When I come across a well-designed pattern I tend to marvel at the time and effort that must have taken place to achieve such perfection. In my mind I see it as an artist creating a jigsaw puzzle in their head without the photo on the box to guide them. One such master is Nancy McCabe, a surface designer from Chicago who runs No Ocean, a design studio that specializes in surface designs and prints. She sells her patterns for commercial uses such as fashion, home/interior, print and web design, as well as a beautiful series of graphic scarves.
For Nancy’s wallpaper we decided to go with her Ink Dots pattern. I love the texture and complexity, I love that it’s graphic and bold. I’ve had this on the background of my iPad for a week now and have received several positive comments, to which I responded, “It’ll be on the site soon.”
It’s always fun visiting with old friends. That’s today’s vibe as we feature a new wallpaper from Andy J. Miller, who back in 2008 was one of our very first wallpaper contributors. He’s a beast of illustration and design, combining a charming, folksy aesthetic with crazy shapes and great hand-done type.
This wallpaper is titled I Hate Parties, which is about “that dreadful feeling when for one reason or another, you clam up at a social gathering of some sort, and just sit back and detach yourself from the situation and those around you.” I think we’ve all been that person at a party before so it’s easy to relate to this. Plus this is just a downright beautiful piece of art, I mean, look at all those great characters. Thanks again Andy, glad to have you back on the site.
We’re big fans of Minneapolis based illustrator Emory Allen and his seemingly endless amount of creativity. You may remember his Exquisite Beast project where he chained together a new drawing every day for an entire year, a huge feat for anyone. I’m a fan of Emory’s work because of his ability to create such a diverse creatures and worlds with such a beautiful color palette.
The wallpaper he’s created today is a self-portrait of sorts, portraying a feeling that most creatives encounter.
I revisit this theme in my work from time to time because I always feel like I’m always fighting to keep things organized and keep myself pulled together. Just when I feel caught up, there’s always something trying to stress me out again.
I feel you Emory. I also want to note that this week’s wallpaper is the debut of several new sizes. I’ve added an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ size, as well as a 3840×2400 size for anyone with giant sized or retina caliber monitors. In theory this should now cover every possible screen size on earth.
A few months back I came across Adrián Zorzano and his work and was immediately impressed. An indomitable designer, the range of work he creates spans from print design to posters to digital and photography. His eye for offbeat layouts and compositions is stunning which leads to a quirkiness overall. Looking at his portfolio you get a sense that he might get bored fairly often.
This week he’s created a neo-Memphis looking wallpaper that has a dreamy, avant-garde feeling to it. I love the colors, the detail in the marbling, and the overall composition is quite striking. Adrián describes his wallpaper as an interplay between physical and digital.
The main idea of the project is the combination of something that it´s not a photography by itself, its more the result of a process made by hand and then captured. This is also combined with random and colourful digital forms trying to figure out the relationship between something that it´s been made digitally with something real, and then seeing how do they coexist together.
Charlotte based artist and designer Eric Hurtgen creates work that utilizes detail and nuance at it’s core. Abstract imagery is distorted and manipulated to create fascinating pieces which require time to truly appreciate. This week he’s shared a wallpaper with us that bends my mind.
This piece is part of a bigger series I’ve been working on that blurs the line between photography, sculpture and digital art. I’m drawn to the effects of light on surfaces and playing with the perception of those surfaces as I layer images and reflections of images on top of each other. I have quite a few influences from a variety of artists and photographers and designers, but when I think about the main ones I’d say photographers Robert Adams and Henriette Grindat; the artist Gabriel Orozco and the designers Barbara Worjisch and Vaughn Oliver.
When I started The Desktop Wallpaper Project back in 2008 my goal was to elevate this sort of mundane yet essential space that we stare at day after day. The most iconic example of the desktop wallpaper is obviously is Bliss (it has it’s own Wikipedia page), an image that was shot by Charles O’Rear and was included with every copy of Windows XP.
I decided to ask the artists, designers, and creators that I respected to create works that would bring style and life to the desktop, and eventually devices like iPhones and iPads. Now I see numerous blogs, record labels, and even major brands doing the same, which I think I can take a little credit for.
Continuing this ideal we have a wallpaper by Melbourne designer and illustrator Spencer Harrison. His series of patterns, all featuring vivid colors and playful shapes, was something that really worked for the feeling I’ve been trying to achieve lately with the site. The repeating pattern is a series of leaves in a subdued color palette of rust, a cornflower blue, and a pleasant warm grey. Having this pattern on my Macbook and iPhone is great, but I’d love to have this lining the walls of my apartment.
Designer by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Molly Walsh and her lovely work caught my eye because of it’s playfulness and charming character. A recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she’s highly influenced by personal stories, feminism, and the great outdoors, which shape the things she chooses to draw.
Molly and I worked together to find a subject that worked well with her style and reflected the feeling of the site. What she created was a pattern based on her idea of a perfect summer day, which involves eating, sleeping, and general outdoor laziness, conveyed through characters and colors. Her vision of summer totally aligns with mine. All I want is to eat, drink, and hang out with dogs.
Slowly but surely I’ve been trying to change the voice and vision of The Fox Is Black. For the past year it hasn’t quite felt like me “now”, it’s felt like the me of 3 or 4 years ago. I’ve changed, as has my taste. As a part of this endeavor I knew that the Desktop Wallpaper Project also needed to change so I’ve been working with some artists on creating a revised vision.
The first person I collaborated with is artist Michael Olivo. He’s based in Oakland and works in a number of mediums such as animation, mural painting, print-making, graphic design, and video art. Visually, his forms flow amidst built structures to organic figures to ephemeral wisps of movement, often rendered in either stark black and white or highly saturated colors. Here’s what he had to say about his wallpaper:
This piece was inspired by some notes my brother gave me on a concept album he’s working on in the sci-fi vein. One chapter involved a large giant being destroyed and his bones becoming satellite planets over a long period of time. So this image is basically the transition period where the fragmented skeleton is floating in space, and that strange skull face is a ghostly afterimage or an essence of some sort.
I love the energy of this piece and the color palette is striking. I’ve had this piece as my wallpaper for the past week or so and I was surprised at how well it works as a background. I see this as a piece of fine art that greets you every time you open your computer. A big thanks to Michael for such great work.
Boulder based designer and illustrator Dan Lehman has created a brilliant homage to Wes Andersen’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s collected together the miscellaneous detritus that usually fills an Andersen film, objects like wine, bread, a dead cat, and of course, the throat slitter. Dan’s even cleared some space on the desktop versions of the wallpaper so you’ve got plenty of room for your icons (sorry Windows users).
It’s easy to enjoy Jesse LeDoux‘s work. He has this colorful, fun sensibility that he often applies to friendly looking monsters and musical illustrations. He can get a bit experimental and isn’t confined by one medium: he’s a dude always shifting up how he works and what he is working on. (And recently when I think of his name I think of a certain True Detective character.)
That’s why it’s exciting to feature LeDoux in The Desktop Wallpaper Project because it’s not something that you would expect from him. It’s very much his style and features friendly monsters but he went in another direction, crumpling up the image he made to be the image. It’s a wordless “Keep at it, people.” motivational statement and it suggest the beauties and successes of things that don’t quite work out as planned. If you need a little pep in how you are working, this is a wallpaper for you.
Spring has totally sprung here in LA and we’re reaching temperatures between 80º and 90º, aka my heaven. I figured that it was totally fitting then that we feature this incredibly beautiful wallpaper by Jensine Eckwall, which feels to me like spring incarnate.
Jensine is a Brooklyn based artist/illustrator who loves to create pieces that are “delicate, nervous, and richly textured illustrations about women, relationships, psychology, and other fun(?) stuff.” And as you can see above these themes are incredibly painted with so many great details. Love all the plants and vegetables, and especially the dog!
Spiros Halaris is a London based illustrator who we’ve featured on the site before for his incredible illustrations. I was such a fan in fact that I had to reach out to him to see if he’d create a wallpaper for the site and he graciously obliged.
What he came up with was a fantastic interior scene, with lots of bric-a-brac and a lovely patterned wallpaper. The way he integrated the blue, yellowish wash to certain pieces is subtle and captivating. I feel like it’s a really nice wallpaper now that spring is here. A big thanks to Spiros for creating such a great piece.
Dan Christofferson is an illustrator, painter, and designer from Salt Lake City who also goes by the name Beeteeth (which I think is pretty rad). He creates these really detailed illustrations and designs drawing on “cryptic symbols from early Utah and Mormon history to illustrate stories of exile, industry, and the parched, sunburnt west.” Badass.
His wallpaper is this beautiful bunch of bones and flowers intermingled with the phrase, “All of my bones are broken.” The combination is both morose yet beautiful, and in practical terms works great as a wallpaper (I’m currently using it). Thanks Dan!
When it comes to contemporary Danish graphic design there’s no one better than Hvass&Hannibal. Made up of Sofie Hannibal and Nan Na Hvass, the duo’s style is a great combination between minimal design and a craft-centric sensibility. Being such a big fan of their work I had to see if they’d put together a wallpaper, and thankfully they said yes!
What they created was this beautiful image, a collage of snakes and apples reminiscent of an age old tale (but of course, with a modern look and feeling). I’m obsessed with the marbling effect, which was hand-done by artist Jody Barton, and I love the way each piece comes together. Be sure to check out all of the different sizes as they each have a unique arrangement to them.
When you think of people who are “Instagram famous” you’re probably imagining a photographer. Well Daniel Patrick Simmons is “Instagram famous” but not because of his photos, it’s for his remarkable lettering. What’s even more remarkable is his personal story, the 5 minute version being that he left a good job at Apple to follow his passion for lettering and it’s paying off.
He was nice enough to create an awesome wallpaper for today featuring one of his favorite Pablo Picasso quotes, which says “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Too true. I love that he chose to shoot his entire process on a desktop, showing the time and work he put into his piece. Don’t forget to follow him on Instagram where he posts lots of behind-the-scenes photos of his work in process.
I’m oftentimes spoiled by the super creative people I get to collaborate with on The Desktop Wallpaper Project. Sometimes people reach out to me and ask if they can participate, but I can’t always say yes. Most often I write the people who I think are creating amazing things and see if they’d be interested in working together. Today is one of those days where I’m astonished by the high level of quality put into this wallpaper.
It comes from Matt Luckhurst, a designer and illustrator who currently resides in San Francisco. He’s a 2012 ADC Young Guns recipient, he’s illustrated a book about Paul Bunyan, and an all around mega creative guy. For his wallpaper he’s done a series of abstract nude figures, beautifully rendered in warm yellows and oranges with splashes of blue to make it all pop. This is an incredible work of art, and I have to give major props to Matt for creating something this beautiful.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the desert, Palm Springs in particular. Kyle and the dogs and I drive the two hour trip about every two months to get away from the daily hustle and relax poolside, blue drinks in hand. Another aspect I love about the desert is the amazing plant life it supports. Th diversity of plants is extraordinary and most of the time these plants look like something you’d find under the ocean, not in the middle of the desert. I’m pretty sure that Jacob Zinman-Jeanes, a Melbourne based illustrator and designer, would love these plants as much as I do, based on this week’s wallpaper which he created.
This cactus filled wallpaper is amazing, featuring all sorts of amazing varieties and that color palette! So great. Perhaps this is Jacob’s secret dream life, to grow cacti and desert plants, shucking the day-to-day grind that so many of us want to escape?
Love. It’s a double edged sword. Both wonderful and painful, we can’t live with it and we can’t live without it. As an optimist and a romantic, I find Valentine’s Day to be a rather wonderful time, able to show the one I love how much they mean. I also think it’s a way to show how much you mean to me, dear reader, and so I’ve worked with Ben Wallis on crafting a heartfelt wallpaper for this special time. You might remember Ben, he won our Re-Covered Books contest for his awesome Harry Potter cover. He’s working towards doing illustration full-time, which I definitely support.
He calls his wallpaper Cutaway Lovers, two lovers that are divided into skin, bones, guts, and spirit. At the center they share the same heart. As he says, “I like the idea of this being a fun cutesy valentines drawing, but with weird guts and gore.” Ditto. Love is amazing but it can also be quite honest and messy.
There’s something quite alluring about maritime signal flags, especially as a designer. The elaborate series of shapes with associated meanings are incredibly functional but also look beautiful from an outsiders point of view. This is certainly a part of the reason why Always With Honor and Scribble Tone have created Flagsmith, a flag building typeface.
All of the flags in the wallpapers were made with Flagsmith, a flag building typeface we created in collaboration with Scribble Tone. Flagsmith utilizes Opentype to transform words into shapes and patterns that can be layered and combined to create a myriad of distinct flags.
There’s always been something very satisfying about the simple arrangement of shapes, pattern and color found in flags that have the power to evoke so much. We aimed to create a system that focused on the joy of building and discovering that perfect balance with such simple elements.
You can also snag a wooden block version of Flagsmith which includes 6 blocks printed on each side with a solid or pattern found in the typeface.
When my friend Hamish said he was making art prints of “kittens playing with kale” I thought he’d finally lost it. I mean, kittens are always adorable, and everyone on earth but me seems to be obsessed with kale, so it could certainly work. What he ended up with was slightly genius.
Kittens & Kale is a celebration of youthful felines and tasty fronds. A loosely bound series of art prints depicting rescued kittens and kale recipes produced to celebrate Printed Matter’s second LA Art Book Fair (Jan 30th – Feb 2nd at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary). $5 from each sale will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society, the rescue and welfare organization dedicated to making Los Angeles a 100% no-kill city.
The project is a collaboration between Claire Cottrell, Lauren Spencer King, Hamish Robertson, and Andi Teran, featuring ten 5″ x 7″ prints of recently rescued kittens frolicking with kale accompanied by their adoption stories, and artfully-captured fronds of kale backed by recipes from Los Angeles restaurants Alma, Forage, Heirloom LA, Moon Juice, and Cookbook.
If you’re interested there’s a nice preview of the Kittens & Kale prints over on Los Angeles, I’m Yours.