vast quantity of work.
It's always interesting to see what the visual vibe is each year - this year there was a lot of work that had the scent of the AA Print Studio about it (sometimes huge stinking whiffs of it in fact). That's fairly natural, and just part of the ebb and flow of what's hip in the design industry at any given time... but we hope that those students will find time to develop their own distinct visual language.
We'd been invited to pick out our favourite piece from the show for the annual Joss Turley award, so got a chance to have a fairly decent wander round before the beer really started flowing. Here are just a few of the faces we think are worth keeping an eye on:
Maria Gruzdeva has put together a frankly beautiful, hugely polished book about the Yuri Gagarin Russian State Science Research Cosmonauts Training Centre (also known as the Star City) - a secretive military research facility where cosmonauts have lived and trained from the 1960s onwards. The book features her stunning documentary photography (above and top) from the Centre, as well as a wealth of archive material. It's a hugely substantial piece of work, really brilliant.
We were blown away by Brendan Olley's vast photographic prints, taken on a large-format camera on a trip to Svalbard, the world's most northern town, sitting 300 miles from the North Pole. Brendan says the work "identifies the oddity of human behavior in relation to the landscape. Playgrounds and basketball courts are engulfed by snow and made redundant. Cars become reclaimed by the planet until eventually they become inseparable. It brings into question the reasons why one would wish to occupy this isolated place."
They're truly fantastic pictures, and you really need to see them at their actual size to get the full effect.
Jamie Hearn has created a beautiful pair of screenprints, one showing simplified household products stripped of their lettering, and then a second print showing just the lettering, which he's hand drawn. Really delicious, and he's also documented the work in a rather fine book (above). Great stuff.
We really liked Helen Lovelee's series of hand-drawn prints inspired by traditional Aboriginal philosophy - this one reads: "To stay warm on a cold desert night sleep between two small fires and close to your dog". Which sounds mighty fine.
We were also really taken with Chihiro Sasaki's whimsical illustrations, particularly her series "The Territory of Human Being", which looked at the invisible barriers people form to distance themelves from others. The illustrations have a really distinctive and charming style. Dead good.
Okay, full disclosure, we've had Ed in here on a placement, so we already think his work is great - and he didn't disappoint with this series of beautiful letterpressed prints. Tasty bit of framing too Ed.
We get a fair few CVs and portfolios emailed in to the studio each week, particularly at this time of year: some okay, some good, and some, occasionally, brilliant. Which is what happened the other day, when Xavi Garcia sent us his screenprinted Work:Fail manifesto.
We figured it might be helpful for other students out there to use him as a good example of how to get a foot in the door, as well as being a fine way of giving Xavi a bit of free publicity.
Often the first point of contact is an email. Some tips on that would be: always find a named person to send your email to; don't CC all the agencies you're applying to; and make sure you tailor your email to each company individually rather than copying and pasting (we have a stack of emails sent through from students telling us why they'd really like a placement at NB:Studio).
Now and then someone sends something physical through - obviously that involves more time and effort on their part, so we're more likely to take a look. Of course, it still needs to be a good bit of work...
Xavi sent through his Manifesto, and it's a lovely piece - Work stands clearly in the foreground, in both the sense of 'labour' and 'function', but it's supported by failure - a willingness to give things a go, and to experiment. Which is a fine philosophy.
He attached a friendly and informative covering letter. Some tips on that: spellcheck is your friend, but don't rely on it; don't tell us why you'd benefit from working with us, but do tell us why we'd benefit from working with you; and keep it concise.
The letter included a link to Xavi's online portfolio, and since his poster had excited our interest, we took a look. The site's built with Indexhibit, which is a great way for anyone to get a clean and functional portfolio site up and running. But blogs (Typepad, Wordpress and the like) work just as well. Heck, even Flickr can do the trick.
His site has some really lovely work on it, so we invited him to drop by and show us the real stuff, which included some handmade banknotes (above), and an editioned notebook (below).
Some tips at this point are: check you're going to the right address; arrive on time; and bring physical work with you - we've already seen your stuff on a screen.
From that point on, it's down to your work...
Now, Xavi has only just finished his Foundation course at Central Saint Martins, and normally we'd say, well, go do a BA, and give us a shout after that. But his work's really great, and he's already got a Business degree under his belt, so we reckon the normal rules don't apply. We don't have room to take anyone on here at the moment, but we're going to find some way to do some work with him, and in the meantime, hopefully this post might nudge him in the right directions.
We've been gently wheeling our way through it since then, and it's the usual brilliant mix of engaging stories and beautiful illustrations, from a whole range of bike folk. It's not showing up on their website at the time of writing, but you can pick it up from Magma in the meantime as well as a whole bunch of other places.
The clever kids at Wallpaper* magazine have done some mighty clever technological tinkering and created an online app that lets you design your very own one-off cover for their upcoming August issue - though you'll need to move quickly - designs have to be created by Tuesday 8 June.
The app is hugely intuitive, with a selection of elements to drag and drop: texts from Anthony Burrill (including WE MADE THIS, handily for us), shapes from James Joyce, textures by Nigel Robinson, patterns by Kam Tang, and images by Hort. You can customise things to a fair degree, particularly by layering, scaling and colouring the elements. Dead good.
Be warned though: once you start playing, it's fairly hard to stop...
They opened their 2060 pop-up shop yesterday at 99 Clerkenwell Road (just along from Magma), and it's a corker, selling multiples by 103 of the students (each of them producing 20 of their individual product - hence the 2060 name). The shop is the final part of a six week project, and they're also going to be hosting a series of design events while the shop is open (until 7 June).
If this is their second year show, the third year show should be a belter...
Is it just us, or is there a bit of a flurry of zines and newspapers going on at the moment? Feels like there's a real wealth of new stuff out there.
We picked up the first issue of Eight:48 from Magma last week. It's from the folks at Counterprint (the online seller of out-of-print and hard-to-find art & design books), and is split between editorials about the issue's theme 'Print is Dead?', and a series of profiles of designers and illustrators.
Obviously there's a danger of a newspaper/magazine about newspapers/magazines disappearing up its own well designed arse, but the essays are well considered, so it pretty much gets away with it. Be very interesting to see where it goes next...
These are our attempts at it, and Greenpeace have already posted almost three hundred entries to their Flickr set (they haven't provided links to show who's created each design, which seems a shame, but is perhaps wise), and that's just in the first week of the competition. You can download .eps, .tif and .pdf files of the logo, and there's a template as well, so that they can use the designs across lots of platforms. The competition is divided into three categories: design professionals & students; the general public; and Under 18s; and it runs until 28 June.
Richmond Council asked us to put together the posters for the carnival based on the theme 'Heritage Now!' So by way of research we took a trip to the Local Studies Collection at Richmond Library, which is a real treasure trove. We unearthed some giant scrapbooks which had a whole series of fantastic original posters from local carnivals back in the 1920s, which was too good a gift to ignore.
We discussed the idea of doing purely typographic posters with the client, who could see that it fit snugly with their heritage theme. We then put together a rough layout, and took it to New North Press, who matched the type where possible, and proposed some great substitutions where not.
They printed an all-black version for us to scan (so that we could create artwork for a large run of digitally printed posters), and then created a short run of original two-colour prints.
See the full set of shots of the reference imagery and the printing process on Alistair's Flickr set.
The carnival is at Orleans House Gallery, on Sunday 13 June.
We don't get many magazines here at the We Made This studio, generally making do with a subscription to the ever brilliant Wired, the repeated random goodness that arrives courtesy of Stack (which we wrote about here), and of course the fantastic The Ride Journal (the latest issue of which is launching on 27 May!) We'll pick up the design press now and again, but generally look to the web for that sort of content.
So we were tickled to pick up a few issues of the rather wonderful Pink Mince magazine, "For the confirmed bachelor of exceptional taste". It's put together by typographer (and all round nice bloke) Dan Rhatigan, who amongst other things is responsible for the tasty typeface Gina (and who has some damn fine ink on his arms too).
Dan describes Pink Mince as a 'modest little zine that aims to delight, titillate, amuse, provoke, and inspire'; which isn't a bad ambition. The latest issue (below) is titled 'Your Dad Was Hot', and previous issues have covered Alter Egos, Contradictions, and a photoseries of 'hot man-on-man action' - using Action Man.
The also rather lovely (and D&AD nominated) Butt magazine (careful there - not particularly safe for work) has recently announced it's taking a sabbatical from printing to focus on online stuff, so Pink Mince fills that space perfectly.