August 2008

The flower man downstairs

What enriches the making process is the pursuit of discovering, following and assessing other makers in action. This article‘s maker is Melbourne based floral artist — Joost (his work includes projects ranging from product design to events and back), Joost is a weekly visitor to Batch café, where he uses the café space as a backdrop to his seasonal journey in floral design — presenting plant life as artful objects. Every week patrons are introduced to what is in season, contrasted with materials, texture, and colour. This week we are treated to generous stands of tulips, fine budding twigs to native stumps presented on a backdrop of curious containers and rigs.

Please enjoy Joost‘s latest installation photographed by Andrew.

Visit Joost here

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A sweet graphic cliché

Melbourne the home of Vegemite, and graffiti art is fast becoming the city of festivals. Communication design for festivals often attract a range of people who shape the final outcome. As a result of the committee process festival design can be a rich breeding ground for “old communication chestnuts, and visual clichés”.

A writers festival has many obvious visual references and it is enlightening to witness a common cliché, such as the writing objects, executed by this year‘s Melbourne Writer Festival with grace and inventiveness. Congratulations Elmwood Design in Melbourne — apparently the world‘s most effective design studio, for developing this work. May their output not be spoiled with some heady brand and communication rationale on their website.

The Melbourne Writer Festival is in full swing for details click here.

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Paul Weller‘s last show in Melbourne

It has been 23 years since Weller‘s last farewell in Australian and after playing for over 1 1/2 hours, a final encore rocked, in Melbourne that is, to the beat of the mod anthem — A Town like Malice. Travel well.

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The apple of mother‘s eye, all ways…

The graphic design for the 2008 Melbourne Fringe Festival is close to hitting the street. We are not at liberty to preview the campaign, however the 27 August is an opportune time to talk about the font we choose to use for the 2008 campaign — Antique Olive.

Designed by Roger Excoffon in 1962 for the French foundry Olive, Antique Olive was designed to be the French equivalent to the Helvetica or Univers font families. It is a curious type family that intrigues from initial review. It‘s extremes in stroke weights take on the aesthetics of a serif font, yet it‘s squared and sometimes convex edges, with a mix up of brutal and barbed features, make for an awkward type experience. The x height of this font; the height from the baseline and mean line, is one of the largest in the world of font design. It has the potential to be highly legible if it wasn’t compromised by its quirky collection of ascenders and descenders. The “s” and “O” characters are distinctly top heavy, or upside down, and along with numerous character quirks position the design somewhere between a functional serif and a kooky display font on class A drugs.

Many graphic designers love to hate Antique Olive — it has too much personality for modernist design and their is nothing better than inflicting this typeface upon designers seeking clean and sleek design.

Antique Olive‘s awkwardness made it an appealing choice for this year‘s festival — as it complimented the festival‘s thing of being on the edge, and potential questioning of mainstream thinking. It is not a font for the uninitiated layout designer. It is a typeface that requires it‘s user to test and fine tune character size and weights, leading, character spacing, column widths and line breaks to achieve quality setting. Be prepared to test print the final result often — it looks very different on screen as apposed to the physical page.

The font weights are peculiar too, only some of the weights have an italic and across all of the range the kerning pairs are unpredictable. The italic overall is a disappointment, as the design is not a true italic that complements its roman counter part. One hopes that this quaint font may become a new project for a contemporary type designer to fine tune, yet maybe Antique Olives‘ charm is about embracing its eccentricities.

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The other i-phone

With all the chatter of Blackberry, I-phones and the like, whatever happened to the Iron Age mobile phone? This example was uncovered from an undisclosed site just near Railway Balaclava Station. Sarah from our office says she really missed her Iron Age phone — “The look matched my wardrobe at the time and it was also very effective in staving off stray Celts”

Read more about the Iron Age here.

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