For those of you who might not know, printing has a pretty shady past. At one point it was considered the work of Satan (how else could you explain being able to reproduce the Bible so easily?), which is how the profession earned the nickname the “Black Arts.” In full disclosure, there are some who claim this moniker came about because printers were often covered with black ink. Could be, but we like to believe the story with a bit more mystery behind it.
Enter the newest addition to the Studio On Fire shop: our homage to the black arts. Silver ink on a 100% cotton black tee shirt, this is a perfect purchase for anyone wanting rock a little bit of printing history. Buy it here.
Coming from a self-confessed post-it-noter (check out my carbon footprint yo) these are pretty damn cool. Obviously you wouldn’t just go around using these willy-nilly, oh no. These are for special occasions, the birthday post it for example. Or maybe for drawing a willy on and attaching to a colleague’s computer screen/back. YOU CAN’T JUST WRITE ANYTHING ON THEM! If I see even one nacho post it with ‘need milk’ written on it I’m going to fucking flip out.
Have a look at the nachos/cookies etc. here and the sushi here.
Man the christmas shopping comes back every year doesn’t it. It’s hard to budget for everything around this time of year but … hold on … you’re a creative kind of guy right? Why don’t you just design up a lovely christmas card and get it sent round to a thousand people this christmas, and whats more pocket a nice little christmas wad while you’re at it. Just think how happy Granny will be when she gets her Xbox with Modern Warfare 3 and an extra controller! *yoink*.
Runners up also receive Stack annual subscriptions – which we raved about here. Well worth picking up a pencil for.
The Vice tone of voice, so raw and refreshing when reporting on conflicts in Libya or Congo, seems to feel much more at home ribbing wierdos for wearing crocs or having a sperm tattoo, most noticeably in its infamous ‘DO’s and DON’Ts’ column. Sadly it’s less prominent position in the recent site redesign means I can’t be pretending to read a worthy music column while secretly looking at naked fatties, so it was with guilt-ridden satisfaction that I accepted their offer to send me a review copy of the new print accompaniment to everyone’s guilty secret corner of the internet.
First of all, the book is small and RRPs at £9.99 (which means six quid on Amazonznz) – having worked briefly in an art publishing house I know this aims it at the impulse point-of-sale ‘that’ll go in the loo’ market. And actually, that is what it’s perfect for. When that second log just won’t budge and you’re bored of angry birds, this book will provide a good chuckle. From the aforementioned naked fatties to drag queens through sweat, hair and terrible tattoos, this book has the lot, all captioned with the sort of snide hostility the online column is famous for.
It lacks the depth of its recent big brother ‘The World according to Vice’, reviewed here, but is a good taste of one of the sections of Vice with (I would imagine) the biggest repeat custom. Plus your seedy uncle who thinks he’s in with the kids will love all the boobs, should you present it as his christmas gift.
A couple of weeks ago we held a zine workshop with Alex Zamora from FEVERZINE - have a watch of this video to see what we got up to. We’ll be putting up photos of some of the zines shortly (the video barely scratches the surface of the body of work produced), but until then be content with pausing the HD footage and salivating/giggling over it.
We absolutely loved this workshop, there’s nothing better than getting people to stretch their creative muscles in new ways and producing a magazine in 3 hours is definitely a good way to do it.
ShellsuitZombie’s favourite magazine subscription service, Stack, has been going from strength to strength since we first reported it (I’m sure in no small part down to both issues of SSZ being delivered in their lovely brown envelopes…ahem) and have now started holding magazine related events.
After 2 successful ‘Printout!’ events they are now hosting a 48 hour magazine making session at the Southbank Centre on the 12th to the 14th of August and anyone can get involved. ShellsuitZombie will be there (stapling and photocopying and making tea I would imagine) and so will many others if past events are anything to go by, so make sure you sign up.
The design agency and capital letter-avoider jkr has released a new book entitled “The Blue Lady’s New Look and Other Curiosities”, or just “Blue Lady” to its mates. I got hold of a copy a few weeks ago and since then I have been reading it on a variety of trains and deck chairs around the country.
The purpose of the book is to present a collection of posts from jkr’s blog, the Design Gazette. Almost daily, its author, Silas Amos, provides an intelligent, thought-provoking critique of the latest developments in design and branding, delivered entirely without ego, which is impressive from an agency described by a leading creative industry commentator as “pretty shit hot”. To describe the Blue Lady as an anthology is to sell it short though. In my opinion, the book is much more than a collection of disparate essays. The pieces have been lovingly organised into a number of themed sections building to a climactic final chapter that articulately captures the current state of design and culture.
Like an episode of Scrubs, each of the essays introduces an important question that often has no clear-cut answer. Should you continuously refresh your brand’s image or stick with what’s familiar? Is it a good idea to associate the brand with a particular celebrity? Should packaging be different for items bought online rather than in-store? For each of these issues, the Blue Lady presents a spectrum of recent cases that have been successful and some that haven’t. This makes the book a great source of inspiration and guidance for both students and design professionals. It’s a shame there isn’t an index to help search through different brands or key concepts.
One of the Blue Lady’s closing points is that design today is highly referential, so it is fitting that Amos regularly draws from an encyclopaedic knowledge of past designs, literature and the arts. At times when reading the book, I felt like a young apprentice, smiling and nodding as my mentor spoke in a language of past icons and learned cultural references, then scurrying off to Wikipedia to work out what he was on about. Don’t get me wrong, the Blue Lady reads well and is free from impenetrable jargon, but it treats the reader as a peer, expecting them to share a certain level of cultural understanding. By the end of the book you’ll be well equipped to contribute to the discussion (if you weren’t already).
So yeah, get a copy. It will inform you about the many factors that are shaping today’s cultural context and make you think about where things might go in the future. Which is important because you’ll be the one doing the shaping. It’s only £7.19 on Amazon right now and, in case you were wondering, it smells great.
The Shakey Monkey Space app. Wow, we (and probably a lot of other people) have been saying for ages that someone should somehow take the piss out of this kind of work, and blow me down, the guys at Cog Design have only gone and done it.
This app lets you create a piece of work worthy of many a fffound page (and unfortunately many portfolios) with a wiggle of your hand, purely by shuffling together an assortment of animals, lines, space and sky images, shapes and underlined obliques. In fact there are so many that, with over 1 million combinations your work will probably be more original than the object of its derision. What makes it even better is that you can then export your masterpiece inside its very own mystery ‘poster-poser’ shot. So fashionable.
We asked creator John Burton about the app (and when I say ‘asked about the app’ we of course meant ‘invited to have a rant’). He said this:
‘We created the app because we were bored with people producing the same kind of trendy, monkey-floating-in-space, style-over-substance imagery. It all seemed so formulaic. We took a satirical approach from the start, poking as much fun at ourselves and tackling as many design clichés as we could – the animals and random geometric shapes floating in space, strikethrough and underlined block capitals in italics, the faceless-phantom presenter of all posters holding up your end result. The result is a bit of fun we want everyone to get
Well we’ve had a lot of fun with it (and it’s free). Download it and nip this vein of unoriginality right in the bud.
For this year’s red nose day Colchester graduate illustration duo Phil and Lauren (AKA The Hidden Dingbat collective) decided to help the cause by pictorally transcribing the entire televised evening onto one huge mural. That’s 7 hours of drawing all at once. The plan was to not only raise money during and after the event through their sponsorship page but also to flog the finished piece (complete with as many celeb signatures as possible) with all proceeds also going to the Comic Relief cause. It’s a lovely idea that has produced an even nicer bit of work (see above for a couple of close-ups) – but they now desperately need to get in touch with Olly Murs for the first signature. So where are you Olly? eh?
While up north last month one of the grads we met was Leeds-based design student Heather Bradley. She showed a suprisingly mature knowledge of type and layout in her branding work, even working with spatial designers to design spaces for the brands she was working on. Nice to see an editorial concept carried out over multiple issues too (and that’s a custom typeface, intriguingly titled squircle).