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The CR Photography Annual is changing

Posted: July 21st, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Art, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Magazine / Newspaper, Photography | Comments Off


Each year the Creative Review Photography Annual showcases the best in commercial photography. For 2014 we are introducing some important changes which will place the emphasis of the awards firmly on celebrating the power of the image to communicate ideas and tell stories in all media


Cover of CR Photography Annual 2013. Photographer: Tim Flach


• New categories
• More exposure for your work
• A celebration of the power of the image


Over the past decade, we have grown the CR Photography Annual to be a fantastic showcase of the world of commercial photography. In particular, the Photography Annual has provided photographers with a brilliant way to get their personal projects in front of our audience of art directors, designers and creative directors. It's no accident that the Personal/Non-published has always been our most popular category.

For this year, though, we are shaking things up a little. We want to celebrate not just the work of photographers themselves but also those who commission and art direct great images, whether that is in advertising, in a magazine, a book, online or via a photolibrary. So, new for this year, we are introducing categories for the best use of photography in advertising and marketing campaigns, in editorial (both magazines and books as well as related websites) and by fashion brands. The winning work in these categories will be shown in context ie as layouts, pages, covers etc

We are also introducing a category to celebrate the best images that have been commissioned by image libraries to help set standards in this important creative sector.

See details of all our categories here.

Selected work will be published in the special December 2014 double issue of CR and showcased to an invited audience of leading creative industry figures at our Photography Annual launch party. In addition, our winners will be showcased across CR's digital and social media platforms, reaching over a million people worldwide.

For full details, including deadlines, please go here


Cover of the 2014 CR Photography Annual. Photographer: Ewen Spencer

Can’t wait to finish this : ) so can work on my #novel

Posted: July 18th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Art, Books, Digital | Comments Off

US artist Cory Arcangel has written a 'novel' based on selected tweets which include the phrase "working on my novel"...

There are a lot of novels currently in-progress if Arcangel's collection of Twitter users' literary amibitions is anything to go by.

Opening with the perhaps slightly misguided, "Now that I have a great domain name I can start writing on my novel", Arcangel's new book features another 127 tweets which each suggest that the particular would-be author is, yes, finally getting down and working on some text. Finally doing it. No distractions! Nope. Apart from Twitter.

The tweets were originally sourced via the artist's Twitter account at @wrknonmynovel and, in book form, have been ordered into a kind of journey from optimistic beginnings through to self-flagellation and time-is-running-out cries for help.

But along the way there's a distinct buoyed-up feeling of finally getting down to some writing, however deluded this might prove to be.

In one sense it's a book about distraction. Many of the tweeters are keen to list (blame?) the things that are keeping them from working on their novel: films, cafes and drinking feature. (This would also have to include being on Twitter).

But it also says something about how people find the time to be creative and how they deal with this when they do. Free time, it seems, can be such a rare event that, in finding it, many feel they have to tell people about it. But as soon as they're done hashtagging – it's back to the book. #iamwriting.

Working On My Novel by Cory Arcangel is published by Particular Books on July 31 (£5.99). Arcangel's site is at coryarcangel.com.

What’s in the August issue?

Posted: July 17th, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

Our August issue – a CGI special – is out next week. Subscribers get their copies first and it costs less than if you buy it in the shops. A bargain. Make sure you receive CR first each month by subscribing here...

And if you subscribe by Monday July 22, you'll received the August edition of CR as your first issue.

So what's in it this month, we hear you cry?

Well, in this issue we turn the spotlight on CGI and talk 'teamwork' with several of the industry's leading practitioners such as Smoke & Mirrors, Taylor James and Stanley's Post. We also have interviews with photographer Giles Revell and 3D artist, Ben Koppel.

Carl Burgess (More Soon) argues that, aside from generating beautiful work, digital image-making is a vital antidote to our current obsession with handmade nostalgia; and Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones talk us through the film they made for the Meltdown festival, which worked VFX house Glassworks to the limit.

There are also features on the new Disobedient Objects show at the V&A, which features art and design made by protest groups; while the Royal College of Art's critical writing in art and design programme introduce their new book charting the history of the college's student publication, Ark. Plus we review the British Folk Art exhibition at Tate Britain and the Digital Revolution show at the Barbican.

Here's the cover (below), based on a concept by Carl Burgess and features artwork by Komba3D (which is available from TurboSquid.com).

If you're not yet a CR subscriber – why not take one out today? Order by Monday and the August issue will be the first issue delivered to you. Visit our Shopify page, here.

Omni presence

Posted: July 16th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Art, Books, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper | Comments Off

Robert Kittila, Cover, June 1981

Between 1978 and 1998, Omni magazine brought both science news and science fiction to Britain and America. The Mind's Eye: The Art of Omni is the first book to bring together a wide selection of some of the fantastical art and illustration which accompanied its stories...

Omni was founded by Kathy Keaton and Bob Guccione, the man who had set up Penthouse magazine in 1965. It sought to explore both science and the paranormal and published stories by writers who would go onto become familiar names in science fiction: Orson Scott Card, William Gibson and George RR Martin all appeared in early editions, for example.

While the initial concept for the title was Keaton's, the artists and illustrators whose work featured in each issue were apparently hand-picked by Guccione. These included names such as John Berkey, Chris Moore, HR Giger, Rafal Olbinski, Rallé, Tsuneo Sanda, Hajime Sorayama, Robert McCall and Colin Hay. The magazine ended its print version in 1995 and maintained a short life online until 1998.

The Mind's Eye, which has just been published in the US by powerHouse Books features 185 examples of Omni's art, including the selection below. The site, OmniReboot, carries information about the magazine and features an extensive library of all previous editions of the magazine.

The Mind's Eye: The Art of Omni, edited by Jeremy Frommer and Rick Schwartz, is published by powerHouse Books ($60 US/Can). It features an introduction by one of Omni's editors, Ben Bova. It is available from the PowerHouse shop, here.

Stanislaw Fernandes, World of Electronic Games: War No More, January 1992

Tsuneo Sanda, Cover, April 1993

Fred Jürgen Rogner, Cover, November 1980

Bruce Jensen, Cover, June 1992

David Jackson, Spaceships, February 1979.

Young Artist Ltd, Tour of the Universe, July 1981

Michael Parkes, Cover, December 1980

John Schoenherr, Dune, July 1980

Front to back: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

Posted: July 16th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Books, Graphic Design, Illustration, Type / Typography | Comments Off

The recent winner of the Bailey's prize, Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-formed Thing features a cover by Faber & Faber's art director, Donna Payne. In the latest in our Front to Back series, Payne talks through the process of finding the perfect image and typeface for this very different kind of novel...

Stylistically, McBride's debut novel is unlike most contemporary fiction. According to Justine Jordan, writing in the Guardian last month, the novel is "the inner narrative of an Irish girl from before birth to the verge of death, written to capture what McBride calls 'the moment before language becomes formatted thought'."

The book opens like this: "For you. You'll soon. You'll give her name. In the stitches of her skin she'll wear your say. Mammy me? Yes you." The text reflects the coming to consciousness of the main character, an unnamed girl – beginning with short, impressionistic sentences and gradually moving into a more regular structure as she ages. (A clip of McBride reading an extract from the book at the Baileys Prize Shortlist reading event is here.)

For Faber's art director Donna Payne, the brief accompanying the task of designing the book's first cover was equally as open to experimentation. Here, she explains the process behind creating the cover.


CR: As you're reading through the text of a book that you'll be working on, do you take notes? Do you record images or instances in the text that might have strong visual elements?

DP: Although I still read finished books in print, I tend to read working manuscripts on an e-reader these days, highlighting passages as I go. I'll mark up recurring themes, settings and character details – passages that suggest tone.

I tend to show a selection of cover ideas at the first rough stage, so sometimes I stop and create covers as I go. The first visual I put together for this book was not a cover as such, more a description of content and how the book felt (shown below).


DP: Ideas for covers can sometimes come from a lengthy conversation with an editor rather than a full read, but this was an unusual book that demanded reading.

The 'girl' of the title is never fully physically described or indeed named, and the book spans her life from birth to mid-twenties. However, the writing is very descriptive and acutely visual – the various characters and setting in late 1980s rural Ireland, in particular.

But it also manages to skillfully convey intense feeling and emotion and I was keen to get that across, too.


CR: Did any particular image or scence from the book influence the development of the cover?

DP: The scene in which the girl immerses herself in a cold lake is a key part of the book and very evocative. It follows a life changing event and the theme of water and cleansing continues throughout the novel.

I looked at underwater images but that felt too literal; eventually the idea of making the book itself look like it had been dipped into a dirty lake came to me and I thought about whether just this, in itself, was enough with typography (shown above; detail below).


CR: If, as here, you go into working on a cover knowing that the brief is wide open, does that change how you approach the job at all?

DP: I am always reader focused in my approach to cover design, even when given a completely open brief. It's important for the cover to be true to the text. This doesn't mean a narrative approach, but a good cover should describe tone as well as pique interest.

My job is to produce something that will entice a casual browser enough to want to read the back cover, and perhaps an extract. What that reader finds inside shouldn't be at odds with the packaging.


CR: Can you tell me about the typeface choice – it seems to echo the 1980s setting of the novel, but where did the stacking idea come from? Does it reflect the shorter sentence style McBride uses throughout the text?

Yes, I wanted to reflected the short, sharp sentences of the book without losing the flow of the design. My aim was for it to look a little off balance but not 'wrong' as such.

There's also the early-1980s setting – particularly the teenage years, so old Jackie magazines and cheap make-up packaging (shown below) inspired the font choice. The one I used is a modern font called Lust Slim, but it's based on other Didone typefaces popular at that time such as Fenice and heavier cuts of Bodoni.




CR: Finally, can you talk through the thinking behind the image of the apple?

DP: The apple as a symbol for temptation, innocence and femininity is a familiar one. The book questions any traditional notion of what it means to be a girl and this lead me to look to images of spoiled, over ripe fruit (below).

The idea of depicting something beautiful and familiar – which is perceived as 'not quite right' or 'perfect enough' – appealed to me. The girl's relationship with her sick brother, and how other people view him, is at the very heart of the book and absolutely tied in with her emerging identity.

Eimear gave me a very open brief with just a couple of pointers on what she wanted to avoid: No images of tough sexualised girls – one such image had accompanied a newspaper article about the book, and it felt at odds with the complexity of the writing and with the 'girl' herself (who is never named much less described).

Hannah Griffiths, the book's editor, also afforded me the rare luxury of designing from the heart – and with the reader rather than the retailer in mind.

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride is published by Faber & Faber (£7.99; £5.99 on Faber's website).

Dear readers…

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Art, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Music Video / Film, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

We'd like your help. We want to know more about you and what you think of us. What would you like CR to do more of? Or less of? What would you like to see us writing about? And what could we do to make your life easier?

As part of a major audience research programme taking place over the summer, we are conducting an online survey to find out more about our readers and their opinion of CR. We'd love you to be a part of that.

All you have to do is complete the online survey here

But, if you'd like to do more, we are also looking for volunteers to attend a series of focus groups about the creative industry and what CR can do to serve it better. If that sounds like something you would like to be part of, please tell us at the end of the online survey.

Thank you to everyone who chooses to participate in this. Across all our platforms, from print, to web, to iPad and more, we want to make CR better for you – just tell us what you need


Leanne Shapton’s patterns for Jane Austen

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Books, Graphic Design, Illustration, Type / Typography | Comments Off

US illustrator and writer Leanne Shapton has designed a series of patterned covers for new editions of Jane Austen's six novels, published this week by Vintage Classics...

Shapton created a bespoke pattern for each cover which sits behind a handwritten label. "The nice thing about patterns is that they can evoke a certain mood or tone, but also be neutral," says Shapton on Vintage's CMYK design blog.

"I loved creating a consistent handwritten label style for the six books and then thinking of which patterns might obliquely suit the titles. I think the patterns we chose quietly compliment and correspond to the stories. My favorite is Mansfield Park."

With many contemporary publishers still determined to add extra subtitles, quotes, even stickers, to perfectly well-designed covers, it's great to see a set with no visual interference – just great imagery and in-keeping typography.

The Vintage Classics Austen Series consists of Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. They are available now (£7.99). See vintage-books.co.uk.

Quentin Blake at the House of Illustration

Posted: July 3rd, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Books, Illustration | Comments Off

A new exhibition space for illustration has just opened in London with an inaugural show from perhaps the UK's most popular practitioner, Sir Quentin Blake. The House of Illustration offers a chance to see many of Blake's original drawings, paintings and sketches – and hopes to become a focal point for celebrating both the history of the artform and its future...

As an organisation (and charity) the House of Illustration has been active since 2002, when it was founded by a group of illustrators led by Blake and Emma Chicester Clark.

Since then it has helped to organise several exhibitions and education programmes, as well as establishing itself as the official archive-to-be of Blake's enormous output of some 4,000 drawings and 250 illustrated books.

But until this week the HOI has not had a permanent home and so the space at 2 Granary Square – in the middle of the King's Cross regeneration area and nextdoor to Central Saint Martins college – now provides a fantastic exhibition site, complete with function rooms and shop.

And an exhibition of Blake's work is not only an appropriate way to open the new site, but one that offers fans of his a chance to see the original ink drawings and watercolours which have become so familiar from his books.

I happened to enter the exhibition from what is actually the final room on the exhibition route – and this made for quite an emotional start to the show. The 'last' room looks at Blake's work for Michael Rosen's Sad Book, the author's moving account of dealing with the death of his 18 year-old son, Eddie.

Rosen's original email to his publisher – essentially the text for the book typed out with the subject 'Is this a book?' (above) – is also displayed on one of the walls.

Blake had to work hard to convey Rosen's state of mind; the opening page is an incredible portrait of Rosen where the writer is trying to hide his sadness behind a smile – "This is me trying to look cheerful," he writes. It's quite an illustrative feat to pull off.

Other than an initial display case which looks at how Blake works as an illustrator (detail shown, above), the rest of the show is arranged within one large room and covers various highlights from his long career.

Interestingly, and in this context well-judged I think, only two of Blake's collaborations with Roald Dahl are included and we see sketches and final artwork for two very different projects; Danny the Champion of the World and The Twits.

In the former, Blake adopted a more realistic approach in his drawing to match the nature of the story; while for The Twits, famously one of Dahl's most grotesque books, the drawing style is delightfully messy; even disgusting in places.

Blake's techniques here also served to provide extra detail to Dahls text: the close-up of Mr Twit's food-ridden beard and a drawing of their 'bird pie', for example, are particularly effective (below).

Alongside each series of images is an introduction by Blake himself which sheds light on the process behind the drawings and their shaping into books.

For any illustrator, and indeed anyone interested in illustration, this is a great opportunity to see how Blake has helped to create some of the most memorable characters and scenes in visual storytelling.

And if you walk around the show in the right order, you'll see how his talents stretch from capturing everything from outrageous silliness to heartbreaking sadness within a seemingly effortless line.

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories is at the House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, London N1C 4BH until November 2. More at houseofillustration.org.uk. Blake's website is quentinblake.com.


CR July iPad edition

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Art, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Music Video / Film, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

Don't forget the July 2014 issue of CR - the trends special - is also available on the iPad, where you'll find all the print mag content and monograph alongside additional videos and exclusive images. Plus, there's a lot more to be found in Hi Res, our showcase gallery section, and CRTV, with video profiles of creative people and other moving image work from around the world....


This month we analyse the latest trends in visual communication, including photography, type, illustration, commercials, music, tech, web-design, colour and logo design.

In the Features section Diane Smyth of BJP looks at current trends in photography, from acid-bright still lifes to shooting the new feminism. While Antonia Wilson asks why California's Salton Sea is such a fascinating location for photogrphers.

Eliza Wiiliams talks to the experts about the latest trends in music for ads, including the Guilty Pleasure and Going Epic, and Paul Domenet of Johnny Fearless bemoans the blandness of 'mood reel' ads. While Bill Gardner of Logo Lounge presents his annual Trends Report.

Gareth Hague of Alias to picks out type trends, while Rachael Steven asks why IK Blue has become so popular in graphic design. Gavin Lucas talks zigzags, postmodern references and other current illustration trends.

B-Reel London's Liam Viney talks us through the potential of emerging tech trends such as Oculus Rift, while Rachael Steven asks why so many retailers' websites look so similar. And Mark Sinclair investigates the world of the trend forecaster.

Plus Sarah Snaith meets designer Wolfgang Weingart at a new Zurich show, Eliza Williams reports from the Photo España, and Nick Asbury looks at the copywriting craft of the late, great David Abbott. And not fogetting the results of the Bridgeman Studio Award, and regular columns from Michael Evamy, Daniel Benneworth-Gray and Paul Belford.

In Hi Res you'll find Tour de France t-shirt project Yorkshire in Yellow (below right); East London Swimmers from photographer Madeleine Waller (above left); work from Dean Chalkley's new photo show Return of the Rudeboy; graphic art celebrating Brazilian football culture from Kemistry Gallery (below left); Europe's largest skatepark Port Land captured by photographer Éric Antoine; and Julia Calverley's beautiful camera photo landscape shots from his new book #IPHONEONLY (above right).

CRTV includes a profile of poster designer James Victore from Like Knows Like (below right); Alasdair + Jock's new animation Day of the Seafarer; Shit Showreels Say animation from Peter Quinn looking at showreel clichés; a preview of new book on 3D printing by designers Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen; the making of mixed media animation Caveirao by Guilherme Marcondes; Fredrik Kasperi's conceptual short VFX film Take on an Idea; and a documentary about Salvation Mountain folk artist Leonard Knight (below left).


To submit work for consideration for CRTV or Hi Res, please email antonia.wilson@centaur.co.uk

For further info on the CR iPad app or to subscribe, click here.

Illustrated book benches promote literacy in London

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Art, Books, Illustration | Comments Off

A series of 50 benches shaped like open books and painted to represent major works of literature are appearing all over London in the National Literacy Trust's Books About Town project

Day of the Triffids bench by Oliver Dean, above. Jeeves and Wooster by Gordon Allum, top


The scheme is a partnership with Wild in Art and will run all summer. The 50 illustrated benches reference works including classics such as 1984, Great Expectations and The Time Machne as well as more contemporary titles and children's books.


1984 bench by Thomas Dowdeswell


Dr Seuss bench by Theodor Seuss Geisel and Jane Headford


Fever Pitch bench by Sophie Green


Each one will be situated in an area with a connection to that title. Maps to follow BookbenchTrails around particular areas of the city cane be downloaded here.

Once the project has finished, the benches will be sold at a public auction on October 7 to benefit the National Literacy Trust, which is dedicated to raising the literacy levels of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. Details here.


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy bench by Deven Bhurke


The World's Biggest Flipbook bench by Jeremy Banks


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe bench by Quad Digital and Mandii Pope


Girl Engrossed/Adrian Mole bench by Andrea Joseph



Noughts and Crosses bench by Oliver Dean


The Time Machine bench by Di Ralston


War Horse bench by Gerard Strong using illustrations by Rae Smith


Wisden Almanack bench by Trevor Skempton


The full list is here