April 2010

Interpol is lurking in the backwater of NY with some new music. If you go to Interpols website, you can download their latest song called “Lights”. I am very much looking forward to the upcoming album. And they have developed a new band logo as well. Looks a bit mechanical and sharp, but stylish.


I just want to push for the debut album from Broken Bells. A collaboration between James Mercer from The Shins and Dangermouse mostly known from Gnarls Barkley. There´s a light feeling in the bigger part of the album, with some really nice swooning harmonies, popbased sounds and some electronic touches. “The High Road”, “Vaporize”, “Your Head Is On Fire”, “The Ghost Inside” and “Trap Doors” are the strongest pieces in the Broken Bells puzzle. And yes, there´s a Shins feeling over the album, but it´s hardly dragging down the effort from Mercer and Dangermouse. This is on The Good List this year.

He he…. James Mercer (The Shins) and Dangermouse from Broken Bells pose as focus group moderators presenting their album to a panel of kid critics, and the kids didn´t know that they were the bandmembers.

The Designers Republic was (is) a design studio that was quite dominating during the 90´s. They had a very interesting visual language with wink at Russian constructivism, Japanese anime and a playful approach towards consumerism.

“The Designers Republic (tDR for short) is a graphic design studio, founded on 14 July 1986 by Ian Anderson, and based in Sheffield, England. It was known for its anti-establishment aesthetics, while simultaneously embracing brash consumerism and the uniform style of corporate brands, such as Orange and Coca-Cola. The studio closed in January 2009, though Anderson has stated that “[The Designers Republic] will go forward after this”. In January 2010, however, Warp Records announced that the studio had designed Oversteps, Autechre’s tenth album.

Initially, Ian Anderson founded The Designers Republic to design flyers for the band Person to Person, which he managed at the time. His first ideas were inspired by Russian constructivism. From their beginning, the works should be viewed in contrast to the current understanding of design.

“tDR is a declaration of independence from what we perceive to be the existing design community.”

An early client was Leeds band Age of Chance, for whom they developed a series of record covers between 1986 and 1987. The sleeve of the 1987 12″ “Don’t Get Mad… Get Even! (The New York Remixes)” was selected as one of Q’s “100 Best Record Covers of All Time” in 2001. In 1994, Emigre magazine devoted a whole issue to the Designers Republic, a copy of which was bought by NY MoMA. This issue is still Emigre’s best-ever seller and is now sold out – copies having fetched in excess of $750 in auction. The Designers Republic was introduced to a larger audience by their record covers for the English electronica label Warp Records (also based in Sheffield). In addition to designing the covers for much of Warp’s roster of artists, such as Autechre, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, tDR has also created covers for other label artists such as Fluke, Funkstörung, The Orb, Pulp (and Jarvis Cocker), Pop Will Eat Itself, Supergrass and Towa Tei. Outside of the musical sector, tDR created the visuals, packaging and manual for the PlayStation/Sega Saturn game Wipeout (1995), the interface for the PC game Hardware (1998), and packaging and posters for the first Grand Theft Auto (1997). They cooperated with the Swatch company in 1996 to design their own watch. They also designed the packaging for Sony’s AIBO.

The book 3D → 2D: Adventures In And Out Of Architecture, released in 2001, was an architectural examination of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia presented in the graphic style of their previous work. The book was pre-ordered by over 3,000 fans. tDR opened its own store, The Peoples Bureau For Consumer Information, in the shopping district of Shibuya in Tokyo, as an extension of the online store http://www.thepeoplesbureau.com – itself a homage to the influence of consumerism in their work. tDR has consulted on the re-branding of the city of Quito, capital of Ecuador, and was the only non-national design company to be invited to propose a new flag for Slovenia. tDR was also commissioned to create a logo and general graphic design by french musician/producer Julien Civange for its Music2Titan mission to take music on the European Space Agency’s Cassini–Huygens probe to the moon Titan in 2004.

“It was an honour and a privilege to be involved with the Music2Titan project. It is rare to have the opportunity to be involved in some way in such a potentially momentus project for mankind long term and a pleasure that it isn’t purely commercially motivated.” – Ian Anderson

The work of tDR had great influence on the development of graphic design, especially in the fields of web and cover design in the electronica scene.

The Designers Republic’s works are often playful and bright, and considered Maximum-minimalist, mixing images from Japanese anime and subvertised corporate logos, with a postmodern tendency towards controversial irony, featuring statements like “Work Buy Consume Die”, “Robots Build Robots”, “Customized Terror”, “Buy nothing, pay now”, and “Made In The Designers Republic”. They also celebrated their northern roots with phrases like “Made in the Designers Republic, North of Nowhere” and “SoYo” (referring to Sheffield’s county of South Yorkshire) — affirming they were not from London’s design community in Soho. tDR worked with clients such as Swatch, Rockstar Games, Emigre Magazine, Coca Cola and Adidas.” (via Wikipedia)



This was a pitch proposal I was involded in at DDB Worldwide, for the latvian grain company Dobeles Dzirnavnieks. Part of the brief was to create a new company identity look and feel. And the concept/identity I created was based on the main product (grain) of the company, the golden colour of the grain and a font that associates to baltic heritage and nostalgia.

Gotta like this nice little package design and concept. It´s a new idea from Puma & Fuseproject on how the shoebox can save millions in electricity, fuel, and water. A great package design with a great environmental depth to it. I am still extremely keen on working with package design. I really hope I get the opportunity to do that in a very near future…

“Rethinking the shoebox is an incredibly complex problem, and the cost of cardboard and the printing waste are huge, given that 80M are shipped from China each year,” Béhar tells FastCompany.com. “Cargo holds in the ships can reach temperatures of 110 degrees for weeks on end, so packaging becomes an enormous problem. This solution protects the shoes, and helps stores to stock them, while saving huge costs in materials.”

After spending 21 months studying box fabrication and shipping, Fuseproject realized that any improvement to that already lean system would merely be incremental. So instead, the “clever little bag” combines the two packaging components of any shoe sale—the bag and the box—with high-tech ingenuity.

The bag tightly wraps an interior cardboard scaffolding—giving it shape and reducing cardboard use by 65%. Moreover, without that shiny box exterior, there’s no laminated cardboard (which interferes with recycling). There’s no tissue paper inside. And there’s no throw-away plastic bag. The bag itself is made of recycled PET, and it’s non-woven—woven fibers increase density and materials use—and stitched with heat, so that it’s less manufacturing intensive.

The impact: Puma estimates that the bag will slash water, energy, and fuel consumption during manufacturing alone by 60%—in one year, that comes to a savings of 8,500 tons of paper, 20 million mega joules of electricity, 264,000 gallons of fuel, and 264 gallons of water. Ditching the plastic bags will save 275 tones of plastic, and the lighter shipping weight will save another 132,000 gallons of diesel. The roll-out is planned for next year.” (via Gizmodo)

This is an interactive promotional web site for Wrangler from the Swedish interactive agency Kokokaka. It´s nominated at The Webby Awards. There´s something nice with the wholeness in it (style, music etc) and I do like the idea of interacting with the page. But, at the same time, does it sell me the brand and the clothes?



Looking forward to see Tom DiCillo’s documentary about The Doors.

“Award—winning writer—director Tom DiCillo’s riveting film uncovers historic, previously unseen footage from the illustrious rock quartet and provides new insight into the revolutionary impact of their music and legacy. The film is narrated by Johnny Depp. The creative chemistry of four brilliant artists — drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Kreiger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and singer Jim Morrison — made The Doors one of America’s most iconic and influential rock bands. When You’re Strange is the first feature documentary to tell their story. Using footage shot between their formation in 1965 and Morrison’s death in 1971, it follows the band from the corridors of UCLA’s film school, where Manzarek and Morrison met, to the stages of sold—out arenas. Taking its title from the cabaret—tinged Doors hit “People Are Strange,” the film chronicles the creation of The Doors’ six landmark studio albums in just five years, as well as their electrifying live performances. Rare cinèma vèritè footage offers an intimate glimpse into their musical collaboration — and their offstage lives.”

Trailer: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/whenyourestrange/

This is looking interesting, even if I reckon the superhero subject is getting a bit overdone by now.

“Paper Man is an inspirational comedic drama about an unlikely friendship between Richard (Jeff Daniels), a failed middle—aged novelist who has never quite grown up and Abby (Emma Stone), a 17—year—old girl whose role in a family tragedy years earlier has stolen away her youth. Both are unsure, both are afraid to take firm steps forward, and both are looking for that special friend—that connection—to help guide them into the future. Since his childhood, Richard has mostly relied on the imaginary one that resides in his head—a costumed superhero known as Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds). At the urging of his wife Claire (Lisa Kudrow), Richard has moved to a Long Island beach community for the winter season in order to overcome his writer’s block. There, Richard meets Abby and hires her as a weekly babysitter, even though he has no children. Their tenuous, new friendship is sparked by Richard’s awe over Abby’s homemade soup and Abby’s enjoyment of Richard’s writing and his attempts at Origami. As the season progresses and the warm, quirky friendship between Richard and Abby grows, the two begin to share with each other their dreams and life hardships. With the coming of spring, Richard and Abby discover there comes a time to let go of the imaginary friends of the past and to embrace the future as a new beginning—just as one would embrace a new and unique friendship.”

Trailer: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/paperman/

Back in 1979 the art college graduate David Storey joined the creative team, under supervision of The Specials Jerry Dammers, which created the graphic identity for the band and their label, Two Tone. Here´s an interesting interview from Creative Review with David Storey.



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