Tag Archives: graphic design

  1. 08.22.13
    Excerpt: Book
    Pattern Box

    We were already pretty sold on the idea of Pattern Box — a new postcard box set curated by New York’s Textile Arts Center — which gathers together 100 different prints by 10 of our favorite illustrators and textile designers. We imagined sending off thank yous backed by Eskayel’s dreamy, washed-out blues or get well soons accompanied by Leah Goren’s graphic black cats. (With 100 cards to blow through, even our garage guy might get a holiday bonus paper clipped to Helen Dealtry’s abstract florals.) But then we found the little booklet tucked inside, which contains wonderful, Sight Unseen–like Q&As that delve into the inspiration and process behind each designer and we knew we had to share.

  2. 08.21.13
    Eye Candy
    Lindsey Hampton, Ceramist/Graphic Designer

    Lindsey Hampton splits her time between designing dynamic concert posters and soothing ceramics at her potters wheel. Her process and mediums are fluid, skipping from sculpture to print design is natural progression for Hampton. “Everything in my vision holds equal weight, whether it’s graphic design, ceramics, sculpture, photography, music, anything. There’s a great deal of spontaneity involved. It all takes shape within the action and is rarely sketched or planned.” Palettes, shapes and patterns in her work speak together across all platforms, her voice is loud and clear. Hampton lives and works in Vancouver, BC.

  3. 08.16.13
    Eye Candy
    Hansje van Halem’s End Paper Collection

    There’s nothing quite like cracking open a new book and discovering enchanting patterned end papers. A complement to the cover, a welcome addition to the books design and a necessity to book binding. Graphic designer Hansje van Halem gathered together a collection of her favorite end papers and shared them on her portfolio site. This collection is a perfect companion to van Halem’s own work, which encompasses both pattern and book design.

  4. 07.23.13
    The Making Of
    TT and M by Thing Thing and Michael Savona

    Creative collaborations can go one of two ways: Either it’s obvious where one person’s influence begins and the other’s ends, or it isn’t. You get a minotaur, or you get a liger. When the quirky plastics researchers at Thing Thing teamed up with the graphic designer Michael Savona for a recent joint project, the result was pretty much the former — typography come to life, in the form of recycled-plastic stools handmade with l0-fi fabrication techniques developed by Thing Thing. We first caught sight of the series at the Chicagoland exhibition at Wanted Design this past May, where we chatted with Savona about it; we figured there must be a pretty interesting story behind how the pieces were made, and we were right!

  5. 07.22.13
    The Making Of
    Wary Meyers’ Candles

    If you want to put too fine a point on it, you could say that John and Linda Meyers specialize professionally in obscurity. The couple run a brand and webshop called Wary Meyers, where they sell flea-market ephemera that often have a delightful but abstruse narrative attached, and their own goods like Gonks, which are handmade creatures for kids based on an old World War I British archetype. They also made themselves scarce a few years ago when John, a former visual merchandiser at Anthropologie, and Linda, an art director, picked up and left Manhattan for a quieter life in Portland, Maine. But as a young couple with a very young child, they felt increasingly that they ought to be investing their time in something that might one day become ubiquitous: “The thing with our company is we’ve always done a lot of one-offs and prototypes — things where we’ll make one item and then it’s like, ‘Well, how do we produce them somewhat cheaply and not in China?’” says Linda. “And everything we did before seemed slightly esoteric. We had a book where we did 50 DIY projects and people loved the products and were like, ‘Do you want to sell them?’ And it was kind of like, ‘Well, do you want to pay $1500 for a dresser?’” Which is why last week, the couple released their first — “dare I say mainstream?” jokes Linda — product: A line of scented candles with iconic-seeming packaging and incredibly inviting-sounding scents.

  6. 06.06.13
    From the Library Of
    Ladies & Gentlemen Studio: Scandinavian Design Gallery

    Books about mid-century Scandinavian design are a dime a dozen. Jacobsen chairs, Aalto stools, Juhl sofas — you know the drill. But if you’ve ever been to a design museum in Stockholm or Helsinki, you probably also know that some of the coolest objects made in the region date back to a more unexpected era: the ’80s, when good things weren’t just happening in Italy, believe it or not. A few months back, we spotted some examples of said amazingness on the Instagram feed of the Seattle design duo Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, which they’d noted were pulled from a vintage book they’d rediscovered while cleaning house. And so this column was born, a place for people to show off strange, beautiful, and mostly out-of-print volumes that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day. Browse selections from Scandinavian Design Gallery in the slideshow here — complete with caption text plucked from the book and sporadic Ladies & Gentlemen accompanying commentary — then let us know if you have a gem of your own to share.

  7. 05.08.13
    Eye Candy
    Marlon Ilg & Simon Trüb, Designers

    Marlon Ilg & Simon Trüb, a resourceful print design duo hailing from Switzerland, created a series of hardcover books entitled, Bändlistrasse 27, 8064 Altstetten. The books feature collected remnants and leftovers from projects made during their time working in the Zurich neighborhood of Altstetten.

  8. 05.01.13
    Eye Candy
    Nicole Killian, Designer

    Nicole Killian whips up sugary sweet graphic treats. Sprinkled with sticky, party-time hues Killian’s work oozes visual sensations. Bouncing between sculptural forms, print design and textiles to share her message. “My work revolves around identity, youth culture, adolescence, ritual and internets.”

  9. 04.12.13
    What We Saw
    At the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair, Part I

    Greetings from Milano! Between all the Negronis and risottos, the late-night parties and the trips to Bar Basso, the Sight Unseen team has spent the past week treasure-hunting at the annual Salone del Mobile, and we’re excited to share with you our first batch of finds. This post includes our favorite photos from days 1 […]

  10. 04.05.13
    8 Things
    Bodega Gallery Press

    Just walking into Bodega Gallery in Philadelphia’s Old City and being greeted by one of its five cool, young founders — or browsing its online archive of past exhibitions, which is peppered with names like Sam Falls and Travess Smalley — you could easily file it alongside similar edgy, high-brow art establishments in cities like L.A., New York, or Paris. And then you find yourself conversing with a few of said cool, young founders (all of them artists themselves and graduates of Hampshire College), and you hear them say things like “stuff is for sale if people want to buy it, but that’s not the driving force,” or “this is just a space — everything happens around it, and nothing happens at it,” and you realize that the economics of a place like Philly can be even more freeing for projects like this than you’d imagined. Bodega really is just a space, one that’s run by Elyse Derosia, Ariela Kuh, Lydia Okrent, James Pettengill, and Eric Veit, but where it feels like almost anything could happen.

  11. 04.02.13
    Studio Visit
    Ben Fiess, ceramicist

    Before he moved to Philadelphia in September of last year, Ben Fiess was living on a Minnesota farm, 20 minutes south of St. Paul, five miles from the nearest small town. “One of my friends in graduate school’s parents had recently retired and inherited the family farm,” Fiess says. “No one had been there for a decade or so, so it was in disrepair, but they actually had a lot of kilns and equipment because my friend’s mother taught art. It was a good opportunity to live for free and keep making work.” When he wasn’t making ceramics, Fiess spent his time planting asparagus roots, working at farmer’s markets across the border in Wisconsin, and ripping up sod. “I could go a week without seeing anyone unless I drove into the city,” Fiess remembers. So how is it that when we visited Philly back in January, every other artist and designer we met knew exactly who Fiess was? (“That guy moved to Philly? That’s so cool,” was the typical refrain.)

  12. 04.02.13
    The Essentials
    Joel Evey, Graphic Designer

    Joel Evey owes his career to Pixar, believe it or not. He made a name for himself as part of the team that was bringing edgy, high-brow graphics to Urban Outfitters back in 2010 — with a style some like to call the “new ugly” — but at age 15, it was Toy Story that changed his life. “I saw it for the first time and was like, wow, that’s crazy! You can do that with a computer?” recalls Evey, who at the time was already about to head off to college early to study computer science. Instead of hard coding, he decided to pursue animation and 3-D graphics instead. “But animations took so long to render that I started to think, ‘Well, what happens when I take this image and just render one of them?’ Then, ‘What if I put type on it? What would that look like?’” The rest, as they say, is history.

  13. 03.27.13
    Eye Candy
    Mel Nguyen, Artist/Designer

    Mel Nguyen’s work stretches, oozes, and floats across net-scapes and paper planes. One of her most recent projects is the wearable statement, Bolted. The necklace is a mix of shiny ball bearings, rock hard metals and neon plastic slinky tubes, styled to viral-able perfection. Lots of likes. Nguyen is currently a student at Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

  14. 02.25.13
    Up and Coming
    Till Wiedeck of HelloMe, Graphic Designer

    If you’re wondering why we chose to kick off a story about a graphic designer with a series of objects that fall squarely in the art/furniture realm, there are two reasons: First, they were our first introduction — via Pinterest — to Till Wiedeck’s work, and second, they illustrate perfectly what’s so great about the Berlin-based talent. Though he refers to himself as a hyper-functionalist, preoccupied with detail and simplicity and too serious to answer our sillier interview questions about Google searches and fictional characters, somehow he’s still the kind of guy who would take a sizeable chunk of time out of his client schedule to build a suite of semi-useless objects like these. You’ll find the same juxtapositions in the portfolio of his graphics studio, HelloMe, where he might pair spare typography with lush hyper-color flower arrangements, creepy Photoshop smears, or experimental acid-trip paintings he and his cohorts have made by hand. It all comes together in our interview with Wiedeck, who has a thing for both Bauhaus and Memphis, modernist chairs and tchotchkes. Whatever it is, it’s working.

  15. 02.12.13
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Alley-Oop by Will Bryant and Eric Trine at Poketo

    Before the show Alley-Oop opens at L.A.’s Poketo store this coming Saturday, you should take a moment to thoroughly examine the portfolios of its two Portland-based collaborators, illustrator Will Bryant and furniture designer Eric Trine. Because think about it: How easy is it to picture the results of a collaboration spanning the two disciplines? Especially when Bryant’s work is so crazy vibrant — full of squiggles and anthropomorphized hot dogs wearing neon sunglasses — and Trine’s is so very understated, albeit with a lot of cool geometries in the mix. Alley-Oop is like one of those software programs that lets you crudely merge the faces of two people to find out what their child might look like at age 5, though perhaps a better metaphor would be that it’s like what would happen if you pumped two designers full of methamphetamine and locked them in a room together for 48 hours with nothing but some spray paint and a welding gun. Actually, that’s not too far off from how Bryant and Trine describe it themselves. See our interview with the pair after the jump, along with the first preview images of their collaborative work — which hopefully won’t be the last.

  16. 12.12.12
    What They Bought
    Table of Contents, Portland

    Table of Contents is a concept shop that sells clothing and objects from a storefront just inside the gates of Portland’s Chinatown, opened in September by two local designers. So when one of them, Joseph Magliaro, told us that “the goal of TOC is to produce an expanded notion of what a publication can be,” well, you can’t blame us if we were a smidge confused. But it turns out that Magliaro and his other half, Shu Hung, prefer to look at their store as a kind of magazine come to life — a place where the things we’re all reading about now, or should be, are actually there to have and to hold, and where every fashion season brings a new “editorial” theme.

  17. 10.23.12
    Up and Coming
    Josep Román Barri, Graphic Designer

    Josep Román Barri’s latest project happens to be the art direction for a new website that’s in the exact same spirit as our own: It goes behind the scenes in design, focusing on process rather than the final result. Should you ever have doubted that the world needs more of this kind of reporting, though, try searching for behind-the-scenes information on young talents like Román Barri himself, whose work has certainly made the blog rounds as of late but who might scarcely have a turn under the microscope if it weren’t for sites like ours. When we first caught a glimpse of his fledgling oeuvre, all we could glean was that he was a 26-year-old Barcelona-born graphics graduate who studied technical engineering before turning his hand to two-dimensional design, and that he had a way with color and typography. So we emailed him and asked him to introduce his work, and he gladly obliged — now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

  18. 10.15.12
    Sighted
    Reineke Otten’s World Skin Color scarves

    The New York International Gift Fair happens twice a year. And while Sight Unseen is hardly your typical product blog — and the fair notoriously focused on sales, not press — we often find ourselves roaming the aisles anyway, if only because it’s easy to catch up with so many people we know in one place. This year, we bumped into an old friend — but even if we hadn’t known her, we would have stalked her until she agreed to meet us for coffee on the basis of the incredibly gorgeous product she was hawking. The designer was Reineke Otten (who we first met in Rotterdam three years ago and who’s responsible for turning us on to amazing talents like Raw Color and Danielle Van Ark) and the product was Otten’s World Skin Color scarves, which translate an Excel spreadsheet worth of data about global complexion tones into beautiful square silk scarves, one for each country around the world. (That’s Bosnia, above.)

  19. 10.09.12
    From the Archives
    Vitsoe’s Tumblr

    If you have a particularly sprawling design-book library, or if you religiously follow things like Mondo Blogo or Herman Miller editorial director Sam Grawe’s Instagram feed, you may be relatively familiar with the heaps of amazingly designed archival ephemera that original modern furniture brands tend to generate over the decades. But the rest of us still get giddy when we come upon a gem like Vitsoe’s brand-new Tumblr, which the 53-year-old German stalwart launched last month to show off rarely seen bits and bobs pulled from its company files. Every couple of days, staffers dig up old invitations, promo items, photographs, and catalogs and post them alongside a snippet of information about their origins; with Dieter Rams as Vitsoe’s lead designer and Wolfgang Schmidt behind its graphic identity, there’s been no shortage of eye candy on the site so far. A few of our favorite examples are shown here, but we advise you to bookmark the site and visit it often — we have a feeling the Vitsoe folks are just getting started, and there’s no telling what they might turn up once they really dig in.

  20. 10.03.12
    The View From Here
    Axel Peemöller, the Mediterranean Sea

    On gloomy New York days like today, we begin to think that Axel Peemöller might be on to something. The German-born graphic designer studied in Düsseldorf, moved to California, and eventually settled in Melbourne, but a few years ago he gave it all up for a studio at sea. Aboard a 40-foot-long 1974 Trintella — which he purchased off eBay from a Barcelona woman for a song — Peemöller lives with his girlfriend and works remotely for clients and studios, docking when he needs to visit a colleague or use power to light a photo, and flying clients in to whichever port he’s landed. And while it’s not to say that life at sea is never gloomy, Peemöller finds that a fluid perch makes for a clearer head: “To do creative work, you need to have a balance between life and work and fun,” he says. “Here I can go diving, watch dolphins, catch octopus: I guess the not-working days are like holidays for other people, but for me it’s my usual life.”

  21. 09.12.12
    Studio Visit
    New Friends, weavers

    Back in 2009, Kelly Rakowski was a graphic designer at Todd Oldham in New York, and Alex Segreti was living in Philadelphia, working in the textiles department at Urban Outfitters. In her free time, Rakowski ran a blog called Nothing is New, for which she scoured image archives on the web, unearthing old exhibition catalogs, classic spreads from magazines like Domus, and vintage ceramics and textiles. Segreti had a blog as well, called Weird Friends, where she documented similar obsessions: craft, pattern, art, ceramics, textiles, and dogs. The two had never met, but when Rakowski emailed Segreti on a whim one day to tell her how much she liked her site, they began to bond; when both expressed a desire to learn how to weave by hand, they decided to embark on an experiment. They shipped each other yarn, so they’d have the same palette to work from, and a few months later Rakowski made the trip to Philly. They had dinner, retired to Segreti’s apartment, and showed each other their weavings. “They kind of looked the same,” Rakowski remembers. “It was crazy. Now we always come up with the idea together but work separately, and when we meet, we forget who did what because everything magically works.” The two eventually made their design partnership official, merging the names of their online identities into a fitting moniker: New Friends.

  22. 07.30.12
    Up and Coming
    Kent Fonn Skåre, Artist and Graphic Designer

    Being that he’s still a student at Konstfack in Stockholm, you’ve probably never heard of Norwegian artist and graphic designer Kent Fonn Skåre. But his work, even at first glance, is ridiculously easy to love: It’s got a heavy focus on materials, lots of marble, and a whiff of Memphis — yes, the three “M”s, the golden trifecta of the current avant-garde, or at least the little corner of it that we’re obsessed with, which also includes folks like Clemence Seilles and Jens Praet. We discovered Fonn Skåre via a fleeting image on Pinterest, but found surprisingly little information on him and the ideas behind his work, so we did what we do best, harassing the poor man until we were able to tease out a bit of insight into his practice. Check out the interview and accompanying photos here, then bookmark Fonn Skåre’s Flickr feed to browse more of his graphic design work and follow his future projects.

  23. 06.05.12
    Q+A
    With Martin Lorenz, Co-Editor of Pretty Ugly

    There are moments, when leafing through the pages of Gestalten’s latest opus Pretty Ugly, that you’ll feel a little perplexed. Not by the stretched and layered type that practitioners of the New Ugly graphics movement use to obscure the messages contained in their work, nor by the fact that brands and organizations are trying to sell themselves with these deliberately obtuse images. What you’ll find so confusing, rather, is just how beautiful most of the projects appear, despite their creators’ best attempts at visual rebellion — a fact acknowledged by the book’s editors, Lupi Asensio and Martin Lorenz of the Barcelona-based firm twopoints.net, in its oxymoronic title. There are two reasons for this, Lorenz revealed when Sight Unseen sat down to interview him about the project. The first and most obvious is that we’re closer to the end of the New Ugly movement than the beginning, which is precisely what made the couple feel the time was ripe for a retrospective; Steven Heller has written about it, Urban Outfitters has embraced it, and we’ve gotten increasingly used to it — and desensitized to its shock value — ever since Mike Meiré used it to redesign 032c magazine in 2007. The second reason, and the one your editors found particularly compelling, is that somewhere along the line the New Ugly actually became less about rule-breaking and more about documenting process, with designers creating works that aim to expose the mechanics behind their boundary-pushing techniques. Read more of Lorenz’s thoughts about Pretty Ugly in our interview, after the jump.

  24. 04.02.12
    Invitation
    Vote for the Noho Design District’s 2012 Logo

    When we visit stylists, we ask to see their tear sheets; when we call on designers, we make them dig out the weird ephemera they’ve collected from European flea markets. So it seems only fair that from time to time we share a tiny piece of our process and inspiration here at Sight Unseen HQ. This spring, for the third year in a row, we’ll be curating our Noho Design District satellite show during New York Design Week (May 18–21), and while we have a million things to do before then — leases to sign, sponsors to woo, and lots and lots of liquor to procure — there’s one thing that’s been weighing heavily on our minds: What color should our logo be this year? The NDD logo was designed in 2010 by Uhuru’s Maria Cristina Rueda, who has done all of the identity and branding for the show since then. That year, the band of color was a highlighter yellow; in 2011, it was a rosy, Acne-inspired pink. This year we’ve been feeling oranges and greens, peaches and mints, but we thought we’d turn to our readers to make the final call. Check out the inspiration board above, which Rueda put together to test out the choices, and then vote for your favorite on Sight Unseen’s Facebook page. For updates about Noho — and a sneak peek at this year’s line-up — head to www.nohodesigndistrict.com or follow @nohodesign on Twitter. See you in May!

  25. 03.08.12
    Sighted
    Lars Beller Fjetland on It’s Nice That

    We’ve had printed editions of online magazines on our minds lately, and now comes the news that one of our favorites, It’s Nice That, will release its 8th issue at the end of this month. Their new edition will feature all sorts of design-world greats like Paula Scher and John Pawson, but their website continues to introduce us to exciting unknowns, like their recent feature on Norwegian designer Lars Beller Fjetland, which we’re reposting today. Fjetland hasn’t even graduated yet from the Bergen National Academy of Arts, but he’s already amassed a first-rate portfolio of projects that often use found objects or waste materials, like cork and leather, as their jumping-off points. His latest collection is a series of hand-turned wooden birds made from reclaimed Norwegian wood. In this interview with It’s Nice That, the designer explains how the project came to be; we were intrigued enough that we asked him to share with us some process photos as well.

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