Barnes & Webb Employ a Creative Solution to Help the Honeybees

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You may have noticed that bees have been popping up here and there and the Fox is Black recently. Why? Quite simply: they’re important, not only to our own well-being but for that of the greater Earth too. Unfortunately in recent years their numbers have been dropping and their environments disrupted. Barnes & Webb of London have come up with a wholly creative solution that attempts to mitigate the issue. Their service offers bees right in your backyard and all the delicious honey that comes with doing so. What grabbed my attention was their detail to design, branding, and the arts, as they cleverly combine the three in order to uplift their service and aid the honeybee’s plight.

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Apes curamus et nos curant (we look after honey bees and they look after us); the tiny insects are integral to the environment but also economies. In the past 60 years, the number of honeybee colonies has fallen drastically from six million to two-and-a-half million present. According to the US Department of agriculture, one mouth in three benefits from honeybee pollination. That’s huge. How huge? As of June, President Obama launched a task force tasked with protecting the bees, investing $50m into research and action to combat the decline.

Environmental responsibility is becoming a popular public affair and more light is being shed on the honeybee issue. It’s businesses like Barnes & Webb that demonstrate, quite optimistically, how we can tackle these topics with a flair of creativity.

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Barnes & Webb install and manage beehives across London, providing raw, local honey and all the pleasures of urban beekeeping without any of the hassle. The concept is more or less as a result of a key insight: you don’t have to have 100 acres to help the honeybee. Every lawn, every yard, and even rooftops can pitch in. When it comes to honeybees, the smallest change can affect the global food supply—so customers can rest assured knowing they’re making a valuable contribution.

The creative approach trickles down into the product itself too. The package design is smart, clean, and minimal, which makes a traditional product feel modern and makes honey and the honeybee stand out on your shelves or kitchen cupboards. Engaging and proactive.

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Aside from the packaging, Barnes & Webb work with local talent to further help their brand stand out and place the honeybee on a pedestal. They’ve collaborated with designer Anthony Burrill to produce a one off print and identity, which the brand uses extensively, from posters to advertising. They’ve also seen commercial work be produced on behalf of Olivia Whitworth, an English architect turned illustrator, who adds charm and personality to the company’s image.

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The fun doesn’t stop at their packaging or advertising—just last week over 30 artists and illustrators created unique artworks that went on display and were auctioned off to fund the company’s not-for-profit campaign activities. Of the talent featured was Burrill, Edward Monaghan, Jean Julilen, Essy May, Adrian Johnson, Robert Hunter, Jody Barton, Stevie Gee, and more.

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Connecting bee lovers and keepers, artists, designers, environmentalists, and the wider public, Barnes & Webb use these events to ultimately raise awareness on the issues faced by the honeybee and other important pollinators. They believe in “combining the creativity, knowledge and passion of individuals and organizations to create initiatives that benefit the bees and our environment. A powerful network for positive change.”

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While it’s often easy to get cynical when it comes to environmental affairs, Barnes & Webb’s approach is refreshingly optimistic. Their service demonstrates that the issue can be aided with creativity and design.

Whether we like it or not we have a duty towards the planet, as recent years have seen us leave a negative impact. What many forget is that we therefore have the power to incur the inverse and work towards responsibly inhabiting what we’ve come to know as home. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? I believe Barnes & Webb are on the forefront of this positive change, their approach will serve to hopefully inspire others.

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The aforementioned collaboration and event was the first of many that the Barnes & Webb has planned. Follow the brand’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for updates on forthcoming events.

Nick Partyka

September 24, 2014 / By

Peter Mendelsund Teaches Book Cover Design on Skillshare

Peter Mendelsund Teaches Book Cover Design on Skillshare

I don’t tend to post about many online classes but this Skillshare class certainly caught my attention. The extremely talented Peter Mendelsund is offering up his knowledge for an upcoming class on book cover design, teaching how to read as a graphic designer, iterate with imagination, and breaking the “rules” to make your message stand out.

Skillshare conducted an interview with Mendelsund on their blog, and I this question and answer in particular stood out to me.

Why is lifelong learning important to you?
PM: Lifelong learning is crucial. I had been one thing for most of my life [ed. note: a musician] and changed very late to a new career. I’m extremely aware of the twists and turns that life can take, and I think the key is really to maintain an open mind over a long period of time. Life is long: be open to the changes that present themselves to you.

You can sign up for the design class by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

September 23, 2014 / By

Lotta Nieminen Brings A Bold Look To A New York Nail Salon

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

When you think of well-thought out graphic design projects your mind most likely won’t drift toward the world of nail salons. Most commonly their known for shabby neon signs and rows of cheap chairs lined up with thousands of tiny bottles of paints surrounding them. That’s not the case with Paintbox, a new manicure and nail art studio that received a beautiful bit of branding from one of my favorite designer/illustrators, Lotta Nieminen.

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

For me the idea behind this branding screams “No duh!” in it’s simplicity and that’s exactly why I love it. There’s a perfect elegance to literally turning the words into a box form and that it reads so well. Yet the form takes on a playful nature when the words are separated, allowing other visual devices like imagery or text to inhabit the negative space between.

I’m also a fan of the peachy tone that’s used throughout most of the materials. It’s a warm and inviting tone that allows the color of the nails to truly shine.

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Even the nail art imagery itself, which was shot by Jamie Nelson, has a refined look that, while quite stylized, evoke the brand for being way more modern than the shop your mother may have visited. You can see more imagery from the project by visiting Lotta’s website.

Bobby Solomon

September 22, 2014 / By

Surreal Purple Dunes Created for Prada Women’s SS15 Runway Show

Prada Women's SS15 Runway Show

When it comes to the fashion world and runway shows creating spectacular experiences to wow an audience no expense is spared. The clothes these days have to share the stage with the stage as the importance of Instagram and the sharing economy continues to grow. Recently, Prada wowed audience members with surreal, immense hills made of purple sand that towered over the parading models for their Women’s SS15 collection.

Prada Women's SS15 Runway Show

Prada Women's SS15 Runway Show

NY Times blog On The Runway had a great perspective of the show which illustrated how impactful the installation was.

The normally exhausted expressions that are plastered on editors’ faces during this time were replaced with actual, honest-to-God smiles (maybe the booze helped). The fashion editor Giovanna Battaglia has been working with some Milan-based designers for their shows this season (she said she would be at fittings all night Thursday night for one show on Friday), but she wouldn’t miss this.

“I’ve been consulting, but I stepped out and said, ‘This is the one, I don’t care, sorry, I have to stop working,’?” she said. “I have to go out and see Prada.”

The grandeur of this effort is brilliant to me. As I’ve been looking at these images I was imagining how difficult it would be to get all that sand to stay in place. A small detail but had to be so important when you have women in super high clogs and heels working their stuff. There’s also a simple beauty to the idea which I think helps it. It’s not over the top like Chanel’s grocery store runway show (which was impressive in it’s own right) but still has quite the wow factor.

Prada Women's SS15 Runway Show

Prada Women's SS15 Runway Show

Prada Women's SS15 Runway Show

Bobby Solomon

September 22, 2014 / By

Fou de Feu Celebrate Rhythm and Balance With This New Tableware Range

Rhythm by Fou de Feu

Fou de Feu is a ceramic studio by Belgian designer Veerle Van Overloop. Her latest collection is called Rhythm and it’s clear to see why. Simple stripped-down ceramics is the order of the day as she mixes white porcelain with other materials such as wood, leather and marble. In doing this she has created an inspiring tableware range where the simplicity of her work and her combination of materials come together to form an effortlessly beautiful collection.

Rhythm by Fou de Feu

“Different sizes of plates, cups & spoons, tablemats and cutting boards give every table its own rhythm” says van Overloop. If she’s right, then her newest collection will no doubt offer everyone the opportunity to build their own harmonic arrangements at the dining-room table.

Rhythm by Fou de Feu

Found via the excellent This is Paper. You can see more from Fou de Feu here.

Philip Kennedy

September 18, 2014 / By

The First New Track from Aphex Twin in 13 Years and a Look At The Album Design

Aphex Twin - Syro

Electronic music visionary Aphex Twin, aka Richard D. James, is known for his avant garde approach to music, splicing, cutting, and destroying digital sounds for the last 20+ years. Still, it’s been 13 years since his last “studio album” Drukqs was released, leaving a peculiar gap in the electronic music landscape. Since then he’s been DJing across the UK and relocated to Scotland. And now he’s ready to release a new album.

Titled Syro, a word created by his children, the album features 12 tracks and will be released on September 19 (or 22nd depending on your format of choice). I’m not sure what exactly to expect from the album but it sounds like he’s excited for the album and that this is only the beginning. Speaking to Rolling Stones, James said:

Horny. I’m feeling really horny about it. And very smug … I’m in that mode now, so hopefully I’ll stay in it for a while … I’ve got a few more things planned—at least a couple more albums, some EPs, things like that. Some more dance-y things I did about 10 years ago. Experimental things, noise things, weird things. Shitloads of stuff. They’re all pretty much ready to go.

Looking forward to it.

Aphex Twin - Syro

From a design perspective the album features a minimal, slightly cheeky packaging design from The Designers Republic. Long-time Aphex Twin collaborators, the album represents an unseen aspect of producing an album: the cost. TDR founder Ian Anderson explains.

“The intense, and ultimately pointless detail of the list really appealed to me … it was good working with James Burton and the team at Warp to stretch out this mantra that tells the reader everything and nothing about the creation of what I hear was an intensely personal album in the making reduced to the numbers of an album in the marketplace,” he adds.

Quite a conceptual way to go but it makes sense when you think of an artist like Richard James. For me it’s all about the half face screen printed onto the plastic which I’m sure looks crazy on the white sleeves. You can read more about the design of the album and an interview with TDR over on Creative Review.

Aphex Twin - Syro

Aphex Twin - Syro

Aphex Twin - Syro

Bobby Solomon

September 17, 2014 / By

You’ve Never Seen a Clock Quite Like ‘A Million Times Project’ by Humans since 1982

A million Times Project, 2013

Per Emanuelsson and Bastian Bischoff founded their studio in 2009/2010 while they were both taking a Masters course at Gothenburg’s School of Design and Crafts. Realizing that they were both born in 1982, they chose Humans since 1982 as their name, then they found a studio to work from in Stockholm and they’ve been making work together ever since.

Perhaps their most exciting project to-date has been the ‘A Million Times Project’. Started last year, this project presents time in a way I’m sure you’ve never seen before. Graphically conceptual, their design combines engineering and mechanics to create an incredible kinetic installation that takes the arms of a traditional analogue clock and turns them into something new and exciting. Check out the video below to see what I mean.

Using 288 analogue clocks, the original work uses an iPad to create a series of wonderful visual patterns; playfully turning a collection of minimalist analogue clockfaces into a fully-functioning digital clock. Now a series, the duo have worked on a number of variations, with each piece being unique. They describe these creations as “objects unleashed from a solely pragmatic existence”. And in doing this I feel that they have discovered some wonderfully figurative qualities within their design without detracting from the clocks original function. It’s a pretty commendable achievement… and also it clearly looks amazing!

A million Times Project, 2013

A million Times Project, 2013

A million Times Project, 2013

See more projects from Humans since 1982 on their website.

Philip Kennedy

September 17, 2014 / By

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