December 2007

Reading the signs

Nowality at times finds itself commenting on pieces of graphic design that exist in the community far from the design commentary and creative halls of fame.

In a pocket of Melbourne‘s south eastern suburbs, along a mostly residential road, are two samples of commercial vernacular signing. What is curious about these two samples, is the close proximity of a signing outcome that references hip hop culture, to a sample signing that has just stepped of the late 1970s.


JZ Lee is believe it or not, a plastering and rendering company. The sign is unremarkable in manufacture, yet the contemporary hip hop reference is memorable. This is one of the first samples that we have seen of branding that brings into play hip hop typography into a ordinary and commercial context. There are plenty of youth brands, magazines, band graphics, fashion graphics with hip hop type, but hip hop type for a plaster rendering company?, what the? Could one image a company like Boral or James Hardie with a hip hop inspired brand?




A dry cleaning company called Shield has a look akin with contemporary design cues. What makes this sample of signing stand out is its manufacturing. It represents a time in signmaking where quality and skill was foremost. There are no traces of a vinyl cutter and adhesive lettering to be seen here. Hand sign writing; finely made yet awkwardly stacked light boxes; combined with the overall layout and placement, makes for a truly unique and charming sample of graphic design in the middle of no where.

We have a feeling that Shield may be modernised in the not so distant future. Till then we will write a letter to the owners, urging them to restort rather refresh. In the time in between, one will ride past this work as much as possible. And quite possibly, a future piece of our work may incorporate stacked light boxes, sign writing and bold restrained graphic treatment inspired by its memory.

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Get your copy, finally


The studio has produced a 44 page newsprint publication to showcase work principles and project samples. This is the first publication of this nature in the studio‘s first five years and over eighteen years of Andrew‘s work life. Andrew doesn‘t see the point of producing a soft cover or hard cover book publishing a portfolio of work without supplementing the work with detailed process notes — such as Wolfgang Weingart‘s — My Way to Typography.

The temporary nature of newsprint seems appropriate for a piece that is a splashy show-and-tell publication, even though we embellished the piece with saddle stitching and high quality newsprint paper. Newsprint is an exciting media as is fragile, temporary, the reproduction is crude and cost effective — appropriate for lots of graphic design at most of it has a short life and is disposable.

This publication is FREE to existing and potential clients, $10 plus postage for design students, $50 plus postage for professional designers.


ideas (at) peoplethings (dot) com
Telephone +61 3 9525 9844

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2007 holiday notice


Thank you to all of our readers who have visited Nowality from time to time in the course of the year.

Studio Pip and Co. will be closed from Friday 21 December 2007 and reopening 14 January 2008. We will be checking emails after the 07 Jan, so if there is an emergency please email ideas (at) peoplethings (dot) com. However Nowality will roll on in holiday mode with appropriate design and design culture out takes and comments.

Happy Christmas,
Happy holidays,
Happy 2008.

Toward Hansen and Andrew Ashton.

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Chamber Music‘s business cards

Much of the work we do is as much about the idea as the means in which we execute it. Chamber Music, or all forms of music is an individual experience ang we wanted to express this idea from the brand right through to an event banner or CD. The type mark was developed with endless icon options. The business card best illustrates this idea.

Design: Studio Pip and Co; client: Chamber Music Australia; finish: printed two colours two sides on uncoated 280gm2 stock.


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NDC‘s business cards

The National Design Centre asked for a logo. We felt how could one possibly represent the many levels of design activity? So we came up with a simple grid and a set of instructions — draw five lines in any configuration, in any medium, as long as the lines touch, in any way, touch each edge.

Design: Studio Pip and Co; client: National Design Centre; finish: printed two colours two sides, a single emboss on uncoated 300gm2 stock.


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