May 2010

The age old drama, I need it done and I want it, demand it, will it now

pipandco_jagger_warhol

Dear Andy, love Mick x

Stones design by Andy Warhol, circa 1971

Stones design by Andy Warhol, circa 1971

Making a something is often under estimated. In the hum of people who make things, a chorus rings clear … writing is a mugs game they say, so is painting, shuffling mouse, designing, along with retouching, or recording.

History dictates an age old situation of the people outside the process of making a thing always assume the time needed to do the making. Is the case for the makers to educate, or the appreciators to discover? One suspects that the makers should entice the consumers with the charm, wit, and cunning of a modern celebrity chef, fine artist or best selling writer.

One thinks that is better to do less assuming, is somewhere to start. I loved coming across this correspondence from front man of the Stones, Mick Jagger, one wonders whether Robert Brown-John, photographer Robert Frank, or John Warwicker was sent such a note… One loves how Warhol did take notice of Mick’s prudent instruction …”the more complicated the the format of the album…” and had a real zipper tipped into (stuck into) the original LP pressing.

The Rolling Stones are the original glam marketers, their roll of art directors and image makers represents some of  the best living, passed practitioners of creative thinking.

As per samples

Stones design by Robert Brown-John

Stones design by Robert Brown-John

Stones image making by Robert Frank

Stones image making by Robert Frank

Stones design by  John Warwicker and Mark Norton

Stones design by John Warwicker and Mark Norton

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Is there an Australian style of design, welcome to the Neo Koala movement

With all the sound bytes, images, ideas, products and junk crashing our way from all corners of the world, where do you start to find something Australian, what does it look like, can it be a sound, can it be a process?

We are constantly propositioned by the idea that a cultures’ identity broadly operates at two levels: the identity held by the outsider, and the identity held by locals. One idea is mostly clichés, while the other has many subtle levels of comprehension. In more direct terms one presentation is about koalas, the outback, the Sydney Opera house, while the other speaks of an ancient land and culture, multicultural society and a place not weighed down by its history.

As we understand the proposition that an Australian feel can be a subtle expression the process in which we make our work and the aesthetic of our work, it is becoming clear that what we do has an Australia feel about it.

This local design look is no unlike the impression one had of work one had encountered from New York, that had a New York feel, rather than an international (neo modernist) feel, from a variety of New Yorker designers (graphic design based rather than image making based) having a bookish, structured, playful in words yet not playful in expression, detail, lines, dots with numbers and icons in them, neat vector icons, centred setting, clean, neat, playbill/handbill, retro, boxed, mixes of classic serif and san serif fonts.

The work below is a nice example of the New York style doing a u-turn. Designer and friend Paul Sahre, is always one to question his influences, motives and his way of seeing. He started this short run silk screen poster for a literary festival in traditional New York style, but then the devil got on his shoulder, and a late afternoon turned into an all nighter and then a new arrived that left behind bookish influences are tripped in artful, spontaneous, lucid and personal.

A starting place for a poster from New York

A starting place for a poster from New York

The structure was dropped the random element remained

The structure was dropped the random element remained

Random bubbles pushed away black type and found marks in red

Random bubbles pushed away black type and found marks in red

Neo Koala – is there an Australian thing in there, Wayne?

One often looks outside of design to find what feels to be a process that dictates the outcome, rather than a look. What are some the markings of this rouge style? Is it work that feels like it is from Australia, yet has an insiders feel? Traits include: the traditional Australian cliches are screwed with, often works are raw, rough even, there is something mashed up about them, they often skew space and form rules, they combine media, their is something playful about it, works are often either process colour or mono, at times work feels like a big production on a budget – as it is often the way here, type ripped from crappy type down at the shops, tight type and line mashed with some crappy $2 shop toy.

Along with a selection of our output, we have ripped some work from other Melbourne and a Sydney based designers making their own version of “Neo Koala”

Old school Neo Koala

Yeah by artist John Campbell

Yeah by artist John Campbell

Footscray Halal Meats 100% Ned Kelly 2008-09 by John Campbell

Footscray Halal Meats 100% Ned Kelly 2008-09 by John Campbell

By Graeme Smith, Smith & Peony Press

By Graeme Smith, Smith & Peony Press

By Graeme Smith, Smith & Peony Press

By Graeme Smith, Smith & Peony Press

Now School Neo Koala

By 3 Deep Design

By 3 Deep Design

By Chase & Galley

By Chase & Galley

By Chase & Galley

By Chase & Galley

By Tin and Ed

By Tin and Ed

By Tin and Ed

By Tin and Ed

By Peter Salmon Lomas

By Peter Salmon Lomas

By Aaron Moodie

By Aaron Moodie

Our Neo Koala

It common for us to dip into the Neo Koala cupboard and make some work from bit of found elements, a favourite is some early Saxton work circa 2001, recently Fringe 2008 and this odd ball ad we did for agda – we did many of those come to think of it.

by Studio Pip and Co circa 2001

by Studio Pip and Co circa 2001

by Studio Pip and Co circa 2001

by Studio Pip and Co circa 2001

by Studio Pip and Co circa 2008

by Studio Pip and Co circa 2008

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So it seems the local creative expression is very much influenced by local resources, clients and stream of people seeing similar patterns in the local vernacular. Is there Neo Koala out there, rather than an US/French/English/German/Dutch/Swiss/Japanese design hybrid from Australia? Is Neo Koala real, or a late night blur? Comments welcome.

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Visual Sociology of Architects project at extra/ordinary 2010

pipandco_ea_action_100520_01

Grrr

Grrr

Nice shirt design

Nice shirt design

The big boy, sorry Andy. xxx T.H.

The big boy, sorry Andy. xxx T.H.

As part of the recent ‘Extra/Ordinary’ conference, the 2010 national conference of the Australian Institute of Architects, in Sydney, a conference action project initiated by Naomi Stead, Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, and Kate Sweetapple, had photographer Nick Bassett documented a cross section of architects, and designers.

The project set out to collect an archive of documentary-style photographic images of participants at the conference. Drawing upon objectivist serial art practices established in the 1960s, the project proposes a visual sociology of architects, observing visual traits, patterns and distinctions, towards a visual sociology of architectural culture at this particular historic moment.

The question remains do these people look like designers? Be it architects, interiors, planner, graphics.

321 images / people were documented during the conference between 23 to 24 Apr 2010.

Visit the project here

For enquiries email n.stead [at] uq.edu.au.

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Urban Crop brings living food and flowers to people in the city

pipandco_urbancrop_100514_03

Last night Renee Nutbean and Joost launched their fantastic new venture Urban Crop. It is a product where consumers can purchase living herbs and flowers in healthy soil, crop the plants upon demand at home, and put them back into the cycle, via composting. One can see that this won’t be the last of this type of venture in packaging fresh healthy food.

Last Thursday, in a mad rush we developed this brand for Urban Crop. Under the constraints of the launch, next week, we conceived this concept of mashing, or relating, the simplest representation of recycling – humble and hard working arrows, with the words – Urban Crop, informed by Joost’s (architect’s or designers hand) fantastic handwriting.

Launch poster, image by Earl Carter

Launch poster, image by Earl Carter

Urban Crop at this stage is a Melbourne based project, to learn more visit Urban Crop here

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The design that surrounds us

In Melbourne there is on average over 200 creative/design/graphic based lectures, events and random occasions a year. After twenty years of racking up a fair share of these events, it is easy to just go home and watch the television, or read a book, go to bed early, do a blog entry…

Johnathan Barnbrook came to Melbourne last week, and one was lucky enough to see his latest work and experience his ideas on life and design. It has been twelve years since one saw Barnbrook speak in Sydney, and his work has continued with being inspired by research, design craft and provocation. He spoke of many things and one idea that stuck was that his inspirations are often found in his neighbourhood, surrounds and environment – Psycho-geography as he put it, read more here via wiki, part of much our work is inspired too, by the design and ideas around us.

Random Barbies drying out

Random Barbies drying out

One is often presented with curious, yet everyday things. A gaggle of well loved dolls in need of a good dose of sunshine.

Sunny side what

Sunny side what

Black, white and yellow – one the great colour combinations.

A sign to help sell more cars

A sign to help sell more cars

Old school brands are a regular source of inspiration, chunky graphic marks symbols along with odd custom lettering.

A sign to help sell more carpet

A sign to help sell more carpet

It is a wonder that in 2010 with all the ideas and technology that business’s keep the clichés around to tempt and call to action

A sign for an Australian hand dryer

A sign for an Australian hand dryer

Australian design outcomes can be odd clichés

 A sign that is about hunger

A sign that is about hunger

Hand lettered sign crossed with a wayfinding device. Odd clunky and not a university design education in sight.

A sign that is about future hunger

A sign that is about future hunger

This lettering was probably done in less than ten minutes and yet one wonders what type this person could have produced if they found type design instead of roasting chicken.

A Melbourne 1950s tv station identity

A Melbourne 1950s tv station identity

In one’s wanders often signs of the past make their presence known

A poster in Glebe

A poster in Glebe

The last time I saw this spot another great poster was in it’s place, see here

pipandco_lunapk_mel_100509_01

Luna Park Melbourne

Luna Park Sydney

Luna Park Sydney

Both Sydney and Melbourne have a Luna Park, an amusement park with heritage roots, and both have an enormous face as a point of entry. Except one seems friendlier.

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