23 February 2009
Scrapper vs. Slugger. Boxing posters: tough type; bare facts; no fuss
I found these old boxing posters recently and I think they are wonderful, writes Matt Willey. The typefaces and the way they are arranged appeal to me. The arrangement of the type is a result, I presume, of a simple need to get all this information on the poster – nothing more fancy than that.
14 February 2009
Valentine’s Day is a field day for Marian Bantjes
Design magazines don’t receive Valentine’s Day cards as a rule. Sure, we get plenty of Christmas cards. And even more New Year’s cards and fancy calendars, from all those design studios who didn’t quite hit their Christmas deadline. But 14 February always seemed too . . . arbitrary, too commercialised and/or too personal. Until Marian Bantjes came along.
10 February 2009
‘Nothing. Yet everything’ – Kenya Hara’s Designing Design
My desk resembles an over-developed resort on the Costa del Sol, writes Andy Polaine. Towers of design books vie for attention, some flashy, others already out of fashion, most of them desperately self-conscious. There they stand, eager to be reviewed. Should I choose onedotzero’s motion blur 2, its neon-green acrylic slipcase and grey felt cover a cunning representation of homespun desktop digital culture with a dash of cyberpunk? How about Stephen Bayley, the Christopher Hitchens of design criticism? His recent book, Cars, with its velveteen cover, library-grade sturdy black slipcase and simple layout, smacks of important cleverness. I am cheating, of course. I am allowed only one truffle from the sweetshop. Fortunately, there is one that I keep turning back to – Kenya Hara’s Designing Design
6 February 2009
Meaning is back in fashion, courtesy of M/M (Paris)
If you’ve ever been troubled by what they call a ‘postmodern moment’ – disorientated, disconnected and detached – worry no more, write Monika Parrinder + Colin Davies. Postmodernism is over, according to Nicholas Bourriaud the French writer and curator behind the current Tate Triennial 2009. Instead, the altermodern is emerging. This rejection of postmodernism (after modernism) is a rejection of ‘history as an arrow’, as Bourriaud put it in a recent Tate interview. Alter proposes ‘multiplicity, otherness.’ It’s the ‘re-loading’ of modernism for today’s context; global, nomadic, creolised but – crucially – connected. ‘Today we are living in a maze and we have to get meaning out of this maze and these are the big stakes around the altermodern,’ he claims. Meaning is back in fashion!
5 February 2009
Sagmeister’s credit list questions designers’ reluctance to discuss fees
Abrams is about to republish Stefan Sagmeister’s Made You Look, first published in 2001 by Booth-Clibborn Editions, and reviewed in ‘Another self-indulgent design monograph’ (Eye no. 41 vol. 11). The book is exactly as it was, with perhaps a little more silvery finesse for the fore-edge (see foot of blog), and an overly dark shade of red for the transparent slipcase. Given the vast number of design monographs – variously inspiring, smart, self-indulgent, baffling and plain dumb – that come the way of design mags, one of the more memorable elements of Made You Look is a credit section that details the number of hours spent on each project, together with the fee, cheerfully breaking a long-standing taboo among graphic designers.
3 February 2009
Deborah Littlejohn's Agenda from Eye 70 focuses on design education
In ‘I have nothing to declare but my networking skills’ (Eye no.70 vol. 18), Deborah Littlejohn argues that ‘creative genius’ is so last millennium. What design students want – and need – is skill in collaborative online technology.
30 January 2009
Time to consider a more holistic approach to publishing design?
To celebrate today’s ‘The Form of the Book’ conference at St Bride Library (above), Catherine Dixon introduces a new thread to the Eye blog. In future weeks, we will be inviting designers and design writers to select their favourite book designs (not just the covers) of the past year, and to explain their selection. A couple of recent events in London have focused discussions on what makes good book design. Swiss designer Jost Hochuli shared his misgivings concerning an overly systematic approach to book design in a lecture at St Bride Library. Warning of the pitfalls of an overly dogmatic approach to visual layout, he proposed a more ‘open’ relationship between designer and system, allowing scope for intuition to inform the designed response.
26 January 2009
The Times redesigns its Saturday edition with some grand gestures
The Times appeared on Saturday morning (24 January 2009) in its new six-section configuration, writes Simon Esterson. The most obvious change is that the new Saturday Review section marks a return to broadsheet format. And after all those tabloids it does look big: a great sheet of newsprint, only really safely navigated at home on the Saturday breakfast table. (How do those Daily Telegraph readers manage on the train during the week?) The large format, with its nod back to Times past, signals that the section contains the serious stuff of 'arts, books and ideas’.
23 January 2009
Jon Forss’s piece about children’s TV presenter Tony Hart from Eye 57
In the Autumn of 2005 we published an ‘Inspiration’ piece by Non-Format’s Jon Forss about Take Hart and Tony Hart, who died last Sunday aged 83. Here’s Jon’s original text from Eye no. 57 vol. 15: Neatly tucked somewhere among John Craven’s Newsround, Blue Peter, Wacky Races, Rhubarb & Custard and other 1970s late-afternoon BBC programming was a show that had me glued to the set like no other.
22 January 2009
Black Panther: Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution
What better time to see an exhibition of work by Emory Douglas, the official artist of the Black Panther Party, asks Noel Douglas (no relation – Ed). Like the Panthers, Barack Obama’s campaign also made highly visible use of ‘street’ graphics, with strong networks of grassroots flyposting, and the connections – and differences – between the two periods are made obvious as you walk around Black Panther: Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution at Urbis in Manchester.