May 2009

Shadow play at the 2009 AGIdeas dinner




The 2009 AGIdeas wrap up dinner had a twist. Drinks, food, a big room and then Ken Cato introduced comedian Raymond Crowe. Crowes’s show had a dose of physical comedy, mime and slight of eye. Then the lights dimmed and a audience member held a flat white orb with light projected on it. The simple act of hand shadowing was the last act which mesmorised an unsuspecting audience with the possibility of child like play.

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Vogue Living vs Catherine Martin…



Publication design for the larger titles has enjoyed a long stretch of conservative design. Designs are often hemmed in by a careful set of typeface choices, robust grids and photographic art direction. Some titles play with the type, image and space, yet much of this play feels like it has rigorous constraints.

Many directors and designers find inspiration from titles and designs far-a-way, such as Italian Vogue, or Elle magazines from the 1980s, titles from Belgium, or obscure titles that have Anthony and the Johnsons on the front cover, or the suggestion of ‘homosexuality’, birds, or ‘is not’ built into the title.

Catherine Martin, world famous cinematic art director, was invited by the Vogue team to guest art direct the current issue. Romantic colours and rustic type choices litter the carefully designed spreads, distressed image making do its best to wrangle with an all encompassing grid.

The most interesting outcome was pushing the notion of what a mainstream magazines is, and four collector cover variations of a design was developed and released into news stands. Maybe this be the beginning of magazines exploring the value of the design in print process? You will also note that Ms Martin love a little drop shadowed type as well.

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Long gone Mitre 10




On June 1, 2001, The Australian hardware store Mitre 10 announced it was undertaking “a major repositioning and re-branding exercise to capture the “noughties” consumer and cement its position at the top of the lucrative home improvement market.”

In the words of Mitre10’s managing director Frank Whitford, ‘The brand logo has been given a new look, with the traditional blue, orange and yellow colour scheme being ditched.’ The interesting sample of lettering design, also ended up on the cutting room floor too.

It is not unusual for established clients to ditch, or simplify, their brands that enjoyed an expression that may be perceived to date it. Many modern brands suffer from having any sense of a past, and as a result of this design sanitation, many contemporary brands have very few visual cues that make it unique from other brands.

Apart from the odd mention of the Mitre10 brand, there is no mention of the logo’s or brand’s designers. It is all too common in an age of mergers and acquisitions, that design companies evolve into bigger and better things, and the material that made the studio’s worth noticing, the work, has got lost in a rush of archiving, or the skip bin.

This relic sits innocently across the road from Pearl Café in Richmond. I love the fading zany colour palette, I also like the playful custom type treatment – The M that looks like a mitre, the crashing dot on the i, the angry barbed e, and the severe angle of the stencil effect. It’s chunky, awkward, and distinctive. Yum.

If a reader out there can identify the designer of Mitre10 circa 1990s we would be happy to credit them for their work.

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Independent Types in design and literature wanted






The State Library of Victoria has developed a free exhibition The Independent Type: Books and Writing in Victoria which explores Victoria’s diversity of written culture, stories, and people which allowed the independent literature culture in Victoria to flourish.

The exhibition explores Victoria’s literally markers from traditional Indigenous storytelling, colonial classics to contemporary writing. Writing history is on show, along with a fine collection of rare books, documents, manuscripts, posters and printed matter from the collections of individuals and organisations across the Australia.

Highly recommended for people interested in ink on paper, and the development of Victoria’s literature culture.

State Library of Victoria

Swanston Street, Melbourne
24 April 2009 to 25 October 2009
Visit the exhibition here

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For Love For Money publication









The studio in conjunction with Gunn & Taylor Printers has produced a 32 page publication of photographic selections by Andrew Ashton.

The publication is an introduction to Andrew’s photographic work spanning ten years. Scale, diversity, contrast, and a spareness of graphic elements (accompanying descriptions and typography) was put in place in the design to allow the narrative within the images to prevail.

The notes and related information are stitched to the outside of the piece printed in one colour, allowing the viewer to gain an insight into the images and process. The notes are printed on a light, delicate stock designed for easy removal or left in place by the piece’s owner.

The 24 page image section is printed in 4 colour process on an oversize A3 format. We specified an uncoated workhorse offset paper (FSC accredited) with a self covered finish to allow the piece to be rolled, stowed and presented again on a generous flat surface.

Thanks again to Gunn & Taylor.

Copies can be purchased from Greville Books, the Studio direct, or if you work with Gunn & Taylor you may find a copy coming your way soon.