— Image making process

Spot the difference, past vs present, symbols vs signs

UK Coat of Arms – Lithographic rendering date unknown, of numerous renderings

Vector computer drawing

US Great Seal – Lithograph of 1885 design

Vector computer drawing

Australian Coat of Arms – granted by King George V, 19 September 1912

1912 detail

Vector computer drawing

Hearldry is a graphic expression from the past which has contributed to contemporary branding. A somewhat quaint remnant of hearldry is the coat of arms, which now seems to brand a country, province, along with flags and seals.

This post came about from the research process we undertook in making a coat of arms for a new brand. This is not our first coat of arms, and it is always a pleasure to dig around the internet finding work from the past. One is always struck by the eye, skill, detail, quirk and awkwardness loaded in hearldry.

Our latest journey was filled with thrills and disappointment, all centred around the Australian Coat of Arms. One has always admired Australia’s elaborate 1912 rendering of the arms – The scratchy fur and feathers, the Art Nouveau flourishes, and the tangle of wreathed wattle – a complex, confident, yet simple rendering with a distinct sense of place.

We dug a little more and discovered an unremarkable vector rendering (line based drawing), on wikipedia, representing Australia’s contemporary Coat of Arms. What we found was alarming, everything of this new form was troubling (with respect to it’s creators) – it’s a rendering in our option which simply lacks the creative skill and artfulness worthy to represent a prominent country. Thinking that we were generalising, we then compared this outcome with similar official  renderings developed by other countries. After encountering numerous well rendered contemporary coat of arms, we wondered why an innovative country like Australia, with its infinite wealth of creative people, has an administration lacking the foresight to have a contemporary visual in place, which at the very least reflects the values of the 1913 rendering in a contemporary context. We feel that this situation, yet again demonstrates the space in which Australia occupies, in terms of creativity and artistic expression – their are other more important things to worry about like sport, sport, trade.

At this point it is easy to launch into a mad creative person’s rant, so we have taken the liberty to act like any good colonial citizen – we sort reference from distant shores, collected samples, and allowed our readers the opportunity to compare and judge for yourselves.

If your are reading Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Crean – Minister for the Arts, we invite you to compare too. Australia at the very least deserves to have a contemporary coat of arms created by a highly skilled Australian designer / illustrator, worthy of all the innovation, skill and know how that often litters our political soundscape – a new contemporary Coat of Arms for Australia is an opportunity to make a significant cultural gesture for the rest of the world to see.

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G&T under the Japanese influence

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Melbourne’s hottest Japanese bar is booked, copies of Astro Boy and Blade Runner are sourced too. We were tasked to develop event collateral designed to shake the woes of 2009 and welcome in 2010.

We started with exploring traditional Japanese symbols and images and developed an illustration of intertwined Koi that also is an abstract of the Ying and Yang symbol. Vertical type setting is exploited as well as a one off vertical Gunn & Taylor brand. The Japanese custom of new years postcard giving – nengajo, is called upon and range of Gunn & Taylor new year postcards are developed as a gift for the night. All we need is generous slabs of white paper, black and red ink.

Thank you Mr Gunn and happy new year!

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Studio Pip and Co at Eye Saw 2009 Sydney

Final poster – 4 x A0 plan prints, double sides tape and silver streamers

Final poster – 4 x A0 plan prints, double sides tape and silver streamers

Established in 2006 Eye Saw invites designers to respond to a theme in the poster format. Eye Saw is overseen by Mark Gowing Design – it is an invitational poster exhibition held in Omnibus Lane, Ultimo, Sydney.

This year the studio was honored to be invited to produce a poster for Eye Saw. The brief invited participants to consider the theme humanity/equity.

Posters design is an individual process and it is difficult to develop a poster image that speaks of the idea, means something to its designer and connects with an audience. We thought of humanity/equity in terms of grooming compassion, nurturing our hearts. Everyone knows that to care for a plant you have to think to water it regularly for it to grow, so we twisted this metaphor and invited viewers to nurture their hearts.

The poster was cost effectively produced as four A0 black and white plan prints with fine streams of fine silver light plastic streamers flowing from the watering can’s spout.

Thanks to Simeon from Anagram in Sydney for installing our poster. A big thank you goes out to our friends at Melbourne studio Hofstede Design for pitching in on the day, while installing their work in Sydney, and helping Simeon with our installation. We are very fortunate and privileged to have peers like Simeon King, Wendy Ellerton, Dom Hofstede, Paul Garbett and Mark Gowing who share their ideas and pitch in from time-to-time – even from great distances.

Jasper claims our site

Jasper claims our site

Wendy and Dom in action, Simeon on oranges

Wendy and Dom in action, Simeon on oranges

Wendy and Dom continue...

Wendy and Dom continue...

Dom shows us how to exploit chalk...

Dom shows us how to exploit chalk...

Hofstede’s completed “Equality” chalk piece

Hofstede’s completed “Equality” chalk piece

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Wendy installing Hofstede’s – Flag piece

NaughtyFish explore equality

NaughtyFish explore equality

Toko smash out pixel doilles

Toko smash out pixel doilles

Walter Wakefield’s interactive response

Walter Wakefield’s interactive response

Omnibus Lane, work by Eskimo right.

Omnibus Lane, work by Eskimo right.

Eye Saw 2009
Humanity / Equity
Omnibus Lane, Ultimo, Sydney
9 to 16 August 2009
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Visit Eye Saw here, Hofstede here

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A restless afternoon on Phillip Island

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Located 140kms south east of Melbourne, Phillip Island is an out-of-the-way sea side spot in Westernport Bay. Discovered by George Bass in 1798, Phillip Island was once roamed by Bunurong people for 39,000 years.

The current population stands at 7,000 people whom often witness some of Australia’s most restless weather systems generated from the unpredictable Bass Strait.

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Celebrate Autumn 2009 at Pearl Café

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Autumn in Melbourne is one of city’s finest seasons. The rains return, there is still a little late light in the evening and the colours turn in a spectacular fashion.

It is with this spirit Andrew made this image for Pearl Café’s latest menu. Communication design at its most simple expression often gives the client and designer the most effective and inspired outcomes. Thanks again to Andrew and Geoff for the great brief.

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