Design Friday

Design Friday. Aaron Draplin’s Passion for Good Design.

If you are a designer, you need to watch the series of impassioned videos from Aaron Draplin below. Seriously.

This morning I got an email from a friend about a post that was over at Wanken yesterday. It’s similar to a video that I saw about a year ago on Vimeo of designer Aaron Draplin’s purchase of a motel sign in Sedalia Missouri.In this latest from Coudal, Draplin talks passionately about Farm Field notes. The design behind them, their purpose, and their impact on his design work.

Like Shelby White, author of the Wanken blog, I have to agree with him, “I believe we should all be doing our part to rescue the lost great design. This also goes hand in hand with sharing great design as well. That’s all I have for you now on this great establishment, but expect more on this memo book collection in the future!”

There is so much great design work that is lost, forgotten, or simply ignored. It is in many cases great design work that is indicative of the visual heritage that has helped shaped my design aesthetic. Unlike Draplin, I don’t collect enough of this stuff. Not in its physical form anyway, and that physical thing is important. Those pieces have a texture, a smell, a feel that can never be reproduced in digital format.

I love this series of short films. Draplin’s passion for this is so profound. It is something all designers should feel, and it is a great example of why we all need to collect and preserve our design history. There are more on Vimeo here.


Design Friday. FRICTIONS.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish I was still in school. Every time I turn around I find some new work produced by a group of students that is absolutely fantastic. this video is no exception.

Frictions is a graduation project that was filmed and produced at l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. It mixes live action footage with stop motion photography and combines the two to visually tell a story through the movement of the dancer and his interaction with the colors around him.

The film was shot on a Canon 5D mkII against a blue screen and composited with the current background. This film demonstrates excellent sound design, choreography, cinematography, editing, and visual effects. My hat goes off to the entire team of students that made this work.

Directed by: Steven Briand
Choreographer: Clara Henry
Cinematographer and cameraman: Pierre Yves Dougnac
Music and sound design: Moritz Reich & Agathe Courtin
Visual effects: Francis Cutter & Benoit masson
Costume: 2WS – world wild souls
First assistant: Romain Daudet Jahan
Animation assistants: Nathalie Anne Boucher, Camille Chabert & Luca Fiore
Visual effects assitant: Sarah Escamilla

Design Friday, Lora Lamm.

Designer Lora Lamm, was born in Arosa, Switzerland in 1928. Educated in Zurich in the late 1940’s, her carer began when she was hired by the upscale Italian department store La Rinascente upon a recomendation from her class mate and fellow designer Max Huber.

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Often times Lamm has been overlooked in the vast history of mid-century European designers, but her contributions to the field can’t be denied. Lamm was a major contributor to the Milanese design style of Italy from the mid 1950s through the 1960s. This post-war period in Milan, distinguished by its intellectual and progressive attitudes, booming economy and companies open to new ways of communication, attracted many design greats from Switzerland, including; Xanti Schawinsky, Max Huber, Carlo Vivarelli, Walter Ballmer, Aldo Calabresi and Bruno Monguzzi.  All of which were  employed by the influential Studio Boggeri, founded in 1933 by Antonio Boggeri.

Many innovative companies such as Pirelli  and La Rinascente  followed in the footsteps of Olivetti by establishing internal advertising and communications departments which were open to creating relationships with a diverse group of designers. Additional companies including Roche, Glaxo and Dompé, Alfieri & Lacroix, Einaudi also hired emerging design talent for use in the development of their marketing and advertising promotions.

After studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, and working for various agencies,  Lamm moved to Milan to work for Studio Boggeri in 1953 with the goal of finding interesting graphic design work. She received small assignments such as designing wrapping paper and packaging for confectioner company, Motta.

In 1954, Max Huber gave Lamm the opportunity to work for the advertising and communications department at La Rinascente. Huber was an established designer at La Rinascente, having designed their logo and introducing a new, integrated visual appearance to the company through the use of coordinated uniforms and a “house” typeface – Futura bold. Lamm’s contribution to La Rinascente included catalogs, posters, advertisements, invitations, mailers, packaging and other publicity pieces.

In 1956, Lamm designed promotional materials for the important Il Giappone exhibit, promoting new products being sold at La Rinascente from Japan. Using the screens of the exhibit as the major component of the campaign’s printed matter, Lamm created a geometric design of traditional Japanese colors. The playful and experimental nature of her work would translate into other designs, particularly when she started using her own drawing and illustration in her work.

Her works, are well-balanced, colorful, noticeable at a glance and generate a sense of wonder and excitement for the viewer. Light and whimsical posters and ads were appealed to a female audience, a goal for the department store. Lamm also used photography or photograms, but always considered the technical printing restraints of the era. Her designs still endure, looking as fresh and modern today as they did in the 1950s and 1960s.

Design Friday. Woolmark.

This post doesn’t really focus on a specific designer, as much as it focuses on fashion and the photographs taken for the Woolmark company from 1937 to 1987.

Back in 1937, Woolmark, then known as the International Wool Secretariat was established to research and promote wool. Over the course of the next 50 years they established a massive archive of black and white images, and press releases that capture both the fashion of the time and the style of fashion photography.

In the late 1980’s when Woolmark moved to a new headquarters, the entire collection was donated to the London College of Fashion and has now been released on the VADS website. Most of the images are directly from the International Wool Secretariat, but some represent the German, France, and United States offices as well which reflect the international scope of The Woolmark Company.

The collection holds a curated balance of both men’s and women’s wear, and each image contains information about the designer and the year it was taken. There are over 2000 digital images currently available. The entire collection can be found here at the VDS website. If you are a fashion designer, designer, illustrator, or artist that deals with period fashion, this collection is invaluable.

The images and metadata presented in the Woolmark archive are copyright of the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. They may be used for private research and study purposes only. Enquiries regarding reproduction should be sent to the address below but permission must also be sought from The Woolmark Company.