Thursday, 24 April 2014

Propaganda Porcelain at the British Museum

Created in 1901 but not decorated until 1921, after the Russian revolution, the above plate is on display in the 20th century rooms in the British Museum. Depicting a young worker marching towards a red (state-owned) factory and stamping over cyrillic characters spelling out the word Kapital (meaning capitalism), the plate depicts a reinvented Russia, marching towards a brighter (communist) future.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

LX Type

LX Type, Lisbon's new typeface

Lisbon is a city with a particular look, feel, colour palette and lifestyle: all of it beautiful and warm. One of the many things that gives the city character and charm is the tram system, particularly the old yellow trollies that rattle up and down Lisbon's many hills and through its rambling streets. Inspired not just by the trams themselves but the cables that interrupt the city's blue sky, Lisbon has a new typeface. LX Type is constructed from the tram's cables to create a distinct and individual typeface.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Grunge and 90s Fashion

Back in February I took a short course in History of Fashion at London College of Fashion. I spent four Saturdays in LCF's campus just off Oxford Street getting an introduction to the history of fashion from the 1850s to the present day, with a particular focus on British fashion. If you're based in London and have a little interest in fashion I totally recommend it. You'll have to hand over about £300 to do it but if you're willing to do that you get an awful lot in return. While I don't tend to cover fashion here that often, I do think it's a really interesting area of design. Of all design categories, fashion's the one that we tend to have the closest relationship to, and the one we make the most conscious decisions about. While we don't always get to choose all of the spaces we occupy or objects we use each day, and while we don't always choose the stuff that surrounds us based on how it's designed (sometimes cost, convenience or apparent lack of choice can be much bigger factors), we tend to be far more discerning about what we wear. We know what we like, we choose garments based on how they look, what they're made from and sometimes even who designed them. While cost, convenience and other factors can come into it, for an awful lot of us personal preference comes into play with regard to fashion far more than with the other designed objects we come into contact with. Fashion is a key way for us to identify ourselves and - when you consider fashion as a historical artefact - how nations, cultures and generations have identified themselves.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Shape - A Film About Design

Shape, a film about design

Recently launched by Pivot Dublin and Dublin City Council and made by Scott Burnett and Johnny Kelly, Shape is a short animated film about design aimed at young people. It poses the question 'If, for one day, you had the power to make your world work better, what would you change?' and shows how changing the look, feel, size or form of something - or replacing it with something entirely different - can change your experience of the object itself and maybe even improve your day, your surroundings or your life a little bit. It makes the point that design is everywhere and that it can make a big impact.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

If Artists were Architects...

Barcelona-based illustrator Federico Babina has something of a preoccupation with architecture, creating series of illustrations on architectural alphabets, the architecture of cinema and more. I recently stumbled upon this one, named Archists, which imagines a city of buildings designed by famous artists in their trademark styles. A simple concept which is delivered in Babina's trademark charming style, click through to see some of my favourites.