Design and Art

Visual art and design topics, reviews, articles and random posts on art and design related issues.

Creativity Explained

When I started my career in design, everything was done by hand. It was essentially analog except for the individuals that were setting type on very rudimentary computers that were dedicated to doing that one thing – setting and outputting type that was specified by the designer and then pasted up to be photographed on a stat-camera.

In addition to that, I would also be asked to rub down “Letraset” type from large alphabet sheets, setting headlines or other display items by hand. It was slow, tedious, work that required concentration and patience. You learned a lot about typography because Letraset was expensive, you had limited character counts, and undo was removing anything you screwed up with masking tape and starting over. If you want to know more about all of this I recommend watching “Graphic Means“.

When Adobe first hit the graphic design world with Postscript fonts for use in programs like “Illustrator 88“, (yes, that’s the original name because it was introduced in 1988. The link takes you to a very informative video from 1988 if you want to engage in Throwback Thursday) it caused a seismic shift in the industry. Suddenly graphic designers not only had greater control over the creative process with access to hundreds of fonts and greater control over how it was laid out on the page. By the way, I’ve been using Adobe products since 1988 and much has changed since the dawn of the computer graphics revolution. One thing hasn’t though, and that would be creative inspiration, and creativity itself.

Recently Adobe has launched a new section of their Creative Cloud website that focuses specifically on that very topic – creativity. Creativity Explained is a new series to guide you through the basics of art and design with the first section focusing on what else, typography. There are six articles including an interview with German designer Eric Spikermann. (the guy speaking in the video above). Some of the articles are pretty fundamental but still worth reading and informative. It’ll be interesting to see where Adobe takes this site, and whether or not they introduce more advanced content and concepts moving forward.

Taken – David Bowie by Duffy

I’m a sort of fan of David Bowie. When he’s on, he’s on, when he’s off he’s off. I’m fascinated by his chameleon ability to change personality on a dime and change up musical genres and style at the drop of a hat. He was a true artist that transcended definition and refused to be pigeonholed into a single category. Not only that he was able to continue to be an influence across decades of activity. Not all of his music did it for me, but I have to admit there are certain tracks that will always be in rotation on one of my playlists.

A new touring exhibition documenting the collaboration of David Bowie and English photographer Brian Duffy over a five-album period (from 1972 to 1980) becomes all the more intriguing with this promo by Scottish motion director Chris Bain. The trailer does an excellent job of capturing what is in the exhibition, David Bowie’s transition over time from Ziggy Star Dust to the Thin White Duke, and all points in between. Nice motion graphics and animations paired with photographs from the exhibit combine to create a trailer that gives just enough insight to grab your attention without revealing too much of the show itself. Audio is provided by Box of Toys and gives a solid nod to Bowie’s musical style during the period without being overpowering.

Created for Nomad Exhibitions, Bain has done an excellent job of setting up the exhibition and capturing the mood of the period.

“The trailer celebrates two of the 20th century’s most celebrated creative minds. Five iconic photography sessions, across a period, often referred to as Bowie’s golden years – Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke, Lodger, and Scary Monsters.

“The exhibition presented by Nomad Exhibitions in partnership with the Duffy Archive and curated by Paul Morley, will bring to life Bowie and Duffy’s legendary creative process through interviews, music, film, artifacts, photography and also include innovative multimedia displays and immersive projection.”

Art Direction & Animation: Chris Bain Design
Client: Nomad Exhibitions
Music & Sound Design: Box of Toys Audio


 

FutureDeluxe for Nespresso

Mcann / Hogarth recently commissioned FutureDeluxe to produce a CG animated commercial for Nespresso that is really wonderful. OK, what am I saying pretty much everything FutureDeluxe does is wonderful. The short clip takes the viewer on a journey that travels through a variety of spaces. Each highlighting the colors and variety of Nespresso machines, all of which are designed to create an atmosphere reflective of the machine itself. The short is made up of 37 films, 44 CG products, and 40 key visuals that live in 7 unique spaces.

One thing that really stands out to me about this advertisement is the fact that you hardly see any Nespresso branding. You occasionally see the logo on a shopping bag or on the Nespresso coffee pod but that is it, and it works. The brand is so well known they don’t need to smack you over the head by plastering the logo in every single shot. Not only that but the spaces themselves continue to elevate Nespresso to be seen as the luxury coffee item that it is.

If you want to geek out a bit, the process real below shows how this was put together from a fairly high level. Sketches, style frames, animatics, wireframe renderings plates, and all. Personally, I love looking at this stuff. I find it absolutely fascinating.

Every IKEA Catalog from 1950 to 2020 Online

IKEA gets its customer base and target audience. They consistently produce online content that is designed to entertain as well as market their products. The latest offering is part research, part entertainment, and part marketing. IKEA has put 70 years’ worth of catalogs online for anyone to browse. The only caveat is that they are all in Swedish, so if you don’t speak the language, the descriptions will be pretty meaningless.

I have to say that the mobile or iOS version of the site is pulling off some really nice design. Full frame video with a transparent overlay video on the landing page. You don’t or at least I didn’t get that on the desktop in Chrome.

The site supports the IKEA Museum (yes there really is an IKEA Museum) and if you use the hamburger menu in the upper right you are taken to a minimalist landing page with additional information and activities. The nice thing is IKEA doesn’t attempt to drive traffic to the online store. This is truly for the fans of IKEA design and design principals.

One thing I do find interesting is the fact that the catalog layouts have remained fairly consistent across the decades, and quite a bit of the product line has as well. It’s a testament to a winning formula that IKEA has banked on for years.