After teasing fans for weeks with blimps, online snapshots and mysterious street art, Warp Records has finally released the full artwork for Aphex Twin’s forthcoming album, Syro. Created by The Designers Republic, the packaging lists every cost involved in the making and promotion of the album...
Released on 22 September, Syro is Aphex Twin's (Richard James) first new album since 2001. The release of the artwork follows the appearance of a blimp featuring the Aphex Twin logo in the skies over London, and graffiti on the streets of New York last weekend.
A collaboration between James and The Designers Republic, which has worked on campaigns and sleeves for Warp since the label's inception, the artwork lists the costs involved in making and promoting the album, from courier charges to photoshoot expenses, and is tailored for both vinyl and CD versions:
Ian Anderson, founder of The Designers Republic, says the concept is based on ideas suggested by James in early discussions about the album's packaging. “At the beginning of the process we discussed a few ideas Richard wanted to explore – one was the idea of pressing the album or a single track into the fabric of the cover, effectively as a deboss; a second was to use shots of the raw vinyl pucks albums are pressed from; and the third was to document in some way every cost involved in the production of the specific album format the purchaser had in their hands,” he 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.
The debossed bonus track appears in a limited edition perspex vinyl version, while puck shots are used on vinyl labels. TDR has also created 'a disinfographic', listing all of the equipment used to make the album.
The album is the third release that TDR has designed artwork for - the studio also worked on Windowlicker and Come to Daddy, which featured unsettling imagery shot by video artist Chris Cunningham (referenced in the deluxe slip case for the deluxe vinyl). While the new release has a notably different look, Anderson says all three are united by "a sense of non-design - of playing with formats and the preconceptions the audience may have of both what music packaging should be, and specifically what Aphex Twin’s packaging design should look like.”
"For Windowlicker, the video and images were so strong that really all we had to do was frame them. The skill here was to let the images do the work while creating space and something typographic which were recognisable in themselves in parallel with Chris’s work," he says.
"For Come To Daddy, there was a thicker plot involving a series of TDR™ generated text based promos as well as a remix CD featuring the music from an Orange mobile TV ad. There were issues about using an image from the ad so we resorted creating an orange cover with text describing the action from the ad. The typography was designed to appear neutral which is again a key factor in the non-design idea behind Syro."
Anderson also says the design is intended to challenge consumers and question notions of value: "The stripped down intentional un-typography, reducing the legibility of the bigger picture in its super detail, clashing with the inherent obsolescence of the pumped up format packaging, asks questions of the consumer that the content can’t alone," he says.
"It’s interesting that some people regard the design in terms of what they can see, designers judging it on craft and typography and fans seeing it in terms of value for money (ironically), for example, when the real message lies in the deconstructive absence of either."
Syro is released by Warp Records on 22 September. To pre-order a copy, click here.
Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author:James Cartwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Film4 has been one of the UK’s foremost production companies since its inception in 1982, responsible for titles like Trainspotting, Paris, Texas, Hunger and This Is England among many others. They’re also the UK’s number one film channel, screening films for free since 2010. But we’ve always just liked them for their weird TV spots. When they launched their free service four years ago they had Lucy Liu, Ewan McGregor, Gael Garcia Bernal and Judi Dench dressed up in all manner of strange outfits making fools of themselves. Now they’ve grown up a bit and have a new look to show off, but the ads are no less enjoyable.
Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author:Liv Siddall | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Redesigns are so often chewed up and spat out in the design world, so when one comes along that simultaneously blows the socks off each and every one of your colleagues upon seeing it, you know it’s going to be worth digging a little deeper. When that redesign is an online space it becomes so much more intriguing than a print publication doing the same thing, the web is like a constantly surging ocean and to move with the tide can be treacherous.
Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author:Maisie Skidmore | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.
Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author:Amy Lewin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Riley wanted to be like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn when he grew up; he wanted to hunt for treasure and go on adventures. Riley’s never forgotten the magical lure of finding hidden pennies and bottle tops, silver and scraps, and when scavenging he finds himself transformed into a mythical adventurer like a character in a tale by Mark Twain.
Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author:Amy Lewin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Slip on your headphones and slide into 1950s New York watching this Jackson Pollock tribute animation. Dripped, a short film by Léo Verrier and produced by Chez Eddy, explores Pollock’s quest to find his creative voice. In a world tinged with sepia, in which men wear brown corduroy suits and plum velvet jackets, Pollock tries to find how he fits in with the greats in the galleries. The film has a dash of cops ’n’ robbers intrigue and superhero-esque feats – scaling buildings and bounding from roof to roof – as Pollock pilfers art in an attempt to discover his creative identity. In his drab apartment, frustrated by painting still lifes and full of the fodder of famous works, Pollock finally discovers his characteristic, colourful style. Set to the sound of twinkly piano notes and mournful oboes, Dripped is a clever and beautiful ode to inspiration and innovation.
Posted: September 2nd, 2014 | Author:Tanner Christensen | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off
Notes designed by Ema Dimitrova from the Noun Project
Brainstorming meetings can be disastrous, often eating up time and leading to poor decisions. Google Ventures has a way to avoid the pain of traditional meetings with a seven step method.
Over at Fast Company, Jake Knapp explains:
The next time you need to make a decision or come up with a new idea in a group, call timeout and give the note-and-vote a try.
1. Note: Distribute paper and pens to each person. Set a timer for five to 10 minutes. Everyone writes down as many ideas as they can…
2. Self-edit: Set the timer for two minutes. Each person reviews his or her own list and picks one or two favorites…
3. Share and capture: One at a time, each person shares his or her top idea(s). No sales pitch. Just say what you wrote and move on…
4. Vote: Set the timer for five minutes. Each person chooses a favorite from the ideas on the whiteboard…
5. Share and capture: One at a time, each person says their vote…
6. Decide: Who is the decider? She [or he] should make the final call—not the group…
7. Rejoice: That only took 15 minutes!
The “Note and Vote” technique works by circumventing the usual suspects that cause brainstorming meetings to go awry: personal feelings, fear of being unheard, and building ideas off one another rather than focusing on originality.
Knapp also explains that this approach forces your meetings to be run in parallel (where everyone is contributing at the same time, without shouting) whereas traditional meetings are run in a serial fashion.
Film4 has launched an updated on-air brand identity with 16 new idents created by ManvsMachine. The films feature movie references throughout and were shot using a custom built in-camera device to create a moving film strip effect...
Idents were shot in five locations in the US and UK including Brighton's Grand Hotel and a gas station in California. Three films were shot at each location and each has a different ending and tone: scenes at the gas station show children riding on bikes, a burning tyre rolling across the screen and a parked police car, while idents shot in the woods include one with wolves, another with scenes of children camping and a third with a mysterious, eerie light shining behind Film4's logo.
"We wanted to avoid genres, such as horror or sci-fi, as they can feel a bit clichéd, and create a set of moods instead," explains ManvsMachine creative director Mike Alderson.
"Locations are deliberately ambiguous and each film starts off ambiguously, before being taken in a different direction. There's a sense of wonderment in the children riding bikes, while the tyre is a bit more aggressive, and the police car suggests something darker and more ominous," he adds. "In the woods, the light provides a nod to Moonrise Kingdom, but avoids anything overtly 'sci-fi'."
To create the moving film strip effect featured in each ident, ManvsMachine built a custom in-camera device which 'stacks' live action scenes. Cameras had to be passed through the floor and ceiling of sets during filming and holes dug in the ground at exterior locations.
"It was trickier than it looks to do," explains Alderson. "The camera has to start the same height above and below the space, so we had to build elevated sets and dig a huge hole in the woods [in California]. We even had an archaeologist with us making sure we didn't dig up any Native American remains," he adds.
Each ident is littered with references to films in various genres to reflect the channel's diverse output and audience. Scenes shot in a pink corridor provide an obvious nod to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, as well as Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, but also reference films including Poltergeist and Gravity. One ident, shot in a motel room, references 42 different films.
"We wanted to create something film buffs would enjoy watching, but we also wanted the idents to appeal to anyone - I hope even people who don't spot the references will like them," adds Alderson.
In keeping with the cinematic approach to idents, titles introducing films appear in red and black and are inspired by film posters and sequences from the 60s and 70s. An intelligent typographic system resizes titles depending on screen space, to ensure each film is given an equal billing.
"Our core mantra, throughout the whole project, was that it needed to be a film channel, not a TV channel. We felt it was really important to keep red and black as the only two colours, and that every title should be given the same prominence, whether it's a high end production or something more lowbrow or low budget," adds Alderson.
With the majority of effects created in camera and CGI kept to a minimum, Alderson says the idents are "a homage to the craft of filmmaking". The studio has also released a making of video revealing some of the process behind the idents:
It's a lovely set of films and the stacking device creates a distinctive visual signature, while the set design, typographic details and visual effects create a suitably rich, cinematic feel.
Credits Concept, Design & Direction: ManvsMachine Agency & Production Company: 4creative Creative Director: Dan Chase Producer:Liz Arnott DoP: Alex Barber Art Direction / Set Design: Simon Davies, Max Orgell Post Production: Analog Music: Resonate
One of Angus' tile murals for Heathrow airport, 1955
A new show on the work of artist and designer Peggy Angus (1904-93) at Towner in Eastbourne is an exhibition of the woman as much as the work. Full of her prints, patterns, posters and tile designs, it also reveals how her home in East Sussex became a creative hub for many artists...
Anecdotes about Angus' fiery personality are dotted throughout the two large gallery spaces at Towner, in the form of audio and video interviews.
She emerges as a designer whose creative practice fuelled her life and enabled her to bring together many celebrated artists and architects of her time – such as Eric Ravilious and John Piper – at her Furlongs home in East Sussex.
Furlongs, Angus' home in East Sussex. Image from author James Russell's post about his new book on the designer's work, Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter (£25), available from the Antique Collectors' Club, here
Angus had befriended Ravilious and Edward Bawden at the Royal College of Art where she studied in the School of Art, and later Design, with the assistance of a scholarship that specified that she was to gain a teaching diploma.
Though not her career of choice, Angus appears to have been a great inspiration to students at North London Collegiate School in Muswell Hill (see comments from former students on the Guardian's review of the show here) and had very strong opinions about the manner in which art should be taught.
Wallpaper design by Angus
Tile design by Angus
One aspect of Angus's practice was designing tiles cut from lino, which grew out of her making potato prints with her students at NLCS, some of which are displayed at Towner (there are repeat patterns by students Jean Craighead, Margaret Smith and Marina Dunbar).
These prints caught the attention of the architect FRS Yorke who then commissioned Angus to design a mural for the Lansbury Lawrence Primary School in Tower Hamlets.
Tile mural for Brussels World Fair, 1958
Other London locations that once displayed Angus' work include both Heathrow (c.1955) and Gatwick airports, but her designs also featured in primary schools in Wimbledon and Hemel Hempstead, the Glyndŵr University in Wales and at the Brussels World Fair (1958).
Sadly, most of her large-scale tile murals have been lost to refurbishments or demolition, but they are represented in the exhibition as photographs.
Tile mural at Glyndŵr University, Wrexham, Wales
In addition, the exhibition showcases several of her paintings, displayed in their original – somewhat-weathered – frames that sit side by side with watercolours by Eric Ravilious.
They show their shared inspirations – places like the Asham Cement Works – as well as their close friendship.
Ravilious' works 'Furlongs' and 'Interior, Furlongs' (both 1934) are appropriately displayed next to Angus' 'Eric Ravilious and Helen Binyon at Furlongs' and 'Angus and Victoria at Breakfast in Furlongs' (1945).
Angus' painting Asham Cement Works, oil on canvas, 1934
Angus's weekend home in the Furlongs is presented as a kind of creative hub, where visitors were expected to participate and enrich the environment, even adding to the interiors. As an avid letter writer and lover of paper, photographs show how the house, however modest, was touched by art, with items as insignificant as cereal boxes covered in her wallpaper designs, stuffed with copies of correspondence.
In Furlongs, Angus appears to have been in her prime, telling embellished stories and filling the house with laughter.
Furlongs, Angus' home in East Sussex
Also on display are the wallpaper designs that post-dated the tile designs, as they became less fashionable, and a selection of posters for exhibitions showcasing the work produced at her People's Creative Workshop in Camden that made art and design accessible to the elderly local community.
Angus, while Chilean born and London bred, is claimed by the gallery as a local artist for the contribution she made to the area. The Towner exhibition is a celebration of a designer, teacher and painter who has largely been forgotten and rightly attempts to position her among the greats of her time.