A couple weeks ago Device pushed out to Vimeo a wonderful little animated short. The film is narrated by John Carpenter, as he explains his first music memory. The animation is really nice with great transitions between the scenes using the current frame to morph into the next scene as the story unfolds. The limited color palette and subtle textures help to frame the narrative as it unfolds, with all of it drawing you in and holding you captive for a minute and a half. Great stuff, and like all good stories it got me to thinking about my first music memory. I was sitting in my bedroom upstairs with the window open, and my mom was playing Harry Belafonte singing “Midnight Special” on the record player in her studio. The studio window was open and the sound just floated out across the yard
I was sitting in my bedroom upstairs with the window open, and my mom was playing Harry Belafonte singing “Midnight Special” on the record player in her studio. The studio window was open and the sound just floated out across the yard and upstairs. It was summer. It was warm, and I was sitting in the sunlight on the floor playing with Lego. I was 3 or maybe 4. I hadn’t started Kindergarten yet, so I know I was younger than 5. I know I heard music before that, but this is the first time that the total experience stuck with me and permanently burned into my memory.
If you think the political turmoil and change has only been happening in America and the UK, you would be mistaken. A number of European countries have major elections this year, and the Nationalist, Take Your Country Back ideology is gaining traction.
Brooklyn based director, designer, and illustrator Erica Gorochow created a collaborative video about the upcoming European elections and how lessons gleaned from Brexit and Trump, might relate. The piece was made by artists who call the US and the UK home and is narrated in English. Turn on closed captions for French, Dutch and German and Italian if English isn’t your mother tongue. The animated short was produced with a crew of 23 US and UK artists and delivers a message to European voters ahead of the upcoming elections on “how lessons gleaned from Brexit and Trump, might relate.”
It’s a really nice animated short with a nice look and a solid message. The complete list of everyone that worked on this is listed below the video itself. It just goes to show you how many people can take to produce quality work.
ARTISTS (IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE)
Johnny Kelly (Design)
Brian Gossett (Design)
Louis Wesolowsky (Animation)
Damien Correll (Design)
Adam Grabowski (Animation)
MUSIC + SOUND DESIGN
Upright T-Rex Music
Saskia Keultjes (VO)
Wouter Boon (VO)
Julie Saunders (VO)
Last year, the National Park Service celebrated 100 years of service, and to commemorate the anniversary Uinta Brewing is ready to release Golden Ale Park Series Beer. The rotating park series was brewed in celebration of the diverse landscapes across the United States and the over 84 million acres of natural beauty that our National Park system promotes and protects. The packaging is available with four different park-inspired packaging that reflects the style of travel posters designed during the height of the WPA era of the 1930’s. While the beer inside the can will remain the same, a refreshing golden ale with an ABV of 5.3% and notes of Wilamette hops and Crystal malts, the outer packaging will feature a rotating line-up of National Parks. right now there are just 4 parks represented, but hopefully they will release more over the next year. I love the design and illustration featured here. It’s a refreshing approach to a product area that can at times be predictable, even in the craft brewing segment.
“Many of the explorations that have inspired our beers have happened in and around National Parks and we’re excited to pay homage to that with this rotating series. We’re fortunate to have five National Parks within 5 hours of the brewery and hope that our Golden Ale encourages consumers to get out and explore those that surround them.”
You don’t have to have kids to appreciate the humor associated with this animated short from Studio Lovelock. “A is for Albert” is an animated alphabetical adventure about the highs and lows of parenting. Along with the short animated video, there is a corresponding website where each letter of the alphabet is broken out into its own animated section. Produced by Joe Lovelock this was a side project that took some time to complete while he was working on getting his studio off the ground. Built with simple shapes, a soft color pallet, and nice little soundtrack, the video is a breath of fresh air in a sea of negative soundbite, news blips, and uncertainty these days. Below the video is an excerpt from Lovelock on the project.
Like all side projects this has taken ten times as long as I thought it would, about three years to be more specific.
I put that down to the unforeseen issue of having to use all 26 letters in the alphabet, and secondly I’ve just been busy. It turns out the little man who inspired the whole thing is pretty demanding timewise, compounded by the fact that somehow that one little man became two. On top of that I’ve been trying to build a design agency (studiolovelock.com). It turns out that’s pretty time consuming too.
Truth be told I’m not entirely happy with it, but I’m proud of the fact that I’ve managed to finish it and can finally move on to something new. I’m also proud of the two little champions that inspired it. Their mum’s pretty awesome too.
About a year ago Google launched a new line of video shorts for YouTube called Google Spotlight Stories, a specific immersive video platform with mobile users in mind. The video below can be panned through as the action takes place, but where this really shines is when you watch the video on an Android or iOS device in the native YouTube app.
Rain or Shine directed by Felix Massie is the latest in the series of shorts and is really quite impressive beyond the technology. The story and character development are superb drawing the viewer in and engaging with them as the explore the environment as the story plays out. The story is simple yet clever. The main character, Ella puts on a pair of magical sunglasses and travels through her London neighborhood creating chaos before learning how to use the glasses for good.
This really is a better experience on your phone, so if you have a chance watch it and the other Google Spotlight Stories there.
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Over the last year I have noticed an emerging visual trend that has started popping up in all sorts of videos, and will probably make it’s way to the rest of the creative world. It is a black and white, lo-fi, grainy, not quite 8-bit look. It reminds me of 1980’s video camera footage that has been mashed up with a sort of hand-drawn style. I say sort of, because like in the video below it is obviously digital. The lines and shapes have a hand-drawn quality to them, but they are to clean. Like the art brushes that come with Adobe illustrator. Then there is the background texture, in this case paper, but in a number of other videos I’ve seen it’s is fine digital noise. Fake signal noise that has been added to the clip to give it a dirty analog look. I’m curious how long it’ll be before this makes it’s way to mainstream advertising, at which point we can add it to the “jumped the shark” list like so many other trends of late. (sketchbook, stop motion, hyper color, 8-bit graphics and sound…)
By the way, this is quite hypnotic. Consider yourself warned.
Having spent more than half of my life working in the graphic design and communications business I have seen many design trends come and go. One thing that is certain, is the state of graphic design is in constant flux. This is reflected in “Graphic Design Today” an in-depth survey on progressive contemporary graphic design from Gestalten. In recent years, graphic designs relationship with adjoining disciplines such as illustration, three-dimensional installation art, industrial design, interactive design, UI/UX design has pushed the further development of the discipline. And this in turn is raising the bar for graphic designers.
This book from Gestalten examines and documents the current state of graphic design, identifying some of the most visionary young designers at the top of their game with examples of their progressive design aesthetics in the printed form. The book features a wide range of graphic design samples ranging from poster design, book, and magazine editorial design as well as typography. Most of the work is print oriented and shows a trend that I find interesting, a desconstructavist approach to visual design that blends elements of the 1980’s 90’s and early 2000’s into a unique style that intentionally manipulates and distorts traditional rules and ideas with a playful and experimental verve.
Graphic Design Today features design trends from Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, France, Great Britain and the USA. Through abundant visuals and illuminating texts accompanying each featured project, and a foreword by François Rappo, renowned typographer, and teacher at ECAL Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne, this expansive volume provides an in-depth look at the state-of-the-art of contemporary graphic design and is going in my design library.