Jonathan Ive’s 25 Minute Interview with Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter

Jonathan Ive Interview with Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter

In the last 20 years, there’s no other designer who’s pushed the boundaries of industrial design than Jonathan Ive. His work at Apple has proven that considered design choices are critical to a successful product, as seen by a radical shift in the world toward design-focused first mindset. A few days ago Vanity Fair published the video interview of Jonathan Ive’s talk with Vanity Fair’s EIC Graydon Carter from their recent New Establishment Summit.

The interview is essential in my eyes, with topics covered like worries and joys of being Jony Ive, being a part of a creative team, the birth of a physical object, the seduction of “cool” features, that copying Apple’s designs is theft, and much, much more. My favorite line in the talk is one similar to what he said in the recent Vogue article about him, where he says, “Isn’t that curious? Because if you tasted some food that you didn’t think tasted right, you would assume that the food was wrong. But for some reason, it’s part of the human condition that if we struggle to use something, we assume that the problem resides with us.”

Bobby Solomon

October 20, 2014 / By

Are You In or Out? The Design Gangs Series by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

North Carolina based branding designer Matt Stevens stumbled into a really fun person project recently, creating a series of “Design Gangs” which mixes “personal experience, a fascination with our shared design language/experiences, and a healthy dose of wanting to try some new techniques.” I’ve been watching his progress over on his Dribbble and it’s been rad to see him slowly grow and discover what the series is about.

If I had the choice I’d definitely be a member of the Revision Killers.

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Design Gangs by Matt Stevens

Bobby Solomon

October 20, 2014 / By

Drew Tyndell’s Fantastic Looping Illustrations

Drew Tyndall's Looping Illustrations

Drew Tyndall's Looping Illustrations

Drew Tyndall's Looping Illustrations

There are two clear front runners for most important visual storytelling method: the emoji and the GIF. In the case of the latter it’s becomes increasingly interesting to see how people are experimenting with the media of short, looping animations. One of the most impressive artists I’ve come across lately is designer and illustrator Drew Tyndall, a Nashville resident who has created some impressive looking GIFs that are reminiscent of Sol Lewitt mashed with Piet Mondrian. His ability to create such fluidity and texture in each of these is mighty impressive, and his color choices are absolutely spot on.

You can see more of his looping illustrations in his portfolio.

Bobby Solomon

October 20, 2014 / By

How Might We Grow Plants In Space?

Plant for NASA

I’ve never stopped to think about how we might grow plants in space. I’ve only really thought about those enormous geodesic domes that you see in sci-fi films like Silent Running, but I’ve never stopped to consider what a practical real-life equivalent of those might be. Obviously being in space brings about all kinds of issues and I can just imagine the problems you might face if you tried to water some soil while floating around in zero-gravity.

Fortunately the guys at NASA have been thinking about exactly these issues. Back in 2011 the experts and astronauts there collaborated with designers Piotr Szpryngwald and Mirko Ihrig in developing a means for astronauts to grow food on long duration space flights in a clean, easy and safe way.

Plant for NASA

Their solution is brilliantly simple. The concept consist of a small pillow which contains the seed and hydroponic media. They also created a special watering device which can both puncture and activate the pillow. The final element is a growing chamber which informs astronauts about the harvesting cycles of their plants. I think the idea is great and I love the look of it.

Plant for NASA

Plant for NASA

Plant for NASA

You can view more images from the project here.

Philip Kennedy

October 15, 2014 / By

‘The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records’ is the Ultimate Cabinet of Wonder for Vinyl Fanatics

The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)

Earlier this year Rolling Stone described Jack White as “Rock & Roll’s Willy Wonka” and it’s clear to see why. His label, Third Man Records, is undoubtedly a golden ticket for music fans. Its Nashville HQ boasts a record store and a music venue while also releasing some of the most out-there records you’re likely to come across. From a peach-scented LP to records that glow-in-the-dark, White’s label has enough eccentricity to give even Roald Dahl’s imagination a run for its money.

But Third Man Records isn’t just about novel ideas; they’re also passionate about great music. Perhaps that is most apparent in their most recent project; a first of its kind box set that charts the rise and fall of Paramount Records. Spread over two-volumes, the collection is an omnibus of art, words and music… and both volumes look absolutely stunning.

The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)

Volume One was released late last year (take a look here) and covers a period between 1917-1927. I now have a whole host of images showing off the second volume of the collection and it’s a beaut! Consisting of 800 tracks released between 1928-1932, this new collection contains six LPs as well as two books filled with bios, art and articles. Not only that, but it also contains a USB drive filled with music and ads from the era. Everything is housed in a beautiful aluminum and stainless steel cabinet that evokes the high art deco styling of the era.

The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)

Even if you’re not the biggest fan of music I’m sure you’d be impressed by how great this package looks. Taking inspiration from the likes of Walter Dorwin Teague, Norman Bel Geddes and especially John Vassos; the cabinet looks beautiful and the illustrations and design of the books is just superb. Its creators stated that their intention for the project was to create something closer to an interactive museum exhibit than a conventional music collection and I think they’ve definitely pulled that off.

The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)

To say that Paramount was an important record label feels like a bit of an understatement. Its output included releases from jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller, as well as blues musicians like Charley Patton and Son House. Their contribution to American music is hugely impressive; bringing about the birth of the Mississippi Delta blues while also influencing the style of Robert Crumb and countless other 20th century artists and illustrators through their series of hand-drawn ads in the pages of the Chicago Defender.

The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)

A collection like this is a lot to take in. I’ve spent a small amount of time listening to it and feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface. I love the sound of the era and it’s been a joy to discover some great recordings from that time. Paramount was the first and most comprehensive chronicler of what America sounded like during the 1920s and ’30 so it’s great to see their legacy being preserved in a manner as fitting as this.

The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)

The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records Volume 2, 1928-1932 is released November 18. Volume 1 can be purchased here.

Philip Kennedy

October 14, 2014 / By

Timo Lenzen’s Black and White Posters Will Really Catch Your Eye

Timo Lenzen

German graphic designer Timo Lenzen really has a gift when it comes to creating eye catching posters. The Frankfurt-native has an impressive portfolio of work and his collection of poster designs really grabbed my attention. Not only has the designer produced an impressive quantity of work but so much of it looks amazing and demonstrates his gift for variety and diversity. I was particularly taken by his restrained use of black-and-white.

Lenzen says he enjoys working in a wide range of media and is excited to explore the possibilities that this allows him. If you take a quick skim through his website you’re bound to spot this wide range of media he’s talking about. He’s worked in everything from animation and illustration to typography and space.

Timo Lenzen

Timo Lenzen

I particularly love his poster “The Noble Experiment”. It was designed for a competition run by the blog Totally Drunk and presents an expression used by president Herbert Hoover during the Prohibition Era. I love his typography and the hazy black-and-white sits perfectly with the look and feel of the era.

Timo Lenzen

You can see more from Timo Lenzen on his website.

Philip Kennedy

October 13, 2014 / By

Charming Handmade Lettering and Type by Mark van Leeuwen

vanLeeuwen2

I’ll admit I write about hand-lettered type often, it is a love of mine, but it’s also been continually trendy over the last few years. It’s a beautiful, difficult craft that I continue to be delighted by as I scroll through my various feeds. In particular Marco van Luijin, better known as Mark van Leeuwen, has one of the most consistent styles I’ve come across, possessing some great ability to produce familiarity over and over again. He also has a great eye for spacing and flow that can be difficult to achieve by hand.

Van Leeuwen, a Dutch freelance designer out of Northern Italy, specializes in typography, lettering and branding design, and he’s only sixteen-years-old! While he does some client work with logos, most of van Leeuwen’s work is made for fun and personal practice when he isn’t in school. He’s been teaching himself the craft by examining Instagram accounts of other letterers’ and incorporating techniques the techniques he notices. Before long, his style emerged. I especially notice his consistency when he uses sans serifs for supporting words.

vanLeeuwen5

vanLeeuwen6

“I naturally began to develop a style that is slightly different than others’, but it is not a very intentional process,” van Leeuwen said. “Each time I work on something I want to experiment with new styles and techniques, but at the same time I do not want to make my work too much different from my previous creations. Like this I try to keep my style as consistent as possible, but interesting at the same time.”

vanLeeuwen4

A lot of van Leeuwen’s early work involved layering type over photographs, as tends to be a common practice on Instagram, but he has since ceased to do that, instead trying to make type-work that could stand on it’s own. And he’s been quite successful. Van Leeuwen’s very good at getting his type to contain itself in very pleasing, inferred shapes, occasionally using some small illustrations to bring the whole piece together.

MotionShot_vanLeeuwen1

Van Leeuwen recently released the typeface Timber, a thick, hand-lettered slab serif with a very outdoorsy feel that will be perfect for autumn. As van Leeuwen’s first typeface, he really want to create something versatile but that paid homage to his own vintage, handmade style. He intends to make more in the future.

vanLeeuwen3

Carli Krueger

October 10, 2014 / By

Organize Your Desk With Blocks by Kukka

Blocks by Kukka

I always get an urge for new stationary at this time of year. Perhaps it’s to do with the back-to-school energy that’s in the air. Maybe it’s to do with Winter’s fast approach. Or perhaps it’s just to do with how brilliant stationary is and I really shouldn’t have to make excuses for why I get an urge to covet pretty things!

Blocks by Kukka

So if you’re like me I’m sure you’ll love Blocks by Kukka. Designed by the Israeli/British designer Rona Meyuchas K., the product consists of a set of wooden blocks that can hold everything from pens to post-it notes.

kukka_-_block_5

Composed of four basic shapes, the set modulates to create a range of products, with sets being able to assemble together in a range of combinations. Inspired by the wooden blocks that the designer’s children played with; each one is made from natural beech wood that will darken naturally over time. It’s a beautiful collection and it’s bound to be a wonderful companion to your office or studio desk.

Blocks by Kukka

Blocks is available to purchase here.

Philip Kennedy

October 8, 2014 / By

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