Graphic Design

Money, Money, Money.

new-zealand-bank-note

Why is it that almost all foreign currency looks so much better than the American dollar? I’m not bashing the buck, but from a design perspective, to me foreign currency is simply more visually interesting than the American greenback. Case in point, the currency of the year awarded by The International Bank Note Society for the New Zealand for its $5 polymer note. The design features the face of New Zealand native mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary, with a backdrop of Mount Cook and, a yellow-eyed penguin seemingly printed with what looks like metallic gold foil.

Now, with that said, I don’t think this is an award winning piece of design in the true sense. It is busy, and burdened with an abundance of imagery, and various patterns, but if you look at it in terms of a contemporary painting or print, it’s quite successful. I know that the reason for the patterns, color, overprints, and such are due to security issues and a need to foil counterfeiters, but this is something I might hang on a wall, and that is often the case for foreign currency with me. I’m not going to do that with American currency.

For more about the competition you can find it in this article at theguardian.com along with a video. And below are some additional curency examples.

ARS-50-Front

BDI-2000-Front

CHE-50-Front

CHN-100-Front

GMA-100-Front

MDV-1000-Front

NZL-50-Front

SCO-5-Front

Graphic Means.

After a succesful Kickstarter campaign last year, production on Graphic Means started and it looks like it is getting close to a release date. When it hopefully comes to a theater near me I’ll be going to see it. I want to see it for the history not the nostalgia, well maybe a bit of the nostalgia. The thing is, I did all the things shown in the trailer from paste up, to color stripping and I do not want to go back to it. Sorry folks, the computer changed everything and the way we design today is better. Yes graphic design is still a refined craft that takes a lot of skill and dedication. No design wasn’t better back then simply because it was analog. I hated making Chromalins, doing paste up, and cutting color separations by hand. Did it teach me a lot? Hell yes, there are things I learned 30 years ago that still apply to what I do today, but that doesn’t mean I want to go back to the olden pre-digital days.

The trailer looks good, and the history of how the graphic design business has evolved should be pretty interesting though. So yes, I’ll be sitting in the theater, reminiscing and hopefully learning about the history of my trade as well.

P.S. they have a cool Instagram feed as well.

Think Ink.

Designers that work with print, hopefully think about ink on a regular basis. Ink is the primary vehicle used to complete your printed vision. No matter what your work looks like on screen, the way it is printed, the paper it’s printed on, and the quality of the ink used will impact the final outcome. The video below isn’t new. It actually came out about 6 years ago, but it’s worth watching.

This short film by The Printing Ink Company in Canada takes you through the process, techniques and craft of ink creation. That’s right, the “Craft”, because making ink is a complex process requiring skills and experience to get the best results. The Printing Ink Company shares their methods used to create every color in the PANTONE spectrum and beyond. The challenges they face getting it right, and the attention to detail they put into making every can of ink.

This is a must watch for art students, designers and everyone else in the business that is designing printed materials.

Every Issue of U&lc for Free.

When I first started my career in graphic design, inspiration came in the form of printed material to the mail box. Digital design was for the most part a foreign concept. Almost all work was done the old fashioned way, analog, and the internet wasn’t available. I used to wait anxiously for the next issue of Upper and Lower Case magazine to arrive so I could check out the latest trends in typography, graphic design, and get industry news. It was a go to source for many years, and probably still would be if it still existed. The articles were always interesting to read and the publication felt and read like a newspaper.

“U&lc will provide a panoramic window, a showcase for the world of graphic arts – a clearing house for the international exchange of ideas and information.”

U&lc began publishing in 1974 and for 26 years it was a faithful source of information and inspiration for it’s readers. Each issue was 25 to 30 pages in length, printed in black and white, tabloid size, and except for a few times, hit it hit your mailbox with complete regularity. Now thanks to fonts.com, every back issue will be made available in PDF format. All 26 years worth.

Every month fonts.com will publish an entire years worth of U&lc, and it will be available for download via the fonts.com blog. Now, with that said, be warned the files are a bit big. Not unmanageable, but large. Around 85 megabytes in size. fonts.com also says the files aren’t perfect, since they were created from scans of original materials. Some of the pages are sometimes faded, cracked or torn. There are over 9000 scanned pages for you to go through if you so desire. I plan to go get as many of these as I can. It was a timeless source of inspiration and information back in the day, and still will be.

 

Stellavie, Movie Director Portrait’s Remind Me of the Classics.

If you haven’t seen the movie 2013 Drew: The Man Behind the Poster I highly recommend it. If you aren’t familiar with the artist that is the subject of the film, you’ll definitely recognize his work since he produced pretty much every block buster movie poster from the 1970’s through 90’s. That brings me to the subject of this post. A series of posters produced by German design studio Stellavie. The posters are portraits of famous movie directors done in that classic movie poster style. Each 16 by 20 inch poster is done up in glorious black and white, and they are absolutely brilliant. The illustration style, composition, the way they capture the essence of each director and the movies they produced. There are a total of 6,Alfred Hitchcock Martin Scorsese David Lynch Quentin Tarantino Stanley Kubrick Tim Burton, and they are all equally great. I kind of want all of them. The posters were developed by Stellavie in close collaboration with Julian Rentzsch. Each is produced on  beautiful cotton paper stock that captures Rentzsch’s drawing and illustration skills. The original art is a blend analogue and digital, that works together so well. It makes me wish the big studios that did away with classic movie poster styles would go back to the look of the golden age.

stellavie-rentzsch-movie-director-portrait-prints-alfred-hitchcock-flat_1024x1024

stellavie-rentzsch-movie-director-portrait-prints-david-lynch-flat_1024x1024

stellavie-rentzsch-movie-director-portrait-prints-martin-scorsese-flat_1024x1024

stellavie-rentzsch-movie-director-portrait-prints-quentin-tarantino-flat_1024x1024

stellavie-rentzsch-movie-director-portrait-prints-stanley-kubrick-flat_1024x1024

stellavie-rentzsch-movie-director-portrait-prints-tim-burton-flat_1024x1024

Friday Inspiration. Zim&Zou for IBM.

A little Friday inspiration from Zim & Zou. The magnificent posters were created for Ogilvy for a poster campaign for IBM back in 2013. Photographed by Fabrice Fouillet, the sculptures are built from cut paper and fabric. There is solid attention to detail paired with smart copy, and solid backgrounds in vibrant colors. The result is a really nice campaign that gets translated into a series of animated gif’s. Below are the posters, a few of the gif files and some detail shots. For the complete series, click here.

cannes posters_DEEP DIVES_color version

cannes posters_DEEP DIVES_color version

cannes posters_DEEP DIVES_color version

cannes posters_DEEP DIVES_color version

cannes posters_DEEP DIVES_color version

cannes posters_DEEP DIVES_color version

gif 1

gif 2

gif 3

gif 4

IBM Destail 1

IBM Detail 2

IBM Detail 3

IBM Detail 4

IBM Detail 5

IBM Detail 6